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Best current accounts

How to choose the best current account for you

published: 28 March 2022
Read time: 5 minutes

From student to joint accounts, high interest and cashback accounts, out guide can help you decide

You rely on your current account every day – to receive salary, pension or other payments and to pay your bills. But there are different types of current account in the UK and we aren’t all in the same financial situation – so what’s ideal for one customer might not suit another. 

Our guide will help you make the right choice when it comes to selecting the best current account for you.

What should I consider when choosing a bank account?

You’ll use your bank account on a regular basis so you should be happy with how it operates and the features it provides. Questions to ask include: 

  • Does it offer perks and rewards, such as high interest or cashback on spending?

  • Will it provide a low cost overdraft facility in case you go into the red?

  • Does it have smart banking features that help you budget and keep track of your spending?

  • Does it charge a monthly fee?  

  • Do I want an individual bank account or a joint account with my partner?

  • Is there a switching incentive such as cash or gift cards when you sign-up?

Young woman using her mobile

What are the different types of current accounts?

There are several different types of current accounts to choose from. We detail them here, give you the pros and cons for each and suggest who they are most suitable for to help you decide. 

Joint bank accounts 

A joint account is a way of sharing a bank account between two or more people – usually yourself and your partner, or others you live with.  

Advantages :

  • Makes it easy to manage household finances

  • May allow you to keep a healthier bank balance and earn more rewards or interest

  • If you opt for a packaged account, you only pay one monthly fee 

  Disadvantages:

  • You must trust your joint account holder with your finances

  • You’ll be jointly responsible for any overdraft debt – even if you didn’t spend the money 

  • Your credit history is linked to the other account holder, and could be negatively affected 

This account could suit someone who is in a trusted relationship where both account holders are open and responsible with their finances.

High interest current accounts 

A high interest current account pays high interest rates on in-credit balances. It may be for an introductory period only, tiered, and/or up to a capped amount. 

Advantages:

  • Allows you to earn interest on your balance – making your money work harder

  • Often offered with a switching incentive such as cashback, gift cards or insurance

  • May provide a handy linked savings account with a competitive rate 

Disadvantages:

  • High interest rates can be introductory and end after 12 months

  • The amount of interest you can earn may be capped below what you’d like

  • These accounts often comes with monthly fees and high overdraft charges 

This account is ideal for someone who keeps a healthy bank balance and doesn’t dip into an overdraft – meaning they can maximise any interest earned from the account.

Reward and cashback current accounts 

These current accounts may give you rewards and cashback when you to spend. Rewards can differ from loyalty points to insurance. Cashback can also come in different ways, such as being paid on your household bills or when you shop at selected high street retailers.   

Advantages:

  • Earn cashback or rewards when you spend through the account

  • Extra benefit could be gained if rewards are linked to your favourite high street retailer

  • You can often get a reward simply for switching to the new account

Disadvantages: 

  • There may be a monthly fee to pay for the account

  • You may have to deposit a minimum amount into the account each month to qualify for the rewards

  • Overdraft charges could be higher than on a regular current account

This account is perfect for someone who is a savvy shopper and enjoys keeping close tabs on their finances to take advantage of any rewards or incentives when they arise.  

Basic bank accounts 

A basic bank account is a no-frills account that has all the standard banking options but doesn’t provide an overdraft facility – so you can’t use it to borrow money. 

Advantages:

  • A way for customers with bad credit or no credit rating to open a bank account 

  • It won’t let you spend what you don’t have

  • Can help prove you have a regular income and improve your credit rating over time, eventually allowing you to upgrade to an account with an overdraft and other benefits

Disadvantages:

  • It doesn’t offer an overdraft so provides no capacity to borrow money for a short period 

  • Doesn’t offer as many perks and rewards as some standard current accounts

  • Often won’t pay interest on the money you have in the account  

A basic bank account may be the only viable option for those with bad credit who cannot get a regular account. Basic bank accounts may also suit those just starting out or who have moved to the UK and haven’t had the chance to build their credit rating

Student bank accounts  

Student bank accounts work in the same way as standard current accounts but usually they come with extra features, such as larger interest-free overdrafts and perks such as discount railcards and shopping vouchers.

Advantages:

  • Often provide interest-free overdrafts to help manage your student finances

  • Incentives can be better than regular accounts as banks look to attract new customers 

  • Offer smart banking facilities making it straightforward to handle your finances from anywhere

Disadvantages:

  • You may struggle to get a student bank account if you’ve a poor credit rating because of past debts

  • International students might not be eligible for a UK student bank account with an interest-free overdraft 

  • You could lose some perks when you graduate and may be required to gradually reduce your overdraft and pay the debt back

Tailored to sought-after students, these accounts are often ideal for those studying in higher education.

Children’s bank accounts 

Children’s bank accounts in the UK generally run from the age of 11 to 17 and differ slightly from regular current accounts with no overdraft facility, optional debit cards and parents having discretion to set withdrawal limits. 

Advantages:

  • Helps your child learn about finances and handle their own money

  • Can offer appealing perks such as discounts for driving lessons when they turn 17

  • Parental control can be put in place to manage spending 

Disadvantages:

  • While the children might not always appreciate their parents being able to monitor their finances, there aren’t really any disadvantages with children’s bank accounts. 

Perfect for teenagers and a great option to help kids start to understand how to manage their finances.

Other useful guides

For lots more information about current accounts browse our range of useful guides, including:

Step-by-step guide to opening a bank account 

How to pay off your overdraft fast 

How to open a bank account with bad credit  

Compare current accounts with MoneySuperMarket

It’s straightforward to compare current accounts with MoneySuperMarket and find the one that will best suit you.

Just tell us a few details about what you need from a bank account and we’ll show you a list of available current account deals.

You can then sort by overdraft deal and rate, best customer service or highest switch incentives before making your decision.

Compare current accounts