Santander foreign currency account: an overview

Zorica Lončar

Want to send and receive money in a different currency? You might have family in Europe, or run a business with suppliers in the US. Whichever is the case, a foreign currency account could be just what you need - helping you eliminate currency conversion costs.

Many UK banks offer foreign currency accounts in some form or other, including the major high street bank Santander.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at what the Santander foreign currency account has to offer. This includes the features of the account, available currencies and how to open an account. And of course, whether there are any fees you need to know about.

Plus, we’ll take a quick look at an alternative which offers multiple currencies, low fees and fair exchange rates - the Wise multi-currency account.

But first, let’s focus on the Santander foreign currency account.

Does Santander have a foreign currency account?

As you might expect from a bank owned by a Spanish-based financial services company which operates worldwide, Santander does offer a foreign currency account.

It’s called the Santander Gold Account, a current account available in one of three major currencies - Sterling, Euro or US Dollars.

There are a couple of other options too. If you live on the Isle of Man or Jersey, you’re eligible to open a Santander Island Gold Account. Alternatively, you can access a range of global currency accounts and services by joining Santander Private Banking.

Here, we’ll focus our attention on the Santander Gold Account. Let’s start with what features it has to offer.

Key account features

The Santander Gold Account is a current account, so it offers pretty much everything you’d expect or need for everyday banking. Features include the following¹:

  • A choice of GBP, EUR or USD currencies - you’ll need to open a separate account for each currency if you want all three
  • A Visa debit card for spending and ATM withdrawals in your chosen currency
  • Online and telephone banking
  • Set up standing orders and direct debits
  • Commission-free Foreign Exchange service when exchanging currency between your accounts.

The account also offers a variable interest rate, paid quarterly. The rate you’ll get depends on your balance and the currency your account is in, with a maximum of 0.25% available for those with a balance of £3 million or more (for GBP accounts)¹.

Eligibility - who can open a Santander foreign currency account?

Anyone can open a Santander Gold Account. However, international customers must be able to maintain an overall balance of £75,000 (or currency equivalent) in the account or across all of their Santander accounts¹.

Are there any fees with Santander foreign currency accounts?

Now, we come to the crucial part. How much does it cost you to have a foreign currency account with Santander?

The good news is that there’s no monthly fee with this account, but there are some other charges you need to know about:

FeeSantander Gold Account²
International transfers set up by online banking£20/€30/$40
International transfers set up by telephone banking£30/€45/$60
Debit card withdrawals or purchases in different currencyUp to 3% commission

These fees are the same as those for the Santander Island Gold Account for residents of Jersey and the Isle of Man.

How to open a Santander foreign currency account

There are a number of different ways you can apply for a Santander Gold Account.

The quickest and easiest is online, by completing a short online enquiry form - either as a new or existing customer. You’ll need to provide your personal and contact details, including your country of residence, along with which currency you’d like to open your account in.

You can also apply through one of the following methods¹:

  • By phone - call 08000 84 28 88 from the UK or +44 (0) 1624 641 888 from overseas. Lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday - except Wednesdays, when lines open at 9.30am.
  • By post - download, print and complete an application form, and post it back to: Santander International, PO Box 123, 19-21 Prospect Hill, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM99 1ZZ, British Isles.
  • In branch - however, Santander International accounts can only be opened on the Isle of Man (Douglas) and Jersey (St Helier). This means that opening an account in branch is only really suitable for residents on either island.

Save money on international transfers with Wise

If you’d prefer the choice of more currencies, low fees on international transfers and the fairest exchange rates around, check out Wise.

Open a free Wise multi-currency account online and you can send, spend, receive and convert a huge 50+ currencies all from one convenient account.

You can send money worldwide for small upfront fees, with all currency conversions done at the mid-market exchange rate. You can even receive money in the local currency for free, using local bank details.

All transfers are fast, secure and easy to set up online or in the handy Wise app.

What’s more, you can get a Wise international debit card for low-cost spending in 200+ currencies. This clever contactless card automatically converts currency at the best rate the moment you spend, with just a tiny conversion fee to pay. And if you already have the currency in your account, it’s free.

There are no monthly fees to worry about with Wise, and it’s fast and free to sign up online. Get started here.

Join Wise today

Sources used for this article:

  1. Santander - expat current account
  2. Santander - charges

Sources checked on 18-Jul-2022.

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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