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The best current accounts in 2022

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We explain how to choose the perfect current account for you and round up the best options available

Current accounts are an essential tool for managing your money and paying your bills, so choosing a good one can have a huge impact on your day-to-day banking experience.

In this article, we’ll explain the key differences between them and suggest some of the top-ranking options so that you can select the best current account for your needs.

Most accounts will give you a debit card for making payments and withdrawing cash, an arranged overdraft if you are approved, a cheque book if you want one and the ability to manage your account online, through an app or both.

Depending on your financial situation and needs, you may want to consider whether the bank has branches you can operate the account through, and whether the account pays credit interest and has free or cheap overdrafts. Customer service is another key consideration as it may ultimately determine whether you’re happy with your bank or not.

Visit our Money Awards page to find out which are the best banks and building societies for overall customer service and are highly rated for their online banking, banking apps, in-branch services and telephone banking, as well as which are the most recommended providers.

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The benefits of switching your current account

Our research has found that the top reasons people have their main bank account are because they’ve been with their bank since they were a child (21%) and it had the closest branch to where they live or work (16%), rather than because the bank had good customer service or account features. These people could be missing out on an account that would be more suited to them and give them a better service.

By actively switching your current account according to your needs you could find yourself better off and happier with your bank. Some banks even offer an incentive if you switch to them – First Direct will currently give you £150 to switch to its 1st Account as long as you pay in at least £1,000 in the first three months, for example. NatWest is offering customers £150 to switch, provided £1,250 is deposited in the new account before 12 May 2022.

Through the current account switch service (CASS), which most banks are signed up to, your new bank will transfer over your balance and all your payments in and out, such as your salary and direct debits, and your old bank will close your existing account all within seven working days, making it a quick and easy process.

According to CASS, Nationwide gained the most customers from July to September 2021, with the highest net switching gains, followed by Starling Bank and Monzo Bank.

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How to find the best current account for you

Before you start comparing accounts, which you can do using comparison sites, ask yourself the following questions:

Are you usually in credit?

If you’re mostly in credit and often have a reasonable amount of money in your account, consider one that will pay you credit interest. Some may have minimum amounts you have to pay in each month to qualify or charge a monthly fee.

There are also accounts that will pay you cashback on your spending, such as Santander’s 123 current account.

As well as paying you interest of 0.5% on your balance up to £20,000 you’ll get cashback of up to 3% on certain household bills, capped at £5 a month in each tier. There are retailer offers that let you earn up to 15% cashback. You have to pay £4 a month for the account, however.

If you’re considering taking out any current account with a fee, make sure the benefits you’ll get or use will at least cover the fee each month. For example, with the 123 account, spending £180 on council tax and £150 on gas and electricity each month will give you monthly cashback of £4.50, easily covering the £4 fee. Anything else you earn on top is a bonus.

There are also paid-for “packaged” accounts that come with benefits such as travel insurance and breakdown cover. To decide whether those benefits are worthwhile, consider the value of the ones you would actually make use of and whether you could get them cheaper by buying them separately elsewhere.

Are you often overdrawn?

If you’re regularly overdrawn it’s worth choosing an account that offers you an interest-free or cheap arranged overdraft if you qualify for one as otherwise you could pay interest of up to 40%.

Some offer an interest-free buffer, such as First Direct, which lets you go overdrawn by £250 for free, and TSB’s Spend & Save Plus account, which has a buffer of £100. You have to pay £3 per month for the TSB account but you can also earn cashback of £5 a month through it.

Nationwide Building Society’s FlexDirect account gives you an interest-free arranged overdraft of up to £1,500 for the first 12 months – this is reviewed on a case-by-case basis – as well as credit interest of 2% for the same period if you pay in £1,000 a month.

If you go for an account with a free overdraft for a limited period, make sure you would be able to clear the overdraft in that time, especially as you will often be charged a high interest rate after that. Also be careful about exceeding any interest-free buffer.

Do you want to be able to operate your account in a branch?

If you want to be able to use a branch for banking you’ll need to make sure the account you choose offers this, as not all do.

The winner of our Best Current Account Provider award First Direct is an online and telephone bank so doesn’t have branches. You can pay in cheques through branches of its parent company HSBC, at the Post Office or via the app. There are also now a number of digital-only banks, such as Monzo and Starling.

Even banks with branches don’t always let you operate all of their accounts in a branch. For example, our Highly Commended provider Nationwide was the most highly rated for its in-branch services in our survey, but its FlexDirect account has to be operated mostly online.


Disclaimer: A product or firm being well placed in this article based on past performance is no guide to their likely future performance. Our ranking does not amount to a recommendation.


Top five current accounts for credit interest

Credit interest rate (AER)Monthly feeNotes
Virgin Money, M Plus5.02% on balances up to £1,000NoneIncludes 3% interest bonus in first year and a £100 gift card when you switch to the account and pay at least £1,000 into the linked savings account.
Nationwide Building Society, FlexDirect2% on balances up to £1,500 for the first yearNoneYou need to pay in at least £1,000 a month. Interest-free overdraft for the first year. Up to £125 to switch to the account.
Bank of Scotland, Classic with Vantage0.6% on balances between £1 and £3,999.99None1.5% interest on balances between £4,000 and £5,000. You need to pay in at least £1,000 a month and stay in credit. Up to 15% cashback with selected retailers.
Lloyds Bank, Club Lloyds0.6% on balances between £1 and £3,999.99None if you pay in £1,500 a month, otherwise £31.5% interest on balances between £4,000 and £5,000. Up to 15% cashback with selected retailers.
Santander, 1230.5% on balances up to £20,000£4You need to pay in at least £500 a month. Up to 3% cashback on certain bills. Up to 15% cashback with selected retailers.

Top five current accounts for overdrafts

Overdraft interest rate (EAR)Monthly feeNotes
First Direct, 1st Account0% up to £250, then 39.9%None£150 to switch to the account.
Nationwide Building Society, FlexDirect0% for the first year, then 39.9%NoneYou need to pay in at least £1,000 a month. 2% interest on credit balances up to £1,500 for the first year. Up to £125 to switch to the account.
TSB, Spend & Save Plus0% up to £100, then 39.9%£3Monthly cashback of £5 if you make 30 debit card payments a month.
Starling Bank From 15% according to your credit scoreNone0.05% interest on credit balances up to £85,000.
Triodos Bank18%£3If you refer a friend to the bank and they open an account it will make a £25 donation to charity on your behalf. Your friend gets a £60 voucher or charity donation.

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