Current accounts

What does it mean to have a basic bank account?

People with poor credit histories may not be eligible for other types of current bank accounts and, as a result, may need to settle for a basic bank account instead.

They do not offer any overdraft services and only provide the most fundamental and cost-free options for receiving money and paying expenses.

Because they aren’t as profitable as other accounts, banks and building societies haven’t done a good job of advertising them; however, they can be a lifeline for people who have faced financial difficulties in the past. They can be a lifeline for people who have faced financial difficulties in the past.

Compare the most fundamental bank accounts.

People who have a low credit history or who have had difficulty using debit cards in the past may find it appealing to open a new basic bank account because it comes with a full host of features that make banking easier. These are the following:

There are no fines for unsuccessful payments.
There are no facilities for overdrafts.
You are required to be offered a debit card by your provider so that you can withdraw cash and make purchases in stores and online.
Additionally, you should be able to set up direct debits and standing orders with them.
You will be able to make deposits and withdrawals of cash at any Post Office or bank branch counter, under the same terms and conditions as other customers of personal current accounts.

Should there be a shift in your financial situation, banks are required to provide you with at least two months’ written notice before upgrading you from one of their basic accounts to one of their current accounts that better suits your needs.

How to open a basic bank account, as well as other frequently asked questions

People who do not meet the requirements for other types of current accounts often do not qualify for basic bank accounts. This is typically the case because of a bad credit history.

Although they do not offer overdraft capabilities, they do provide standard facilities for receiving money and paying bills. If you qualify, you will be issued a typical debit card that can be used at automated teller machines and online.

In this article, we will explain how to establish an account and answer some of the questions that are asked the most frequently:

What are the steps to opening a basic bank account?

When opening a basic bank account at the majority of high-street banks, you need to be at least 16 years old; however, the minimum age to create other accounts is 18.

How do I demonstrate that I am who I say I am and where I live?

You will be required to present a photo identification document, such as a passport or a driver’s licence.

If you do not have either of these items, the bank may be willing to accept an alternative, such as an original copy of a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions or the HM Revenue and Customs Service (HMRC).

A bank or credit card statement that is less than three months old, a recent UK utility bill, or a lease agreement from a local government or housing association can all serve as acceptable forms of proof of a person’s present address (dated within the last 12 months).

Check the website of the bank of your choice for a complete list of the documents they will accept.

Is there a mobile app that comes with a basic bank account?

Yes, the management of each of the basic bank accounts listed in the table above is possible through the use of a corresponding app on a mobile device.

Would it be possible for a basic bank account to be denied to me?

If you are unable to open a standard bank account as of September 2016, however, you are now permitted to open a basic bank account even if you are unable to open a standard bank account.

However, according to Money Advice Service, there are some situations in which you might be denied:

You are unable to give identification or a proof of address.
You may open a new type of account with that financial institution, such as a bank or a building society.
You choose not to submit to a credit check, despite the fact that passing one is not required.
Because you have threatened, verbally abused, or physically assaulted staff members, they have reason to think that you are involved in fraudulent activity or money laundering.

If you believe that your application was denied without just cause, you have the right to appeal the decision, first to the provider, and then to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

It is important to note that providers don’t advertise basic bank accounts very well because they aren’t as profitable as their other accounts. Because of this, you may need to inquire directly if they aren’t willing with the information.

Is it possible that my account will be closed?

There is a possibility that your bank or building society will close your account if any of the following apply:

you consistently fail to meet the terms and conditions of the account; you are no longer considered to be lawfully resident in the UK; you have access to another basic bank account anywhere in the world; the account has not had any transactions in excess of twenty-four months.

You are entitled to get at least two months’ worth of written notice, and your service provider is obligated to explain why it is cancelling your account. If you disagree with the decision, you can file a formal complaint.

If I only have a basic bank account, am I still able to use the switching service?

Yes, the switching service is available for all of the basic bank accounts included in our table, with the exception of the Essential account offered by Virgin Money.

It should only take seven working days to switch from your old account, and the move is backed by a guarantee called the Current Account Switch Guarantee guarantee. This guarantee states that your new bank will take care of moving over incoming and outgoing payments and will correct any problems that may arise.