How to open a bank account online (2022)

In this article

Coronavirus (COVID-19) banking update Before you start: how to compare bank accounts Opening a bank account online: what do you need? Checklist: opening a bank account online

Closing a bankaccount Switching a bank account Bank accounts and probate: closing an account on death

Coronavirus (COVID-19) banking update

Applications for payment holidays have now closed butbanks are still offering tailored support to customers who are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Find out more: Covid-19 payment holidays end: how to get help with your finances

Keep on top of the latest news and advice related to the COVID-19 pandemic withWhich?

Before you start: how to compare bank accounts

Opening a current account is an important financial milestone. They’re not just a home for our salaries and pensions – you can use one to boost your savings, manage a household budget and bundle all of your financial products together.

Picking the right current account will depend on the way you spend and manage your money. Here are some things to think about when comparing accounts:

Does the bank have a good reputation?

Twice a year, we ask the public to rate their banks to reveal the best and worst current account providers for customer service.

Does it have a nearby branch?

Challenger banks Monzo and Starling offer current accounts run entirely from your mobile phone but if face-to-face service is important to you, check that your chosen provider has a branch you can reach. We've mapped over3,000 branch closures since 2015.

Does it pay interest?

Some current accounts pay better rates than traditional savings accounts. This table outlines the best accounts for in-credit interest.

Do you need an overdraft?

Some overdrafts cost as much as payday loans so if you’re likely to need to borrow money occasionally, compare fees for both arranged overdrafts in our tables.

(Video) how to open barclays bank account online | barclays bank account opening | Barclays app Barclaycard

Are you willing to pay for perks?

Packaged accounts include various products such as travel insurance, mobile phone cover and vehicle breakdown cover, for around £10-£20 per month. We’ve analysed the best and worst value packaged accounts.

Do you want a joint account?

If you want to manage household finances smoothly, a joint bank account is helpful although remember that you are both liable for any debt, regardless of who spends or provides the money.

Opening a bank account online: what do you need?

Banks must always verify who you are and where you live before they can offer you an account so you’ll need to provide:

  • proof of identity (typically a passport, driving licence or National identity card, although banks may accept other forms of identification);
  • one or two documents as proof of address (a recent utility bill, rental contract, benefits or state pension letter issued within the past 12 months).

How long does it take to open a bank account online?

If you already have a bank account,switching from one provider to anothershould take no longer than seven working days if you’re using the industry-wide Current Account Switch Service (CASS).

This also guarantees that any payments accidentally paid into your old account will be redirected for three years.

If you're opening an account from scratch, it will depend on the way you open the account.

For example, Santander says successful online applicants will be sent their account details and debit card within 7-10 working days – but if it can confirm your identity over the phone, you’ll be able to open the account immediately.

Do bank account applications affect your credit score?

An overdraft is a form of credit so current accounts will appear on yourcredit reportand successive applications in a short space of time could negatively affect your score.

Even if you don’t have a formal overdraft facility, there are usually ways you can go overdrawn so banks are likely to carry out searches when you apply.

Credit reports don’t include information about your balance but they do show lenders how many accounts you have open and details of any agreed loans, credit cards and overdrafts.

(Video) How to Open Lloyds Bank Account Online? Lloydsbank.com Sign Up 2021

Having an arranged overdraft facility isn’t necessarily a problem – in fact, some lenders will see available but unused overdrafts as a positive so responsible use could improve your score.

Unarranged overdrafts are a different story – borrowing in this way is always harmful to your credit score, as is an overdraft that you aren’t able to clear in full for a long time.

Can the bank refuse to open a bank account for me?

Banks and building societies can’t be forced to open an account for anyone, although they aren’t allowed to discriminate against you because of your race, sex, disability, religion or sexuality.

But, if you're turned down, you should apply for a fee-free basic bank account instead.

The nine largest banks and building societies in the UK have agreed to offer basic bank accounts with no monthly fees to those who:

  • no bank account;
  • have a bank account elsewhere, but want to change provider;
  • have a bank account, but are in financial difficulty and want their bank to open a new, functional account for them.

Find out more: Basic bank accounts compared

Can I open a bank account without a UK address?

