How to Open an Online Bank Account

Compare Banks runs you through how to open an online bank account.

Updated: June 12, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

Jason Mountford

Edited By

Jason Mountford

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If you currently have a current or savings account, you might benefit by moving to an online bank. Compared to going into a bank branch, opening an account online only takes 10 minutes.

Find out below what to expect when opening an online bank account

Opening an online bank account – Pros & Cons


✔️ Avoid waiting in long bank lines.

✔️  Forms can be completed in a short amount of time.

✔️ Average time is around 10 minutes.

✔️ Your debit card will be sent to you.


❌️ You may need to visit a branch if you have no banking history.

❌️ To finish your application at a local bank, you may need to bring in other documentation, such as a work visa or student ID, in addition to your passport.

Opening an online bank account — Steps

If you are under the age of 18, you must have a parent or legal guardian co-sign your bank account application. (In that case, to open this sort of account with a bank, you often need to visit a physical location.) 

Some UK banks still allow non-residents to establish accounts, although they must meet stricter requirements. 

Step 1: Finding the best account is the first step.

Try other banks to see which one works best for you. Think about things like monthly costs, cash withdrawal fees, and whether or not the account will waive fees if you make direct deposits, as well as the kind of card, minimum balance requirements for savings accounts, and whether or not you can bank online or through an app.

Step 2: Determine if you want a joint or individual current account.

When you establish a single account, no one else will have access to the funds inside except you. The opposite is true with a joint bank account, in which you and another person (often a family member, significant other, or business partner) have equal ownership.

The funds in the account are available for both parties to utilise at their discretion.

Step 3: Submit an online account application.

Go to the website of your chosen account provider, where you may complete a safe and secure online application. Name, age, home address, and National Insurance number are all required bits of information that will help them get to know you better.

Because the application site will terminate automatically after a certain amount of inactivity, you should have all of this data ready before you begin.

When you apply for a bank account online, the bank or credit union will send you further instructions through email.

You should get this email from the bank within a few minutes after submitting the application. Instructions on how to authenticate your identity may be included with it or required beforehand.

Step 4: Authentication.

A valid government-issued photo ID is required for account creation. While some financial institutions may insist on seeing your ID in person, the vast majority will accept a photo taken with your smartphone. You may be able to skip this if you are already a client of the bank.

Step 5: Put money in the bank.

For most online bank accounts, you'll need a debit card or the account number and sort code for an existing bank account to make an initial deposit.

Step 6: Get your debit card.

After you've been accepted, you'll get a debit card in the mail if you request one; the email confirming your account will tell you when to expect it. Your debit card and PIN will arrive in separate packages for your safety. In order to make withdrawals after receiving your card, you must sign the back and activate it. This is easily done over the phone or Internet.

Step 7: Getting started.

Your account is now activated. You'll have full access to your account, including the ability to fund it and withdraw funds. In order to complete the setup:

✔️ Set up your banking online. You may check your balance, transfer funds, and pay bills, all from the convenience of your mobile device, laptop, or tablet. To begin setting up your online banking, download the app offered by your account provider and follow the on-screen instructions.

✔️ Changing your automatic payments and debits is a must. Whether you just opened a current account, you'll need to determine whether you want to change all of your recurring bills to go via the new account. If that's the case, go into your current accounts and update your payment details there.

What do I need to get started with an electronic bank account?

  • Identification documents
  • Personal details
  • Minimum deposit

In all, it shouldn't take more than 10 minutes for this. Most accounts have online applications if you're above the age of 18. A list of everything you need to bring with you when you apply will be given to you.

If you already have an account with the bank, you'll need to provide your customer ID or account number.


Banks require ID to help prevent fraud and meet government anti-money laundering regulations. They have to check your identification to make sure you're the one opening the account and not some imposter.

Personal details

Confirm your personal details. The majority of financial institutions let you open a joint account with another person. In order to open a joint account, each account holder must present identification and evidence of residence.


You may be able to create a bank account online with no initial deposit at certain financial organisations. Greater interest rates and more perks usually come with greater minimum deposit requirements.

Opening an online bank account: The Verdict

You can create a current or savings account in a matter of minutes via your computer or smartphone. 

But don't allow the ease of making a quick choice fool you. Before opening an account, it's a good idea to do some research and find out which features are most important to you, such as the ability to integrate with accounting software.

See how to save money in 2024


Where do I go to activate my card and account?

Where can I locate my monthly bank statement?

To what extent is it possible to create a bank account just over the internet?

Can an individual outside the United Kingdom create a bank account online?

If I already have a current account, how can I change over?

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