An online bank account allows you to carry out your everyday transactions through the internet.

Whether it's checking your balance, making a payment or transferring money between accounts, online banks let you do it all using your computer, smartphone or tablet, so you can manage your finances whether you're at home or on the go.

These days, most banks and building societies offer online banking as a standard service.

How to open a current account online

If you want to open a bank account online, it's simple and takes just a few minutes. You can do this by visiting the website of the bank of your choice, and filling out the application form. Typically, you'll have to provide your personal details such as your name, age, nationality and address, as well as supporting documents as proof of these.

In most cases, you'll be asked to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of ID: Typically this can be your passport or driving licence

  • Proof of address: This can be a recent utility bill, council tax bill, or rental agreement

Some online banks may also ask for additional details such as your occupation, income and expenses. Though this is not legally required, many banks often use this information to provide you with offers about other products and services in the future, such as credit cards.

How to choose the best online bank account

You can use this comparison to find a lot of current accounts that include online banking and check:

  • If there is an annual or monthly account fee

  • requirements for having the account, e.g. pay in 500 or more each month

  • Details of the overdraft limit, fees and interest rate

  • The interest rate you can earn on your balance.

  • Additional features such as travel insurance or breakdown cover

Cheap online current accounts will likely have no annual or monthly fee, and will typically offer the most basic features.

What features do you need with online backing?

Nearly all current accounts now offer free online banking, so you could compare accounts that offer other features such as:

You can find out more about what you need from your bank account here. Once you have found accounts that offer these features, check what their internet banking service includes.

Digital-only bank accounts

Often known as digital banks, these are a recent and growing industry innovation where the bank has no physical branches that you can visit. It's a truly online bank account, where the bank exists as an app on your smartphone, which you can use to conduct most of your usual banking. These banks also offer several unique features such as:

  • Spending notifications: Every time you spend money using your debit card you receive a notification on your phone tell you where and how much you spent.

  • Ring fencing savings: You can set aside a sum of money as savings

  • Free cash withdrawals overseas: You can withdraw cash abroad without being charged foreign transaction fees. Different banks set different limits how much you can withdraw for free.

  • Budgeting: You can set budgets to make sure you don't overspend. For example, if you only want to spend a certain amount on dining out every month.

  • Rewards/Extras: Some of them offer extras such as travel insurance, or discounts on shopping with select retailers.

What is Open Banking?

Open Banking is a set of regulatory reforms that were put in place by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in January 2018. These reforms made it a legal requirement for UK-regulated banks to let you share your financial information with third parties, such as budgeting apps or other banks.

This is to help consumers have a better understanding of their finances, as well as bring in more competition and innovation in the industry.

Online bank accounts FAQs


Can I open a bank account online?


Yes, you can apply for most current accounts instantly using the bank's website. Here is how to choose and apply for an internet bank account.


Can I get online banking on an existing account?


Yes, most current accounts offer an online banking service, so ask your bank what features you can get. If not, you could switch to a new account.


Can I use online banking when I am abroad?


Yes, in most countries, but make sure you are using a secure internet connection, preferably with your own phone, laptop or tablet.


Can you use internet banking on a joint account?


Yes, most joint accounts offer online banking. Some let either of you use it to make withdrawals, but others require both of you to authorise transfers.


Can I use internet banking through my phone or tablet?


Yes, most banks have a mobile app you can use, although it may not offer all of the same features.

About our current accounts comparison


Who do we include in this comparison?


We include every personal & premium current account with internet banking in the UK, except for student and children's accounts. They are all regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Here is more information about how 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.

Further Information

Last updated: 7 April, 2021