Costs and Finance

This area contains useful guidance on taxes, insurance, banking, accommodation related costs, making purchases and more.

Before you arrive

It is a good idea to either make sure you have funds available in the country you are moving from, and a credit or debit card that can be used overseas, or to open a UK bank account before you arrive. Expatica provides a useful guide to banking in the UK.

Paying for things

Internet banking is common here and, once you have a UK bank account, you can register for internet banking. While mobile payment systems are becoming increasingly common, they aren't accepted everywhere and most people pay by debit or credit card. Up to a certain amount, you can use the contactless option. Cash is still accepted in most places but less widely used.



The Tenant Fees Act sets out clearly what a landlord can legally ask a tenant to pay. The housing charity Shelter provides advice which is aimed mainly at people in financial difficulty but which gives a useful breakdown of the costs of renting a property.


The Money Advice Service has produced a comprehensive guide detailing the cost of buying a property and moving. It is definitely worth reading this in order to be informed on all costs involved such as 'stamp duty'.

Council tax

People who are over 18 and who rent or buy a property usually have to pay Council Tax. This is a domestic property tax charged by the local authority to cover public services such as rubbish collection, street cleaning, leisure facilities and libraries. If you are in rented accommodation, make sure you check with your landlord whether Council Tax is included in the rent.


Gas and electricity: when you move into a property, you do not need to use the same gas and/or electricity company as the people before you. There is a large number of energy providers in UK and Citizens Advice explains in simple terms how the system works.

Water: you are normally restricted to the company that operates in your area, in the North West it is United Utilities.

TV, internet, mobiles and landlines: there is a wide variety of providers and it's worth shopping round to get the best deal. Try uSwitch.

Income tax and insurance

Income tax and National Insurance

If you are employed in England, you are obliged to pay Income Tax and National Insurance. Both are deducted by your employer before you receive your salary through PAYE - Pay As You Earn. Money Advice Service explains more about what these deductions are for.

Personal insurance

Comparison sites such as or are useful when deciding which insurance company and policy is right for you related to home, travel, pets, medical, vehicles etc. Please note that vehicles are subject to tax also.

Television licence

If you watch any form of TV in the UK, whether it's on a television, laptop or your phone, you are legally obliged to buy a TV licence.

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