How do I open a business current account?

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To open a business current account you need to have all the relevant information about your company, find the right current account provider, apply on-line or in person, and usually wait for many weeks.

The reality is that in 2020, most high street banks are simply not opening business current accounts for newly formed companies. In some cases, high street banks will open a new business current account for an existing client, but the wait time can be quite long.

However, not all is lost, a number of new financial technology (or FinTech) offerings are in the market.

With the MachFast.com app you can form a company and open a current account with a few clicks. After you form your company with MachFast you will have a choice to open an instant current account with Cashplus.

You may also just form a company and open a business current account later with traditional banks or other FinTechs.

Below we review what is required if you choose to first form a company with MachFast.com and then apply for a business current account with a provider of your choosing.

At the moment, Santander, Lloyds, HSBC, Bank of Scotland are not opening business current accounts. Other Traditional banks have significant delays (of six weeks or more). Among FinTechs, you have a choice between Starling Bank, Revolut and Tide in addition to Cashplus.

If you choose not to open a current account with the MachFast app, you will first need to form a company with the MachFast app and wait for the company to form before applying with traditional banks or other FinTech providers. Tide offers a limited company formation service for one-shareholder companies.

With MachFast.com you can form a company with any number of shareholders and get a current account in one go. If you choose to use a traditional formation agent, they will likely refer you to a business current account provider where you will need to complete all the application steps described below.

What information do banks require to open a Business Current Account?

Traditionally, you will need to provide information about your company, its directors, shareholders and persons with significant control. Many traditional banks require in-person interviews. At the moment, many traditional banks such as Lloyds, HSBC, Santander, Bank of Scotland and others are not opening business current accounts for newly formed companies. We outline some of the basic requirements below. UK Finance has put together a nice checklist that covers all potential questions that you may be asked when opening a business current account.

What information do I need to open an HSBC Business Current Account?

Currently, HSBC has a waiting list to open a business current account. Simply put, they are not opening business current accounts for newly formed companies. You can get on their waiting list to get one. When you are able to apply for a business current account with HSBC, you will be asked for the following information about your company. 

  • Business name
  • Full business address, including postcode
  • Contact details (phones, emails)
  • Companies House registration number
  • Your estimated turnover (or sales)

In addition, HSBC will need personal information about any individuals who are associated with your company (such as Directors, Shareholders, Persons with Significant Control). HSBC will need the following information:

  • Full name & date of birth
  • Contact details (phones, emails)
  • Current residential address (and previous addreses if the individual lived here for less than 3 years)
  • HSBC account number (if already a private customer of HSBC)
  • Debit & credit card details

HSBC application is on-line and they will do initial credit and background checks automatically. Often, they will ask you for proof of ID and address if their systems are not able to verify individuals associated with the company. Even if you and/or any individual associated with the company are already HSBC customers, you still need to fill out the complete information and resubmit all your personal data. HSBC has recently launched Kinetic, a mobile-only business current account available only for iPhones.

What information do I need to open a Lloyds Bank Business Current Account?

Currently, Lloyds Bank is not opening business current accounts for newly formed companies. When they start opening business current accounts again, you will need the following information:

  • Business name
  • Business start date
  • Company registration number
  • Date of incorporation
  • Country of Incorporation
  • Full business address (registered and correspondent, if different)
  • Personal & business contact details
  • Main business activity
  • Number of employees
  • Expected turnover (sales)
  • Tax status and information
  • Details of all current existing banking accounts that you and/or the company holds

In addition Lloyds needs the following personal information to open a business current account (in addition to what HSBC requires):

  • Two separate valid original documents to prove the identity of any shareholder with more than 25% share ownership or a Person with Significant Control
  • A copy of the incorporation certificate (you receive one when you form a company and a copy is available at Companies House)
  • A copy of forms that were used to register your company directors (again available online at Companies House)

What information do I need to open a Barclays Bank Business Current Account?

