How do I choose an account?
If you are travelling to UK for Work or
Studying then you should start looking for a UK bank before you leave
your home country. In most UK banks you should be eligible for a 'basic
bank account'. A basic bank account will give you an ATM Card for cash
machine card and facilities to transfer money in to your account.
If you need other services such as a
cheque book, debit card or access to credit then you will need a current
Use our website to find the account that
suits you best. It can sometimes be hard to find the relevant
information on many of the banks web sites - don't be afraid to use the
banks' Contact Us pages to ask what banking facilities each bank can
There are two types of bank account for
managing everyday money: a basic bank account and a current account.
Banks also offer a range of accounts designed for medium or longer-term
savings. Savings or 'term' accounts usually pay more interest than
Basic bank accounts
Basic bank accounts offer a convenient place to keep money you need
for everyday use. You can arrange to have wages, State Pension and
benefits or tax credits paid into one. You can also pay in cheques or
cash free of charge, and set up 'direct debits' which pay regular bills
automatically from your account.
With a basic bank account you get a cash card which you can use at a
bank machine to withdraw cash. Some also offer a 'debit card' that you
can pay for items with, and get 'cashback'; but with a basic account
these will only work if there's enough money in your account.
You don't get a cheque book with a basic bank account, and you can't
take out more money than is in the account ('go overdrawn'). For this
reason basic bank accounts are useful for anyone worried about
Current accounts have more features than basic bank accounts. For
example, they usually offer:
•cheque guarantee card (acts as a 'guarantee' so makes cheques more
•debit card (some allow payments without checking your account)
•direct debits (automatic bill payments direct from your account)
•standing orders (regular set payments from your account to someone of
•BACS (Bankers' automated clearing service) - the facility to accept
payments directly into your account (eg from your employer), or for you
to make one-off payments to someone else out of the account
•overdraft facility - the bank may allow you to go overdrawn up to a
certain amount; but you need to arrange this in advance and charges
apply (you pay extra charges if you go overdrawn without an agreement)
Some current accounts pay interest on money you leave in the account,
but the rate is usually low.
Banks offer a wide range of savings accounts. The main differences
between them are how quickly you can get at your money, the minimum
amount required to keep the account open and the type and rate of
These accounts are special current accounts only offered to students.
A free overdraft facility may be available. However, some banks may not
offer student accounts to international students.
Internet accounts often offer the highest interest rates. It may
also be easier to keep track of this account when you are not in the UK.
Some of these accounts allow you to withdraw money using a cash machine,
while others will only allow money to be transferred to a bank's current
Although they often have different names, the internet accounts are
usually run by a major bank or insurance company.
List of Banks in United
Kingdom - Top Banks in UK
sort codes of the United Kingdom
How do I choose an account?
UK banks offering basic bank accounts
How do I open an account?
British Bankers' Association
Financial Services Authority's
Compensation Scheme (Deposit Insurance)
Making a complaint on UK Banking
Directory Swift CODES Banks in United Kingdom
Dormant or lost UK BAnk
Opening a Bank account in Citibank
account at Barclays
Open Bank account at HSBC
Safe Deposit Boxes
Opening A Bank
Account In the Isle of Man
Glossary and abreviations
Information about United