How to open a UK bank account as a migrant

Can a migrant open a bank account in the UK? It sounds like an easy question but the UK banks often make it much more difficult and a longer process than it really needs to be.

If you ever try to open a bank account in the UK for migrants – either as the accountholder yourself or as their representative – you will know how complicated the banks make it.

You might be asked to provide an impossible amount of proof of identity, address and financial history. You might face detailed background checks into your credit rating and employment status.

In some cases when you enquire about how to open a bank account in the UK for migrants, you’ll find the British banks give you advice on opening an offshore account instead – which is the opposite of what you really want.

What you need is an easy way to open a UK current account as a migrant, so you can manage your money here in the UK in the local currency – and this is where the Arro Personal Account is an option.

How is Arro different?

Arro is not a bank. We provide electronic money services, which means the Arro Personal Account is entirely online – you can access it from any internet connection without having to visit a bank branch and wait in line for an international banking advisor.

We guarantee to accept all eligible applications, without the need for a background credit check. That means even if you are new to the UK, you can apply for an Arro Personal Account and will usually be accepted in as little as three minutes.

The only time we will reject your application is if we are unable to verify your identity – but with access to online ID checks for 160 different countries, in most cases we can approve applications for people new to the UK as easily as for a UK resident.

Is the Arro Personal Account a bank account?

Technically no, it’s not. Because we are regulated in a slightly different way, Arro accounts are not ‘bank accounts’, but they give you many of the same capabilities and may even be easier to manage.

For example, when you open a conventional bank account in the UK for migrants, your account may be subject to certain restrictions, or you might find the bank give you an overdraft or credit card that you don’t really want.

Arro do not provide credit – so there is no credit check or black mark on your credit file when you apply for an Arro Personal Account, and you will not routinely be in debt, as long as you keep your account balance above zero.

You do receive a MasterCard® issued in your own name, but it’s a debit card, so it allows you to spend from the funds you have in your account, and can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs, including those in the walls of most UK bank branches.

How to open an Arro Personal Account for migrants

The Arro Personal Account signup form is very simple, and takes just three minutes to complete, so you should have no problem even if you are not a native English speaker.

Just go to our Join Us page and fill in your name, date of birth, UK contact address and other contact details.

We need your contact details so we can send you your account number once your application is approved, and we ask for a mobile number so we can send your MasterCard® details via SMS – this means you can use the card details to shop online, even before the physical card arrives in the post to your UK address.

Leaving the UK

We only provide accounts to people who currently live in the UK, so if your stay here is temporary, you can have an Arro Personal Account right up until you leave the country.

At that time it is easy to transfer any remaining money out of your account, back to your bank account in your home country or to a different travel money account if you are planning to visit another country.

If you move around within the UK, even if you move from England to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, for instance, just let us know your new address using the online dashboard and you should be able to keep your account open – as long as you are living in the UK, we are here to support you.