A current account lets you carry out your everyday banking transactions. Whether it's having your salary deposited and withdrawing cash, or making payments, setting up direct debits and standing orders, your current account is what makes all of that possible.

Different types of current accounts

  • Basic current account: the account offers only the standard features of a current account. No overdrafts, no interest is paid on your balance, and no monthly fee.

  • Packaged current account: the account includes extra benefits such as travel insurance, breakdown cover, mobile phone insurance, as well as discounts on certain retailers or restaurant along with the usual features of a current account. In most cases you'll be charged a fee for these accounts.

  • High interest current account: Interest will be paid on your balance based on AER. Often these accounts require you to deposit a set amount of money every month and usually limit the amount up to which they will pay interest on your balance.

  • Joint accounts: This is a current account that you open jointly with partner, family member or friend, so that all holders of the account can withdraw money or pay into the account. This is useful if you share bills and want to have a single account from which you manage those shared bills.

How to apply for a current account

Applying for a current account is simply. You just have to provide documents to prove your identity and address. Here are the most common documents you'll need to provide:

  • Proof of identity: a passport or driving licence.

  • Proof of address: council tax bill, utility bill, a bank statement, tenancy agreement, though mobile phone statement is generally not accepted.

  • Proof of Immigration status: If you are not a UK citizen, you may also be required to show your visa status and a letter from your university or employer.

You can apply for a current account online, in a branch, by phone or by post. You can also switch current accounts by closing your existing account and opening a new current account in one go. Some deals even give you a cash reward for doing this.

Use the Current Account Switch Service

Most banks subscribe to what is called the Current Account Switch Service (CASS). This free service makes it easy for anyone with a UK current account to switch to a new one. It means they take care of the whole process of switching banks for you. This includes:

  • opening a new current account

  • moving your balance

  • switching direct debits and standing orders

  • closing your old current account

The Current Account Switch Guarantee means that if anything goes wrong, you'll be refunded any interest and charges on both accounts.

Switching current accounts couldn't be easier. Here's a list of banks and building societies on the Current Account Switch Service.

What features might different current accounts have?

Find the best current accounts for your needs

Sometimes, the best current account for you might be specifically designed for your situation. Here are some of the types of current accounts that you might like to consider:

Featurebasic current accountJoint current accountbusiness current account
Ideal foreveryday needs without credit checkpartner, housemate or family membersole traders, companies, charities
OverdraftNot includedArrangedNot included
InterestsNoUp to 3% AERNo
Monthly feeNoNoYes
ATM withdrawl per dayUp to £300up to £300up to £500
Online & Mobile bankingYesYesYes
More informationCompare basic current account Compare joint current account Compare business current account

Find the best current accounts for teenage or students

If you're a student, or under 18 year olds, you can still get a current account. You'll be able to pay money in, make payments by card in person or online, and set up automatic payments for bills.

Featurestudent current accountunder 18 current account
Ideal forstudentteenage or young child
OverdraftArrangedNot included
InterestsUp to 3% AERUp to 3% AER
Monthly feeNoNo
ATM withdrawl per dayIncludedNot included
Online & Mobile bankingUp to £300Up to £100
More information Compare student current account Compare under 18 current account

Here's how to work out which current account is best.

Current account FAQs

Q

Can I have more than one current account?

A

Yes, although many banks only let you hold one current account with them. Too many accounts could also harm your credit record

Q

What happens if I spend more than I have in my account?

A

That means that you are overdrawn. You will owe money on your overdraft until you pay it back, and you may be charged a fee. If your account does not have an overdraft facility, the payment will not go through.

Q

Should I get a savings or current account?

A

If you need to pay bills and make card payments, you usually need a current account. If you want to earn interest, here is how to decide which is best.

Q

What type of debit card will I get with my current account?

A

Most current accounts come with a MasterCard, Visa or American Express debit card, but some prepaid accounts come with a prepaid card instead.

Q

Could I get an account with no fees?

A

Yes, some current accounts come with no monthly fees or minimum deposit, but they may still charge for other things like using an overdraft.

About our current accounts comparison

Q

Who do we include in this comparison?

A

Our comparison tables include providers we have commercial arrangements with. The number of listings in our tables can vary depending on the terms of those arrangements, as well as other market developments. They are all from lenders regulated by the†Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Here is more information about†How our website works.

Q

How do we make money from our comparison?

A

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.

Last updated: 9 June, 2021