Skip to main content

Guide to current accounts

Banks and building societies can offer you a choice of current accounts, but not all of them are the same. Your preference for a current account can depend upon a number of different factors. Among the features, you may want to look at are whether you wish to do your banking online or at a branch, require a lower interest rate overdraft, or prefer some extras that may include insurance or a level of personal service.

The range of current accounts and services on offer with our differing individual needs may make it worthwhile re-evaluating your current account and consider switching to a better deal dependent on our desires. At, our brief guide is designed to help you to find which current account would suit your needs and make the most of your finances.

How to switch bank accounts

It's really easy to switch your current account nowadays. The majority of both banks and building societies offer a quick service that does all the work for you, called a 7 day switch guarantee. You will need supply the required information plus identification they need to process your application.

When you have chosen your current account then all of your direct debits and standing orders should automatically move over and your chosen bank will send you a checklist of all direct debits and standing orders to revise. If anything should go wrong, it is worth noting that most current account providers will offer to reimburse you.

It is worthwhile, to regularly review the market (around every 6 months) and check on what the best value deals are and where you can get a better current account. You can check our range of top current accounts now at Consistent checks on the latest current accounts on the market will allow you to see what benefits are on offer and if it is worth continuing to switch.

No-frills bank accounts

Basic bank accounts provide a current account for those of us with poor credit or need an account, which is simple and allows your money to be paid in and out. This no-frills current account usually comes with an ATM card and a debit card. There is more limited use on this type of account than a standard bank account.

It is worth keeping in mind that a basic current account will not allow you to get overdrawn or to arrange an overdraft facility without incurring bank charges and a basic current account will rarely pay any interest.

No credit checks are required when opening basic bank accounts.

What are standard current accounts?

A UK standard current account is free to open and can be used if you need to have authorised overdrafts. Try to keep in mind that you should chose a standard account with a low level of overdraft interest if you find you need to arrange one.

Some standard current accounts will pay either interest or rewards, so it is worth taking the time to check what accounts offer the best benefits, which you can do by clicking here.

Standard current accounts will usually require a credit check, identification, proof of address and sometimes employment before you can open one.

With this type of account, you can organise regular payments through either direct debits or standing orders and link it to any other accounts you hold such as a savings account.

Choosing your current account

It is worth making certain that your choice of current account meets your specific needs to save you time. Consider if you wish to bank online or prefer the personal service of a branch. Also, keep in mind when hunting for the best current account if you require a regular overdraft facility.

It is worth taking into account whether you want additional extras with your current account such as free insurance or rewards.

Thought about online banking?

Online banking can offer you the chance to manage your money with convenience from your workplace, in the comfort of your home, or even on the go from your Smartphone.

The advantage of online banking is that you can cancel, set up or change your payments at anytime and keep a regular check on your account.

It may be worth taking the time to conduct some research by checking customer reviews and ratings, if this is an important factor to your account.

The current accounts that pay

Do you usually stay in credit with a reasonable amount of cash in your current account? If so then it is worth finding a current account that pays either interest or a reward payment if you do not go overdrawn.

There are still some current accounts on the market, which pay a good rate of interest. For the best rates on the market, you can check out the latest current account deals here.

Why do banks offer money for switching to them?

The introduction of the seven-day switch guarantee to UK banking it has made customer acquisition extremely important to banks, who are seeing many of their own customers use seven-day switching to move to competitors.

This has forced the banks rethink innovative ways of attracting customers. One of the most common methods used by banks is to offer a cash incentive for switching, in the hope that once a customer has switched, they will become a long term customer of the bank. As such there are conditions customers must meet to access the benefit, such as the closure of their old account, making a minimum deposit into their account each month, switching their direct debits to their new account (usually a minimum of two).

For savvy customers these cash payments can be a great incentive for testing a new current accounts, for which there was previously a great deal of inertia, and it may encourage them to test more than one bank. However, consumers need to be aware that they will only receive payments once, so if they do find a bank who’s service is pleasing they would be well advised to stick with it.

Check out the premium current accounts

With premium or packaged current accounts, you will have to pay a fee in order to receive the added extras or services with your banking. A packaged current account will usually include insurance extras, which may be travel, mobile phone cover or breakdown assistance. You may be able to earn interest on balances depending upon the account you chose.

With a premium current account, you will be offered an individual, personalised service, but these accounts do charge more and may require a minimum salary income. It is worth considering what benefits you will receive against how much you will pay out before opening a premium or packaged account.

Some additional extras could be cheaper if you took out standalone policies separately, for best value deals on travel cover, then check out the latest cover at,

If you're deciding whether to open a current account, then it is worth weighing up what account would suit your individual financial circumstances and what benefits you require. For peace of mind, it is wise to take your time, read the small print and research the market thoroughly for the best value deals before you chose or switch your current account.