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What is a current account and what do I need to know?

What is a current account?

A current account is a bank account where you can store and withdraw money.

Most banks offer a range of current accounts that have different features, so you can find an account that best suits your needs.

When you open a current account, you are usually assigned an 8-digit account number, a 6-digit sort code and a debit card which you can use to access your funds.

What is a current account used for?

Current accounts are used for most everyday banking actions. This includes paying Direct Debits, mobile phone bills, utility bills, making rent payments, making cash deposits and using chip and PIN or contactless to pay for purchases.

Most people will get their wages paid into their current account. They then have the option of transferring money to a savings account, or any other bank account if they need to.

What are the benefits of a current account?

Current accounts allow you to easily manage your finances. With most accounts, you get access to online and mobile banking, making it easy to see what’s coming in and what’s going out as you use your debit card for every day purchases.

You can move money to your other accounts, make payments to friends and family, and manage your money easily. A current account gives you a convenient way to check your balance and bank on-the-go.

Do I have to pay for a current account?

It depends on what kind of account you have.

Basic bank accounts usually don't come with a charge. They are suited to those who have no or low credit rating, as well as young people aged 16 and over. You can still use online and mobile banking free of charge with most basic bank accounts.

Standard current accounts, sometimes called 'everyday current accounts', will not charge you for everyday banking if you stay in credit.

Packaged current accounts often come with a monthly fee, but also provide other benefits. For example, our Everyday Extra Current Account has a charge of £15 a month, but you also get travel insurance, UK and European breakdown cover, and mobile phone insurance.

Who can open a current account?

In the UK, you can open a bank account providing you are aged 16 or over, and you have proof of your identity and address.

You can open our Cashminder account or Current Account if you are aged 16 or over, and a UK resident. Approval for our Current Account is usually based on a credit check, and an assessment of your personal finances. More information can be found on our Current Account and Cashminder pages.

Important things to remember

  • You may incur debit interest for going into your arranged and/or unarranged overdraft. Entering an unarranged overdraft may also have a negative effect on your credit file.

    You can check how much you may be charged for using an arranged and/or unarranged overdraft with our overdraft calculator.

  • Applying for a current account may affect your credit rating

    You can check if you are likely to get accepted for an overdraft using our eligibility checker.

  • You may incur other potential charges on your account if you make foreign transactions or use your card abroad
  • If you hold a current account with us and experience financial difficulties, it’s important you let us know as soon as possible. Our dedicated team will be more than happy to help you. You can get in touch by calling +44(0)344 844 8899. Please see our UK Call charges