How to open a bank account online
If you’re looking to open a bank account, you can do so within minutes online. However, it’s important to understand the information needed to complete your application and ensure you will be accepted for the account of your choice. We also understand the importance of finding the right account for you and your needs - whether you plan on using it for everyday spending or to boost your savings.
What documents do I need to open a bank account?
Before you are able to open a bank account, you will need to provide a range of documents. The reason a bank requires this information is to help identify new customers, carry out necessary checks and ensure your account is opened accurately.
We’ve listed the information that is needed to open a bank account below. Please note this may vary between providers, read our Halifax specific account opening guide:
- Proof of identity – current photo driving license, or passport
- Personal details – preferred title, full name, date of birth, gender, marital status, nationality
- Address details – current home address and how long you have lived there
- Contact details – preferred phone number, email address and marketing preferences
- Income & expenditure details – total monthly income, is the bank account for your monthly income, account use, employment status and total savings amount
What happens when your bank account is opened?
Once your bank account is open, most providers should send you a welcome pack. Your welcome pack will contain your account details, copies of terms and conditions and helpful tips on how to get the most out of your new bank account. Following this, you should also receive your new card and PIN separately.
How to switch your bank account
There is also an option to switch your existing bank account to a better deal or provider. Whether you choose a partial or full switch, the process is automated and completed within 7 working days. To carry out a switch, you’ll be asked to provide the following information:
- The date you want the switch to start
- The details of the account you wish to switch from
The provider will typically take care of the rest, ensuring your direct debits and standings orders are also switched.
How to open a joint bank account
Joint accounts are a great way to manage household finances together. If you are looking to open a joint account with somebody else, the process can be slightly different to opening a single account. One of you can start by opening a bank account online. It’s likely you’ll both then need to pop into branch to make it a joint account. This allows providers to carry out the necessary checks to ensure the account is set up as joint.
Other useful bank account types available
Depending on how you plan on using your bank account, there are some additional benefits to certain account types which could suit you.
Packaged bank accounts typically involve paying a monthly maintaining the account fee in return for additional account perks and benefits. For example, these benefits could include breakdown cover, mobile phone insurance and travel insurance, all of which would be covered by the monthly account fee. It’s a great way to have your insurances grouped together and can often be seen as more cost effective.
Kids', Youth and Student Accounts
It’s also possible to open a bank account for your child, which is a great way to help them manage their money from a young age. Many kids' and youth bank accounts come with a debit card, allowing them to deposit and withdraw their money. A parent or guardian will need to accompany any child who is looking to open a bank account. Similarly, student bank accounts are available to anyone who is looking to enter higher education and would like to have greater control over their finances. Many student bank accounts come with associated perks, such as student discounts.
Many bank accounts should come equipped with an arranged or unarranged overdraft. Overdrafts are useful for providing short-term additional support, by providing a borrowing facility. This can help provide you with the financial flexibility you need. However, it’s important to check any associated interest to ensure they are affordable and suit the type of bank account you would like.
Closing a bank account
If you are looking to close your bank account the steps to do so may vary between different providers. Some banks may expect you to make an in branch visit to return bank cards, cheque books and any other materials associated with your account.
You will need to ensure you have paid off any overdrafts you have used in your account and also transferred any Direct Debits to a new account. It’s best to get in touch with your bank to let them know you are thinking of closing your account so they can talk you through the necessary next steps.