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Euro current account from UK - why so scarce or costly?

You wouldn't think it was so hard to find. The Euro is a fairly popular currency isn't it just across that small piece of water we call the Channel. Why can't UK banks or Internet banks provide a current account in euros?
They can provide offshore accounts in Jersey or elsewhere offshore but they are more for large amounts. It is also possible to set up an account in an EU country but they (the ones I have looked at) are relatively costly to run.
What I was looking for: * Account in euros * Debit card, possibly a credit card * Commercial rate conversion to/from sterling rather than the tourist rate * Withdrawals of cash in Europe
Best I've found so far is Solbank in Spain with Maintenance fees: 9.25 Euro quarterly & Prestige Care Service fee: 7.50 Euro quarterly.
Even an Internet bank account would be fine with the above features.
Anyone have any pointers to a good way to do???
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James
Reply to
James Harris

Are you certain you actually need a Euro account? If you both receive and make payments in Euro then you do and you could approach whoever pays you for a recommendation.
If you just want to make cheap withdrawals when you're on holiday then go for the Nationwide Flex Account. This is a sterling account but you will be able to make Euro (and any other currency) withdrawals for free.
Citibank (UK) offer a Euro account for a fee. For this you get free cash withdrawals abroad but if you need to make transfers to bank accounts in the Eurozone you are hit with the usual high British charges. Also you get no interest.
We will never have the full advantages of the Euro until / unless we adopt it.
Reply to
Kevin Trolley
That's not quite true. SEPA (Single European Payments Area) payments are free with Citibank, it's SWIFT transfers that cost. SEPA is only just starting to deploy so I don't know how many banks support it yet, but all Euro-denominated accounts in the EEA+Switzerland should do in a few years:
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The point of SEPA is to charge the same for a trans-Europe transfer as for an internal one (which doesn't necessarily mean free)
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Full migration to SEPA is expected in 2010.
You can also get the Citibank account free if you have at least GBP2000 or currency equivalent in other Citibank UK accounts, otherwise it's EUR20/month.
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Barclays provide a free UK-based Euro current account with chequebook but no card and no interest:
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;task=homefreegroup&value=12869 I assume you pay in/withdraw notes at branches. Euro transfers within the UK are free but cost otherwise - no mention of SEPA yet.
Theo
Reply to
Theo Markettos

In Italy with 2008 we are replacing all former bank coordinates (CAB ABI BIC etc.) with the IBAN code (also for internal transfers) exactly just for SEPA support.
In principle that should have been true within the Euro zone already. In the past they said one had to use the BIC code (not used in internal transfers) to avoid paying a surcharge. With IBAN that should be automatic. Current fee in Italy should be 1 euro (0.50 for the same bank)
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Reply to
Giovanni Drogo
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You mean that as long as I am just paying money out and not receiving any (which is my plan, at least initially) I can stick with my UK accounts?
I know I can withdraw euros from cash machines and I have credit and debit cards. Can't help feeling a bit exposed by not having an account in the local currency but that's maybe a little irrational.
I'm already with Nationwide. Yes, my experience of cash withdrawals is that they were free and at a better rate than I would get at a bureau de change.
Reply to
James Harris

I don't want to ask about your personal situation but I would say that if you make occasional visits to various Eurozone countries then stick with the Nationwide. It offers a lot of advantages which you will already know about. Remember free current account banking is not typical on the continent.
Also having an account in one Eurozone country does not necessarily make things easier in another, though this is starting to change.
If you are moving, even semi-permanently, to another EU country then you will have bills to pay: Rent; Electricity etc. that can't be settled with your Debit Card so certainly start thinking about a bank account in the country you are moving to.
If you are working in another Eurozone country then you definitely need a local bank account. Though I expect your employer or whoever will help you set one up.
Reply to
Kevin Trolley

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