Setting up a Company Bank Account

As a Limited Company is a separate legal entity to that of its directors and shareholders, it will need its own bank account. Setting up a bank account is a relatively not so straightforward affair. Having said that, there is a number of choices that may affect your decision as to who you sign up with and a lot of deals out there which confuse you further. The final decision is entirely up to you, in relation with the Banking Institution. However we can recommend few banks both in the United Kingdom and in Cyprus.

Where do I start?
For many new company directors, the first point of contact is their own bank. This may be the most convenient and quickest option as the bank is likely to be able to validate the identity of the director, based on their existing records. If your company has multiple directors that bank elsewhere, then this is not going to be an advantage.
The important and perhaps apparent thing to remember here is that you look for a good deal.  At the bottom of this page you can find several links to some of the largest banks in the United Kingdom and in Cyprus who are able to offer intelligent business banking facilities.

What do I need to look out for?
Many of the well known banks are now offering a free banking period starting from 1 up to 18 months. This means you will not be charged for any regular banking procedures such as using your debit card, transferring money, issuing cheques and withdrawing cash. It is important however, to look at the standard rates and decide if the charges are compatible with your business. To do this, you need to look at the type, size and frequency of the transactions you are likely to make and compare this with the charges imposed by the bank. It is really a case of finding the right balance.

What will I need to setup a Bank Account?
All banks must comply with stringent money laundering regulations and therefore, will need to carry out a series of compliance, such as the once listed under our Due Diligence section, before the opening of an account.
You should keep the documents you have received when your company was registered somewhere safe, as they will need to be review ed before the opening of a bank account. Most banks like to be presented with the original certificate of incorporation (printed on the correct paper), a copy of your articles and any share certificates that have been issued. You may also be required to show your passport to confirm your identity, and finally a utility bill as a proof of address.

Requirements and new possibilities are changing so it is nearly impossible to list here number of pre-requisites of documents and info the bank will ask from you.  
When you apply for a bank account, you need to inform the bank with some details, in order to assist you with your bank account needs. Please remember that the shortlist provided below, is only for information purposes only, and we cannot be held liable for any financial and/or banking related advice.   
It is essential for example for the bank to know if you are just starting-up, as a corporation, or if you are switching your bank accounts to this bank. Moreover the bank will need to know matters about the turnover of your company. Finally if the business address is based overseas.
Then the provision of the status of the body requesting the account opening: Is it Solo trader; Partnership; partnership finance; Limited Liability Partnership, Limited liability Partnership finance; Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability company; Public limited company; Public Limited company finance; charity; club; society; church, other community interest Organization, school or College.     
Banks evaluate each case independently, so their requirements for a new client vary according to their needs.
Details of all individuals owning 25% or more of the business, if applicable. (If you are a Sole Trader and someone else has invested 25% or more of the capital in your business please visit your local bank branch to apply).

The information that will most probably be requested from the bank are listed as follows:
For a new incorporated company:
  -    Estimated turnover.
In addition, if you are starting a business:
  -    Total amount of money invested
  -    Previous income of owners / directors
  -    Years of experience in running a business
If you are moving your business bank account to a UK Bank:
  -    Details of existing bankers
  -    Details of existing banking relationship (e.g. cards held, overdraft facilities etc.)
After you have submitted your application online, we will ask for proof of your identity (and any other beneficial owners and/or principle controllers, if applicable)*. The following can be used:
Identification, Proof of identity:
  -    Current Passport
  -    Current UK photo-card driving license
  -    Current UK driving license (old paper style)
  -    Current national Identity Card
  -    Current bank or building society statement or passbook
  -    A utility bill (e.g. electricity, gas or water, but not mobile phone bills) receipted and showing evidence of payment
  -    A local authority or council tax bill valid for current year
There are a variety of ways for you to make your move to the UK rewarding. Contact our Inward Investment Team in London to discuss your banking needs.

  • Name and registered/trading address(es) of the company requiring an account
  • Name and registered/trading address(es) of parent company (if different)
  • Website address
  • Legal status and country of registration of the company requiring an account (e.g. sole trader, UK Ltd., Dutch BV, USA C Corporation). If the company is listed on a recognised Stock Exchange, please provide details, such as the name/location of the stock exchange.
  • Details of ownership of the business requiring an account including any private individual(s) with an ultimate interest of 25% or more – which may be through a holding in an ultimate parent company
  • Main activities (to be) undertaken in the UK – please be specific
  • Purpose of the UK account (what it will be used for)
  • Projected annual turnover of the UK business and details of the type, frequency and size of anticipated transactions we can expect to see over the account
  • Your current (business) bankers (including existing bankers in the UK if applicable)
  • Type (e.g. current/checking account, savings account) and currency (e.g. sterling, Euro) of account required.

It is useful to get a reference from your existing bank in your country (in English) and/ or ask them to write to you at your UK address.

Each branch of each bank makes an independent decision on whether to accept new customers and there is no particular bank that has a better deal for international clients.

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