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Guide to basic bank account services

Usually, a basic bank account is available to people who don't meet the credit rating requirements for a current account or customers who want a simple bank account without any extra features. Your credit rating must be severely damaged if you cannot apply for a current account, but anyone can apply for a basic account with any bank or provider, including the Post Office.

How basic bank accounts work

Basic bank accounts come with very little features compared to current accounts and other accounts. Depending on what you want from your bank, a basic bank account can either be beneficial and quite limiting.

Overdrafts

Basic bank account services come with no overdraft. Your credit rating will not improve if you have bad credit score and only use a basic account as nothing is recorded onto your score with a basic account.

Debit cards

You can receive a debit card for a basic bank account, however your service is somewhat limited depending on who you bank with. For example, if you use a basic bank account with Natwest or RBS, you cannot use any other cash machine to withdraw money or check your balance. Sometimes, transaction that are "offline" (e.g., paying a train ticket on the train) are not possible with a basic bank account debit card.

Abroad

You cannot use your basic bank account debit card abroad, even if you find a cash machine linked with your bank.

Getting a basic bank account

You can get a basic bank account from any high street bank. They will normally accept everyone and there shouldn't be a credit check. You can also apply to the Post Office for a basic account.

Upgrading from a basic bank account

You can always upgrade your basic bank account to a current account. However, keep in mind that your transactions on a basic account are not recorded onto your credit score so you rating will not improve with a basic account. If you want a current account but your credit rating is still bad, try applying for bad credit prepaid credit cards or discussing your credit report with a credit reference agency.

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