This will allow your business to make and receive payments in the UK without incurring foreign exchange fees. It is not a legal requirement. Yet, it will enable you to keep track of your transactions.
Open a UK business bank account
What you need to do
Each bank has a slightly different process for opening a business account. In most cases you will need to have:
- a UK place of business address
- a company representative residing in the UK (usually a director or an employee)
No matter where you intend to locate your business, you should contact the central inward investment banking team, usually located in London. Do not apply through a local branch, online or a call centre. Tell the bank that you have foreign shareholders and/or directors of your business and that you need a UK business bank account (rather than an international business bank account that’s held offshore).
After you have done this, you can do most of the application process online and over the phone. You’ll need to provide photographic identification and proof of address for all directors and any substantial shareholders.
The bank will also need to meet at least one representative of your company face-to-face in the UK to sign a bank mandate to open the business bank account.
Once your bank account is open, you will be able to use your local bank branch for your day-to-day banking needs.
UK bank account services
The UK is home to many banks that offer business accounts to international investors. Banks are required by legislation to undertake checks before offering a business bank account. Banks make commercial decisions about which types of companies they take on as their customers. This means that depending on your market, sector, or turnover, particular banks might be a better match than others. For free advice on which bank might be most appropriate for you, please contact us.
The UK government is working in partnership with the following banks;
- Bank of China, which offers many UK corporate banking services to companies from China and across the world. Read about Bank of China’s banking services
- Santander, which offers a variety of banking and related services to business locating in the UK. Read about Santander’s banking services
- Barclays, the international banking group, which has a variety of products and services that can help businesses locate in the UK. See Barclay’s corporate products and services
How long it takes
It can take 3 weeks to 3 months for a bank account application to be approved and meetings to be arranged, so factor this time into your business planning process.