Basic Bank Account Thread

edited 25 March 2014 at 12:48PM in Budgeting & Bank Accounts
2K replies 671.7K views
sgx.saintsgx.saint Forumite
1.6K Posts
Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
edited 25 March 2014 at 12:48PM in Budgeting & Bank Accounts
Official insert

For full info on basic bank accounts, see our fully researched Basic Bank Account guide.

Back to the original post...

Hello All.

I thought I would start this thread in relation to all the posts that I see regularly on this board regarding Basic Bank Accounts.

The purpose of this thread is to answer questions, support and help those who are looking for a Basic Bank Account for whatever reason. Basic Bank Accounts are designed to do exactly what they say on the tin so to speak, serve the purposes of having a bank account, with none of the frills. Basic Bank Accounts will not come with any credit facilities, which probably wont come as much surprise.

Why would I want a Basic Bank Account?

The most common reason is that people with adverse credit histories (Defaults, CCJ's, Bankrupts) are usually unable to open a 'standard' bank account with any of the high street lenders. Basic Bank Accounts are designed to allow people in such circumstances to open and operate an account. In saying that, some banks are still very strict in their application criteria and people still are sometimes declined. It is a common misconception that banks have to provide an account to absolutely anyone. The FSA made strong recommendations to the banking industry that they provide an account to people who would normally not meet their standard eligability criteria, however at this stage they do not enforce this recommendation. So just like a nighclub, a bank has the right to refuse entry. Fear not though, as there are a large array of accounts available and you will almost certainly find one to suit your needs.

Of course Basic Bank Accounts are not just for people with adverse credit problems, as the accounts offer no credit facilities, some people prefer to use them as they feel they can manage their money better. People open them as second accounts to manage direct debits, a second account for 'Matched Betting' or even as a 'parachute' account if you are reclaiming bank charges from your current bank. So as you can see there are quite a few reasons you may want to open an account.


I myself have two basic bank accounts, and a few months ago when I was 'shopping' around for the right basic account, this board proved invaluable. So I thought I would share my personal recommendations, advice and opinions to help others who too need a basic account. I use my Basic Accounts for Matched Betting and managing my array of Direct Debits, but of course they can be used for whatever purpose you require.

Moving on, I would direct all newcomers to the following two websites, which both list the majority of Basic Bank Accounts provided within the UK.

The first link is to the Financial Services Authority website and is a .pdf document that lists the various basic bank accounts, their features and also provides a little banking background information as well, such as terminology and so forth:

The second link I found very useful, this website provides a very good breakdown of the various accounts available including information about what type of card you will receive, i.e. Maestro, Solo, Cash Card. Also it even details the interest rates if applicable and if the accounts support Standing Orders or Direct Debits.

What do I need to open an Account?

To open a Basic Bank Account, the procedure is pretty much the same for any other account. When you have decided which bank to visit and apply for an account you will need two forms of ID and proof of address.

Usually you need a form of photographic ID, such as a Passport or Driving Licence. You will also need proof of address, this can usually be a Utility Bill or Council Tax Bill. Obviously do check with your bank first as this is just a general rule of thumb. Some Banks policies may differ slightly.

Also, a tip .... When you goto open a Basic Bank Account, make sure the person (Staff Member) who is opening the account is fully aware that you want a Basic Account. If possible mention the name of the account to be sure. A few members on here have been caught out where the bank staff have applied for a full current account and as a result the member has been turned away (only applicable to members with adverse credit histories).

Usually, even when applying for a Basic Account, a credit check is still performed. This is normally just to confirm your identity and your financial status. i.e. that you have'nt lied about being bankrupt etc. Some banks of course will accept bankrupt individuals (check the two websites for more information!).


Before we go any further, I have to mention CitiBank. CitiBank are a large international banking organisation with a signifcant worldwide presence. They originated in the USA and also have a large UK operational presence. CitiBank offer a current account package called the 'Sterling Current Account'.

Why is he mentioning this I hear you cry!

There has been a lot of discussion on this board over the past three months regarding this account as CitiBank appear to have a very flexible eligability criteria for the account. Many members have successfully opened an account even with adverse credit histories. I therefore highly recommend trying to open a CitiBank account before continuing down the route of a Basic Bank Account. This account is a full account, and even offers £500 interest free overdraft and chequebook (if your eligable) and even if your not, most people are still able to open the account, complete with Visa Debit Card. Many of the features I just mentioned are not available on Basic Accounts so I again urge you to try and apply for this account first before continuing.


I won't go into much more detail here, but there is an ongoing thread you can join here:-

Basic Account Recommendations

My two personal recommendations for Basic Accounts are:-

Yorkshire Bank - ReadyCash Account.


Natwest Bank - Step Account.

Both accounts I find to suit my needs brilliantly and the accounts are in my opinion superb. But of course everyone is different.

A recent thread started on this board (I can't find it at the moment) also suggests you can try opening an account with your local Credit Union if they do indeed provide an account. You could try searching for this thread if your interested in exploring this route.

I will of course link this thread when I find it for a better explanation of Credit Unions.

I hope this thread goes a long way to answering your questions and helping you locate the right account for you.


