Bank accounts and credit unions
Getting a bank account
Most people open a bank account so that their salary, benefits or pension can be paid into it. Its also useful to pay bills and manage your money.
If you have a bank account, you can pay your rent automatically by Direct Debit. If would like to do this, contact your Revenue Officer.
Not having a bank account can mean you pay more for some things for example, energy bills may cost up to £250 a year more. Some services, like getting the internet at home, may not be available at all without a bank account.
A basic bank account allows you to:
- Receive money
- Pay bills
- Have a cash card to withdraw money from a cash machine
- Set-up Direct Debits
A basic account won't let you take out more money than you have, but you still need to make sure there is enough money to cover any standing orders or direct debits. If you don't, you may have to pay charges.
A current account offers the same things as a basic account, plus:
- A debit card to pay for goods and services if you have enough money in your account
- The ability to set up standing orders or direct debits to pay regular bills, such as rent
- A cheque book
- An authorised overdraft facility
It may also pay you interest and some current accounts let you send money abroad or cash foreign cheques (usually for a charge).
Another option is to open an account at your local credit union.
Many London boroughs have a credit union you can join. L&Q have
also joined with London Plus Credit Union to
help bring these services to you.
What is a credit union?
- Credit unions are financial organisations owned and controlled by their members
- They welcome new, irregular savers and people with poor credit histories
- They can advise you about money and help you with responsible saving and lending
- They are regulated in the same way as banks and have insurance policies to protect against fraud
- Credit union savings are protected in the same way as banks