What are the Quickest Bank Accounts to Open?

The best current accounts available in the UK.

Updated: May 26, 2024
Mark Tovey

Written By

Mark Tovey

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In today's fast-paced world, the ability to quickly open bank accounts is more important than ever, especially when instant access to banking services can significantly enhance our financial management.

If you're considering switching banks or opening a new account, knowing which banks offer the quickest setup can save you a great deal of time and effort.

Here's a guide to the best current accounts available in the UK, based on how quickly you can get them up and running.

Best Bank Accounts in 2024: Quickest Setup

When choosing a new current account, the speed of account opening is a crucial factor for many.

Below is a list of banks offering the quickest account opening processes:

BankStand Out Features
Starling BankCan be opened in minutes; ideal for immediate banking needs, fee-free card usage abroad, and interest on balances.
RevolutQuick setup, excelling in international payments without extra fees.
BarclaysFast access to account upon approval; innovative features in their banking app.
HSBCQuick process, especially for existing customers; global banking features available.
MonzoFast application process, with the account and card being ready within days.

These banks not only provide rapid account opening but also come with additional benefits that can enhance your banking experience, from interest on your deposits to international spending without fees.

How to Choose the Right Current Account

Choosing the right current account requires some self-reflection, as everyone's financial needs differ.

Consider the following factors to find the best match:

Overdraft Facilities: If you frequently use overdrafts, look for accounts with low interest rates on borrowed amounts.

Account Management: Consider whether you prefer managing your account online or in-person. Digital banks offer sophisticated app-based management tools.

Travel Benefits: For those who travel often, accounts that offer no foreign transaction fees can reduce costs.

Monthly Fees vs. Benefits: Some accounts charge monthly fees but offer benefits like cashback and rewards which might offset the costs depending on your usage.

Eligibility: Always check if you meet the bank's criteria before applying.

Detailed Overview of Fastest Accounts to Open

Here’s a closer look at the accounts that can be set up swiftly:

1. Starling Bank Personal Current Account – Best Overall in 2024

Application: Complete in minutes via the app.

Decision timeframe: Between one and five days.

Features: Interest on balances, fee-free spending abroad, and savings features.

Access: Fully digital, with app-based banking.

Starling says 96% of customers’ accounts are opened in just one day, and 99% within 5 days.

Starling Bank is a frontrunner in the digital banking revolution, offering a highly efficient and user-friendly mobile banking experience.

Recognised for its quick account setup process, Starling allows customers to start banking almost immediately after registration.

The account is notable for providing interest on balances up to £5,000, which is a rare feature among modern digital banks.

Additionally, customers benefit from no fees on international transactions, making it an excellent choice for travellers. The integrated savings features help users manage their finances better by automatically setting aside funds for specific financial goals.

2. Revolut Standard Account

Application: Quick, straightforward setup.

Decision timeframe: A few minutes to a maximum of 7 days.

Features: Ideal for international currency needs, with competitive exchange rates and transfer capabilities.

Access: Primarily app-based, offering a modern banking experience.

User experiences vary, with some getting their accounts approved in minutes and others waiting as long as 7 days.

Revolut has transformed the way consumers interact with their money globally. Designed for the tech-savvy user, the application process is streamlined to ensure that customers can start using their account with minimal delay.

Revolut stands out for its robust currency exchange features, offering competitive rates and seamless transfer capabilities across various currencies.

This makes it particularly appealing for users who frequently travel or conduct transactions in multiple currencies. The app itself provides a comprehensive and modern banking experience, focusing on user convenience and financial control.

3. Barclays Bank Account

Application: Fast and efficient online setup.

Decision timeframe: Immediate to several days

Features: Immediate account access upon approval, cashback options, and a dynamic banking app.

Access: Online and app, with branch support.

Applicants can expect instant access to their shiny, new account upon approval, with a card and PIN sent within five working days.

As one of the oldest and most established banks in the UK, Barclays combines tradition with modern technology to provide a comprehensive banking solution.

The online application process of Barclays Bank is quick and efficient, allowing for immediate access to the account upon approval.

Customers enjoy various benefits such as cashback on different transactions and an innovative banking app that offers spending insights and security controls.

Additionally, Barclays maintains a physical presence through branches, offering a hybrid model of digital and in-person banking services.

4. HSBC Advance Bank Account

Application: Expedited process for existing customers.

Decision timeframe: Immediate to several days.

Features: Global banking solutions and optional savings accounts with higher interest rates.

Access: Online, app, and branch.

HSBC is a global banking institution known for its extensive network and diverse financial products. The HSBC Advance Bank Account is tailored for individuals seeking a robust banking experience with a focus on global accessibility.

The application process is particularly expedited for existing customers, making it easier to upgrade or switch to this account. Features such as higher interest rates on savings accounts and comprehensive global banking solutions make it a preferred choice for customers with international banking needs.

The bank's integration of online, app, and branch access ensures that customers can manage their finances however they prefer.

5. Monzo Current Account

Application: Typically takes under 10 minutes to set up.

Decision timeframe: A couple of days.

Features: Quick card delivery, budgeting tools, and no fees on foreign spending.

Access: Predominantly app-based.

Monzo says it’ll usually send your new card, which you’ll have to activate, within 2 days of completing the application process successfully.

Monzo has quickly become one of the UK's most popular digital banks, known for its straightforward and rapid account setup process.

The account comes with a variety of features aimed at enhancing financial management, such as advanced budgeting tools and instant notifications on spending. Monzo also offers a competitive edge with no fees on foreign transactions, which is highly advantageous for international travellers.

Predominantly app-based, Monzo caters to a mobile-first audience, offering a dynamic and interactive banking experience directly from one's smartphone.

Conclusion

For those looking to open a new bank account swiftly, digital banks like Starling and Revolut offer some of the quickest setups.

Traditional banks like Barclays and HSBC also provide fast and efficient online applications, making them excellent choices for those who need immediate access to banking services.

Always consider what features are most important to you in a bank account and ensure the bank’s eligibility criteria match your circumstances before applying.

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