Banking sorted, I think
I’ve been hearing stories about the woes of student banking, so I started looking into alternatives, focusing on banks that operate in both the US and the UK. I discovered that Lloyds TSB offers a “premium international account” that allows the holder to make deposits, withdrawals, and transfers between US and UK currencies, and you can even get it in euros at no extra charge. (It appears to involve two or three separate accounts — one for each currency — but they are linked.) Yesterday I gave them my info by phone (would have done it on line but I had to call with a question and the guy wanted to take my info right then), and today I went off to a Lloyds TSB branch to have them certify the documents proving my identity and residence address, and this afternoon I mailed off the application. This will make my life a lot easier, especially considering that some of my income will be from US sources and will be in dollars (surviving spouse benefits from my late husband’s social security, and rental on my house) and of course I’ll need to access it in sterling (and in euros when I go to Italy and other euro-spending countries). Having a checking account (called a “current account” in the UK) this much in advance will also make a tremendous difference in my ability to get a lease on an apartment.
Whew. What a relief to have this taken care of. (It’s not a done deal yet, I suppose, but I don’t expect to encounter any problems with my application.)