International tenant - first lease: HOW to pay?

I have recently moved to UK and am trying to rent a property, as hotel living for a long time is exhausting. Apparently in order to rent with openrent requires payments being done by UK debit card ONLY. Also, all the banks I contacted require a permanent address to open a bank account. It is quite frustrating that I need an address to open a bank account and a bank account to get an address.
Does openrent offer an exit out of this terrible loophole? Has anyone else confronted with a similar situation?

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Hello there

I have same situation like Raluca’s. I need to ask and learn as quickly as possible if is there any other way to pay the rent through OpenRent (I have no UK Bank account and debit card, but i have firends here but does OpenRent accept someone else’s UK Debit Cards? İs it possible?)
Also I need to ask another critical question, so please help me to understand the progress of renting a flat before seeing it? Is it normal that to pay a secure deposite + first month rent before seeing the flat? Does OpenRent approves it? Or is it totally illegal and someone is trying to get my money? I found a place and i recieved an email from OpenRent which says that i need to pay secure deposite + first month before seeing and if i decided not to rent the flat they (OpenRent) will pay me back in one day?
I have limited source and money so i will be appriciated your helps.

Thank you very much
My kindly best regards.

I have contacted openrent about this issue, but they have not replied yet (even though they assured me they would get back to me in one working day). As soon as they will answer me, I will post the answer here too. Meanwhile I have tried paying with a friend’s debit card (two different debit cards, actually), but the payment could not be processed. I assume it is because the name on the debit card did not correspond to the name of any of the tenants.

In my case, I was not asked for this huge amount of money at first. First, I contacted the owner and scheduled a viewing. Then I tried to hit the Rent Now button which explains the process further along:

  1. Place your Holding Deposit (£200 - this allows us to let the landlord know you are serious about renting the property. Once a landlord accepts your application, this commits you to the property, so you won’t get your deposit back if you change your mind later. You will get your deposit back if the Landlord rejects your application for any reason. Once the Landlord accepts you, the money will be automatically credited toward your first month’s rent payment. As the name suggests, this is a deposit and is not a charge or fee .)
    After the owner accepts you, openrent should send you a contract to sign and it explains how the other sums of money are to be paid: This property is going to cost £XXX per month (rent paid monthly and in advance) for a minimum of 12 months, and will require a deposit of £XXXX due as soon as you’ve signed the contract.

Apparently there are lots of fake owners out there and you should report any suspicious activity. Maybe this link will help:

Best of luck!

Thank you very much Raluca. I really appreciated your quick response and informations!

As i checked this link shows that the guy is fake but i had also an email from OpenRent. (But to make a fake email and attaching all kind of informations and logos is not difficult anyone can do this if they are able to do it)
As you said i also have contacted with OpenRent but still no response so i am trying to be careful.
Also i will post you as soon as i am informed from OpenRent or got some informations from someone!

Appreciated for these valuable informations.

Sincerly best of luck!

Hi Raluca,

I can see the team have now responded to your query - apologies for the delay here.

For reference, tenants have in the past used a close friend or relative’s debit card to place the holding deposit. So this always remains an option.

Esen, in terms of making payment of the final balance, we’ll only collect this after viewings have taken place and after a tenancy agreement has been signed. Here’s a breakdown of the stages in Rent Now:

Some landlords chose to only advertise with us and create tenancies off-platform. They may have their own methods of doing so which is of course fine.

What’s important to remember is that when money is being paid to a private individual we always recommend taking proof of identity and a clear written agreement of how money will be treated. We also explicitly warn tenants not to hand over money directly to a private individual.

Ultimately, we recommend the use of our Rent Now service (free to tenants) to pay money to OpenRent, so that we can protect the deposit and release rent only after move-in.

Let us know if anything’s unclear.

Kind Regards,

I have already tried paying with two debit cards belonging to two of our friends living here. None of the payments was processed through, though. I noticed there wasn’t a field to enter the cardholder’s name, so I assumed that was the problem (it wasn’t any of our names on the card).

