Frequently Asked Questions
Bank Account FAQs
Please find below a selection of FAQs regarding the Non UK Resident business accounts available – for any questions here not shown, please email email@example.com
I am not a UK resident, can I open a business account without coming to the UK?
Yes – We will be able to help you open a new business account as long as you can be fully identified and your business verified, which we can often do remotely via a certified and approved accountant.
What kind of account will I receive? Will it be a high street account?
No – but that is where ultimately all your money is held, so whilst you may not recognise the name of the business account provider they have to use one of the clearing high street banks to hold all the funds, so that in itself should instal a lot of confidence.
Is there a Minimum opening deposit requirement for this business account?
Yes – On approval you will be required to deposit a minimum of £500.00 into the account to activate it. Once activated you will be able to use the account and have full access to all it’s functionality.
Does anyone else have access to my account?
Neither we, nor the actual account provider has access to any of the funds however we will have full authority to withdraw our ‘Compliance Approval’ if we suspect any account holder is trading illegally or outside of the agreed terms but only the account holder will have direct access to the funds held in the account.
‘Compliance Approval’ – As part of the opening and ongoing process we have to ensure all account holders are fully identified and are trading both legally and legitimately within the UK which includes ensuring you are who you say you are (normally notarised Passport and proof of home address is required) and that your business is trading within the UK laws.
Due to the increasing anti-money laundering regulations, this is a very important part of the process and as such comes with a considerable amount of responsibility, which is why we will always reserve the right to close any account we suspect falls outside of our application criteria.
What features do the accounts come with?
There are some essentials for a UK registered business including a UK Sort-Code & Account number, both of which are included along with online Internet access.
There is no requirement for a face-to-face meeting, so almost all applications can be made remotely and opened much quicker than a traditional business bank account.
Initially these account will not come with a debit card however they may be offered sometime in the near future.
Are the monthly account fees taken out directly from account or paid separately?
The monthly account fees (£24.99) are debited directly out of the account each month.
Is this a proper bank account with a mainstream bank?
N0 – This is classified as a business payment account and is fully authorised & regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) so whilst not technically a bank account, it does offer a business sort code & your own account number as well as Internet banking, so the key elements for collecting and making UK business payments.
So whilst this is NOT a mainstream bank, your money is actually held with one of the mainstream banks (depending on the account available) like Barclays or National Westminster Bank, so you can be sure your money is in their safe hands.
How long does to take to open a business account?
We offer an online business account which takes approximately 10-14 work days to open once all documentation has been received, however in certain circumstances we may be able to offer an Express Service, so you could get your account opened within 2-3 days
What happens when any maximum limited on the account is reached?
Easy, transfer it out – if you ever get close to any limit you can simply transfer some or all of it out of your account.
Is there a minimum balance?
No but there is a minimum opening balance of £500.00 which will be required to complete the opening process.
What documentation will I be required to supply?
You will be expected to provide, for every Director of a business, sufficient proof of Identification which may include a notarised copy of a valid passport and proof of home address. (SOme providers will only require copies of your documents)
Business documentation will include a copy of your certificate of registration, share certificate and any other relevant business documents which could substantiate you have a genuine business.
PLEASE NOTE WHY THIS PROCESS IS SO ESSENTIAL: This identification process is an essential and legal process which the authorities insist is completed to the standards set out to ensure all anti-money laundering checks are comprehensively completed. Failure to make the necessary checks or confirming someone’s identity to prove they are who they say they are is an offence with a potential custodial sentence for any offenders.
It is for this reason why ensuring all identification processes are strictly adhered to during the application process.
How much does it cost to open a business account?
Every business is individual and unique, with no two businesses the same, meaning the cost to open any account will vary from one application to another.
As such the cost to open will depend on such variables as, the type of business, the number of directors and shareholders, nationality and where they reside, business turnover, types of transactions required, time to open and other potential variables – which is why the time it takes to open and do all the necessary checks varies so much, meaning the cost for any two accounts are very rarely ever the same.
Fund transfers are free from the account to say a US bank account?
Essentially yes – so we have arranged with certain accounts every account holder will automatically get an account with MayfairFX (a UK based International payments provider) who will allow the account holder to make International transfers for free and at preferential rates. Most banks will charge between £20-28 per International transfer and their rates are standard, so the exchange rate will be considerably worse so cost you a lot more to send your money abroad.
For those with alternative accounts you can transfer direct from your account to any International country.
Can I close the account at anytime or is there a penalty to close the account?
Yes, you will be able close the account at anytime as there are no minimum contracts or charges for closing the account.
Amazon Sellers FAQs
If you are looking to expand into the UK and Europe then you are sure to have some questions, so please find below some previously asked questions with our relevant answers.
I have a successful Amazon business here in the USA already, so why should I bother with the UK or Europe?
That is a good question, especially if you have a good business there already, but here are some reasons why you should seriously consider it – there will be plenty more, but these should give you enough evidence as to why it’s such a good opportunity.
- You have probably done 95% of the work already in sourcing, manufacturing and developing your product and this is a very easy way to expand and increase your sales outside of risking new products, more developments, sourcing alternative products etc
- The USA market place is saturated with sellers, as more and more people are becoming involved with using Amazon as a way to sell their goods, meaning competition will only ever increase and your margins will surely come under increasing pressure, so finding an alternative could be an excellent way to combat this.
