There are multiple ways to NOT open a Bank Account in Britain. I will summarize each and every one of them here for the sake of public entertainment. I hope that during this simple course you, the reader, will get a basic grasp of the subtleties involved in this process, so that you too can not ever open a bank account in Britain.
The easiest and most obvious way -possibly also the most effective- way is to just not do it. Don’t research anything, don’t check out any bank on the Internet and whatever you do… don’t walk into your local branch. I would very much recommend this approach to anyone just starting out not getting a bank account. You can sit back and watch that bank account not happening. Of course one of the downsides to this approach is that you do not waste a lot of time and miss out on so many different ways to experience frustration.
If after this you’re still really serious about not getting a bank account, I highly recommend your next step to be applying for a bank account online. What’s wonderful about this is that some sites are terrible to navigate and bombard you with useless information. This is of course great if you really don’t want to get a bank account. They ask you many nonsensical questions that you all fill out. After that, they send you some more forms by mail to fill out, which you immediately do. Upon this they will inform you that they need proof of address, which you don’t have and your time for applying to a bank account elapses. Congratulations, you just got yourself not a Bank account.
For those people who think they are ready to take it a step further, I suggest you actually leave your house this time. There are several branches to choose from. My advice is that you go to the busiest so that you have to wait for over an hour and finally fed up, return home. One of the wonderful things about this is that you feel like you’ve been part of a strange psych experiment where they test how long people will wait… also, you end up with no bank account. Mission accomplished.
If they, by any chance, are not that busy… don’t worry. They will ask you yet again for proof of address. Just make sure you don’t pay utilities, are registered where you live, have a job or go to college in the UK since all of these qualify as proof of address. If you have a boyfriend already living here that you can create a joint account with, dump him. He will not help towards your goal of not having a bank account. Also, no boyfriend means you get to experience the full extend of sexist remarks made by male bank employees at your expense and you really wouldn’t want to miss that.
In the bank, and all others you subsequently visit, they will inform you that you can open a bank account by changing the address on your Dutch (or any other foreign account) to where you live in the UK and with that confirmation of address you can finally open your bank account.
So, change the address on your Dutch bank account and get confirmation. This process will take about 3 weeks and 2 letters and 2 emails. Don’t worry. It sounds counter-productive but it isn’t. Just be mindful that you are ready face the amounts of frustration you are about to experience in the near future. Don’t underestimate it, and don’t forget to really enjoy it.
After 3 weeks you will receive this letter and once again you go out to your local branch. To get the full pleasure of this whole process -and this is the tricky part- you must really expect that by now you have everything you need to open your bank account. Walk in with your head held high and a little spring in your step. Don’t worry, those symptoms will soon disappear.
You find the branch office completely empty, nevertheless the chatting staff will make you wait for 10 minutes. Then one of them will inform you that they can’t use the form you have and they actually need a bank statement. Of course, you being a child of the 21st century can hardly remember what such a thing looks like.
So, the nice bank lady suggest you go to the other bank down the street, perhaps they can help you. There, with some unsolicited flirtations as a bonus, you encounter the same problem. They want a bank statement. This is where you can just stop. You have now reached an expert level at Not opening a bank account. But since you’ve gotten so far in the game already, I suspect you want to give it one more shot to end up on a slightly more ironic note.
Well, I got just the thing for you… Ask the Bank Man if there’s really not something he can do since you’ve been trying to get this bank account stuff sorted out for over 2 months now. He will then go and talk to his manager and inform you that there is a foreigners account at the cost of 8 pound a month. For a minute you freak out, this is new information and no one in all the banks you visited has ever informed you about this on any of your visit, and perhaps you are at the risk of actually opening a bank account now. But don’t fret. Find courage in the fact that all previous attempts have ended with you not getting a bank account, so it’s highly unlikely that this time you will prevail.
You just take a deep breath and ask what is needed to get such an account. The Bank Man will then go on to inform you that you need to show a bank statement -that you don’t have because you live on the Internet- of the account -that you’ve just registered on your address in the UK- with your Dutch address on it.
Thank the man kindly and leave the bank branch swiftly. The last thing to do now is to scream frustrated at random strangers on the street on your way home.
At home, take a deep breath and enjoy the realization rushing over you that you will never ever be the master of your own British bank account. Also, you wasted many hours of your life in frustration and despair. Congrats — You have now succeeded. I’m proud of you.