Guide to Bank Account Opening in the United Kingdom

A quick look at financial service options with 3E Accounting’s guide to bank account opening in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has approximately 344 banks, and its financial arena is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The central bank is known as the Bank of England and is headed by an appointed Governor. If you have or intend to have a business in the UK, it is necessary to have banking facilities. There are plenty to choose from; hence a guide to bank account opening in the United Kingdom is a handy read.

3E Accounting's friendly team of professionals are ready to assist with all your queries.


Business Accounts

To open a business account in the UK, entrepreneurs will need to comply with several requirements. The process is easier for sole traders, freelancers, and partnerships. These categories of business need only show:

  • Valid identities such as passports or IDs
  • Proof of personal and business address – usually in the form of utility bills

Limited companies need to provide all these as well as their company registration number (CRN), estimated annual turnover and details of directors. In addition, businesses will have a credit check done as well.


Financial Institutions

The UK’s financial sector is quite mature and diverse enough to accommodate all manner of business needs. With the advent of digitalisation, the type of banks is something to consider as local institutions compete against multinational or online ones.

British banks are usually one of the ‘Big Four’ multinational banks such as Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and NatWest. A new player offering some good products and services is Metrobank. If online or mobile banking is more suited to your style of business, consider Starling Bank, Revolut, LeoPay or Monzo.

Entrepreneurs with a global footprint looking for international banks can consider Citibank, Bank of America, Triodos Bank and Santander. Alternative solution banks also provide flexible, easy and cheap international money transfers such as TransferWise, Remitly, CurrencyFair, etc.


Financial Services

There are numerous products and services offered by banks and financial institutions. These are constantly evolving and upgrading in a bid to stay current and ahead of the competition. As an entrepreneur, you may need both a personal and a business account. It is always best to speak to a bank’s customer service for in-depth information. Some of the more conventional types include:

  • Basic Account
  • Savings Account
  • Joint Account
  • Current Account
  • Digital / Mobile Account
  • International / Non-resident account
  • Offshore Accounts

Each of these types has its pros and cons as well as costs ranging from free to monthly charges. Business solution firms such as 3E Accounting can advise you on the best choice based on your business needs.


Other Considerations

An international or non-resident account can be opened from whichever country you are staying in, in advance of setting up a business in England. It is prudent to check for hidden or extra costs, however. Similarly, do your due diligence with regards to the range of products and services, incentives offered as well as international availability.

Some mobile or online bank accounts can be opened by providing scans online. These include a valid mobile phone number, email address, and identification such as passport and proof of address. Foreigner nationals need to show similar evidence with the added requirement of other bank or credit card statements.

Alternatives to banks arise in the form of Building Societies, National Savings, credit unions, and Investment Accounts, amongst others. These all offer similar products and services as banks themselves.

As this guide to bank account opening in the United Kingdom shows, the choices are myriad. To get a clearer picture on how best to proceed, Contact 3E Accounting today. Our friendly team of professionals are ready to assist with all your queries.

Guide to Bank Account Opening in the United Kingdom