Open a Bank Account Online in the UK
We compared the best banks for small and medium businesses in the UK, gathered what you need to open an account or switch from your current bank to a new one.
Everything You Need To Know Before Opening a Bank Account
Whether you are a UK resident or a non-resident it’s helpful to understand how the application process works before deciding to set up a bank account
Am I Eligible?
Generally, you have to be 18 or over to open a bank account in the UK. However, some banks will accept applications if you 16 and over. While being of age is enough to make you eligible, it doesn’t guarantee that a bank will open an account for you. The decision is usually made based on the results of a KYC procedure specific to a given bank.
How To Open a Bank Account Online
The application process is pretty easy. You need to provide:
- proof of identity, like your passport, driving licence or identity card
- proof of address — a rent agreement, utility bill or a telephone bill will do
The requirements may differ depending on the banks.
Some will ask to prove your income. In this case, pay slips, bank statements, a p60 form, and a letter from a recognised employer will be acceptable. If you are self-employed, you can show your tax returns. UK Banks may also want to check your credit history, so be prepared.
What if I’m not a UK Resident
Are you a non-resident? No need to worry. It is possible to set up a business bank account. The UK does not have any legal regulations that prevent UK banks from opening business accounts for non-residents, but the process may be more time-consuming. If you are new to the UK, a letter from a university or employer might do the work instead of proof of address.Tell me more
Types of Bank Accounts
Choose a type of UK bank account that suits your needs
The most common bank account in the UK is the Current Account. It is great for everyday use. This account is for paying household bills, paying for goods and services, receiving salary and pension, and withdrawing cash from cash machines.
You can open a Basic Bank Account without a monthly fee and still enjoy the features you need for everyday banking. It’s best suited for people who don’t qualify for other kinds of current accounts.
A Packaged Account is the current account with extra benefits. The monthly fee is charged. Extra services can include special offers, such as preferential rates on overdrafts, car breakdown coverage, travel insurance, and mobile phone insurance.
Thanks to Student Account, university students can manage their finances. It has additional useful features specifically for people in higher education such as a railcard or some gift vouchers.
It is for people who want to share one account. For example, if you wish to manage shared finances with your partner. Most types of bank accounts can be joint. Ask your provider to make your current account jointv if this is what you want from the get-go.
Children’s Bank account is available for children aged 11 to 18. Its main goal is to help a child to grasp the idea of managing their money. It comes with certain restrictions that prevent the holder of the account from overspending.
What Do Different Banks in the UK Offer?
We partnered with some banks that support SMEs, especially e-commerce businesses. They provide special discount and benefit programs. We also talk about other popular banks in the UK.
Wise£10 deposit in your business account
Open a Wise Business account fully online. Send, spend, and receive multiple currencies at a real exchange rate.
Cashplus1% cashback & the 1st year free
Offering innovative products to 1.6 million customers worldwide.
Payoneer50% discount on Payments product
Payoneer enables millions of businesses and professionals from more than 200 countries to connect with each other and grow globally through a cross-border payments platform.
Tide offers business current accounts that are free, easy to open, and helps you start doing what you love. They're trusted by 300,000+ UK businesses worldwide.
Open your business account with no sign-up fee and zero monthly account fees.
International banking service that helps your money to move around the globe. You can open one account or more online for free, and make currency exchange transactions in 68 currencies quickly and easily.
You can open your global or local account and pay in 30+ currencies internationally and manage your transactions online with efficient support.
An SME focused banking service for companies that trade internationally.
HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisation serving more than 40 million customers through the global business areas.
Go With Osome
Explore Osome benefits for your business
Open a company with us
We’ll register your company online and help you open a business bank account online within 4 minutes! We partner with a variety of local banks.
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Enjoy some of the benefits our bank partners offer to help your business prosper.
Get professional advice
Our experts will help you decide which bank account you need for your business and when to switch it for the better option.
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Have you started your company? We’ll take care of invoices, reports, and taxes while you grow your business.
Ways to open an account for non‑residents
You can acquire or rent a local residence and show the bank a utility bill with your name on it as proof. If you are new to the UK, a letter from a university or employer might also do the work instead of proof of address.
Another way is to open a business account in a large and reputable British bank such as Barclays, Lloyds, or HSBC. These banks are big, so they are more flexible and know how to work with different clients, including non-residents.
If you are not a UK resident and need to open a business account, another option may be online banking. Online banking is usually a term used for mobile banking applications that offer a full range of regular banking services.
Simple and fast registration
- Ltd registration
- Bank account opening
- All documents
from £12 + VAT
How To Switch Bank Accounts?
Why switch to a new bank account
The most popular reason for switching your bank account is to get higher interest and, as a result, to boost your savings.
