In today’s society, having a bank account is essential to pay for goods and services, manage your household bills, have your wages paid into and, from April 2013, have your benefits paid into.
Due to the changes the Government are making to the way in which benefits are paid, all claimants will require a basic bank account to access their money.
When choosing a basic bank account, you need to check the following:
- You can use cash machines near where you live and work for free
- There is a branch available locally, where you can pay in money and check on your account
- You will get the services you need, like a debit card, direct debit or standing order facility
- Our Money Wise Team can help you gain access to a basic bank account by showing you what’s available to you locally and advising you of your options.
The Team can also assist with the opening of a Pennine Community Credit Union account, which offers options for basic bank accounts, savings and low cost credit facilities.
If you are worried about having the relevant paperwork to open an account, we can advise you what is required. In many cases, to open an account, the bank will need to see your photographic ID, such as a valid passport, or non-photographic ID, such as a valid old style driving licence. If you don’t have those documents, they may accept other documents, such as a letter from a government department or local council confirming your right to benefits.
If you think that you won’t be able to keep a track of your money in a bank account, don’t worry – you will get regular statements in the post showing what money has been paid in and what has gone out. In many cases, you can use the bank’s online facility 24/7, a smartphone app or their telephone banking service, to check your balance. With most basic bank accounts, you can also get a mini statement from the cash machine showing your most recent transactions.
If you would like any help or advice on opening an account, please contact our Money Wise team on 01282 686300, or email MoneyWise@calico.org.uk