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Opening a bank account in England. Part 1

22 March 2004

Me: Hello. I would like to open a bank account.
Bank Bitch (BB): Do you have a passport. And something with your address on it?
Me: I do. However, I have only moved to the UK 6 days ago. The only thing with my address on it is my rent agreement.
BB: Is that a Private Rent Agreement or one through a Letting Agency. We can not accept private ones.
Me: Well, that poses a problem then.
BB:Do you have a Drivers License with your address on it?
Me: As I said before: I moved 6 days ago. So no.
BB: Do you have a pay-slip with your address on it?
Me:As I said before, I moved 6 days ago. So no I don't. But I do have a letter from DSS (Social Services) with my address on it.
BB:If that is hand written, I can not acccept it. Do you have another bank account in the UK?
Me: As I said before: I only moved here 6 days ago. So no. Because nobody wants to give me one.

By this time I am getting a little annoyed. It would be easier to ask me what I DO have with my address on it. Which is nothing but my rent agreement that she won't accept. But no, we go on for a while longer.

BB: Do you have a Council Tax bill perhaps with your address on?
Me: I know the tax office moves quickly when they see money, but since I only moved here 6 days ago, I don't have a tax bill yet.
BB: Hmm....this might be difficult. I can't see how I can help you.

I offer a signed letter from my landlady, with a copy of HER council tax bill to prove I really live there. Not acccepted. My bank statements from The Netherlands are no good either because they do not have my current address on them. In the end BB suggests I come back with my first pay slip. I try to explain to her that I can not get paid if I don't have a bank account. She sighs as if I am the one who is being uncooperative. Eventually she suggests I have my Dutch bank account transferred to my English address. Once they send me a bank statement at my new address, I can come back with that and they will open the account for me. That can take up to a month. I leave.
I try the bank next door. And the one next to that. And so on and so on. Do these people all have the same conversations all the time?

How does anyone ever get a bank acount here?


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