We use cookies on this site to ensure the most desirable user experience. By continuing to browse this website you are giving implied consent. Find out more.
Contact us
Citizenship guide
Imperial experience

Choosing a UK bank to open a corporate account: do better for your company

PUBLISHED: 10 October 2019

British banking system has been operating and developing for centuries and banks have proven to be exceptionally reliable and trustworthy. A UK bank account is a key to clients’ and partners’ trust. However, it is still a challenge for a foreign person, especially a legal entity, to open an account in the United Kingdom.

Do not despair just yet. This article will shade some light on how to choose a bank in order to get an approval and use all the advantages of the bank account to your benefit.

UK banks: what types are they?

British financial institutions like in many other countries are classified into two main categories, retail banks and private banks.

Which bank to choose for business

A legal entity would be better off with opening an account in a retail bank. You will normally pay service charge, or account fee, but there are special offers for eligible businesses. For example, some banks offer free banking in the first 12, 18 or even 24 months, great digital banking tools, etc.

Where to open a corporate account in the UK

The biggest and most famous retail banks are Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), Barclays, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), National Westminster Bank (NatWest) and Metro. They share the banking market in the UK with private banks such as Coutts or European Financial Group (EFG).

Opening a corporate bank account in the UK: mission is possible

Generally, a foreign-based company can open an account in a UK retail bank; however, there is a big chance of getting refused.

Why a bank account can be refused

Private banks in the UK have less stringent requirements and internal criteria, but they are mostly focused on dealing with individuals. Opening and managing of corporate accounts is more of an added service to an already opened personal account. However, in this case you will not have access to a full range of tools and services offered by retail banks.

What to do to get your bank account approved

First of all, if you want a real account, with all the features and tools, go to a retail bank. There are a few recommendations we can give in order to avoid mistakes and disappointments.

  1. Search online for any reviews from your countrymen about the UK banks. This way you might be able to shortlist of banks that are worth trying and others that would certainly refuse to open a bank account for a foreign company. Recently, the Royal Bank of Scotland has been ‘notorious’ for refusing such applications.
  2. Be smart and try your luck with opening an account in a UK bank that is part of an international group with branched all over the world, including in your home country. They tend to be more flexible in their dealings with foreign companies, especially if they have been present in your country for a while. Examples of such banks are HSBC, American Citi and Italian UniCredit.
  3. If it is your first time in interacting with UK financial institutions and you really want to open a corporate account in England, do not underestimate the services of specialists and experts that have been doing it for years.

Competent staff of our company offers full support in opening a corporate bank account in the UK, starting from preparing all necessary documents and submitting an application to accompanying you for a meeting in a bank. Apart from that, we can provide legal and accounting services for a smooth running of your business.

Make an enquiry

One of our qualified advisors will get back to you today or next business day.



To find out more or to book a consultation