Up to nine million financially marginalized people in the United Kingdom will benefit from new bank accounts which launched Jan. 1.
The new accounts are the byproduct of an agreement between the government and the nine biggest banks which was announced late in 2015. They are available to people without a bank account, those previously ineligible for one, or who cannot access their existing account due to financial hardship.
Holders of the new accounts will no longer be charged should a transaction fail due to lack of funds. Many such people find themselves in overdraft due to excessive fees.
The new accounts will also come with standard over-the-counter services at bank branches and postal outlets and complete ATM access.
A government representative said the new accounts are a crucial part of a comprehensive strategy for financial inclusion of all citizens.
“Making sure that everyone in Britain has access to basic banking and financial services is at the heart of our long term plan,” Economic Secretary Harriet Baldwin said. “This is a key step forward in ensuring that our banking industry works for everyone.”