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Where to find a basic bank account

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Last updated on

02 July 2014

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If you need to access your money, there are plenty of basic bank accounts. But some come with restrictions.

Basic bank accounts are a relatively recent invention. They were introduced to help people on low incomes or with a poor/non-existent credit history.

And they have been very successful, with millions now open.

But they do come with some restrictions.

Basic account features

No basic bank account pays any interest or offers an overdraft facility. If you want those features, you should ask the bank when you apply if you would be eligible for a current account.

However, if you’ve had debt problems in the past, it’s probably a good idea to steer clear of an overdraft as the fees can quickly mount up.

Be aware that some accounts charge if you make more than a certain number of withdrawals in a month. And some come with cash cards, which are only usable in cashpoints and can't used to make purchases like a debit card.

At the time of writing, the only bank accepting undischarged bankrupts is Barclays.

There are some other fee-charging basic bank accounts out there, offered by non-high street banks, which promise no credit checks and therefore could be tempting. But there’s no need to pay for a bank account, particularly if all you need is basic features such as a cash card.

What's on offer

If you want to open a free basic bank account now, here are your options.

Account

Card

Bank of Scotland Cash Account

Visa debit card

Barclays Cash Card Account

Visa debit or cash card

Clydesdale Bank Readycash

Debit card

Danske Bank Basic

Debit card

First Trust Bank Basic Bank Account

Cash card

Halifax Easycash

Visa Electron card

Lloyds Bank Cash Account

Visa debit card

Metro Bank Cash Account

MasterCard PayPass cash card

Nationwide Cash Card Account

Debit card

NatWest Basic Account

Visa debit card

Northern Bank Northern Personal Access Account

Maestro debit card

Royal Bank of Scotland Basic Bank Account

Visa debit card

Santander Basic Account

Cash card

The Co-operative Bank Cashminder Account

Debit card

TSB Cash Account

Visa debit card

Ulster Bank Step Account

Visa debit card

Yorkshire Bank Readycash

Debit card

Restricted access

Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and TSB Cash Account customers can now withdraw money from any cashpoint in the Link and Visa network .

However, Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest Basic Account customers can still only use cashpoints belonging to those banks until the end of the year.

Another option

You could also open a bank account with your local credit union, if it offers one. The Association of British Credit Unions runs the findyourcreditunion.co.uk website, which will help you find a credit union near you.

This article is regularly updated

More on banking

The best bank accounts for cashback

The best current account incentives and freebies

Where to find the cheapest overdraft

Online banking: How to stay safe

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