Open a UK business bank account

    This allows 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.

    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.

    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.

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