Business Bank Accounts for Non-UK Residents

Why the mainstream banks refuse most non UK residents

Why the Mainstream Banks often refuse Non UK residents

Believe it or not, the opening of any business account in the UK is difficult enough when you actually live here, so it will come as no surprise to learn it is even harder if you are a non UK resident – but why is it so difficult?

There are a multitude of reasons why any UK bank will decline an application and in truth, as every application is based on it’s own merits, it would not be fair to say they are all declined for the same reason, however below we have listed a few of the reasons why a non UK resident might struggle to open a Business Bank Account here in the UK.

It is also worth saying at this point, that if one of the mainstream banks decline you, then you can assume the other’s will to, simply because they all tend to follow the same process when it comes to an application process.

Unable to Identify the Directors and Shareholders

Every registered company will have at least one Director and Shareholder, so the banks here MUST be able to formally identify you, which in certain countries in the world could be problematic, so if that is not easily done, it is often a lot easier to decline an application rather than risk opening a business account for someone they may not be 100% sure they can identify.

Restricted Business Activity

One of the biggest changes in business banking over recent years has been the change in the what the banks would be happy to accept with regards to their activities.

So whilst more ‘normal’ or ‘regular’ type business activities are generally always acceptable, when it comes to those that could pose a higher risk or threat to the banks, then they now are often being declined.

Examples of these are finance & investment companies, gaming or gambling, adult entertainment, crypto currencies, FX & money service business or anything they deem to be of a high risk nature

Foreign Company ownership

When a UK company is owned by another foreign company, it can cause an application to be instantly declined as the banks here would not necessarily know who the ultimate owner or beneficiary of the foreign company is.

So whilst at the time you may be able to demonstrate who exactly the current owner is, the banks here will often decline as they cannot then be confident that if the ownership should change, the would be aware of it.

So if they offered an account based on the current principles of the business, then should the foreign company change ownership, it would not necessarily mean they would be prepared to offer it to any potential new owner, hence the risk to the bank is if the business were sold or shares passed on to an applicant they might ordinarily decline.

So for this reason an application would almost certainly be declined.

So what are the options for Non UK Resident?

Well despite the challenge for non UK resident directors and shareholders to open a business bank account here, there are options which will be available but just not with the mainstream banks.

Every application is based on it’s own merits and there are many other alternatives to chose from, so it is more about finding the right business account to best suit your business or payment requirements – which is where we would ordinarily come in.

Finding the right banking partner for Non UK Residents

It is fair to say that every banking provider is often readily available to anyone who is willing to put the time and effort into finding them, however how will you know if the one you find is the right Bank for you and your business?

If you open the wrong type of business account not only could you be missing out the ability to collecting certain payments, which could result in a loss of business, but more importantly, there is such a variety of providers that should you pick the wrong one, the fixed and hidden costs of an account could be quite considerable, so the relatively small amount of money to engage a specialist company to do that work for you, could save you a considerable amount of time and also a lot of money.

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