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Choosing a bank account

Current accounts are the most common type of bank account in the UK and are designed for everyday use.

See how they work and what different types are available, so you can find one to suit you.

What is a current account?

A current account lets you manage your day-to-day spending and income. It's a bank account you can use to:

  • Pay household bills
  • Set up Direct Debits or standing orders to make regular payments
  • Receive money such as your salary, pension, or benefits payments
  • Withdraw money from cash machines
  • Pay for goods and services with a debit card

Current accounts sometimes include an arranged overdraft facility you can use to borrow a small amount in the short term if you go overdrawn. Keep in mind that overdrafts can carry fees and charge interest, so it's important to look at this before opening an account.

You can manage most current accounts online or through secure mobile apps.

If you’re an HSBC customer, you’ll automatically receive alerts, which warn you if your balance drops below a certain level. You can opt out of this at any time by going into a branch or contacting us over the phone. 

Different types of current account

Choosing the right account depends on your circumstances and the features you want. These are the most common types of account.

Standard current account

A standard current account comes with a debit card and may also include an arranged overdraft option and chequebook.

They shouldn't have any monthly account maintenance fees and interest rates tend to be low.

Basic current account

Basic current accounts usually offer the same basic services you get with a standard account, but without a chequebook or arranged overdraft facility. There may be restrictions on how much you can withdraw from cash machines in a single day.

Some banks offer these to help people with poor credit ratings, or in special circumstances when customers aren’t able to provide the accepted forms of ID and proof of address.

Explore: Opening a bank account without a fixed address

Packaged current account

For a monthly fee, you may be able to benefit from a range of added extras that don't come with a standard current account. These sometimes include:

  • Breakdown cover
  • Mobile insurance cover
  • Retail discounts
  • Interest-free arranged overdraft facility

Fees typically range from £2 to £20 a month. Before opening one of these accounts it’s worth considering whether they will be cost-effective for you. For instance, if the account comes with free travel insurance and breakdown cover, but you don’t drive or go away much, it may not be worth your while.

Joint current account

A joint current account is a bank account you open with someone else, such as a family member, partner or friend. It gives you a place to store joint funds and make payments if needed. All joint bank account holders will have a bank card for the account and be able to view any transactions made.

Account comparison tool

Compare our current accounts to see which one may suit you.

Student bank account

Student bank accounts are designed to help those at university manage their finances.

Some accounts offer perks, such as free railcards, vouchers, and retail discounts. Don’t be too swayed by the freebies though – it’s more important the account is financially right for you.

Once you finish your education, your student account may automatically transfer to a graduate account

How do you switch bank accounts?

The Current Account Switch Service has a switch guarantee of 7 working days. This means your new bank must arrange for all your existing incoming and outgoing payments to be transferred to your new account within 7 working days.

None of your regular payments will be affected because of a switch. And if required, any payments sent to your old account by mistake will be redirected to your new one.

How many current accounts can you have?

There’s no limit to the number of current accounts you can have. For example, you may have your main current account for bills, and a separate current account for day-to-day spending. If you do have more than 1 current account, make sure you’re able to keep on top of managing them all.