[]   Your account

Compare current accounts

We’re working with Love Money to help you compare bank accounts to find the right fit for you

We’re working with Love Money to help you compare bank accounts to find the right fit for you

We’re working with Love Money to help you compare bank accounts to find the right fit for you

We’re working with Love Money to help you compare bank accounts to find the right fit for you

We’re working with Love Money to help you compare bank accounts to find the right fit for you

How this works? Compare the Market has selected Runpath Regulated Services Limited to provide you with an information only current accounts comparison service.

Looking for Meerkat Meals or Meerkat Movies?

Current accounts are not a qualifying product; however, compare current accounts now and find the right one for you.

What is a current account?

A current account is a bank or building society account that allows you to manage your spending on a day-to-day basis. Your salary can be paid into it, and direct debits and standing orders can be set up. Some current accounts pay interest on balances, offer cashback on spending and many come with an overdraft facility.

Can I get a current account? 

Any legal UK resident over the age of 16 can get a current account. Some banks won’t accept you until you’re 18, unless you have your parents’ approval. But there are banks that will happily provide you with basic banking facilities, although these types of accounts can be more limited in their services. 
 
You might need to undergo a credit check, as most current accounts come with an automatic overdraft that might be cut if you have a poor credit history. Here are some tips for  improving your credit score. Obviously, you’ll have to prove your identity and provide an address to open a current account. 

Which is the best current account for me? 

Finding the best current account for you will depend on your financial situation and what you need the account for. We’ve listed out the different types of current accounts to help you make the best choice. 

  • Standard current accounts  provide many useful services. You can have your salary paid directly into a current account, settle bills or set up direct debits. These accounts usually provide a debit card that allows you to make cash withdrawals and to pay for items. 
  • Packaged accounts  are aimed at customers looking for additional extras on top of what’s available with a standard account. Additional extras such as travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, breakdown cover and cashback are typically available. However, there are often monthly or annual fees associated with this type of account, so weigh up the benefits versus any fees and make sure it works for you. 
  • Student accounts aim to meet the needs of those studying at college or university and typically offer interest-free overdrafts.
  • Graduate accounts  are specifically designed for graduates to help pay off overdrafts built up while at university. They normally offer interest-free overdrafts for up to three years. 
  • Basic bank accounts  are available to anyone. 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.
  • Joint accounts can work like any other type of current account. The only difference is that both of you are responsible for the income and outgoings for the account. These are common for couples who have shared financial responsibilities, such as a mortgage, rent or other household bills. 

What should I consider before comparing current accounts? 

It’s worth thinking about how you plan to use your current account. Consider your money flow - what amounts do you estimate putting in and taking out each month? Will you need an overdraft? Do you move money often? These sorts of things will help you narrow down your options and help you find the current account with the right features for your lifestyle. 

How to switch a current account online 

Once you’ve decided to switch your current account, and chosen the type of account you’d like to switch to, there’s a relatively simple process to get you up and running: 

  • Compare current account deals – choose the type of account you’re looking for and we’ll show you a list of offers. You can compare the interest rates, overdraft limits, account benefits and more. 
  • Complete the application – once you’ve found the right offer for you, simply complete the application process by clicking through to your new provider. 
  • Organise the switch – most banks under the current account switch service will now handle this for you. They’ll transfer your money to your new bank, along with any direct debits, and inform your employer to switch your salary payment, before closing your old account. It’s important to check this though, as you may be responsible for some or all of the process if the bank you’re switching to isn’t part of the switch service scheme. 

Just as when you open any new bank account, you’ll need to give your new provider certain information. This will include forms of ID and proof of address. Your new bank is also likely to carry out a credit check on you. 

How long does it take to switch a current account? 

If your new bank is part of the current account switch service, your switch can take as little as seven working days. You can also pick the date you’d like the switch to take place. If it’s not part of the switch service, expect it to take up to 10 working days. 

What benefits can I get by switching current accounts? 

The current accounts market is extremely competitive, with new bank account offers regularly introduced to lure new customers. You can often find a large number of benefits and rewards when you open certain types of accounts. Better rates of interest are a clear advantage, but others include cashback, travel insurance, breakdown cover and more. It’s well worth shopping around and comparing for the best current accounts available. 
 
