A basic bank account is a simple account which doesn’t have an overdraft allowance. However, it does allow you to receive payments, pay in cheques, withdraw money, and set up a Direct Debit or standing order.

A basic bank account may be useful if you are receiving benefits, have a poor credit rating history, or simply want to control your spending to avoid using more money than you have in your account.

It is important to note that if the money in your account runs too low for you to complete a Direct Debit or standing order payment, then your bank can refuse to pay it and you may be charged £25 each time the payment is refused. Your bank will notify you if this is the case.

When choosing your basic bank account, it is a good idea to consider some of the following issues: whether there is a branch of the bank supplying the account close to your home or place of work, as well as a cash machine where you can withdraw money free of charge; whether the bank requires a full credit history; and whether the account offers the services you require (e.g. debit card, Direct Debit facility).

When you have chosen your account, you will need to provide proof of identity, such as a driving licence or passport. In most cases proof of address, for example a utility bill or bank statement, will also be necessary. This may vary from bank to bank, so it is a good idea to check before you try to open the account.

For more information, please look at the Money Advice Service website.