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Keeping a bank account when homeless

Your bank cannot close your account or cancel your card just because you are homeless.

They could close or freeze your account if you:

  • owe money to the bank

  • are bankrupt or have a debt relief order

  • have not used the account for a long time

Get debt advice if you have money problems

You can get regulated debt advice from:

Tell the bank if you have a temporary address

You need to tell the bank if your address changes, even if it's temporary.

Sometimes the bank needs to post you important letters or debit cards.

The bank can only contact you at the address you have given them, so you might experience problems if it's not up to date.

If you're staying with friends and family

Always ask your friend or relative before using their address.

You cannot affect someone's credit score if you use their address for your bank account.

If your friend or relative gets benefits, these should only be affected if you normally live with them as your main home. Sofa surfing or just getting post at a friend or relative's address should not affect their benefits.

If you're staying at a refuge

You should not use the address of a domestic abuse refuge without being told you can do this. You could be asked to leave if you share the address.

Sometimes you can use a PO Box address.

Ask staff at the refuge to provide a letter confirming where you live.

Find out more about help if you're homeless and have experienced domestic abuse.

Get help if you cannot confirm your identity

Banks sometimes ask you to show ID documents to access your account. If you do not have these or your ID documents do not match your gender, you could ask someone from a homeless charity or LGBTQ+ organisation to go the bank with you.

Find out if you could get help from:

Remove financial connections

If you had a joint account in the past, this could affect your credit file and make it harder to open a bank account and borrow money.

You might need to remove financial connections with a 'notice of disassociation' before you apply for a new account.

You do this by contacting the main credit reference agencies directly:

Find out about credit reference agencies from the National Debtline.

Apply for a new account

You might need to apply for a new account if:

  • your account has been closed

  • you cannot access your current bank account

  • you need to set up your own account after relationship breakdown or domestic abuse

Use our guide on how to open a bank account if you're homeless.

Last updated: 20 December 2022

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