What are the requirements to open a bank account?

Have your information handy to make the application process run smoothly.

The requirements to open a bank account vary from bank to bank, but you’ll generally need to provide your personal information and to verify your identity and address.

How to apply for a bank account

There are several ways to apply. You can:

  • Apply online. You can open an account online by filling out an application on the bank’s website or, if you’re already a customer with the bank, through your online account.
  • Apply on the app. Many banks let you apply for a new account by following the prompts through their mobile app.
  • Apply by phone. Some will let you open a new account over the phone. You may be required to verify your identity online, by mail or in person.
  • Apply in person. You can visit your nearest bank branch to apply for an account in person.
  • Apply by switching. If the new bank you want to join is part of the Current Account Switch Service, it will do the leg work for you by closing your old account, moving your balance and switching all your payments.

Eligibility criteria

Before you apply for a bank account, you’ll need to make sure you meet any eligibility criteria that apply. These will vary depending on the type of account you’d like to open, but can include:

  • Age requirements. You’ll need to be at least 18 years of age to open an account by yourself, though children may be able to open a joint account with a parent or guardian.
  • Residency requirements. You’ll typically need to be a UK resident to open an account, but in some cases it is possible to open an account from overseas.
  • Deposit requirements. Some accounts require a minimum deposit in order to open an account.

Other criteria may apply, so it’s a good idea to check the terms and conditions before beginning an application.

What information do I need to open a bank account?

If you’re already a customer with a bank, it will already have your personal information on file and you likely won’t need to supply any extra details unless you’re setting up a business or a children’s account. However, if you’ve never had an account with that particular bank before, you’ll need to provide:

  • Personal details. Including your gender, full name, date of birth and residential address.
  • Contact details. The bank will need your phone number and email address.
  • Government-issued ID. You’ll need a passport or driving licence to prove your identity.

If you’re opening a joint account, you’ll need to provide the above information for all account holders.

What ID do I need to set up a bank account?

The exact ID requirements can differ slightly between banks, so it’s worth checking with your financial institution for their guidelines on acceptable forms of ID. However, you’ll generally need to supply some form of government-issued ID, such as a driver’s licence or passport. Some banks may also require you to submit a birth certificate or National Insurance card and/or proof of address, like a utility bill.

How can I provide photo ID?

Some banks allow you to verify your ID online. You’ll need to have your ID handy when applying for an account online and then follow the on-screen prompts to photograph your ID. Other banks, however, may require you to bring your ID to the nearest branch, or to provide a certified copy of your documents by mail.

Bottom line

Opening a new bank account is a relatively simple process, but it’s a good idea to have all your personal documents handy to make sure the process runs smoothly. And to get the best bank account for your needs, compare savings accounts and current accounts before getting started.

Frequently asked questions

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Tim Falk is a freelance writer for Finder. Over the course of his 15-year writing career, he has reported on a wide range of personal finance topics. Whether you're investing in stocks and ETFs, comparing savings accounts or choosing a credit card, Tim wants to make it easier for you to understand. When he’s not staring at his computer, you can usually find him exploring the great outdoors. See full bio

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