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

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

Banking giant Barclays to close all accounts of Brits living in Denmark
A branch of Barclays Bank in London. Barclays has written to customers resident in the EU to inform them it will be closing their accounts. File photo: Peter Nicholls/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Customers of Barclays Bank who are living in EU countries 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.

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

“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.”  

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 EU, 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.

UK nationals who live in Denmark sometimes maintain at least one UK bank account in addition to a Danish account. This is sometimes just for savings, while 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 EU markets. 

When British banks began withdrawing services from customers in the EU 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 Denmark probably shouldn’t hold their breath for any help from that direction.

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What can ‘negative’ electricity price in Denmark do for your bill?

The hourly rate for electricity is set to take a big tumble in Denmark on Wednesday as windy weather conditions give production a big bump.

What can ‘negative’ electricity price in Denmark do for your bill?

A negative unit price is possible this afternoon, such is the extent of the price drop according to energy stock exchange Nord Pool.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you will be paid for switching the lights on, because taxes and transport costs must still be added to the base price.

Nevertheless, it will be a good time to run appliances according to Kristian Rune Poulsen, senior consultant with sector organisation Green Power Denmark.

Lower electricity prices can be taken advantage of by setting timers on thirsty appliances like dishwashers and tumble dryers and running them at these times. This can include off-peak times of the day when there is less demand for power, as well as fluctuations related to production.

“Electricity prices are formed of the raw energy price, which will be a negative contribution [on Wednesday, ed.], and then we also pay to have the electricity transported and some taxes,” Poulsen explained.

“All in all, that means we still pay money to use electricity, but the amount will be somewhat lower than on the many other days when the electricity price is not negative,” he said.

READ ALSO: How a new app function can help cut your Danish electricity bill

Geographically, people in western Denmark will benefit the most from Tuesday’s price dip. The price west of the Great Belt Bridge will drop to 61.55 øre per kilowatt hour between 2pm and 3pm, including transport costs and taxes. That figure comes from energy provider Norlys.

Zealand and other parts of eastern Denmark will get a low rate of 62.69 øre per kWh between around 3pm and 4pm, according to Norlys data.

This year has seen a total of 302 hours in which the hourly electricity rate has dropped below zero, according to financial media Børsen. That beats the previous record from 2020.

“We have seen high prices [in 2023], but especially negative and very low electricity prices when we’ve had a lot of wind,” Poulsen said.

A second important factor affecting Danish electricity prices is solar power. An increased solar power capacity means that days with negative electricity unit prices due to sunny weather are also now becoming more common, according to the consultant.

“On the way out of the energy crisis it has become evident that all the sun and wind we’ve strived to get going in recent years has really begun to have its effect on electricity prices,” he said.