Best business bank accounts for non-UK residents

Many people want to set up UK companies, but often banking is the biggest challenge.

Therefore, this article will discuss the business best bank accounts for non-UK residents.

Are there good options for people who don’t live in the UK, and if so, what are they?

We will also compare some of the traditional banks with a range of newer, and usually online, establishments.

For any questions, or if you are looking to invest as an expat, you can contact me using  this form, or use the WhatsApp function below.

Introduction

A bank account is indispensable for any financial transaction. A business account is all the more necessary for business operations. These days, many of those who do international business choose to open a bank account in their country of operation in addition to their own local bank accounts.

This provides many benefits, such as simplified transactions, optimized transaction fees and, in general, makes doing business more comfortable. UK law allows UK banks to open business accounts for foreigners.

If you normally live or work abroad but have business interests in the UK, then UK gives you an opportunity to open a bank account for a non-resident. This will greatly simplify your transactions, optimize overseas transaction fees and generally make doing business in the UK a lot more comfortable.

Opening a business bank account as a non-resident may seem difficult, but it is absolutely possible. There are no legal restrictions that prevent UK banks from opening commercial bank accounts for non-residents, but UK anti-money laundering policies make the process take longer. Here in this article we will discuss all the possible and best options for non-residents to open and use a business bank account.

The only drawback is that the process is very difficult due to the UK’s anti-money laundering policy. There are three ways to open a bank account if you are not a UK resident:

  • justification of residence
  • opening an account in one of the largest British banks
  • online banking and mobile applications

Let’s take an in-depth look at each option.

Justification of residence

According to this method, a person wanting to open a bank account must provide proof of his/her residence, which is a requirement of major UK banks to open a commercial bank account for British citizens.

If anyone wants to choose this option when opening a bank account, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. To officially become a resident, a person must remain in the United Kingdom for at least 183 days within one year from the date of purchase or lease of the property.

The address of the registered office of the company and the place of residence must be different. It does not have to look like a home office.

The place of residence must be a residential building. An individual should not claim a co-working space, warehouse or garage as their place of residence.

Opening an account in one of the largest British banks

The residency option described above involves significant financial investments and may not be suitable for everyone. You can also consider the following options before making a choice.

Opening a business account with a reputed UK bank is the next best option. There are some really powerful banks that can be flexible and easily serve both residents and non-residents. Although each bank in UK has its own bank account opening procedure, but two important documents are required everywhere:

  • valid passport or identity document;
  • acceptable proof of address in your country of residence.

Later we will talk about the banks that we have found more suitable for non-residents.

Online banking and mobile applications

Mobile banking is another way to open a bank account for non-UK residents. Its purpose is to provide the customer with access to all products and services that he or she will access through a standard bank.

These installations operate online and have no physical branch or office. In addition, a registered financial institution maintains customer accounts. Such platforms usually do not require proof of residency, and an account can be opened from anywhere. What we’ve found under the status of mobile banking applications will be shown later.

What documents do you need to open a business bank account in UK?

For registered companies, they will need to provide accurate financial statements and any other specific documents the bank may request. 

After you submit the documents, the UK bank will verify the information and carry out standard KYC checks to ensure that the prospect meets all the requirements and is eligible to participate. Running a company, especially an LLC, without a corporate bank account is extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Here are some of the main required documents for opening a commercial bank account in the UK:

  • Clarification of the company’s share capital structure
  • Limited companies and partnerships must provide their registration number with Companies House
  • Registration certificate
  • Business plan, including projections for the future
  • Description of the company’s activities
  • Identity card for company executives – passport or other photo identification
  • Proof of address in the form of utility bill, tax return, etc

Three best banks in UK to use for a business account

During our researches, three of the available banks in UK were most often seen in the lists, which are Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds. So let’s discuss each of them and after we’ll talk about mobile banking options that were found.

Barclays

Barclays is one of the largest and oldest financial groups in the world, and its international banking division offers secure and flexible banking options with a global perspective.

The bank offers its eligible customers the opportunity to open an international account on the Internet in just a few clicks. 

However, it is worth noting that the proposed international bank accounts are accompanied by basic terms and conditions, such as age and minimum balance, which differ from region to region or from country to country.

Barclays has an international banking division where you can open a business account. You can open an account with Barclays online without living or residing in the UK; in addition, you can open it in three jurisdictions – UK, Jersey or Isle of Man. 

Barclays allows you to open accounts in several currencies – US dollars, Euros or British pounds sterling. 

Barclays also offers a range of value-added services such as investment management services and mortgage advisors. However, you should note that international banking is only available to you if you are over 18 years of age and have the equivalent of £ 25,000 to deposit and maintain in your account or accounts. 

