What documents are needed to open a business bank account?

If you already have a current account with a UK bank and you start a business of your own, they are likely to encourage you to apply for a business bank account with them – so you might expect this to be quite an easy process.

However, even if you are an existing account holder with the same bank, getting a business account can be a challenge, with a pile of paperwork, long-term contracts and all kinds of transaction fees to agree to.

The exact terms and conditions – and the documents you need to apply – depend on the bank and on the particular account you apply for, but this article is based on some real-world examples to give you an idea of what to expect.

Proof of ID

The first and arguably most basic requirement is to prove who you are, and this is usually done using your passport, driving licence or EU ID card.

If you are in business in a partnership or there are any other individuals who are likely to receive a substantial share of the profits your business makes, your bank will ask for ID for every one of those people too.

This might seem intrusive, but it’s all part of the Know Your Customer commitment that many modern financial services providers adhere to, as part of the industry’s efforts to combat money laundering and organised crime, so it is important to ask for all of this ID from anyone who will use the account or the business.

Business details

Assuming your bank is satisfied with who you are and who you’re in business with, they will usually also need certain details about the business itself.

This may include asking to see your business plan, or encouraging you to let them write your business plan for you or lend you a business development loan or ‘start-up’ loan. You should not feel obliged to accept anything your bank tries to sell you as part of the business account application process.

You may find you are unable to get a business bank account if you use your home as your trading address, or if you don’t have all the necessary methods of contact – such as a dedicated landline telephone number, mobile phone and email address all used solely for business purposes.

More personal details

On top of all of this, there are still some personal details that can prove troublesome, if your bank decide that they want to know more about you as an individual.

For example, you may be asked to provide several years of address history, which can be difficult to prove if you have moved around a lot; and you may be asked about any existing credit cards and even debit cards you have, even though debit cards are not a form of lending.

In reality, banks might ask you for almost anything else they’re curious about as part of the business bank account application process. A lot of it isn’t necessary at all, and you might not always have the relevant paperwork to hand.

A less intrusive way?

Arro Money don’t believe in asking you for information we don’t need. It just takes longer and means more people miss out on getting a business account – and we don’t want that to happen.

That’s why the Arro Business Account application process is fast and based entirely online, using simple automatic checks to verify your ID – and all without accessing your credit file in any way.

Just tell us your name, your date of birth to verify that you are over 18, your company name if you have one, and your UK trading address.

We also ask for some contact details, but these are just so we can send you your account details and the number of your Business MasterCard® debit card once your application is approved.

Am I eligible?

You are most likely eligible for an Arro Business Account if:

  • You are over 18.
  • You currently live at a UK address.
  • You are in business as a sole trader, partnership or limited company (or another business structure).
  • Your business is based in the UK.

It takes just three minutes to apply and there’s no fee for applications, with no credit checks carried out either – so in the rare event that we are unable to offer you an Arro Business Account, it will not show as a black mark on your file.