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Basic Bank Accounts

Most banks now provide basic bank accounts that give access to limited banking facilities. Generally speaking these accounts allow you to receive your income and withdraw cash from cash machines but do not allow you to have an overdraft facility, cheque book, debit card or credit card. Some do allow the issue of Solo or Visa Electron cards that can be used to buy goods in shops. Most Basic Bank Accounts are credit scored and this means that you may be eligible to upgrade your account to a current account at a future date.

Banks that have Basic Bank Accounts

There are several banks that have these types of account. The way you open an account can vary widely. With some banks the application is completed at a branch and the account is opened at a processing centre. These accounts can take weeks to be decided. Other banks ask you to go to a local branch where the account is opened at that time. We would recommend that you apply to a bank that offers the facility to open the account in the branch. This is the quickest method and allows you to get your identity and documents checked in branch. You will also be able to find out your account number and sort code straight away.

Merton has looked at some of the banks in the borough who provide Basic Bank Accounts. Each bank has its own application process. We have put together a list of local banks with Basic Bank Accounts which gives details of:

  • how the application can be made - including contact details to make an appointment in the local branch;
  • how the application for the account is handled and opened.
  • any additional features of the account, for example Visa Electron or Solo cards
  • the address of local branches and where applicable the fax and phone number of the branch.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support customers

If you are claiming Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support there is an easier application process. See Basic Bank Accounts for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support claimants for more information.

See also