Business bank accounts for non-UK residents

Opening a business bank account in the UK is not easy if you live abroad and are a foreigner, but there are some options.

If you are planning to open a branch of your international business in the UK, you are going to need a local bank account at some point, to manage payments and invoices.

Opening one as a non-UK resident will probably be less than straightforward, so make sure you plan everything well in advance. We’ve put together some tips and information on how to go about finding the right business account for you.

Latest reviews of business accounts for non-uk residents

HSBC - Kinetic Current Account

No monthly account fees for 12 months, thereafter a monthly charge of £6.50 applies.
HSBC has a global presence in more than 64 countries and territories, so if you're looking to open a business bank account in the UK, the HSBC Kinetic account could be worth considering. The account can be opened via the app and there's no monthly maintenance fee for the first 12 months. Users can manage direct debits, standing orders and future payments with ease, as well as gain insights on business spending with automatically categorised transactions. The app also lets you scan and deposit cheques securely, as well as make payments of up to £25,000 per day. Larger payments can be made via business telephone banking. The account can be accessed on your mobile or desktop, and there's also the option to activate, freeze and unfreeze your debit card if required. Depending on your circumstances, you may also be able to apply for an overdraft and business credit card.
  • Easy to apply for and manage
  • Arranged overdraft
  • Useful app features to help you track spending
  • No monthly fee for 12 months
  • Interest is charged on overdraft
  • Monthly maintenance fee applies after first 12 months
  • No interest paid on credit balances
Account fee £6.50 per month (waived in first 12 months)
Bank transfers Free
Accounting integrations QuickBooks
Sage
Xero
Requires credit check Soft search with no impact on credit score
Overdraft



Lloyds Bank - Business Current Account

12 months' fee-free monthly and transactional banking for switcher customers.
To qualify for this business account from Lloyds, you will need to be a sole trader, partner or company director, be aged 18 or over and have an annual turnover of less than £3 million. The account offers 12 months' free day-to-day business banking for new businesses, as well as dedicated support from the bank's UK-based business management team. Electronic payments in and out of the account are always free. Applicants can also benefit from a free three-month trial of Business Finance Assistance. This is an online accountancy package that integrates with your business accounts to help you manage invoices and submit VAT returns. Your business will also have access to Lloyds Bank Academy which offers free tools and webinars to help your business thrive. The account can be applied for online and it usually takes around four weeks for your account to be up and running.
  • Free everyday banking for first 12 months
  • Free electronic payments
  • Access to Business Finance Assistance and Lloyds Bank Academy
  • Fees apply after first 12 months
  • No interest paid on credit balances
  • Fee applies to Business Finance Assistance after three months
Account fee £7 per month
Bank transfers Free
Accounting integrations N/A
Requires credit check Soft search with no impact on credit score
Overdraft





Up to £5,000 subject to eligibility and application

Tide - Tide Free

Tide Free

★★★★★

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You can apply for a business account with Tide even if you're not based in the UK, as long as you are a director of a company registered with Companies House. Additional checks may need to be carried out before your account can be up and running, but there are no credit checks. There are three different pricing plans to choose from, including a free option. The most expensive plan is the most comprehensive, offering three expense cards for your team, cashback on card purchases, exclusive member perks, a 24/7 legal helpline, and a dedicated team of account managers. You can also integrate your account with accounting software such as Quickbooks, Xero and Sage, no matter which plan you choose, as well as automatically categorise transactions and send, pay and track invoices. There are no fees for spending on your card abroad, while cash withdrawals cost £1.
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Categorised spending
  • FCA regulated
  • Quick set-up
  • No monthly fees
  • Easy to manage accounts and track payments within the app
  • Ability to set up direct debits and standing orders
  • Can receive online bank statements
  • No branches - all done via the web
  • Doesn't accept cheque deposits
  • No personal accounts
  • No international
  • Transfers or interest offered
Account fee Free
Bank transfers £0.20

Free if both accounts are with Tide
Accounting integrations Clear Books
FreeAgent
KashFlow
QuickBooks
Reckon One
Sage
Xero
Requires credit check
Overdraft



Monese - Monese Business

You don't have to be a UK resident to open a Monese business account but your company does need to be UK-registered and therefore listed on Companies House. You can then open an account with ease via the app and there's no credit check requirement. The account charges a monthly fee and can be managed via the app. It offers a whole host of benefits, including a contactless Mastercard debit card that can be used online, in-store or at ATMs anywhere in the world. You'll also be able to spend, receive and send money fast in the local currency with no extra markup fees, as well as send money to more than 30 countries. In addition, customers can pay cash into their account at any PayPoint or Post Office location, create invoices in-app and set up additional security features on their account.
  • Supported in 14 different languages
  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Budget management features offered in the app and savings pot feature
  • Deposit cash into the accounts through post offices and paypoints (with a small fee)
  • Only available to businesses registered in the UK
  • Must have a personal monese account to get a business one
  • Still require a traditional account for most of your banking needs
Account fee £9.95 per month
Bank transfers Free
Accounting integrations N/A
Requires credit check Soft search with no impact on credit score
Overdraft



No but will deduct the money from your balance the next time you make a deposit and will not charge you a fee

