Basic bank accounts

Learn more about basic bank accounts and if they’re right for you.

Basic bank accounts allow you to pay in and take out money, just like a standard current account.

However, basic bank accounts are a ‘no-frills’ option and don’t offer all the services and facilities that you might expect from a standard account, but if you have bad credit, they might be your only option.

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What are the advantages of a basic bank account?

Basic bank accounts are a convenient way to manage your money – you can arrange to have your wages, pension and/or benefits paid in and pay in cash or cheques at a branch, as well as setting up direct debits to pay your bills. You also get a cash card which will mean you can withdraw money at ATMs.

With a basic bank account you can only spend or withdraw the money you have in your account – so you have complete control of your spending.

Basic bank accounts are open to almost everyone – so they are a good option for people who have had credit problems in the past and may be turned down for standard current accounts.


Are there any disadvantages to basic bank accounts?

The main disadvantage of a basic bank account is the lack of facilities – you won’t get a cheque book, some accounts don’t give you a debit card, just a cash card, and you won’t be able to get an overdraft or set up standing orders.

There may also be high charges if there isn’t enough money in your account to pay any direct debits.

Where can I get a basic bank account?

Most banks offer basic bank accounts – but you might not see them advertised. Some basic bank accounts to consider include NatWest’s Step Account, Cashminder from the Co-operative Bank or Barclays Cash Card Account.

What are the alternatives to a basic bank account?

If you’ve been turned down for a basic bank account because of bad credit or if you just want an account with more facilities and services, you could try CardOneBanking.There are no credit checks and it’s open to everyone, whatever their situation or credit history.

You get a dedicated account manager, access to online, telephone & SMS mobile phone banking and you can pay in money at the Post Office and Natwest branches.

You can pay your bills, transfer money, there are no fees for bounced or missed payments and it’s impossible to go overdrawn. You also get a Prepaid MasterCard which you can transfer money on to and use just like a credit or debit card.

CardOneBanking costs £12.50 per month, plus a one off account opening charge of £30 or £35 for a joint account.

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Compare basic bank accounts

Find a bank account available to people with a poor credit history

Compare current accounts