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Basic bank accounts

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

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Basic bank accounts

Basic bank accounts are a good option for people who have had credit problems in the past and who may be turned down for standard current accounts.

Basic bank accounts are free bank accounts that allow you to pay in and take out money, but they don't offer all the services and facilities of a standard bank account. Basic bank accounts are a convenient way to manage your money using online or app banking. 

Alternatively a bad credit account offers more features, but usually charges a monthly fee.

Bad credit accounts

Looking for a bad credit account? Find a bank account available to people with a poor credit history

Basic bank accounts advantages and disadvantages


  • You can arrange to have your pay (wages or salary), pension or benefits paid in. And you can pay in cash or cheques at a branch/Post Office

  • You get a debit card for use online or in store, or a cash card which will mean you can withdraw money at ATMs

  • You can set up direct debits to pay your bills

  • You can only spend or withdraw the money you have in your account - you have control of your spending but cannot go into debt


  • You won't get a cheque book (not that many people do these days even with standard bank accounts)

  • Some accounts don't give everyone a debit card, just a cash card so you must get cash from an ATM

  • You won't be able to get an overdraft

  • There may be high charges if there isn't enough money in your account to pay any direct debits or standing orders

Where can I get a basic bank account?


Most banks offer basic bank accounts - but you might not see them advertised. The government's Money Helper website has a helpful list.

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 Barclays offers basic bank accounts, for some banks these might come in the form of a cash card account.

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What are the differences between credit and debit card

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 or some banks.

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 onto which you can transfer money and use just like a credit or debit card.

Compare basic bank accounts

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