Please sign in to post.

Is worth getting a UK bank account to avoid hassles with credit cards

I have had a issue using a credit card from the US in making hotel reservations in London. After making the necessary calls to the credit card company to let them know the purchase, was yes from me, and all was well. I have let the credit card company know when I will be in the UK and to allow transactions. However, to be on the safe side I was wondering if setting up a UK bank account just in case might be a wise move.

Thank you

Posted by
2491 posts

No, that isn't necessary. There are plenty of US issued cards that work seamlessly in Europe. You should take more than one card as a back up too, by the way. I primarily use a Capitol One card which doesn't even need a travel notice, it just works.

Google "travel credit card no foreign transaction fee" for a list of good ones.

Posted by
6676 posts

I can't imagine setting up a bank account as a non-citizen will be any less hassle. Especially if you are a US citizen.

Posted by
8883 posts

Short answer is no.

Bit of advice: take more than one credit card

Use my Capital One CC in London often. Same with my bank debit card.

After learning my debit card wasn’t a tap and go in November of 2021 made sure I got a tap card from my bank before my 2022 trip. Worked like a charm.

Posted by
5139 posts

Not only would this be a needless waste of time and effort in searching out UK banks and then making the applications, it would likely be fruitless. AFAIK you need to be a UK resident to get a credit card there. And then what do you do when you travel to the continent, or elsewhere in the world? Just notify the CC companies who require it before doing international trips or transactions, or better still (as above) get a couple of cards that don't require notification.

Posted by
10364 posts

It's extremely difficult for Americans, even those living overseas, to open bank accounts in foreign countries due to the draconian US bank laws. Nobody wants to deal with Americans ( except tax havens).

Posted by
8651 posts

Good advice to bring two different credit cards. The other thing that you can do ( and I say this only slightly tongue in cheek) is travel more. Your credit card will “learn” that foreign transactions are not that unusual.

Another reason for two credit cards: Saturday I received a notice from credit card company that they suspected fraudulent activity on my account. They had already frozen it temporarily but wanted to know if I had indeed made the transactions. I had not! They quickly took those charges off the account and closed the card completely. I’ll get a new one in the mail in a week or so. If something like that happened while one is overseas and you only have one card/account that is now closed-you could find yourself in a difficult position.

Posted by
43 posts

My partner is a non-resident UK citizen, and we find using his UK bank account to be a pain. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to open and maintain an account as a non-citizen.

Posted by
6756 posts

In the UK we've recently introduced 3 layer security, or something like that. Now every time I make an on line purchase I have to receive an authorisation text from my bank. Yesterday even Pay Pal was being awkward with me, I had to change my password twice and answer security questions- all because of this new security thing- all of that was for a £15 transaction. Totally ridiculous. It's an utter pain in the neck, and my online banking times out has a very short (and unalterable) time when I can be doing nothing on it. Every time I exceed that time limit I have to get a new authorisation text, and start again. With most banks closing branches at a pace of knots it's becoming cumbersome.
To open an account I think it's 3 forms of ID you need to produce, one of which is proof of address. I can imagine the extra hassle a US address would cause the bank's systems.
For what very minor benefits it might bring you, a UK account is totally not worth it

Posted by
4159 posts

" In the UK we've recently introduced 3 layer security, or something like that. Now every time I make an online purchase I have to receive an authorization text from my bank. "

I've been noticing three-layer security here in the States on certain purchases for the last several months as well. EDIT - I haven't found this procedure onerous . Once I realized this was becoming routine , I was able to adapt to it quickly . I keep my cellphone on ( They send the code there or to my email on the computer ) and haven't had any security queries to deal with . It actually beats doing a transaction which then gets rejected , causing me to have to start over . Looks like the way of the future , and a simplification of the process . I should add that all my credit cards are either " Verified by Visa " or " Secure Mastercard " , probably due to the issuing banks

Posted by
4604 posts

I don't know where your card is from, but it's now 2023 and cards are accepted everywhere, all over the world. Honest. Ask your bank exactly what the problem is, and work to fix it. And if they can't or won't, you need a new card pronto. It only takes 5 minutes to get credit these days.

And yes, you and your travel partners need to have a mix of cards, Visa and Mastercard, from different banks. Sometimes a card just won't work, for no reason, and then will start working again. Everything in England now is tap and pay, so make sure your card has that tech as well.

Posted by
6820 posts

No need for a foreign account. My wife and I each take two different cards with no foreign transaction fees, but generally only use one. Many CC companies don’t even require travel notifications any longer. As somebody stated, if you had a problem with yours, ask the issuer what the problem was.

On occasion when trying the make a foreign purchase from the U.S., the CC company might decline the purchase, but most often the CC company will send a notification requesting verification via a code, like the two factor authentication many companies use.

Posted by
224 posts

I have had trouble using Canadian credit cards with UK websites too. I don't know how you check to see what allows what, prior to going through the trouble of getting another card. In person, none of this is relevant. My cards have always worked - even tapping at shops and public transit. I think you may need to pick a different hotel, unless you can phone them and sort it that way.

Posted by
4604 posts

Before my last 2 trips I notified the relevant credit card companies that I would be travelling and they all said, so what? It just didn't matter to them, credit is credit.

Posted by
4598 posts

Have you looked into the preloaded travel card option? Visa, Mastercard, and Wise offer them.

Posted by
713 posts

Everything in England now is tap and pay, so make sure your card has
that tech as well.

Thanks for that info. My last trip to the UK was 4.5 years ago. While there, I got used to paying for nearly everything by tapping my phone. Once home, I was often disappointed to find that I couldn't use my phone to pay in stores and restaurants.

Here at home things have progressed, but there are still stores without tap and pay terminals.

My main credit card is tap and pay, but my backup credit card isn't. My workaround: I've loaded and activated both cards in GPay on my phone. I can use either card by tapping my phone at a pay terminal. I'll probably add a debit card to GPay before my upcoming trip.

Posted by
47 posts

Just back from London and we had no problems with either Chase Sapphire Reserve card and USAA card. Also no problems paying with Apple Pay (iPhones) on the Tube. Beware, though, that contactless payment is so easy everywhere that it's very easy to spend money! :-)

Posted by
14580 posts

Apart from the difficulties doing that, I would not recommend it. In the England I always just bring the credit card besides having cash on me.