HSBC Proof of Address: Why you might need it, and how you can get it

Wise
21.11.18
3 minute read

It’s one of the most annoying steps in the process of setting up a bank account, but it’s not easy to avoid. If you want to get an account with HSBC, you’re going to have to prove not just who you are, but also where you live. Here’s a guide to what that involves.

What is proof of address?

Proof of address is what it sounds like: a document (or set of documents) that proves where you live. When you sign up for certain products or services, such as a new bank account, you might find you’re asked to provide it.

Why does HSBC ask for proof of address?

Simply put, it’s a security measure. Banks have to be 100% confident that you are who you say you are, and that you live where you say you live¹. Otherwise, the risk of a security problem is too great.

As well as requiring proof of address, they’ll need to see some personal identification - it’s not the same thing. The best established form of identification (ID) is a passport - but that isn’t valid as proof of address.

That means you may need 2 documents - twice the security².

Can I open a bank account without proof of address?

For a bank account, the short answer is no, and it’s not just HSBC that are sticklers about this. Generally speaking, you do have to prove where you live when you open a bank account: it’s a legal requirement. Do read on, though, to find out the range of different documents that are acceptable: there are options, even if you’re new to the country.

Opening a borderless multi-currency account with Wise gives you an alternative option to providing proof of address. You’ll need to provide ID when you sign up, but then you have a choice: you can either provide proof of address, or a selfie in which you’re holding your ID. If you’re still sorting out your residence in the UK, or in the often complex process of moving house, this could be a very handy alternative.

What is a borderless account? Good question. It’s a way of holding your money in multiple international currencies, but without any monthly fees. It’s also a way to get virtual account details in pounds, euros, and US and Australian dollars - meaning that, with a borderless account, you can send and receive money in the UK (or the EU, or the US, or Australia) as if you had a bank account there, even if you don’t. A better option than international bank transfers? Quite possibly, especially given that Wise always offers the mid-market rate. So actually, it’s worth looking into even if you do have proof of address after all.

Anyhow, here’s that HSBC proof of address info you’re after.

How to get proof of address

Here’s an overview of the documents HSBC accepts as proof of address. You should check with someone from HSBC if you have specific queries, or to confirm details. HSBC does require original documents for this, not copies².

  • A current driving licence from the UK or EU. (You can use it either as proof of address or proof of ID, not both)
  • A bill: council tax (dated within the last 13 months) or utility (dated within the last 4 months).
  • A paper statement from another (non-HSBC) bank, building society or credit union (dated within the last 4 months).
  • A UK disabled parking document.
  • A tenancy agreement (but not from a private landlord; dated within the last 12 months).
  • An official letter from a prison governor or probation officer (with your name, date of birth and a photo of you, with their full contact details, dated within the last 4 months).

If you’re a foreign national who came to the UK 6 months ago or less, you have two additional options, designed to make things easier if you don’t yet have any of the above. They should both be on official headed paper, dated within the last 4 months, and include full contact details²:

  • A letter from a university, college or language school: this should confirm your UK and non-UK address, and how long your course lasts.
  • A letter from an employer: this should confirm your name and address, and also that you’re employed by them.

Conclusion: Proof of address for HSBC

By now, you’ll either be pleasantly reassured, or tearing your hair out. Even though it’s a fairly long list of acceptable documents, you might still not have them, especially if you’re still in the process of moving to the UK.

So the Wise borderless account option might be a handy alternative, especially while you wait out that awkward period before all those beloved bills start pouring through your letterbox.

What’s more, a borderless account can provide a cheaper way for you to transfer your money from overseas into the UK. Before you finish setting up your transfer you always see what the fees will be, and you can rest assured knowing that your money will always be converted with the live mid-market exchange rate. Which means that it won’t just save you paperwork - it could save you actual money, too.

Sources:
1.https://www.hsbc.co.uk/help/banking-made-easy/help-us-identify-you/
2.https://www.hsbc.co.uk/content/dam/hsbc/gb/pdf/accounts/basic-bank-account-identification.pdf
*All sources checked on November 2, 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 TransferWise 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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