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Banking giant Barclays to close all accounts of Brits living in Austria

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Banking giant Barclays to close all accounts of Brits living in Austria
Barclays has confirmed it will close the accounts of those in the EEA. Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP

UK nationals living in Austria have begun to receive letters from their bank telling them that their accounts will be closed, in an apparent post-Brexit change.

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Customers of Barclays Bank who are living in Austria have been receiving letters telling them that their UK accounts will be closed by the end of the year. There appears not to be an option to register for a different account.

Numerous readers of The Local have contacted us to report receiving either letters or messages in their online banking telling them that their accounts would be closed because of their residency in the EU.

A Barclays spokesperson told The Local:As a ring fenced bank, our Barclays UK products are designed for customers within the UK.

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“We will no longer be offering services to personal current account or savings customers (excluding ISAs) within the European Economic Area. We are contacting impacted customers to give them advance notice of this decision and outline the next steps they need to take.”  

READ ALSO: Ask the expert: What are the best UK banks for Brits in Austria?

Customers are being given six months to make alternative arrangements. The changes affect all personal current accounts or savings accounts, but do not affect ISAs, loans or mortgages.

During the Brexit transition period Barclays closed Barclaycard accounts of customers in the European Union, but did not indicate any changes to standard bank accounts.

Around the same time several other British high street banks began closing accounts of British customers who live in the EU, although with the exception of Barclaycard customers in Austria were largely spared.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Do I need to open a local bank account when moving to Austria?

UK bank accounts for EU consumers

Many UK nationals who live in Austria maintain at least one UK bank account - in addition to an Austrian account - sometimes just for savings but others use their accounts regularly to receive income such as pensions or income from rental property or - for remote workers - to receive income for work done in the UK.

Not having a UK bank account can make financial transactions in the UK more complicated or incur extra banking fees.

Since Brexit, the UK banking sector no longer has access to the 'passporting' system which allows banks to operate in multiple EU countries without having to apply for a separate banking licence for each country.

And it seems that many UK high street banks are deciding that the extra paperwork is not worth the hassle and are withdrawing completely from certain markets. 

READ ALSO: What you need to know about opening a bank account in Austria

When British banks began withdrawing services from customers in the EU back in 2020, a UK government spokesman told British newspaper The Times that “the provision of banking services is a commercial decision for firms based on a number of factors” so Brits in Austria probably shouldn't hold their breath for any help from that direction.

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Comments (3)

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Anonymous 2022/07/25 17:38
So is there any way too have a uk bank account?
Anonymous 2022/07/25 17:34
This is not new news! Barclays contacted me over a year ago, and told me that I could not register my UK bank account to a French address, and that unless I provided a UK address, then the account would be closed. I provided a UK address. It appears that to date they have done this for changes in status, and that now they are doing it for everyone. Yet another example of UK banks demonstrating zero customer service, and having a total focus on cost, cost, cost.
Anonymous 2022/07/25 17:12
i guess everyone will be switching to Transferwise (now known as Wise). I've been using it for years as an American, and is just the easiest and cheapest way to receive funds.

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