Choosing a bank account
There are various types of bank accounts that are suited to different customer needs. Kindly see below before you choose to select the most suitable for your needs.
- Standard current accounts: the normal “current account” with all the standard features
- Specialised current accounts: these are “current accounts with benefits” and extra features that typically come with a fee
- Basic bank accounts: a “basic current account” is an account with some limited features, directed at customers with poor or no credit history
- International/foreign currency accounts: an “international bank account” is intended for use in different countries
- Student accounts: “student accounts” are designed to help university students with features like interest-free overdrafts
- Graduate accounts: graduate accounts help students and graduates with the transition into everyday banking
- Savings accounts: “savings accounts” let you save and gain interest on your money
- ISAs: “ISAs” allow you to save a certain amount tax-free every year
Opening a bank account
Opening a high street bank account can be a simple process – you generally have to apply for the account first, giving a few details such as:
- Personal information, including your full name, nationality, contact details, date of birth, and national insurance number
- Proof of address, like a recent utility bill, mortgage statement or tenancy agreement, a bank statement, or a council tax bill. You might also be required to show how long you’ve lived there
- Proof of identities, such as a passport or driving licence. Some banks may accept birth certificates for a child’s or student’s account
Depending on the bank you choose and the type of account you want to open, the bank may run a credit check to examine your financial history. If they accept your application, they’ll notify you and you’ll later receive your debit card and pin number in the post, normally in separate instalments. You will probably need to activate your card online or by phone before you can use it.
You can open a bank account in person by visiting the branch, or you can do it via phone or online; you’ll still need to provide the above details, but you might still have to visit a local branch so they can make copies of your documents.
Managing your bank account
Once you’ve opened a bank account, you’ll have different options for how you want to manage your money:
- Face to face: The traditional banking methods involve dropping into your local branch and speaking face to face with a bank employee, so they can help you with any questions or problems you may have.
- Over the phone: You’ll also be able to contact your bank through the phone to ask for help or advice with your finances.
- Online/app: Most banks also have an online platform/app that lets you access your bank account and conduct transactions 24/7.
Closing a bank account
Closing a bank account shouldn’t be an issue. It normally just requires you to contact your bank and tell them you want to close the account. It’s unlikely you’ll be charged or penalised, but if there’s an outstanding overdraft you’ll have to pay it off first or you can ask a debt advisor if you are not in the position to pay your overdraft.