Best Basic Bank Accounts

Basic bank accounts - who are they for and which ones are best?

Updated: November 28, 2023

If you’re looking for a bank account, the best place to start is to find a basic bank account. Basic bank accounts are the best choices for someone who has never had a bank account, or maybe doesn’t have a lot of experience with banking.

It’s also a great choice for the experienced bank customer that just wants to keep it simple. 

But where do you even start looking for bank accounts? There are plenty of options to choose from. You just need to decide if you want to use a local UK bank or if you want to take advantage of an online platform that offers all of the protection and simplicity of a basic bank account. 

We’ve sorted through the market to find you some of the best basic bank account options, as well as some tips to help you make a final decision. Take a look at these top choices!

1. Starling Basic Checking Account★★★★★Click Here
2. Cashplus Basic Current Account★★★★★Click Here
3. Revolut Basic Current Account★★★★★Click Here
4. Santander Basic Current Account★★★★★Click Here
5. Monese Everyday Current Account★★★★Click Here
6. Cashminder Co-op Basic Bank Account★★★★Click Here
7. Nationwide Building Society Basic Account★★★★Click Here
8. Virgin Money M Account★★★★Click Here
9. HSBC Basic Bank Account★★★★★Click Here
10. Halifax Basic Account★★★★★Click Here
11. Metro Bank Cash Account★★★★★Click Here

What Is a Basic Bank Account?

Before you open a bank account, it’s a good idea to know what you’re up against. When we use the word basic bank account, it’s referring to a simple account that meets the needs of every beginning bank relationship. These accounts are often designed for those who are just getting started, or perhaps someone with poor credit. 

The nice thing is that you will have access to all of the same features and needs of a traditional bank account. There may be a few differences, but you should be able to do most things you could do in any traditional bank account. 

A basic bank account is set up to help you maintain your credit and avoid significant fees that accumulate for overdrafts. It gives you some grace when you find yourself in a hard place. 

Who Should Have a Basic Bank Account? 

Anyone can choose to open a basic bank account. You don’t have to fall into a specific category. While they are designed to be conducive to someone with money or credit struggles, you don’t have to qualify with a bad credit score to get one. 

People in these categories might be the best fit. 

  • New to banking
  • Poor credit history
  • Bad banking experiences in the past
  • Not good with money
  • Anyone who prefers simplicity

A basic bank account can be a factor that will contribute to improving someone’s credit scores. Millions of people operate using these types of accounts. In most cases, anyone can get a basic bank account. However, be aware that some banks do only offer these when poor credit is involved. 

The Top Basic Bank Accounts in the UK

We’ve sorted through a variety of options and banks that offer basic bank accounts.

You will find that some are very similar, while other platforms might have something unique that really stands out. We did our best to really sift through the choices and find the very best options on the market. 

Check these out.

1. Starling Basic Checking Account

We've used Starling Bank at Compare Banks for a while, and it's great. In spite of its more sober appearance than rivals Revolut and Monzo, the app is simple to use and quick to process transactions. Starling is also always adding new functionality.

Starling stands out from the digital-only competition for international travellers since it does not impose fees for using ATMs or making purchases made in a foreign currency. Additionally, you can get up to £300 every day in foreign currency withdrawals.

Starling is a good option for anyone seeking a no-frills checking account and a superior mobile banking experience. To begin using the app, please download it.

It's also part of a rising movement of so-called “challenger banks” that use cutting-edge IT to bring banking into the 21st century and streamline the way customers handle their money. Starling allows clients to open a personal account in GBP or EUR. In addition, there are corporate accounts, savings accounts with a set interest rate, and children/teen accounts.


✔️ A free, comprehensive checking account in the UK can be opened in only 20 minutes

✔️ Innovative smartphone app that helps you organise your finances, save money, and reach your financial objectives

✔️ Excellent rate of interest on available balances in checking accounts

✔️ Starling Bank's'settle up' function makes it simple to divide the cheque


❌️ Despite its extensive offerings, Starling is still a young bank and does not yet provide more complicated services like mortgages

2. Cashplus Basic Current Account

What exactly is a Cashplus basic current account? Using the convenience of mobile banking and smartphone technology, Cashplus aims to provide clients with a fast and convenient alternative to conventional banks. Its primary target audience consists of those who have low credit scores.

All transactions for a Cashplus personal checking account must be completed digitally, either using the Cashplus mobile app or online.

