Bank and Building Society Accounts

You need to open a bank or building society account so that you can:

  • get paid
  • or receive welfare benefits

There are many types of bank account. Make sure you find one that is right for you.

A “basic” or “current” account is usually free. It should meet your everyday banking needs.

It usually allows you to:

  • pay money in
  • get money out from a cashpoint
  • get money out from an ATM
  • pay your bills

For refugees, the Refugee Council has a Banking Guide in different languages.

Where you need to go

You can visit most of the main banks in Bradford city centre.

When your account is set up, most transactions can be done by phone or online.

The quickest and easiest way to find local banks is using Google Maps.

You could try these banks and building societies, which offer basic bank accounts:

  • Barclays
  • Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank
  • Co-operative Bank
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds Banking Group (Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyds)
  • Nationwide
  • RBS Group (NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland)
  • Santander
  • TSB
  • Virgin Money

The list above is from the Money Savings Expert website. This site also has helpful information about opening a bank account :

Basic Bank Accounts 

Banks and building societies have different rules for opening an account.

If you are finding it difficult with one bank, it could be a good idea to try a different one.

What you need to bring with you

You will need to show the bank:

  • documents proving your identity – e.g. your passport or Biometric Residency Permit.
    If you are from the EU, they may also accept your national identity card or national driving licence
  • your immigration status – your letter or residence permit from the Home Office
  • your address – this could be:
    • a letter from the Home Office
    • bills sent to your address with with your name on
    • a letter from the Jobcentre or
    • a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

Some banks may ask for your national insurance number or proof of your income.

If you are receiving welfare benefits, you can show them a letter from the Jobcentre or DWP.

All documents need to be current (i.e. passports need to be valid).

All letters need to be dated within the last 6 weeks.

Getting support

If you need advice about opening and using a bank account, you can visit Citizens Advice

You will need an appointment. It is best to go there early, to make an appointment.

Drop-in: Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri  9:15 – 3:30

Citizens Advice Bradford & Airedale
Leeds Citizens Advice

Using cash machines

You can take out money from your bank account using a cash machine.

This is sometimes called an ATM.

You need your account card and personal identification number (PIN).

Always keep your cash card in a safe place and do not write your PIN down.

You can practise using a cash machine safely online here:

Practise using a cash machine

Cash machines that are inside or outside banks or building societies are usually free to use.

Cash machines on the street, in shops, or petrol stations often charge you for taking money out.

Related Information