SmallTalk2Me Team Blog
Language Learning

English for immigration: at the bank

An attractive woman sitting and  smiling at the business meeting in a bank

Today we’re looking into situations when you need to open a bank account or pay your bills abroad. These are some useful phrases and tips to help you with your English speaking. Don’t hesitate to try our SmallTalk English for Immigration course to role-play real-life dialogues and get prepared for your new life abroad!
Check out all SmallTalk English speaking courses here.
Useful phrases:
  • I’d like to …
  • I need some help with …
  • I’m looking for (a) …
  • I have a couple of questions.
  • Could I …?
  • Where can I …?
  • Could you help me please to …?
  • Useful vocabulary:
  • People: bank teller, bank manager, client.

Banking terms:

ATM = cash machine Interest rate — the percentage amount charged by a bank etc when you borrow money, or paid to you by a bank when you keep money in an account there.
Monthly service fee — money charged by a financial institution to a customer if certain requirements aren’t met.
Current (checking) account — a bank account that you can take money out of at any time.
Savings account — a bank account in which you keep money that you want to save for a period of time, and which pays you interest on the money you have in it.
Joint account — a bank account that two people can use, for example two people who are married.
Online/mobile banking — a service provided by banks so that people can find out information about their bank account, pay bills etc using the Internet.
Loan — an amount of money that you borrow from a bank.
Mortgage — a legal arrangement by which you borrow money from a bank or similar organization in order to buy a house, and pay back the money over a period of years.

Common requests at the bank:

  1. Open/close a bank account
  2. Apply for a debit (=bank) / credit card
  3. Deposit money into a bank account = make a deposit
  4. Withdraw (take out) money/cash from your bank account = make a withdrawal
  5. Pay a bill
  6. Exchange currency
  7. Send money to someone (abroad/overseas)
  8. Transfer (sum) from … to …
  9. Apply for a vehicle / college/ home loan (=mortgage)
  10. Check (my) balance
  11. Cash/deposit a check
  12. Ask about interest rates and bank charges
Read the dialogues out loud.

Dialogue 1. Opening a bank account

Client: Hello!
Teller: Hello. How can I help you?
Client: I would like to open a bank account.
Teller: I’ll be happy to help you. Would you like to open a current account or a savings account?
Client: What’s the difference?
Teller: A current account allows you to take money out at any time whereas a savings account helps you to keep money that you want to save for a period of time.
Client: I’ll need to transfer some money overseas to my relatives.
Teller: Then you need a current account. Could you hand me your ID please?
Client: Here it is.
Teller: Thank you. I’ll need a couple of minutes to open an account for you. Do you need an account in pounds only? Or do you need dollars and euros too?
Client: Hmm…I definitely need dollars but I’m not sure about euros. Will I need to pay extra for each account?
Teller: No, you’ll pay only for a bank card if you need one. OK, it’s done. I’ve opened three accounts for you — in pounds, euros and dollars. Would you like to have our debit and credit cards?
Client: Yes, I’d like to apply for a visa debit card.
Teller: OK. The bank will charge you 40 pounds per year. I need 2 minutes to fill in the application… OK, it’s ready. Please sign a contract here and here.
Client: All right. When will the card be ready?
Teller: In 5 days. It means next Tuesday.
Client: That’s great. Thank you.
Teller: Would you like to have a credit card too?
Client: Right now, no, thank you. Could I exchange currency here?
Teller: Sure. How much would you like to exchange?
Client: 2 thousand pounds to dollars. What is the exchange rate?
Teller: 1 pound is 1.29 dollars.
Client: OK. 2000 pounds.
Teller: Here are your dollars. What else could I do for you?
Client: How can I check my balance and transfer money to my relatives?
Teller: We’ve got very user-friendly online and mobile banking systems. You can do a lot of operations there including checking your balance, opening and closing accounts, exchanging currency and transferring money. Here is our brochure with all the information that you’ll need. We also have customer service which you can contact by phone. Their phone is here.
Client: Thank you a lot!
Teller: Not at all. Have a good day!
Client: You too!

Dialogue 2. Paying bills

Teller: Hello. How can I help you?
Client: Hello! Could you check my balance please?
Teller: Sure. I’ll need your ID.
Client: Here it is.
Teller: Thank you. You have 5700 euros in your savings account and 2300 dollars in your current account.
Client: Hmm… Could I make a withdrawal of 2000 euros from my savings account?
Teller: To do that we’ll need to close your savings account as it doesn’t allow any withdrawal. It means you won’t get the full interest rate. Afterwards I can transfer the money to your current account and take out 2000 euros. Are you sure you want to close your savings account?
Client: Not now, thank you.
Teller: Could I do anything else for you?
Client: I know you have mobile banking but I’ve never used it for paying bills. I’ve got a very important bill. Could I pay it here?
Teller: Yes, we can do it right now. Can I have a look at it?
Client: Here it is.
Teller: The bank will charge you a 1% commission. Is it OK for you?
Client: That’s fine, thank you.
Teller: Done. Here’s your payment receipt.
Client: Great, thank you.