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Accessing your bank account after going bankrupt

This advice applies to Wales

When you're declared bankrupt, your bank account may be frozen immediately. You may not be able to use it again and might find you have problems getting another bank account.

This page explains how you can access a bank account after you've been declared bankrupt.

Can you keep using your old bank account?

Some banks may let you keep using your existing bank account, but this might only happen after they've frozen it for some time while they speak to the official receiver.

If you want to keep using your existing bank account, you should ask your bank whether this is possible. Bear in mind that they don't have to say yes, and that the official receiver doesn't have any influence over their decision.

Opening a new bank account

You can open a new bank or building society account after being declared bankrupt, but you the bank or building society may ask if you are bankrupt. They will decide whether or not you can open a new account. Even if the bank agrees to you opening an account, it may impose certain conditions or limits, such as not giving you access to an overdraft.

Do you need to tell the official receiver about a new bank account?

You don't need to tell the official receiver or bankruptcy trustee about any new bank account that you open after being declared bankrupt. The only exception to this is if they specifically ask you for this information.

However, you do need to tell the official receiver or trustee about any money in your account that is more than you need for reasonable living expense. They can claim some or all of the extra money to pay towards your creditors.

If you've been refused a bank account

You may find that no bank will agree to you opening an account with them. If this applies to you, you have three main options:

  • apply for a basic bank account
  • open a Post Office card account
  • get a prepaid debit card.

The best solution for you will depend on what kind of income you have and the kinds of payments you want to make.

Basic bank accounts

Basic bank accounts are very simple, so they don’t provide a cheque book or overdraft. You can:

  • have wages, salary, benefits, pensions and tax credits paid straight into your account
  • pay cheques in for free (as long as they’re not in foreign currency)
  • get money out at Post Offices and cash machines
  • pay your bills by direct debit or standing order, and
  • use bank counters to pay money in, take it out or check your account balance.

More about basic bank accounts

Post Office card account

A Post Office card account may be suitable for you if your income is made up of the following only:

  • benefit payments
  • state pensions
  • tax credit payments.

You can't use this account to receive any other payments, including:

  • housing benefit
  • payments from a workplace pension
  • wages or salary.

This account may suit you if you want a simple account that won't let you go overdrawn. Your credit record won't be checked when you open this account.

Prepaid debit card

Prepaid debit cards give you a way to deal with making payments to other people. They can be used in the same way that an ordinary debit or credit card can be used. This includes:

  • paying bills
  • transferring money
  • taking money out of an ATM.

With a prepaid card you're limited to spending only the amount of money that you put on the card. You can normally 'top up' the cards with cash at a Post Office or Paypoint machine.

Many prepaid cards charge a fee for different kinds of transactions, so bear this in mind when you're deciding whether to get one.

Next steps

More information

'What will happen to my bank account?' - from the Insolvency Service at www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency

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