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Basic bank accounts

Jafar Hassan
Written by Jafar Hassan, Content editor

Edited by Marianne Curphey, Finance Writer, 13 October 2020

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Basic bank accounts tend to be used by people without access to standard bank current accounts - find out more about the basic current account advantages and disadvantages.
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Basic bank accounts

Basic bank accounts allow you to pay in and take out money, but they don't offer all the services and facilities that you might expect from a standard account. Alternatively a bad credit account offers more features, but usually charges a monthly fee.

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What are the advantages of a basic bank account?

Basic current account advantages and disadvantages, will impact you depending on your financial needs and situations.

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.

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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.

Look online to see what banks have to offer, and if you can't find what you're looking for, it might be worth giving them a call to see if they have an account to suit your needs and situation. Banks, such as Natwest and Barclay's offer basic bank accounts, for some banks these might come in the form of a 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 a bad credit banking.

Bad credit accounts tend to involve no credit checks and are open to everyone, whatever their situation or credit history. In some cases you get a dedicated account manager, access to online, telephone and SMS mobile phone banking, and you can pay in money at the Post Office and Natwest branches.

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

Compare basic bank accounts

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