Opening a current account

Some of us see opening a bank account as a complicated process; switching bank account as even worse. Actually though, both are now pretty simple and we’re here to tell you what you need to know.

A lot of us tend to stick with our banks through thick and thin, thinking of them as all the same – in fact, only 3% of us in the UK switch our bank accounts in any given year!

But in reality there can be differences in interest rates and perks that come with different accounts.

Let’s look at how easy it is and what sort of accounts are out there.

Share

Choosing the right account in the first place

It might be all well and good thinking you want to open a current account or switch to a new bank, but how do you go about deciding which one?

We’re all different so it’s really important to make sure you’ve got the right current account for your needs. For some it’s all about interest on your credit balances, for others a better overdraft rate. A number of current accounts now also come with additional perks, such as cashback on your spending so it’s worth exploring what’s most important to you.

Whatever your needs we can help you find the account that is right for you. You might think well there’s only a handful of banks so there can only be a handful of current accounts to choose from right?

Not really! At comparethemarket.com we have over 100 bank accounts to choose from. Don’t panic, this doesn’t mean it’s any more complicated as we’ve sorted them conveniently to meet your needs. You can choose from:

 

  • Standard bank accounts

Standard bank accounts are sometimes known as current accounts and provide many useful services. You can have your salary paid directly into a Standard Account; settle bills or set up direct debits. These accounts usually provide a debit card which allows you to make cash withdrawals and to pay for items.

 

  • Basic bank accounts

Basic bank accounts are available to anyone – you don’t have to be on the electoral role to qualify. They tend to suit people who are unable to qualify for a standard account, perhaps because they have a low credit score or have only recently moved to the UK.

 

  • Packaged bank accounts

Packaged accounts are aimed at customers looking for more than what is available with a standard account. Additional extras such as travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, breakdown cover and cashback are usually available. However, there are often monthly or annual fees associated with this type of account.

 

  • Student accounts

These types of accounts are aimed at those studying at university or college. Many of the product features are geared towards the needs of students, such as interest-free overdrafts. The main banks also have advisers who are specially trained to deal with the problems and issues students often face when they’re managing their finances for the first time.

 

  • Graduate accounts

Graduate accounts are specifically designed for graduates usually offering special introductory offers such as 0% overdraft fees for up to three years. These accounts typically offer free day to day banking as well as online and mobile access and allow access to additional preferential products such as personal loans.

Once you’ve decided which type it is that you need you’ll be able to see a convenient list of only those accounts that fit the bill. We’ll detail the interest offered, overdraft rates and details or any perks. 

Opening an account

If you’ve used our comparison service to select a bank account that is right for you, it’s a really easy next step to actually apply to open the account.

All you need to do is click on the ‘APPLY NOW’ button and we’ll transfer you to the bank’s website directly so you can make your application. You’ll just need some information, such as when you started in your current job and some ID, such as your passport or driving licence, as well as proof of your address so that they can make all the checks they need.

credit card
piggy bank

Switching bank account

Switching could save you, or even earn you, money. It could be saving on overdraft costs, or other features that you’re paying for but don’t use.

Even in today’s low interest rate environment, there are still accounts paying more interest than others so you could make money by getting a better rate of interest on your credit balances.

Of course there is also customer service to consider, which, with an account you use regularly can make all the difference.

How do I switch current accounts?

Thanks to rule changes over the last few years, the process of switching current accounts has become much faster and smoother. Now with the Current Account Switch Service, banks are required to switch current accounts in seven working days. In the past it could have taken up to a month!

You don’t have to worry about regular outgoing payments like standing orders and direct debits as they’ll be transferred across to your new bank on your behalf.

Similarly, any incoming payments, such as your regular salary, will automatically be transferred so that it goes to your new account as well.

If you’ve been using the same bank account year after year, perhaps it’s time to consider making a change. If you’re about to open your first bank account, go for it! Use our bank account comparison service and we’ll help you along the way.

Compare current accounts

Get a quote in seconds and start saving

Get a quote