Financial info for PCSing to the UK

Financial info for PCSing to the UK

by Stripes Europe
Stripes Europe


On-base options:

  • Community Bank
  • Keesler Federal Credit Union

Off-base options include:

  • Barclays
  • Halifax
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • Natwest
  • Santander
  • Yorkshire Building Society


You are required to obtain a pounds sterling account or bill pay option in order to pay bills pertaining to cell phone plans, rent and off-base utilities. Opening a pounds sterling account can be accomplished at an on- or off-base bank.

  • To open a pounds sterling account off-base you may need:
    • Copy of orders
    • Passport
    • Proof of address or a letter signed by your unit Commander

Note: Do not try to open an off-base bank account online. Make an appointment to visit in person.


There are many taxes and fees that you may not be familiar with or aware of. Below is a list of common fees people pay while getting settled in the U.K.
Note: All prices below are an estimate.

  • Cars
    • Importing:
      • Annual MOT tax - £65.00
      • Light conversion -  £300.00
      • Number plate -  £25.00
    • Buying:
      • HPI Test -  £30.00
      • Annual MOT tax -  £65.00
      • Annual road tax -  £240.00 (exempt for the first year)
  • Phones
    • Cell phone: Prices will vary depending on the type of phone and plan you choose.
      • Monthly payment/contract - from £20.00 - £50.00
      • Pay-as-you-go cell phone – starting from £70.00
      • Pay-as-you-go plan - £15.00 - £22.00 per month
    • Home phone:
      • Set up cost for a telephone landline - £120.00
  • Life amenities
    • TV license/tax -  £150.50
    • Monthly cable -  £60.00
    • Monthly internet at home (package includes telephone landline)  -  £50.00
    • Monthly utilities – estimate £120.00 to cover electric and water.
    • Oil - an estimated 60 pence per liter will cost £600.00 to fill a 1,000-liter tank (may need to fill a tank twice a year).
  • Travel
    • Tourist passport - $135.00


The VAT program exempts you from paying sales tax of 20 percent on non-fixed goods that are individually over £100.00.  To enroll in the VAT program, obtain a ration card and visit your installation’s VAT office. 

Need to know:

  • The “over £100.00 rule” means that each item must be priced at over £100.00 (VAT is included in that total). 
  • VAT exemption does not apply to clothes, vehicles, real property purchases, online purchases or utilities.
  • For oil heating, you are exempt from paying 5 percent with VAT Form.
  • Vendors are not obligated to participate.
  • Do not pay for your items in advance of using VAT form.
  • Always check with your installation's VAT office for clarification on VAT form use. 

How to use a VAT form:

  • Ask vendor if they participate in the VAT program.
  • Have vendor address invoice to your installation’s FSS.
  • Bring invoice and pounds sterling to your installation’s VAT office (cash only).
  • Bring dollars for the processing fee your VAT office requires.
  • Go back to the vendor with invoice and collect your items.

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