Services

Banking services, cash machines and opening hours

The most commonly used form of account in the UK are current accounts (as opposed to, for example, saving accounts). Most payments can be made by debit/credit cards, although cheques remain popular especially for payments by post.

Services

Current accounts

You should expect the following services from your current account: cheque book, debit card, cheque guarantee card, and interest paid on your account when it is in credit. Unlike in many countries, banking in UK is relatively fee-free; you should receive these services listed previously without incurring any charges or fees. Some banks will not immediately issue cheque guarantee or credit cards to newly arrived foreign residents in the UK. This will depend on your status, occupation and individual appraisal of creditworthiness.

If you decide to have a credit card, then you may have to pay a monthly fee. Banks also provide overdraft facilities, but as a new customer without banking history in the UK, you may not receive this until you have maintained your account in a healthy condition for several months.

Cheques

Cheques are still widely used in Britain and will not cost you anything to use. Some shops have a minimum purchase amount before they will accept cheques (usually around £5). Cheques are also used for many payments by mail. Many larger shops such as supermarkets can print out a cheque for you in the cash register. Today, cheque usage is decreasing as more employers pay by direct debit or bank transfer and individuals use debit or credit cards in shops.

The simplest way to cash in a cheque is to take it to your bank’s nearest branch and directly pay it in to your account. You can also send cheques to your bank, or your branch might have a cheque deposit box which you can use if it is busy or closed. Deposit boxes are a recent innovation and are often only available in the biggest braches in Britain’s major cities. Some banks also have cash machines which have a system where you can deposit a cheque in an envelope in the machine instead of waiting in line.

Cash machines

You can find cash machines (ATMs) everywhere in the UK, with the exception of the smallest villages. They are accessible 24 hours a day. In general, you can use any cash machine to make a withdrawal and you will not be charged a fee (make sure you check with your bank when you open the account with which banks you can use your card for free). You will be warned if a commission is going to be charged before completing the transaction so you will have a chance to go to another machine without losing money.

Banking hours

Standard banking hours are Monday to Friday from 9:00-9:30 until 15:30 or 16:00 (some remain open until 17:30). Many bank branches stay open late once per week (until 17:30 or 18:00) as well as being open on Saturdays (9:00-9:30 until 12:30 or 15:30). Banks in England and Wales remain open over lunch, but many of their counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland close for one-hour at lunch.

Current accounts

You should expect the following services from your current account: cheque book, debit card, cheque guarantee card, and interest paid on your account when it is in credit. Unlike in many countries, banking in UK is relatively fee-free; you should receive these services listed previously without incurring any charges or fees. Some banks will not immediately issue cheque guarantee or credit cards to newly arrived foreign residents in the UK. This will depend on your status, occupation and individual appraisal of creditworthiness.

If you decide to have a credit card, then you may have to pay a monthly fee. Banks also provide overdraft facilities, but as a new customer without banking history in the UK, you may not receive this until you have maintained your account in a healthy condition for several months.

Cheques

Cheques are still widely used in Britain and will not cost you anything to use. Some shops have a minimum purchase amount before they will accept cheques (usually around £5). Cheques are also used for many payments by mail. Many larger shops such as supermarkets can print out a cheque for you in the cash register. Today, cheque usage is decreasing as more employers pay by direct debit or bank transfer and individuals use debit or credit cards in shops.

The simplest way to cash in a cheque is to take it to your bank’s nearest branch and directly pay it in to your account. You can also send cheques to your bank, or your branch might have a cheque deposit box which you can use if it is busy or closed. Deposit boxes are a recent innovation and are often only available in the biggest braches in Britain’s major cities. Some banks also have cash machines which have a system where you can deposit a cheque in an envelope in the machine instead of waiting in line.

Cash machines

You can find cash machines (ATMs) everywhere in the UK, with the exception of the smallest villages. They are accessible 24 hours a day. In general, you can use any cash machine to make a withdrawal and you will not be charged a fee (make sure you check with your bank when you open the account with which banks you can use your card for free). You will be warned if a commission is going to be charged before completing the transaction so you will have a chance to go to another machine without losing money.

Banking hours

Standard banking hours are Monday to Friday from 9:00-9:30 until 15:30 or 16:00 (some remain open until 17:30). Many bank branches stay open late once per week (until 17:30 or 18:00) as well as being open on Saturdays (9:00-9:30 until 12:30 or 15:30). Banks in England and Wales remain open over lunch, but many of their counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland close for one-hour at lunch.

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