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Current accounts

Switch to a better bank account

  • Compare our best current account offers

Compare current accounts from right across the market

We'll do the hard part, so you don't have to. We work with a range of leading current account providers to make managing your money simple

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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.


 

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Types of current account

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    High-interest current account

    These accounts pay higher-than-average interest on balances in credit. In some cases interest rates are much better than many of the best savings accounts available, though interest is only paid up to a specific cap

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    Rewards current account

    Looking for cashback or rewards to switch your account or rewards for paying your bills? Many current accounts offer kickbacks when you spend, but check account-opening criteria, as there may be a minimum monthly deposit

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    Online current account

    Manage your current account from your phone or tablet anytime, anywhere. Online banking gives you control over your account to make payments and move money whenever you need - often from an app

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    Packaged current account

    If you want added perks such as travel insurance, breakdown cover and low loan rates, a packaged account offers a range of bolt-on extras. Make sure the benefits suit your needs as you’ll pay a monthly fee

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    Business current account

    A business current account enables you to receiving payments and pay out money in your company name. Most accounts offer an overdraft facility but there can be monthly fees attached to the account

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    Student current account

    College and university students usually set up a current account for the first time when they leave home - to manage student loans and day-to-day spending. Student accounts tend to offer the best deals on overdrafts 

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    Joint current account

    If you want to combine finances with a partner or housemate, a joint current account helps to keep track of what’s coming in and payments out. Most providers will set up any of their current accounts on a joint basis 

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    Basic current account

    A basic or bad credit bank account offers many of the features of a standard current account, but not usually an overdraft. These accounts are offered to people with a low credit score or who have struggled to get a bank account 

The current account switch guarantee

 

Switching to a new current account is quick and easy and with the Current Account Switch Guarantee you know that your old and new bank will work together to take care of the switch. Under the Guarantee:

  • You can choose the date when you want the switch to go through
  • The swap will complete within seven working days
  • All your direct debits and standing orders will be moved across 
  • Incoming payments, such as salary or pension, will switch automatically
  • You’ll be covered financially and reimbursed if anything goes wrong 
illustration of girl balancing on credit cards

How to choose the right 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 have varying 

features designed for different types of customer.

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    Managing bills and expenses

    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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    Earn money on your balance

    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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    Get rewards for banking

    If you’re always in credit an account that pays cashback or rewards could be appealing. Some accounts offer cashback when you pay bills or make transactions, for example. Some providers offer a cash perk when you switch and open a new current account so look out for any offers available before you move. 

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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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    Chequebook

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    No monthly fee

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    Cashback or add-on perks

Why compare current accounts with us?

We can take the hard work out of finding an account to suit your needs

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Browse our providers

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

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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

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Click through to provider

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

You can switch accounts to earn a higher rate of interest, but make sure you are familiar with any notice period on your present account and any restrictions on the new one. It’s worth keeping an eye on savings rates and moving to a better-paying account to take advantage.

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 two types of interest: simple and compound interest. Simple interest is paid in regular increments as a percentage of the original sum.

Compound interest works the same way, but each new payment is calculated including the previous interest payment, so your savings grow at a faster rate than with simple interest.

Most banks use compound interest to calculate their payments.

There are no rules on how many current accounts you can have. You can open as many accounts as you like – 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.

 

There are no limits or rules on how many current accounts you can have – or where. Many banks will allow you to have two current accounts, provided you meet any account opening or eligibility criteria. 

Be aware that if you use a number of overdrafts on different current accounts, or if you apply for or open a lot of accounts in a short space of time this could negatively affect your credit score.

 

 

 

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.

If you’re wondering whether a credit card is the right option for you, it might not always be a straightforward decision. They can offer some benefits depending on how you use them, but like any kind of borrowing they also present a risk if you can’t pay back what you owe.

We’ve set out the basic advantages and disadvantages to using credit cards, so you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should apply for one.

Advantages of using a credit card

As long as you use them properly, credit cards can have a number of advantages over debit cards and cash payments. These include:

  • Improving your credit score: If you have a poor or limited credit rating, credit builder credit cards can offer a way to improve your financial situation and create better borrowing habits. As they’re aimed at people with a poor credit rating, they can often charge higher rates of interest – but as long as you make your repayments in full each month you won’t have to pay any interest. Consistently paying off your balance means you’ll be able to slowly build up your credit rating as you show that you’re able to borrow money responsibly over a long period
  • Buying now to pay later: It can also be a more convenient option to use a credit card, as it can let you buy a product or service but not pay for it until payday rolls around
  • Spreading purchases out: If you need make a large purchase, such as a home appliance, a credit card offers the advantage of spreading the cost over several monthly payments
  • Having purchase protection: If you buy something on your credit card and something goes wrong – for example if the selling company goes bust or if the purchase is faulty or goes missing – you can claim the cost back from your credit card provider. This is because any purchases you make between £100 and £30,000 on a credit card are protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. You’ll also be able to claim for a refund if your credit card is used fraudulently, as long as you weren’t negligent with it – read more with our guide to credit card security
  • Interest free spending: If you need to make a purchase but you’ve not saved up enough yet, some credit cards offer a 0% interest period that effectively lets you borrow for free – providing you make your monthly payments. Even if you pay the minimum amount required per month, you’ll still be borrowing interest free until this period ends. At this point it would be best to completely pay off your debt, otherwise you could be placed back on the provider’s standard interest rate – which can be quite high. You might also be placed back on the standard rate if you miss a payment or exceed your credit limit
  • Getting cashback, benefits and rewards: If you know you’ll be using the credit card for regular spending, you could take advantage of one with varying rewards and incentives. For example, if you’re a keen shopper you might find a cashback or store credit card to be ideal, while if you’re often flying from country to country you might prefer an airline credit card
  • Cutting down your debt: If you have outstanding debts you might consider a balance transfer credit card – you’ll be able to transfer existing debts on to one credit account, usually with lowered or no interest. This means you reduce the amount of money you pay on interest, letting you pay off the debt quicker.

