Choosing the right account

smartly dressed older lady

There are three main types of bank account. The right one for you will depend on your circumstances and what you want to use it for.

Basic bank accounts

Basic bank accounts are simple accounts that allow you to pay in and withdraw money, and set up direct debits to pay bills. They don’t usually have overdraft facilities. This sort of account might suit you if your finances are very straightforward, if you haven’t had a bank account before or if you have a bad credit rating.

Current accounts

Current accounts have more features than basic bank accounts, such as debit cards, cheque books and overdraft facilities. Some pay interest, but usually at a lower rate than a savings account.

Savings (or deposit) accounts

Savings (or deposit) accounts offer interest on your money but may restrict your access to it. You may have to give notice to withdraw your money without incurring a penalty.

A convenient way of getting cash is an important factor when it comes to choosing between accounts. Think about the following.

  • Is there a branch near where you live? Does your account include branch service (some accounts are online only)?
  • Can you access your account at Post Office branches? All basic bank accounts and many current accounts allow this. 
  • How many cash machines are there in your area, and can you use them free of charge?

If you’ve mislaid the details of a bank or building society account, there are account-tracing schemes that can help you locate your money. See the section Tracing lost money for more details

Frank‚ 66‚ changed his bank two years ago…

‘I had been with the same bank for most of my adult life. In the past I had never really thought about moving from one to another – I had always kept my savings in the same building society too.

‘A while back I started to look at whether I was getting a good deal. I wasn’t paying any charges for my current account but I wasn’t getting any interest to speak of on the balance either. I switched to another account that paid a better rate of interest. It wasn’t too difficult and the bank helped me change the account over. The rate is lower now than when I opened the account but it all helps.

‘I find I quite enjoy looking out for the best rates and moving my savings about. It’s become a bit of a hobby. Since the credit crunch started I’ve investigated what protection there is for savings. Not that I have more than £50‚000 in one bank – if only!’

Free Advice Service

If you, or an older person you know needs advice, information or practical support on a wide range of issues including welfare benefits, community care, housing and health, contact the Age NI Advice Service on Freephone 0808 808 7575 to speak to a specialist advisor in confidence.

Last year our Advice Service dealt with almost 14,000 calls from older people in need. Call the Age NI Advice Service today to make sure that you are receiving all the help and support available to you.

Your Age NI

Set your location to see what Age NI offers in your local area.

Age NI Advice:
0808 808 7575
Let's talk money 

Let's talk money publications

  • opens link in new window More money in your pocket
    A guide to claiming benefits for people over pension age. (PDF 358KB)

    opens link in new window Let's talk money
    A poster for promoting Age NI's free benefits check. (PDF 2MB)

      View all Money matters downloads Help with Downloads


      What is a download?

      A download is a document (like a research report, a leaflet, or an application form) that can be transferred from our website to your computer. You can download a file, view it on your screen, print it, or save it to your computer.

      What is a PDF?

      PDF stands for ‘portable document format’.

      Most downloads on this website are PDFs. We use this format to ensure that the document looks the same on everyone’s computer (website pages, by contrast, appear differently depending on how people have got their computer set up).

      How do I download a PDF?

      Computers use a program called Adobe Acrobat Reader to download PDFs. If you try clicking on a link to download a PDF and it doesn’t work, you will need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader onto your computer.

      How do I install Adobe Acrobat Reader?

      The process is quite straightforward and is free.

      1. Go to opens link in new window opens link in new window
      2. Click ‘Download’.
      3. Wait for the window to offer you the option to ‘Run’, then choose this option.
      4. Click ‘Next’.
      5. Click ‘Install’
      6. Wait for the window to offer you the option to ‘Finish’, then choose this option.

      How do I change a download?

      PDFs cannot be changed. If you need to be able to type into a downloaded document (for example, if we are offering a letter template that you need to put your name on) we will provide it as a Microsoft Word document rather than a PDF. You can then download it, type into it and save it to your computer.

      How do I print or save a download?

      Downloads will open on your computer in a new browser window.

      Inside this window (below all your web browser menus), there will be a toolbar with options for you to print or save the document.

      Close the browser window to return to the Age UK website.

      Can my screen reader read PDF downloads?

      We have made every effort to make our PDFs accessible to screen readers. Here is an overview of your accessibility options available in Acrobat Reader. Please ensure that you have downloaded the latest version of Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Reader website to ensure that they are included in your version of the programme.

      You can use Adobe Reader to read a PDF out loud with the following shortcut keys:

      • Read the document: Shift +Ctrl+Y
      • Read the open page only: Shift +Ctrl+V
      • Read to the end of the document: Shift+Ctrl+B
      • Pause: Shift+Ctrl+C
      • Stop Shift+Ctrl+E

      You can also convert a PDF into a web page by following these steps:

      • Copy the URL (web address) of the document (right-click on the link and select ‘Save target as’ or ‘Copy link’).
      • Open the Adobe online conversion tool in your browser and paste the URL into the URL box.
      • Tick the HTML box on the Format option and click ‘Convert’.

      You can convert a PDF document into a text file for use with other software and hardware such as Braille printers by opening the PDF and choosing ‘Save as text’ from the File menu.

      Age NI Advice:
      0808 808 7575
      Age NI staff

      Connect with us

      Talk with us and follow our messages, tweets, videos and photos.

      Useful websites

      • My Lost Account website offers a free service to help you trace lost accounts.

      Two people talking

      Tell us your story

      Share your first hand accounts of issues or problems that older people are experiencing in relation to public services.

      Share your story

      Close window
      Display options

      Set the appearance of this website so you can read it more easily

      Text size


      To see information relating to England, Scotland or Wales set your preference below: