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Help How to set up a basic bank account and get a debit card

You can use the ‘Send money to someone in prison’ service if you have a debit card. You can get a debit card with most bank accounts.

If you don’t have a bank account, or you don’t think you’d get one, you might be surprised to know there is a basic, fee-free bank account for people:

  • who don’t already have a bank account but want to give and receive money online
  • who don’t qualify for a standard current account
  • with poor credit history
  • with no credit history
  • who don’t have obvious proof of ID (for example, passport, driving licence)
  • who don’t have obvious proof of address (for example, utility bills)
  • who want to apply in person or by phone
  • who don’t want to pay to have a bank account

No proof of ID or address

Most banks will accept:

  • As proof of ID – a letter from your GP / social landlord / vicar / care home manager / warden of sheltered accommodation, hostel or refuge / armed services officer
  • As proof of address – a letter from DWP / benefits / state pension / HMRC / JobCentre+ / your local council / a Blue Badge (disability) / your employer, college or training provider

What to do next

Go to your local bank or Citizens Advice and they will help you set up your basic bank account. Ask them to go to this page on GOV.UK, if it helps.

Then you can send money to a prisoner using your debit card at

You can also ask staff in the visitor centre for more information or search online for ‘Money Advice Service’, then type in ‘basic bank account’.