Adapting to London and getting a bank account

I tried applying for a bank account this week, and failed. HSBC told me to bring a paper bank statement from my bank in Holland and told me I had to make an appointment for 2 days later. Barclays let me in immediately, the guy at the front desk told me I could create an account right there on the spot with my passport and Dutch driver's license. It started out hopeful, but after waiting half an hour the lady helping me blew me off immediately. No opening bank accounts without either a Dutch bank/credit statement or a utility bill from the UK. Since my landlord pays the utilities I don't have a utility bill on my own name, so I need my parents to send me a bank statement.

Why is is this a problem? Well, I haven't been living in London for that long, but it does seem quite common that paying the utilities goes via your landlord, meaning you'll never get a utility bill on your name. So your best bet is the paper bank statement from your home country. This will not work in the future, because there will be no paper statements any more! I already don't receive paper debit statements, and I don't know how long I'll continue receiving statements for my credit card. Ideally I want to do everything via e-mail, but then I wouldn't be able to create a bank account in the UK. That's rather silly, isn't it? This is exactly how short-term rules are put into place to fix an immediate problem (fraud) without thinking in the long term.

On a daily life note, I have made the following observations  since moving here:

  • Living in London is a very different feeling from visiting London
  • I still love the posh British accent, but have made it my life goal to never get the accent that I hear on the streets. Little Britain was so true...
  • So much snow! Today was the first day that it's been nice and clear again outside.
  • I can walk to work in 30 minutes. But my feet hurt.
  • Living in central London is obviously expensive.
  • Restaurants are bloody expensive.
  • Frozen meals are quite expensive.
  • The tube is also fairly expensive.
  • Everything is expensive.
  • It's just the GBP that's expensive.
  • I am living in a 'large studio'. It is in fact quite large for my standards, and I find myself wishing I had a smaller place. A single guy living in such a big apartment seems like a waste of space.
  • I'm not really sure if I want to continue blogging.
  • I really want an iPad.

Until next time. Happy Sinterklaas!




Posted in Daily Life , UK