Cashplus provides its customers with a debit card, online banking, ATM withdrawals, direct debits, an overdraft facility (invitiation only), and everything else one would expect from a checking account.

Cashplus's “credit builder” function, however, is what really sets it apart from the competition, since it is geared at assisting borrowers in raising their credit scores.

Cashplus “lends” you the monthly charge associated with your current account if you opt in; payments are recorded as loan repayments and reported to credit bureaus. Your credit rating will rise if you maintain timely payments.


✔️ Create an account in under 20 minutes

✔️ To raise your credit rating, make use of the credit builder tool

✔️ Foreign currency cards for you to use


❌️ You either have to pay the service price every month or utilise the free version at your own risk

❌️ Fee to get a bank card

3. Revolut Basic Current Account

Several different accounts, including premium, are available all via Revolut’s digital app. Low costs, streamlined technology, flexibility, and additional features like its crypto and share trading sections inside the app are how it differentiates itself from more conventional banking services.

Revolut, which debuted in 2015, has over 25 million retail clients across the world who do over 330 million transactions monthly. The card caters specifically to frequent fliers by charging no or little fees for foreign transactions.

You can get a UK checking account, a Euro IBAN account, and a blue/pink payment card by signing up for a free “Standard” account.

Its current account allows you to perform the standard things like sending money to pals and withdrawing it from an ATM, but it also has a plethora of additional capabilities, such as low-cost or free worldwide money transfers and worldwide spending, which also includes cryptocurrency trading access.


✔️ Free account stores 30 currencies

✔️ Easy, no-credit-check application

✔️ Avoid international card surcharges

✔️ App for managing numerous accounts and visualising your spending patterns

✔️ Free, money transfers between Revolut accounts


❌️ Adds 0.5% to major currencies, 1% to minor currencies during weekend closures

❌️ Monthly fee-free cash withdrawal limit is £200

❌️ No overdrafts or credit cards available

4. Santander Basic Current Account

Santander is a local bank to the UK and is a great choice for a basic bank account. They allow people to open accounts that have faced issues such as bankruptcy or other similar issues.

They do require a soft credit check in order to open the account, but most basic account providers do.

At Santander, you only have to be 16 to qualify for this account. That means someone who is just getting started or who has poor or little credit history will be a great fit. You will be able to use a debit card to access ATMs throughout the UK. You can also set up automatic debits and credits with the account. 

They have physical branches all over the UK, but you can also open this type of account online if you want to. Then, you can use your phone with a mobile app, online banking, or head to a local branch when you need to conduct any type of business. 

In order to qualify for the basic account at Santander, you will need to be turned down for their other account choices. The requirements aren’t overly restrictive but this is a prerequisite to know about. The account has no fees or overdrafts, but does give you access to rewards, cashback, prizes, and other offers too. 


✔️ No fees for account use

✔️ No overdrafts

✔️ Accepts bankruptcy history

✔️ Physical branches or online/mobile access


❌️ Cannot qualify for alternative account options

5. Monese Everyday Current Account

Monese is convenient for tourists who need to open a bank account when travelling abroad fast. Unlike with a regular bank, you can make various purchases and withdraw money from ATMs in other countries without incurring any fees.

It's a smartphone-based banking software and card that aims to modernise the traditional bank card. Monese is convenient for tourists who need to open a bank account abroad fast. It paves the way for hassle-free card use and cash withdrawals from foreign ATMs. 

Mobile banking with Monese has been available since 2015. It provides consumers in the UK and others with a taste of the convenience and efficiency of 21st-century banking.

The flexibility to create a Monese account from any location in the UK or mainland Europe sets the service apart from others. You can sign up for Monese right now regardless of whether you currently reside in the UK, have established credit, or are salaried. At this time, anyone everywhere in the European Economic Area may download the app.

Moving to another European nation is not a problem since your Monese account will follow you wherever you go.


✔️ You can make direct debits and standing orders using a current account in the UK

✔️ Rapid signup (no credit check required) and quick processing

✔️ Simple to use, colourful programme that lets you set transaction categories and freeze your card in case you misplace it

✔️ In-store purchases and withdrawals from ATMs are also free


❌️ With its free plan, you can withdraw up to £100 from an ATM each month without charge

6. Cashminder Co-op Basic Bank Account

The Cashminder bank account at Co-op Bank is another top choice in the industry. They have physical branches in the UK, as well as the option to do everything completely online.

