Best Multi-Currency Account UK

**Opening a multi-currency account can make it easier if you need to receive or send payments in a range of currencies. Individuals who have bills to pay abroad, freelancers getting paid by overseas clients, and businesses with customers paying in a foreign currency may all benefit. 

The best multi-currency accounts let you hold and manage dozens of currencies, and see your balance at a glance. However, opening a multi-currency account with a UK highstreet bank can be cumbersome, slow, and, most of all, expensive. Specialist providers like Wise and Revolut can be good alternatives.

In this article, we'll cover what you need to know about opening a multi-currency account, including the best multi-currency account UK, the costs involved, and how to open one.

Can a multi-currency account be opened in the UK?

UK residents can open a multi-currency account with a traditional highstreet bank, a digital bank or a specialist online provider. 

It’s important to look carefully at the products available to you before you get started. True multi-currency accounts let you hold and exchange a range of currencies in the same account. However, the international accounts available from many traditional banks are pretty restricted, allowing only one currency per account, and may come with extra fees for each currency you want to hold.

What are the advantages of a multi-currency account in the UK?

A multi-currency account can be useful for individuals who live an international lifestyle, freelancers and online sellers getting paid from abroad, and businesses who trade around the world.

Being able to get paid in foreign currencies, hold multi-currency balances, and send money overseas without needing to convert the currency can cut your costs. 

As an individual you might want to buy a foreign currency when the exchange rates look good, to hold on to and use as travel money for a future holiday. As a business owner maybe you get paid by customers, marketplaces or PSPs in a foreign currency, and want to use these funds to cover your VAT or taxes overseas. 

Getting paid in a foreign currency means no immediate and unnecessary conversion costs and gives you a natural hedge. Make multi-currency payments from your balance instead of having to convert from pounds every time, even if the rate isn’t looking great.

Best multi-currency accounts

The best multi-currency account for you will depend on your specific needs and the sort of transactions you’ll want to make. Let’s start with an overview of the availability, features and fees of some of the most popular multi-currency accounts available in the UK.

Provider

Availability

Fees

Debit card

Other features

Wise

Personal and business customers

No opening or ongoing fees for personal account


One time 16 GBP payment for business account


Currency conversion fees typically around 0.35% - 0.45% for major currencies

Available

Multi-currency account to manage 54 currencies


Local account details for 10 currencies


Send payments to 80+ currencies

Revolut

Personal and business customers

Standard accounts are free for personal and business customers


Upgrade to a fee paid plan for up to 12.99 GBP/month for personal customers and 100 GBP/month for business clients

Available

Accounts available in 30 fiat currencies

Payoneer

Freelancers, online sellers, vacation rental hosts, business owners and more

No opening or ongoing fees


0.5% fee to switch between currencies in the account


Charges may apply when you make some payments, or withdraw to a bank account

Not available

Get local bank details for major global currencies including GBP, EUR, USD 


Hold and convert currencies in your account

Airwallex

Business and ecommerce customers

No opening or ongoing fees


0.5% - 1 % fee to switch between currencies in the account

Available

Get local bank details for major global currencies including GBP, EUR, USD and HKD


Hold and convert currencies in your account

Barclays

Personal and business customers

No opening or ongoing fees for personal account


Business account fees may vary based on company turnover and account type

Available

Personal accounts can hold 12 currencies


Business accounts hold and exchange 20+ currencies

Santander

High wealth individuals

Santander Private Banking customers must have savings of over 500,000 GBP or an income of 250,000/year

Available

Accounts available in US dollars, euros and pounds - convert between currencies in your account

Lloyds/Halifax

Personal customers

7.50 GBP/month

Available

Accounts to manage and hold US dollars, euros and pounds 

Natwest

Personal and business customers

Up to 8 GBP/month

Available

Accounts available in 25 major currencies 

OFX

Online sellers

No fee to open or operate account, but currency exchange rate markups will apply when converting currencies or sending international payments

Not available

Accounts available in 7 currencies


Currency risk management products also available

Wise

Wise multi-currency accounts are opened and managed online or in-app and can hold and exchange 50+ currencies. You’ll get your own bank account details for 10 different currencies to receive global payments fee free to your account. Send payments overseas in just a few clicks, or spend and make ATM withdrawals at home and abroad with your linked Wise international debit card. All currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees.

  • Fees: No fee to open a personal account, 16 GBP one-off fee to open a business account. No monthly fee for either personal or business multi-currency accounts

  • Currency conversion: Hold and convert 54 currencies with the mid-market exchange rate

  • Other notable features: Receive payments like a local from 30 countries, send money to 80+ countries, spend with your linked debit card in 200+ countries

Go To Wise

Learn more about Wise fees, safety, business, or Wise's multi-currency account.

Revolut

Revolut multi-currency accounts for personal and business customers come with a range of price options from a free standard plan to paid plans which can cost up to 12.99/month for personal customers. Paid plans come with extra features and higher numbers of free transactions, but even the free standard accounts can hold and exchange 30 currencies, spend with a linked debit card, and send and receive global payments.

  • Fees: Standard accounts are free. Upgrade to a fee paid personal account for up to 12.99 GBP/month or a fee paid business account for up to 100 GBP/month

  • Currency conversion: 30 fiat currencies available

  • Other notable features: Broad range of account services including budgeting tools, savings and investments 

Go To Wise

Read our fully Revolut review here.

Payoneer

Payoneer multi-currency accounts are aimed at people getting paid online - freelancers, online sellers, digital marketers and vacation rental hosts for example. You’ll get local receiving account details to get paid in a range of currencies and can use your balance to pay contractors or taxes, or withdraw to your local UK account. You can also manage your money between currencies within the account, with instant currency conversion options.

