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What is a current account?

A current account is a bank or building society account used for everyday spending. Your salary or pension can be paid in, and you can set up automated electronic payments – such as direct debits and standing orders – to pay regular bills.

Current accounts come with a debit card which can be used to withdraw cash from a cash machine, or to make payments, including contactless payments in shops and purchases online. You have immediate access to the money in your current account.


What do you want your current account for?

There are many different types of current account – all with different features and benefits. Choose the type of account that suits your needs.

  • Rewards and cashback

    Earn cashback or rewards when you spend using the debit card linked to your account

  • Extra benefits

    Sometimes called a ‘packaged account’ this offers extra perks and features for a monthly fee

  • Switch incentive

    Get a one-off cash boost, such as £175, just for switching to a new current account

  • Basic banking

    An account for day-to-day banking, but no overdraft facility, for those with a low credit score

What current account will suit me best?

What type of current account best suits you will depend on what you’re looking for and your personal, financial goals. 

There are several types of current accounts to suit different needs, including:

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    Joint accounts

    If you want to manage your finances with a partner or housemate, a joint current account can help you keep track of what’s coming in and payments out. You can have multiple bank accounts.

    Read more

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    Children’s accounts

    Looking to open a current account for your child? A children’s bank account can help them understand the value of money and become more financially independent.

    Read more

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    Business accounts

    If you’re looking to receive payments and pay out money in your company name, a business current account may suit you best. 

    Read more

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    Student accounts

    Off to college or university soon and looking for a way to manage your spending? A student account tends to offer the best deals on overdrafts. 

    Read more

How do you switch bank accounts?

MoneySuperMarket makes switching to a new bank account quick and easy. Simply compare and choose your new current account and with the Current Account Switch Guarantee  your old and new bank will work together to take care of the switch. 

  • The switch

    You’ll choose the date you want the switch to go through

  • Direct debits and standing orders

    All your direct debits and standing orders will be moved across

  • Your payments

    Incoming payments, such as salary or pension, will switch automatically

  • Protection

    You’ll be covered financially and reimbursed if anything goes wrong 

How to choose the best current account for you

When it comes to choosing the best current account for you this all depends on what you need your current account to do. Different current accounts will have features designed for different types of customer.

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    Consider cheapest overdraft

    For those who regularly need to dip into an overdraft, you may want to prioritise a current account that comes with a cheaper overdraft – as some banks have very high overdraft rates. If you're paying high overdraft interest this could wipe out the value of other benefits you might earn on the account.

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    Match an account to your lifestyle

    You may want to consider an online or app-based bank where you can see your balance and manage your transactions at any time 24/7. Banking and access to cash is free and convenient. You might also be able to choose an account with a competitive overdraft interest rate - if you know you will need to use an overdraft.

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    Look for high interest deals

    If you know you don’t usually go overdrawn and instead your current account is typically in credit you may want to get an account that pays interest on your balance. Some current accounts pay better rates of interest than savings accounts although there is usually a cap on the balance that can earn interest each month.

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    Improve your credit score

    If you have a low credit score due to debt problems or if you’ve not had a bank account or credit card before, a basic bank account or account for bad credit can help you rebuild your score. You won’t have access to an overdraft, but setting up direct debits to pay bills on time through your account can improve your credit score

Can I get a current account with bad credit?

You can get a bank account even if you’ve had debt problems in the past or if you have a low credit score. 

Current accounts for bad credit or basic bank accounts offer most of the functionality of a standard current account, 

but typically you won’t have access to an overdraft. Features of basic bank accounts include:

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    Available to those with poor credit

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    Interest paid on balances in credit

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    Online or phone banking and a debit card

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    Overdraft facility

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    Direct debits and standing orders

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    No monthly fee

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    Cashback or add-on perks

Victoria Russell

Our expert says


For most people in the UK, a current account is the cornerstone of their finances. Not all current accounts are the same and some can offer some great perks when you sign-up. Yet often we stick with the same one for years because it seems too much hassle to switch. If you do want to switch, it has never been easier or more reliable than with the Current Account Switch Guarantee.