You can open this type of account as young as 16 years old. They do have some limitations on how much cash you can withdraw daily.

This doesn’t limit your spending, but it is specific to ATM withdrawals. You can do everything you need to through your online access as well as a nice mobile app that they offer to customers. It’s also convenient to walk into a branch if you want that option. 

Cashminder does allow account holders that have experienced bankruptcy in the past. The accounts are free to open and use. You won’t have to worry about overdrafts or the fees that come with that. The only fee that might come up is if you travel abroad, or outside of their region. In those cases, they apply a 2.75% fee to all transactions. 

The Co-op basic bank account could be ideal for someone who has a low credit score, or perhaps has no credit history at all. Their application process is simple. This can even be opened as a joint banking account. Plus, you get access to Google, Apple, and Samsung Pay features. 


✔️ Easy to apply for

✔️ Mobile app, online banking, or physical branches

✔️ Access to different pay app features

✔️ No fees for overdrafts or account use


❌️ 2.75% transaction fee outside of their area

❌️ The daily withdrawal limit is pretty low

7. Nationwide Building Society Basic Account

Nationwide is a great choice with a lot of flexible features on their basic account. Their daily withdrawal limit is reasonable and you won’t have to worry about any daily or monthly fees.

No overdraft fees are charged either. Just like most basic accounts, you won’t be able to write cheques on this account.

This is one of the most simple and basic options out there. It’s easy to use and they don’t bother with the frills.

At the same time, they provide you with access to meet all of your basic needs and the flexibility to take care of business your way. 

You can open your account online or you can head to a nearby branch as well. When it comes to managing the account, they have a mobile app, online banking, and several physical branches around the nation. 

The Flex Basic account is perfect when you don’t qualify for other options. The requirements to qualify are you must be 18 years old, you must be a UK resident, this account is for personal use only, and you can’t be eligible for other current accounts


✔️ Free account to open and use

✔️ Mobile access or physical branch access

✔️ You can pair with an optional savings account

✔️ Plenty of flexibility for account management


❌️ Must be 18 to open

❌️ Fees for use outside of the region

8. Virgin Money M Account

Virgin Money accounts offer some deals and rewards for opening new accounts with them. This particular account option is nice because you can manage your money in different ways.

They also provide you with a suite of tools designed to help you learn more about managing personal finances. This includes budgeting tools, cashback offers, and more. 

You can take advantage of their contactless debit card to conduct all of your banking business. They allow for automatic deposits and withdrawals, but no cheques are issues. You won’t have to worry about overdraft fees, or any account fees. Even travelling abroad and spending is allowed in certain areas. 

One of the coolest features is the savings account that is tied to this checking, encouraging smart money habits. That savings pays 2.52% AER, which is pretty substantial in the savings industry right now. 

You can make daily withdrawals that are pretty reasonable and in line with the competition. This bank does process a hard credit check, rather than a soft one. This means it might affect your score slightly, but it shouldn’t be a huge differential. 


✔️ High daily withdrawal limits

✔️ Linked savings account with high AER

✔️ No charges to travel abroad


❌️ Hard credit check to open account

❌️ If you receive overseas payments, you get a fee

9. HSBC Basic Bank Account

HSBC has a lot to offer their customers. From investments to banking accounts and everything in between.

HSBC is also publicly traded, so you can even invest in their shares at some point if you want to. The HSBC basic account is all about providing you the essentials for your banking needs. 

The account can be opened and managed from your mobile app, but they do have some physical branches as well. They do specify that this account is only for people who don’t qualify for alternative options. You can easily check out the alternative options first to determine if you qualify or not. 

The basic bank account won’t give you any overdrafts or the associated fees. You also cannot use this account to access credit or loans. You can qualify for certain savings accounts, but not all of them. You get a debit card that is compatible with contactless payments and you have a variety of flexible solutions to conduct your banking business. 

The HSBC app is intuitive and user-friendly. There are several provisional smart tools to help you budget and get to know your finances better. They also provide you live chat and regular customer support in many different ways. 


✔️ Some of the best customer service

✔️ Intuitive app with money management tools

✔️ Simple to use account


❌️ Will not be eligible for lending

❌️ Must first apply for alternative accounts

10. Halifax Basic Account

Halifax is another banking solution that is located in the UK. They have plenty of branches throughout the area, but you also have full access through phones or online banking.

They have taken it one step farther to offer you a virtual wallet, which is a unique factor that many of these basic accounts don’t provide.