Be aware, though, that when you switch current accounts to receive rewards, there may be a requirement to pay in a certain amount each month and/or set up a number of direct debits from the account. This is to encourage you to use it as your main bank account.  

Have a look at some of our most competitive current account deals today

Frequently asked questions

How much should I pay into a current account?

Generally, there’s no advised amount. However, some banks might insist that you pay a minimum amount into your account each month from your wages, benefits or other means. If you can’t do this, or a credit check means you’re refused a full current account, then consider a basic bank account.   
 
A basic account will give you much the same service, but without any of the frills and you won’t be given access to credit (often in the form of an overdraft). You can still have a debit card, though, so you can make direct debit or standing order payments. 

Will I be charged for using a current account?

Unless you slip into an overdraft that hasn’t been pre-agreed with your bank or building society, then you often won’t be charged for having a current account (unless it's a packaged account that comes with an agreed monthly fee). But do check, because each account will have different terms. Withdrawals from cash machines, over-the-counter and online or contactless payments are often free of charge. However, you can sometimes get charged fees in cash machines that are privately owned.

If you’re overseas, then you’ll typically get charged to withdraw money - and your bank’s exchange rate can also prove painful. You should try to avoid using your current account’s debit card to take out cash abroad. Find other solutions, such as pre-paid cards or currency. Some credit cards even have great offers for overseas travel. Find out more about credit cards you can use abroad.

Unless you have agreed an interest free overdraft you’ll almost certainly have to pay for an overdraft with a current account, and it can cost more than you might think. Make sure you check the terms and conditions for any overdraft charges.

What fees should I consider when comparing current accounts?

  • Interest rates (AER):  The Annual Equivalent Rate (AER) shows the rate of interest you would receive on any balances left in the account over a year - and can be paid annually or monthly.
  • Account fee:  This is how much you’ll be charged on a monthly or yearly basis for using the account.
  • Overdraft charges:  You could be charged hefty penalties if you exceed your agreed overdraft limit. If you do often find yourself overdrawn at the end of each month, pay close attention to any related charges.

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 take for granted. This includes 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. Plus, you can often keep an eye on your balance through mobile apps. 

What other benefits can current accounts offer?

If you decided to take out a packaged account, the benefits are wide ranging and include: travel insurance, cashback, breakdown cover for your car and special offers with the bank’s partner companies. Other benefits might include protection from online fraud cover, which can be a lifesaver should the worst happen. 
 
When you’re comparing current accounts, look through the offer details very carefully. Look for benefits that will save you money and consider opting for a bank with a reputation for strong customer service. 

Should I consider an app-based bank account?

App-based bank accounts are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. These are different to the apps on offer from the traditional banks, which offer you greater visibility of your normal account and finances. App-based banks don’t have high-street branches for you to visit, with all the customer service instead found in the app. It creates a one-stop-shop for all your banking needs, with a 24/7 personal banking assistant in your pocket. 
 
Even though your bank account is purely in the app, some app-based banks still allow you to deposit cash and cheques into your account. The process may vary from one account provider to the next, and some may not allow you to do this at all, so it’s important to check before opening an account. 
 
As well as all the traditional services a bank offers, banking with an app gives you plenty of other useful features. You can set up spending notifications, allowing you to become more aware of your money and prevent you from going overdrawn. It also offers beneficial saving options, such as the ability to ring-fence money to protect your savings, or to freeze your account temporarily when your balance is low. These features allow you to be more flexible with your money, giving you instant access at any time of the day. 
 
It’s important to note that many traditional banks are beginning to offer similar services to app-based bank accounts, improving their digital services considerably to keep up. 

How do I compare current accounts?

If you’re looking for the best current account, start by comparing the latest deals. Compare with us now, to see if you can start saving. 

comparethemarket.com uses cookies to offer you the best experience online. By continuing to use our website, you agree to the use of cookies. If you would like to know more about cookies and how to manage them please view our privacy & cookie policy.