Why do I need a bank account?
There are lots of good reasons to have a bank account, including:
You can have benefits paid straight into your bank account
You can pay bills, for example, your rent, by direct debit
Having a bank account helps to give you a good credit record and you may be able to benefit from other banking services
Cashing cheques can be difficult and cost you money if you don't have a bank account to pay your cheque into
What is a basic bank account?
The government says that banks have to make basic bank accounts available to everyone, even people with a poor credit record.
Find out more about basic bank accounts.
How do I open a basic bank account?
You will need to:
Visit the bank you would like to use and ask to open a basic bank account
Show them at least two proofs of your identity and where you live, for example, a passport, driving licence, birth certificate, benefits letter or utility bill.
What can I use my basic bank account for?
You will be able to:
Pay money into your account
Pay cheques into your account
Have benefits paid directly into your account
Set up regular direct debits to pay bills
Register for internet banking to set up standing orders, transfer money and view your account online
Also, most basic bank accounts will offer a cash card so you can take out money free of charge at a cash machine or post office.
Will I have a chequebook and credit card?
Probably not. Most basic bank accounts do not offer a chequebook or credit card.
Can I be overdrawn?
Most basic bank accounts will not allow you to have an overdraft. If you do not have enough money in your account to cover any payments going out (e.g. direct debits) you will probably be charged.
How will I know how much is in my account?
You can register for internet banking, which means you can view your balance, set up standing orders and transfer money. Alternatively can receive regular statements in the post and you will probably be able to check your balance at a post office or cash machine at any time.
Is there an alternative to a basic bank account?
You may prefer to open an account with a credit union. Visit our page about Community First Credit Union to find out more.