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Banking

It is important to find the right kind of bank account that suits your needs and circumstances

Also to receive certain benefits now, it is essential that you have a bank account

The Money Advice Service has produced this video to help you choose a bank account

This page will also advise what to do if you have any problems opening a bank account, if you want to switch accounts, and on line banking safety

There are many types of accounts- It is important to find the best kind of bank account that suits your needs and circumstances

A fee-free basic account may be worth considering if you don't have a bank account or can't use or open a standard current account. You can use a fee-free basic bank account to receive money and pay bills, but it doesn't allow you to use an overdraft

You will need to take some form of identificationalong with you to open any type of account

Many accounts allow you to carry out a range of transactions via your computer tablet or smartphone - this is called online banking

Online banking is a very secure and convenient way to access your bank's services. However, you need to be wary of fraudsters trying to gain access to your account. This is usually by trying to dupe you into handing over security information such as your username, passwords or your memorable information

Find out further information on how to choose the right bank account

Bank Accounts

Current accounts - these are the most popular accounts for managing day to day money. It allows you to:

  • Pay bills by Direct Debit or standing order.
  • Receive automated payments such as salary, wages or benefits.
  • Access to an overdraft, although this will need to be authorized by the bank.
  • Pay for things with a debit card and withdraw money from cashpoint machines

Basic Bank accounts are similar to current accounts except that they do not have an overdraft facility and therefore it is not usually possible to get over drawn. Basic bank accounts come with a debit card and you can pay bills with direct debit

Packaged accounts -some current accounts offer extra features for which they charge a fee.

Jam jar accounts- These accounts are sometimes called budgeting accounts or rent accounts and are designed to help you budget.

They let you divide your money into different 'pots' or 'jars'.

You decide how much money goes into each pot by working out how much you need for your bills and how much is left over for spending or saving.

They also allow you to:

  • Pay bills by Direct Debit or standing order
  • Receive payments such as salary, wages or benefits

One disadvantage of these accounts is that they charge a monthly fee

Post Office Accounts -some people prefer to bank with the post office - they have 3 different types of accounts

Straightforward current account -that offers free everyday banking with no hidden charges

Control Account-an account that protects you from unexpected bank charges and from accidentally going overdrawn .This costs £5 per month

The Post Office cardaccount is made especially for receiving pensions, benefits and tax credit - perfect if you don't have a bank account - key benefits

  • No overdraft and no charges
  • No credit checks
  • Take cash out and check your balance

Credit Union Accounts -Credit unions are independently-run local co-operative organisations that offer loans and saving accounts to people living or working their area. They offer access to, savings accounts, loans, current accounts and payment cards, and budgeting advice. Credit Unions are monitored by the Financial Services Authority.

You will also need to become a member of a credit union and may have to pay a small joining fee.

The amount of interest that Credit Unions can charge on their loans is capped by law; this often makes them a good value alternative to high street lenders. Credit union loans have no hidden charges, no penalties for repaying early and include life insurance for the loan as standard

Student Accounts

Bank accounts for students and graduates- Most banks offer a specific student account, usually with an interest-free overdraft up to an agreed amount. Banks often offer attractive accounts to graduates to try to

Frequently asked questions about banking

Is it worth switching your bank account?

If you're unhappy with the service you are getting from your current bank, it's easy to change. Your new bank will do the work for you and there's no need to deal with your old bank.

It's worth checking every year that your bank is offering everything you need. If not, think about switching

It takes just seven working days to switch your account under the Current Account Switch Service

You choose the date you want to switch, and agree this with your new bank. They will arrange to move all your incoming and outgoing payments to your new account

Universal Credit and other benefits

To receive your benefits you'll need a bank or building society account, or an account with an alternative provider like a credit union.

Problems opening a bank account

Some people may be refused permission to open a current account if they have a poor credit rating, haven't been able to build up a credit rating. Some groups of people such as ex-prisoners may find it particularly difficult to open accounts

You could open a basic bank account account if you don't have a bank account or can't use or open a standard current account. You can use a fee-free basic bank account to receive money and pay bills but it doesn't allow you to use an overdraft.

Identification

You will need to take some form of identification along with you to open an account as all banks and building societies need you to show them identification of who you are to prevent money laundering.

Banking safety on line

Online banking is very secure and convenient way to access your bank's services. However, you need to be wary of fraudsters trying to gain access to your account. This is usually by trying to dupe you into handing over security information such as your username, passwords and your memorable information.

If you would like further information, you might find the links below useful:

How to choose the right bank account

Running a bank account

Choose the type of bank account that suits your needs

Post Office current accounts

Post Office card account

Saving and investing

First for money credit union

Prince Bishops Community Bank

Abcul

Planning your retirement

Protect your online mobile banking

Basic bank accounts

Choosing a bank account for your universal credit payment

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