How to Open a Bank Account

Proving your identity to open a bank account

You will need to prove your identity when opening a bank account, that means providing information about who you are and where you live.

You will usually need to provide two forms of Identification

Different banks, building societies and credit unions have their own list of what identification they accept, so check with the bank before trying to open your account.

Did you know you can use your Young Scot NEC as Proof of Age?

Banks that currently accept the Young Scot NEC Card are:

  • The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) (can only be used as voluntary proof of age if you are under 20),
  • Natwest (can only be used as voluntary proof of age if you are under 20),
  • Clydesdale Bank (can only be used as voluntary proof of age if you are under 18),
  • Bank of Scotland.

What next?

Once you have got together the documents that you will need, head to the branch of the bank, building society, post office or credit union.

You shouldn’t need to make an appointment. Depending on how old you are and the bank’s requirements, you may not need to bring an adult with you. It’s always a good idea to phone and ask before you go.

Ask at the main desk or reception for the customer services assistant who you can speak to about opening an account. You’ll probably then be shown to an interview room or a desk where someone will go through the paperwork with you and help you choose an account. They should help you choose the best account for your needs. Most banks will now let you open an account online if you’re over 18, as long as you’ve got the right identification documents (which differ with each bank, so be sure to check!). There are also digital only services, such as Monzo, N26 and Starling, that don’t have any branches but let you open up accounts. Starling and Monzo will let you open an account from age 16.

Could I be turned down for a bank account?

Basic accounts are available to almost everybody by law, but if you want to open one you’ll need to provide the accepted identification.

Certain accounts have age requirements, but the bank will be able to help you with this and let you know what kind of account you can have. You can have a savings account from age 7, and you open your own current account from age 11. Once you hit 18, the world is your oyster when it comes to bank accounts!

Not sure what account is right for you? Why not read our advice on how to choose a bank account?

Not got a Young Scot card or need a replacement? Head to the card page to find out more.

Check out the Adultgood landing page for more info on how to be a proper grown up. 

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