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.

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.

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.

Frequently asked questions

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