Online banking accounts

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Keep track of your money 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with an online banking account. Use the bank’s secure website to manage your current account.

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What is online banking?

Online banking lets you access your bank account through the internet so you can manage your money at any time of day on smartphones, tablets or computers. Most banks and building societies in the UK offer an online banking service, and there are some that are online-only and don’t offer a physical branch.

Banking used to involve a trip down to the local high street branch – whether you wanted to take out a loan, check on your mortgage or even just pay a bill. Now with a mobile banking app you can do all of that and much more from the comfort of your home, on a train, or during a busy day at the office – it’ll only take a few minutes, and you can do it at any time of day.

Over 90% of people aged 16-24 have online banking, compared to under 70% of people aged 55-64

According to Mintel/Lightspeed data, accurate as of December 2019

What can I do with an online bank account?

Depending on the bank you’re with, you should be able to do most of the following using your online bank account:

  1. Check your balance
  2. Transfer money between your accounts
  3. Pay money to other accounts
  4. Pay your bills
  5. Set up direct debits and standing orders
  6. See your bank statements
  7. Check up on your mortgage or other loans if they’re with the same provider
  8. Check your savings accounts and ISAs
  9. Apply for an arranged overdraft
  10. Communicate with your bank

How do I set up an online bank account?

There is a strict security process involved in setting up online banking access, which will take a few steps. In most cases you’ll need your sort code and account number, and if you have telephone banking set up you’ll be asked for your password or security number.

You will have to pass security checks, and some banks might ask you to visit your local branch (if they have one) and provide ID.

Some banks and building societies will even give you a secure device such as a card reader or key pad to access your account, while in most cases you can also download an app or go to the bank’s website to get started.

In some cases you’ll need to undergo a credit check too, particularly when an overdraft is involved. You can always check your credit score beforehand to put yourself in the best position to be accepted – just have a look at our credit monitor.

What if my bank doesn’t offer online banking?

If your current account provider doesn’t offer an online banking service, you can always switch to a new bank with MoneySuperMarket.

Thanks to the current account switching service, the whole process of switching will be taken care of by your new bank – so they’ll transfer your payments over, move your balance and close your old account. Your switch will be guaranteed, and any charges or interest payments you incur will be refunded.

1 in 5 people would be encouraged to switch current accounts for better online banking functionality

According to Mintel/Lightspeed data, accurate as of December 2019

How safe is online banking?

Online banking is safe and secure, and many banks require you to provide two-factor authentication to access your account. However, there are some general good practices you should keep in mind:

  • Only use secure wi-fi connections when you access your online banking service
  • If you’re out in public, avoid using public wi-fi connections as they aren’t secure – it’s better to use your mobile data instead
  • Always log out of your online banking account when you’ve completed your session
  • Keep your device’s operating system and anti-virus protection updated – some banks offer free security software downloads as part of their online banking service
  • Choose a secure password
  • Continuously monitor your bank statements to make sure there’s no unusual activity – and if there is, report it to your bank immediately
  • Don’t share your log in details with anyone, even if they claim to be from your bank
  • If you’re banking through an internet browser check for the padlock symbol in the address bar, as this means the website is secure – the address should also start with https, rather than http

Compare online bank accounts

If you’re looking to open a new current account with an array of online features, comparing bank accounts with MoneySuperMarket is the easiest way to find the right bank for you. You’ll be able to browse through accounts and compare them by factors such as interest rates, overdraft facilities and any perks or rewards you’ll get.

Once you’ve found the provider and account you like most, just click through to their website to begin the application process.