Business bank accounts for non-UK residents

There are a number of business accounts you can open if you live abroad and are a foreigner.

Opening a business bank account if you’re not a UK resident is likely to be more complicated than for residents but if you’re operating your business in the UK it’s well worth having one. It will make running your business easier and give you more credibility. Here’s how to choose the right one for you and what you need to know to apply for one.

Latest reviews of business accounts for non-uk residents

Revolut - Revolut Business Free

Revolut Business Free
Finder rating
★★★★★
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Sign up today and unlock 1 month of a paid plan without subscription fees.
The basic eligibility criteria to open a Revolut business account is that your company is registered and operates from the EEA, Switzerland Australia or the US, 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 4 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, Sage 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 25 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 N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations FreeAgent
Xero
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

Tide - Tide Free

Tide Free
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
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Get an £80 voucher when you open a Tide business bank account using the code £80CASHBACK.
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 4 different pricing plans to choose from, including a free option. The most expensive plan is the most comprehensive, offering 3 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 N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations Clear Books
FreeAgent
KashFlow
QuickBooks
Reckon One
Sage
Xero
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

HSBC - HSBC Kinetic Current Account

HSBC Kinetic Current Account
Customer rating
★★★★★
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No monthly account fee for the first 12 months.
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 N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations QuickBooks
Sage
Xero
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

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 N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations N/A
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

3S Money - 3S Money Account

The business account from 3s Money accepts directors and shareholders from more than 190 countries and supports payments in more than 65 currencies. This is an easy-to-use online account with access for up to 10 users and competitive foreign exchange. It offers the ability to pay local salaries and taxes, no matter where you're from, as well as send high-value payments in the UK, US and EU. However, there is a hefty monthly fee to pay and, depending on the nature of your business, you may also have to pay an onboarding fee before opening your account. Certain transactions will also attract a fee. The account can be opened completely online, with each application processed on a case-by-case basis. You'll have your own dedicated client manager to support you too.
  • Send and receive high-value business payments around the world
  • Can handle transactions in 65 currencies
  • Dedicated personal account manager
  • High monthly charge
  • An application fee may also apply
  • Fees for certain transactions
Account fee N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations N/A
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

Airwallex - Multi-Currency Business Account

Your business does not need to be registered in the UK to qualify for a business account with Airwallex. In fact, you can create local accounts in the UK or foreign currency accounts across the globe without even needing to visit a bank branch. The account enables you to create virtual employee and expense cards for your business in just minutes, as well as track spending and set spend limits. You'll also be able to make faster, cheaper domestic and international payments and integrate your account with invoicing solutions such as Xero. You can even invite your finance team, accountant or bookkeeper to your account. What's more, there are no account set up or management fees and UK domestic transfers are also fee-free, providing they are carried out via Airwallex's payment network.
  • Collect, hold and send money in several currencies
  • Competitive foreign exchange rates
  • No monthly account fees
  • No transaction fees for card payments
  • Not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
  • Transfers can only be made to your Airwallex wallet or to a business bank account
Account fee N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations Xero
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

Expert analysis: What are your banking options as a non-resident?

Cathy Hudson profile pic
Cathy Hudson

Money expert

Opening a business bank account is trickier as a non-UK resident but there is still a range of options to choose from. You can either go with one of the well-established big banks or a newer digital-only one. Either way, there are often monthly account fees for business bank accounts although free options are available.

HSBC's Kinetic current account is £6.50 a month, although you won't pay it for the first year, and it can be operated via a smartphone app or online. Lloyds Bank's business current account costs slightly more at £7 a month, which is also not payable for the first year. An extra benefit is that you get access to Lloyds Bank Academy with tools to help you develop your business.

The newer entrants include Tide, Monese, Revolut Business and Airwallex. You can get free accounts from Tide, Revolut and Airwallex but watch out for transaction and other charges, which could make them more expensive for your business than an account with a monthly fee, depending on your needs.

Some accounts require your business to be registered in the UK but you can open a Revolut Business account if your business is registered and has a physical presence in the EEA, Switzerland, Australia and the US too. You can also get an account with Airwallex if your business isn't UK registered.

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

There are no laws or rules against it, but it’s also true that most banks will only accept applications from company directors living in the UK. They will ask for 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 while the bank carries out the necessary checks.

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. You might also need to visit a branch in the UK as part of the application process.
  • Digital providers. Digital-only banks are known to let you open a business account online without too much administration. Some only accept UK residents, while others are more flexible as they carry out all their checks online. 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 might be asked to provide proof that your business has a physical presence in the UK through your office’s rental agreement or bills.

How to manage your business account from abroad

When managing your finances from overseas, a bank account with a slick mobile app and a good digital banking interface will be hugely beneficial. 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 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 might have to compromise on some things.

Taking this into account, these are our top 3 factors to consider 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 to get your account up and running – if it’s going to be several months, it can be worth looking elsewhere first.
  • 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.

Bottom line

You may have to jump through some extra hoops to get a business bank account in the UK as a non-resident due to anti-money laundering rules but as long as you are able to provide all the documents the bank needs to verify your details you should be able to open one. It’s worth looking into the accounts from the digital-only challenger banks as they can have less strict requirements. Just make sure you weigh up all the fees and charges to get the best deal for your business.

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