What is the difference between a Basic Account and Current Account



  • You will get a bank card to use in a cash machine to withdraw money or check your balance
  • You can receive money directly into your account
  • You can make payments from your account
  • You can set up direct debit and standing orders
  • You can make payments in shops (only with the bank accounts that come with a debit card – check with your bank)
  • You will not have an overdraft
  • You will not receive a cheque book
  • You will not have any other credit apart from the money you put on your account
  • You will not receive any additional services such as discounts etc.

With the basic account you will have to know exactly how much money is in your account as you will be charged if you take out more money than what you have. Bank can charge you £25 or more for each day you go over your limit even if you go £1 over your balance. You can check your balance at any cash machine or online if you have online banking to avoid charges.

UPDATE: Basic Accounts have been free of all charges as of January 2016.


WHERE TO APPLY for these fee-free basic accounts:


the Co-operative Bank,


Lloyds Banking Group (Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyds),

Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, Nationwide,

RBS Group (NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank),



Virgin Money



  • You will get a debit card
  • You will get a cheque book
  • You can make payments from your account
  • You can set up direct debit and standing orders
  • You can make payments in shops, online or via telephone
  • You can ask for overdraft

Banks have many variations of accounts on offer. Be aware of monthly charges before you agree to open an upgraded account. Always ask if the account is free to open or how much the charges are. Current accounts are generally free of charge.



It generally takes around 2 weeks to receive your bank card and in a separate letter your PIN number. Do not disclose your PIN to anyone at all. You can always change your PIN at any cash machine to the one you can easily remember. If you do not receive your bank card in the time agreed on, you need to contact your bank.



Once you open a bank account in the branch, you will most likely be given a USERNAME to join the online banking system. This way you can manage your payments and check your balance online at any time. You can accesss your bank accounts 24/7, 365 days a year. You can make payments and see your statements using your smartphone or other compatible devices. Internet banking makes it convenient to keep your personal and contact details up to date.

✅check your balance and transaction

✅transfer money and pay bills

✅set up standing orders

✅set up saving accounts online

✅keep your personal information up to date

✅convenient access from your phone

✅access anytime 24/7, 365 days



1. Go to your Bank’s official website

2. Click ‘online banking’

3. Enter you personal details; name, date of birth, post code, account details

4. Enter USER ID (USERNAME) and PASSWORD; you may be given your USER ID in the bank or you will be sent an activation code in the post. Make sure you have an accesss to your phone as the bank may need to send you a code or validation via text message

5. Log on and create your memorable information; enter your USER ID (USERNAME) and PASSWORD. You’ll be asked to set up your memorable information such as your mother’s maiden name or your place of birth.

These steps are only to be used as  general guidance. Each bank has its individual procedure.



Related Topics

Where to find Bureau de Change

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Useful Websites and Sources

Main Source For International Money Transfer: www.moneysavingexpert.com Source and Comparison website: the money supermarket website Glossary Source: http://www.nasdaq.com/personal-finance/credit-card-glossary.stm The Money Advice Service: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/publications Citizens Advice Bureau: www.citizensadvice.org.uk The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA):www.ukcisa.org.uk Advice line: 020 7107 9922 (Monday to Friday 13.00 – 16.00)

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