There are lots of different types of bank accounts available. Most will provide you with a cheque book and debit card to withdraw money and allow you to pay bills and receive money paid in such as salary or benefits.
However, most banks are likely to charge bank charges or fees if you go overdrawn or fail to make a Direct Debit payment.
If you have a low income or have difficulty managing money or a bad credit rating, you can apply for a Fee Free Account which is designed to help people not get into debt or incur bank fees or charges.
Fee free bank accounts
Fee free accounts – these are the similar to current accounts, i.e. you can pay bills, receive salary or benefits and withdraw money via a debit card, however, you will not be issued a cheque book.
The main benefits are:
- You can not go overdrawn or incur bank charges or fees
- If you do not have money in your account to pay for a Direct Debit, the bank will stop the payment and no fees are charged
How do I find a fee free bank account?
Below are the banks and building societies that have signed up to offer a Fee Free / basic bank account from 1 January 2016:
- Barclays – Barclays Basic Current Account
- Santander – Basic Current Account
- NatWest – Foundation Account
- RBS – Basic Account
- HSBC – Basic Bank Account
- Nationwide – FlexBasic
- Co-operative Bank – Cashminder
- Lloyds Banking Group (including Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands) – Basic Account
- TSB – Cash Account
- National Australia Bank Group (including Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale brands) – Readycash Account
Which documents do I need to open a bank account?
Each bank may have different rules and paperwork.
It’s always best to check with them what forms of identification are acceptable before you apply.
|Application form||Fill in an application form which can be done at the branch, online or over the phone.|
|Proof of identity||Provide proof of your identity, for example, driving licence, passport, birth certificate, benefits letter.|
|Proof of address||Provide proof of where you live, for example, recent utility bill, council tax bill, benefits or state pensions notification letter, HMRC Tax notification, Jobcentre Plus letter containing your full address and National Insurance Number.|
|Alternative identification||If you don't have any of the documents that the bank wants, they should accept a letter from a responsible person who knows you, such as a GP, teacher, social worker or probation officer.|
|Other acceptable documents||Your bank may accept other documents as proof of identity or address such as an original letter from DWP, HMRC, Job Centre Plus or your local council confirming your right to benefits, including Universal Credit.|