Protect your income

Fee-free basic bank accounts

These accounts are for people who need to open a new bank account to manage their money and protect their income being taken, even if they have a poor credit rating. This can be because they don’t have a bank account or because they cannot use their current account, for example because they receive charges, are overdrawn or owe the bank money.

Fee-free basic accounts allow you to:

  • pay in money (wages, welfare benefits, pensions and cheques)
  • set up Direct Debits or standing orders to pay your regular bills
  • use a debit card in shops and online
  • withdraw cash from the bank or cash machines (fees apply to some cash machines)
  • check your account balance at your bank, a cash machine, and online.

How to open a fee-free bank account

You can apply for a fee-free basic bank account in person, over the phone or online.

You must clearly ask to open a fee-free bank account – if you are not clear you may be assessed for a different account and you may be refused.

You must take one proof of your identity and you may have to prove your address.

Here are some examples of documents you can use to prove your identity and address.

  • Proof of identity
    • passport
    • driving licence
    • benefit award letter (dated within the last 12 months)
    • HMRC tax notification or assessment letter (dated within the last 12 months)
    • current European Union member state identity card
  • Proof of address
    • utility bills (dated within the last 3 months)
    • Council Tax bill issued with the current year
    • tenancy agreement
    • catalogue or mail order statement
    • UK photocard driving licence
    • motor insurance or home insurance certificate (issued within 12 months)

Banks required to offer fee-free basic bank accounts

All these accounts have online/phone banking and allow you to set up Direct Debits and standing orders.

BankAccountWithdrawals from UK cash machines (ATMs)
Barclays
0800 400100
Basic current accountYes
HSBC
03457 404 4040
Basic bank accountYes
Nationwide
0800 302 010 option 3
FlexBasicNationwide ATMs
*NatWest
0800 881177
Foundation AccountYes
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
0345 7242424
Basic AccountYes
Santander
0800 0686069
Basic current accountYes (restrictions may apply)
The Co-operative Bank
0345 7212212
CashminderYes
TSB
0345 9758758
Cash accountLink or Visa ATMs only
*Halifax
0345 7203040
Basic accountYes
*Lloyds
0845 300 0000
Basic accountYes

* You will have to apply for another account and be rejected to be allowed to open the non-fee charging basic bank account.