Barclays to close its UK accounts for British expats - bank's fee-free alternative requires £100,000 balance

Barclays bank logo outside bank branch

Barclays has said it will close its UK accounts for all British expats

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 27/09/2023

- 12:58

Updated: 27/09/2023

- 16:43

Barclays customers who live overseas will no longer be able to hold a UK current or savings accounts with the bank

Barclays says UK nationals living or working overseas can open a global account with the bank, but there’s a hefty minimum balance.

It comes as the bank plans to close UK accounts for British expats, sparking concern for those who rely on the account to access their savings and pensions.

The bank began a review of its international offerings in 2021 and is writing to customers warning them of the change.

It’s understood that affected account holders will be issued with a six-month warning.

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Barclays bank logo outside bank branch cash machine

Barclays customers who live abroad could open the International Bank Account


Wealthy expats will be able to open the bank’s International Bank Account, but they will need a minimum of £100,000 (or the currency equivalent) in savings and/or investments across their Barclays accounts to avoid a charge.

The bank offers accounts in 70 countries worldwide, so expats will need to be resident in a qualifying country.

Account holders can access this current account online, and make notice-free withdrawals at ATMs worldwise with a sterling debit card. Customers can open an account in one of three major currencies - US dollars, sterling and euros.

If the average balance falls below this threshold for four months in a row, the account holder will be charged £40 a month.

Barclays customer Professor David Barker, 89, is among those affected by the changes.

Professor Barker set up an account with the bank more than 60 years ago when he lived in Greater London. He and his wife Catherine moved to Australia in 1988, but Professor Barker has continued using his Barclays account to collect his English pensions and book royalties.

He also uses the account to pay direct debits to the Royal Artillery Club and two Cambridge colleges, as well as to donate to charity and give gifts to his grandchildren.

The couple were contacted via letter in April, informing them their account would close, the Telegraph reports. They’ve been told they need to move all their money out of their accounts by November 24.

A Barclays spokesman said: “We will no longer be offering personal current or savings accounts to retail customers with addresses registered with us outside of the United Kingdom, subject to limited exceptions.

“We are contacting impacted customers to give them advance notice of this decision and explain the next steps they need to take.”

Those with cash ISAs and fixed-rate bonds will be able to keep their accounts, it’s understood, unless they live in Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands or Slovakia.

Crown employees and their spouses can keep the accounts, and the bank said it would allow the account to remain open if the overseas address is for someone who manages the money, such as an accountant or lawyer.

An FCA spokesman said: “Banks may set their own requirements on country of residence for account holders and must comply with local law and regulation when serving customers outside the UK.

“Whether or not banks decide to extend services to customers outside of the UK is a commercial decision for them, but we expect them to treat their customers fairly, comply with equalities legislation, and provide adequate notice to the customer if they decide to close their account.

“Customers who feel they have had their accounts closed unfairly have the right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.”

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