There are bank accounts to suit all your needs, but which one is right for you?
Don’t worry. Opening an account is easy. Below is a breakdown of what you need to know – along with what banks will ask you for when you apply.
What you need:
ID: You need two or three forms of ID that aren’t photocopies. These can be your passport, driving license, benefits book or council tax bill.
An application form: you can get these in branch of your local bank.
Personal details: The bank will want to know things like when you were born, whether you’re in employment or not, how much money you earn, and any details of other bank accounts you may have. Take these details with you when you visit the bank.
What type of account do you need?
Basic Bank Account: This is a safe place to store your money. This type of account doesn’t offer credit, so if you keep an eye on your balance, you’re less likely to get into debt accidentally. You’ll be supplied with a cashpoint card – so you can take cash out at an ATM machine. It varies with which bank you choose, but some accounts will allow you to set up direct debits and use it in shops to pay for things.
Current Account: this is a bit different from a basic bank account in that you’re supplied with a cheque book so you can pay for things like bills sent to your home address. Some current accounts will come with overdraft facilities that will give you access to a bit more cash when you need it. The bank will decide if you can have an overdraft, along with any interest you’ll need to pay back for using it.
Post Office Account: If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to gain access to benefits and tax credits, this could be the easiest option. There are no credit checks when opening the account, and you can take cash out for free at any Post Office.
What happens next?
If everything is OK, the bank will send you details of your new account, including a cashpoint card and PIN number, and online banking details if you have requested these. If you’ve missed something in your application, don’t worry, you can still get an account, you’ll just have to go back and supply the information they’re looking for.
Visit the Money Advice Service website for information to help you decide how to choose, open and run a bank account
To find out more about a Post Office card account, go into a local Post Office and ask for a leaflet, or visit the Counter Services pages of the Post Office website.