A bank account is a special place where you can keep money safe until you need it. The bank account is just for you and your money. You cannot see your bank account, but your bank will send you a statement (like a letter) which tells you how much money you have in there.
Using a bank account
The bank will keep your money safe for you. From a bank account you can pay in money to the bank for them to look after. You can then take the money later when you need it and put money.
You need a bank account to:
- Pay benefits into.
- Wages or money you earn from a job gets paid in.
- receive cheques or online transfers if money is given as a present for birthday or Christmas.
- paying your household bills or rent.
There are lots of different types of accounts, including:
- Basic bank account – you can pay or take out money from a cash machine and pay bills. You are not allowed to go overdrawn on your account.
- Current account – is like a basic account with extra things. You may have a cheque book or a debit card to help you take money out of your bank account. Or the use of online banking to make payments.
- Passbook account – like a basic bank account but you have a passbook. You use your passbook to pay money in or take money out, the books show you how much you have.
- Savings account – to save money for something that costs a lot of money, like a holiday or a new computer. If necessary, you can transfer money from one bank account to another. You cannot use a savings account to pay bills by direct debit or standing order. Make sure you check how you can take money out; this will vary.
Support to access your money
Banks should offer support to access your money if you need it. This might include (but is not limited to);
- providing information and letters in easy-to-read or alternative formats,
- allowing different forms of ID if you do not, for example, receive bills in your name,
- allowing you to bank in a branch rather than only offering online or telephone banking,
- signature guides to help you sign documents in the right places and signature stamps
- using a chip and signature card if you have difficulty remembering your PIN number,
- different cards for different things – which you can mark differently, so you can distinguish them from each other,
- cash machines with audio assistance or wheelchair access (you can find where these are on the LINK ATM locator app or website).
The customer adviser, or cashier, at a bank will help you with any questions. Try not to go at times when the bank is busy, such as Monday mornings or Friday afternoons. The bank might also be busy at lunchtimes or on Saturdays. It can also be a good idea to take someone you trust with you.
If someone needs to help you
Usually, banks will only talk to the person who owns the money or bank account. If you need help with your banking and money you can ask people, you trust to support you in different ways:
- Joint account – more than one person can manage your bank account. You must be able to trust that person. They will be able to spend all of the money.
- Third party mandate – this lets someone else monitor or manage your bank account. It does not give them the legal right to make decisions about your finances.
- Appointee – has permission to act for you in everything relating to benefit claims.
- Deputy – someone you ask the courts to give the right to manage your finances to if you cannot make your own decisions.
- Power of Attorney – a chosen person to make decisions for you. You choose this person when you can still make decisions and they would make decisions for you later when you cannot do it anymore.