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getting going with smile

It will take you about 15 minutes to apply for a smile account.

All we'll need to know is your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. If you've moved in the last three years, we also need the address and postcode of where you lived before.

We also need the account number and sort code of your present bank or building society account, your mortgage details (if any) and your basic employment details.

We'll also ask you for some personal information for security purposes. Because we use this to identify you when you access your accounts, it's really important to remember the names and numbers you choose.

When you apply for a smile ISA, we need your National Insurance number. For a smile Student account we need your term time address and postcode as well as your course and grant/loan details.

In addition to providing us with basic information about you, these details are used to confirm your identity (by law we have to check your identity). For more information on proving your identity have a look at the British Banking Association's (BBA) website - You and Proving your Identity and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website - Fighting Crime and Terrorism: we need your help.


After you've applied

As soon as we get your application, we give you a personal enrolment number. To keep tabs on how your application's getting on, go to 'Application tracker' on our home page and type in this number and your surname. After a few minutes (or first thing next morning if you apply at night), we'll let you know our decision. If we need more information, this is when we ask you for it.

The time it takes to get your new account up and running depends on how long it takes you to get this extra information back to us. We often need it to meet banking regulations, and we keep you fully informed by secure messages you can pick up from 'Application tracker'.

If your application's turned down, we'll let you know by secure message.

Will smile need to contact me?

smile has to carry out certain checks to comply with Money Laundering Regulations and we may, in fulfilling our legal obligations, make a telephone call to customers at the start of the banking relationship.

What will I get in the post once my account is open?

Savings account
We'll send you the PIN (Personal Identification Number) for your debit card separately in the post a couple of days after your card.e'll mail you your paying-in book, reply-paid envelopes, cash card and standing order mandate so you can set up regular payments from your current account.   

We'll mail you your paying-in book, reply paid envelopes and a standing order mandate so you can set up regular payments into your smile Cash ISA from your current account. You'll also get a copy of your Inland Revenue Declaration which you keep.

We'll mail you a Pre-Contract Information document for you to keep and 2 copies of the Credit Agreement with the terms and conditions, one for you to sign and send back and one for you to keep. When we receive this, the loan will be credited to your chosen account – the next working day if it’s a smile account, 4 working days if it’s to another Bank.

Credit card
We’ll mail you a Pre- Contract Information document for you to keep and 2 copies of your Credit Agreement with the terms and conditions, one for you to sign and return and one for you to keep.  When we get your signed agreement form, we'll send you your card and send you a secure message explaining how to activate your new card online. You'll find this in 'Application Tracker'.  Under separate cover for security reasons, we also send you your Personal Identification Number (PIN) - usually a day or two after.  A direct debit mandate will be mailed to you at about this time for you to arrange hassle-free payment. If you've taken out credit card payment protection insurance, your insurance certificate will also arrive by post.

If you'd like any of your documents sent in an alternative format send us a secure message or call us on 03457 212 212^.  We also provide braille cheque books and paying in book templates to assist the visually impaired.


Current Account Switch Guaranteesmile offers the Current Account Switch Service which makes switching your bank account to us simple, reliable and hassle-free. The new service allows you to transfer your regular payments from another bank, on a switch date that suits you. It is backed by the Current Account Switch Guarantee. To switch to smile simply call us on 08000 325 579 and we'll do the rest. If you’re moving your current account from The Co-operative Bank just log in and send us a secure message with your account details. Below are some faqs to help you out.

For information on transferring your ISA, visit our cash ISA page.

Q. When will the money in my old account be transferred to my new account?

A. You will be able to access the funds in your old account up to and until your switch date, when they will be transferred to your new account.

Q. Will switching my current account affect my credit rating?

A. No, providing you repay any outstanding overdraft(s) on your previous account(s) as required by your old bank or building society. If there are any problems with payments (as part of the switching process) we will correct them and ensure your credit rating is not affected.

Q. What happens to any debit card transactions that I have asked my old bank to stop?

A. The Current Account Switch Service should not interfere with this process and any debit card transactions that you have asked your bank to stop should remain so after your switch.

Q. What will happen with continuous card payments/ recurring transactions?

A. If you have arranged to make recurring payments using your old account debit card number, your old bank won’t know your Co-operative/smile account debit card number so won’t be able to transfer these. This means that there is no guarantee that payment requests sent to your old account will be redirected. The supplier may contact you to request the details of your Co-operative/smile debit card. We recommend that you contact the supplier to set up a new recurring payment to ensure any service you receive is not interrupted.

Q. I have used my debit card/paid by cheque in the last few days and you have advised me that my switch has now been completed. Will these payments be honoured?

A. The Current Account Switch Service transfers all your payments and closes your old account; any payments due to debit your old account will be redirected to your account with us (if sufficient funds are available), with the exception of continuous card payments/recurring transactions as detailed above.

Q. Can I prevent my new account details being given to someone who sends one-off payments to my old account?

A. You may be able to transfer your payments to us without redirecting payments from your old account, please contact us on 03457 212 212 to discuss this.

Q. What happens if there’s a problem transferring any of the payments?

A. Sometimes we may be unable to set up some of the individual payments passed to us by the old bank. For example, we may not support a particular standing order frequency, or a Direct Debit may have invalid information. In these cases, we’ll always let you know the situation, and ask you to contact us and tell us how you’d like to proceed.

