Payset prespective
May 4, 2023

How to Open a UK Business Account as a Non-Resident

There are several benefits to setting up a multi-currency account in the UK as a non-resident, but there are some decisions you must make before opening an account in the UK from abroad.

The UK banking system is recognized for its world-class standards, including broad support for a variety of currencies, low tax rates, and high security standards.

Though UK banks primarily serve citizens and residents of the United Kingdom, you can access the UK banking system even if you reside outside of the country. By doing so, you’ll be able to take advantage of the country’s robust network of banking services.

Here’s what you should know about the UK banking system.

Types of UK bank accounts

Most UK banks offer multiple types of bank accounts, and you may find certain options more useful than others depending on what you plan to use your account for.

Current accounts

Current accounts are the most common type of UK bank account. These accounts can be used for everyday spending purposes such as debit card payments, bill payments, ATM withdrawals and deposits, salary and wage deposits, and chequing.

These accounts often provide unlimited withdrawals and deposits. They usually offer low fees or zero fees on basic activity and may or may not provide overdraft features. 

You should open a current account if you are an individual account holder.

Savings accounts

Savings accounts are aimed at customers who plan to store money rather than spend it. 

These accounts allow you to earn interest on your balance, providing an incentive to deposit funds and limit withdrawals. Usually, you can spend or withdraw your money even if it is stored in a savings account, but there may be limitations or fees on your transactions.

You should choose a savings account if you plan to spend money infrequently.

Basic bank accounts

Basic bank accounts are intended for customers who do not qualify for other bank accounts due to low financial standing or a poor credit record. 

Basic bank accounts support the same basic transaction types found in current accounts. However, basic accounts often lack credit, checking, interest, and overdraft features.

Usually, you can only obtain a basic bank account if your bank declares that you are eligible.

Joint bank accounts

Joint bank accounts are bank accounts that are registered to multiple individuals. In most joint accounts, any single account member can execute transactions independently. 

You might choose to open a joint account if you are closely involved with the finances of a spouse or family member, or if you are working with a business partner. 

While joint bank accounts can be convenient, they can also come with disadvantages – especially if other account members spend money irresponsibly or overdraw funds. As such, it is best to open a joint account only if you fully trust the other account members.

Business accounts

UK business bank accounts are aimed at businesses and companies. These accounts typically include basic spending and transaction features. They may also include business-specific features such as billing, accounting, and tax services.

You should open a business account in the UK if you run a company. However, not all banks serve all businesses, so you may need to choose another account type even if you are a business owner.

How do you open a UK business account as a non-resident?

You can open a UK business account as a non-resident. To do so, you will need to provide your payment service provider with most of the same information that UK residents provide. Depending on your service provider of choice, you may be able to apply for a payment account online or in person.

Proof of Identity

To open a business account, you usually need to provide proof of identity documents, such as:

  • Your passport
  • Your driver’s license
  • Other ID cards

Proof of Address

You might need to provide proof of address in addition to the above documents. If you are not a resident of the UK, you should look for a provider that does not have this requirement.

Documents often accepted as proof of address include:

  • Utility bills
  • Other bank statements
  • Tax documents
  • A driver’s license 
  • Other ID Cards

Can a provider refuse to open a multi-currency business account for you?

Payment service providers can refuse to open a multi-currency business account for various reasons. For example, if you have a history of fraud, a poor credit rating, a closed account with a negative balance, or a history of bounced checks and overdrafts, you may not be eligible for an account.

However, depending on their particular policies, UK payment service providers may also refuse to serve non-residents and non-citizens even if those individuals are in good financial standing.

If you cannot open a traditional bank account, you can consider alternative services such as building societies, credit unions, and National Savings and Investment (NS&I) accounts or a multi-currency IBAN account from Payset.

Changing your payments service provider

If you currently use a provider outside of the UK, you can switch to a UK provider by opening an account and transferring money from one account to another.  

