The comparison table below details all the UK personal basic bank accounts available to those who just require a simple bank account or those with adverse credit who find it difficult to open any standard UK personal bank account. We have also included ‘managed’ guaranteed bank accounts for those who have exhausted all other avenues.
On a mobile device or low resolution screen you can scroll the table below left and right.
Basic bank accounts listed below all active and all external links working as of 18th Sept 2018.
Some information about Basic Bank Accounts:
Many people in the UK don’t have a personal bank account. Some of those people find it difficult to open a standard current account with a full function debit card, cheque book and overdraft facility because of either a previous bad credit history (defaults, county court judgments (CCJs), IVA) or a low credit score due to them not being in full time employment, not being on the electoral register or not owning their own home, for example.
To overcome this problem UK banks are obliged to offer stripped down versions of their current accounts without the overdraft, cheque book or fully functioning debit card. These accounts are called basic bank accounts. Many of them still come with debit cards (real time authorisation type) and most of the facilities that the standard current accounts provide such as online/telephone banking and Direct Debits / Standing Orders. Banks don’t really publicise these accounts as they are not a profitable service to offer. They are obliged to offer them though.
Some of the UK high street banks no longer allow you to apply directly for their basic accounts and you must apply initially for their standard current account. If you do not qualify for the standard account then you may be offered their basic account.
Despite the accounts being easy to obtain, the banks are still required to carry out identity and residency checks which could still be an issue for some individuals.
There are even basic accounts available to undischarged bankrupts such as the Barclays Basic Bank Account, the Virgin Money Essential Current Account, possibly the Nationwide FlexBasic Basic Account as well as the managed eccount, cardone and cashplus accounts. However, anyone with a CIFAS fraud flag on their credit file is still likely to be refused by the high street banks.
Branch Access information has been obtained from the Bank / Building Society / Financial Company websites directly and some other crossing referencing.
Our comparison table should be used as a guide only and we make no guarantees about the information presented. Applicants are advised to check the details with the actual banks before making an application for a basic account.
Many other UK Bank / Building Society accounts are available that allow someone with an adverse credit history to carry out very basic money management. These include basic savings and other accounts. However, as they don’t really offer what one would call ‘proper’ banking facilities such as Direct Debits or Standing Orders then they haven’t been included in our comparison table above.
One such account is the Post Office Card Account suitable for those in receipt of benefits/pensions/tax credits.
Some debit cards such as the Visa debit card that comes with the NatWest basic account, for example, may not work at petrol pumps as these particular cards require real time authorisation.
All the accounts listed offer Direct Debit and Standing Order facilities unless otherwise specified.
Unless otherwise stated none of the accounts require a minimum opening balance.
The ‘Buffer Zone’ amount is the amount by which you can go overdrawn without incurring any unauthorised overdraft fees.
Cash withdrawals at Post Offices (where this service is available) can be carried out free of charge.
Some banks will not allow you to open a basic account should you already have an account with another institution. Nationwide is one such bank.
To open any of the above accounts including the guaranteed managed ones such as the Tuxedo eccount guaranteed acceptance current account or the CardOneBanking current account, applicants need to provide proof of identity and proof of address. Proofs of identity usually mean photo ID such as a passport or driving licence and proof of address could be a council tax or utility bill, for example. The relevant bank will provide a list of acceptable documents. Also see the ID Handbook for full details about providing ID.
Although banks will not generally carry out a credit check with a credit reference agency when someone applies for a basic account, they may make an electronic identity check which can often be used as an acceptable alternative to providing hard copies of ID.
Foreign nationals residing in the UK (students, for example) are also generally able to open basic accounts using their overseas passports/ID cards as acceptable forms of ID.