Please note that most UK banks are not currently accepting commercial bank account applications from new customers. Read more at Most banks don't allow small businesses to open bank accounts
UK Finance has partnered with UK banking providers to put together some guidelines for your needs before applying for a commercial bank account.
These rules only apply to existing businesses with sales less than £ 6.5m, a clearly defined ownership structure and all UK business owners.
In general, UK Finance recommends that you provide the following in advance. Most business checking account providers will look for some important information.
A document to prove your identity:
- Your full and valid UK or foreign passport
- Your national identity photo card
- Your full UK paper license
- Your full driver's license for a UK or foreign photo card issued by an EU or EEA member state
A document proving your UK address:
- Your full British driver's license;
- Your full driver's license for a photo card with a UK or foreign driver's license issued by an EU or EEU member state;
- UK or foreign bank or credit card statement (must be less than three months old and cannot be printed from the Internet);
- UK Mortgage Statement (less than 12 months old and not printed off the web);
- Tax certificate, payment book or council exemption certificate (must be less than 12 months old);
- A letter or bill from a utility company (less than six months old, avoid cell phone bills).
In business terms, you will need:
- Your Companies House registration number (if you have one)
- Details about your business, including sales, tax information, and other capital
- Details of any director or partner in the company, including name, date of birth, address and social security number
You can go through this UK Finance guide to make sure you meet the requirements.
Once you've gathered your documents, it's time to choose an account. We've rounded up some of the favorites on the market.
To give you an idea of what to expect, we have created a table of the best commercial bank accounts in the UK listing the top offers from each provider.
|Bank||Eligibility to participate||Free banking period||Account fee afterwards||Cash transaction limit|
|HSBC||Companies with sales up to £ 2 million||18 months (12 months for a business change)||£ 6.50 per month (for the free banking period)||Up to £ 3,000 cash per month. 0.50 percent for every 100 pounds that exceed this limit|
|Santander||The trade takes less than 12 months and the deal opens the first business account with Santander||18 months||£ 7.50 per month||£ 1,000 per month with 70p per £ 100 over the limit|
|TSB||Open to sole proprietorships, partners and directors||25 months||£ 5 (waived if your average monthly account balance is £ 10,000 or more)||N / A|
|RBS / Natwest||Over 18s who have the right to be self-employed in the UK||18 months||Costs per transaction at the standard rate (see below)||N / A|
|Lloyds / Bank of Scotland||New companies with expected sales of up to £ 3M for the Business Current Account||18 months (6 months for those switching from another business account)||£ 6.50 each||N / A|
|Barclays||Suitable for most businesses with sales up to £ 6.5m. Specific criteria for companies in certain sectors, e.g. Agriculture, social housing||12 months||£ 6 per month (Mixed Payments Plan) £ 6.50 per month (E-Payments Plan)||N / A|
|Yorkshire Bank||Businesses must have sales of less than £ 2 million and open their account within 12 months of incorporation||25 months||£ 6.50 per month (Business Banking tariff)||250,000 pounds a year|
|Clydesdale Bank||Businesses must have sales of less than £ 2 million and open their account within 12 months of incorporation||25 months||£ 6.50 per month (Business Banking tariff)||250,000 pounds a year|
|Metro Bank||Companies must have sales of less than £ 2 million||N / A||£ 0 on balances over £ 5,000 and £ 5 per month on balances under £ 5,000 (see below)||N / A|
When you start your business with HSBC you will receive free banking for the first 18 months (i.e. no maintenance fee or payments to an account that is covered by standard account fees). If you switch from another account, it's free. After that, it's £ 6.50 a month for 12 months. Your account is reviewed every year to make sure you are getting the best standard plan for your small business needs.
You can deposit up to £ 3,000 per month at this point and then 0.50% of the value of the cash deposited over that limit.
The account is available to companies with a turnover of up to £ 2 million. Within the business current accounts, you can choose between the e-banking tariff or the small business tariff, depending on how you do your business banking.
Compare HSBC Business Banking on NerdWallet
With Santander you have a few options for the checking account.
Business checking account
This is open to you if you have been trading for less than 12 months and your company opens its first current account with Santander.
It comes with an arranged overdraft on an unsecured basis from £ 500 to £ 25,000. To qualify, you must have good credit and not have been declared bankrupt or had an IVA in the past six years. In addition, you must not have been a disqualified director of a failed company during the same period.
After the first 18 months, the account will cost £ 7.50 per month with a monthly cash limit of £ 1,000 and 70p for every £ 100 deposited over that monthly limit.
