What is a basic bank account?
A basic bank account is for people who are unable to open a regular bank account or a building society account for some reason. It is usually because a person has a bad credit score.
Basic accounts to be made available for people by banks and building societies has been requested by the government. This is so that individuals can have an account to have their benefits and wages paid into. Also, so that individuals can make payments and buy goods.
However, even though many banks and building societies have stated they will offer a basic account to people, many do not publicise it. If you cannot see it written or publicised anywhere, you should ask them.
Can I open a basic bank account?
All you need to open a basic bank account is to be a resident in the UK and have an ID and proof of address.
What do you get with a basic bank account?
- You will receive a debit card so you can do transactions such as making payments.
- You will not get any overdraft facility and can only spend the money you have in your account.
- You are not charged any fee for failed payments.
- You can set up standing orders and direct debit payments.
- Use your debit card to withdraw money from ATM’s.
- Get access to online banking.
Basic bank accounts
Here are some basic accounts from banks and building societies:
Alternative options for bank accounts
If you would like an alternative bank account or just having difficulties opening a basic bank account, then here are some options for you.
These are online and app accounts, that allows you to open a basic account. They also allow you to open a business and self-employed account. You might even want to open it as an extra account, to get additional benefits.
Documents required for ID to open a basic account
Here are few example of documents you can use for ID:
- UK Passport, Biometric Residence Permit, Foreign Passport and Visa
- EU and EEA National Identity Card
- UK Driving Licence / EU EEA Driving Licence
- Benefits Entitlement Letter (Recent, or up to 12 months)
- Student ID (for student account)
Documents required as proof of address
Here are some documents which can be used as proof of address:
- Gas and Electric Bill
- Bank Statement / Credit Card Statement
- Driving Licence
- Mortgage Statement
- Benefit Statement, such as Universal Credit (dated within 12 months)
- HMRC Tax Notification (dated within 12 months)
- Phone or internet bill
Improving your credit score
Having a basic account or an alternative account such as Cashplus, Card One Money, Pockit, Suites Me or Revolut will help you to improve your credit ratings. By improving your credit score you might be able to get a regular bank or building society account and also get access to overdrafts or loans.
Another type of bank account you can get is a credit union bank account. Find your local credit union, here: Find Your Credit Union.
If you would like more information about bank regulations, go to: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)