- Victoria Russell, Personal Finance Expert

How to compare current accounts with MoneySuperMarket

We can take the hard work out of finding a current account to suit you by comparing a range of current accounts all in one place.

  • Browse our providers

    Click through to search the market to find the best current account for your needs, including any cash incentives to switch

  • Filter and sort

    Use our handy filters to narrow down your options based on the type of current account you need, such as high interest or student accounts

  • Click through to provider

    When you find the deal you want, click straight through to the provider to complete your application. Sit back while your new bank takes care of the switch

To open a bank account, you’ll usually need the following information to hand:

  • Personal information: Usually your full name, nationality, contact details, date of birth and national insurance number

  • Proof of address: A recent utility bill, mortgage statement or tenancy agreement, bank statement or council tax bill 

  • Proof of identity: Such as your passport or driving licence. If you’re opening a children’s account or student account, your bank may accept a birth certificate as proof of identity 

Most providers will only need you to be over 18 to open a bank account, but some banks might have additional requirements for certain types of accounts. This could mean a minimum credit score, especially if the account comes with perks or benefits.

If you want to close your account, you’ll normally be able to do this by contacting your bank either by phone or post, or by meeting face to face and letting them know.

Switching current accounts is a great way to save money, as you might be able to find a provider that offers better interest rates or more useful incentives as part of the account. There are also numerous financial incentives on offer for switching accounts.

The process also only takes a maximum of seven working days, thanks to the Current Account Switch Service, so you’ll be ready to bank in no time.

You don’t need to tell your bank when you switch current accounts. When you’ve completed the Current Account Switch Agreement form, the bank you are switching to will take care of the rest.

Any payments in and out of your old account are automatically switched thanks to the Current Account Switch Service, and your new bank will contact the person sending the payment or the person due to receive the payment to let them know your new account details. They’ll also contact you if there are any problems.

If you created any regular payments using your old account’s debit card then you might need to manually change them.

Many banks will let you add another name to your current account – you’ll normally both have to go into a branch and show ID to do this, as well as fill out some forms.

However, some accounts might only be limited to one account holder, and others could say the additional person needs to be a certain age. They may even need to make a payment into the account to be added – read more with our guide to joint bank accounts.

If you want to change the personal details on your account you’ll normally be able to do this by filling out a form or going into a branch. You’ll need to bring in some sort of proof of your new personal details, for example a marriage certificate if you’re changing your name for marriage, an amended birth certificate or another form of identification – you can ask your bank or check online to see what they need you to do.

If your bank goes out of business your money is safe up to a threshold of £85,000 due to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which gives you government protection when you bank. It includes digital and challenger banks, building societies and credit unions.

AER stands for Annual Equivalent Rate, and it shows you how much interest you’re earning on the balance of your savings account. APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate, which refers to the interest rate you’ll pay on any loan or credit card repayments.

There are no rules on how many current accounts you can have. You can have multiple bank accounts – provided your bank or building society lets you. But some current accounts have eligibility criteria, such as a minimum amount you must pay into the account each month, for example.

It can be beneficial to have an additional current account with a partner or housemate if, for example, you need to share payment of rent, mortgage and other bills. You could also open a second current account to earn higher interest on some savings, and still want to keep another account for day-to-day spending.

Be aware that if you use an overdraft on more than one current account this could negatively impact your credit score and affect your ability to get loans and credit. Your credit score could also dip if you apply for a lot of new current accounts in a short space of time.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme will protect up to £85,000 in your current account. As long as your current account is held within a UK-authorised bank, building society or credit union then your money will be covered by the FSCS. If you hold a joint bank account, then up to £170,000 will be protected.

A current account is a bank or building society account that lets you manage your day-to-day spending.

You can have your salary paid into it, set up direct debits and standing orders, and negotiate an overdraft. Some accounts also pay interest on balances and offer cashback on spending.

