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Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Old Sep 10th 2013, 10:34 pm
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Default Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

As the Co-op Guernsey is closing its doors in 2014 I am looking for a new UK bank account to help with payments for home. Llyods and Natwest made the shortlist as they have the least onerous criteria. I don't tend to keep much in the account but find it useful for moving money and paying odd UK bills.Wondered if anyone else had run into this issue and could recommend a good UK expat bank with low fees?

I was tempted by the Natwest Gold account option (GBP12/month) thanks to its insurance offers but note that they only apply for purchases made with the accounts debit card. I am unlikely to use that card to buy holidays or rent cars so it negates the insurance benefits. The benefits apply if you use a Natwest credit card - but they only give these to UK residents as far as I can see.
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Old Sep 10th 2013, 11:38 pm
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Originally Posted by nick99 View Post
As the Co-op Guernsey is closing its doors in 2014 I am looking for a new UK bank account to help with payments for home. Llyods and Natwest made the shortlist as they have the least onerous criteria. I don't tend to keep much in the account but find it useful for moving money and paying odd UK bills.Wondered if anyone else had run into this issue and could recommend a good UK expat bank with low fees?

I was tempted by the Natwest Gold account option (GBP12/month) thanks to its insurance offers but note that they only apply for purchases made with the accounts debit card. I am unlikely to use that card to buy holidays or rent cars so it negates the insurance benefits. The benefits apply if you use a Natwest credit card - but they only give these to UK residents as far as I can see.
Lloyds International are a good choice. There is no fee for the account but you do need to have a substantial deposit to open the account to stop you being charged.
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Old Sep 11th 2013, 1:09 am
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Thanks. From their site Llyods now seems to require GBP2500 minimum balance permanently otherwise they charge GBP20 month. And no loss and damage waiver on car hire, just travel insurance.
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Old Sep 11th 2013, 2:32 am
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Originally Posted by nick99 View Post
Thanks. From their site Llyods now seems to require GBP2500 minimum balance permanently otherwise they charge GBP20 month. And no loss and damage waiver on car hire, just travel insurance.
Yes it's a £2500 deposit for the current account. Savings accounts require more.
I also found with their travel insurance that it didn't cover our journey over here because they did not class it as a holiday.
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Old Sep 12th 2013, 10:25 pm
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Natwest Jersey customer service seem ok, respond to emails fast. But the content of their reply was not very positive. They wrote "Gold accounts are only offered to local residents" which seems to negate much of the point of a 'international' account and I 'must also show a valid reason' to open an offshore account - I already told them I was non-resident and lived in NZ. The final nail - they want GBP25k deposit. Boo. If they had put this on the information page for the account I would have not wasted their time or mine asking...
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Old Oct 21st 2013, 10:48 pm
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Just to close off the thread I chose Standard Bank. Had not heard of them either but some research showed that they are sizable and their branch in the Isle of Man is covered by the normal IOM deposit guarantees etc. So safe enough for this secondary account.

The big names (Llyods, HSBC, NatWest) etc. wanted silly amounts of GBP commitment, required a big salary regular deposit and charged big fees. Two of the three NatWest 'international' accounts are only available to residents of the Channel Islands (!) - a rather limited definition of 'international'. Standard charge no monthly fee for a GBP3000 balance and provide a Visa debit card.

The thing that swung it for me with Standard is that their internet banking offers a lot of functionality, including overseas transfers. No more having to call to arrange non-UK transfers. So far their service seems good, quick response to emails etc., phoned when they said, got the account working quickly. Application procedure pretty painless. Ask me again in a few months if the good service has kept up. Llyods/NatWest/Santander could perhaps learn a lot from these smaller, more innovative banks.

The disappointment in all of this was the Co-op. They are shutting the branch so I was forced to move. They could not help me find a new bank, and they won't assist either in transferring direct debits or auto-forwarding payments to the new account. Their internet banking is terrible too, very limited. Awful in this day and age, won't see me again as a customer.
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Old Oct 22nd 2013, 8:47 am
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Thanks for the update. We've got a small account with Britannia (owned by the Coop) so we'll bear this in mind if we need to move.
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Old Oct 22nd 2013, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Originally Posted by pippalonghorn View Post
Lloyds International are a good choice. There is no fee for the account but you do need to have a substantial deposit to open the account to stop you being charged.
+1 Lloyds TSB Offshore Account IOM. Online or 24hr phone
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Old Nov 20th 2013, 10:13 pm
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Lloyd's wouldn't accommodate me (Canadian residents not allowed).
As I don't have a huge amount of money, Standard looked like the only option for me, but I'm concerned that there's a charge for making stirling withdrawals at a cash machine, and a charge for transferring money, as well as account charges if my balance dips below three thousand pounds. Still, I'd made up my mind that I had no choice until I came across Santander's instant access account that needs only 1 pound deposit and has free sterling withdrawals and no account fees. At least, that's how it looks on their site.
I'm dying to call them but, owing to commitments, won't be able to for a couple of days. So, I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with Santander, Isle of Man.
I didn't look at them earlier because I read on some advice site that they had huge deposit and income requirements, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Am I wrong?
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Old Nov 20th 2013, 11:06 pm
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Hey vivsim. Standard have been slightly disappointing, I agree. Because I was daft enough to assume that the Isle of Man is part of the UK I did not expect to pay fees (GBP15) to send an internet payment to a UK bank account. That was rather a shock. They do do free direct debits (but insist they are standing orders) to UK companies though. And just in the last day their new 2014 fee structure came through. Its now GBP4000 minimum balance to get free banking >sigh<.

