Best US Dollar Account UK

Opening a US dollar (USD) account can have significant advantages, including letting you receive, hold, and spend dollars, and giving you the option of converting them to other currencies. Both individuals and businesses can benefit from a USD account when dealing with dollars regularly.

However, opening a US dollar account in the UK 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 US dollar account, including the best US dollar account UK, the costs involved, and how to open one.

Let's get started.

Can a US dollar account be opened in the UK?

You can open a US dollar account in the UK through a highstreet bank, a digital bank or a specialist online provider. Accounts often have eligibility criteria and may only be available to certain customer types. Some accounts are only used to hold and transact in USD, while many offer other currencies too.

Multi-currency accounts often offer dozens of currency options as well as US dollars which can be convenient if you need to hold, send or spend in several currencies.

What are the advantages of a USD account in the UK?

A US dollar account can be useful for both individuals and businesses who make USD payments, get paid in dollars or need to hold USD.

Having a foreign currency account can make it easier to manage fluctuations in the currency exchange rates. You could benefit by buying USD when the rate is favourable to you - and being able to hold USD in your account means you’re not forced to sell or convert when the rates are poor. Simply hold your USD balance in your US dollar account until the exchange rate improves. Being able to hold a USD balance can also act as a natural hedge - make US dollar payments from your balance instead of having to convert from pounds every time, even if the rate isn’t looking great.

If you send or receive payments in US dollars - either for yourself or on behalf of a business - having a US dollar account can cut the costs of transactions. If you’re a freelancer or contractor you can give your USD bank account details to clients and have them pay you with a local transfer - and you can also use your account to collect payments from PSPs like Stripe and marketplaces like Amazon if you’re an online seller.

Best US dollar accounts

The best US dollar 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 US dollar 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

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

Starling Bank

Business customers - no sole traders

5 GBP/month

Available

EUR business accounts also available


ACH transfers only

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 USD and 11 other currencies


Business accounts hold and exchange 20+ currencies

HSBC

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 USD and 13 other currencies


Business accounts for saving and everyday use, in any tradeable currency

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

Lloyds

Personal customers

7.50 GBP/month

Available

Accounts available in US dollars, euros and pounds

Halifax

Accounts offered to personal customers in partnership with Lloyds

7.50 GBP/month

Available

Accounts available in 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 accounts for personal and business customers can be used to hold, send and spend US dollars as well as 50 additional currencies. You’ll get your own bank account details for 10 different currencies including USD, so you can receive ACH payments fee free to your account. You can also get a linked debit card to spend and make ATM withdrawals at home and abroad. 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 US dollar 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

Read our Wise review or our Wise multi currency account review for more details.

Revolut

Revolut US dollar accounts are offered in the UK for personal and business customers. You’ll be able to open a free standard plan to access a range of features, or upgrade to a paid plan to unlock extras and get more fee free transactions. As well as US dollars, Revolut customers can hold up to 30 different currencies, with some fee free currency exchange available depending on the account tier selected.

  • 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 Revolut

Read our full Revolut review.

Starling Bank

Starling Bank offers business customers the option to open a US dollar account which has a 5 GBP/month fee. To get started you’ll need to have a GBP Starling business account, but you’ll then be able to use your GBP debit card to spend and make withdrawals in USD when you need to. Accounts can be opened by eligible customers who have a registered business in the UK - they’re not currently available to sole traders.

  • Fees: 5 GBP/month
  • Currency conversion: Provided by Currencycloud, uses the prevailing Currencycloud exchange rate
  • Other notable features: Business customers with a registered UK business only, payments can only be received into the account in USD, and payments out can only be sent by ACH

Barclays

Barclays is one of the largest high street banks in the UK so it’s no surprise that they offer US dollar accounts for both personal and business customers. Barclays US dollar account holders can manage their money online and in the Barclays app - but it’s also possible to pay in and withdraw cash at a local branch. The exact services you can access - and the fees you’ll pay for them - can vary between account types, but the option of an account you can manage both online and in person may appeal to 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 USD or 11 other currencies; business accounts offer 20+ currencies
  • Other notable features: You must first open a GBP account to get a Barclays currency account

HSBC

Global banking giant HSBC offers US dollar accounts for both personal and business customers. There are no regular fees for personal account holders, although you’ll pay a charge for some types of international payment from your account. For businesses there are a few different account types including everyday checking accounts, savings accounts, and foreign currency accounts opened directly with HSBC’s operation in the overseas market.