  • Fees: No fee to open your account. Free to send to other Payoneer accounts, and to receive using your local account details. Fees apply when being paid directly by clients or from marketplaces, and when withdrawing funds to a bank account

  • Currency conversion: 0.5% fee to convert between currencies in your account

  • Other notable features: Receive payments like a local with your own bank details for GBP, USD, EUR and more

Airwallex

Business owners and ecommerce entrepreneurs might be interested in Airwallex global accounts which allow you to get paid in several foreign currencies and switch between them with a small markup on the mid-market rate. Get linked debit cards, and handy perks like batch payments to cut down business admin time, too.

  • Fees: No opening or monthly fees. Transfers using the Airwallex network are free, 10 GBP fee applies if payments use the SWIFT network

  • Currency conversion: Get global account details for GBP, USD, EUR and HKD - 0.5% or 1% conversion fee when you switch between currencies

  • Other notable features: Batch transfers available, linked debit cards offered

Barclays

Barclays multi-currency accounts for personal customers let you hold 12 currencies in the same place. Business customers can access a more flexible account which can handle over 20 currencies. While the costs of operating a multi-currency account from a highstreet provider can be higher than using a digital specialist, Barclays do offer the option to pay in and pay out foreign currency cash via their branch network. This is not typically available from online providers, and can prove a useful feature for some customers.

  • Fees: No opening or monthly fees for personal accounts. Charges apply when sending and receiving international payments. Business account fees may vary based on company turnover and account type

  • Currency conversion: Personal accounts can hold 12 currencies; business accounts offer 20+ currencies

  • Other notable features: You must first open a GBP account to get a Barclays multi-currency account 

Santander

Santander UK provides multi-currency account services which are targeted at wealthy individuals using the Santander Private Banking service and International Banking service. There are eligibility requirements to access these services which typically mean you have to hold a high minimum balance or deposit a significant salary. However, the accounts come with benefits like banking through a private broker.

  • Fees: Available to high wealth individuals through the private or international banking service

  • Currency conversion: USD, GBP and EUR available

  • Other notable features: Get debit cards for each of the 3 available currencies and services through a private banker

Lloyds and Halifax

Lloyds and Halifax customers can open a Lloyds foreign account to hold GBP, EUR and USD. Although technically it’s hard to describe this as a multi-currency account, as you’ll have to open a new account for each currency, we’ve included it as you don’t need to pay any additional fee to hold more than one currency. There’s no Lloyds fee when you want to make a transfer out of your multi-currency account, but correspondent bank fees will apply - these can be up to 20 GBP and vary depending on the destination country.

  • Fees: 7.50 GBP/month

  • Currency conversion: USD, GBP and EUR available

  • Other notable features: Correspondent bank fees for international payments will apply and can be up to 20 GBP/transfer

Natwest

Natwest has a few different multi-currency account options for both personal and business customers which offer a range of major currencies. If you’re thinking of using a Natwest multi-currency account you might want to look at the Cash Management account for both individuals and businesses, or the products available through the Natwest International arm like the International Select account. Eligibility criteria apply on all account types.

  • Fees: 8 GBP/month for international select account, no fee for cash management account

  • Currency conversion: 25 major currencies covered

  • Other notable features: Cash management accounts offer interest and both easy access and fixed term deposit options

OFX

Multi-currency accounts from OFX are mainly aimed at online sellers looking to get paid in a range of 7 major currencies. One benefit with OFX which is not available from many other multi-currency account providers is that you can also get currency risk management solutions. These include forward exchange contracts which let you lock in a future exchange rate to minimise the risk of losing out if the rates change before a big bill is due.

  • Fees: No fees to open or operate account

  • Currency conversion: 7 currencies offered

  • Other notable features: OFX transfers and currency conversion has no upfront fees but there will be a markup on the exchange rate used. Currency risk management products also available, with support of personal brokers

How to open a multi-currency account in the UK

Exactly what you need to do to open a multi-currency account in the UK will depend on whether you choose a traditional, digital or specialist provider. Many accounts can be opened online or through a provider app - but in some cases you’ll need to pop into a branch to get an account through a traditional bank.

The steps you’ll usually need to take to open a multi-currency account include:

  1. Choose the best provider for your needs 

  2. Check you meet any eligibility criteria

  3. Register for your account online, through the provider app, or in a branch location

  4. Give your personal and contact information

  5. Complete the required verification steps

  6. Fund your account - and you’re ready to go

UK legislation means that all banks and account providers must complete verification steps to make sure that customers don’t use their products fraudulently or illegally. That means you’ll usually have to provide some paperwork in person or by uploading an image when you choose a digital account provider. Usually you’ll be asked for:

  • Government issued photo ID to prove your identity

  • Proof of address - a utility bill or bank statement in your name for example

  • Business registration documents if you’re opening a business account

Conclusion

As more people travel, work and trade internationally, multi-currency accounts are becoming more popular and more easily available in the UK. Holding a range of currency balances can mean you spend less on unnecessary currency conversion, and can pay and get paid more easily in foreign currencies.

While there’s plenty of choice of multi-currency accounts in the UK, the features, flexibility and fees does vary significantly. Make sure you do a bit of research before you get started to find the best match for your needs from the traditional, online and specialist providers out there.

Looking for a multi-currency account in a particular currency? Read our best euro and US dollar account guides.

FAQs

Can I open a multi-currency account in the UK?

Open a UK multi-currency account with a traditional bank, a digital bank or a specialist online service. Accounts can often be opened and managed online and via a provider app for convenience.

How much does it cost to open a multi-currency account?

The cost of using a multi-currency account will vary between providers and account types. Some can be opened for free, with no monthly or ongoing charges. Others have monthly fees, and almost all will have some transaction fees based on how you use your account. Find the best match for your needs by checking out a range of different options before you get started.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 15 March 2022