A simples guide

What is a current account?

A current account is the bank account you use to manage your everyday finances, you probably already have one. It’s the account that your salary or benefits go into, your bills get paid from and the one that feels the pain when you go out with friends at the weekend. What is a current bank account? It’s the key to modern life.


Who can get a current account?

Any legal British resident over the age of 16 can get a current account. Some banks won’t accept you until you are 18, or you might need your parents’ seal of approval. But there are banks that will happily provide you with an account, a debit card and basic banking facilities.

You might need to go through a credit check, as many current accounts come with an automatic overdraft that might be cut if you’ve had debt in the past. Of course you will have to prove you are who you say you are, too, which means proving your identity and your address.

Some banks might also insist that you pay in a minimum amount in to your account each month from your wages, benefits or other means. If you cannot do this, or the credit check means you are simply refused a full current account, then consider a basic bank account.

This will give you much the same service but without any of the frills and you won’t be given access to credit (an overdraft). You can have a debit card, though, so as long as you live within your means then you won’t really feel the impact in any case.

paying on credit card
credit card and laptop

How much does a current account cost?

Banks know if they have your current account then you might be more likely to apply for other services, too, so as long as your account is in credit then typically you won’t be charged for simply having an account. What is a current account in a bank going to cost then? Nothing, if you are careful.

Withdrawals from cash machines and over the counter should be free. However you can sometimes get charged fees in cash machines that are privately owned.

If you are overseas then you will typically get charged to withdraw money and your bank’s exchange rate can also prove painful. You should try and avoid using your card to take out cash and find other solutions such as pre-paid cards or currency - some credit cards even have great offers for overseas travel.  

You will almost certainly have to pay for an overdraft and it can cost more than you might think.  Make sure you check the terms and conditions for any overdraft charges.

These are things you should check when you are comparing accounts and our comparison service can save an awful lot of researching so make sure you check out the options.

What benefits come with a current account?

It would be hard to function in the modern world without a current account and you might find it difficult to set up many of the things you might take for granted, like cheap broadband deals, a phone contract and all kinds of other simple pleasures.

You can receive money electronically, set up standing orders and make payments to other people over the phone and online. You can also keep an eye on your balance through mobile apps in many cases.

There is more, though.

Current accounts with benefits

The banks are always competing for your business, so there usually a huge number of benefits and rewards that can come with certain current accounts, but be careful they can come with a monthly cost.

They range from travel insurance to cashback, breakdown cover for your car and special offers with the bank’s partner companies that could save you money on holidays and other luxuries. For example if you have a current account with major supermarket you even get shopping points every time you spend.

Some of the additional benefits that might be useful include online fraud cover, which can be a lifesaver. Identity theft can destroy your credit record and leave you picking up the pieces for months. Should the worst happen, you just have to call the specialist advisors and they’ll take care of the rest. This is a seriously useful benefit that could make you glad you chose that bank.

When you’re comparing current accounts look for these additional features. Look for substance, look for benefits that will save you money, as well as a bank with a reputation for stellar customer service and low charges, obviously. So start using our comparison service today and find the current account that suits your needs.

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