Bank accounts

Having a bank account helps you to have better control of your money. Having your salary or benefits paid into a bank account makes it much easier to pay bills directly to the service provider. The Government is also planning to make Universal Credit payments directly into your bank account. For more information on Universal Credit please see our Welfare Reform and Benefits pageBank Photo

If you are having trouble accessing a bank account you should contact the Advice Services team for help.

There are 4 main types of bank account

Current Accounts

  • Main type of account used by most people to manage their day-to-day money.

Basic Bank Accounts

  • May be right for you if you have a poor credit record or you’re on a low income
  • Often used as a stepping stone to a current account
  • Usually no overdraft facility but otherwise work the same as a current account.

Jam Jar Accounts (Usually through your local Credit Union)

  • Help you budget by dividing your money into different ‘pots’ or ‘jam jars’ (rent, gas, council tax etc)
  • You decide how much money goes into each pot and bills can be paid by Direct Debit or Standing Order
  • These accounts do usually charge a monthly fee.

Packaged Accounts

  • Current accounts with added features for which you pay a monthly fee
  • Unless you require the additional benefits you will be better off opening a current account or basic bank account.

How to Choose a Bank Account

Consider which type of account would suit you best and be sure to carefully read all of the information provided by the organisation you choose.

A simple web search for 'compare bank current accounts' should bring up information to help you to find the best account for you, or alternatively contact the Advice Services team for information and assistance, although we cannot advice you on any particular financial products for regulatory reasons.


Why pay by Direct Debit

For many organisations the preferred method of payment for your rent is Direct Debit partly because there are many advantages for our customers.

  • It’s quicker than most other methods of payment
  • You don’t have to spend time and money calling in to make a payment
  • You can cancel it at any time
  • You don’t have to worry about paying on time as the payment is taken automatically
  • You can choose when and how often to pay on each month
  • When you have to increase your payments to a company, they will take care of this automatically

You do though need to ensure that you have enough money in the account when a Direct Debit payment is due to be made. If there isn’t enough money in the account at that time, you will be charged for a refused Direct Debit. These charges can be very high

To find out how to arrange to pay your rent by Direct Debit or other methods visit our how can I pay my rent page.

What will I need to open a bank or building society account?

Most banks will ask for two documents, one to prove your address and the other to prove your identity. These could be:

  • your driving licence
  • statements from banks and utility companies. These will usually need to be less than three months old
  • utility bills. These will usually need to be less than three months old
  • documents showing that you rent or own your home
  • a solicitor’s letter confirming a rent agreement or house purchase within the past six months
  • a passport or birth certificate
  • a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Different banks and building societies may require other proof of identity. For more information, check with your local bank.

Watch this video to get more information about how to open a bank account.