No matter which way any of us may have voted, there is little doubt that we all remember a little thing called Brexit. Love or loathe the outcome, the truth is that before we left the EU things were a little different. Work, travel, and practically everything else seemed that little bit easier. So, being out of the EU why would you want to know about the best Euro bank accounts? Well, there are a few reasons.
Here in the UK, we never actually went the whole hog with our European membership. Unlike any other EU country, we clung to our own currency and refused to give up the Great British Pound. There were always some who didn’t really benefit from that decision. Since we have drifted yet further from our continental cousins, there is still a want, and even a need, to be able to deal in Euros.
I’m going to take a look at why it is worth looking at opening a Euro account as well as what you need to be able to do so. Then we’re going to share with you the best Euro bank accounts out there so you can go ahead and sign up.
Why would you want to open a Euro bank account?
With all that I’ve just said, you’d be forgiven for thinking that opening a Euro bank account was a little pointless. After all, what do we want with Euros? The truth, however, is that there are some real benefits available to those who explore this. For certain people in certain circumstances, it just makes sense. Some of the most common reasons to seek out the best Euro bank accounts include:
• Having the need to regularly send and receive Euros
• Being a UK citizen that owns property in Europe
• Being an ex-pat
• Someone who gets paid in Euros
• Someone who holidays in Europe on a regular basis
Does getting paid in Euros sound far fetched for the average Joe on the street? Well, even if you look into certain side hustles there is a good chance that you will be paid in Euros. Why put in all of the hard work alongside the day job only to lose money for converting a currency? Having a Euro bank account means that every penny (well, every cent!) is yours.
If you travel to Europe regularly, with COVID (almost) behind us, again it makes sense to have a Euro account. Why? Well, currencies continually fluctuate. When the pound weakens we get fewer Euros when we exchange. This makes everything in Europe more expensive. Holding your own Euros means there is no need to pay exchange fees and no need to take a gamble with how each currency may be performing.
What do you need to open a Euro bank account?
When it comes to opening a Euro bank account, exactly what you will need varies. That being said some requirements are standard across the board. You will need:
• To be at least 18 years of age
• Be able to provide ID
• Be able to prove that you have a UK address (in some cases a European address)
Some of the best Euro bank accounts that we have looked at also insist that you already have a current account with them in sterling. They don’t allow you, as a UK resident, just to open a Euro account. That aside, the requirements are similar to what you would expect for any bank account that you want to open in the UK.
So, having loved at why you should consider opening a Euro bank account, and now you know what you’ll need to be able to do so, let’s take a look at the best Euro bank accounts around.
This one is a traditional high-street bank and has a name that is familiar to everyone. For some, that is a great reason to explore a Euro account here. People feel safe with a familiar name and one that has existed for a considerable amount of time.
Here are some of the other positive points when it comes to Barclays:
• You can pay cash into your account for free (Euros)
• There are no fees to transfer money between your Sterling account and Euro account
• No charges for ATM withdrawals
• No fees for international payments
• Covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) – £85,000
Some of the points to look out for if you are considering Barclays include:
• If you deposit funds from outside Europe you’ll face a £6 fee
• You will be charged for depositing any cheques – for those who still use these!
• A telephone transfer will cost a whopping £25 in fees
If you are happy that the pros outweigh the cons and you’d like to go ahead and open a Euro account with Barclays, here’s what you’ll need to know:
• You need to be 18 years or over
• Accounts can only be opened in branch or over the phone
• You must already hold a Barclays sterling current account (not a basic account)
• You must reside in the UK
If you compare Barclays to the other high-street banks, what it has to offer is certainly attractive. The associated fees are lower than you will find elsewhere and, overall, Barclays is known for good levels of customer service.
There are alternative accounts that are more convenient in terms of opening and operating as well as having lower fees. So why do we include Barclays as one of the best Euro bank accounts? It still outperforms other traditional banks and there are many people who will find the security of a long-established bank a draw.
Starling is one of the new breeds of banks and is one that is certainly worth exploring. Launched back in 2014 it has been voted Best Bank in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. The way that the Starling Euro account works is a little different when compared to the likes of Barclays.
Account-holders will already have a Starling debit card that works with sterling. By going into the app, just a few clicks later and the debit card is now a Euro one. It allows users to seamlessly flit between the two currencies as and when they need to.
Here’s a look at some of the great things that Starling has to offer:
• There are no monthly account fees
• No fees to hold, send or receive Euros
• You can transfer currencies 24/7 including weekends
• There is a single card that can be used for both sterling and Euros
• FSCS protection up to £85,000
• Free ATM withdrawals
A couple of watch-outs with a Starling Euro account:
• There is now a 0.4% fee for transferring between pounds and Euros
• 0.5% interest is payable on accounts with a balance over €50,000. Due to negative interest rates in parts of Europe, you actually pay interest to the bank
If it sounds like a Starling Euro account would suit your needs, here’s what you need to know about opening one:
• You must already hold a regular Starling current account
• Aged 16 +
• Have a UK address
I think that it is clear why I have included Starling as one of the best Euro accounts. There may be some who are put off by the fact that this is a relatively new bank, but looking beyond this it is clear that this is a bank that performs and puts its customers first.
