What is a current account?

A current account is a type of bank account used to manage your everyday finances. You can get your wages paid into it, keep your hard-earned cash in it, pay for shopping and set up Direct Debits and standing orders.

You’ll get a debit card with your current account. You can use your card to withdraw money from a cash machine and pay for things online or in shops.

Do I need a current account?

Whilst you don’t need a current account, they’re a great way to stay on top of your money.  

They are suited to day-to-day transactions, like your food shop or paying household bills. Most employers will also want to pay your wages into a current account.

How does a current account work?

Making payments

You can pay people from your current account in many ways, including:

  • by using an app
  • Internet and mobile banking
  • going into branch
  • over the phone

Check with your bank which payment methods they offer and how to perform them. If you have a Halifax account, you can find out more about how to make payments.

If you want to make regular payments to a person or business, you can set up a Direct Debit or standing order. They’re slightly different but both mean you won’t forget to make a payment as long as money is in your account.

One of the main differences between a standing order and Direct Debit is that you set up a standing order personally, while whoever you’re paying sets up a Direct Debit.

Another difference is that a standing order is always the same amount each month while a Direct Debit can change from payment to payment.


Arranged overdrafts are a way of borrowing money that acts as a short-term safety net in case you don’t have enough money in your account. Your bank will usually charge you interest for using your arranged overdraft, although some may have an interest-free amount.

Arranged overdrafts have an agreed limit you can go up to. If you go over the agreed limit, you may not be able to make any more payments.

If you don't have an arranged overdraft or you try to go over your arranged overdraft limit, you may be allowed to borrow through an unarranged overdraft. However, depending on the circumstances, the payment may just be refused.

Joint accounts

Joint accounts are a way for two people to manage their money, together. Both will be able to make payments, pay in or withdraw cash, and make purchases either online or in shops. They can be a handy way to budget as a couple if you have shared responsibilities, such as bills or your rent or mortgage.

Most current accounts can be turned into joint accounts. However, this usually doesn’t include youth and student accounts.

Learn more about joint accounts.

Packaged bank accounts

Packaged bank accounts are current accounts that come with benefits. You need to pay a monthly maintaining the account fee to have one of these accounts. The benefits available will vary across providers, so always check the details of an account before you apply.

Student and youth accounts

Some current accounts are designed to help children and students manage their money early on in their financial lives.

Bank accounts for children often have various features or restrictions that regular current accounts don’t. For example, they might have spending controls or give parental access to the account.

Student accounts are for those on a full-time degree course or equivalent. They usually offer interest-free overdrafts up to a certain amount, subject to application and status. They may also come with access to student offers and discounts.

Find out more about the youth and student accounts available at Halifax.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes. Depending on the type of account, there is usually no limit to the number of accounts you can have with different banks. But there may be a limit on the number of accounts you can have with the same bank.

  • Some current accounts let you earn interest, while others don’t. Some may only offer interest on balances up to a certain amount. Always check the details of the account when you apply. 

  • It depends on the type of account you have. Most banks offer basic current accounts that are free to open and use. Many also offer accounts that charge a monthly fee that come with a range of benefits, such as travel insurance or magazine subscriptions.

  • You can switch current accounts to a new provider using the Current Account Switch Service.

    When you switch to a new current account, your new provider will move all your payments and balances for you within seven working days. This includes Direct Debits, standing orders, and wage or benefit payments. You can continue to use your old account until the switch has been completed, at which point it will be closed.

    Learn more about how to switch to a Halifax current account.

    Switch Guarantee
  • Just having a current account shouldn’t have any impact on your credit score. It’s possible that opening accounts often could affect your score, but this should just be temporary.

    How you use and manage the money in your account can affect your credit score. If you miss or make late bill payments or use an unarranged overdraft, then this could make your score go down.

    Learn more about how credit scores work.

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Bank accounts help and guidance

Need some help? See our guides, common enquiries and more.

Find the help you need