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Britannia Safe
How we keep your valuables safe Unparalleled Security
Absolute Peace of Mind
Complete Discretion
How we keep your valuables safe
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Rental charges for less than £3 per week Insurance by Safe Deposit Centre Specialists
Up to £500,000 cover available
Insurance wear cover is also available
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Rental charges for less than £3 per week Gunnebo Chubb High Security Vault
Class X CD EX Vault with added explosive and core drill protection
Tested and certified by the ECB•S to the latest security standard, EN 1143-1
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Iris recognition
Biometric access
Rental charges for less than £3 per week Cutting Edge Technology
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Used by the European Central Bank and UK Government
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Safe Deposit Centre
How we keep your valuables safe High Security Safe Deposit Boxes
Wide Range of Sizes Available
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How we keep your valuables safe
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Privacy is key Class-leading security
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Flexible & Discreet Service
Privacy is key

Frequently Asked Questions

Britannia Safe Deposit Centre prides itself on offering a personal, fully transparent service.


We understand you may have questions, especially if you’ve never used a safe deposit box before. To help, we’ve provided answers to the most frequently asked questions here.


If you can’t find the answer to your query below, please get in touch. We’re always happy to help.


Why do I need a safe deposit box?

If you worry about the security of valuables in your home, at work or elsewhere then you should consider renting a safe deposit box.


It makes sense to store your items in a high security vault and pass on the responsibility to experts in safe deposit vault storage.


For a little outlay you buy a lot of security and peace of mind. A safe deposit box is one of the most secure ways you can protect your important documents and valuables at a very affordable price.


Also, many insurance policies offer reductions to customers who keep their valuables in a safe deposit box. This saving may help offset the rental cost of your box.

Can I view the contents of my safe deposit box in private?

You’ll be provided with a private lockable viewing room for absolute privacy to view the contents of your safe deposit box.

Do I need to disclose the contents of my safe deposit box?

No, only you and any additional account holders will know the contents of your safe deposit box. We provide a discreet and trustworthy service. We don’t hold the contents of a safe deposit box on your behalf, we simply provide you with secure storage space. We strongly recommend you keep a detailed inventory, valuation of your items and pictures of your items for insurance purposes.

What can't I keep in my safe deposit box?

Anything that’s illegal or constitutes the proceeds of crime, i.e. money laundering; chemicals or drugs, or items which are noxious, poisonous, corrosive, inflammable, explosive or unstable; and guns, knives, firearms or ammunition. Please see our terms and conditions  for a full list of prohibited items.

Can I change the size of my safe deposit box (e.g. upgrade or downgrade)?

You’re welcome to upgrade and change your current safe deposit box size to a bigger size at any time. We’ll calculate pro rata how long you’ve used the safe deposit box along with the rental paid and date you opened the account. We’ll then use any credit towards a new box size of your choice (subject to availability).


If you downgrade your membership mid-term, please note we don’t offer any refund on any outstanding term or rental paid. You may choose to wait until your annual term has finished and downgrade then.


We charge an administration fee of £20 to upgrade or downgrade as this involves a change of locks between boxes.

Are you registered with the Financial Conduct Authority?

Yes. We are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority for anti-money laundering purposes, registration no. FRN 920030.  We take our anti-money laundering registration seriously by ensuring we get to know our account holders and their needs. We co-operate fully with the relevant authorities subject to appropriate court orders/warrants etc.


What are your opening hours?

Monday to Friday: 9.30am – 5.30pm

Saturday and Sunday: 10.30am – 3.30pm

Bank Holidays:  Closed


Last entry into the vault is 15 minutes before all closing times.


Please note that our timed locked vaults prevent out of hours access under any circumstances.

How do I access my safe deposit box?

  1. You’re free to visit us at any time during our opening hours. No appointment is necessary and last access into the vault is 15 minutes before closing.
  2. On arrival at our secure centre you’ll be greeted in the reception area by one of our custodian team who’ll identify you. You’ll be required to use our biometric iris reader to gain access to the first section of our controlled-access vault.
  3. You’ll be guided through all the above processes by one of our team who will also accompany you to the vault.
  4. Each safe deposit box requires two keys to access. One of these is your unique key, the other is a guardian key and is held by the custodian staff member accompanying you.
  5. Once our custodian has assisted you in opening your safety deposit box, they’ll leave you on your own in the private viewing room next to the vault where you can privately add, remove or examine the contents of your box.


