How do I find the best bank account for me?

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So, you’re ready to open your very first bank account? That’s awesome! This is a big step towards financial independence and managing your money responsibly. But with so many banks and account types to choose from, how do you pick the best one for you?

Think of finding the right bank account as picking the ideal phone. Just as you’d choose one with features that match your needs, your bank account should cater to your financial habits. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through three practical tips for selecting the perfect bank account tailored to your needs. 

Three top tips

Determine your banking needs

Before you start scouting for banks, take a moment to consider your financial habits and needs. Here are a few questions to ask yourself: What type of account are you looking to open? Will you be banking online or in-branch? Do you need a credit card or a loan?

Here’s a bit more depth on what to think about when asking these questions:

  • What type of account are you looking to open?
    Current accounts are great for everyday spending, while Savings accounts are designed for putting money aside and earning interest. If you’re a student, you can open a Student account, which come with benefits specifically for student life. Or there are Jam Jar accounts designed to help you manage a budget. We have a whole article that tells you more about the different types of account – click here to read it.
  • Will you be banking online or in-branch?
    Consider your preferences. If you’re tech-savvy, look for banks with user-friendly mobile apps. If you prefer in-person interactions, find a bank with convenient local branches.
  • Do you need credit products?
    Are you interested in credit products like credit cards or loans? Some banks offer better deals to their existing customers.

Compare account features and fees

Now that you have a clearer picture of your banking needs, it’s time to compare the various account features and fees offered by different banks, such as the monthly fees for current accounts, interest rates on savings accounts or possible overdraft charges.

Here are some aspects to keep in mind:

  • Monthly fees: Many banks offer free current accounts, but some may charge a monthly fee. Check whether these fees are waived for students or young adults, as this can save you money.
  • Interest rates: If you’re considering a savings account, compare the interest rates offered. Look for accounts with competitive rates that will help your savings grow over time.
  • Overdraft charges: If you think you might need an overdraft, compare the overdraft fees and interest rates. Some banks offer interest-free overdrafts up to a certain limit for students or young adults.

Seek out additional benefits

Many banks offer perks and benefits to attract customers, such as cashback, easy to access customer service or things like free cinema tickets. While these shouldn’t be your sole reason for choosing an account, they can certainly sweeten the deal. So keep an eye out for what's on offer.

Additional benefits might include:

  • Cashback rewards: Some banks give a little bit of money back each time you make a purchase with their debit cards. This essentially gives you a small discount on whatever you buy.
  • Extra rewards: Some banks throw in perks, such as free cinema tickets or discounts on a railcard.
  • Customer service: Don’t forget to assess the quality of customer service. Read reviews and ask friends or family about their experiences with different banks.

Summary

Money Helper, who provide free impartial guidance that’s backed by government, have made a free tool to help compare bank accounts.

Remember that you’re not tied to a single bank for life. As your financial situation evolves, you can always switch to an account that better suits your needs. So, take your time, do your research, and choose the bank account that sets you on the path to financial success.

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Watch and learn!

Complete the short video learning module that accompanies this article. Watch our trainer-led video, then answer a few quick questions. 

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