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Banking In The United Kingdom

Knowledge of the UK banking system will help you plan your property purchase to its best potential. Below is a general account of banks and related services in the UK.


A UK bank account is the simplest way to pay your local expenses, including service bills for your property and any rental monies you receive.

The banking system runs along modern, international standards and a full range of lending, credit, debit, savings, exchange and insurance services are on offer. However, the clearing of foreign cheques can still be a lengthy process: although you can pay them into a personal account in a UK bank, they may take as much as six weeks to clear.

When you open a current account, you will normally be issued with a cheque book. Cheques cannot be cashed, unless accompanied by a supporting bank card in any branch of the same bank, but you can use cheques to pay for goods in commercial outlets. It is more normal to use a “Switch” or “Debit” card, which instantly debits your account with the amount due and avoids the need to write a cheque. Credit cards are also widely available with varying amounts of credit available, depending upon your individual circumstances.

UK banks also have internet banking services, allowing you to make convenient online transactions, often free of charges, from anywhere in the world.

The Bank of England issues bank notes and coins and has the statutory responsibility for setting the UK’s official interest rate. It has close links with financial markets and institutions and is responsible for promoting and maintaining the monetary and financial stability necessary for a healthy economy.

British money is divided into pounds (£) and pence (p). Paper bank notes comes in denominations of £5, £10 and higher. Coins come in £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p.

For a list of banks in the United Kingdom, check out Fsa.gov.uk.

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