I've recently reloacated to UK and opened a bank account to deposit my paychecks. As I didn't have a credit history, the bank allowed me to open a (what they call) "cash account".

Now, given that I have funds in it, it appears that I cannot transfer those funds to another account via bank transfer (my wife has account in the same bank) as cash accounts have this kind of limitation.

Now, as they claim that all the banks in UK do this for accounts without a credit history, is it true? Why?

  • 1
    If it's another account in the same bank, it doesn't need to be a wire transfer. You should just be able to do a normal transfer, or even withdraw and redeposit as a last resort. You will, of course, have to wait until the check has completely cleared the bank's processing.
    – keshlam
    May 5 '16 at 9:14
  • You can always try to go to another bank and open an account there.
    – SMeznaric
    May 5 '16 at 11:40
  • @SMeznaric - but. If he understood the bank correctly, the regulations prohibit this. May 5 '16 at 15:24
  • Does your employer not do a monthly transfer to the account?
    – Pepone
    May 5 '16 at 22:05
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    Note to everyone who doesn't believe that this might be a real problem: here we are talking about a 'basic bank account' (background) which is a product banks only offer because the government made them - the banks would much rather not have such customers. The list of things you can definitely do with a basic bank account is here, and standard transfers are not on the list.
    – AakashM
    May 6 '16 at 7:53

All major banks in the UK offer "cash accounts / basic accounts", this is to help people in a similar situation to you who either don't have any credit history or have a negative one but still allow them to bank convieniently thus avoiding financial exclusion in an ever-growing cashless society. Cash accounts are a good place to start and if you manage your account responsible (e.g do not go into an unplanned overdraft, consistently have wages paid in, maintain a balance through out the month (don't drop straight to £0)) after 3-6 months you will be eligible for other types of accounts which may offer benefits such as interest or insurances.

Cash accounts generally work the same as new accounts e.g. Allowing money to be paid in via employer, bills to be set up via direct debit, online/telephone payments/banking and lastly electronic money transfers. The main difference between cash and regular accounts being cash accounts do not have access to any borrowing facilities e.g overdraft or even cheque book.

Depending on the bank some place markers on new accounts prohibiting certain actions until they can see some form of banking behaviour e.g prohibiting electronic transfers or online payments. This is normal rectifiable by a quick visit to your local branch.

There should be no problem with your account it's just the bank being weary but a quick visit to your local branch can't hurt.


Why are you trying to send a wire transfer? Why not just a UK bank transfer.. you can send them just using the sort code and account number, I don't believe your bank would be allowed to block you from that, and it wouldn't make sense to as you need it to pay bills.


They are correct, it just seems they have been given a particularly poor offering by a bank. To anyone else in this situation, find another bank which offers any sort of basic bank account without an overdraft, and you will be quite likely to be offered an account.

If you can't get a new account, withdraw cash and deposit it wherever you need to transfer funds.

  • 1
    Can you name your bank please? I don't believe at all that this is the case with every bank - I've had accounts with some of them previously. May 5 '16 at 19:51
  • 1
    That's bizarre, that does seem to be the case. I am so surprised how are you meant to pay bills with that.. If I were you I would go and open and open an account with HSBC - they have a 'basic bank account' which doesn't have any ridiculous restrictions May 6 '16 at 12:01
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    @PieroNadello - if naming the bank will help get you the answer, please do so. You are right, typically a rant about a named company gets closed or redacted. In this case, it may just help answer your question. We can edit it back out after, if we need to. May 6 '16 at 12:18
  • 2
    It's Metro Bank May 6 '16 at 12:37
  • 1
    Or at least I'm assuming it is by his hint May 6 '16 at 12:38

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