Don’t pay for banking! The best free current accounts out there

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Caroline Stronkhorst in Money & Banking

Last updated: 26 January 2020, 10:05 GMT


Banking is part of everyday life. A current account is a necessity for direct debits, daily transactions and more. But did you know that plenty of banks offer a fee-free current account nowadays? Some traditional banks have this option, and most online only banks offer a free current account. Here are some of the best free options.

Monzo

Monzo are an online bank that are taking the world by storm. With a free current account that offers all the basic features as any other bank, Monzo are a popular option for those looking for a free current account. Aside from basic bank account qualities, Monzo focuses on budgeting and spending overviews. 

You get live updates on spendings, with a notification on your phone as soon as a transaction goes through. You can also create a ‘Pot’ where you can save money (with interest!). If you are looking for a basic current account that can help you save money too, Monzo might be the one for you.

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N26 bank

N26 also are an online bank, with everything done via their website or App. The German banking company focuses on young people who are looking to open up a hassle-free bank account. N26 aims to give customers complete control over their finances. In practice this means that you receive instant notifications on all transactions, as well as categorising of expenses and sub-accounts for different financial purposes.

Your N26 account comes with a Mastercard debit card. Overseas payments on your account can be enabled or disabled, depending on if and when you are travelling. ATM withdrawals in the UK are free and card payments abroad are at the current Mastercard exchange rate (no fees). So the account is ideal if you travel often! Note that ATM withdrawals abroad come with a 1.7% charge.

Interested in a N26 account? Open one here.

Nationwide FlexDirect

If you haven’t had a Nationwide FlexDirect account before you can open a free account at a great interest rate. The first year the interest rate is fixes at 5% up to £2,500 (as long as you pay in £1,000+ per month). Note that the rate drops to 1% after that.

Nationwide also often have switch bonuses, like if someone with a Nationwide account refers you and you switch, you both receive £100.

TSB

TSB are a popular bank with a well-rated Classic Plus account that is free. The interest is 3% AER variable on the first £1,500 in your current account. To get this you need to register for online banking and statements and pay in £500+ a month.

They also often run offers with switch bonuses. If you have a TSB current account recommend a friend to switch (to a Plus or Classic account), you both receive £100. And if you recommend up to five friends, TSB gives you £100 for every one that switches! This way you could make money on your current account!

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Starling

Starling Bank is another example of an online only bank. You can manage all your banking needs via their app and their focus lies on saving you money. A Starling bank account works just like a regular current account.

But it has some added extras to help you save! You can easily split the bill with family and friends, round up transactions to the nearest pound and put that in a separate savings pot and the bank offers an interest rate of 0.5% AER.

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First Direct

First Direct are famous for their amazing customer services. 85% of their customers rated their service ‘great’ and they have won a lot of awards! If you are looking for a free current account that comes with fantastic customer services and a personal touch, First Direct is the one you should consider.

It also offers you a free £100 when you open your first current account with them! Bonus! Within a budget of £250 your overdraft is free as well, so this account is perfect for those who sometimes go a little bit above their spending limit. Most free current accounts don’t offer free overdraft! 

These are some of the best value free current accounts on the UK market these days. As online banking is becoming more popular, you might find that online-only banks offer the best value. But don’t ignore the traditional banks! They want to keep up and thus will offer you some fantastic deals.

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