Opening a UK Sterling Bank Account

monese uk account

If you want to open a Sterling bank account in the UK while you are living in Ireland it is easier now because of new online entrants to the financial sector.

One such online option that does not need a UK address is the online payment service from Monese.
Irish residents can sign up online with Monese  and have a Sterling account as well as a Euro one within hours.

You can sign up for a Monese account using your PC/Laptop Here

If you are viewing this on an Apple device you can get the free Monese App Here.

Monese  is an electronic payment service linked to a prepaid card.  It can be used to pay Direct Debits in the UK.    Monese have a “Starter” free account – but there are some usage charges. But if your main use of the account is going to be accepting payments in Sterling and spending in Sterling- then it will be basically free to use.

  • £4.95 delivery of prepaid Mastercard
  • 1% fee to transfer Euro to Sterling within Monese account.
  • £1 per ATM withdrawal
  • 2% (min £2) charge on foreign currency transactions – spend or ATM.

Monese is an agent of PrePay Technologies Limited which is an electronic money institution authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 . Rules require them to keep all customer money separate to the company finances. This guarantees that , in the unlikely event that Monese goes out of  business,  all  customers would receive 100% of their balance back.

Bricks and Mortar Banks in the UK

In Northern Ireland you will find that most of the banks there will allow you to open a Sterling Bank Account if you are resident in the Republic Of Ireland. It is probably best to ring around the various banks before you go just to check (Try Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Allied Irish )

We recommend opening the new account with a small amount of Sterling in cash to begin with.

  • Don’t go drawing out loads of Sterling in cash from your Irish account from an ATM in the UK .
  • Don’t ask your Irish bank to exchange all your savings into Pounds in cash. You could pay heavily with poor exchange rates and commissions.

Currency Exchange

Once you have a UK sterling account set up – then you can arrange for the currency exchange and transfer from your Irish Euro account to the Sterling account in the UK. You might assume you have to do this currency exchange through your own bank in Ireland – but you don’t have to use your bank.

There are some specialist currency exchange brokers that you can use – and their exchange rates will usually be better than the banks.  A difference in the exchange rate of just 1 cent in the Euro on a €100,000 Euros transaction would save you a £1000 Euros. Not bad for a couple of phone calls and a bit of form filling . You send them Euros from your Irish bank account and they convert it to Sterling and send that to your Sterling bank account..

  • FairFx are a London based foreign exchange specialist and they also have an office in Dublin. FairFx  are fully regulated by both the UK Financial Conduct Authority and the UK HMRC . You can arrange  currenct transfers with FairFx  online or over the telephone.   You can call FairFx on their Irish number 01  5665546 or on their UK number (0044) 20 7858200 .
  • Another  currency exchange company in the UK  that we recommend  is called Currency Solutions. They are regulated and authorised by the UK Financial Services Authority and HM Revenue. They can carry out currency transfers from Euros to Sterling as well as any other major currencies. You can make a no obligation enquiry about your currency requirements online here. sterling euro currency exchange

If you prefer – you can telephone the Irish Links contact: Ernie Enver direct on 01 4311344 or on the UK number 0044 207 740 0000 .
Ernie will be able to help you with all your currency exchange questions. He will call you back. Mention “Irish Links” website when you call.

  • Another company based in Ireland that we know are reliable for carrying out large amounts of currency exchange is  Transfermate. They are  regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland . You can check out more details on the Transfermate website or call them on 01 6353776

Of course – always check with your own bank first to see what exchange rate they will offer you.
Get the bank to confirm how much Sterling you will get after the conversion – after all fees have been deducted. If you just compare the raw exchange rates – the difference in those figures may look really small and you may feel it’s not worth the bit of extra hassle. But when you see the difference in the total amount you will get after the exchange – it could amount to several hundreds of pounds.

If you are worried about the Euro weakening  against Sterling – you can reserve an exchange rate up to a year in advance. So – when rates are in your favour – but your money is tied up in a fixed rate account or in property – you can reserve the rate and make the exchange weeks or months in the future .