Basically, it's impossible for us to open a bank account in the UK
Over the years high street banks have refused a basic account. Photograph: Network Photographers/Alamy
I have been trying to open a joint basic bank account in the UK by mail or in person while visiting since 2009.
Many banks have refused my application, untruthfully claiming that they are not permitted to open accounts for non-residents, or would not do so, because of the fictitious problem of identifying applicants.
They even used this excuse when we were present in a bank branch with our UK passports and Alberta driver's licences.
What does it take to get a British bank to open a basic current account at a branch in the UK for a British citizen born in the UK into which his British pension can be paid? P&G S, Alberta, Canada
I can understand your mounting frustration. Strict money laundering regulations, and increasing identity fraud, have made banks overly cautious about who they allow to open a British bank account. However, since you provided proof of your identities, I can't see what the problem is.
As you only want a basic account to put your British pension into – I'm assuming you mean your state pension – and don't need an overdraft facility, the fact you can't be credit checked should not be a hurdle.
Sadly, the truth is, no one can
force a bank to give you an account. I spoke to the British Bankers Association (BBA) in the hope it knew of a bank prepared to take on expats as there must be others in the same position.
Its suggestion was to ask your Canadian bank if it had operations (or a partner bank) in the UK where you could open an account to receive your pension payments. A list of Canadian banks in the UK can be found at the website canadainternational.gc.ca .
Alternatively, you could open a sterling account with your Canadian bank in which you could then receive your British pension.
I also tried an international tax and wealth management firm and a specialist currency broker in the hope they had a simple answer. They did not.
The newer UK banks, such as Tesco, Virgin and Metro, might be more open to giving you an account rather than the dinosaurs of the high street.
It would be good to hear from other readers who have faced this problem themselves.
Liz Phillips answered this week's letters. Anna Tims is away
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