How to open a bank account online

Skip waiting at the bank branch and sign up for an account online instead.

Opening a bank account online usually takes about 10 minutes – much faster than visiting your bank branch. In today’s fast-paced world, this type of convenience is priceless. Here’s a rundown of what to expect when you open a bank account online.If you already have a current account, there are a number of banks that offer cash incentives for switching online.

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

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 bank account online

  • You can skip the bank queues.
  • The application forms are easy to use.
  • It usually takes less than 10 minutes.
  • You’ll receive your debit card in the post.
  • You may need to visit a branch to complete the application process if you haven’t built up a credit history yet.
  • Anyone under the age of 18 can’t open a bank account without a parent or legal guardian co-signing on the account. Most banks require you to visit a local branch to set up this type of account.
  • Non-residents can still open accounts at some banks in the UK, but there are extra hurdles to jump through. You may be required to bring your passport as well as your work visa or student ID to a local branch to verify your identity and complete the application process.

Bottom line

The days of spending an hour at the bank to open an account are gone, and you can open a new current or savings account from your computer or phone in minutes. But don’t let the speed and convenience rush you into making a decision. Compare savings accounts or current accounts before getting started to find the one that’s right for you.

Frequently asked questions

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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