Compare Current Accounts

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A Complete Guide to Current Accounts


What is a current account?

A current account is a type of bank account that enables you to manage your day-to-day spending. You can have your salary paid into it and you can set up standing orders and Direct Debits to ensure that your bills are always paid on time. Typically, current accounts come with a cash or debit card, which can be used to make purchases in store, online or to withdraw cash from an ATM. Depending on the type of current account you open, you may even be able to apply for an arranged overdraft which acts as a safety net in case you ever overspend.

Best current account

Our comparison table takes into consideration real reviews from customers who have opened current accounts with bank providers in the UK. We believe that comparing the quality of current accounts and the level of customer service the banks offer is just as important as comparing the benefits of accounts when searching for an account that’s right for you. Take a look at our table to compare current accounts and see which is the best bank for current accounts.

What can I do with my current account?

The best current accounts will allow you to:

  • Make purchases in store on online with a debit card
  • Pay bills and people with cheques
  • Deposit cheques into your account
  • Transfer money between your accounts online
  • Set up Direct Debits and standing orders to pay bills and people
  • View your balance online, over the counter or at an ATM machine
  • Apply for an arranged overdraft

Can I open a current account?

To be eligible for a current account, you must be over 16 years old and a legal UK resident. Although some banks require you to be at least 18. If you’re under 18, you may be able to open an account with help from your guardians. You can get specific current accounts that are tailored to children and young adults but the services they offer are very limited.

Opening a current account is easy and can normally be done in minutes. Most banks allow you to open an account online, on the app or in a branch. Upon opening an account, you may have to pass a credit check, this is because many current accounts allow you to apply for an arranged overdraft. You’ll also have to provide proof of your identity and address before you can open an account.

Are current accounts free?

All banks offer at least one free current account, but there are also plenty of current accounts available that require you to pay a monthly maintenance fee. If you want additional benefits from your current account such as travel insurance, breakdown cover, cashback when you spend and more, you might want to consider opening an account for a monthly fee. Depending on the benefits offered, the monthly fee can vary between £2 to £20. However, it’s always best to weigh up your options. If you don’t think you’ll take full advantage of the benefits, you might be better off opening a free account and paying for insurance products and breakdown cover yourself.

Which current account is best for me?

The answer to this question depends on how you want to use your current account, what you want to get out of your current account and your financial situation. Most banks offer the following types of current account:


Standard current account

A simple current account that can be used to manage your day-to-day finances. You can have your salary paid into it, set up Direct Debits and settle bills. You’ll also get a debit card that you can use to make purchases in store or online.


Packaged account

These types of accounts are normally available for a monthly or annual fee. They come with additional extras such as mobile phone insurance, breakdown cover, travel insurance and cashback. If you want more from your current account, this is the type of account for you.


Student account

Tailored specifically to students, these accounts typically come with an interest-free overdraft.


Graduate account

Designed for those that have just graduated from university, they normally come with an interest-free overdraft for up to three years.


Basic bank account

If you’ve been bankrupt, have poor credit history or have recently moved to the UK and don’t qualify for a standard current account, you may be offered a basic bank account. This account is very limited compared to a standard current account.


Joint current account

This account works like a standard current account, the only difference is that you and your partner have access. If you share responsibilities with your partner, such as a mortgage, rent or household bills, this account might be ideal for you.

What should I consider when comparing current accounts?

With so many different current accounts available, it can be overwhelming when deciding which account to open. There are a number of things that you can compare to help make the right choice. The main things to look out for when comparing current accounts is:

Account fees

Some banks will charge you a monthly maintenance fee for particular current accounts, however, all banks offer a free current account. If you’re interested in a current account that charges a monthly fee, you should take a look at all the benefits that come with the account and decide whether you would actually make the most of them all.

Arranged overdraft interest rates

If you’re looking to add an arranged overdraft to your current account, you should compare the interest rate associated with borrowing money from different banks. We’ve already done this for you, check out our comparison table.



Do you want to benefit from extra rewards when you bank, such as discounts at selected retailers, insurance cover or exclusive rates? Most banks have a number of Reward accounts on offer so be sure to compare them all and choose one that you’ll make the most of.

Customer service

Most importantly, we believe that the way banks treat their customers should be a fundamental factor when deciding who you should bank with. Make sure you take a look at plenty of reviews from real customers before deciding who to bank with.

Do current accounts pay interest?

This will depend on who you’re opening a current account with. The majority of standard current accounts don’t pay any interest at all on your balance. However, some banks offer competitive interest rates on current accounts. In order to qualify, you’ll often have to meet certain criteria, for example, you have to pay in at least £1,500 a month into your current account. Some UK banks offer interest rates of up to 3% on their high-interest current accounts, so if you pay in £1,000 a month on average, you’ll earn £30 a year.

Can I switch current accounts?

Yes. Switching current accounts is easy with the Current Account Switch Service. When opening a new account, simply let your new bank provider know that you’d like to switch from your existing current account to them. Your bank will provide you with a ‘current account switch agreement’ and a ‘current account closure instruction’ that you need to fill in and sign. Once the bank has all the information they need, they’ll deal with the switch for you and it will be complete in 7 working days. Your incoming payments, such as your salary and pension income and your outgoings, such as Direct Debits and standing orders will be automatically transferred for you so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

What about app-based banks?

We’ve also got a comparison table that focuses purely on app-based banks. The difference between app-based banks and high street banks is that they are digital only and you don’t have the option of visiting a branch. The future of banking, app-based banks offer more features than high street banks, such as insights into your spending habits and fee-free spending abroad. However, they don’t offer as many services as high street banks, like mortgages or investments. An app-based bank might be better suited to your personal needs so they’re definitely worth considering when you’re choosing who to bank with.

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