You will need to open a bank or building society account so that you can get paid or receive welfare benefits. There are many types of bank account, make sure you find one that’s right for you.

A “basic” or “current” account is usually free and should meet your everyday banking needs. These usually allow you to pay money in, to get money out from a cashpoint or ATM and to pay your bills.

Where you need to go

You can visit most of the main banks in Leeds City Centre, but you may find there are not many in your local area. However most of the transactions you need to do can be done over the phone or online. The quickest and easiest way to find local banks is using Google Maps.

You could try these banks and building societies which offer basic bank accounts:

  • Barclays
  • Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank
  • Co-operative Bank
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds Banking Group (Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyds)
  • Nationwide
  • RBS Group (NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland)
  • Santander
  • TSB
  • Virgin Money

This list is from the Money Savings Expert website:

Basic Bank Accounts

Banks and building societies have different rules for opening an account. If you are finding it difficult with one bank, it could be a good idea to try a different one.

What you need to bring with you

You will need to show the bank:

  • documents proving your identity – for example your passport or Biometric residency permit. If you are from the EU, they may also accept your national identity card or national driving licence.
  • your immigration status – your letter or residence permit from the Home Office.
  • your address – this could be a letter from the Home Office, bills sent to your address with with your name on, letters from Jobcentre or Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Some banks may ask for your national insurance number or proof of your income. If you are receiving welfare benefits, you can show them a letter from the Jobcentre or DWP.

All documents need to be current (i.e. Passports need to be valid) and all letters need to be dated within the last 6 weeks.

Getting support

If you need advice about opening and using a bank account, you can visit Citizens Advice Leeds. Citizens Advice Leeds is open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm to give advice by telephone, webchat and email. There is a face-to-face City Centre Drop-In, which is open Monday to Friday between 9am and 1pm. After 1pm they are open for booked appointments only.

Oxford House, Oxford Row, Leeds, LS1 3BE.
0808 2787878
Leeds Citizens Advice

Using cash machines

You can withdraw money from your bank account using a cash machine (sometimes called an ATM), using an account card and personal identification number (PIN). Always keep your cash card in a safe place and do not write your PIN down. You can practice using a cash machine safely online here:

Practice using a cash machine

Cash machines inside or outside banks or building societies are usually free to use, and you will not be charged. Cash machines on the street, in shops, or petrol stations often charge you for taking money out, so be careful.

Last Updated: 9 January 2023

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