It offers up to £ 50,000 unsecured business overdrafts to help with day-to-day cash flow. Fees start at £ 95 and interest rates vary depending on the loan amount and the Bank of England base rate. Unlike other unsecured loans, you only pay interest on the excess balance, which you can repay at any time.

Barclays offers loans and commercial mortgages for businesses of all sizes. Your business can borrow up to £ 100,000 in unsecured finance and secured loans are available up to £ 25,000. Interest rates can be fixed or variable and are paid over 1-20 years.

Insurance of the bank is provided by Allianz. There are three main products available – for contractors, retailers, and for the complete business. You can also cover up to £ 2.5 million for office upkeep, up to 20 commercial / residential properties, and startups can get liability insurance.

However, if you live in certain countries, such as USA (not necessarily being a USA citizen), you will need £ 250,000. In addition, you can contact Barclays directly to discuss your needs and goals before taking any action – according to the Barclays website, these rules may not apply in all cases. Here are some pros and cons that we found:

Pros:

  • Free banking for 12 months for new startups
  • Can easily manage your account on the app and on desktop whenever you want
  • Several current account and savings account options available for different business types and sizes
  • Low monthly account fee even for large businesses

Cons:

  • Poor online reviews concerning the customer service
  • Too big and inaccessible, according to some reviewers
  • App sometimes limits number of transactions
  • As well as a monthly fee, there are charges for some routine transactions, depending on how you run your business, it could be expensive to manage

Lloyds

Lloyds is another popular bank for UK international bank accounts. Lloyds’ International Banking helps you manage your finances in different currencies in different countries.

There are two account options – international checking account and international Premier account. Each one differs in functionality, benefits and requirements.

The bank also offers three currency options for opening an account – pounds sterling, US dollars and euros.

However, they do not serve clients who are EU citizens. Outside the EU, they usually do not work with more countries out there. 

Therefore, be sure to check your eligibility. Alternatively, you can indicate your country on the online application form and the website will tell you immediately if you are eligible.

The claim form will responsibly prevent you from completing additional details if Lloyds does not serve customers in your country.

The bank will review your financial situation. Here are two ways to please them:

  • Have a gross annual income of at least £ 50,000 or the equivalent. If you want to open an account with someone, it is enough that only one of the applicants has a gross income for that amount.
  • Invest or deposit £ 25,000 or the equivalent within 30 days of opening an account.

If you are ready to fulfill these conditions, you can open an account online or by phone and choose one of three different currencies: pound sterling, US dollar and euro. What’s more, Lloyds does not charge any fees for sending or receiving funds from other banks, offers 24/7 internet banking and Visa debit cards in these three currencies.

Lloyds business overdrafts can be set up free of charge with a limit of £ 500 to £ 5000. The interest rate is 9.75% per annum compared to the Bank of England rate on overdrafts up to £ 25,000, there is also an annual fee of 1.75%. You will only pay interest on the amount used.

The Lloyds Business credit card has an annual commission of £ 32 and you will receive up to 45 days of interest-free payment on purchases if you pay off your balance in full and on time. There are also three business loans to choose from, ranging from £ 1,000 to £ 500,000. The maturity period is 1-25 years.

Pros:

  • Free ‘day-to-day’ banking for new businesses for 18 months and 6 months for businesses switching
  • Choice of accounts for different business sizes
  • Affordable monthly account fee
  • Scores well in an independent survey of 14 business current account providers

Cons:

  • Some customers are critical of Lloyds customer service
  • Average scores from what? for handling complaints and customer service
  • The app is incompatible with new devices and screen resolutions.

HSBC 

HSBC is another pioneer in international banking. The bank confirms the right to open an international bank account based on the legal structure of the business.

Once again, it is important to note that each of these banks offers options and plans that vary in features and benefits. People need to be proactive and careful to analyze their needs and make the right choices.

These banks have numerous branches and contact numbers so that customers can contact them and inquire about their services.

According to the HSBC website, you are eligible to open a commercial account if you:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Can be contacted by mobile in the UK starting at (+44) 07
  • The owner of a UK registered limited company / unlimited company / partnership / limited partnership has a maximum of four directors / partners in total.

To open a checking account for business, you need to provide the following information:

  • Your company registration number, if it is a limited liability company or partnership
  • Full business address, contact numbers and email address of your company
  • Your estimated turnover
  • Date of birth, full name, phone numbers and email address
  • Your current personal address (and previous address if you were there before 3 years)
  • Your account number (if you are already an HSBC bank user)
  • Details of your debit / credit cards, including those issued by other banks
  • Your current passport / national ID / UK driver’s license
  • Proof of your residential address (utility bill / current bank statement / local council tax bill).

Once you have all this information, you can open an HSBC bank account online.

