Opening a business bank account in the UK allows you to expand your company to new markets, accept payments in GBP, and take advantage of instant payments with IBAN, SEPA and SWIFT accounts. Opening a UK business bank account also helps build your credibility and reduce the risk of trading in foreign currencies.
However, opening a business bank account as a non-resident can be challenging and complicated.
While non-residents aren’t legally prohibited from opening an account, UK banks have to conduct thorough background checks using KYC procedures, examine your company’s banking history and the reputation of your directors, shareholders and beneficiaries to comply with anti-money laundering regulations and make sure they’re not overly exposed to risk.
As a result, it’s normal for non-UK residents to face lengthy processes, compliance difficulties and be subject to lots of questions and requests for more information. Our guide will help you navigate the process of opening a Barclays’ business account and successfully launch your new UK business venture.
Why Should You Open a Barclays Business Account?Many international business owners chose to bank with Barclays because of their worldwide reputation as a Tier 1 bank and long trading history.
- Community accounts for small not-for-profit organisations.
- Wealth management services.
- Digital invoicing to send, track and reconcile payments for free using the Barclays app.
- Specialist support for high growth businesses and trading abroad.
- Mixed Payments Plans for businesses that use cash, cheques or a range of ways to make and receive payments.
- e-Payments Plans for businesses that receive electronic payments and make payments mainly through Online Banking and debit cards.
Barclays were recently ranked as the world’s best bank for markets and consistently rank among the top 10 leading European banks. As a result, Barclay’s is a popular choice for non UK residents looking to open a business bank account in the UK.
Who is Best Suited for a Barclays Business Bank Account?Business owners outside the UK will need to open a Barclays International Bank Account, which comes with some restrictions.
For example, Barclays International Bank Accounts are only available for individuals over the age of 18 and require you to make a deposit of £25,000 and maintain this balance on your accounts.
Residents of some countries may need to make a deposit and maintain a balance of £250,000. It’s worth investigating these restrictions for your countries as they don’t apply in all cases.
So, it’s worth keeping the minimum age requirement as well as the minimum deposit/balance in mind before you go through the process of opening a Barclays account. On top of that, Barclays don’t currently serve companies who operate in the gambling, crypto or financial services spaces.
Barclays offer business bank accounts to organisations of different shapes and sizes:
- Start-up business accounts with tailored online tools and advisory services focused on growth.
- Medium business accounts for turnover up to £400k.
- Large business accounts for £400k to £6.5m turnover.
- Community accounts for small not-for-profit organisations.
How to Open a Barclays Account as a Non-Resident?As a globally recognised High Street bank, Barclays has made it possible for people to successfully apply for a bank account from outside the UK. If you don’t want or have access to UK residency, you’ll need to open an International Bank Account which demands different documentation and certification processes, like applicant and shareholder proof of identity.
Fill out our questionnaire to find out if you qualify.
Can You Open a Barclays Business Account Remotely?You can open an International Business Bank account online without being a UK resident or visiting a UK branch. Follow the below steps to get your application ready and start your journey towards a Barclays bank account.
1) Get Your Documents ReadyBefore you open a UK bank account, you’ll need to get your documents ready. Each bank has their own specific set of documents which match their compliance requirements. For Barclays, you’ll need:
- Certified copy of your identity (for each applicant). You can provide proof of identity via a current, valid passport, national identity card or drivers license. Your proof of identity must include your photograph and personal details. If you use your driver's license as proof of identity, you can’t use it as proof of address.
- Certified copy of original proof of address (for each applicant). You’ll need to prove your residential address by providing an original, paper bank or credit card statement, utility bill, or mortgage statement dated from the last 6 months. You can also use your driver’s license as a proof of address. Online statements are not acceptable.
2) Get Your Documents CertifiedOnce you’ve gathered your documents, you then need to get them certified by a member of a professional body, your local bank or your local embassy. The person certifying your documents needs to verify and sign to confirm that your photograph is a reasonable likeness of you and your proof of identity and residential address match.
Who Can Certify Your Documents?
- Member of a professional body. This includes notaries, lawyers, solicitors or barristers. You can find more information and find a nearby member of a professional body at www.gov.uk/government/collections/list-of-lawyers or www.legal500.com.
- Local bank. Most local, major local banks will provide a certification service.
- Local embassy. Your local embassy or consulate should also provide a certification service.
3) Accept the Terms and ConditionsAfter you’ve gathered the required documents and had them certified, you’ll need to download and print the Barclays Client Agreement form. For bank accounts located in London, use the PLC Client Agreement Form while accounts located in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man should use the PLC (Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man) Client Agreement Form.
Your signature should be similar to the one used on your proof of identity document.
4) Send Your DocumentsYou will then need to upload your documents onto the online portal using either a scanner or by taking photos on your mobile device. If you prefer, you can also send your documents via post. Additional details can be found here.
How COVID Has Changed Banking at BarclaysCOVID has certainly disrupted the business world and banking at Barclays is no different. With high street branches closed, Barclays has had to improve and streamline its online application process. For example, non-resident business owners can now upload their documents via an online portal rather than sending via post.
Barclays has also shifted their focus to concentrate on supporting UK businesses. Once you’re set up with a UK bank account, you may qualify for government support schemes like the Bounce Back Loan. The bank will be able to inform you on your options and any available support schemes.
Why Are Barclays Business Account Applications Rejected?Opening a business bank account as a non-resident can be a complex and frustrating process, especially as it’s sometimes unclear why your application has been rejected.
UK banks have the legal right to refuse to open a bank account for anyone who does not meet their requirements, but cannot do so on discriminatory grounds. Most often banks refuse to open a business account as the company has a poor credit history, directors lack sufficient ID or proof of address or due to concerns around money laundering.
Businesses with complex structures or complicated ownership links to other companies can also play a role in application rejection. Make sure that all information, including the country of residence of your business entity, credit history and specific proof of address are all crystal clear to Barclays.
Non UK residents, who aren’t physically present in the UK, need to be able to demonstrate a clear need for a bank account and will need to go through due diligence security checks to eliminate any concerns of money laundering.
Get your UK business bank account up and running with Open.We know all the ins and outs of working with banking partners. We have the tools to help you avoid costly mistakes and make sure you have a business bank account open in the blink of an eye.
Take advantage of our win-win guarantee, where you either open a business bank account or you don’t pay us anything at all.
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