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Opening a bank account

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Opening a bank account as a refugee can be quite difficult because most banks will ask you for documents to prove your address, which you will not have yet.

Monzo is an online bank, and it is very easy to open an account. If you own an iPhone or Android phone, you can open a bank account using Monzo. To open an account, follow these steps:

  1. Download the Monzo app
  2. Sign up with your email address
  3. Take a picture of the front and back of the BRP as the app asks you to do
  4. Take a video of yourself confirming who you are as the app asks you to do
  5. Follow the instructions on your screen

It usually only takes about five minutes to approve your application. Then you can return to your app and click on 'account' to see your account number and sort code at the top of the screen.

Don’t forget to activate your card once it arrives. It usually only takes a few days.

To claim Universal Credit (benefits), you must have a bank account.

Once you are getting benefits and you have found a house where you are paying bills, you will be able to go to a different bank if you want to.

There is also a community bank called South Tees Community Bank in Middlesbrough. You can open a savings account with the community bank with just £1 a week. You can also use the community bank to get a loan, whether you have a job or not. If you can not get a loan from a bank, you should use a community bank. They do not add lots of extra charges on to the amount of money you pay back to them, unlike some other companies. You can look at the South Tees Community Bank website to find out more.

Disclaimer: In our professional experience, Monzo has proven to be a viable solution for opening a bank account, for those who lack the necessary address verification documents to use other banks. Middlesbrough Council does not endorse Monzo or receive any incentive to mention it here. Other banking providers are available.


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