Can you explain basic bank account snub?

Dear James,

I got my credit report and it is fine, but yet I can’t even open a basic bank account, why?!

Jodie, Stockton on Tees

Dear Jodie,

Good to hear that your credit report’s in great shape. The key issue here is that you were refused a basic bank account. Basic accounts do not come with an overdraft facility so there is actually no credit involved. As a result, there is no reason for banks to run a credit check before opening one. This makes me think that the stumbling block lies elsewhere, either with the general qualifying criteria for these accounts – only one bank now offers basic accounts to current bankrupts, for instance – or that there was a problem with the ID checks. Banks and other financial service providers have to carry out quite detailed ‘know your customer’ checks these days to satisfy anti-money-laundering regulations. Many of these checks take place electronically in a matter of seconds, so most people probably don’t even realise they’re happening – unless there’s a problem of course. What I suggest you do is go back to the bank in question and ask them to explain exactly what the problem was. That should hopefully help you get to the bottom of it. There’s a great moneysavingexpert.com guide on basic bank accounts which you might find helpful. (October 2012)

James
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