Understanding everything banks can do for you

The bank. A big building where your wages go that dispenses cash out of the wall, right? But what about the other helpful services you could be using?

In general, many  of us have a tendency to take banks and banking for granted nowadays. It all just works (most of the time) invisibly. But think back to even 100 years ago, before much of the digitisation we have in banking now, making payments and managing money was a lot harder then. 

Retail banks (the kind we all use as individuals) are here for you. And there's more you can do with them than you might think.You can use banks to:

Hold your money and perform transactions

The obvious one. Primarily, your bank keeps your money safe and lets you transact with others.

Pay and get paid

You can make or receive payments three ways: Faster payments – almost instant; BACS – normally takes three days; CHAPS – for larger payments, delivery is guaranteed at a cost.

Direct Debits, standing orders and debit card transactions

All standard on most accounts. The first two make recurring payments straight from your account, with Direct Debit carrying the benefit of the Direct Debit Guarantee. Debit card transactions are similar, but payments are taken from your card by the other party (called a continuous payment authority), not direct from your account. If you change your card, the payments will fail.


Banks typically offer loans, credit cards and mortgages, but they may not offer the best rates, so shop around.


Growing in popularity, middleware lets you access your bank’s services through a third party – usually a tech company you already know.
Watch this space: you could soon be banking through your favourite chat app or social network!

All this should give you a basic understanding of exactly what your bank can do. Remember, your bank can be a really helpful tool for you — talk to them and make sure you're getting the best service, and products, possible.

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