Do I Need To Have A Bank Account?
A Way of Life
There may be ways of conducting your daily affairs without a bank account, but in today’s busy “Big Brother is Watching You” society it seems we may all need one; whether we all want one is another matter.
Looking after baby
It seems a very ‘un-politically correct’ thing to say but there are those mums who do actually stay at home and look after their children while the husband goes out to work. There are of course also husbands who stay at home and look after the children while the wife goes out to work – either way do these people need bank accounts?
The answer is really going to depend upon how they conduct their relationship with their other half – the wage earner. Do they simply ask for cash when they need to go out and buy things either for the child or for the family as a whole? And does the Government’s Child Benefit go into the wage earner’s account?
Cashing cheques without a bank account can be done but can also be quite expensive and if you’re paying utility bills with cash then you could be losing out on the savings you can sometimes achieve with direct debits.
No wage, no bank account
Interestingly, if you are a house-wife or a house-husband and you try to apply for a bank account then most of the high street banks won’t provide you with one as most of them stipulate there has to be a certain level of deposits each month. Usually they like to see the monthly wage being paid in, preferably as an automated bank credit, known as a BACS transfer.
If you are a low wage earner and consequently receive benefit from a Housing Association or similar institution they will usually want to pay that benefit into a bank account. There are a number of banking companies that offer very basic bank accounts and will accept comparatively low wages into these accounts.
These Basic Bank Accounts will give you access to your funds over the counter, with a cash card or sometimes through a local post office. Often they will not allow overdraft facilities so you will only be able to pay bills when you have the funds actually in the account.
Basic Bank Accounts
Basic Bank Accounts can be opened by almost anybody over the age of sixteen. They don’t need regular sums to be paid in, but they do need to be kept in credit. Usually they only need a minimal amount such as £1.00 to be deposited when opening the account.
Almost anybody can apply to any of the major banks for a Basic Bank Account, although you will be refused if you have a history of fraud or are currently an undischarged bankrupt.
Calling all Students
If you are a student then it will be very easy to set up a bank account. You will need one to help get through your three years or so of studying. With a bank account designed specifically for students you’ll get a cash card, a cheque book and most importantly of all for a student on a government loan, you will get access to an overdraft.
61% of all students who leave University now have bank loans to pay off when they start work. Without a bank account it would be impossible to manage your student loan and the flexibility of a low interest rate overdraft will inevitably be useful.
However, just because it’s there doesn’t mean to say you should either hammer it all in one go or use all of it up. Debt is not an easy thing to get rid of, even if you expect to be earning a fortune when you leave University.
Big Brother holds the purse strings
It would seem then, that if you are to be an integrated member of today’s British social structure, or even to be considered a ‘citizen’, then a bank account is a must.
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