Halifax gives their customers contactless debit cards, the virtual wallet, and a reasonable daily withdrawal allowance.

You can use your card for no charge as long as the charges are in Euros. If there is any other currency, you might incur a fee for use. 

Here’s another unique factor to Halifax. They have a nice feature on the app that gives you the ability to round up your purchases to the nearest dollar. When you round up, they move that change to a linked savings account. It’s a great tool to help you save without feeling like you can’t afford to save. 

The basic bank account has access to the rewards and cashback programs that Halifax has available. You can get these directly through their app anytime they are open. Just like most other basic accounts, you do need to apply for alternative Halifax accounts first in order to qualify. They also use a hard check to do so. 


✔️ Round up savings tool

✔️ Virtual wallet access

✔️ Intuitive mobile app

✔️ No fees for any transaction in Euros


❌️ Hard credit check

❌️ Fees for anything not charged in Euros

11. Metro Bank Cash Account

The Metro Bank cash account is a great option not only for those with bad credit, but also for young people opening their first accounts. Metro Bank is a local UK bank and they take care of their locals. You can visit any physical branches or you can do business online or over the phone as well.

Metro Bank’s basic account has a somewhat low daily withdrawal limit, but it’s not the lowest one out there. You do the majority of your transactions through the mobile app or their contactless debit card. You can make mobile payments but you cannot set up automatic debits on this one. 

This is a UK only bank so you can only use the card in the UK. This may not be a problem for most people, but it’s definitely something to be aware of. You can open this bank account when you are as young as 11 years old. That’s the youngest age possible. Those 11-15 do need a parent or guardian on the account. 

Metro Bank offers other solutions for low credit scores too. In 2021, they launched a program designed to provide mortgages to low credit borrowers, which might be a resource you need at some point too. 


✔️ Available to age 11 and older

✔️ No fees for account usage

✔️ May have mortgage availability too

✔️ No credit check of any kind


❌️ Absolutely no availability outside of UK

❌️ Cannot set up automatic debits

Tips to Choose a Basic Bank Account

Picking out a bank account can be overwhelming.

There are a lot of details to sort through in order to make a final decision. These simple tips are just details to consider helping you find the right fit. 

Available Features

One of the top things you might want to consider is what features will be available to you. Are you looking for specific features with your basic bank account? All of these providers allow you to access your account via online and mobile banking apps. They even let you open your account online. 

For some of them, this is where the features end. You get a debit card and account access, but nothing special beyond that. Then, there are providers that also give you budgeting tools, linked savings accounts, additional capabilities, or perhaps even the round up feature from Halifax. 

With basic bank accounts, you won’t get a lot of extra bells and whistles. That’s really not the primary focus of these accounts. But if there is a specific feature you’re hoping for, you might look around and see if someone offers it. 


In most cases, the fees that you are charged for basic accounts is minimal. These accounts are designed to give someone with financial struggles or no credit history a leg up. In order to provide to that demographic, they create an account that isn’t going to charge a bunch of fees. 

The most noteworthy fee that you won’t see is an overdraft fee. The last thing you need is to get into trouble with overdrafts and then rack up fees. Instead, they create these accounts where there won’t be overdrafts or the fees that come with them. 

They also don’t usually charge you fees for using the account. If you notice from our reviews above, the most common fee for a basic account is for using it with foreign currency or outside of their service region. 

Alternatives to Basic Bank Accounts

Basic bank accounts are offered across the UK from many well-known banks. This is a regulated type of account that most banks are required to offer their customers. However, it doesn’t mean you have to use one of these local banks to get a decent bank account. 

There are several mobile-based bank accounts that will let you open accounts with little to no credit as well. These providers won’t have physical branches but will have mobile options. Everything you do will be online-based. 

Some of those providers include the following: 

  • eToro
  • Monzo
  • Starling Bank

You might check these out and see if any of them are better suited to your banking needs. Just be aware that you won’t have a physical branch to go to if you need assistance. 

Final Thoughts

Just because you have low credit scores or little credit experience doesn’t mean you can’t open a bank account.

Basic bank accounts are perfect way to let you stabilize your finances or start building some credit. These bank accounts are designed to be simple and not charge you fees for mistakes. 

Take a look at these options to discover if one of them might be a great fit for your banking needs. They all provide some great choices. Everyone deserves to be able to handle their banking business, and this is a good resource to do so.

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