You can also designate colleagues who will have access to your account to manage business funding.
There is no minimum or maximum opening deposit or maximum balance to get started.
1 | 2 | 3 business checking account
The main draw of the 1 | 2 | 3 business checking accounts is the cashback. The rate of cashback you will receive depends on how much you deposit into your account each year and is 1, 2, or 3. This cashback is paid on the first £ 10,000 deposited into your account per year.
That's 1 piece on sales of less than £ 200,000 – receive up to £ 100 cashback per year. 2 pieces on sales of £ 200,000 + – (£ 200 cashback per year); 3 pieces on £ 300,000 – (£ 300 cashback per year).
Apart from that, it is largely the same as the business checking account.
Regardless of whether you are in the start-up or the switcher offering, you pay £ 5 in monthly fees. After your first 18 months (12 months for changers) you will be transferred to the £ 12.50 account which also has a monthly deposit limit of £ 1,000 and 70p per £ 1,000 over this limit.
Compare Santander Business Banking with NerdWallet
TSB's Business Plus account offers 25 months of free business banking for sole proprietorships, partners and directors. It doesn't matter whether you switch or open a brand new bank account.
You will then pay £ 5 per month, which will be waived if your average balance for that month is £ 10,000 or more.
If you prefer to bank in a branch, there are over 500 TSBs across the UK to do your banking in.
It comes with a free Square Reader that doesn't require you to pay any fees on your first £ 1,000 sales. To keep up with your funding, enable text notifications with recurring account balances and transactions.
Barclays offers start-up and regular business accounts.
With the start-up business account, you receive free banking for 12 months. Let Barclays' Business Direct team give you expert advice for the first few months to help you grow. They will help you shape your business strategy, determine your cash flow management and forecasting, and guide you through lending and trading overseas.
The established company doesn't offer you free banking, but you will get a percentage of your fees back, depending on your annual loan turnover and the length of time you open an account.
In terms of payment plans, both of them have a mixed payment plan that is great for businesses that use cash, checks, or mixed methods to make and receive payments. There is also e-payment for those who receive electronic payments and make payments through online banking and debit cards.
Natwest / RBS
At NatWest you have the choice between two bank accounts: Startup and Business. They are open to people over the age of 18 who have the right to be self-employed in the UK.
In particular, the startup account is open to companies that have been trading for less than a year and have a turnover of less than £ 1 million. It has free banking for 18 months and changes to the standard published tariff.
The business account is available to those who have been trading with a turnover of up to GBP 2 million for over a year. You get access to benefits and services like FreeAgent Accounting and Business Boost as well as your own relationship manager.
Bank overdrafts are available with no fixed minimum that must be paid back every month. You can borrow unsecured up to £ 50,000 (subject to approval).
It is similar with RBS.
Lloyds / Bank of Scotland
With Lloyds and Bank of Scotland, new businesses with an expected turnover of less than £ 3m will get 12 months of free daily banking with the business checking account, regardless of whether they switch or open a new account. All accounts have free electronic payments and simple pricing structures.
You can get additional support through products such as business loans, insurance, overdrafts, and charge cards.
Halifax does not currently offer a commercial bank account.
Yorkshire Bank has a generous 25 month free banking term that covers free daily banking for qualified changers and startups. Your business must turn over less than £ 2 million with an annual cash transaction limit of £ 250,000.
It is open to companies that switch to a bank checking account or start-ups that open a business account within the first 12 months.
Find out more about the Yorkshire Bank Business Checking Account
Clydesdale Bank's offering is the same as Yorkshire Bank's, with 25 months of free banking for companies with less than £ 2m in turnover. The cash transaction limit is also £ 250,000.
Compare Clydesdale Bank's business banking to NerdWallet
In addition to bank accounts for larger companies, Metro Bank has a special account for start-ups and SMEs with a turnover of less than 2 million GBP.
If your balance stays above £ 5,000 for the whole month, Metro Bank waives your monthly maintenance fee. Otherwise it's £ 5 for that month. Stay over £ 5,000 and get 50 UK toll free transactions for a month with 30p per transaction on top. Accounts under £ 5,000 pay 30p per transaction in the UK.
Of course, a small handful of digital banking platforms have popped up in recent years. Here is a brief breakdown of the heading features.
|ANNA||Smart invoicing, automatically track pending payments||Free if your monthly income is less than £ 500
£ 5 per month if your monthly income is £ 500- £ 2,000
£ 9.90 per month if your monthly income is £ 2,000-20,000
£ 19.90 per month if your monthly income is £ 20,000 to £ 500,000
|Revolut||Hold, exchange and transfer currencies with real exchange rates, issue free company cards to employees and benefit from business partners||Businesses pay anywhere from £ 0 to £ 100 per month depending on their account (or they can talk to Revolut and get a tailored quote).
