This guide will help you decide which type of bank account to choose and explain how to open it as easily and quickly as possible. 

When choosing a bank it is useful to pick one with a ‘free to withdraw’ cash machine near to where you live. This will avoid you being charged to withdraw your money. Click 'Find Your Nearest Cash Machine' below for more information.

All of the banks listed in this guide offer fee-free basic bank accounts.  This means you will not be charged if payments such as direct debits fail.

Opening a Basic Bank Account in County Durham

What Type of Account Do You Want?

 Basic bank accounts.PNG

Basic bank accounts don’t give access to credit, e.g. an overdraft so they don’t need a full credit check. They can be easier to get if you’ve not had an account before, have had money worries or are living on benefits.

There are a couple of other types of account you may want to consider.

credit union accounts

A credit union is a form of savings and loans club offering accounts and loans at reasonable rates of interest. They are regulated by the Bank of England, through the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and members’ savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

To join the credit union, you can request an application form at a collection point, by phone, email or download one from their website.  Fill in and take the completed form and 2 forms of ID to your local collection point or return by post.  You usually need to withdraw cash from the credit union, not a cash machine, although you can pay money in via a Pay Point. There’s also a small joining fee (from as little as £1).  

Find out more about by searching 'credit unions' on our Deals and Services page.

Post Office Card Accounts

Post Office Card Accounts are run by the Post Office and can only receive money from benefits or state pension (so no cash, cheques, wages, private pension or housing benefit can be paid into the account). You get a card and PIN number but you can only get cash out from a post office counter during opening hours.

To open an account you need to contact the government department that pays your benefits or tax credits and ask about opening an account.

What Identification Do You Need?

Banks ask for ID so that they can spot any fraud or money laundering problems. Before giving any ID it’s a good idea to check that it is accurate – all the spellings of names and addresses are the same, and current.  Different banks accept different documents. Try again if yours are not accepted first time.

Banks have made their identification checks more thorough in the last few years and it is common to be told that the only acceptable forms of ID are passports, driving licences and utility bills. This is not true.

You will probably need one item from each of these lists :

 

proof of identity

  •  Current UK/EU Passport
  •  Current European Union member state identity card
  •  Current UK or EU photocard driving licence
  •  Current full older style paper driving licence
  •  Notification of benefit or pension entitlement letter (dated within the last three months)
  •  HMRC tax code notification letter

 Proof of Address

  •  Current UK or EU photocard driving licence
  •  Full older style paper driving licence
  •  Notification of benefit or pension entitlement letter (usually dated within past 12 months)
  •  HMRC tax code notification letter
  •  Utility bill usually dated within the past 3 months (not mobile phone or Sky/digital TV)
  •  Statement from another FSA registered institution (bank, insurer, credit card, mortgage provider) usually dated in the past 3 months
  •  Recent council tax bill (the amount can say £0 if you get benefits)
  •  Local council or Registered Social Landlord tenancy agreement (not from a private landlord)

If you do not have these forms of ID you may be able to use a letter from one of the people below. Letters should be an original document on letter headed paper with a contact name and number (not mobile), and dated within the last 6 months.

  •  An employer or college
  •  A hostel manager or solicitor
  •  Your landlord saying they receive housing benefit on your behalf
  •  A person in a position of trust, e.g. doctor, social worker (some may charge for this)
  •  A utility company if you pay for utilities by Key Card

 Some banks will also accept:

  •  Disabled driver’s pass (Blue Badge)
  •  Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card
  •  Current TV licence
  •  Firearm licence
  •  Car tax renewal

Which Bank Do You Want To Use?

All of the main banks offer current or basic accounts but each of the accounts may provide slightly different services. This guide looks at each of the basic accounts for banks with branches in County Durham. When applying for these accounts, it helps to mention the name of the account as otherwise the bank may make an application for a standard current account instead.  Applying for a current account would involve a credit check and an application for a basic bank account does not. 

Once you’ve chosen an account and made an application it usually takes about two weeks to process. First your application form will be checked. The bank may contact you if they have any questions. You’ll then get a welcome pack in the post with your sort code and account number.

