The main differences are:

  1. 1.

    Banks offer a range of financial products. They are usually listed on the stock market and are therefore owned by shareholders.

  2. 2.

    Building societies are also known as mutual institutions. They do not have shareholders and tend to offer savings accounts, loans and mortgages as their main products.

Building societies claim to provide better rates and deals than banks, as they have no shareholders to pay.

Our comparison lists all current accounts available from UK building societies.

How to find the best building society current account

Finding the right current account depends on your personal circumstances and what the account will be used for. There are several types of current account that building societies offer, such as:

  • Standard: An everyday account with a debit card, chequebook and an overdraft.

  • Basic: An option if you have poor or no credit history, this account has no overdraft facility.

  • Student: Designed to help university students with their finances, they offer benefits like an interest free overdraft.

  • Junior: Aim to help under 18s manage their money. They usually come with a debit card and can be used for shopping and paying bills.

  • Package: Accounts with benefits e.g. travel insurance, high interest and breakdown cover. They can cost a monthly or annual fee.

Check how the account can be managed

Building societies offer online and mobile banking facilities. However, you may need to visit a branch to open and manage your account.

Think about how you would like to run the account and if there's a branch nearby should you need to pop in.

Know what you're agreeing to

Before you apply, check the terms and conditions, look out for:

  • Overdraft fees: You may be charged interest or a daily fee after a certain period. e.g. 12 months interest free and then a 60p daily charge on amounts over 25 into your overdraft.

  • Offer conditions: Benefits like high interest rates are usually for a limited time and on balances up to a certain amount e.g. 5% on balances up to 3,000 for the first 6 months.

  • Monthly deposit requirements: To receive packaged benefits, you may have to pay in a minimum amount each month, which can be up to 1,000 or more.

By checking the conditions, you can to work out if the account is affordable and in line with what you need.

Compare accounts

Think about what you want from an account and then compare products offered by different building societies so you can pick the one that's right for you.

Building society current account FAQs


Can I transfer my account from my current bank to a building society?


Yes, some building societies provide a switch service. Contact with the building society and check if they offer this.


Can I apply for more than one current account?


Yes, this may be possible. Check if there are limits on how many accounts you can hold, but having several can affect your credit record.


Do building societies offer joint accounts?


Yes, many building societies offer joint accounts.


Can I use my debit card abroad?


Yes, you should be able to spend abroad but you are likely to be charged. Also Inform the building society beforehand so your card doesn't get blocked.