Current accounts allow customers to store money. In many countries, most banks charge to run current accounts, although this is not the case in the UK. Some argue that these free accounts are effectively subsidised by heavy charges for unauthorised overdrafts and the like. Banks sometimes offer interest on current accounts, although it is usually very low.
Of course, one of the main reasons for having a current account is that it makes it easier to manage your money. Salaries, pensions and benefits can be paid into current accounts, and they can be used to pay bills and make purchases without cash. Banks provide customers with debit cards, cheque books and so on.
An increasingly large percentage of such payments are carried out by electronic transfer facilities in which numbers move around on screens. In the UK, most retail banks belong to clearing houses that facilitate transactions between customers of different banks.
For many people, the main ethical question about current accounts is what the bank will do with your money. Your bank is making loans and investments. Although they loan out more money than they own, banks are obliged to keep to a legal ratio between what they lend out and what has been deposited with them. Therefore, your money helps them to make loans and to invest.
You may want an account with a bank that does not help industries to which you object, such as arms or oil. Or you may want to see your bank actively supporting positive-impact businesses, such as renewable energy or social enterprise, and companies that are committed to specific corporate responsibility commitments, such as paying the Living Wage.