Thinking of opening a bank account? Get some handy tips here, plus info on high interest savings accounts for those of you with overflowing piggy-banks...
Benefits of a bank account
Having a current account (bog standard bank account) will mean
you can use a cash machine, transfer money, set up Direct
Debits and earn interest. And if you're really lucky,
you'll get a free calculator when you join ;)
Is it free?
In the UK you don't have to pay to open most types of bank account,
although you will be hit with charges if you go overdrawn
(spend more than you have in the account).
How to get one
- You can open your own current account from age 11, but you can't do it without parental consent until you're 16.
- Shop around for the best deal. Obv a free MP3 player is nice, but online banking, 24-hr access to your money and a debit card might be a leetle more useful in the long term.
- Go into your local branch of whichever bank you choose and arrange to open an account with them. It's worth phoning or checking the website first to see what kind of ID you'll need.
- Most internet-only banks are restricted to over-18s.
Debit cards, overdrafts, loans...
- You can't get a debit card (that you use to pay for stuff in shops) until you're 16.
- You can't get an overdraft facility or a loan until you're 18.
- If you have a big wodge of cash or if you want to save up for something, a savings account will pay way more interest than a current account.
- Most banks offer savings accounts, but you could also consider National Savings & Investments (NS&I) or, if you're over 16, a cash ISA. There's more info on these options at directgov, linked below.