Accessing banking services with the UK’s innovative FinTechs and banks
The UK’s leading FinTechs have made accessing UK business banking services easier for international entrepreneurs and businesses, whatever their size.
Although not a full solution, these products enable international businesses and entrepreneurs to accelerate their UK entry, fulfil their compliance requirements with HMRC and pay and receive funds.
There are a growing range of these business accounts available, and the preferred options will come down to your specific business needs.
In addition, Banks are required by law to carry out Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks before offering you a business bank account. Some banks may also not accept certain businesses for their own reasons.
This means that although there are a range of different account solutions available, some will be more appropriate than others.
The UK government works with many of the 250+ international banks in the UK. Contact us for free advice on which bank might be the best match for your new UK business.
Opening a UK business bank account
Every bank has a slightly different process for opening a business account. In most cases you will need to have:
- a UK business address
- a company representative living in the UK (usually a director or an employee), who will be an account signatory
- a UK business plan showing why you need a UK business bank account
- a clear identification of all parties who own more than 10% of the business
Contact the UK bank’s central team
No matter where you intend to locate your business, you should contact your selected bank’s central inward investment team, usually located in London. Do not apply through a local branch, online or a call centre. Tell the bank that you have foreign shareholders and/or directors of your business and that you need a UK business bank account (rather than an international business bank account that’s held offshore).
You’ll need to provide photographic identification and proof of address for all directors and any substantial shareholders.
The bank will also need to meet at least one representative of your company face-to-face in the UK to sign a bank mandate to open the business bank account.
Should you have any issues, please contact us.
How long does it take to open a business bank account?
FinTech solutions can be as quick as 2 hours; however, full business bank account solutions take 4 weeks to 3 months to approve a business bank account application. Factor this time into your business planning process.
During the transition period
The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 and entered a transition period until the end of the year. There will be no significant changes to the process of setting up a bank account in the UK.