Lloyds told me that they would not currently accept applicants from NZ.

I had looked at Santander Jersey (5000 balance needed, no free internet payments as far as I can see, and I swore I would never use Alliance & Leicester/Santander again as their service was so horrible) but did not think to look at their IOM branch. The account you describe sounds good but I would confirm what they mean by a 'cash card'. If it truly only let you access cash and could not be used for internet payments etc. like a regular Visa it would be too limiting for me. But if they do free internet transfers to other banks that would be handy. Do let us know how you get on.

UPDATE* Just realised that Santander IOM is the Alliance & Leicester branch there I used for a savings account. Their internet banking was horrible, very basic, worse than the Co-op if I recall. It may have been updated by now. Maybe try and get a demo before you sign up if you can.

Last edited by nick99; Nov 20th 2013 at 11:15 pm. Reason: added info
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Old Nov 21st 2013, 5:02 pm
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Hi Nick,
I'm so relieved to be able to move my money from the Co-op without incurring ridiculous charges that using the cash card for purchases is the least of my worries. I'll even put up with a poor on-line facility.
I asked if a credit card was available for the Everyday Saver account - it isn't. I forgot to ask if a debit card was available but the really good person I spoke to (Hannah) has e-mailed all the necessary account forms to me already so I've e-mailed back with that question and will let you know the answer.
The accounts are described at http://www.santander.co.im/default-instant.aspx. I've chosen the Everyday Saver which has a one pound min. dep. and no income or regular deposit requirements. Sterling withdrawals at a cash machine and transfers are free. Santander also has branches in the UK.
I was told that a current account will be offered soon so I expect that it will have an associated debit or credit card. Worth keeping an eye on but, as I have to get away from the Co-op by the end of the year, I'm not going to wait for it.
If you don't want to contact the bank, I'd be happy to forward the documents I've just received if you'll give me your e-mail address.
I'll let you know as soon as I've got an account (I'm feeling confident).
Vivienne
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Old Nov 21st 2013, 8:24 pm
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

I heard back from Santander Jersey. They do offer free BACS internet transfers but require a minimum "$50,000 relationship" with the bank. And they only offer accounts to UK residents or UK expat citizens. So if Santander IOM is the same then you are a bit stuffed, sorry to say.

Seems like all these offshore banks are concentrating on the wealthy now. Big gap in the market for services for ordinary expats I would say.
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Old Nov 24th 2013, 11:29 pm
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Not sure if my earlier message was posted before your last message, Nick. I got a message saying it was being vetted and it didn't show up immediately.
Anyway, I spoke to Santander IOM again and was assured there was no apparent reason why I shouldn't be able to open an account with them.
I'm a British ex-pat in Canada. I have both British and Canadian passports. I'll be opening the account with quite a small amount (they told me that only one pound is required), and have my British pension paid into it monthly, although they did not ask for any deposit commitments, nor did they have any income requirements.
So, I've sent off the application and am hoping that the information I've been given is correct. It may take two weeks or more to hear back as the post office told me it will take two weeks for my application to reach IOM - unbelievable, but, I hope it'll get there sooner. I'll let you know what happens.
By the way, the cash card is simply that - allows for bank machine withdrawals. I was again told that a current account might be offered soon, and it will have a debit card.
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Old Dec 10th 2013, 5:27 pm
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

As promised, I'm confirming that I was able to open a Santander (Isle of Man) Everyday Saver account, with features exactly as described earlier. I've just transferred my funds from the Co-op. The only drawback, as far as I can see, is that it doesn't come with a card that can be used for purchases. Other than that, it's pretty much the same as the Pathfinder account I had with the Co-op with the advantage that it costs a little less for currency conversions using a banking machine.
I'm very pleased to have this matter resolved as it's been difficult to find something that doesn't take your money for just about every transaction.
I'll keep my eye open for the promised current account offering which will have a debit card that can be used in shops, and will let you know.
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Old Dec 11th 2013, 3:55 am
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Default Re: Co-op Guernsey closing, need a new UK expat account

Same story with The Co-op in Guernsey, but my major problem is no capital - been scammed, employer indicted for fraud, etc. I must have done something really evil in a previous life! Anyway, I need a UK current a/c to receive my UK pensions, but one that does not require an initial deposit. any ideas, anyone?
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