Free English Lessons

Opening a Bank Account – Listening Lesson (A2)

If you spend time working or studying in an English-speaking country, you’ll need to go to the bank and open an account. Learn some useful English words and phrases for going to the bank and opening a bank account in this free Oxford Online English listening lesson. This is a lesson for pre-intermediate learners.

Listen to the dialogue at normal speed here:

or listen to a slower version here:

Man: Hello, what can I do for you today?
Woman: I’d like to open an account1.
Man: Okay, we’ll need proof of ID2 and proof of address.
Woman: I’ve brought my passport with me.
Man: That’s great, and do you have any proof of address, like a utilities bill3, for instance?
Woman: I’ve got a letter from my university. Will that do4?
Man: That should be fine. So we can open a current account5 for you, would you like us to open a savings account at the same time?
Woman: No, I don’t think so. I’m only here for a few months. Just one question: does the account come with a credit card?
Man: No, you’ll get a debit card6 and a chequebook, but if you want a credit card, you’ll have to apply for it separately.
Woman: Okay, that’s fine. How long will it take to get everything done?
Man: We can open the account today and your card will be sent to your address within five working days7.

The words highlighted in the text are explained here. Many of them are the answers to exercise 1, so you may prefer to attempt exercise 1 first and come back to this section.

1. account= bank account
2. ID = identification, so proof of ID means something to prove who you are, like a passport
3. A utilities bill means a bill for your gas, electricity, water or telephone.
4. Will that do? = Is that [good] enough?
5. A current account is for day-to-day banking. It is called a checking account in the USA and Canada.
6. A debit card allows you to spend the money you have in your bank account. A credit card lets you spend money and pay it back later, so you can spend money you don’t have yet.
7. Working days means Monday-Friday. So if today is Friday, and I tell you your account will be open in five working days, I mean it will be open next Friday.

Opening a Bank Account – exercise 1
Vocabulary: general and specific words

In many situations you can use a general word that describes a category (e.g. ‘money’) or something more specific (like ‘a five-pound note’). Using general and specific words is a good way to add variety and avoid repetition.

Read five sentences that use general and specific words to describe things. Write one word from the dialogue in each gap.

Opening a Bank Account – exercise 2
Grammar and syntax: put the words in the right order

Move the words into the right order to create five sentences from the dialogue.

Opening a Bank Account – exercise 3
Vocabulary: collocations with common verbs

In the previous exercise, there are examples of verbs that are commonly used with certain nouns and prepositions. These common combinations of words are called collocations.

Listen to five new sentences from a different customer asking questions in a bank. Each sentence includes a verb used in exercise 2, but it has been omitted from the recording this time. Your job is to write the missing word in each answer space.

Opening a Bank Account – exercise 4
Pronunciation: diphthongs

A diphthong is a type of vowel where two sounds are made quickly without a gap in between. At least one part of your mouth (i.e. tongue, lips or jaw) has to move as you say a diphthong. The vowels in ‘mouth’, ‘nose’, ‘ears’, ‘eyes’ and ‘face’ are all diphthongs.

This is different from a monophthong (as in the words ‘neck’ and ‘chin’), where you could extend the vowel sound without moving any part of your mouth.

Listen to five short clips from the dialogue and choose the word that contains a diphthong used in each recording.

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