How to set up an SME business account

If you’re starting a small business or you have an existing SME that is outgrowing your personal bank account, a business account is a sensible next step, so you can keep all of your income and expenditure from your business activities separate from your day-to-day household spending.

There’s absolutely no reason why you have to open a business account with your existing high street bank – in fact as a purely business-driven decision, it makes good sense to shop around and compare the fees and features of different accounts first.

But you should also consider the application process and the information you need to provide in order to get approved for a business bank account. In many cases, especially when your venture is still very new, you might find some accounts are not available to you without a long-term business plan or an existing order book.

What you might need

The high street banks put different requirements on opening a business bank account, but some of the things they might ask to see include:

  • Proof that you have registered a limited company or equivalent.
  • Proof that you already have a certain value of orders in the pipeline.
  • Existing trading figures/accounts if your business is already up and running.
  • Proof that you have increased your turnover in each recent year of trading.
  • A business plan covering up to several years in the future.

On top of this are all of the usual personal ID and background financial checks, not only for you but for anyone who is involved with your company at director level, as a partner or as an ‘interested party’ likely to benefit financially from it – and if any one of you fails to meet all the criteria, your entire application could be rejected.

What you want from an SME account

In most cases if your business is quite small, you probably don’t expect the world from a business account – just the ability to manage your professional finances in a responsible way.

If you don’t want to be continually invited to business development meetings with a different advisor every time, or to be pushed into taking out a loan to invest in expanding your business, then you might not want to open a business bank account with any of the high street banks.

There are alternatives, and you can still get a sort code and unique account number for people to pay your company, along with a Business MasterCard® debit card that looks professional in use, and a fully fledged online dashboard to move your business’s money around via Faster Payments and Direct Debits.

The Arro Business Account

You get all of this from an Arro Business Account, which is open to sole traders, small businesses and large organisations alike – anyone who is in business in their own right, whether big or small.

With every account you get:

  • A unique login to the Arro Money online dashboard to view and manage your business account.
  • Access to common ways to move money, including Faster Payments, standing orders and Direct Debits.
  • A sort code and unique business account number so you can accept payments from customers and transfer your own funds in when you need to.
  • A Business MasterCard® debit card to use for everyday business expenses online and in shops.
  • The ability to withdraw petty cash from ATMs when you need to, using your Business MasterCard®.

The application process takes just three minutes and we will immediately send you your online login, account details and debit card number, which you can use online straight away, before the physical card has reached you.

How to apply

Visit our signup page and make sure you have chosen the Arro Business Account application form – you should see an option to provide your company name. We accept applications from sole traders too.

Just fill in the simple details required:

  • Name.
  • Date of birth.
  • UK trading address.
  • Company name (if applicable).
  • Contact details.

And that is it. With no overdraft or credit card, there’s no need for us to check your credit status – or to access your credit file at all. The automated online ID checks we carry out are instant and do not access your credit report.

Within as little as three minutes you can have a unique business account up and running, allowing you to keep your company’s money separate from any other business ventures and personal accounts you have.