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Simple step guide to opening a UK bank account

Simple step guide to opening a UK bank account

You have to be sixteen and a permanent UK resident to open a bank account in the UK. Most people chose a free current account which allows you pay bills, have wages, salary or benefits paid in and save.

Some current account charge a fee for extra features so make sure you know what you are getting before making your final decision.

Offers and incentives change all the time so it is worthwhile having a look on a comparison website like moneysupermarket to get the latest up to date information.

The best account for young people we could find is the Nationwide Flex Account, no monthly fee and no minimum monthly deposit and if you do deposit £750 you’ll also get free European travel insurance. However offers and incentives do change so do your research.

The first thing you must do is prove who you are/your identity. This is to prevent criminal activity and money laundering.

What you need:

  • A government-issued document with your full name and a photograph (such as a valid passport or a valid photocard driving licence) or
  • A government-issued document with your full name but without a photograph (for example a valid old-style full UK driving licence), plus another document that states your full name and either your address or your date of birth and is issued by the government, a judicial authority (for example a court), a public-sector body or authority, a regulated utility company, or a firm regulated by the FSA (such as a bank or insurance company).

If you can’t provide these documents, other documents may be acceptable, such as:

  • A letter from a government department or local council confirming a right to state benefits such as a pension, Council Tax Benefit or Housing Benefit
  • Suitable confirmation of identity from a young person’s workplace or educational institution
  • A letter confirming your identity from a care home manager or a warden of sheltered accommodation or a refuge.

Additional things you will be required to do:

  • prove where you live (letters suggested above)
  • prove student status, if relevant (student union card or letter from school, college or university)
  • fill in an application form
  • in some cases pay some money into your account, initially and then monthly depending upon the type of account you choose

You can find out more about opening a bank account at the Money Advice Service or by visiting the Direct.gov website.

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