What do I need to open a safe deposit box account?

All applications must be made in person.


Please note that nobody under the age of 18 can be registered to use a safe deposit box.


Each person named on the account will need to provide one proof of identity and one proof of address from the list below.


Show us ONE piece of photo ID. Choose from:


  • Current signed UK/EEA passport
  • Current signed non-EEA passport with valid UK visa
  • Current UK photocard driving licence (this can only be used as proof of identity if it’s not also used as proof of address)


Show us ONE proof of address. Choose from:


  • Utility bill (gas/electricity/water/home phone/contractual mobile) dated within the last three months
  • Bank, credit card or mortgage statement dated within the last three months (online printed statements are accepted)
  • Council Tax bill dated within the last three months
  • Current UK photocard driving licence (this can only be used as proof of address if it’s not also used as proof of identity)

How do I pay for my safe deposit box rental?

You can pay by cash, debit card, credit card or Direct Debit. Our preferred form of payment for recurring annual payments is Direct Debit .


Please note, credit cards incur a 2% surcharge.

What happens if I don’t pay my renewal fee on time?

If your account is in arrears, we’ll not permit you to access your box until the arrears are cleared.


Please note that interest is charged on all overdue accounts at 5% above bank base rate.


If you simply fail to renew then, after due notice, we’ll instruct our locksmiths to drill open your box (at your expense) and we may dispose of the contents.


Who has access to my safe deposit box?

Only you and any additional account holders you’ve added can access your safe deposit box.

Are children allowed in the vault area?

Only children aged 11 and under are permitted to accompany a parent or guardian into the vault area. All children aged 12 and above must wait in the reception area.

How many people can be named on a safe deposit box account?

A maximum of four people can be named on the account and have access to the safe deposit box. This will include the main account holder and two additional account holders. There will be a one-off administration charge for each additional account holder. If you cannot open the account together initially, additional account holders can be added at a later date but only with the main account holder present.


All people named on the account must attend in person to register for access with the relevant proof of ID.

Access Levels Available

When you open a safe deposit box account the main person taking out the agreement will be the primary account holder.


The primary account holder can then add two other levels of access to the safe deposit box as follows:


A joint primary account holder with full account and access rights identical to those of the first primary account holder.


A number of secondary account holders who will have access rights only.


There is a maximum of four people allowed to have access to any one safe deposit box in our centre.


The joint primary account holder will have the same rights over the safe deposit box as the primary account holder. If the primary account holder should die, then the joint primary account holder becomes the sole primary account holder and can still access the box. They will also have the authority to appoint an additional joint primary account holder if they wish to.


Consequently, we strongly advise that a joint primary account holder is appointed.

If the primary account holder should die and there is no joint primary account holder appointed, then access to the box will immediately stop and will not be granted to any party or secondary account holder until probate has been completed.


Please note that although four people may access the safe deposit box, extra keys are not provided and so it is up to the primary account holder to provide a secondary account holder with access to a key.


Please also note that neither a primary account holder or joint primary account holder can be removed from the agreement without both parties attending our branch to confirm this instruction.

What happens in the event of my death?

If you’re the sole account holder of the safe deposit box, the person reporting the death should bring a copy of the death certificate to our Centre. The certificate will be recorded on our system and returned. Please note that no items can be removed until probate is granted.


If you’re a joint primary account holder then you continue to have unrestricted access to the safe deposit box and can appoint a new joint primary account holder.


If you’re an additional account holder named on the box, then you won’t have any access to the box and no items can be removed until probate is granted. We recommend that all our customers appoint a joint primary account holder when they take out an agreement with us.


Please note that neither a primary account holder or joint primary account holder can be removed from the agreement without both parties attending our branch to confirm this instruction.


Does Britannia Safe Deposit keep a copy of my key?