Hi Raluca,

I can see we responded to your email yesterday so if you have any follow-up queries please do let us know either in response or by contacting us here.

Kind Regards,

Also, seems to need a ‘traditional’ bank’s debit card - my Revolut cards were not accepted. Can’t say for Monza, N26 or the others.

I had the same catch-22 situation, moving from France, have banks and phones in 3 other countries but need a UK number and UK bank? Seems to be quite exclusionary.

why would you pay for something BEFORE you see it .Dont

Here is what I just received from an OpenRent support rep on this topic:

"Services such as Revolut and Monese use pre-paid payment cards, rather than a regular debit card.

Unfortunately our payment provider classes pre-paid cards in the same category as credit cards, so we are unable to accept them for payment of the holding deposit.

If you have another UK bank account, or are able to set one up, then you should be able to proceed.

Alternatively, if this is not possible you could use a debit card belonging to a friend or relative already in the UK to make payment."

I have asked for confirmation that someone else’s card should work and will try to get my employers to submit the payment for me. I will update the thread if that succeeds.

This policy seems to make it very difficult if not impossible for immigrants to the UK to use OpenRent to let their first property.

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Hi all,

Sorry to drag up an old thread but am facing the same issue with a tenant who is moving from overseas. Did anyone find a workaround?


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Hi Toby, No problem - thanks for searching for existing answers before starting a new thread!

What’s the issue exactly? That the tenant can’t pay the holding deposit?


Hi Sam,

That’s exactly the issue, it’s someone who is relocating from overseas and so hasn’t been able to set up UK banking etc. As your system seems only to accept uk debit cards it means they can’t pay the holding deposit.

Is there an alternative method of payment?


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OK Toby, understood. We’re aware that this can be tricky for some tenants, but the most convenient workaround is usually to pay the money from a UK account, even if it’s not owned by the tenant.

We’re working to move it easier for tenants in this situation. At the moment, however

  1. The overwhelming majority of tenants do have a UK account (and will be using it to pay the rent)
  2. It is increasingly easy to set up a UK bank account for free with no permanent UK address. You can find a guide here.


Right. If they can sign up to Monzo and activate on apple pay immediately will that work (rather than having to wait for the monzo card to arrive) or do you require full card details?

Honestly I am amazed that you make it so difficult for overseas renters, particularly in London where they make up such a large part of the tenancies. I would also like to point out that you make no mention of this until it comes to the tenant paying the deposit. This should be something you make much clearer as it’s quite fundamental.


I too have prospective tenant arrived in UK 2 days ago -
on a 2 year contract in UK - awaiting UK bank card being issued - he thinks takes 2 weeks

  • asking to pay holding deposit to ME, then I can immediately pay you using my bank card - to start the rent now process - would your system allow a Landlord to do this, without having to log my card into his PC?.

Hi @Kathy2,

The holding deposit can only be placed by the tenant - this is the only way to initiate a Rent Now application.

Alternatively, if the tenant has a relative or friend with a UK debit card, they can use this to place the holding deposit on the property, though this can’t be the landlord. This is because the holding deposit is linked to the status of an applicant as a tenant, so a landlord can’t assume this role.

As and when the tenant is able to place the holding deposit, we’ll let you know by email and SMS.

Any questions, let me know.


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Any solution to this problem other than finding a friend/relative with UK debit card? I am facing the same problem where my potential tenant is not able to pay through international debit card? Is UK bank transfer an option?

Hi, I am also arriving to the UK for the first time and I have been facing troubles to pay the first rent and deposit in OpenRent. The WiseTransfer option is not available for Colombian pesos which is my currency. The international transfer from Colombian bank takes around 2 weeks, that is after my arrival to the apartment I rent. Would it be possible to use a Western Union transfer directly to the OpenRent account?

If we can use friend for deposit,what about rest of rent can be paid by cash?or also same relative or friend?