Banks are generally very cautious about opening UK accounts for non-residents, due to strict anti-money laundering regulations and ‘know your customer’ checks.

If you live in a country that’s part of the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), several banks will let you open a current account online without a UK address.

This includes Lloyds Bank, which asks for proof of ID and EU address to be sent by post (the original documents, not copies, which will be retuned securely).

Nationwide’s basic account can also be opened online by non-residents, although you must have a face-to-face meeting within two months of receiving an invitation to show your ID in person.

A new app called Moneseoffers a multi-currency account without asking for a UK address or credit history.

(Video) how to open HSBC UK bank account online | HSBC bank open account online | Debit card | credit card

It charges £4.95 a month for its full account, although a free version also exists. You can deposit cash using Post Office branches or PayPoint locations, and use the account to receive a salary, or set-up direct debits.

Importantly, you don’t have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if Monese goes bust.

Find out more:How are your savings protected?

Can I open a UK bank account if I live overseas?

Several banks offer international bank accounts designed for non-residents. Some charge a monthly fee and you might be asked to deposit a large sum of money.

For example, to become a customer of HSBC Expat you need to hold a minimum of £60,000 or currency equivalent in deposits and/or investments with them.

Services are typically provided by the offshore divisions of these banks so check first how your money is protected.

In the case of both Santander and Lloyds Bank, for example, international accounts are covered by the Jersey Bank scheme, which only covers £50,000 (the UK scheme covers £85,000).

Checklist: opening a bank account online

You don’t need to visit a branch to start your application – you can do most of the legwork online, although you may still be asked to pop into branch with some ID once you get the green light.

If you want to open a joint account, some banks will only let you add additional account holders in branch. Others will perform an ID check for both of you online.

Here’s a handy checklist of the information you might be asked to provide:

You’ll also be prompted to read the privacy policy and consent to your information being held by the bank or building society and shared with credit reference agencies.

Check that it’s registered with the Information Commissioner's Office as a data controller.

Closing a bankaccount

If you decide to close youraccount, somebanks and building societies will askyou to visit one of the branches so that you canreturn anycardsand chequebooks(Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank,Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Santander), although you may also be ableto close your account via online banking(HSBC, Nationwide).

If your account isin credit or overdrawn you'll need to either move that money to another account or add enough fundsto clear the overdraft.

(Video) How To Open A BANK ACCOUNT IN THE USA Online From ANY COUNTRY & Get A US Debit Mastercard

You have a rightto your transaction history for up to five years after you have closed your account,thanks to rules put in place by theCompetition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Switching a bank account

In most cases, it's much easier toswitch to a new provider using theCurrent Account Switch Service (CASS) whichaims to close your old account and transfer all of your payment arrangements within seven working days.

It's backed by a guarantee that if anything goes wrong, anycharges you incurwill be refunded - and transactions to or from the old account are redirectedfor three years.

If you don't want to close your old account, you can choose a partialswitch instead of a full switch.This is still an automated process and should still be completed within seven working days, but you aren't covered by the service guarantee and transactions won't be redirected.

Find out more: How to switch banks in seven days

Bank accounts and probate: closing an account on death

Once the death has been registered, the registry office will issue a death certificate – this is required by financial companies and government departments to settle the affairs of the deceased.

Usually, the person named as executor in the will notify any banks or building societies that the deceased holds savings and current accounts with. Where there isn’t a will, a family member can apply to be administrator of the estate.

Paperwork needed to close an account will include the death certificate, identity documentand in some cases, an indemnity form (signing an indemnity form means you agree to compensate the bank or building society for any losses in the event of future claims made against the estate)

Find out more: What to do when someone dies

Banks will usually let you release funds from the deceased's account to cover probate fees, inheritance tax and funeral bills. Payments are generally made directly to HMRC or the funeral director.

You can often close an account without going through probate if the total balance is below a certain threshold (see table below).

If the total funds exceed this threshold, the bank will ask to see an official document called a ‘grant of probate’, or ‘letter of administration’ in Scotland, to prove that you havethe right to manage their affairs.

