How to open, close and switch your bank account

Whether you're opening a new current account, switching from one to another or closing your account, it's your bank's job to get everything sorted for you as soon as possible, and with minimum fuss.

Published

31 Jul 2017

How to apply and open a new bank account

Although banks offer different types of current account, they generally ask for the same documents when applying. This is what may be asked for:

  • Photographic ID, like a passport or driving licence
  • Your address history for the last 3 years
  • Proof of your address - a recent utility bill usually works
  • Your monthly income after tax and National Insurance

Here at Tesco Bank it's all online, so have your documents handy when you apply. After applying you'll receive confirmation straight away to inform you if you have been successful.

Reaching into a kitchen cupboard

How long does it take to set up a bank account?

This varies, and some accounts can take over 7 working days. When you open a Tesco Bank account we aim to get your card and pin to you in 5 working days.

Opening a current account at Tesco Bank

When we approve your application we’ll email you a Welcome Pack and online forms for you to review and accept. This lets us verify everything so you don’t have to send off paperwork at your end.

Once you have your card and pin you can activate them using online banking, our Mobile Banking App, or by calling us directly.

We’ll get in touch after 10 days and again after 21 days if you haven’t activated your card, as a security precaution.

How to switch your current account

You're not alone in wanting to switch, as over 1 million people moved bank in 2016. Which might not be a surprise when you see how easy it is.

Like opening an account, there are some things you should know before switching bank - from shopping around for the best deal, to picking a suitable 'switch day'.

1. Pick a 'switch day' to suit you

To ensure you can access your money, we don’t switch your account until your new debit card is activated.

You can ask us to start the switch process once your Tesco Bank Current Account is open and your new debit card is activated. Alternatively, you can choose your own switch date once you have activated your card and the process will begin 7 working days before that date.

2. Switch day

On your chosen day, all your money is transferred to your new account, as well as regular outgoings such as Direct Debits and payments in like wages or your pension - so you’ll never miss a payment.

The bank you’re switching to handles this process and you can still access your money while you’re waiting. Keep in mind there are no exact rules in place about switching when you're overdrawn, what happens will vary by provider and any interest you’re due will automatically be credited to your new account.

More than 40 banks and building societies have now signed up to the Current Account Switch Service – including us.

It acts like a guarantee so in the unlikely event of a ‘switch error’ – for example, a bill isn’t paid on time - the bank takes responsibility and is liable for any consequences. This only applies if they’re part of the scheme.

Closing bank accounts

Closing a bank account isn’t too difficult, but there are steps you can take before you and your bank can part ways. There are a few things to keep in mind.

Logging into Tesco Bank online banking

How to close your bank account: what to do and what to expect

There isn’t a charge for closing an account, but if you’re in overdraft you will have to pay back what you owe.

You will also need to contact your bank to close an account if you are only switching some of your Direct Debits and regular payments, but full switches are handled automatically and securely by the bank on your behalf.

Your bank may also ask that cards linked to the closed account be returned. If you use a mobile banking app, remember to delete them from your devices, remove your card from digital wallets such as Apple Pay or Android Pay, and update your details on online retail sites like Amazon or eBay.

How to find old or lost bank account details

Have you stopped using a bank account and forgot about it? You’re not alone, as up to £15 billion of 'unclaimed financial assets' are forgotten in old UK bank accounts, pensions, life assurance and investment accounts.

The good news is, thanks to websites like My Lost Account these accounts are now much easier to find.

Closing an account when someone dies

It’s not easy dealing with someone’s affairs after they die, but it may be reassuring to know that closing a relative’s account is legislated by Government, ensuring a secure process.

To close their account, you will need to get in touch with us by calling 0345 835 3353 and we will talk you through the process. We will require ID and the person’s death certificate. There will also be some paperwork to complete.

Additionally, you will need to provide the following:

  • For balances above £500, you would need to provide a copy of the will
  • If the balance is greater than £5,000, you’ll need a Form of Indemnity
  • For balances over £25,000 you will require a grant of probate (known as letters of administration in Scotland) to close the account. This ensures that the money is distributed as stated in a person’s will. Where there isn’t a will; a spouse, child or family member could apply to be administrator of the estate.

If it’s a joint account and you’re the other account holder, you should let us know about the death. You’ll still be able to withdraw money from your account as normal.

You can find more detailed information about things you need to think at gov.uk.

Find out more about the Tesco Bank Current Account

Important information

The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to the subject matter but does not constitute expert financial advice specific to your own situation. All facts and figures were correct at time of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.