SGX Saint


  • Edinburghlass_2Edinburghlass_2 Forumite
    32.7K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Done and thanks for this, saved me a good deal of time today :)
  • sgx.saintsgx.saint Forumite
    1.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Done and thanks for this, saved me a good deal of time today

    No worries, I should actually be doing some University work right about now but I just can't concentrate. If I'm not doing Uni work, then I am on the MSE forums, it's a form of addiction you know! :D

    Back to the thread .... I hope this helps all the people who have questions about Basic Accounts.
  • Edinburghlass_2Edinburghlass_2 Forumite
    32.7K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Please also have a read of Martin's article regarding Current Accounts :)

    And the Resource bar at the top of this board.

    Budget Planner Best Buy Articles: Current Accounts | Stop Paying Overdraft Interest Current Account Comparisons: Moneysupermarket* | Uswitch* Other: Problem Debts | Credit Rating
  • If you have a basic bank account with one of the banks / building societies listed below you can take out cash free at the counter of Post Office™ branches using your card and PIN:

    * Abbey
    * Alliance & Leicester
    * Bank of Ireland
    * Bank of Scotland
    * Barclays
    * Clydesdale Bank
    * The Co-operative Bank
    * First Trust Bank
    * Halifax
    * HSBC
    * Lloyds TSB
    * Nationwide Building Society
    * NatWest
    * Northern Bank
    * The Royal Bank of Scotland
    * Ulster Bank
    * Yorkshire Bank

    The link lets you see what services the P.O offers those with basic bank accounts.
  • BYouldBYould Forumite
    77 Posts
    Could I also mention that although not strictly a basic bank account Citibank's Sterling Account is very good and they seem to accept almost anybody. I haven't heard of anyone being refused one after reading the message boards.

    I held two basic bank accounts due to a recent bankruptcy but was still accepted for the citibank account.

    Good luck everybody.
  • Could I mention that my husband was decline by Norwich and Peterborough for their Basic Bank account. He's in a DMP with Payplan and has one CCJ and 3 defaults. They refused him an account.

    We have a joint account with Natwest and this is a step account, it is very good, aside from the dubious customer service!
    £2 Coin Savers Club (Christmas)- £86
    £1 Jar (Christmas)- £29
    Christmas Vouchers Saved: £145
  • theboylardtheboylard Forumite
    1.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Following some of the other threads about accounts, I really wanted to be completely independent of the joint account so Nationwide's FlexAccount, whilst I'll still use it for holiday money, was not a long term answer for me as they wouldn't give a debit card.
    Not even after I pleaded and showed proof of income and took in copies of credit file showing no debts - mortgage only, nowt else!

    So following on from folks commenting about Yorkie Bank, phoned up my local branch on Monday morning, had an appointment Monday afternoon where I signed various bits - and she was quite pushy but knew when to stop (ie. when I told her to!!) -then walked out with some bumpf an hour later.

    Thursday, Maestro card arrives and letter for internet banking registration.

    I simply cannot fault that service, way beyond anything I've had in the past, and I've had accounts over the years with a lot of them!!!

    Oh, and the internet banking works properly, unlike Nationwide which times out for me when trying to transfer money to an external account. Been nagging at them to fix it for months, plus I'm not alone on this either!!

    Transfer time from Nationwide to YB? Transferred £500 On Tuesday, in YB on Thursday when I logged in for the first time. IF to YB, transfer on Tuesday, in YB on Friday.

    Excellent stuff!!!! Open an account today ;)
    4kWp, SSE, 16 x 250w EcoFuture BoB with retro-fitted SolarEdge P300 optimisers & SE3500 Inverter, in occasionally sunny Corby, Northants.
  • Can anybody help - just been refused basic account with both the Yorkshire Bank and Nat West. Thank you
  • Hi,
    There are nine credit unions now offering current account services, with VISA debit, SO and DD facilities:

    Capital Credit Union – providing services to people living or working in Edinburgh, Lothian and the Borders
    Glasgow Council Credit Union – providing services to public sector employees in Glasgow
    Hull and East Yorkshire Credit Union – providing services to people living or working in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire
    Leeds City Credit Union – providing services to people living or working in Leeds
    Scottish Postal Workers Credit Union – providing services to postal workers across Scotland
    Scotwest Credit Union – providing services to public sector employees in the West of Scotland
    Southwark Credit Union – providing services to people living or working in the London borough of Southwark
    Voyager Credit Union – providing services to public transport employees across England and Wales
    White Rose Credit Union – providing services to people living or working in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

    If you look on the abcul website or google them you should find contact details.
  • sgx.saintsgx.saint Forumite
    1.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Can anybody help - just been refused basic account with both the Yorkshire Bank and Nat West. Thank you

    Weller, when you applied to both banks, did you make sure they understood that it was a basic account that you wanted to open?

    In the case of Natwest a Step Account and Yorkshire Bank a ReadyCash Account?

    If so, did they give you any reason for declining you for the accounts?

    In theory, a basic bank account should be available to all, with only possible rejecting in cases of previous bankruptcy.
This discussion has been closed.

Balance transfer credit cards

Shift existing card debt to 0% interest for up to 31 months

MSE Guides