In the centre of London there is an area of about one square mile which is simply called the City. It is one of the world‘s most important financial centres.
In the heart of the City stands the Bank of England. It is the central bank for all the other banks and its main business is to act as the bank to the government and to issue banknotes.
Commercial banks, such as National Westminster or Barclays banks have about 12 000 branch offices. They offer a large number of services both for business and for private customers. For example, they provide loans and help exporters and importers transfer money to and from other countries, introduce automated teller machines, etc.
Commercial banks hold also current and deposit accounts for their customers. A deposit account is for people who want to save. Money is paid to the account and while it stays there, the bank pays interest to the customers. Current account holders pay money into the account but withdraw it again to pay bills or to buy things. A current account holder gets a cheque book to help him with his different payments. Of course, if you are a holder of a credit card, you can move practically without a penny in your pocket. You get goods, and services simply on presentation of such a card.