The UK banking regime can offer up a few surprises for companies unfamiliar to the country. Getting the right business banking service is a vital – and sometimes overlooked – aspect of starting and growing a business. The UK banking landscape in many ways is a world leader – the fintech sector is booming, for example – but for some new companies it can be a complex and frustrating process.  

Opening a UK bank account can be both time consuming and complicated. Depending on the type of UK bank account, the process may take up to several months to complete. In addition, there are many different requirements that need to be fulfilled in order for you to open a UK bank account successfully.  

At Paul Beare, we offer an easy and efficient way for you to open a UK bank account. Our team of dedicated professionals have extensive knowledge and experience in helping people set up a UK bank account quickly and easily.  

We understand the importance of having a UK bank account and strive to make the process as stress-free and simple as possible.  

With our help, you can be assured that you will have all the necessary documents ready for your application. Our team will also guide you through the entire process. We obtain an indicative appetite from the chosen banking partner as to the likely outcome of bank account opening success before we begin the process. 

In the UK, there are three main types of bank account a company can open: 

There are various rules and regulations that you may not be aware of if you’re setting up in the UK for the first time. Some of the most important include:

Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO)

According to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an ultimate beneficial owner is the person or legal entity (e.g. an organisation) who directly or indirectly reaps the benefits of ownership of an asset or exercise ultimate effective control over it, even though that asset may be legally owned by a different party. For example, where a corporate shareholder (eg a company) is provided as the owner of a company at Companies House, the beneficial owner(s) are the individual(s) who own or control the corporate shareholder. You can find out more about the UBO regime here

Anti-money laundering (AML)/ Know your customer (KYC)

The UK’s anti-money laundering regime constantly evolves to meet the changing demands of combatting the illegal movement of money across the world. And it’s an issue that regulators take very seriously, a fact reflected in the rigor with which it is dealt with. In fact, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organisation committed to combating money laundering, has even named the UK, “a global leader in promoting corporate transparency.”

AML and KYC regulations are especially important for those setting up in the UK for the first time. Complex company structures, particularly if they include offshore entities – a company structure chart must be provided. As a brief (but not exhaustive) guide, the documentation that HMRC require from non-UK companies includes:
  • official evidence of registered address – for example, an extract of a trade register
  • a certified Certificate of Incorporation
  • a certified copy of the documents required by law on the formation of a company and on any change of name for example, the Memorandum and Articles of Association for the company
  • a certified Certificate of Good Standing or Legal Validity from a qualified lawyer
  • a certified Register of Shareholders or Members
  • a certified Register of Directors
In brief, banks are obliged to take their responsibilities in this area very seriously. As a result you must be prepared to provide whatever documentation they ask for, otherwise you may find your way to an account blocked. Once again, expert help in this area can prove to be invaluable.


Most banks charge you some kind of fee to hold one of their business accounts. How much this is depends on the charging model they operate.

For some business bank accounts, you pay a fixed monthly fee. Typical fees range from £5 to £10 per month. With these accounts, you’re able to make a range of transactions and use various services without further charge, although this might not apply to all features of the account.

Other business bank accounts carry no monthly fee, but charge you for individual transactions, such as when you:
  • deposit or withdraw cash
  • make payments electronically, with your debit card or by cheque
Some banks waive the monthly fee on the condition that you pay in a certain sum of money every month.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

While no bank can offer 100% guarantee that it won’t fail, it’s important to know that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is in place to protect small businesses in the UK.

The FSCS is an independent fund regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If your bank collapses and can’t repay your money, the scheme can compensate you for your losses, up to a limit of £85,000. The scheme covers any bank that’s authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the FCA. Its website has a register you can use to check if a financial firm is covered.

For more details on the type of account that would best suit your business needs, please visit our in-depth banking pages here.

Get in touch to discuss your UK banking requirements.