What is a current account?
This is an account where you can:
- Deposit – Put money in to a bank and
- Withdraw – take money out.
There are various ways to deposit money:
- Depositing cash in coins and notes at a branch
- Wiring from abroad
- Sending a cheque in the post
- Paying money in electronically.
Ways of accessing money vary too:
- Writing out a cheque
- Taking cash from a cashpoint (ATM) using a cash card
- Buying goods on a debit card
- Setting up a standing order or direct debit from one’s account.
A current account is an account for day-to-day use. Two or more people can set up a current account together and call it a joint account. It works like a current account except each person has a cheque-book and card.
How do I choose a current account?
There will be a bank or building society current account to suit your particular needs.
You need to work out exactly what you want the account to do before you choose and this will also then determine how you use the account too.
All banks and many building societies have a range of current accounts targeted at those with specific needs or preferences. Types of current account are listed here:
Types of account include:
- Standard Current Accounts – cheque-books, cash and debit cards, overdraft facilities and monthly or quarterly bank statements, often with internet access and telephone banking facilities
- Accounts with Extras – such as travel insurance, roadside assistance, for a small monthly fee. Can include medical support for a larger monthly fee.
- Simple Cash Accounts – no cheque-books or internet or overdraft facilities
- Accounts for High Earners – come with personally tailored options and a high level of personal support from the bank
- Children’s Accounts – usually combined with savings accounts
- Young People’s Accounts
- Student Accounts – usually interest free overdrafts and free gift or cash incentives for joining. Check out Studentbanker.co.uk for lots of great help and advice about student banking.
- Graduate Accounts – usually good interest rates on overdrafts, loans and mortgages
- Foreign Currency Accounts – for those needing frequent transactions in a currency other than sterling
- Euro Accounts – same as the above except with the Euro
- Special Accounts – which cater for particular religious beliefs so that normal banking conveniences can be accessed without offending certain religious practices
Who can have a current account?
Almost anyone can, depending on their credit history. People who have a bad credit history due to not payment of outstanding bills and loans, county court judgements against them or a history of fraud may find that they have fewer options open to them.
Who can provide me with a current account?
All the main high street banks offer a range of current accounts. Many of the building societies do also as well as most of the internet banks . A list of the main providers can be found below.
How do I decide on the account for me?
You need to think carefully about what you need from your account.
Our simple account chooser questionnaire will help you narrow down the features that you want your account to have. Once you have answered yes or no to all the questions and submitted the form, you will be left with a useful checklist of features you require that you can refer to when comparing different current accounts.
Current accounts providers: