Genome Blog / articles / What is a current account?
Jul. 6, 2021
Depending on the type of your bank account, the range of services you receive will vary. Yes, different accounts come with different pricing, offers, and, of course, functionality. In this Genome article, we will dwell on the particularities of current bank accounts. We will talk about the benefits of such accounts, how they differ from savings accounts, and many more things you should consider before deciding how and where to do your banking.
What is a current account used for?
To put it simply, a current bank account is a no-interest regular deposit account that is made and designed specifically for everyday use. These accounts have plenty of features but almost no limits when it comes to the number of transactions per day/week/month/etc. With such an account your money is deposited safely in a bank’s vault, but you can use it whenever you want with no restrictions.
The main idea behind using a current account is direct and easy access to your funds, both for transactions and money withdrawals. Apart from personal usage, there are current bank accounts for businesses and companies. They are quite handy as well because they are designed to process many financial operations every day.
Typically, you do not need a large deposit to open and start using a current account. Some PSPs provide such features as overdrafts, ordering checkbooks and debit cards, and, in rare cases, even small interest rates.
Different types of current accounts
All current bank accounts can be divided into several groups based on their features:
This is the most simple and basic type of current account. It’s a deposit account, usually with no interest rate and minimum balance requirements. However, the monthly average balance for such bank accounts is stipulated. The rest depends on your financial provider: mobile and internet banking, checkbooks, and deposit cards, as well as the monthly number of transactions and their fees.
Previously we’ve mentioned that current accounts can be used both for personal and business needs. So, the next logical question is: what is a personal current bank account? In fact, a standard current account can be used both as a personal and a company one. If you have a personal and business current account with the same bank, your financial operations will be smooth and fast. What’s more, you can have a few current bank accounts with different PSPs.
With Genome, you can open business and personal accounts online just in a few simple steps. To start the application, fill in your details and provide required documents on the website or in our mobile app. Once you pass verification, you can use our mobile and Internet financial services straight away.
Packaged current accounts have their names from packages of special offers available to their owners. Of course, the range of such services is all up to the finance provider. For example, some of them bring to the table medical and travelling insurances, free airport lounge passes, etc. to attract more clients. On the one hand, it may seem that such extra features are not needed at all. On the other hand, it’s quite convenient to do your banking and insurance services with the same PSP or bank.
Premium current bank accounts are even more high-end and exclusive compared to packaged ones. Premium accounts are mostly for those people who make high financial operations and can afford to pay additional fees for extra service.
Single column cash book
These current bank accounts are also known as simple cash accounts. You can make transactions, but do not have an overdraft facility. In other words, such an account is a cashbook with a record of daily financial operations. They are shown in two columns: credit and debit.
These are the current bank accounts for financial transactions in different currencies. They are most suitable for businesses that operate in a few countries or have branches there.
Joint current accounts are opened for more than two users. It means that there will be more than two account holders for the same account. Joint bank current accounts work best for close relatives or business partners. For example, a married couple can use such an account for paying bills. Joint accounts are also common for committees or organizations so that a few people have access to the funds and account.
What are the benefits of a current account?
Even though current bank accounts seem like nothing special and allow regular financial transactions, they have some important advantages. Let’s have a look:
- Prompt financial transactions
Because your funds are saved in the bank’s vault, you can do all the operations anytime. With a savings account, your money is unavailable because it’s used by the bank.
The same goes for withdrawal limits. In fact, you can make withdrawals in many different ways, not only from ATMs. You can make money transfers, direct debit payments, and use your debit card linked to the current account.
You can deposit as much money as you want to whenever you want to. You can also do it in numerous ways: transfers, cash deposits, and so on. Most financial services providers require only a small first deposit to open a current bank account.
Overdrafts are one of the best features of current accounts. Remember that the sum you can “borrow” from the bank differs with every financial provider and PSP.
A current bank account is actually the only way to receive your checkbook. While cheques are quite rare in Europe, they are still pretty popular in the US. Using cheques is a fast way to make direct payments to both companies and individuals.
Your funds are safe with the bank and protected by compensation schemes.
