Best free bank accounts you can open online in the UK

Find out whether it’s possible to get a free bank account and what to watch out for before applying.

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Chase Current Account - Current Account logo
Enjoy rewarding banking
Rewards when you spend
Interest when you don't
No fees abroad from Chase
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18+, UK residents

There are lots of straightforward, fuss-free bank accounts to choose from with no monthly charges, from both the challenger banks and the traditional high street names. Here’s what you need to know.

Finder’s best free bank accounts that you can open online in the UK

BankBest forExpert score
Starling BankBest all rounder and for overseas spending4.7/5
MonzoBest for budgeting tools4.6/5
Lloyds BankBest for payment features4.4/5
NationwideBest for linked savings account4.3/5
ChaseBest for cashback4.2/5
KrooBest for in-credit interest3.9/5

Latest reviews of free bank and e-money accounts that you can open online

Starling Bank - Current Account - Age 18 and over
Current Account - Age 18 and over
Finder score
4.7 ★★★★★
Read review

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

3.24% AER

Interest (AER)

There's no monthly fee with this current account from Starling, and you won't be charged for card transactions in the UK or abroad either. It's easy to apply for the account via the app or online in a matter of minutes. All you'll need to provide is a few personal details and a valid photo ID. The account also pays interest on credit balances, and you can save money into different virtual jars as well as round up transactions and save the change. Use the app to track your spending, freeze your debit card and set budgets.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you'll be charged interest at 15% EAR variable .
  • No monthly-fees
  • No overseas fees
  • 100% digital sign-up
  • 24/7 UK customer support
  • 'Settle up' feature to split joint bills
  • Pays interest on current account balance
  • Overdrafts available (only on personal accounts)
  • No branch network
  • Limited options for depositors
  • No competitive switch incentives if you switch your account
  • Limited product range compared to other banks
  • Lower ATM withdrawal limit than some other digital challengers
  • No group savings feature
  • Doesn't have a specific monthly budgeting tool
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Minimum operating balance £0.01
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals £0
Monzo - Monzo Free
Monzo Free
Finder score
4.6 ★★★★★
Go to site Read review

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Monzo Instant Access Savings Pot earns you 4.10% AER interest (variable), paid monthly into the Pot you create.
This account from Monzo has no monthly fee and you'll be able to set up your account online or via the app with ease - in fact, Monzo says it will take less than 15 minutes. Once up and running, you'll benefit from free UK bank transfers and be able to set up different 'pots' to separate your money for different purposes. The app gives you instant spending notifications, plus your spending will be categorised so you'll know exactly what you've spent where. You'll also have access to saving accounts as well as loans and an overdraft.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you'll be charged interest at 39% EAR variable . Account fee of £0.
  • Easy to set up
  • Good for budgeting and categorising spending
  • Automatic saving feature
  • Fee-free spending abroad
  • Slick app with face login
  • Overdrafts and loans available
  • Free ATM withdrawals outside the EEA limited to £200,
  • £1 fee for depositing cash at PayPoints,
  • Maximum cash deposit of £1,000 every 6 months
  • No rewards program
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals 0%
Lloyds Bank - Classic
Classic
Finder score
4.3 ★★★★★
Read review

£1

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Everyday Offers - Earn up to 15% cashback from selected retailers when shopping with a Lloyds Bank credit or debit card.
This straightforward bank account from Lloyds offers free everyday banking. You can apply for an account online and you should receive a decision within 10 minutes. You'll need to be at least 18 years old and a UK resident to be eligible. You can manage your account through online banking, but it's also easy to bank on the go with the Lloyds Bank app. Plus, if you sign up to Everyday offers, you can earn cashback when you spend on your debit card at selected retailers. Note that if you use your card overseas, fees will apply.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you'll be charged interest at 39.9% EAR variable .
  • No monthly fee
  • Earn cashback on spending
  • Overdraft available
  • 24/7 banking
  • FSCS protection
  • Interest charged on overdraft
  • No interest paid on balances
  • Limited account features
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £1
Minimum operating balance £1
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.99%
Nationwide BS - FlexDirect

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

5% AER

Interest (AER)

Eligible for Member Credit Card.
This account from Nationwide has a whole host of benefits and no monthly fee. If you stay in credit, you'll earn a competitive rate of interest on your balance up to a limit. But it's also a great account if you need an overdraft as it comes with an interest-free overdraft for the first year. You can open the account online if you're at least 18 years old and a UK resident. You'll need to register for online banking during the application, so you can manage the account online. It can also be managed over the phone.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you'll be charged interest at 39.9% EAR variable .
  • Pays interest on in-credit balances
  • Interest-free overdraft for the first 12 months
  • No monthly fee
  • Account can easily be opened online
  • Interest rate drops after the first 12 months
  • Interest is charged on overdrafts after the first 12 months
  • Account can only be managed online
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Minimum operating balance £0
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.99%
Chase - Chase Current Account - Current Account
Chase Current Account - Current Account
Finder score
4 ★★★★★
Read review

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

1% AER

Interest (AER)

