A guide on how to open a bank account in Iceland from the UK, covering everything expats and international students need to know.
If you need to switch between sterling and euros often, you’ll know that every time you exchange currency, there are costs and fees to pay. This is especially painful if you travel often in the euro area, or have financial interests there - such as a holiday home with a mortgage to pay. These charges can quickly mount up, too, if you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur being paid, or paying suppliers in the euro area.
If that sounds like you, you might be considering opening a euro bank account to reduce the costs of currency exchange. Many UK high street banks offer euro-denominated bank accounts. However, these bank accounts come with different terms, conditions, and costs, than the sterling account that you might already have.
If you need a euro bank account, it’s good to know that as well as familiar high street offerings, there are also smart new alternatives like the euro account from Wise. Compare the deals, from both traditional banks and newer specialist providers, to see where you can find the best deal.
To get you started, here’s the lowdown on how to open a Citibank UK euro bank account.
The Citibank euro current account works similar to a regular Citibank UK bank account but is denominated in euros rather than pounds sterling. You can also open accounts denominated in US dollars.1 However, it’s important to note that the Citibank UK euro account has different terms, conditions, and charges to a regular sterling account.
There are both regular euro current accounts, and premium versions of the euro account with Citibank UK. To open a Citigold premium euro account with Citibank UK, you have to pay a monthly fee of up to £75 - or hold an average monthly balance of £150,000 (or currency equivalent) across all your Citi UK accounts.2 This average balance can be held over several different accounts, including investments.2
The regular euro account requires you to either have an existing Citigold account, to keep an average of at least £2,000 in your foreign currency account, or pay a fee.3
An alternative without the costs and restrictions is to open a euro account from Wise instead. It’s a great tool for travellers and people with an international lifestyle because you can hold your money in dozens of different currencies in the same account, including euros of course. You can switch between currencies easily, using the real mid-market exchange rate, and with only a small upfront fee to pay. That means you get clear pricing, a fair exchange rate, and no nasty surprises.
If you’re an expat and live full time in a country that uses euros, then you need a euro-denominated bank account to pay for everyday life. A euro account can also be really handy if you live in the UK but travel a lot - or have a holiday home or other financial commitments somewhere in the euro area.
Otherwise, if you’re a freelancer or business owner, and send or receive invoices in euros, then having a euro bank account can also be a good idea, even if you live in the UK full time.
Having a euro-denominated bank account has a few advantages - including:
- You can keep your cash in euros and exchange it when the rates look good
- Avoid the high costs of international bank transfers on some payments made in euros
- Keep your money safe, with a euro account which is regulated by the FCA
Multi-currency accounts from Wise are FCA regulated, just like your regular high street bank.
A Wise multi-currency account offers the following benefits, which your traditional bank might not:
- Convenient online setup and easy-to-use account
- Hold money in dozens of currencies within one account, including euros
- Easy and cheap to transfer euros to friends and family within the eurozone
- Get local bank details, so you can get paid like a local in the euro area, and also in the UK, the US and Australia
- No setup fee, service charge or regular monthly fee to maintain your account
- Depending on where in the world you are, you may be able to get a debit card, to pay directly in stores and restaurants when you travel
The multi-currency account from Wise isn’t a bank account. It has many of the benefits of a more traditional account but also offers a smart new way to hold and send your euros - as well as other currencies - at a low cost.
It’s important to know that the costs and fees attached to a Citibank UK euro account won’t be exactly the same as those which apply to your regular sterling account.
Here are some of the costs you need to understand if you’re considering a Citibank UK euro account. For the full details, see the terms and conditions on their website or speak to a representative:
|Service required||Citibank UK euro account fee 2,3,4|
|Monthly account fee||Citigold euro account - £75/month, or £150,000 average monthly balanceEuro current account - £5/month, or £2,000 average balance in the foreign currency account|
|Paying bills and setting up standing orders||Free|
|CHAPS payments||Citigold euro account - freeEuro current account - £30 if set up on the phone, free through online banking|
|SEPA payments||Citigold euro account - freeEuro current account - £10 if arranged by telephone, free through online banking|
|SWIFT payments||Citigold euro account - £8/ month free, then £25 if arranged by telephone, £15 through online bankingEuro current account - £25 if arranged by telephone, £20 through online banking|
|Fee for providing incorrect transfer information - such as a missing or incorrect SWIFT/BIC||£20|
In their fees and rates sheet, Citibank UK warns about potential extra charges in addition to those detailed above if a payment is processed via the SWIFT network. That’s where several banks work together to process a single international money transfer. Each of these intermediary - or correspondent - banks can add their own fees and charges, and Citibank UK won’t necessarily be able to tell you in advance exactly what these costs could be. Unfortunately, that can get pricey.
If you choose a euro account from Wise instead, the charges make for much easier reading. Here they are:
|Service required||Wise euro account fee|
|Adding money to your Wise euro account||Free|
|Receiving money into your Wise euro account||Free|
|Setting up local bank details for the euro area, UK, US or Australia||Free|
|Converting money to other currencies||Low and transparent fees, which vary depending on the currencies involved - carried out at the real exchange rate|
|Withdrawing cash to a linked bank account||Small, fixed fee, depending on the currency you’re withdrawing|
To open a Citibank UK euro bank account in the UK, you’ll usually have to complete an enquiry form online and provide your contact details.5 You’ll then get a call back to make an appointment, and to discuss the process and documentation needed for the account type you want.5
You have to complete part of the application online, and then provide documents before your account will be fully functional - you can expect to need the following:5
- Proof of identification - such as a valid passport or driving license
- Proof of address - such as a utility bill or bank statement which shows your UK address
Nobody wants to pay more than they have to for currency conversion. And if you’re a frequent traveller, or get paid in euros for your freelance work, then cutting down the costs associated with exchanging between sterling and euros is essential.
Depending on your situation, you could be eligible to open a euro bank account with a bank like Citibank UK. However, you should understand the restrictions and fees on these type of accounts before you make your choice. If the offer from Citibank doesn’t suit your needs, then try a multi-currency account from Wise, for an account which allows your money to be flexible without steep monthly fees or a minimum account balance requirement.
- https://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/fcy-deposits.do (May 15, 2018)
- https://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/current-accounts.do#Current%20account%20Eligibility%20&%20Fees (May 15, 2018)
- https://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/documents.do?name=Specificterms (May 15, 2018)
- https://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/documents.do?name=rates (May 15, 2018)
- https://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/current-accounts.do#How%20to%20apply%20for%20a%20current%20account (May 15 2018)
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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