• See the guide below on the situation with UK Banks and expat accounts

Many Britons in Spain and across Europe are being warned they may be locked out of everyday banking because their provider won’t be authorised to trade under EU banking rules after Brexit.

As such a number of banks have started to send letters and emails regarding hundreds of thousands of bank accounts and credit card facilities held by British citizens which will be closed by the end of this year.

Accounts are being closed because Brexit is likely to change ‘passporting’ arrangements at the end of this year.

‘Passporting’ is when UK banks are allowed to provide services to customers in other states in the European Economic Area (EEA) – that’s the European Union plus Iceland, Liechenstein and Norway – without having to get direct authorisation in those states. Current passporting rules are set to end on 31 December 2020 unless a new agreement is reached with the EU.

The Chairman of the Treasury Committee, Mel Stride, has written to the financial regulator asking it to set out to banks how much notice they should give, while Roger Gale MP has said he will further investigate the matter and raise it with the appropriate ministers

Lloyds, Halifax and Barclaycard are among the big names who’ve started telling customers that due to rule changes linked to Brexit they will be closing accounts – though in some cases the situation depends on which European country you live in. Many other banks have refused to rule out closing accounts, saying they’re closely monitoring the situation.

According to recent estimates from the United Nations, some 1.4 million people born in Britain live in the EU although it’s not immediately clear how many are affected by the closures

With many banks saying that they are still monitoring the situation, the current position, according to the website moneyexpert.com, is set out below:

Current situation with UK Banks on expat accounts
Current situation with UK Banks on expat accounts. Image – moneyexpert.com

However if your account is being closed it may still be possible to switch to another UK Bank. HSBC, for example, has confirmed you can open its ‘HSBC Bank Account’ online while living anywhere in the EU and, as above, says it’s monitoring the situation but currently has no plans to close accounts.

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