“How can I retire overseas and still keep my £100,000 in premium bonds?”


Martin Shirran, 70, and his wife Marion, 55, are British expats retiring in Malaga, Spain.

Although they moved to the country 22 years ago, they kept their bank accounts in the UK so they could receive their state pension and premium bond earnings. But now their UK bank account is closed as Britain has left the EU. They don’t know what to do with their savings.

Between them they have £100,000 in premium bonds, which has paid them nearly 3% winnings over the past year, but NS&I will only allow prizes to be paid out to an account with a UK sort code. They also have an additional £30,000 in cash in their bank account.

Mr Shirran is retired and receives a UK state pension worth £700 a month. He has a second state pension in Spain which pays £700 a month into a Spanish bank account. He fears being hit with additional taxes if his the state pension is paid directly into a Spanish bank account and wants to minimize the taxes he and his wife have to pay.

Ms Shirran still works part-time to run their weight loss business, Oxford Therapeutics, which earns them between £24,000 and £36,000 a year. They own their home and adjoining property, which they rent for €700 (£600) a month. They don’t have a mortgage and want to manage their income in both countries so they can retire as comfortably as possible.

Katie Brain, consumer banking expert at Defaqto

Unfortunately, Brexit has led to many banks withdrawing their checking accounts for non-UK residents. Indeed, the current ‘passport’ rules due to end on 31 December mean that each UK bank will need to have separate authorization in each EEA country in which it wishes to operate, so most banks have decided to withdraw the availability of their checking accounts to non-UK residents.

There is only one major bank, HSBC, which will allow customers to open a current account if they reside in the EU. Some providers offer accounts for EU residents, but these accounts have a high minimum income or require an investment to be eligible for the account and charge higher monthly fees.

Prepaid accounts from Monese and Revolut will allow EU residents to open an account, but they do not offer full facilities and can only be operated online or via a mobile app. There may be monthly and transaction fees for these types of accounts.


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