Bank account options

There are a number of different bank account options available that can receive benefit payments.

Not all types of account can make automated outgoing payments (direct debits and standing orders) which are a useful tool for managing your money, and some accounts charge if these payments fail because of insufficient funds.

Fee-free bank accounts have been launched by nine banks – this means no charges are made if automated payments fail.  These accounts are available to anyone who doesn’t already have a bank account, who can’t get a standard current account or who can’t use their existing account due to financial difficulty.  Banks offering fee-free bank accounts (and names of the products offered) are listed on www.gov.uk.

Most banks offer a basic bank account that allows you to set up automated payments but does not have an overdraft.  Basic bank accounts are a good option if you have not previously had a bank account and might not be eligible for standard current accounts because of a poor credit rating but these accounts might charge fees unlike fee-free bank accounts.

Credit Unions are another option if you have a poor credit history but there is usually a monthly cost for these accounts.  Solent Credit Union is based in Winchester City Council’s Colebrook Street office every Friday 9.30am-12.30pm.

You will need some personal identification (ID) to open most types of bank account e.g. driving licence or benefit books/entitlement letter.  Check what you will need to bring with you.