Documents checklist to open a bank account

Most of us have a bank account, or have had one in the past, yet when it comes to setting up a new current account, you could be left wondering: “What do I need to open a bank account?”

On the high street there are a lot of different factors, so this documents checklist to open a bank account will not always apply 100%, but these are some of the main pieces of paperwork you might have to provide.

In contrast to this, when you apply online for an Arro Personal Account, we usually don’t need to see any physical paperwork from you at all – we can check your ID electronically in a matter of minutes.

We think it’s much easier to run a quick electronic ID check, all without accessing your credit file, than it is to verify your identity manually using printed documents and in-person meetings that have you waiting in line to see an advisor at your local bank.

Proof of name

Part of the Know Your Customer commitment is to make sure we can confirm your name. The high street banks typically do this using a formal item of ID, for example a passport or driving licence, National Insurance number card or another widely recognised form of ID.

It’s important to remember that once an item of ID has been used as proof of name, it usually can’t also be used as proof of address – in general, you have to use at least two different forms of ID in total.

Since driving licences no longer have a paper counterpart, it is now theoretically possible for both your passport and your driving licence photocard to expire, so check their expiry dates as if you forget to renew them on time – or have to send them away for renewal around the time you’re applying for accounts – you could be left with no proof of your name.

Proof of address

Next up is proof of address, and as mentioned, if you’ve already used your driving licence as proof of name, it’s probably no longer eligible here.

If you’ve signed up for paperless billing and online bank statements on any other existing accounts you have, you could also be in trouble.

Some of the examples of what might be accepted as proof of address include:

  • Recent original bank statements (not just print-outs from online banking).
  • Recent utility bills sent to you in the post, where you are the named accountholder.
  • A current, valid tenancy agreement signed in your name for rental addresses.
  • A recent mortgage statement in your name for property you own.

There’s a long list of other documents that may or may not be acceptable too, from official letters to do with benefits, to letters from your GP – basically the more formal and ‘official’ a piece of correspondence is, the more likely that it will be considered an acceptable proof of where you live.

Credit rating

This isn’t something you take into the bank with you when you apply, but for accounts with an overdraft or credit card, the bank will check your credit rating and if your score is not good, you will probably be turned down.

It’s important to note that if you apply for lots of accounts in a short space of time, all of those hits on your credit record can bring your score down too, which could leave you at risk of being turned down for credit in the future.

Get a no-credit bank account with no ID

If you have a poor credit score, no paper ID, or both, the Arro Personal Account might be an option.

Unlike a bank account, it has a quick and easy online application process with just an automated online ID check. There’s no overdraft or credit card, so no credit check is carried out.

All you have to give us yourself is your name, UK address, date of birth and contact details. We use electronic databases to confirm what you tell us, and can often do so even if you think you don’t have the right kinds of ID to be able to prove who you are.

We guarantee to accept you if we can – you have to live in the UK, must be over 18 and must be eligible under our Fair Fit criteria – and with absolutely no mark left on your credit file, the fastest way to find out if you are eligible may be simply to apply.