Bank accounts and savings

Two young women looking at a dress in a shop
"Now I'm earning money i can treat myself and enjoy life a bit more. I've paid off the money I borrowed from mates. I'm even thinking about saving some, too!"

You’ll usually need a bank or building society account for your wages or benefits to be paid into, to keep your money safe and to make payments more easily.

A current account comes with a cash card to withdraw money. Shop around for low charges on overdrafts and free direct debit facilities, so that you can pay money out of your account regularly like rent or bills. Most now offer phone, internet and mobile banking.

If you need to go overdrawn on your account, make sure you arrange it with the bank first, as they will charge you a lot more for an ‘unauthorised overdraft’. Find out what it will cost you first.

Most banks, building societies and the Post Office offer a “basic account“. This should allow you just to pay money in, and withdraw it at a cash machine. There is no credit check, so it shouldn’t matter if you have a bad ‘credit rating’.

A debit card for your account is useful to make payments in shops and online. If you can’t get a debit card (because e.g. you are under 18 or have a bad credit rating) then consider a pre-paid card. You can credit it with money and use it in the same way as a bank debit card. Most pre-paid cards will charge you a fee, but you can still save money this way. Go to moneysavingexpert.com (search for ‘prepaid cards’) for more information on how they work and to compare deals.

It’s worth having a savings account so that you are less likely to spend it with your day to day money, which should also pay a small amount in interest. You can also save with the South Yorkshire Credit Union; see here.