Before you decide to open your account you should bear in mind that:
- Your company bank account does not necessarely need to be open in a country where the company itself is registered
- Most banks require you to attend their branch phisically (all EU banks for example) while many other banks can open an account on distance (offshore jurisdictions and even some EU banks)
- If bank requires you to be phisically present at its branch you may not necessarely need to attend that particulat branch where you need to open an account. To open a bank account in the UK bank you may, for example, attend its branch in another country (where available) to have yourself identified.
- When opening a bank account for your company, all debit cards will be issued for use by a beneficial owner of the account. This may be a director of the company or a beneficial owner himself if the director is nominee. Only account signatory/beneficiary will have an access to your company account and not your Nominee, if you have one.
- When opening account, banks evaluate you as a customer and will perform credit checks and such checks will be performed on the actual person(s) who want to have an access to the account and not on the company itself.
Generally, the most difficult is to open a bank account in the UK. Most UK banks require you to actually perform business activities within the county and have suppliers, clients and/or customers in the UK too. For new companies you'll be required to provide description of your business and you plans for the future. If bank manager remains satisfied that you are going to actually perform business activities in the UK and also if you succesfully pass credit checks then you'll be granted an account.
We can introduce you to several UK banks that we have agreements with. However, final decision is up to the bank and in some cases you may be refused an account.
If you're not UK resident and need bank account for UK company, please, read here.
Once your account is open you'll receive a debit card and online banking details to your home address in your country by post. Your account will be fully activated once your documents are verified and you deposit minimum required balance (if any) to your account.
Advantages and disadvantager of different accounts
Bank account in the UK
Advantages. Major advantage of having bank account in the UK is prestige and advanced banking system in the UK in general. Most UK banks will offer free account service for the first 12 months and free cheque books and free debit cards forever.
Disadvantages. There are no known disadvantages of having a bank account in the UK. If you plan to run a business in the UK it is the best option for your business, however if you're not UK resident then UK bank will most probably reject your application and you will have to open EU bank account instead.
Bank account in Europe
Advantages. Same as banks in the UK, European banks are also very prestige. In fact from our experience customers from Europe would normally prefer to pay in EUR currency to European account rather than exchange payment to Pound Sterlings. The one obvious major advantage is ability to perform international transactions online in most of the banks.
Another advantage is that you can open bank account in European bank on the name of your Offshore company and benefit from both tax efficiency and veriety of banking products and services.
Disadvantages. Having a bank account in, say France, Spain or Portugal for your UK company looks less "understandable" for your customers. This is the best option though if you want to perform activities of you UK company outside of the United Kingdom or if you have many customers in Europe or Republic of Ireland (Eurozone) as well as the only option if you're non UK resident and wish to open bank account for your UK company.
Offshore bank account
Advantages. There would normally be no major problem opening a bank account in offshore jurisdiction where you register your offshore company if you satisfy all Due Diligence requirements and prove that you intend to run legitimate business. Most banks, if not all, adopted world banking standards and therefore offer most of the functionalities of world banking industry including debit/credit cards, online banking, cheque books and merchant services etc.
Disadvantages. Apart from relatively higher running costs, there are no direct disadvantages of offshore banking. Some countries, however may have certain restrictions for outgoing international transactions to banks in offshore jurisdictions. The list of such jurisdictions varies from country to country and you should always check this in advance.