A free bank account or free online bank account are both just current accounts that you don't have to pay for.

They're usually fairly basic, but you can do all the standard transactions free of charge. You won't pay a monthly or annual fee.

If you open a bank account free of charge, remember that there could still be fees. Even free bank accounts can come with fees for additional services such as using an overdraft.

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a free bank account or free online bank account, UK wide.

How to find a free current account

Finding a free bank account, UK wide, is pretty easy to do.

Free bank accounts have become more common in the past 20 years, with nearly eight million accounts now open*. So, if you want a free current account, you're in luck.

Since 2016, lots of major banks in the UK have been legally obliged to offer no-fee bank accounts. That means it's easier than ever to find free banking that suit your needs.

Using our comparison, you can find almost every free bank account, UK wide. Although these accounts are free to use for everyday banking, don't forget that you'll still have to pay to use other services.

These other services might include the overdraft, spending abroad or a direct debit.

Find a free bank account by comparing the benefits that each one offers. The comparison table will help you find the best no fee bank accounts available.

*According to HM Treasury 2017 statistics.

What additional fees might I have to pay with free bank accounts?
Even with the best free bank accounts, UK wide, you'll find there might be hidden fees for some services.

You can open a bank account for free and you won't pay a monthly or yearly fee, but there might be charges for all or some of the following:

  • overdraft charges

  • using your card abroad

  • withdrawing money at certain cash machines

  • refused direct debits and standing orders.

Use our comparison table to compare fee-free bank accounts, UK wide. Once you've found one which meets your needs, you should check the terms to find out about charges for extra services.

Find the right free banking features

The best free current account for you is the one that best meets your needs.

There are a few features that most people will need from their bank. Most free bank accounts usually let you:

  • use a debit card to buy goods or withdraw cash in the UK and around the world

  • write and pay in cheques

  • set up direct debits and standing orders

  • transfer money

  • check your bank balance

  • withdraw money from cashpoints or branches.

There are a few other things to look out for when you're trying to find the best free bank account:

  • Online and mobile banking - so you can instantly transfer money or set up payments with free online banking wherever and whenever you are

  • A good mobile app - sometimes, with a free online bank account, you can even pay in cheques by taking a photograph with phone's camera

  • A high-street branch - even if you choose one of the modern free online accounts, pick a bank with a branch near you so you can pop in if needed.

The best free current accounts will offer extra features too, such as an overdraft and interest payments.

An overdraft

If you choose a fee free bank account with an overdraft, you can use it to borrow money in the short term, or as an emergency buffer for unexpected costs. You might pay charges or interest for doing so.

Our no-fee current account comparison shows what bank accounts offer an overdraft. It shares details on:

  • which offer a free overdraft

  • the overdraft limit

  • the interest rate

  • the daily or monthly fees.

Interest payments

Some of the best free bank accounts pay interest when you've got money in your account. If you keep a large amount in your account, choosing one with a higher interest rate will make you more money. An interest-free bank account won't be as beneficial to you.

How to open a free bank account

Opening a fee free current account or free online bank account, UK wide, is easy. It can be done quickly either:

  • in a branch

  • over the telephone

  • on the internet

  • by post.

What documents you need for a free current account

Opening a free bank account is easy and can be done quickly in a branch or with an online application.

Typically, you'll have to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of ID: Your passport or driving licence

  • Proof of address: A recent utility bill, council tax bill, or rental agreement

Sometimes, if you're opening a free checking account, banks might ask for additional details. They might want to know about your occupation, income and expenses. This information isn't legally required. But some banks gather this data so they can share offers about other products like credit cards in the future.
You might need to show extra documents if you're

  • an international student

  • a prisoner

  • a refugee

  • an asylum seeker

  • a migrant worker

  • on probation.

Check the free bank account requirements

When you've found the best free bank account for your needs, you'll need to check the criteria for opening the account.

Many no-fee bank accounts have minimum requirements that you'll need to meet to open them. These might include paying out a minimum number of direct debits or standing orders each month. Or it could mean paying in a minimum amount each month.

If you don't meet the account's conditions, you could lose benefits, such as interest, or be charged a fee.

Who can apply for a fee free bank account?

Most of the time you need to be 16 or over to open a free bank account. However, some no fee bank accounts or free online accounts have a minimum age of 18.

As long as you've got proof of ID and proof of your address, you'll be able to apply.

Sometimes, the bank will want to do a credit check on those applying. So it can be important that you've got a good credit history. But that's not the case for every no fee bank account, UK wide. Sometimes you'll be able to get the account regardless of your credit history, but you won't be able to get an overdraft or any credit facilities.

Plus, you'll need to make sure you can meet any of the account's minimum requirements.

If your application for a free bank account is refused, you've got a right to ask why. The bank will usually explain, unless they think you're committing fraud or suspect that you're money laundering. If you think their reason for turning you down isn't justified, you've got a right to appeal the decision.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of no fee bank accounts?

The popularity of no fee bank accounts, UK wide, is no coincidence. They come with plenty of benefits, including:

  • you don't have anything to pay

  • they're easy to open

  • they offer a convenient way to manage your money

  • you might be able to get an overdraft

  • you might receive interest payments when you're in credit

  • you might be able to take advantage of reward schemes when you use your card.

But free banking, UK wide, is not without its downsides. For example:

  • you might be charged extra fees for using additional services such as the overdraft

  • there might be requirements on the minimum amount you need to put in each month

  • you might not be able to get one if your credit history isn't good

  • you might not be suitable if you don't meet the requirement criteria.

What is a packaged bank account?

A packaged bank account is one that comes with one or multiple benefits. These benefits may vary in value depending upon how you use your account, but it may be a simple way of getting something which is important to you.

The right bank account for you will meet your needs while offering good monetary value.That might mean you have a free bank account, or it might mean you pay a fee to get a service or product you would otherwise pay for.

For the cost of a monthly fee, packaged bank accounts can offer bonuses such as:

  • Breakdown cover

  • Travel insurance

  • Home insurance

  • Mobile phone insurance

  • A savings account with an exclusive interest rate

Free bank accounts FAQs


Do these accounts come with any fees?


Yes, they can charge you for several things like using your overdraft or duplicate statements. However, they come without monthly fees.


How do I switch to a free bank account?


You can use the Current Account Switch service to move to a new bank in just seven days.


Do free bank accounts offer overdrafts?


Yes, some come with an overdraft. You can check which accounts offer them, their fees and their limits in this comparison.


Do free bank accounts pay interest?


Yes, some accounts pay interest when you have a positive balance. You can check which accounts pay interest and their rates with this comparison.


Can I get a free bank account for my business?


Yes, some banks offer business current accounts that come with no annual or monthly fees, but they may charge for some transactions or services.

About our current accounts comparison


Who do we include in this comparison?


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 providers regulated by theFinancial Conduct Authority (FCA). Here is more information aboutHow our website works.


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.

Last updated: 13 April 2021