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Best current accounts

How to choose the right current account

The best current account for you will depend on how you want to use it. Our no-nonsense guide explains what you need to know

By Esther Shaw

Published: 09 March 2020

Young woman using her mobile

Looking for a current account?

No single current account offers the best deal for everyone; while some accounts offer benefits for those who tend to maintain a positive balance, others are aimed at people who are more likely to go overdrawn.

If you choose the wrong type of current account for your needs, you could end up missing out on interest, or wasting money on unnecessary overdraft charges.

You can learn how to make the right choice with this short guide to what benefits to look out for depending on how you plan to use your account.

Personal current accounts

To find the best bank account for your personal use, have a think about what you want out of banking. With so much on offer, various key features could be the deciding factor. Consider the following:

If you want to earn incentives or rewards

Some current accounts offer high interest rates on in-credit balance. There’s usually a limit on the total amount you can earn interest on, but the rate can sometimes beat even the best savings accounts.

You can also earn money via your current account by choosing one that offers a switching incentive for new customers, or gives you the chance to earn cashback or rewards on an on-going basis.

If you want smart banking features

Certain online current accounts offer a range of innovative features designed to make your life easier. Common examples include the ability to check your balance at any time, to set up and cancel direct debits, and to transfer money between accounts in seconds.

If convenience is important to you, seek out an online account that provides the services you need and has a good reputation for customer service.

If you need a low overdraft rate

If the balance on your current account often slips below £0, the most useful type of bank account for you is likely to offer an interest-free overdraft buffer.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a short-term way to borrow a smaller amount, you may prefer an account that offers a 0% and fee-free overdraft to new customers. As long as you pay the debt off in full within the interest-free period, you should not face any charges.

If you travel often and need to use your debit card abroad

If you want to use your debit card to withdraw money and make purchases while abroad, the best current account for you could be one that offers fee-free overseas transactions.

Those who spend a lot of time in another country, perhaps because they work or have a second home there, may also want to consider opening an international bank account.

Choosing the best joint bank account

Joint bank accounts are designed for couples. Again, there are numerous joint banking features, and the best account for you will depend on how you plan to use it. Consider these factors:

If you need to keep track of your bills and spending

If you need to keep an eye on the balance of your joint account, perhaps because you use it to pay your household bills, an online current account could prove the best choice.

Some accounts will even send you payment reminders and notifications when your balance falls below a certain point.

If you need access to an overdraft

Some current accounts that you can open as joint account-holders offer free overdraft buffers or introductory 0% deals on overdrafts.

If you want benefits when travelling

A current account that offers fee-free overseas transactions is a good choice if you travel a lot.

As packaged current accounts generally offer benefits to both joint account holders for the same monthly fee as an individual account, a packaged account that comes with travel insurance benefits is also worth considering.

Choosing the best business current account

Businesses have very different needs to individuals, and there are many flavours of business bank account. Consider what the main needs of your business are:

Fledgling firms often need access to overdraft facilities

Managing cashflow is not always easy. If you know your business account sometimes slips into the red, choose a business bank account that offers a fee-free overdraft buffer or has a low overdraft rate.

Access to banking facilities when you need them

If you’re short on time, an online business bank account is likely to offer greater convenience and flexibility. Some business banking apps provide additional services, such as the ability to split your outgoings according to how they should be taxed.

Choosing the best children’s current account

Choose the best children’s bank account by asking yourself why you want them to have an account:

If you want to teach them about money management

An online bank account children can access at on a smartphone, tablet or computer will offer more opportunities for them to learn money management skills.

If you want them to start earning interest  

If your main concern is that your children receive a good rate of return on their money, a current account offering a high interest rate on in-credit balances is the best choice.

Choosing the best student current accounts

The best student bank account for you may hinge on whether or not you need a large overdraft:

If you want a fee-free overdraft

Many student accounts come with 0% overdrafts that last for a set period – usually at least until the end of your studies. If you think you’ll need to use your overdraft facility, choose an account that allows you to borrow a large amount interest free.

If you’d prefer an account that earns interest or rewards

Student accounts also often offer discounts and incentives, such as free young people’s railcards, or money off purchases at high street retail chains. Choosing the one that best suits your lifestyle could save you a lot of money over the course of your degree.

Compare current accounts

It’s easy to find the right current account for you when you use MoneySuperMarket to compare current accounts from different providers.

Just tell us what type of account you want and we’ll show you a list of current account deals, which you can sort by best customer service, highest switch incentives, digital banking rating, overdraft level or brand.