How to open a business bank account in the UK

Take the stress out of opening a business bank account in the UK and discover everything you need to know.

Opening a business bank account in the UK can be easy as long as you know what you want from an account. Whether you’re a small business, a sole trader or a larger business with employees, a business bank account can help you run things more smoothly. Discover what you need to know about opening a business bank account in the UK so you can grow your business without hassle.

Latest reviews of business accounts you can open online

Revolut - Revolut Business Basic

Revolut Business Basic
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★★★★★
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Sign up today and unlock 1 month of a paid plan without subscription fees.
It’s quick and easy to open an account online with Revolut. Simply select whether you want to open a corporate account or a freelancer account and enter a few details including your email address. If you’re looking to open a corporate account, there are 4 different pricing plans to choose from. If you’re just starting out, the Basic plan has no monthly fee and might suit your business initially, though it has a limited range of features. Alternatively, if you’re after a freelancer account, there are 3 plans to choose from, including one with no monthly fee.
  • 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
  • Basic 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
  • 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
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★★★★★
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★★★★★
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Get an £80 voucher when you open a Tide business bank account using the code £80CASHBACK.
You can open a Tide business account online in a matter of minutes. Simply state whether you want to open an account as a registered company or a sole trader and have your mobile phone ready to verify your identity. You’ll need to provide your email address and a few personal and business details. There are 4 plan types to choose from, including one with no monthly fee. If you’re a director of a limited company you can also register your limited company and open your account in one go, with Tide paying the incorporation fee on your behalf.
  • 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

Mettle by NatWest - Mettle by NatWest - Mobile business bank account

Mettle by NatWest - Mobile business bank account
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★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
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Get FreeAgent included - all you have to do is make at least one transaction a month from your Mettle account.
You can open a Mettle business account in a matter of minutes if you’re happy to do so via the app. You can download the Mettle app from the App Store or Google Play Store. You’ll then need to complete the application form, providing a few details about yourself and your business. You’ll also need to verify your ID and provide a business document. Once approved, you’ll receive your account number and sort code. The account has no monthly fee and to open one, you’ll need to be a sole trader or limited company with up to 2 owners, and a balance limit of up to £1 million.
  • Quick and easy application
  • Freeze your card if you lose it
  • Free, with useful features
  • Backed by the Natwest group
  • Sleek easy to use app
  • Overdrafts are unavailable
  • Daily payment limit of £10,000
Account fee N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations FreeAgent
QuickBooks
Xero
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

ANNA Money - ANNA Pay As You Go

ANNA Pay As You Go
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★★★★★
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Earn 1% cashback for paying with your ANNA card in selected categories.
It’s easy to open an account with ANNA online - simply enter your email address and provide a few details about yourself and your business and be ready to verify your ID. Opening your account takes as little as 3 minutes and you’ll receive your ANNA Mastercard within 5 working days. ANNA can also help you officially register a company with Companies House and help you sort your taxes. You’ll be able to create pots in your business account to help you save for taxes, salaries and other expenses, as well as earn cashback when you use your debit card to pay for business expenses.
  • 24/7 support
  • Fast set-up
  • Invoice and expense services within the app
  • Ability to connect other provider accounts to the ANNA app through Open banking
  • No credit or overdrafts available
  • Still require a traditional bank account for majority of your business financial needs
  • No cash and cheque deposits
  • Cannot be used in web browser
Account fee N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations Clear Books
FreeAgent
QuickBooks
Sage
Xero
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

The Co-operative Bank - The Co-operative Bank Business Current Account

The Co-operative Bank Business Current Account
Customer rating
★★★★★
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Free everyday digital business banking with the original ethical bank, plus access to the free ‘Go Get Paid’ app from BankiFi to help you get paid faster, rated 4.9 stars.
This business account from Co-op has no monthly fee and can be opened and managed online. To be eligible, you must be aged 18 or over and a UK resident with a business address in the UK. You must also be a sole trader or a limited company that is owned by one person. Once you’ve completed the online application form, you should receive your account details within 2 days. The account comes with free accounting software integration and free support tools to help your business succeed. You’ll also have access to partnership business services such as insurance, HR tools and tech support.
  • Free everyday business banking for 30 months
  • Access to a payment app, as well as additional support services
  • Multiple ways to bank
  • Monthly service charge applies after 30 months
  • Only suitable for sole traders or single directors
  • Fees apply to certain transactions
Account fee N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations QuickBooks
Sage
Xero
Multiple providers
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

Monzo - Monzo Business Lite

Monzo Business Lite
Finder rating
★★★★★
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Get a free business account with no monthly fees.
The Business Lite account from Monzo has no monthly fee and you can easily apply online. Enter your email address and a few personal and business details such as the industry you’re in, your business address, and the type of business you run. You might then need to provide identification for verification purposes. Once approved, your card should arrive within a couple of days and your account will be up and running. The account offers 24/7 customer support and you can also apply for an overdraft on the account if you’re a sole trader.
  • Fee-free spending abroad
  • Custom payment links
  • Pots to separate money
Account fee N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations FreeAgent
QuickBooks
Xero
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

What is a business bank account?

