Applying for a Current Account

Most people give little thought to their current account, despite it being an everyday essential.

Pick the right type of account

Standard current accounts will come with a debit card, overdraft facility, cheque book and the option of setting up payments by direct debit and standing order.

The majority of accounts are free but there are some which require a monthly minimum payment to the account, or charge a fee. 

These premium accounts usually come with added extras such as in-credit interest or insurance perks and access to preferential rates on other products.

If an account catches your eye make sure to click through to the bank or building society's website to check the full terms and conditions including the eligibility criteria. Some of the most attractive deals may require a minimum annual income or that you have not been a customer of the bank before. Unfortunately, providers tend to offer the best deals to new customers - which is why it's often worth switching to a new bank.

But if you like your bank and have had good customer service experiences, or have landed yourself a decent overdraft deal, you might decide that you want to stay with your account - even if it means missing out on that free £100 or 5 per cent interest rate.

Remember, most deals are only promotions, and often the offer - such as a fee-free overdraft or in-credit interest payments - will drop off or reduce substantially after a certain time period. So think about the long term - if you are happy, it might be better to stay put.

You can open a current account online, in branch, over the phone and even by post. 

All of these options will require you to answer a series of questions and supply proof of your identification. 

Banks may ask about your income, employment and your current and previous address details. 

Some may require proof of who you are, asking for a copy of a passport or driving license and something showing your name and address such as a bank statement or council tax bill.

Once you have filled in all forms and provided the relevant identification the bank will run a search on your credit file.

Although the eligibility criteria won’t be as strict with a current account as it would be when applying for a credit card, if you have a history of debts you may find that your application is not accepted.

Banks must give you a reason for rejecting your application. It could be something to do with a bad credit rating or because you don't fit the requirements of the account.

This might be because you don't meet it's minimum income etc.

If you have a history of bad credit it might be worth looking into a basic bank account.

Making the switch

The first thing you will be asked to do is fill in a current account switch agreement and an account closure instruction form.

The exact switch date you choose must be at least seven days after the account opening date. 

Switchers will be informed when the bank has started the switching process and will still be able to use the old account up until the day of the swap.

On that day all regular payments will be moved over. This will include all direct debits and standing orders out of the account, as well as all incoming payments such as your salary. Any negative or positive balances will also be shifted over.

After this is done, the old account will be automatically closed and the new bank will inform you that the switch has been made.

Whatever you decide, it's important to do your research. However it may be just the right thing to help you save those few extra pennies that add up.

 

 

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