The government believes that individuals, regardless of their background or income, should have access to useful and affordable financial products and services, including a bank account.
Basic bank accounts are a key financial inclusion policy. They provide people with a way of receiving income, whether that be salary, pension, benefits or tax credits and enable people to manage their money on a day-to-day basis effectively, securely and confidently. A basic bank account is fee-free for all everyday banking services and has no overdraft facility.
The 9 largest personal current account providers in the UK are legally required to offer fee-free basic bank accounts to customers who do not have a bank account in the UK or who are ineligible for a bank’s standard current account.
The Treasury publishes data on basic bank accounts annually. The December 2019 publication shows that in total there are nearly 7.5 million basic bank accounts open in the UK.
For people who cannot access a bank account, the Department for Work and Pensions will continue to offer the HMG Payment Exception Service that allows customers access to funds via PayPoint outlets.