HSBC is offering business checking account holders a free period of 12 months after opening an account. 

Thereafter HSBC applies a number of fees and charges. You can view the full list (scroll down and expand the Fares & Fees section). 

An account can be opened online; however, the bank emphasizes its global presence and offers to visit one of its international branches – find the one that works for you using the branch locator.

Mobile banking options

Monese

Monese is a UK company providing checking accounts for individuals and legal entities. We must make it clear: Monese is not a bank. Instead, the company is an agent for PrePay Technologies, an electronic money institution that provides electronic money as an alternative to traditional bank accounts.

The Monese Business account is exclusively for UK registered businesses. For a monthly fee, companies can register and manage their funds through the mobile app and prepaid MasterCard.

Monese makes it easy to open an international GBP or EUR account using your mobile phone without a credit check or proof of address. It has instant transaction notification for secure monitoring of the inflow and outflow of money, as well as features such as contactless payment, easy replenishment, and real-time tracking of funds.

The Monese contactless card allows you to make international payments faster at competitive prices. The service comes with three tariff plans – simple, classic and premium, and users have the option to change their tariff at any time.

Pros:

  • Transparent charges. The monthly fee includes everything
  • Smart, intuitive features that are easy to manage 24/7
  • Excellent reviews from lots of customers

Cons:

  • This is still a fairly new service that may scare traditionalists away
  • Several critical reviews have mentioned blocked transactions and accounts

N26

The N26 is one of the first providers in Europe to offer digital banking services in which everything can be managed with a mobile phone. 

This internet bank offers four business accounts: N26 Business, N26 Business Smart, N26 Business You and N26 Business Metal. These accounts are specifically for freelancers and self-employed people – your account can only be registered in your name, not your company name.

You can rest assured that your money is safe with the N26. Since 2016, the organization is a bank fully licensed by the European Central Bank, which means that it must comply with the rules of the German financial regulator. In fact, this means that all customer deposits up to EUR 100,000 are held in the member states of the European Union.

N26 is another digital banking option that provides flexibility with regard to account balances. There are no minimum deposit / savings requirements and a business account can be opened for free.

Similar to Monese, the N26 also has instant notification options to ensure continuous tracking of transactions. In addition, users are entitled to cashback of 0.1% of their purchases and free card payment options worldwide. N26 users can also withdraw cash in euros from ATMs free of charge.

Pros:

  • No foreign charge for purchases by card
  • Cheap international transfer
  • Deposits and withdrawals with Cash26
  • Block and unblock cards
  • Set limits
  • Change PINs
  • Everything in real time

Cons:

  • No real credit card
  • Fees for cash withdrawals in foreign currency

Tide

Tide is a fintech app that offers business accounts to small businesses and freelancers in the hopes of relieving them of the financial stress that comes with a growing company.

Tide Business Accounts have a number of features that address some of the more stressful aspects of self-employment. Tide has been featured as one of our best business bank accounts.

Tide business account can be opened for free and run on laptops, desktops, and mobile phones. In addition to the usual features like notifications and multi-account maintenance, Tide has the ability to provide read-only access to the account for accountants and register automatic charges and charges.

The Tide business account is not a full-fledged bank account (Tide is not a bank), but instead functions as an e-money account with an accompanying MasterCard debit card for use on the Internet and in stores.

Like a bank account, a Tide checking account has a UK account number and sort code, but does not have an IBAN or BIC for international transfers. You can use an account to:

  • Manage your income and expenses
  • Receive payments to / from UK accounts (international payments are limited)
  • Deposit cash into account
  • Manage direct debit and standing orders
  • Set up multiple accounts for different purposes

Tide’s strengths as a digital fintech platform lie in their financial tools for managing money through the Tide app. For example, you can send invoices through the app and save photos of expense receipts for accounting purposes.

In addition, the account can be protected by a PIN, thumbprint, or face recognition, which enhances security. The application can also be integrated with accounting software for efficient management and control.

There is no monthly fee for the Tide account and the user pays based on usage. A business account can be registered as a registered company or an individual entrepreneur.

Pros:

  • Sort your transactions into a number of categories
  • Competitive fees and charges
  • Connect your account with external accounting technology
  • Invoice directly from your Tide app
  • Safe and secure
  • Registered with the FCA and PRA

Cons:

  • No international money transfers
  • App can be clunky on certain phones
  • Lack of face-to-face contact can turn people away from mobile banking
  • No personal current accounts

Here were all the financial institutions that can give a non-UK resident open a business account and continue business activities and financial transactions via them.

Further Reading

The article below reviews Monzo, which is one of the biggest online banks in the UK.

Often compared to the likes of Revolut, is this option better than the traditional banks?

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Adam Fayed financial consultant WhatsApp