Barclays

Branches

Barnard Castle, Birtley, Bishop Auckland, Carrville, Chester-le-Street, Consett, Crook, Durham, Lanchester, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee, Seaham, Sedgefield, Spennymoor, Stanhope, Stanley, Wolsingham

telephone

0345 6004545

basic account name

Basic Current Account

how to open

Go into branch and book a half hour appointment.

good for

You can still apply if you've been made bankrupt or in an IVA. Offers mobile, phone and online banking and text alerts to help you manage your money.

more info

www.barclays.co.uk 

 

The Co-operative Bank

branches

Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Consett, Durham

telephone

0345 6027057

basic account name

Cashminder

how to open

Call 0345 6027057 to apply by phone, call into a branch or request a form to be sent to you in the post.

good for

You can still apply if you’ve been bankrupt (discharged) or in an IVA. Offers mobile, phone and online banking. You can use Post Offices to pay in money and cheques if you can’t get to a Co-op branch.

more info

www.co-operativebank.co.uk

 

Halifax

Branches

Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Consett, Durham, Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee

telephone

03457 203040 

basic account name 

Basic Account

NOTE

You can't apply for this account directly. You need to apply for the Classic Account and if you are not approved you will be offered this account without the need to reapply.

how to open

Fill out an application for a current account on the Halifax website or collect an application form from a branch.

good for

You can still apply if you have been made bankrupt.  Offers phone, mobile and internet banking and free text alerts to help you manage your money.

more info

www.halifax.co.uk

Also visit www.halifaxcreditchecker.co.uk to get free unlimited access to your credit report and score. This can help you understand your credit rating.

 

HSBC

branches

Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Consett, Durham, Peterlee

telephone

0800 1695422

basic account name

Basic Bank Account

how to open

Apply online, call 0800 1695422 to apply by phone, order an application form from the HSBC website or collect one from a branch.

good for

Offers mobile, phone and internet banking. Also offers Apple Pay.

more info

www.hsbc.co.uk

 

Lloyds Bank

branches

Birtley, Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Consett, Durham, Esh Winning, Langley Moor, Peterlee, Sacriston, Seaham, Spennymoor, Stanley

telephone

03453 000000 

basic account name

Basic Account

NOTE

You can't apply for this account directly. You need to apply for the Classic Account and if you are not approved you will be offered this account without the need to reapply.

How to open

Apply online or in a branch 

good for

Offers mobile, phone and internet banking. Also offers free text alerts to help you manage your money.  Lloyds accounts offer additional features including cashback on your spending and ‘Save the Change’ where they round up your spending to the nearest pound and deposit the difference into a savings account.

more info

www.lloydsbank.com

 

Nationwide

branches

Chester-le-Street, Durham

telephone

0800 302010

basic account name

FlexBasic

how to open

Apply online or collect an application form from a branch.

good for

Offers mobile, internet and phone banking. Also offers free text alerts to help you manage your money. Apple Pay is available. You can also withdraw your cash at a Post Office counter

more info

www.nationwide.co.uk

 

Natwest

branches

Bishop Auckland, Durham, Ferryhill, Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee

telephone

03457 888444

basic account name

Foundation Account

Note

You can't apply for this account directly. You need to apply for a current account and if you are not approved you will be offered this account without the need to reapply.

Good for

Offers internet, phone and mobile banking.

more info

www.natwest.com

 

Santander

branches

Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Durham, Newton Aycliffe, Stanley

telephone

0800 0686069

basic account name

Basic Current Account

How to open

Go into a branch, apply on the phone or online.

good for

Offers mobile, phone and internet banking. Also offers free text alerts to help you manage your money. Offers a Top Up debit card or a Cash Card to help you manage your money. You can also withdraw your cash at a Post Office counter.

more info

www.santander.co.uk

 

TSB

branches

Crook, Durham, Murton, Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee

telephone

0345 9758758

basic account name

Cash Account

how to open

Go into a branch or apply on the website.

good for

Offers mobile, phone and internet banking. Also offers free text alerts to help you manage your money. You can pay in and take out money at a Post Office counter. ‘Save the Change’ lets you save up money every time you use your debit card.

more info

www.tsb.co.uk

 

 Information correct as of 22nd June 2016. This information was based on a leaflet originally produced by Toynbee Hall.

Find Your Nearest Cash Machine

Visit www.link.co.uk/ATMLocator and enter your location to find cash machines in your area. The website also shows if the ATM is operated by a particular bank and states whether or not the ATM is free to use. You can also find out if the machine dispenses £5 notes, is accessible for wheelchair users or can be used to top up your mobile phone.

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