Can I open a bank account with no ID?

When you’re new to the UK it can seem like everybody needs your passport – and often they will ask you to send the original off in the post for days or even weeks on end before they return it.

With so many different aspects of your lifestyle to set up, and only one passport, you might want to focus on accounts and products you can set up without having to send your original ID anywhere.

Remember too that your passport usually only proves your name – in the UK it is not commonly accepted as proof of address – so how do you open a bank account with no proof of address?

What do UK banks accept as proof of address?

First of all let’s be clear about what you might normally be asked to provide as proof of address – and remember your passport usually does not show your address, and your existing driving licence or ID card almost certainly does not show your UK address.

To prove where you are living in the UK, you may need to show:

  • A mortgage statement if you have bought a property here.
  • A tenancy agreement in your own name if you are renting.
  • One or more postal bank statements to your current UK address.
  • A recent utility bill to your current UK address in your own name.

If you don’t have any of those, you might be able to get a signed and certified letter from a professional advisor, such as an accountant or lawyer, to confirm that you are who you say you are, and that you live where you say you do.

Some people even change the address on their bank account back home to their new UK address and request a bank statement through the post.

It’s one way to get something with your UK address on it, but you might not be allowed to put a UK address on a bank account in another country, and the statement could take a long time to arrive in international post.

Do I really need a UK bank account?

You might think you can just live using your bank account from back home, or spend only cash and avoid card payments, but realistically this will end up costing you a lot more in the long run.

Any money you earn or receive in the UK will be charged foreign exchange fees when you pay it into your account – and you’ll be charged those fees all over again when you make a withdrawal.

You’ll miss out on any discounts for paying bills by Direct Debit (not currently available, but it’s coming soon!), and you might even find it difficult to get a job if you insist on being paid in cash or into a foreign bank account, rather than a UK sort code and account number.

So the short answer is yes, it makes sense to open an account when you get to the UK, but it doesn’t have to be a bank account.

The Arro Personal Account

The Arro Personal Account is an electronic money services account. Unlike most e-wallets, it still has a sort code and account number, so you can receive transfers just like you would into a UK bank account.

But unlike most bank accounts, you can apply without showing any paperwork or ID documents, and you can be approved for a new account in just three minutes.

We just use a quick and automatic online ID check, and although you need a current UK address to apply for an account, we can verify your ID from 160 countries of origin, so you can apply as soon as you arrive here.

In most cases this is enough to show that you are eligible – and we guarantee to accept your application, as long as you meet our Fair Fit criteria.

So if you are over 18 and have a current UK address, even if you arrived the same day, you should be able to get an Arro Personal Account without sending us any proof of ID.

Open a UK account today

To apply, just fill in our signup form. It’s easy enough even if English is not your first language – we just need your name, date of birth, UK address and some contact details.

If it is possible for us to do so, we will verify your identity immediately using those online databases for 160 different countries, and this should let us open a UK account today for you, without any paperwork or unnecessary delays.