Freelancers pay £ 0 for the free account, £ 7 per month for the Professional account and £ 25 per month for the Ultimate account
|Starling Bank||No monthly fees, categorized transactions, integration with Xero, FreeAgent and Quickbooks, overdraft facility||No monthly fee
Can a monthly £ 7 & # 39; Business Toolkit & # 39; add for additional features
|tide||No fees for card payments in the UK or abroad, free transfers between Tide accounts, Tide Mastercard, instant billing, integration with FreeAgent, Sage and Xero||Free (£ 0)
Plus (£ 9.99)
Plus Cashback (£ 49.99)
|Monzo||Integrations with Xero, FreeAgent, and QuickBooks; Set aside a percentage of your income for taxation on every payment||Lite: Free
Pro: £ 5
ANNA is open to all UK residents who are directors of a private limited company and unlimited company structured as a partnership or sole proprietorship.
The app gives you intelligent invoicing that allows you to generate sales and purchase invoices in less than ten minutes. It politely tracks any outstanding payments owed to you and informs you of the VAT, corporate tax and self-assessment deadlines. Payroll services will be introduced in the future.
ANNA is free if your monthly income is less than £ 500. £ 5 per month when it is £ 500 to £ 2,000; £ 9.90 per month for £ 2,000-20,000 and £ 19.90 per month for £ 20,000 to 500,000.
Compare ANNA Business Banking with NerdWallet
Revolut builds a solid reputation for companies traveling and trading overseas. Customers can hold, exchange and transfer over 28 currencies at the real exchange rate.
You can issue physical and virtual cards and track your employees' spending in real time.
Revolut offers advantages and benefits from partners such as Apple, Google Ads, Deliveroo and Samsung.
In terms of accounts, you have:
- Free (£ 0 per month)
- Grow (£ 25 per month)
- Libra (£ 100 per month)
- Company (bespoke – talk to Revolut)
Freelancers can choose between the free account (£ 0 per month) Professional (£ 7 per month) and Ultimate (£ 25 per month).
Compare Revolut Business Banking with NerdWallet
The Starling Bank business account is open to you if you are self-employed or the owner of a limited liability company, a limited partnership or part of a multi-owner limited company.
There is no monthly fee on the account and it comes with an overdraft. If you run a limited liability company you can apply for an overdraft of up to £ 150,000. To improve the functionality of your business, you can add a toolkit for £ 7 a month. Additional tools include invoices and auto-matching, email integration, and sales tax for transactions
If you'd like to deposit up to £ 20,000 in cash, you can do so at post offices across the country. You get € 3 back per deposit.
You can also integrate your Starling Bank business account with Xero, FreeAgent and Quickbooks.
With Tide, there are no fees for card payments in the UK or abroad and you get free transfers between Tide accounts. Cash withdrawals from ATMs cost £ 1.
Order up to 35 team cards and keep track of who is spending what. Set up sub-accounts to save money on spending.
You also have invoicing and the ability to set up scheduled payments. The package is rounded off by in-app support and the integration of Xero and QuickBooks.
There are three accounts available through Tide: Free (£ 0), Plus (£ 9.99) and Plus Cashback (£ 49.99).
Compare Tide Business Banking with NerdWallet
Monzo is the latest digital banking platform to introduce business banking. Open an account if you are an individual entrepreneur or director of a registered limited company of Shares (Ltd). Multi-user access is available for limited companies. Note, however, that you must have a personal account with Monzo before you can apply for a business account.
Accounts are not available for some company types. However, this can be checked in the future.
To limit financial crime, you can pay £ 5 to £ 300 in cash at one time and up to £ 1,000 in cash every six months. If you are 16 or 17 years old, this limit is lower so you can deposit up to £ 500 every six months.
Monzo can be integrated with Xero, FreeAgent and QuickBooks. With Monzo Business Pro, new Xero users can use the cloud accounting platform for the Business Pro account for six months free of charge. It also has a Tax Pots feature that allows you to set aside a percentage of your income for taxation on every payment. In addition, you can be notified every time you get paid.
The pricing is on two levels: Lite provides the basics, but for additional features like built-in bookkeeping and tax pots, you'll need to buy Pro for £ 5 per month.
This article was published in collaboration with NerdWallet.