A bank account can help you to manage your money by keeping it secure yet accessible. All of your incoming money such as your wages, benefits, tax credits and pensions, can be paid directly into your account. There are many banks all offering different types of accounts.
A basic account is probably the best option if you haven’t had a bank account before. This type of account allows you to:
- Receive money
- Pay bills
- Withdraw money from a cash machine with your cash card
- Set up direct debits
- Set up standing orders
- Only spend money you have in your account
A current account offers all of the same benefits as a basic account but it also allows you to:
- Pay for goods and services with a debit card
- Set up standing orders and direct debits to pay regular bills
- Use a cheque book
- Arrange an authorised overdraft facility
Some current accounts also pay you interest on the money you have in your account and some let you access your money abroad or cash foreign cheques.
“Most banks offer telephone and internet banking. This is a safe and secure way of managing your money without having to visiting the bank in person.”
How to open a bank account
Once you have decided which type of account is best for you the rest is very simple!
Follow these simple steps:
1. Choose a bank to open the account with. Always choose a bank that has branches near to where you live or work. Shop around; banks often have incentives if you set up an account with them. See what your local banks are offering.
2. Staff at the bank are there to help you. You can make an appointment to speak to an advisor although very often you can speak to someone there and then. Remember the bank is there to make money and may try and encourage you to open an account with additional benefits that you may not require. Think really hard whether these are of benefit to you.
3. Tell them what you need and they will suggest which type of bank account is best for you.
If you are applying in branch, they will fill out all the paperwork with you. You will need to take along identification to prove your name and address. A passport or driving licence is best, but if you don’t have either of these the bank will accept a letter from a Government department or local council confirming your entitlement to benefits (all letters should be less than three months old).
Did you know? If you have access to the internet all of the main high street banks have websites where you can apply on-line or get the necessary details to apply via the telephone.