If you get Child Benefit, tax credits or Guardian's Allowance, you'll usually be paid straight into an account using a system called Direct Payment. This is a safe and secure way of paying you, and the types of account you can use are shown below.
On this page:
The account will need to be one of the following:
For tax credits payments only, you can also use an account in someone else's name. But it is up to you to make sure you get the money from that person.
There are several kinds of account you can use to receive payments.
These are the most flexible. Depending on the type of account, you'll be able to withdraw money from cash machines, use cheque books, debit cards or pay bills by direct debit. Some accounts pay interest and some allow you to withdraw cash over the counter from the Post Office®.
Alternatively, you could open an Investment Account or a Direct Saver account. These work like normal savings accounts from a bank or building society and are suitable for receiving all kinds of Direct Payment.
You can only have benefit, State Pension and tax credit payments paid into this type of account. This account may suit you if you want a simple account that won't let you go overdrawn.
To open a bank or building society account you can either visit the branch or, in some cases, you can open an account online.
Banks and building societies usually need some proof of identification, such as a passport, a driving licence or a Council Tax bill. It's best to check with the bank or building society to see what they need.
You can open an Investment Account by post. You can get an application form online from the NS&I website.
You can open a Direct Saver Account online, on the NS&I website, or over the phone, by calling 0500 500 000, lines are open 7.00am to midnight, seven days a week.
If you are completing your Child Benefit claim form and you want to open a Post Office® card account, please call the Child Benefit Helpline.
If you are completing your tax credits claim form and you want to open a Post Office® card account, please call the Tax Credit Helpline.
There are some accounts that you cannot use for Direct Payment. These are:
HM Revenue & Customs don't recommend having your Direct Payments made into an ISA account. This is because there is a limit on the amount that can be paid into these accounts. If you go over this limit, the bank or building society will reject the payment.
Direct Payments cannot be made into a Child Trust Fund account.