There are lots of types of current account to suit all sorts of personal situations. These include:

  • Standard: For managing ordinary income and expenditure, usually with a debit card, a cheque book and an overdraft

  • Basic: No-frills accounts which come with fewer features, designed for people with bad or no credit history

  • Packaged: These come with various bonuses, including things like interest-free overdraft, insurance add-ons and discounts for other banking products. They usually have monthly fees and eligibility requirements

  • Student/graduate: Current accounts designed to cover the particular financial pressures faced by students and recent graduates, normally including larger interest-free overdrafts

  • Joint: Accounts designed for two or more people, to cover household expenses or couples’ expenditure

  • Children’s: These have few features and are designed to introduce children to banking and saving

Some current accounts come with extra benefits for the account holder, like a cash bonus for signing up, better interest rates or even breakdown cover. The accounts might only be available to certain customers, like those with high credit ratings.

Some current accounts include fees if you use them in a certain way – some banks might charge you for resending a printed account statement or for accessing your account abroad. You may even be charged a fee for going into your overdraft without telling your bank beforehand.

The traditional idea of banking is being changed by digital or challenger banks, who provide most of their services through the internet or a mobile app rather than in branch or over the phone. Many are designed to be more open and transparent with customers and less focused on banking products.

It’s more attractive than ever to compare current accounts: healthy competition means there are a number of incentives available for those willing to switch. But if you don’t compare current accounts, you could be missing out on a great deal – and some free cash!

Switching current accounts is simple because most of the legwork is done for you and, at the end of it, you can benefit from an account that’s much better for your pocket and lifestyle.

If you’re looking for the best current account, you’ll benefit from a wide range of products to choose from. Many of the best current accounts offer:

  • High interest rates

  • Cashback and rewards on spending

  • Competitive overdraft rates

The best current account is different for each person, as it depends on your spending habits and level of savings.

Switching current accounts has never been simpler, and many providers offer lucrative incentives for moving your account to them.

The Current Account Switch Guarantee makes switching current accounts very easy indeed, and your bank will do most of the legwork for you, including transferring money, direct debits and standing orders, and informing your employer.

When you switch your current account to a new bank or building society, you could get £100 or more in cashback as a reward for switching. Just make sure that you’re applying for an account that suits your needs, not just the one with the highest cashback.

If you tend to stay in credit and never go overdrawn, you could get rewarded regularly by your bank or building society. By switching to a rewards current account, you could get a monthly reward payment and earn cashback on your spending. Some providers will also offer a cash incentive for switching your current account to them.

Many rewards accounts have requirements such as paying in a minimum amount eachmonth, or having a minimum number of direct debits, so make sure you can meet the criteria to get the rewards.

If you’re fed up with getting poor customer service from your bank, switch your current account to a provider that’s known for looking after its customers.

As well as making your life easier, some of these accounts offer extra benefits such as competitive overdrafts or cashback for switching.

It’s a good idea to check your account statements regularly, because this could stop you going into your overdraft without knowing. It can also be a good way to double check whether there are any transactions you don’t recognise.

Look for a provider with good customer service, because you never know when you’ll need to call them up or go into a branch to fix an issue.

Remember to be careful with your PIN and account details; you should keep this information safe and protected. Remember, your bank will never ask you to reveal details like your PIN, either on the phone, in person or through an email.

Your bank will almost certainly have an app that lets you manage your account online, and some may even be based on their app. This is excellent for quick and easy money management.

Each bank has different ways of transferring money. Some require you to use a card reader when transferring any sum of money, while others only use it for transactions over a set amount.

Other banks do not use card readers at all, so if money transfers are something you might be doing a lot of, it’s worth checking the policy details to see how easy it is to make payments on the go.

If your current account comes with benefits such as air miles, you might want to check whether you really need them. For example, if you’re not a frequent flyer, is an air miles bonus worth the extra cost?