Getting a UK personal account for Indian nationals seeking work in the UK

The Indian population in the UK is a sign of the historic connections between the countries, which of course are both members of the Commonwealth of Nations – India alone accounts for over half of the Commonwealth’s entire population.

In the UK nearly 850,000 people who were born in India are ‘usually resident’ here, and that is a number that has stayed pretty stable in recent years. It includes nearly half a million Indian-born people with British nationality, which may be as part of dual nationality.

For the rest, more than two fifths of the total, the UK is a home from home – their normal location but not their own nationality – and that may have an effect when trying to access essential services like UK banking and current accounts.

These are some of the issues you might face when applying for a UK bank account as an Indian national seeking work when new to the UK – and how online financial services offer an alternative that is quick, easy and fully regulated.

Why the banks might say no

Plenty of Indian people – of single and dual nationality alike – live in the UK for extended periods of time, so why do the banks make it so hard to get an account when you are new to the UK?

Sometimes it is about trying to force you to use your new bank account as your main current account, even if it is not convenient for you to do so, which is why the banks sometimes ask you to commit to a minimum monthly deposit or to move a large sum of money from back home into your new account as an opening balance.

They might try to make approval for a bank account depend on you accepting other products from them, from credit cards and overdrafts to premium ‘international banking services’ that you just don’t need.

And they may ask for proof that you have a job lined up in the UK before they will open a bank account in your name – even though many employers ask for a UK account to pay your wages into, before they will consider employing you.

So what do you do if the banks make it difficult to get a UK bank account as an Indian national seeking work in the UK?

An alternative that guarantees to say yes

The Arro Personal Account is an online current account that is available no matter how new you are to the UK, as long as you are over 18 and will be living in the UK in the future.

We guarantee to accept you if possible – there’s just a basic online ID check, which doesn’t access your credit file or affect your credit rating, and our Fair Fit criteria to make sure you’re eligible to apply.

You do not need to know where you will be working yet, and you do not need any address history in the UK, just a current UK residential address to show you will normally be living here while you are an Arro accountholder.

Our ID check is automatic and entirely online, so you don’t need to send us any paperwork or queue in a bank branch to see an international banking advisor – and if successful, the whole process takes only about three minutes.

You will immediately get a login to the Arro Money dashboard so you can manage your account online; your sort code and account number that you can give to your employer when you are ready to receive your first wages; and a virtual MasterCard® debit card via SMS so you can shop online while the physical card is sent to you in the post.

The details we need

The simple signup form will guide you through what we need from you, but the basics are:

  • Name.
  • Date of birth (you must be over 18 when you apply).
  • UK address (you must live here when you apply).
  • Contact details (so we can send you your account/card numbers.)

And that usually is it – we will run the simple checks, we WILL NOT access your credit file, so there’s no need to worry about your credit rating, and we will confirm as soon as possible that your account is open for business.

You can start moving money around as soon as we send you your login details – whether that means transferring funds from back home, receiving payments from friends and family, or getting your wages paid in from your UK place of work.