We find current accounts from leading providers from across the market and we’ll show you the results within seconds
1Accurate as of Feb 2024
You can use a current account for:
Everyday spending: Think of a current account as the money you currently have. So, it’s ideal to use this bank account for your day-to-day spending
Salary: Your wages will always be paid into your current account
Pension: When you’ve retired, your pension will be deposited into your current account
Cash withdrawals: It’s best to use your current account for ATM withdrawals, as you will not be charged for doing so when you’re in the UK. Using a credit card for cash withdrawals will come with fees as this is money you’re borrowing from the lender
Bank switching is when you change your current account provider to a new one. Switching your bank account is straightforward as most banks and building societies are part of the Current Account Switch Service. When you switch your current account, your incoming payments will move to your new bank account. You could even benefit from extra money in your new account, if the bank you’re moving to offers an account switching bonus.
If you want to switch to a new current account, it’s essential that you meet the eligibility requirements. If you’re looking to benefit from a switch incentive, it’s also important that you meet the eligibility criteria. Eligibility requirements across banks will vary but here’s what’s usually needed:
Deposit a certain amount: You might have to move a certain amount of money into the new current account
Direct debits: Your new provider may want you to set up a minimum number of direct debits in order for you to make the switch
Be a new customer: You’ll usually have to be a first-time customer to qualify for the switch bonus. Some banks will require you to have not had an account with them since a certain date or never at all
A common perk for switching is a cash incentive, which is basically free money. However there tend to be some conditions, such as a minimum deposit to put into the account
Some banks offer you better deals on your overdraft when you switch with them, such as an interest-free overdraft for a period time
You can even benefit from cashback when you switch current accounts. Some banks may let you get cashback on purchases from selected stores
Another perk when you switch current accounts can be access to better saving rates. The provider may offer you savings accounts with generous rates of interest for switching
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.
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.
If your account is rarely overdrawn, then a high interest account could benefit you. These accounts pay competitive rates of interest, however there is usually a cap on the balance that can earn interest each month.
If you have a low credit score then 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.
Switching current accounts can impact your credit score, especially if you make multiple switches in a short period of time. However, the effect on your credit rating shouldn’t last long or be too severe. The reason your credit score might dip is because some banks will carry out a hard credit check when you register for a new account with them. If you’re planning to apply for a loan, for example, a mortgage then it may be best to avoid switching your current account until after, so your score hasn’t been brought down by the switch. You can keep an eye on your credit score, by using our free credit monitor service.
We tend to overlook our current accounts but they are valuable weapons in our financial arsenal. Some perks can genuinely save us money when they fit our needs, spending and saving habits. But even with the switch guarantee, we don't vote with our feet often enough when the account, service or provider isn't what we need or really want. It's high time we started flexing our muscles and making those providers work harder for us and our money."
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.
You can find current account switching offers when you compare with us. You can sort by switching incentive, so you can see how much you could get for switching your bank account.
When you open a current account with an overdraft, a hard credit check will be carried out, as you’ll have access to borrowing. So, when you open a new current, there will be a temporary drop in your credit score. Consequently,having multiple bank accounts could affect your credit score as the applications show up on your credit file.
Your current account will be where your salary is paid into and where people transfer money to you. You can use this account for everyday spending as it’s the money you currently have and are not borrowing from your credit card provider, for example.
Most standard current accounts will come with an overdraft facility. This allows for short-term borrowing, however overdrafts charge interest and get expensive quickly.
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.
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?