If you have a banking history, it’ll be easier for you to apply for credit and receive it. Even if you’re using overdrafts frequently but pay back in time, such statistics and data will be beneficial for your credit history.
What are the disadvantages of a current account?
Unsurprisingly, current bank accounts also have some disadvantages. Without a doubt, pros overweight cons here, but it’s still worth paying attention to some of the drawbacks of using current accounts:
- No interests on deposits;
- Additional financial services at higher prices;
- Limit of free checkbooks;
- Fees for not maintaining the required monthly balance;
Do I have to pay for a current account?
You don’t need to pay for maintenance of most current bank accounts unless you go for some premium offers and packages. Nevertheless, there can be plenty of hidden fees. To start with, remember that there will be a small required amount of the first deposit. Secondly, you will need to have a specified amount in your current account every month. If you cannot do it, you will most likely be charged.
The services that come with opening a current bank account usually go in packages. For instance, if you need to make some payment that is not included in the offer, the fee will be applied. Thus, it’s better to check with different financial providers and compare their packages and plans before applying for a current account.
Who can open a current account?
Anybody who’s older than 18 years old can apply for a current bank account. However, it does not mean that this person will be eligible for opening such an account. The requirements differ from bank to bank.
In addition, you can have current accounts with few different financial services providers. Current bank accounts can be opened both for personal usage and business needs. To tell the truth, these accounts can be even more beneficial for companies, because they tend to make financial operations more often as compared to individuals.
Documents needed to open a current account
As we’ve just mentioned, each bank can have special requirements for opening a current bank account. Now, we will talk about the most common demands when you’re applying for a current account.
If you want to open a personal current bank account online, you will need to submit an application and provide your personal, employment, and residence information. A credit check is one of the crucial parts of the application process. All banks are bound to establish your true identity so that they can open a current account for you. You will probably need a savings account to have a current one. Therefore, you can open these two with the same PSP, so that it’s easier to manage them.
When it comes to current bank accounts for businesses, the list of required documents can be significantly longer. You’d need to present official documents and proof of the company’s legal existence, its ownership, and even business activity in some cases.
Current account best interest rates
Only a few banks offer interest rates for deposits on current accounts. To be more precise, it’s not a common practice among financial providers at all. However, if you’re lucky enough to find a bank that provides interest for a current account, you can even get an interest rate of up to 3%. Such accounts are called high-interest current bank accounts and require pretty large deposits.
FAQ about current accounts:
What is a current account in a bank?
It’s a regular no-interest deposit account that you can use for your financial needs. With such an account, you can manage and move your funds anytime. A current bank account is an account for everyday use with no limits on the number of transactions you need to make during the day/week/month/etc.
What does a current account do?
The mechanism behind a current bank account is simple: you deposit money – and you spend it. The required sum for the first deposit is small, but you need to maintain a specific amount on your account every month. Depending on the type of your current account and financial provider, you have access to different services: transfers, direct debit payments, cheques, overdrafts, mobile/internet banking, and so on.
What’s the difference between a current and savings account?
The major difference between these two lies in easy access to your funds. A savings account is opened to make long-term deposits and receive interest on them. It means that you don’t use your money but receive interest instead. Meanwhile, the bank is using these funds for giving loans to other people, for instance.
A current bank account is opened for everyday use. You can deposit it and withdraw funds as much and as often as you want to. There’s no interest here, but the limits for most transactions are quite high.
Is a current account a debit card?
A current bank account and a debit card are different, even though they work pretty similar. The meaning behind a current account is that you have funds in a separate bank’s vault. You only have as much as you deposit or receive (by transfers, for example). You also have your bank account details (account number and IBAN/SWIFT).
A debit card is a physical representation of your bank account. You can use a card in ATMs, shops, or pay online. Funds available on the card are the same funds in your current account because the card and account are linked. A debit card cannot exist without being connected to an account.
For your current bank account, you can either order a debit card or no. However, you cannot order a card if you do not have a current account. With a debit card, you cannot pay if you do not have enough funds, the transaction will simply not go through. On the contrary, with a credit card, you can still pay and use money from your credit limit.