As a multiple award-winning bank, Starling has some great reviews from its customers. Just like a traditional high-street bank, you are also protected by the FSCS up to £85,000.
Formerly known as TransferWise, this company was launched back in 2010. We intentionally used the word ‘company’ rather than ‘bank’ as Wise isn’t actually a bank. Wise describes itself as a non-bank payment provider and what it offers is a multi-currency account that is ideal for travellers and ex-pats alike.
Here are some of the things that I like about Wise:
• Wise operates with 50+ currencies
• You can set up direct debits in pounds and Euros
• There is just one card that can be used for multiple currencies
• The account is free to open
Some of the not so great points include:
• A conversion fee of between 0.24% and 3.69% applies
• You only have 2 free ATM withdrawals per month. After this, each costs you a 1.75% fee
• If your account is in credit by more than €15,000 then there is a 0.4% annual fee
• Not protected by FSCS as Wise is not a bank in its own right
If Wise appeals to you, you will be pleased to know that it is extremely straightforward to open an account. You will need:
• To be 18+
• Hold valid ID
• Be able to prove your address
When considering the best Euro bank accounts, it may seem a little strange including a company that is not actually a bank. The truth is that there are more and more of these FinTech companies appearing and they all come with some major advantages when compared to traditional banks.
Wise has created itself a reputation for being significantly more cost-effective than high-street banks when it comes to converting currencies and sending money abroad. The biggest concern that potential customers may have is the lack of FSCS protection. However, Wise keeps its customers’ funds in a ring-fenced Barclays account. This means that should the worst happen, the likelihood is that your funds will be safe.
Revolut is another bank that is not actually a bank. Well, not yet anyway. Revolut is the process of applying for the status of a bank within the UK and there is plenty of confidence that this will be successful. It is already classed as a bank in Lithuania.
This company was launched in 2015 and began life as a pre-paid card aimed at travellers. It produced a card that operated with numerous currencies that made the travelling experience that bit easier. Revolut has since grown and developed and allows its customers to hold funds in numerous currencies, including the Euro and the pound.
Some of the positive features that Revolut has include:
• The app allows you to set budgets and control spending
• Spending analytics show exactly how your spending is broken down
• Revolut will pay you interest on any savings
• You can open an account for free
• Transfers are free
• Although not a bank, Revolut is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
• You can open an account in around 60 seconds
The points to watch out for include:
• ATM withdrawals are free up to £200 every 30 days. After this, there is a 2% fee
• Exchanges are free up to €1,000 each month. After this, they are subject to a 0.5% fee
• As Revolut is not a bank there is no FSCS protection
Opening an account with Revolut is as straightforward as things can be. All you need is your ID, be 18+, and have a UK/European address.
Revolut is hugely popular and this popularity is only growing. While it does not yet operate as a bank in the UK, it complies with the relevant rules which see customers funds being ring-fenced. In the case of Revolut customers, the funds are placed into a Lloyds account.
Revolut is not a dedicated Euro account as such. Instead, it offers support for multiple currencies. It is worth exploring the differences between the free basic account and the paid-for options as there are additional perks on offer at different levels.
Click on the button below and once your account is opened, add at least £1. Then, make a purchase using your physical or virtual card and you’ll be given £10 within three days.
Launched a year after Starling, Monese is another digital bank making waves with now over 2 million customers. Like both Revolut and Wise, Monese is not actually classed as a bank.
Benefits to Monese include:
- Dual £ and € account
- Free instant card top-ups
- International transfers (19 currencies supported)
- Real-time transaction notifications
- Track your spending
- Round up your spending
- Authorised by the FCA
- A generous referral program if you convince friends to join
Downsides of the Monese account:
- Foreign cash withdrawals cost £1.50 unless you take out a paid subscription
- Limit for free withdrawal in the UK set at £200. (2% afterwards)
- Not FSCS protected
You need to be 18+ and be able to provide copies of a photo ID and take a selfie video. No need to provide proof of address.
Although you may be concerned that Monese doesn’t come with FSCS protection, the company does say that your money is ring-fenced into a separate account and is protected.
Monese comes with some great features, but it’s a shame that you have to pay for cash withdrawals unless you spend a monthly fee. There are different subscription levels, but £5.95 per month will allow you to withdraw up to £500.
But as long as you don’t need to withdraw vast sums of cash, this is certainly an account to consider.
Open an account and use my exclusive invite code MONEYSAVING within the app before 31st December 2022. Once you make a transaction using your physical card, you’ll have £10 deposited into your account within a few hours.
How do I choose the best Euro bank account for me?
The five providers looked at above are amongst the best Euro bank accounts that are available in the UK. That is not to say that they are the only options. As well as numerous FinTechs you will also find that many traditional high-street banks offer the same service.
Knowing which is the right account for you will depend upon numerous factors. These include how often you use Euros, whether ATM withdrawals are important, and how much you are likely to be holding in your account at any one time. Working through these points will allow you to identify the best account for you. If you are looking for a fully-fledged bank but something that offers more than the traditional high-street, the Starling could well be the best choice.