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What are Current Accounts?
A current account is a type of bank account most people use for day-to-day personal finances. It allows people to have a secure place to receive their salary and pay bills from.
A current account typically comes with a debit card, which is helpful when paying for items and withdrawing cash.
They’re called current accounts as the funds they hold are typically used ‘currently’. For instance, a conventional monthly cycle of receiving a wage and spending money.
A current account is the central pillar tying together someone’s personal finances.
What is a current account used for?
A current account can be used for a variety of things and ultimately it depends on the holder. Some of the most common uses for a current account are:
- Receiving your salary.
- Online shopping.
- Paying bills.
- Everyday spending.
- Direct Debits.
- Standing orders.
Are current accounts free?
Many types of current account do not come with a monthly fee. However, a current account can come with fees for particular situations and features.
They might include fees for:
- Using an overdraft.
- Sending money abroad.
- Accessing rewards.
Ensure you take the time to understand these before you apply for any kind of current account.
What's the difference between a current account and a bank account?
- A current account is the specific term for this type of account. However, in the UK, they’re often just referred to as ‘bank accounts’.
- Banks tend to use the specific term so as not to confuse them with other account types. For example, a ‘savings account’ is also a bank account, but it is different to a current account.
Different types of current accounts
There are different types of current account, each with unique features. Which account you choose or are eligible for will depend on your circumstances and needs.
Some current accounts come with an arranged overdraft, for example. Others will give account holders the opportunity to earn rewards. There are also options for people who may not be eligible for other accounts.
Everyday current account
A standard current account is offered to new customers. This type of account is ideal for those over the age of 18. At NatWest, you’d be offered the Select account, which comes with a variety of current account features, including:
- Debit card.
- Arranged overdraft service (if eligible).
- Online Banking and mobile app. Criteria apply.
- Ability to use Apple Pay and Google Pay. Limits apply.
To apply you need to be 18+ and a UK resident.
Packaged current account
Packaged current accounts are a great option for those hoping to make their money go a little further. They often come with a monthly fee but offer account holders the option for extra benefits or to earn rewards. With a NatWest Reward account, holders can:
- Pay in several ways. Including by debit card, Apple Pay and Google Pay. Limits apply.
- Access an arranged overdraft, subject to eligibility.
- Earn up to £5 a month back.
- Earn from 1% in rewards when spending with retail partners.
- Exchange rewards for gift cards, cash and more.
To apply, you need to be 18 or over and a UK resident. To hold this account, you need to pay £1,250 into an eligible NatWest account every month. To earn £5 rewards, you earn £4 a month back in rewards for 2 or more Direct Debits (at least £2 each) and an additional £1 a month back in rewards with 1 mobile app log in.
Sometimes, customers don’t pass the eligibility criteria for a standard current account. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any options, though. Basic accounts are sometimes offered to customers if they don’t qualify.
NatWest’s basic option is the Foundation account. This is best suited to those with a poor or little credit history or other money difficulties. The Foundation account includes:
- Debit card.
- Mobile banking.
- Support via text alerts.
Opening a current account
Who can open a current account?
In the UK, most banks will require current account applicants to be 18, but some may accept those who are 16. Specialist children’s accounts can be opened by people as young as 11, or by their parent or guardian on their behalf. Current accounts can be opened by individuals. Partnerships, limited companies and other businesses can also open them.
What will I need to open a current account?
What you’ll need to apply for a current account will vary, depending on your circumstances. You’ll definitely need to be able to prove who you are and where you live. Discover what you need to open a bank account with our helpful guide.