- The European markets are very much underdeveloped, meaning many of the sellers here simply don’t have the ability or knowledge like a seasoned American seller, so you will have far less competition in this marketplace.
- PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS – This is one of the key reasons why a successful business should seriously consider horizontal expansion as the bigger you grow the more likely you may come under threat, so by having a separate entity in an alternative market place will certainly help protect the long term future of your business interests.
Do I HAVE to regsiter a UK Limited Company to sell into the UK?
No, it is not compulsory to register a UK Limited Company to sell here, however there are various reasons why doing so will benefit you so is often the best and most efficient way of expanding your business.
Will you will provide me with a UK address for the registered company or will I use my address here in the States?
When registering a UK limited company it is mandatory to have a UK registered address, which we can help with so you will not be able to use your USA address.
So if I am not registered for VAT can I sell at a lower price or price it higher as though I were charging VAT and keep increase profit margin?
Yes that is correct, so you can effectively charge a higher price as though it did include the VAT but as you would not be registered, you would not be required to pass that on to HMRC. Alternatively you could sell your goods at a lower price and be more competitive, which ever you felt was best for your business however please bear in mind you will be required to register once your income is above £83,000 (Approx $110k)
Can I use an Offshore Company, e.g.like one in Belize?
Anyone owning or operating a Belize company when they actually reside elsewhere is asking for a problem, as any banking provider will want to know who exactly owns that business, so if a corporate structure is the ultimate beneficiary of the UK Ltd Co or indeed anywhere else, they would need to be able to identify ALL the beneficiaries and that is not easily done when using complex offshore locations.
From a UK perspective, we would not advise using any offshore company as the main shareholder of a business, as whilst some may see this as a way to be more tax efficient, we know that any complex structure will almost certainly be an issue when it comes to opening a banking facility, which could cause a further issue as Amazon insist on paying a UK account in the company’s name.
For businesses who prefer to operate their businesses in a less complicated manner, then the best option is to own and run your own UK Limited Company.
I found a company that said could help, but their UK tax knowledge was zilch, what makes you different?
UK Tax (including the various aspects of Vat) and ensuring you get the right advice is paramount to ensure your business is fully compliant which is why as part of our service it is mandatory to use our accountancy partners, who with over 100 years of experience with extensive knowledge in VAT and tax issues, they will help guide & advice you how best to run your business, with hands on advice.
So coupled with the ability to open a suitable business account as well as all the other requirements, we can offer a fully managed service from start to finish and all available without the need to leave the comfort & safety of your own home.
I will need a business bank account registered with the new limited company, right?
Yes, if you register a UK limited company you will require a business account in your new companies name to collect the payments from Amazon as they will not pay into any other account. Whilst that is ordinarily very difficult if you are a non UK resident, we have some options available who will accept non UK resident directors and shareholders, so will certainly be able to help you.
When good are sold on Amazon is the VAT priced into to cost of the item or do you see it separately?
No in the UK, when selling to the general public all taxes are expected to be INCLUDED and are not shown separately, so whether you are VAT registered or not will not make any difference with regards to your buyers.
What is the benefit of creating a UK company to sell on Amazon UK as opposed to selling as a USA entity?
The benefit of creating a UK company is that you don’t have to start paying VAT to Her Majesty until your revenue is over approximately $110,000 per year. As a USA company, you’ll be paying VAT every quarter whether you are over the threshold or not.
You may also get similar “threshold” VAT exemptions in all the other EU countries…so you don’t have to pay (until you reach the threshold) in Germany, Spain, France or Italy
Another potential benefit is that you can save money in currency conversions because you can transfer your UK funds using a more competitive FX company rather than Amazon exchanging your payments at their potentially higher margin rates when converting payments back.
One last point is protection, by having a separate business entity, should either or come under attack or have any problems, you will always have the other entity still trading.
Seems like I'd just end up paying someone to form a UK entity just to avoid having to file for VAT.
The key reasons why you would use a UK company is to
a) Save a considerable amount of money just on Vat, so any cost is overwhelmingly out weighed by the benefit,
b) you would save money on FX payments when collecting fees, as all payments will remain in GBP and can be sent Internationally using a much more cost effective method than Amazons 3-4% charge and finally
c) by using a separate entity it will completely protect all your existing business interests, as should any entity come under threat, you will always have the other one to fall back on (or possibly sell should you become established and no longer wish to continue with it)
How quickly can all of this be set-up and do I have to visit the UK?
To register a new business and open you a suitable business account will take no more than a week once all your documents have been provided, so very quickly in real terms – PLUS you will NOT be required to visit the UK for any part of the process, meaning we can do everything remotely often with just copies of your identification documents.
What about fulfilment, who is going to help with my stock?
Of course we have plenty of sellers here already and through our network of contact can offer a full storage and fulfillment service for any FBA sellers, so that area will be fully covered once you are ready to ship your goods.
DID YOU KNOW? That if you are using FBA services and your stock is held here in the UK, then Amazon can still deliver directly into Europe, so no need to worry about additional stock for those countries. They also offer, from the UK, Prime +1 for many European countries meaning customers can get their goods within two days of ordering.
Complete Business Insurance, offering full protection for every company trading within the UK.