A couple ofbanks (Barclays, RBS/NatWest) wouldnot disclose their latest probate thresholds though we have referred to their previous thresholds:

Bank Threshold
Barclays £50,000 [a]
Clydesdale Bank £30,000
First Direct and HSBC £5,000
Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland £50,000 [b]
Nationwide £50,000
Metro Bank £25,000 [c]
Monzo Bank £5,000
NS&I £5,000
RBS and NatWest £25,000 [a]
Santander £50,000
Starling Bank £1,000
Tesco Bank £25,000
The Co-operative Bank £30,000
Triodos £25,000
TSB £50,000
Virgin Money £35,000
Yorkshire Bank £30,000

Correct at September 2020

[a] Refers to a probate threshold previously confirmed by the bank butmay not be up to date. [b]As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Lloyds Banking Group has temporarily increased the amount that can be withdrawn without probate to £100,000 per brand (applies only to Banking andSavings accounts). Under normal circumstances, the probate limit is £50,000 across all three brands as long as there are no other products involved, for example, a mortgage. [c] Or for any balance where the customer holds a safety deposit box.

(Video) How to Open an Offshore Bank Account in One Day

FAQs

How to open a bank account online? ›

Once you have that ready, here's how to open a bank account online:
  1. Go to the bank's website. Stay safe! ...
  2. Choose the type of account you want. ...
  3. Fill out an application. ...
  4. Agree to let the bank collect some information. ...
  5. Check the approval process. ...
  6. Make your first deposit.

Can I open online account without going bank? ›

Can I open online account without going bank?

What is the easiest bank account to open online? ›

What is the easiest bank account to open online?

What bank can I open online? ›

What bank can I open online?

What do you need to set up a bank account online? ›

What do you need to set up a bank account online?

What is best online bank? ›

What is best online bank?

Where can I open a bank account with no money? ›

Where can I open a bank account with no money?

Which bank opens account instantly? ›

Which bank opens account instantly?

What banks can I open online free? ›

What banks can I open online free?

What bank has no monthly fees? ›

What bank has no monthly fees?

How long does it take to open a bank account online? ›

How long does it take to open a bank account online?

How much money do you need to open a bank account? ›

How much money do you need to open a bank account?

Who is the best bank to bank with? ›

Who is the best bank to bank with?

Which online bank is the safest? ›

Which online bank is the safest?

What is disadvantage of online banking? ›

What is disadvantage of online banking?

How many bank accounts should I have? ›

How many bank accounts should I have?

How many bank accounts can a person have? ›

How many bank accounts can a person have?

Which bank is best for low income? ›

Which bank is best for low income?

Is it better to open a bank account online or in person? ›

Is it better to open a bank account online or in person?

How long after opening a bank account can you use it? ›

How long after opening a bank account can you use it?

Why can't I open a bank account online? ›

Why can't I open a bank account online?

Can the government see how much money is in your bank account? ›

Can the government see how much money is in your bank account?

What are the 7 steps to open a bank account? ›

What are the 7 steps to open a bank account?

Can I open a bank account online without going to the bank in India? ›

Can I open a bank account online without going to the bank in India?

Is it better to open a bank account online or in person? ›

Is it better to open a bank account online or in person?

Which bank opens account instantly? ›

Which bank opens account instantly?

Can I open a bank account online without going to the bank in Malaysia? ›

Can I open a bank account online without going to the bank in Malaysia?

How long does it take to open a bank account online? ›

How long does it take to open a bank account online?

What are the 7 steps to open a bank account? ›

What are the 7 steps to open a bank account?

Which bank is best for zero balance account? ›

Which bank is best for zero balance account?

How safe are online bank accounts? ›

How safe are online bank accounts?

Is it safe to apply for a bank account online? ›

Is it safe to apply for a bank account online?

What banks can I open online free? ›

What banks can I open online free?

Which bank account is best? ›

Which bank account is best?

How many bank accounts can a person have? ›

How many bank accounts can a person have?

Which Malaysia bank can open account online? ›

Which Malaysia bank can open account online?

How much deposit do I need to open a CIMB account? ›

How much deposit do I need to open a CIMB account?

How much is required to open a bank account? ›

How much is required to open a bank account?

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