  • Fees: No opening or monthly fee for personal accounts although there are charges for some transactions; business fees can vary based on account type
  • Currency conversion: Personal accounts can be opened in 14 currencies, business accounts can operate in any tradeable currency
  • Other notable features: 4 different types of foreign currency business account available

Santander

Santander UK’s US dollar account focuses on high wealth individuals who are eligible to use the Santander Private Banking service. That means you’ll usually have to have savings of 500,000 GBP or an annual income of 250,000 GBP to get a US dollar account with Santander. If you’re eligible for the private banking service you can access accounts and linked debit cards for USD and EUR as well as the standard GBP account.

  • Fees: Available to high wealth individuals through the private 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 has an international account offer - and although Halifax does not trade internationally, Halifax customers can access the Lloyds US dollar account instead as the 2 banks are partnered.

The Lloyds US dollar account is available for personal customers, and comes with a monthly fee of 7.50 GBP. You can also open a EUR account, and will only pay one monthly charge to access both currencies. There’s no Lloyds fee when you want to make a transfer out of your US dollar 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’s US dollar accounts for both personal and business customers offer both US dollars and a range of other major currencies. Cash Management accounts pay interest on savings and have both easy access saving options and fixed term deposits which allow customers to lock away their money for an agreed time in exchange for a better exchange rate. Availability for business customers is fairly limited - check you’re eligible before you apply. As a personal customer you’ll need to have savings of 25,000 GBP or a salary of 40,000 GBP to get an account. There are also US dollar account options through Natwest’s premier banking service. Customers must deposit 100,000 GBP or have a salary of 75,000 GBP to access these accounts.

  • 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

US dollar accounts from OFX are tailored to online sellers looking to get paid in a range of global currencies. Receive and exchange payments in USD and 6 other major currencies, and access OFX’s range of currency risk management products as and when you need them. These include products like forward exchange contracts which can be used to lock in an exchange rate for a future payment, minimising the risk involved with fluctuations in the forex markets.

  • Fees: No fees to open or operate account
  • Currency conversion: 7 currencies offered
  • Other notable features: OFX transfers and currency conversion have 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 US dollar account in the UK

The exact process to open a US dollar account will vary depending on the provider you select. In some cases you’ll need to show you meet eligibility criteria to be able to open an account. However, many USD account providers allow customers to open and manage their accounts online and through mobile apps for convenience and speed.

The steps you’ll usually need to take to open a US dollar 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

Customers opening bank accounts in the UK will need to provide some documents for verification processes. This keeps accounts safe and is required by law. The exact documents you need will vary depending on the provider and the account type, but can include:

  • 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

Opening a US dollar account has big advantages for anyone who needs to receive, send or hold US dollars. Accounts can be opened by individuals and business owners, freelancers and online sellers, and providers include highstreet banks and online specialist companies.

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to US dollar accounts, so choosing one will simply be a question of your personal requirements and preferences. Use this guide to the best US dollar accounts in the UK to start your research and find the perfect USD account for your specific needs. We also have guides on the best euro account here or best multi currency account here.

Can I open a US dollar account in the UK?

You can open a US dollar account in the UK with a traditional bank, a digital bank or a specialist online service. Different providers offer accounts with different features and fees, and eligibility requirements may apply.

How much does it cost to open a USD account?

Some US dollar accounts can be opened for free, with no monthly or ongoing charges to worry about. Others have monthly fees. Do some research - starting with this handy guide - to find the right US dollar account for your needs.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 14 March 2022