Others are looking for a better cashback policy or benefits such as insurance.
A better quality customer service is also a good reason to switch.
The switching process
The switch to a new bank account is quick and easy in the UK, thanks to the Current Account Switch Service (CASS). You can do it in just 7 days. Your regular payments will not be affected by the switch.
The transition is seamless. Your new bank should arrange for all your existing payments to be transferred to the new account within 7 working days and ensure the process complies with the law.
What Is CASS?
CASS or the Current Account Switch Service outlines how the Bank Account switching service works, ensuring your rights are not violated and everything goes according to the plan.
All providers that offer CASS must follow the following rules:
- This service is free
- The new bank takes care of it all
Steps to Switch Your Bank Account
Decide on your new bank account
Consider your spending habits when selecting a current account. Compare the current accounts offered and any incentives they may have.
Apply for your new account
To apply, visit the provider's website. After you apply, the bank will go on with its usual account-opening procedure.
Know your rights
Make sure your new provider is using the current account switching service, which is backed by the Current Account Switch Guarantee. If there are any payment problems following a switch, the new bank will correct them.
Pick a switch date
You can choose any convenient date that works for you unless it’s at least 7 working days after your account has been opened. When it’s done, your new provider will confirm the start of the switching process.
Use your new account
The new bank will take care of everything. All your payments are moved automatically, sending the confirmation that the new account is up and running.
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How to Open a Bank Account in the UK for Your Children?
Children can legally open their own bank account in the UK from the age of 11 (although some accounts have a higher minimum age), but parents can open an account for their children at any time. Different banks offer different accounts with varying age specifications, and the process and requirements for opening the account will vary.
In general, it’s easier if you go to the bank with your child to open an account. You can still open an account without your child as long as you have the proper documents with you. You can even open a bank online for your child.
There are some documents that you would need to prepare. Bring your child’s ID such as passport, national identity card, or birth certificate. You would also need to bring in your own debit card and PIN if you already have an account at the same bank. Otherwise, you will need to bring your ID to prove your relationship with the child.
What to Do if Your Application to Open a Bank Account in the UK Is Refused?
UK banks can reject any business account application on various grounds such as failed credit checks, or not providing enough ID or proof of address. They don’t have to give you the reasons why they’ve rejected you. Before applying for alternative solutions, it’s important to prepare future applications in detail to increase the chances of being accepted and getting the account live. You’ll be asked to provide documentation to include; ID, Company registration, Details of Director, Details of any adverse credit, including timing, amount and repayments, Having these to hand prior to application will not only improve your chances of being accepted for business banking after decline, but also increase the speed in which your application is processed.
How to Open a Digital or Mobile Bank Account?
Most of the main banks in the UK offer services online and via their applications, so you can easily open and run your bank accounts remotely. There are also banks that are digital-only or mobile-only.
You can open your digital account remotely, but you will need to supply your email address, phone number, and ID document.
Most digital banks such as Revolut, Monzo, Starling or Curve offer 24/7 in-app support, which is a huge customer improvement above the call-center support provided by most traditional banks. In fact, British users cite convenience, better terms of service, and the ability to track spending in real-time as the main reasons why they prefer to use online banks. When choosing one for your business, do check websites such as TrustPilot to see what the existing users are saying and what are the pain points of these banking apps.
What Happens if I’m Overdrawn at My Old Bank and Want to Switch?
If you have a good or clean credit history and you have not over your arranged overdraft limit, you can switch your bank account. During the application process to switch to your new banking provider, they will likely ask you the value of your overdraft. Most banks will want to offer to match this.
Since an overdraft is a form of credit, a credit search will be made on you by the new bank account provider. Do keep any relevant paperwork from your current bank, such as bank statements or proof of your overdraft limit, and bring this with you when you go into your new bank account’s local branch.
Can I Open a Joint Current Account With My Business Partner?
A joint account makes your financial management as a company easier. You can track all of your business transactions in one place. Expenses will be easier to categorize in one account. You will have shared access to how much you have in your cash reserves which helps inform your cash flow; plus, your taxes will likely be easier to compile for your accountant.
Remember, separating your business and personal finances is a crucial piece of your company’s financial management, and setting up a business joint current account is a good step.
Can I Still Access My Transaction History for Closed Accounts?
Generally, the answer for this is yes, and you can still access your transaction history for closed accounts as long as you have a registered account with your bank. However, how long you can access it after you have closed your account differs from bank to bank. According to UK regulation, banks need to give you access to up to 5 years of your transaction history at current account closure.
Usually, accounts which have been closed due to fraud or other unlawful activity, impairment or which have had no activity in a long while will not be eligible to receive transaction history.