Receive 1% cashback on everyday debit card purchases capped at £15.
Open this free current account from Chase and you'll earn interest on your balance and earn cashback on your debit card spending. You will also be able to round up your spare change to the nearest £1 and transfer the difference into a competitive round-up account. On top of this, there are no fees for using your debit card overseas. You can open the account with ease by downloading the app. You'll need to be a UK resident and at least 18 years old.
  • Rewards when you spend
  • Interest when you don’t
  • No fees abroad from Chase
  • No branches if you prefer face-to-face banking
  • Can’t deposit cash or cheques into the account
  • Overdrafts not available yet
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Minimum operating balance £0
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals 0%
Kroo - Current Account
Current Account
Finder score
4 ★★★★★
Read review

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

4.35% AER

Interest (AER)

Earn interest on your current account balance.
You'll need to join Kroo through its app, and by doing so, you'll benefit from a competitive rate of interest on your current account balance. Plus you'll be able to spend on your debit card abroad without being charged foreign transaction fees. The account has no monthly fee and it's easy to monitor your spending though the app as well as sort out expenses and payments owed to others. An overdraft is also available on the account.
  • Free to use
  • In-credit interest
  • No fees for using card abroad
  • 2 trees planted for every new customer
  • Can only be accessed through the app
  • No branches or face-to-face support
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Minimum operating balance £0
Switch service guarantee No
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals £0.01

Can you get a free bank account?

Yes, it is possible to apply for a bank account that won’t charge you a regular monthly fee. Many of these accounts also won’t charge you for standard transactions such as paying money in, paying money out and withdrawing cash.

However, banks have to make their money somewhere, and while basic transactions may be free of charge, you’ll still have to pay for certain services. For example, if you have an overdraft on your bank account, you’ll likely be charged interest if you use it. Note that as of April 2020, banks must charge 1 consistent rate of interest on all overdraft facilities and can no longer charge monthly or daily fees.

You might also be charged a fee if there are insufficient funds in your account to cover a direct debit or standing order, or if you use your bank card for foreign transactions abroad. We have a separate guide on bank accounts with low overseas charges. Most banks will also charge you for stopping a cheque, making a CHAPS payment and making international transfers.

How to find a free bank account

You can find a free bank account in the same way as any other bank account. Simply run a comparison and look for the account that suits your needs best, making sure that you meet the eligibility criteria.

While most free bank accounts will let you set up direct debits and standing orders, withdraw money from cashpoints, check your bank balance and transfer money, some will also offer additional features such as:

You’ll need to think carefully about what matters most to you to help you find the right account. For example, if you regularly use an overdraft, your priority should be finding an account that offers an interest-free overdraft. Or if you always stay in credit, look for an account that pays interest – this will usually be payable up to a set balance.

It’s also worth checking which transactions might not be fee free to ensure you find the most competitive account. You might also want to check how each account can be managed. For example, do you want to be able to do some of your banking in branch, or are you happy to manage your account online or via an app only?

Steps to open a bank account online

Follow these steps to open a bank account online.

Eligibility requirements

To open an account online, you’ll generally need to:

  • Be a UK resident with proof of a UK address
  • Be at least 18 years old – some banks will let minors open an account with a guardian
  • Be able to provide a government-issued ID

Read up on what are the requirements to open a bank account

You don’t have to pay for a bank account and there are lots of excellent free accounts to choose from. With a paid-for account, you’ll usually have travel insurance and breakdown cover thrown in – among other things – so if you’re already paying for these separately, it’s worth checking if it’ll be cheaper to access them through a paid-for bank account. If it’s not, choose a free one and buy the products you need separately.”

Rebecca Goodman, financial journalist

What do I need to open a bank account online?

Identification
Personal information
Deposit

The whole process shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. If you’re at least 18 years old, you can apply for most accounts online. You’ll be provided with a checklist of things you should have with you before you apply. If you’re an existing customer of the bank, make sure you have your relevant customer ID or account number.

Identification

Requiring ID helps banks to protect you from fraud. They need to verify your ID to make sure it’s really you opening the account, and not someone trying to steal your identity.

Personal information

Most accounts allow you to apply for a joint account with one or more people. If you’re applying for a joint account, all account holders will need to provide their personal information, including proof of address and ID.

Deposit

Some institutions will let you open a bank account online with no deposit, but most times you’ll have to put a little money down. Minimum required deposits often increase with a higher interest rate or better features offered.

Pros and cons of opening a free bank account online

Pros

  • No monthly fee to pay
  • They are easy to open
  • They offer a straightforward way to manage your everyday banking needs
  • You may be offered an overdraft

Cons

  • You might be charged for using your overdraft or carrying out certain transactions
  • Additional perks and features on the account will be limited
  • You may not qualify for the account

Bottom line

If you’re looking for a convenient and cheap way to carry out your everyday banking tasks, a free bank account could be right up your street. Just make sure you check the eligibility criteria carefully and keep in mind that additional features and perks of the account will likely be more limited compared to one that charges a monthly maintenance fee. You can compare current accounts here.

Frequently asked questions

Banking scores

★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor

Finder scores, in blue, are based on our expert analysis. We also show reviews from users, where we've received more than 10, with a score in yellow. We gather more reviews from customers every year in Finder's customer satisfaction survey.

To find out more, read our full methodology.

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.
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Written by

Rachel Wait

Rachel Wait is a freelance journalist and has been writing about personal finance for more than a decade, covering everything from insurance to mortgages. She has written for a range of personal finance websites and national newspapers, including The Observer, The Mail on Sunday, The Sun and the Evening Standard. Rachel is a keen baker in her spare time. See full profile

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