Currently, Barclays is advising up to six weeks or more waiting time to open a business current account for a new company. If you would like to open a Barclays business current account then you will need the following information ready:

  • Your address history for the past 3 years
  • Business details, such as your registration number, address and the date of incorporation if your business is a limited company
  • Your personal details
  • Details of financial arrangements, such as mortgages, loans and credit cards
 
Generally Barclays follows the UK Finance information requirements. That means the will need as much information as HSBC or Lloyds Bank when they process your business current account opening application.
 

What information do I need to open a Santander Business Current Account?

Santander is currently not opening business current accounts for new companies.  Santander is using UK Finance checklist as the required information for opening business current accounts. That means that you will need the same information ready as for HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and others. You can check Santander’s own checklist as well.
 

What information do I need to open a Natwest Business Current Account?

At the moment Natwest is not opening business current accounts for new companies. Natwest has The Start Up business current account for new companies. To qualify, your business has traded for less than 1 year and have a turnover of less than £1m. Directors, and persons with significant control have to be over 18 and have the right to be self-employed in the UK.  Natwest, as one of the major traditional banks will be using a variation of the UK Finance checklist for information that they require to open an account.
 

What information do I need to open a Royal Bank of Scotland Business Current Account?

Royal Bank of Scotland is currently not opening business current accounts.  They are part of the same banking group as Natwest (or the other way around, Natwest is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland). As such, they have similar requirements for opening a business current account as Natwest. As a major high street bank Royal Bank of Scotland will be using a variation of the UK Finance checklist for required information to open a business current account.
 

What information do I need to open a Co-Operative Bank Business Current Account?

The Co-Operative Bank is currently facing significant delays in opening business current accounts. The Co-Operative bank is advising delays of up to 12 weeks+ in opening business current accounts. To qualify for the Co-Operative Bank’s start up business current account, you need to meet the following criteria:
  • Aged 18 or over
  • Free from County Court Judgements (CCJs), bankruptcy and IVAs over the last 6 years
  • Free from missed payments on any personal credit obligations in the last 6 months
  • A UK resident with a business address in the UK.

Your business needs to meet the following conditions:

‘If your organisation is a limited company you must adhere to the
following criteria: the directors have never been disqualified, the
business has never been subject to insolvency or an intention to
dissolve, the business has not had a negative net worth in the last set
of financial accounts.’

What information do I need to open a TSB Business Current Account?

 

TSB is currently only opening business current accounts for its existing customers. If you are not a TSB customer then you will not be able to apply for a business current account.
 

During your business current account application process you need to confirm that:

  • You are a sole trader, partner or director
  • You are aged 18 or over
  • You require the account for business use
  • You have read the Terms and Conditions
  • Your business is registered in the UK
 

What information do I need to open a Metro Bank Business Current Account?

Metro Bank is a recent newcomer to the UK banking market. At the moment Metro Bank has also suspended opening new business current accounts.  Here is what you will need to open a business current account with them online or in person.

What Metro Bank needs to open your account

Everyone involved in opening the business account will need to provide proof of identity and proof of address, including:

  • Account operators (authorised signatories or nominated persons)
  • Responsible individuals (anyone who directly or indirectly controls 25% or more shares)
  • Company officials

Proof of identity

A valid passport, EU national ID card or UK driving licence is ideal, and may be all we need.

Proof of address

Must have your name and current address on it. We only accept originals. It’s handy to have 2 of these with you, just in case.

If you’re a Limited Company Metro Bank will, with your agreement, carry
out a credit reference agency search.  If the results are satisfactory
you won’t need to provide any further documents. Otherwise you will
need:

  • If the Limited Company is using a “trading as” name, a copy of the Company Board Resolution (signed by 2 Directors or 1 Director and the appointed Company Secretary, or by the sole Director, if there is no appointed Company Secretary) authorising the use of the “trading as” name
 

What information do I need to open a Bank of Scotland Business Current Account?

The Bank Of Scotland business current account is not available for new applications at the moment. As one of the major banks, Bank of Scotland will rely on a variation of the UK Finance checklist for opening business current accounts when they start accepting business again.
 

What information do I need to open a Yorskshire Bank Business Current Account?

 Yorkshire Bank uses the UK Finance checklist of information to open a business current account.  Their online business current account application appears to be open for business as usual.

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