How Expats Can Run Up Hidden UK Debts From Overseas

Expats can lose thousands of pounds if they do not keep in touch with their banks and financial providers when moving overseas.

Consumers who fail to update their addresses risk missing out on savings and investments – and could run up hidden debts.

The problem has been highlighted in two recent cases.

In one, an accountant moved jobs but did not tell his workplace pension provider his new address.

Because he worked with his employer for less than two years, he was entitled to a full refund of the money paid into his workplace pension – which was a pot of around £10,000.

Bad credit on ‘closed’ bank account

The scheme trustees sent a letter to the address on file warning that if the contributions were not claimed within three months, the money would go back into the fund and he would lose it for good.

As the accountant had moved home, he did not receive the letter until after the three month deadline was up.

Fortunately, the employer agreed to refund the contribution.

In the second case, an expat had left Britain for several years, but returned permanently.

After a few months, a debt collector called at his new home demanding he settle a £1,000 liability with his former bank.

After contacting the bank, he found he had left an account with £10 credit and an overdraft limit of £750 that banking rules demanded was kept open.

Tell your bank on moving abroad

Bank charges accrued for eight years and eventually swallowed the credit and overdraft, leaving the expat in debt to the bank.

The default led to a court judgment on his credit record.

The bank eventually agreed to write off the debt and remove the default notice from his credit file.

The moral is not notifying banks or financial providers when leaving the UK can lead to problems.

Most dealings with banks and other financial institutions involve agreeing to terms and conditions that most people do not bother to read.

But it’s the terms of these contracts that can lead to unforeseen debts and adverse credit that take weeks to unravel.

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