Do you have a bank account?

15th January 2019

To receive Universal Credit and other benefits, you need an account with a bank, building society or credit union that allows you to make and receive automated payments.

A basic bank account is free and means you can save money and make payments (including direct debits for your rent). Most will give you a debit card too. They're particularly useful for people with bad credit history.

To set one up, you'll need to fill out an application form and provide some ID like a passport or driving licence. Most banks offer them - you can compare different ones here to see which one's best for you. 

If you have a basic bank account you:

  • don't have to open it with a certain amount of money 
  • don't have to pay fees
  • can pay in your wages, salary, benefits and tax credits 
  • can pay in cheques and cash
  • can pay bills by direct debit
  • can withdraw money from cash machines
  • won't be able to go overdrawn.

If you can't get a basic account, or don't want to open one, there are some other options.

One is joining a credit union: a small, non-profit financial organisation set up by people to benefit their community. Credit unions offer savings, loans and sometimes current accounts. You'll find more information about credit unions here

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