The key difference between a business bank account and a personal current account is you can open it in your business name, so it can receive payments made out to your company name.

A business bank account can also be really handy, as it allows you to separate your personal finances from your company’s money. Some business bank accounts can also help you issue invoices, run your payroll – useful if you have employees – and make it simpler to file your accounts and tax return.

Other than that, a business bank account is much the same as your current account. You can make payments from it, accept payments into it and possibly have an overdraft facility, too.

Expert analysis: Have you considered an online-only business account?

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Rachel Wait

Writer

If you want to open a business bank account fast, it’s easy to do so with an online-only bank account. An ever-increasing number of digital banks are entering the market, meaning there’s a wide range of accounts to choose from.

Opening a business bank account with a traditional high street bank can often take a few weeks. Yet many online-only business bank accounts can be up and running the same day. Some providers, such as ANNA and Tide, even say your account can be opened within a matter of minutes. The application process is straightforward, and you’ll usually need to provide a few personal and business details. You’ll often be asked to take a photo of your driving licence or passport (and perhaps a selfie) so the provider can verify your identity. But once you’ve done that, your account could be ready to go.

Of course, you won’t have any branch access with an online-only bank account, but most banking transactions can be carried out online anyway. Depending on the account, you might be able to pay in cash deposits at any Post Office or Paypoint location, though a fee usually applies. If this is important for your business, be sure to pick an account that allows this and has the lowest fees.

Can I open a business bank account in the UK?

You can open a business bank account in the UK if you are a sole trader, a limited liability partnership or you run a business registered with Companies House.

Whether you are eligible to open a business account with specific banks and building societies could also depend on their criteria. For example, you may need to meet their turnover requirements.

If you aren’t a UK resident, things are a little bit more complicated, depending on whether you live in the UK or where your company address is registered.

As a non-UK resident living here

You don’t need to be a UK resident to open a business bank account in the UK. If you are a sole trader, you may need to prove you live in the UK and pay taxes to HMRC through self-assessment. If you are a business owner, your company address needs to be in the UK.

As a non-UK resident not living here

It is possible to open a business bank account in the UK if you don’t live here, but it can be tricky. Banks will be concerned about the possibility of money laundering and fraud. To get around this, your bank may only offer you an account if you are the director of a UK business registered with Companies House. Some banks may also insist on meeting you before you can open an account.

What do I need to open a business bank account in the UK?

When you are ready to open a business bank account, you’ll need to show a variety of documents to prove who you are, what your business does and who runs it.

Proof of ID documents

Your bank will want proof of your ID and possibly anyone who will access the account or owns part of the business.

You will be asked to provide:

  • Driver’s licence, passport or ID card.
  • Contact details, including your business and personal addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.

Proof of UK address

You’ll most likely also be asked for proof of address for yourself and your business. This can be one of the following:

  • A recent bank, credit card statement, utility bill or council tax bill as proof of your home address.
  • HMRC letters or a utility bill as evidence of your business address.

Business verification documents

Your bank will also want to verify your business to comply with financial regulations. You’ll need to provide:

  • Companies House registration number or certificate of incorporation if you have a limited company.
  • Proof of your business’s tax status – this could be your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) or National Insurance number.
  • You may be asked for your projected annual turnover and how many employees you have.
  • The bank may also ask for proof your business is up and running. This could be a website, social media account or evidence you are registered with an industry body.

Opening a business bank account in 3 steps

Think a business bank account is for you? Follow these simple steps to find your ideal account and get it up and running.

    1. Research – Compare the best business bank accounts, check their eligibility and work out which one is right for you.
    2. Apply – Fill out the application forms for your chosen account.
    3. Prove yourself – Provide the evidence of your ID, address and business that your bank requires.

Bottom line

Opening a business bank account in the UK is relatively straightforward, as long as you have the correct documents to hand and know what type of account would suit your business. If you live outside of the UK, the process is slightly more complicated but still possible.

A business bank account can help you run your small business or side hustle more smoothly by separating your work finances from your personal money. However, it’s important to research accounts and check eligibility requirements before submitting your application. Check out our guide for the best business bank accounts in the UK.

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