Revolut - Revolut Business Free

The basic eligibility criteria to open a Revolut business account is that your company is registered and operates from the EEA or Switzerland, making it a good option for non-UK residents. You can sign up for a business account in minutes and there are no credit checks to worry about. There are four different pricing plans to choose from, including a free option, and each one offers a set number of free cards, free international payments and free local payments. The account offers a wide range of benefits, including the ability to sync with accounting software such as Xero and Quickbooks, the option to use smart invoicing, as well as debit cards for all your employees, including the option to set spending limits and track expenses. In addition, you can set up multi-currency sub-accounts to receive, hold and exchange money in more than 30 currencies worldwide with no hidden fees.
  • Flexible account options
  • Mobile app with lots of good features
  • Ability to issue cards to all employees
  • Easy to apply
  • Freeze card if lost or stolen
  • Safe and secure
  • Free purchases
  • Free account does not include many free transactions
  • All ATM withdrawals incur a charge
  • Can't deposit cash or cheques into your account
  • Not yet a fully fledged bank
  • Currently unable to earn interest
  • Direct debits only available for EUR accounts
Account fee Free
Bank transfers Free
Accounting integrations FreeAgent
Xero
Requires credit check Soft search with no impact on credit score
Overdraft



Can you open a business bank account in the UK as a non-resident?

There are no laws or rules against it, but it is also true that most banks will only accept applications from company directors living in the UK. They will ask for a proof of address too.

This is because anti money laundering regulations are quite strict and accepting overseas clients can be a bit of a compliance nightmare for banks.

So, you will need to shop around a bit, and perhaps try a couple of different banks before getting it right. It might also take quite a bit longer than usual.

What options do I have?

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward list of banks that do or do not accept business account applications from non-UK residents; much depends on the business and on the bank, on a case by case basis.

But here are some options you can try:

  • Big UK banks. Think big brands like Barclays, Lloyds and so on. They might accept your application, but expect it to take time (maybe a few months) and quite a bit of paperwork.
  • Digital providers. Digital-only banks are known to let you open a business account online without too much administration. Some only accept UK residents, some are more flexible. Revolut, for example, doesn’t have being a UK resident as part of its eligibility criteria for business accounts, although your business does need to have a “physical presence” in the United Kingdom or in the rest of the EEA.
  • Your own bank. This is such a simple solution that it may not have crossed your mind. Does your current business bank have branches in the UK? Can it help you open an account there?
  • International accounts. Rather than an actual UK business account, you could look at a business account that supports pounds (as well as other currencies). Many big banks offer international accounts, but the exchange rate and fees are not always the most advantageous.

Digital-only providers can be an especially good solution if your business is relatively small and does not need to deal with much cash. They’re often cheaper too, and in some cases you might be able to secure a multi-currency business account with one of them, which can be great for international trade.

How do you open a business bank account in the UK?

Traditional banks usually require you to visit a branch to open a business account, while you should be able to do everything online with a digital-only provider.

Normally, these are the basic details and documents you need to open a business account in the UK:

  • Your business name and address
  • Companies House registration number if you’re a limited company
  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Your own personal details and contact information
  • A form of ID
  • Proof of address
  • Estimated business turnover
  • Personal bank or financial statements

As you are not a UK resident, some of these may vary. For example, you may be asked to provide proof that your business has a physical presence in the UK, with things like your office’s rental agreement or bills.

How to manage your business account from abroad

Whatever option you choose, you want a bank account with a slick mobile app and a good digital banking interface. These days, you should really be able to do most of your banking online, from wherever you are in the world.

It’s also a good idea to ask about telephone banking and more, and what customer service the bank provides, in case things were to go wrong.

Finally, if you have employees in the UK, consider giving one of them signatory power on the account, so they can deal with the bank in person for you if necessary.

How to compare business accounts for non-UK residents

You can find more information on UK business accounts and how to compare them on this page. However, as a non-UK resident, your options will likely be reduced and you may have to compromise on some things.

Taking this into account, these are our top three things you should really check out before committing to a bank:

  • Fees and charges. Business accounts can be quite expensive, and even more so if there’s currency exchange involved. Make sure you are fully aware of how much maintaining the account and carrying out transactions will cost you.
  • Application process. Ask how long it’s likely to take, then ask again. If you think it’s taking too long, try shopping around a bit more.
  • Managing the account online. Even if you choose a traditional bank, there is really no good excuse for poor digital services these days.

Pros and cons of opening a business account as a non-UK resident

  • Simplify payments and expenses. Opening a UK account will make it a great deal easier for your international business to make and receive payments in the UK.
  • Decent choice of banks. Your business is likely to be able to choose from a fairly wide range of banks.
  • Extensive paperwork. The process for opening a business account is likely to involve a fair amount of documents and form-filling.
  • It can take time. The application process for opening a business account as a non-UK resident may take a few months.

The bottom line

Opening a business bank account in the UK if you aren’t resident here can be tricky. This is partly due to the strict anti-money laundering rules that British banks have to follow. However, if you’re a responsible business owner and have the documents to prove it, you should be able to open a business account here.

There are a few different avenues you can try when applying for an account. You can apply to one of the larger high street banks, like Lloyds and Barclays, but this option is likely to involve quite a bit of paperwork. Secondly, there are a handful of digital-only challenger banks that you may want to try. Some will be more flexible than others when it comes to residency criteria for opening a business account.

Lastly, you can check if your current business bank has any branches in the UK.

Annoyingly, your business account may prove quite pricey to manage, as you’ll likely to face transaction and account management fees. This is especially so if your business needs to process foreign currency transactions.

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