Q. What happens if I make any amendments to my payments on my old account?

A. If you make any amendments to regular payments or set up any new payments on your old account while the switch is in progress, please contact customer services on 03457 212 212 as soon as possible to ensure these are reflected on your new account.

Q. What happens if there is a mistake or unnecessary delay in the Current Account switching process?

A. The Current Account Switch Service is backed by the Current Account Switch Guarantee. This guarantees that any charges or interest incurred on your old or new account, as a result of a failure in the switching process, will be refunded when you bring this to our attention.

Q. What if I change my mind?

A. You can change your switch date any time before your switch starts and you can cancel your switch up to seven working days before your switch date. After these timescales only certain elements can be cancelled. Please contact customer services on 03457 212 212 if you wish to discuss further.

Q. What type of accounts can I switch using the Current Account Switch Service?

A. The Current Account Switch Service is for current accounts only. If you would like to switch other account types, such as a savings account, please contact customer services on 03457 212 212 or visit your local branch to discuss.


In accordance with the Money Laundering Regulations we must make sure that we know who our customers are before an account can be opened. If we’ve been unable to do this electronically, we might ask you to send us documents that provide evidence of your personal identity and address.  If requested you can send by post one Proof of Identity document plus one Proof of Address document (either originals or certified copies).

Proof of Identity document
Current valid passport (with English translation)*
Full or Provisional Photo-Card Driving Licence*
EU/EEA Member State Identity Photo-Card*
National ID card (for non EEA nationals)
HMRC Tax Notification/Assessment/Coding letter
Shotgun Licence or Firearms Certificate*
Identity card issued by the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland*
Valid UK Paper Driving Licence (old paper style)*
Instruction from the Court appointing an individual eg. ‘Court of Protection' or ‘Grant of Probate'
Confirmation of receipt of State Benefits from a Government Agency (incl. State Pensions)

Proof of address document
UK Full or Provisional Photo-Card Driving Licence*
HMRC Tax Notification/Assessment/Coding letter
Local Authority Council Tax Bill
Statement or Letter from Bank/ Building Society/Credit Card/Mortgage/Life insurance/investment/savings company
Solicitor's Letter re house/land purchase (in last 3 months)
Housing Association/Letting Agency /Council/Tenancy letter or agreement (not a private arrangement)
Utility/Services Bill (gas/electric/water/sky/telephone/ home broadband)
TV Licence (valid for the current year)
Confirmation of receipt of State Benefits from a Government Agency (incl. State Pensions)

*documents should be copied and certified before being sent in

Please don't send any original or valuable documents through the post (such as Driving Licences or Passports).

Additional points to note:

  • Original documents or certified copies must be provided. Certified copies must meet our certification policy.
  • All documents/letters/statements must be dated within the last 6 months, valid for the current year or before the expiry date when specified.
  • The proof of address must match the address on the application form.
  • All foreign documents must contain or be accompanied by an English translation.
  • Two proofs from the same source cannot be accepted (e.g. we cannot accept a proof from the Jobcentre Plus for identity and a proof from the Department for Works and Pensions for address).
  • One document cannot be used to fulfil both Proof of Identity and Proof of Address requirements. For example, a driving licence appears on both lists, however this single proof cannot satisfy both Proof of Identity and Proof of Address requirements

For a student account a Proof of Identity document can be accepted alongside the following:

  • Student loan letter/statement
  • Letter from university accommodation office

    If the student is under 18 and cannot provide a Proof of Identity document listed above any one of the following should be sent with a Proof of Address document:

  • Birth Certificate
  • NHS Medical card
  • National Insurance letter/card

If you can't provide 2 documents from the list above then please speak to one of our customer service advisers on 03457 212 212^.

Certified documents

Copies of documentation can be certified by a professional person including: Bank Official, Doctor, Solicitor, a Religious Leader, Teacher, Hostel Manager, Social Worker, Care Home Manager, Prison Governor, Probation Officer, Police Officer, Civil Servant, etc.  Alternatively staff at any branch of The Co-operative Bank can also certify documents. To find your closest branch take a look at the branch locator The certifier must:

  • Sign the document and write 'original seen' (and where there is a photograph state that 'it is a true likeness of the applicant')
  • Date the document
  • State their full name
  • State their profession
  • State their full business address
  • State their telephone number (not mobile).

Smile does not advise customers to send in original documents, please make a copy of any originals and send those into us; unfortunately we cannot return them to you. If you do send in an original document and need this returning to you, please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope when you send your documents.

Please put your enrolment number on everything you send. Send the paperwork to: smile, Freepost NWW2329A, PO Box 600, Skelmersdale WN8 6GF. Keep an eye on your application tracker mailbox for an update on your application.

The Co-operative Bank p.l.c. is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (No.121885). The Co-operative Bank, Platform, smile and Britannia are trading names of The Co-operative Bank p.l.c., P.O. Box 101, 1 Balloon Street, Manchester M60 4EP. Registered in England and Wales No.990937. Credit facilities are provided by The Co-operative Bank p.l.c. and are subject to status and our lending policy. The Bank reserves the right to decline any application for an account or credit facility. The Co-operative Bank p.l.c. subscribes to the Standards of Lending Practice which are monitored by the Lending Standards Board.