No. You will be issued with the only two keys unique to your box.


Each box is opened using a dual-lock system. The customer key and a guardian key held by Britannia Safe Deposit Centre. Each box requires both keys to gain access, neither Britannia Safe Deposit Centre or the account holder can open the box alone.

What happens if I lose my safe deposit box key/s?

You’re issued with two identical keys at the time of rental. If you’ve lost one or both keys, you should inform us immediately so the account can be blocked.


If you lose one key, we can replace the lock with a subsequent charge of £100.


If you lose both your keys, you will be required to pay a fee of £180 for the engineer to visit and open the lock in your presence. Once this has taken place, you’ll be required to pay an additional £100 to cover the cost of the new lock and the new set of keys.


How safe is your facility?

Our facility has been built to higher than normal industry standards to offer maximum security for your valuables. Our ground floor vault is graded as a Grade X CD EX. This makes it the highest certified grade of vault room outside London to be used for private safe deposit lockers.


The CD classification means the vault room and doors have been scientifically tested against all types of drilling equipment.


The EX classification means the vault room and doors have been scientifically tested against all types of explosives.


The vault door is fitted with an electronic time lock and can’t be accessed outside of normal business hours. In addition, the office area is fully anti-ballistic and access to the vault is only granted to registered users via biometric iris recognition.


The entire facility is protected by bank grade alarm systems that are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


Finally, there are many other additional covert security measures in place that we do not disclose.

How secure is iris recognition?

Your iris is an extremely data-rich physical structure and contains a pattern unique to each individual that is virtually impossible to replicate. Additionally, because eyes are self-cleaning and image capture is performed without physical contact with the reader, readings are highly accurate and reliable.

How does iris scanning work?

Iris scanning – also known as iris recognition – is a biometric identification method during which a special sensor scans the iris or irises of an individual’s eyes. An iris scanner looks for particular patterns in the iris of the person accessing the device and records these to create a unique customer record. Once that’s done an exact match can be found when that same iris is presented to the scanner again.


An iris pattern is not only consistent throughout a person’s life but is also unlike any other human being’s iris. In simpler terms, your iris patterns are so unique that there’s no other person in the world with matching eyes – not even your closest relatives. This is why iris scanning is considered to be one of the most foolproof methods of identification.


Are my items insured?

Any valuables you keep in your safe deposit box should be properly insured by you for their full value. Keeping valuables in a safe deposit box should not be considered an alternative to insuring them. You can purchase additional insurance from our recommended insurers or arrange this through your home insurance. See our Insurance and Valuations page  for more detail.

Why is insurance not included within the safe deposit box rental?

Britannia Safe Deposit Ltd is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a safe deposit business but this doesn’t authorise us to sell insurance cover to our account holders. The sale of insurance products is strictly regulated by the FCA.


Each account holder who rents a safe deposit box will have different requirements in terms of insurance cover depending on the nature and value of the goods stored.


Account holders will usually choose one of three options:


  1. No insurance required: For some, the physical and electronic security measures we offer within our vaults provide them with peace of mind and they don’t feel the need for a separate insurance policy.
  2. Home contents insurance: For others, their existing home contents insurance policy provides cover for items held in a safe deposit box. We would always suggest notifying your existing home contents provider that you’re holding valuables in a safe deposit centre. This will often result in a lower insurance premium which can help offset the cost of the box rental.
  3. Specialist insurance cover: Some account holders will want specific insurance on the contents of their safe deposit box. We work alongside Ellerton Knight, a specialist insurer offering cover on safe deposit boxes. Get an instant quote from Ellerton Knight here.


How do I hand back my safe deposit box?

If you don’t wish to renew, then you must give us written notice at least one month prior to the annual anniversary of your first payment. Your box will then need to be emptied and the keys and fob returned in person to our branch prior to the last day of your annual term.


There is no part refund of the annual subscription for early hand-back. Any items remaining in the safe deposit box after the agreement has been terminated will be disposed of by us without further recourse to yourself.


Please note that the agreement can’t be closed by the account holder until the keys are returned.

Have another question? Just ask and we’ll share our expertise.