UK Bank Accounts

Finances Most UK banks and building societies have agreed to abide by a voluntary code of practice called the Banking Code. The code sets out minimum standards of good practice which the UK bank or building society should observe in its dealings with you.

Currently an estimated 1.9 million UK households do not have access to a bank account and the government is taking a particular interest at what it sees as financial exclusion. It is currently looking at relaxing rules on identity bought in to address money laundering concerns. Ian Mullen, chief executive of the BBA, said there had been a "significant improvement" in banks' practices.

The recently revised Banking Code will ensure that from March 2005 customers who specifically want a basic bank account must be given one - even if they meet the criteria for a current account.

Basic UK bank accounts come with a special sort of credit card (Solo or Electron), which involves the balance in your UK bank account being checked before each payment or withdrawal to see if there is enough money available. The transaction will only go ahead if there is enough, so there should be little risk of going overdrawn. Another way of banking is through the internet or on the telephone.


Your personal criteria for opening an account with a particular bank may include the following considerations;

The services that each bank provides differs- do they charge for using their cash machines for instance. Is it easy to receive advice from them regarding your present and future finances.

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