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Opening a bank account without photo ID

It is a common myth that you NEED photo ID to open a basic bank account, but did you know anyone can open a basic bank account?

What is a basic bank account?

Basic bank accounts are like conventional current accounts only with restricted features. You will be able to withdraw money from and deposit it into a basic bank account, but you cannot, for example, get a cheque book or be offered an overdraft.

Often, you will only be given a cash card rather than a debit card, meaning you can use an ATM, but you cannot make purchases in-store using a card.

All you need to open a basic account is:

  1. Be at least 16 years of age
  2. Have any credit history: good or bad, you can still open this type of bank account
  3. Proof of address and identity (more on proof documents below)

Most basic accounts can be opened online, in person at your local branch, by phone or by post and will require proving your identity and address.

Alternative documents to prove your identity and address:

Not everyone has the preferred documents to prove their identity and address, but did you know there is a broad range of documents acceptable for opening a basic bank account.

If you do not have a passport or driving license you could try....

Proving Identity documents can be correspondence from below organisations:

  • Department for Work and Pensions 
  • HMRC 
  • JobCentre+ 
  • West Lothian Council/Local Authority council
  • Details relating to your Blue Badge permit
  • confirming who you are and where you live - from your employer, college, or training provider 
  • any documents relating to Social Security benefits or State Pension. 

Proving Address documents can be correspondence from below organisations:

  • GP
  • social landlord 
  • a minister of religion 
  • care home manager 
  • a warden of sheltered accommodation, hostel or refuge 
  • an armed services officer.

You might have other documents to prove your ID and address if you are: 

  • an international student 
  • a migrant worker 
  • a refugee 
  • an asylum seeker 
  • a prisoner 
  • on probation. 

If you are not sure what you can use to prove your ID and address, take along all the documents you have enabling the bank or building society to decide what they will accept most easily.