Lloyds International

An independent review by our team of experts.

Review summary

Lloyds International

Lloyds Banking Group is a major British financial institution formed through the acquisition of HBOS by Lloyds TSB in 2009.

The group's headquarters is located at 25 Gresham Street in the City of London.

Lloyds Banking Group's activities are organised into: retail banking (including mortgages and sole traders); commercial; life, pensions & insurance; and wealth & international.

Lloyds has extensive overseas operations in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Lloyds Banking Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Overview

Lloyds Bank International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lloyds Bank in the United Kingdom, which is in turn part of Lloyds Banking Group, one of the largest banking groups in Europe.

The bank's overseas expansion began in 1911 - and the Lloyds Bank International name, historically a major international commercial bank, is now used for its offshore banking interests.

Lloyds International accounts are based either in the Isle of Man or Gibraltar.  Both jurisdictions have strong reputations for political stability and effective regulation.

Strategically, Lloyds is focusing increasingly on its British customer base and offering. 

Recently, and somewhat controversially, Lloyds prevented expat savers from switching accounts as interest rates halved.  They also ended their ‘Lloyds Overseas Club’ account openings for non-British residents.

Lloyds has an International Private Banking business for those with £500,000 or more.  However, more accessible current accounts offered are across Sterling, Euro or Dollar with Visa debit cards in each currency. 

The basic monthly fee for such accounts is £7.50 (or currency equivalent) and the minimum gross income to be eligible is £50,000 per annum.

Lloyds International's ‘Everyday Banking’ (basic) offering also requires a £50,000 gross income OR £25,000 to save or invest.  Many countries of residence are excluded from the expat list for eligibility (although the UAE is covered).

Accounts opened with a different name (i.e. accounts also accessible to a spouse or family member) will be charged per account rather than once for all currency accounts combined.

Cash withdrawals are charged at 1.5% (min. £2) and currency exchange is charged at 2.99%.  Both planned and unplanned overdrafts are fairly costly as is the norm (15.8% AER for significant amounts as well as a £15 monthly fee if unplanned).

Lloyds International has a team of advisers whose job it is to provide investment advice.

Whilst they can recommend from a range of third party investments, the investment solutions are more likely to be recommended from their in-house solutions, so you can conclude that the advisers are not independent! 

If you have £2,000,000 or more to invest – they do offer a bespoke discretionary portfolio solution though!

Lloyds International offers a relatively comprehensive FX service, but it is not without its limitations.  Banks tend to make big margins out of FX, and we believe there are better alternatives when you need to change money.

The pros

  • Well-known rand
  • Separate brand for HNW

The cons

  • Cumbersome investment proposition
  • Noncompetitive in-house products
  • Unsophisticated service range
FAQs
What are the monthly fees?

Monthly Fee £7.50, €8, US$10 Only one fee applies if you have accounts in multiple currencies. No monthly fee is charged for the first three months, except where the account has been converted from a Premier International Current Account when it is charged upon account opening.

What are the main features of a Lloyds International current account?
  • Choice of 3 Currencies
    Accounts in £, €, US$ (monthly fee applies).
  • Fee Free International Payments
    Lloyds International doesn't charge for sending or receiving money transfers. Recipient and corresponding banks may charge a fee for receiving payments.
  • 24/7 Worldwide Access
    To your money with Internet Banking and Phone Bank.
  • Visa Debit Cards
    In all 3 £, €, US$ for easy worldwide access to your money.
Does Lloyds International offer expat savings accounts

Yes, however, interest rates are currently poor.

Better options are available to expats who want to grow their money, even if someone has a very low tolerance for risk.

Customer reviews
Don't know why I bothered

I chose Lloyds for my current account when I moved, because their fees are among the lowest of all sort of high street banks.

BUT...I was sold on the promise of flexibility and accessibility...I wasn't told I was just getting what I had in the UK but for more money.  That's what I got though.

And I would NEVER use a bank like this for anything other than a basic account - certainly never ask your bank for investing advice!

Closed my account, retained my UK account and have gone for Nedbank as my offshore option - so much better.

Expert verdict
Expert Assessment of Lloyds International

Lloyds International provides an adequate international banking service for expats in some jurisdictions.  However, its overall range of services is poor and the investment services it provides are cumbersome and unwieldy at best. 

Given they operate on a largely outdated IT system, it can take several months to process investment instructions - which is in our view ineffective.

Our verdict is that Lloyds is an excellent UK, high street, retail bank.  It is not particularly effective for expats, in international markets - or for anything other than current account banking.

“Thank you AES International for helping me and my family with your low cost no-nonsense approach. It is refreshing!”

Kristian Petersson

“With this sort of service you also expect to be paying very high fees, but it’s just not the case. I would definitely recommend AES.”

Jake van den Dries

“In the short time that I’ve been using AES I’ve made nearly ten thousand pounds and couldn’t be happier!”

Jackie Pym

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