Nationwide proof of address: Why you might need it, and how you can get one.

Wise
17.01.19
4 minute read

If you want to open a bank account with Nationwide, there are a few things
you should keep in mind. You’ll be asked to provide some documents to confirm your identity, but also to confirm the address you’re living. Figuring out which documents are accepted can take some time, as well as digging on Nationwide’s website. To make it a bit easier for you, here’s a guide to help you figure out what kind of documents you can use for proof of address, and what you can do if you don’t have sufficient documentation.

What is a proof of address?

Simply put, proof of address is an official document that shows your name and the address you live at. Banks usually ask for this, because they have an obligation to make sure their customers are who they say they are and live where they say they live. They can’t use every document for this, it has to be a document from a trusted institution, such as a utility provider, or a document from a government agency.

If you’ve just moved to the UK, providing an official document that confirms your address might be tricky. Maybe you don’t have any utility bills yet, your driving license was issued by your home country and thus doesn’t show a UK address, or you haven’t yet received any correspondence to your current address from the UK (local) government. In that case, it’s good to know that there’s an alternative out there.

Wise offers a multi-currency borderless account that you can open without proof of address documentation. Instead, you can use an ID document and a selfie of you holding that same ID document, which is sufficient proof.

Why does Nationwide ask for proof of address?

All banks have to comply with the rules and regulations set out by the FCA. They also have the obligation to prevent people from opening a bank account with bad intentions in mind or under false pretenses, such as money laundering or financing criminal activities.

One of these rules is that they have to confidently identify their customers with (usually 2) means of identification. One document that confirms your identity, such as a passport or ID card, and one that confirms your address.

Can I open a bank account without proof of address?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to open a bank account with Nationwide without providing proof of address documentation, although Nationwide does recommend to get in touch with them if you’re not able to provide any of the accepted documents they state online¹. They’ll then discuss with you what kind of documents you are able to provide, to see if it’s something they might be able to accept. If you’re not able to provide them with any kind of documents that are acceptable to them this would mean you’re not able to open a bank account with them just yet.

Though this might sound very strict, Nationwide is simply following the regulations they have to comply with, in their chosen way. And since other banks have to comply with these same set of rules, what can you do if you don’t yet have the correct documents? A possible solution might be to open a Wise multi-currency borderless account. Although it’s not exactly the same as a bank account, it’s very similar. You can, for example, receive your salary in your borderless account or pay your rent from that account. But it comes with some other perks too. You can hold over 40 different currencies in your borderless account, convert between currencies easily and always with the mid-market exchange rate, and you can even get a Mastercard debit card that is linked to your borderless account. You can also generate your own local account details to receive payments in British pounds, euros and US, Australian and New Zealand dollars, without the costs of regular international payments.

In order to open a borderless account with Wise, you still have to provide some identification documents, because Wise is regulated with the FCA as well. However, you have the option of either providing your ID document and proof of address document, or you provide an ID document and a selfie of you holding your ID document.

How to get a proof of address?

Nationwide accepts several different documents for proof of address. Here’s a list of the documents they can accept¹:

  • Valid UK (paper) driving license, or a provisional UK photocard driving license
  • Bank or credit card statement from a UK based bank or building society, which is less than 3 months old
  • Mortgage statement from the UK (less than 12 months old)
  • Gas, electricity or landline phone bill from the UK, which isn’t older than 3 months
  • UK water bill (up to 12 months old)
  • Credit union statement from the UK, which is less than 3 months old
  • Your UK council tax bill from within the last 12 months
  • Letter from a Benefits Agency, or a benefits letter from your local housing authority. Both can’t be more than 12 months old
  • Rental agreement from the council, or a housing authority
  • Official letter from your university or college, dated within the last 12 months

If I don’t have a proof of address, which other documents does Nationwide accept?

If you don’t have one of the more traditional documents from the above list, for example, if you’ve just moved to the UK from another country, you still have to provide them with proof of address, but Nationwide offers some alternative documents you can use for this. These are¹:

  • Tax documentation from HRMC, such as tax notice, coding assessment, statement, credit document or a notice of tax code. These documents should be less than 6 months old
  • National driving license from a country within the EU/EEA that is still valid
  • Statement for a current account, credit card or mortgage from a bank that is based in the EEA and is less than 3 months old
  • Utility bill that’s less than 3 months old from a utility provider based in the EEA

Nationwide does state that if you’re not able to provide them with documentation mentioned in either of the above lists, you should still get in touch with them to discuss the issue as they might be able to accept other documents as well. Also, for some bank account types, you can already apply online, before you’ve arrived in the UK. But before Nationwide decides whether or not they’ll accept your application, you still have to come to one of their branches within 2 months, and show your ID and proof of address document to them in person².

Although there are quite a few documents you can use to confirm your address when you want to open an account with Nationwide, they might still be hard to come by. For example, if you’ve just moved to the UK, or are still in the process of moving, and you don’t have any of the alternatives that Nationwide offers. If that’s the case, it’s good to know that there are alternatives out there.

And even after you’ve opened a bank account with a traditional bank, the Wise borderless account can still prove to be very useful. If you travel frequently between countries with different currencies, you can hold and convert between more than 40 different currencies in your borderless account, which makes it a true multi-currency account, and always at the mid-market rate and for a small fee, which you’ll see upfront. So you know you don’t pay more than you have to. Why not give it a try, and see for yourself.

Sources used for this article:
1.https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/support-articles/manage-your-account/proving-your-identity
2.https://www.nationwide.co.uk/products/current-accounts-eea/flexaccount/apply#tab:Howtoapply
*Sources checked on January 16, 2019


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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