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Picture of a house shaped money box and a basic bank accounts leaflet

Basic bank accounts are easy to use accounts that have the basic features of a current account but you cannot have an overdraft or cheque book.

If you haven’t got a bank account then you’re going to be missing out.

We’d really recommend getting a basic bank account to pay your rent and here are some top reasons why:

Why open a bank account? +

  • Under Universal Credit your money will be paid directly to you – so you’ll need to have an account for it to be paid into
  • You can access your money 24/7
  • Wages, pension and benefit payments can be paid directly into the account
  • You have the money available to you on the day it arrives in your account
  • You will receive discounts on utility bills if you pay by Direct Debit
  • You will receive free automated transactions (e.g. Direct Debits and standing orders)
  • You will have a cash card for use at cash machines
  • Many banks will give access to phone or internet banking so you don’t have to go in to the branches if you don’t want to

How do I open a basic bank account?+

If you want to open a basic bank account at a bank or building society you should check with your local branch what you need as proof of identiry and address. This could be documents like a passport, driving licence, Council Tax bill or a recent electric, gas or water bill.

When you speak to the bank – make sure you make it really clear that you want a basic bank account so don’t be pressured into opening another account, which is unsuitable and may lead to future problems such as overdrafts.


How to choose a bank account +

The Money Advice Service have produced a helpful vide about 'how to choose a bank account'. A full transcription is available on their Youtube channel.

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