3. Get a basic bank account

Basic bank accounts are available to everyone from most banks. The Government has stated that banks need to make a “basic bank account” available to everyone, including those with poor credit records.

Open a basic bank account

Banks must be contacted directly in order to open a bank account either by ringing them or calling into your local branch.

All banks require proof of identity and residency as part of the application process

It is not a requirement of basic bank accounts to have a minimum amount credited to the account each month

ID required when you open an account

  • A passport or photo-card driving licence
  • Any letter from the Department of Work and Pensions dated within the last twelve months, which shows your present address and confirms that you receive state benefits, for example, Child Benefit, Retirement Pension, Income Support etc.
  • A Housing Benefit notification letter dated within the last six months, which shows your present address. Your Housing Benefit advisor will be able to provide you with this
  • ACouncil Tax bill dated within the last 12 months which shows your current address, your Housing Benefit advisor will be able to provide you with this

Each bank has its own policy about identity checks which it will explain to you.

Why open a bank account ?

  • Provides a route to many other banking services
  • Helps build a banking history
  • You can make automated payments such as paying bills by direct
    debit. Often there are discounts if you pay this way
  • Budgeting is made easier as paying bills by direct debit spreads payments out on a monthly basis
  • Cashing cheques can be difficult and expensive without a bank account
  • You can pay your landlord by standing order or direct debit

Housing Benefits and bank accounts

Housing Benefit can be paid into the account by BACS transfer.

When you have opened an account, contact the Benefits Service on 0161 770 6633 for further information.

Basic bank account services

  • Free automated transaction such as direct debit
  • A cash card for use at cash machines
  • Telephone banking
  • Most basic bank accounts allow you to access your cash free of charge at any post office using your cash card
  • Most basic bank accounts do not give you a cheque book, overdraft or debit card.