If both your current provider and your new one are in the UK, you can use the country’s Current Account Switch Service (CASS). This service allows your institution to handle most of the transfer process, meaning that you need to do little more than open a new account. 

This process takes about seven days and is available at several major UK institutions. It is available for personal current accounts and some business current accounts.

How many payment accounts can you have in the UK?

You can have multiple payment accounts in the UK, and there is no legal limit on the number of accounts you can have open at once. You may need to open multiple accounts for personal and business uses, as well as investments and savings, among other things.

However, maintaining too many bank accounts can make it difficult to manage funds, and you might need to pay higher fees if each account has a flat fee. Opening multiple accounts in a short time frame can also affect your credit score negatively.

What is the easiest type of account to open in the UK?

If you are looking to open a business account in the UK as a non-resident and want an account that can be set up easily, you should consider using online payment services or bank alternatives. These services allow you to spend, save, and manage money but are more easily available than regular bank accounts.

Can I open a UK business account online?

You can open a UK business account online with any provider that is willing to accept you as a client — but you are more likely to be successful with online services.

At Payset, our multi-currency account allows customers to send and receive 34 currencies, including the British pound (GBP) and the euro (EUR), and provide services in 180 countries around the world.

Our outgoing transaction rates begin at 0.45%, and we provide support for top payment networks such as CHAPS, BACS, FPS, SEPA, SWIFT, and more. Plus, it’s always free to receive funds via Payset, and transactions between Payset users are always free as well.

To sign up, click below:

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Frequently asked questions

What is a multi-currency account/virtual IBAN?

A Payset multi-currency account allows you to receive money in 34 different currencies and send money in up to 38 currencies, all within the same account.

You can deposit and withdraw funds, convert currencies at competitive exchange rates, and hold your chosen currencies to capitalize on market movements.

A Payset multi-currency account allows startups and business owners to receive payments from clients virtually anywhere in the world and pay suppliers, staff, and contractors quickly and affordably in their chosen currency.

  • Funds can be deposited and withdrawn from the account for a small fee.
  • Account holders can send and receive money with other Payset users for free.
  • Depending on your region, you can use various payment networks from your Payset account, including SWIFT, SEPA, ACH, Fedwire, Faster Payments, BACS, and CHAPS. 
  • Once you register an account, you will be provided with a Virtual IBAN (International Bank Account Number), which makes all of these transfers easy.
  • We provide you with local payments and collections. For example, transactions in USD, EUR, CAD, and GBP are processed through the local payment networks, which is far cheaper and takes minutes as opposed to days

Are there limits on the amount of money I can send and receive?

No, there are no transaction limits on Payset multi-currency accounts.

However, higher-volume transactions may require additional anti-fraud verification. If you plan to make a large transaction, contact us in advance to avoid verification delays.

How is Payset regulated?

Payset is regulated as an authorized Electronic Money Institution by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Our activities are also regulated by the Payment Services Regulation 2017 and the Electronic Money Regulation 2011 (SI 2011/99).

How do I send money from my account?

Once you have opened your verified IBAN account and added money to a balance, transferring funds is simple.

Simply log in into your account and add a beneficiary, then simply “make a transfer” in your preferred currency to that beneficiary.

Information contained in this publication is provided for general education and information purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, investment or other professional advice or recommendation, or an offer of, or solicitation for, any transactions or any other actions (or refraining therefrom); This material has been prepared without taking into account any particular recipient’s financial objectives or situation. We make no warranty, guarantee or representation, whether express or implied, as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or fitness thereof for a particular purpose; Use of images and symbols is made for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation or advice to take or refraining from any action; Use of brand logos does not necessarily imply a contractual relationship between us and the entities owning the logos, nor does it represent an endorsement of any such entity by Pay Set Limited, or vice versa; Market information is made available to you only as a service, and we do not endorse or approve it; Any reference to past performance, predicted returns, or likelihood performance scenarios may not reflect actual future performance and certainly do not guarantee future outcomes.

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