Why open a bank account?

  • Under Universal Credit your money will be paid directly to you – so you’ll need to have an account for it to be paid into
  • You can access your money 24/7
  • Wages, pension and benefit payments can be paid directly into the account
  • You have the money available to you on the day it arrives in your account
  • You will receive discounts on utility bills if you pay by Direct Debit
  • You will receive free automated transactions (e.g. Direct Debits and standing orders)
  • You will have a cash card for use at cash machines
  • Many banks will give access to phone or internet banking so you don’t have to go in to the branches if you don’t want to

How do I open a basic bank account?

  • If you want to open a basic bank account at a bank or building society you should check with your local branch what you need as proof of identity and address. This could be documents like a passport, driving licence, Council Tax bill or a recent electric, gas or water bill.
  • When you speak to the bank – make sure you make it really clear that you want a basic bank account so don’t be pressured into opening another account, which is unsuitable and may lead to future problems such as overdrafts.

How to choose a bank account?

The Money Advice Service have produced a helpful vide about how to choose a bank account.