Disadvantages of using a credit card

When you use a credit card you should be mindful of the following risks:

  • The possibility of debt: The main risk of taking out a credit card is that you could put yourself in rising debt if you aren’t able to pay back what you borrow. Credit card providers can charge high rates of interest because you have a poor or limited credit history (as you’ll present a higher risk), or because the card offers certain extra features. Sometimes the interest rate can be over 20%, which builds up quickly if you don’t pay the balance off
  • Your credit score: Letting your credit card debt build up, or missing payments, can influence your credit rating. The lower your credit rating the harder it will be to apply for credit in the future
  • Fees and charges: Credit cards can also come with fees and charges if you don’t meet your repayments or you exceed your credit limit
  • Limited usage: You might be restricted in how and where you can use your credit card. For example, many will charge you for withdrawing cash or using the card abroad unless stated otherwise in the credit agreement

How can I use my credit card effectively?

To make sure you’re getting the best from your credit card, consider the following:

  • Get a card to match your needs: You should consider what you’ll be using your credit card for before applying. There won’t be much point in paying extra for an airmiles credit card if you don’t fly a lot, and if you’re in a lot of debt it’s worth considering balance transfer cards more than store or supermarket cards. Our guide to finding the best credit card for you can help
  • Don’t miss a payment: Missing payments can result in charges and loss of certain benefits, which makes it important to keep up with your balance – even if it means paying the minimum monthly amount
  • Pay more than the minimum: It’s usually better to pay off as much as you possibly can, ideally the full amount. This can help you keep control of your balance and avoid going into debt
  • Set up a direct debit: If you think you might not remember to make your payment each month, you could try setting up a direct debit for the minimum monthly amount to ensure you can at least meet that payment
  • Set up text alerts: You can also set up free text alerts that will remind you when a payment is due or when you are approaching your credit limit
  • Take advantage of rewards: Credit card rewards can be a great bonus of your credit agreement, but as they can sometimes cost extra you should take advantage when you can, otherwise you’re paying for a service you don’t use
  • Time your applications: Applying for a credit card can leave a mark on your credit report, and too many of these are generally an indicator of poor finances. Timing your applications and using MoneySuperMarket’s credit card eligibility checker can help you make an application with the best chance of being accepted

Choosing a credit card

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of credit cards, should help you decide what kind of credit card you would like.

Example questions to ask yourself include: Do I want to…

  • Help spread the cost of my spending?
  • Build my credit score?
  • Pay down my existing debt?
  • Get cashback and rewards?
  • Spend fee-free when travelling abroad?

Answering these questions first will help when you look at the different features a credit card offers.

Credit cards tend to be labelled as purchase cards, balance transfer cards, rewards and cashback cards and credit builder cards – and some cards offer a combination of features to attract you. You can find out more about choosing the right card.

Compare credit cards with MoneySuperMarket

Finding the right credit card is easier when you compare your options on MoneySuperMarket. All you need to do is tell us a little about yourself and your finances, including details about your employment, income, and what you’ll use the new card for.

You’ll be given a list of credit cards that match your needs, and you’ll even get to see which cards you’re most likely to be accepted for if you apply with our credit card eligibility checker. This way you can minimise the risk of applying for a card and help keep your credit rating healthier.

Once you’ve found the card you want, just click through to the provider to finalise your application. If your provider accepts your application, they’ll tell you what your credit limit and interest rate will be set at. As soon as it comes through the post you just need to activate it – then it will be ready to use.

MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker not a lender. You must be 18 or over and a UK resident.

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?

Can't find what you're looking for? Try looking at our news, views and in-depth current account guides

Current account guides - Current account news


Current account companies

Starling bank - Monzo - First Direct - Natwest - M&S Bank - HSBC - TSB - Barclays - Santander - Nationwide - RBS - Virgin Money Transfers - HiFX Money Transfers - Currencies Direct Money Transfers - Clydesdale Bank

Switching current accounts is easy with MoneySuperMarket, and it could mean you get to take advantage of better interest rates and cashback rewards, vouchers and other incentives.

The process of switching will take a maximum of seven working days with the Current Account Switch Service – all your direct debits should be switched over automatically, and everything should be taken care of by your new account provider.

You can compare current accounts with MoneySuperMarket, and when you're ready to make the swtich, all you need to do is give your chosen new bank a few details such as your name, address and date of birth. You will also have to supply some documentation to confirm your identity and address.

You’ll be able to look at a number of important factors, like the interest rates they’ll pay, the overdraft rates they’ll charge, any rewards they provide, and any costs involved in holding an account.

MoneySuperMarket gives you lots of clever ways to save a lot, by doing very little.

  • Take control of your credit score by checking and improving it for free with Credit Monitor
  • Never overpay again with Energy Monitor, our energy monitoring service
  • Over 50 ways to Get Money Calm

So how do we make our money? In a nutshell, when you use us to buy a product, we get a reward from the company you’re buying from.

We currently provide access to six partner companies, covering 30% of the market, though you may have other questions. For instance, do we have commercial relationships or ownership ties that might make us feature one company above another?

We commit to providing you with clear and informative answers on all points such as this, so we have gathered the relevant information on this page.