Travel Current Accounts
For the best current account deals
|ATM withdrawals (debit card)||Overseas spending (debit card)||ATM Withdrawals (credit card)||Overseas Spending (credit cards)|
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Current accounts facilitate everyday banking activities that most of us take for granted. For example:
You can make and receive payments by Direct Debit
Make and receive BACS or faster payments
Make international transfers and get travel money
Access your current account via branch, online, app, telephone, or a combination of these.
Have an overdraft facility
All the big banks are now signed up to the 7-day switch guarantee. So if you switch using the service, your Direct Debits, standing orders, etc, will all be transferred over automatically. If anything goes wrong, the banks are committed to ensuring you are not adversely affected in any way.
Yes, there are no restrictions on the number of current accounts you may hold. Many people choose to have a main account for their core banking activities and another for day-to-day spending, for example, or to take advantage of certain features from a particular account such as free overseas spending and cash withdrawals.
Banks have their own rules about what verification you will need. However, they will need proof of identification and address, such as:
British or EU passport
Photo Driving licence
EU state ID
Benefits entitlement letter
HMRC tax notification
State ID and proof of residency
If you cannot provide any of these details, explain your circumstances and the bank will be able to tell you what you will need to do.
An overdraft is a flexible lending facility attached to your current account that will allow you to continue to make payments, even if you do not have any money in your account.
An overdraft facility will be set up to a particular limit. From April 2020, banks will only charge a simple annual interest rate for overdrafts - whether an arranged overdraft or not - with no additional fees and charges. Until then, overdrafts may have a broad range of charges attached. An overdraft facility is useful, as the cost and impact of failing to make payments will usually far exceed the cost of borrowing.
Some may think that banks have deliberately made overdraft charges complicated to ensure you cannot compare one account with another, and so they do not have to show how expensive they really are.
However, from April 2020, banks will be required by law to charge a straightforward APR on overdrafts, which must be the same for both authorised and unauthorised overdrafts.
This will enable an easier comparison between accounts.
Yet as banks made a healthy proportion of their current account profits from unauthorised overdraft charges, it may be that interest rates on current account overdrafts will increase for everyone.
An overdraft facility is useful to cover you if you have bills to pay, for example, but don't have enough in your current account. So accounts offering interest free overdrafts of £250 - £1000 can be attractive as a way of mitigating that risk, and a way to choose between accounts.
However, frequently dipping into your overdraft rather than using this as an emergency buffer isn't usually inadvisable. It will be far easier to go over the interest free limit and pay additional charges as a result.
Beware that overdrafts can be an expensive way to borrow. If you spend beyond their limits, their costs can even be comparable with some payday loans.
A cynic might think that banks have deliberately made overdraft charges complicated to ensure you cannot compare one account with another or be able to see how expensive they really are.
Banks would surely argue to the contrary and that they have been designed to meet their customers needs, but given 25% of current account profits result from overdraft charges, there is evidence to suggest any cynicism is well placed.
However, there is good news on the horizon, banks will be required by law to charge a straightforward APR on overdrafts from April of next year. This will allow an easy comparison between different accounts and unless they drop the overall charges will highlight how expensive they really are.
Banks may argue that unauthorised overdraft charges are expensive as they don’t want you to go beyond your credit limit, but that not facilitating payments beyond that level could be more harmful still - and charges are in place to deter you.
However, it appears that this argument has won little sympathy with the FCA. From April 2020, unauthorised overdraft charges may not exceed those of authorised overdraft charges - and to simplify comparisons, these charges will have to be presented as a Representative APR.
Life without a bank account is difficult. Since September 2016, the UK's nine largest current account providers have been required to offer a basic bank account.
These accounts offer limited banking services, but will not charge for things such as refused payments (this doesn’t mean the party who tried to take the payment won’t add additional charges, however). The accounts will not come with an overdraft facility and typically don’t provide anything beyond a bank card and facilities to make and receive payments.
These accounts are designed for people with limited financial histories in the UK, for example, very impaired credit, CCJs, and bankruptcies on their record.
These accounts will often offer interest on any balances, control options for parents and guardians such as restrictions on contactless payments, cheque books and certain categories of spending (gambling, porn etc).
The major benefit is that banks typically offer students interest-free overdrafts (provided they haven’t already got a bad credit rating), of up to £3000. k
However, beware that once you stop being a student, you'll lose the interest free element of the account at some stage. Depending on your circumstances, you may find yourself with hefty charges each month which will make it harder and more expensive to wipe out any debt.
These accounts charge a monthly fee for a bundle of different products and services linked to the current account. These may include travel, breakdown and mobile phone insurance, preferential savings rates and enhanced customer services.
Whether an added value account will offer good value will depend on your circumstances, how often you travel, and whether the insurance policies they offer will work for you - and whether enhanced customer service is something that matters to you.
If you are a high earner, then you may be able to receive a similar service to added value accounts for free - or, arguably, better service for a similar cost.
If you would like to have a premier current account, but your income isn’t necessarily at the level required, you may want to speak to your bank - it may accept you for the account, particularly if there's the possibility of a bonus and/or expenses going through your account, or if your income is likely to rise substantially in the future.
A couple of current accounts don't charge for the first £200 of overseas cash withdrawals or overseas spending.
However, this is the exception. Typically, your options for avoiding overseas charges, for example, include getting a specialist prepay card, opening a bank account that doesn’t charge (perhaps as a secondary account), or choosing a credit card designed for travel. All of these options will allow you to spend overseas for free.
A prepay card allows you to make payments and can be topped up online or in some cases via card payments and bank transfers. However, you will not be able to make BACS, faster payment, SWIFT or CHAPS payment from one.
You also cannot get credit on a prepay card.
Prepay cards are not protected by the FSCS. So if something goes wrong with the company where your money is held, you may not be able to get your money back.
We have a credit cards data feed from the data specialists defaqto. They provide us with over 100 daily updated data items that we use to compile our current account listings on Everything Financial.
Defaqto have a team dedicated to ensuring the information that they provide to us and others is accurate. However, it is your responsibility to check the details of any products and services on the Provider’s site before you apply.
Yes. Getting data from defaqto, running servers and employing a team to run the website costs money. So, like most comparison sites we list the best “affiliated” products first and then the unaffiliated linked products after this.
The listings are ordered by which ever feature you have shown an interest in. For example on the interest free overdraft current accounts page, the listings have been ordered by the accounts with the largest interest free overdraft first. In most cases the secondary order is alphabetical, for ease of searching. On pages with more than 30 listings we have also provided additional sort and filter options to allow you to more easily find products of interest to you
We have excluded certain private bank accounts that require you to either have huge incomes or hold massive balances with the bank. These products are not relevant to all but a tiny proportion of the population and make comparison of other products difficult
Defaqto have a set of criteria that they use to assess the quality of different current accounts. 5 star products typically have lots of product features and those with less stars have less features. The star ratings do not indicate whether the bank executes well on its offering or provides a good level of customer service.
You can see all every current account with its defaqto rating on the main current accounts page and can filter these results to more easily see features of interest to you.
However, when deciding which of current account is best from a particular subset (such as overdraft accounts), an aggregate score, rating whether an account is "5 star" is less relevant. We have therefore changed the information displayed to allow you to compare the different types of current account more easily.
We are everything financial and the website you are on is a free, online comparison service. We exist to make finding a financial product or financial advice easier.