They are like normal current accounts, but you could still get one even if you have bad credit and are unable to open a normal account.
Other bank accounts may reject you if you have missed repayments or have other debt problems like bankruptcy on your credit record.
However, basic bank accounts come without a credit check. This means you should be accepted as long as:
You are 16 or older
You live in the UK and have a permanent address
You have documents to prove your identity like a driving licence, passport or utility bill
How they work
Basic current accounts come without an overdraft, so you can only spend what is in your account and you cannot use them to borrow money.
They can be used for your day to day banking because they let you pay money in and spend it in several ways. You can:
Use a card: Some accounts offer debit cards, which let you make purchases in shops or online. Others come with a cash card, which can only be used in cash machines.
Pay bills: You can set up direct debits and standing orders to cover payments like your utility bills or to regularly transfer money to a savings account.
Receive payments: Your employer can pay your wages directly into the account. You can also receive other bank transfers or pay in cash and cheques.
Where to find them
Most banks and building societies offer basic accounts, but they do not usually advertise them.
You can use this comparison to find every basic bank account in the UK. The best accounts will come with all the features you need, so work out what you want and compare accounts that offer this.
Our comparison shows if each account includes:
Free cash machine withdrawals
A debit card or a cash card
Some accounts let you apply instantly online, but you usually have to visit a branch to open a basic bank account.
Basic bank accounts FAQs
Can I get an overdraft with a basic bank account?
No, basic bank accounts do not include an overdraft.
Do basic bank accounts come with fees?
They do not usually charge monthly fees or for failed direct debits. You may have to pay fees for foreign transactions or using a private cash machine.
Can I get a debit card with my account?
Most come with a contactless debit card, but others come with a cash card you can only use to withdraw cash from ATMs, and a cheque book.
Can I get interest on my basic bank account?
No, basic bank accounts do not usually pay any interest on your balance.
Can I get a normal bank account later?
You could get a basic bank account now and apply for an account with an overdraft or other benefits if your credit record improves in the future.
About our current accounts comparison
Who do we include in this comparison?
How do we make money from our comparison?
We have commercial agreements with some of the companies in this comparison and get paid commission if we help you take out one of their products or services. Find out more here.
You do not pay any extra and the deal you get is not affected.