The simple answer is yes, provided you are a UK resident and have not been declared bankrupt. If you fulfill these two criteria then there is a type of bank account that you can apply for, usually called a ‘basic bank account’ that requires no credit check. Most banks offer a standard, no frills bank account to customers and to see a list of them click on this pdf which will show you who they are and what they are called. Or you can go to the Money Advice Service and log onto their basic bank account section. Basic bank accounts are just that; they will have the facility for you to have your salary paid into them but you will not be allowed to go overdrawn, or be issued with a cheque guarantee card. You may get a debit card or electron card.
Now have a look at the banks, they all offer different things such as differing rates should you go overdrawn, different criteria to be able to join, whether or not you get a debit or cheque book, etc. The next step is to choose which bank you’d like to join and go to their website by either making a note of the account name, for example, Barclays call their basic bank account the Cash card Account, the Co-operative Bank call theirs the Cashminder. So copy and paste the name into your browser and then go to the banks website. This should take you straight to their website with no credit check. You’ll then need to have a read of all the information pertaining to the account, checking that they have the right facilities that you require and that the branch is near enough to be convenient for you. Make sure that you do not have any factors that might negate your application as this will impact your credit rating. Some banks will not accept you if you have a record of bad debts, but look carefully at the pdf supplied. Ensure you qualify to open a bank account online.
Once you are satisfied then click ‘Apply Now’ and complete the application procedure. You will need to have several pieces of personal information to hand so it is worth getting these before you sit down as the procedure does take some time. These include your full name, address with post code, previous address (if less than three years), mobile and landline numbers and employment history to date. You’ll be asked to create a login name, password and password reminder. It is a fairly simple process but just follow the online instructions.
Next if all is well you’ll be asked to make a deposit. You can do this online or at the bank. Now you will have to wait for your application to be processed inhouse, which can take some time, typically a week or two. You will be notified via mail and if you have not made an online deposit, you’ll need to make one in branch to activate your account. When your bank pack arrives, open it and make sure all is correct. It is sent separate from your bank account details. It contains instructions for setting up online banking and details the extra security procedures needed to protect managing your account online.
Remember – Basic bank accounts do not offer overdraft facilities although some will give you what is known as a ‘buffer zone’. This is usually around £10. To apply online you’ll have to be registered on the U.K. voting roll as this is checked to confirm your address and identity. If you are not registered then you cannot apply online. You can still open an account, but you will need to apply in person. Finally, you need to be a U.K. resident to open a free basic bank account online.