BusinessHow to open a UK bank account from the US?

How to open a UK bank account from the US?

Since 1997, almost every year has seen a rise in the US-owned companies and employees in the UK. In 2019, US-owned local business units comprised 1% of all local business units. These statistics prove that launching and running a business in the UK as a US-based company is becoming easier. But foreign companies need UK-based bank accounts in order to run a business there, so how can you open yours from the US?

How can a U.S. citizen open a bank account in the U.K?

It is difficult for an American company or citizen to get accounts at banks in the UK. Several banks offer foreign accounts, but you’ll have to put a lot of money into them when you create them. You might also have to pay a high monthly fee to use foreign accounts. In addition, businesses are not legally required to have an online business bank account in the UK. You could get a personal account when you visit the U.K. However, the easiest option is to get a “virtual” account from a UK-based fintech provider. This is by far the most reasonable thing to do.

How to create a UK bank account for your business

Most U.K. banks will let traders and business owners with UK-registered businesses create business accounts. But you’ll have to provide information about your business’s registration and documents about the owners and anyone who owns a major share.

Different banks have different ways to set up business accounts, so before you start, you should compare a few and look at your choices. Consider digital options like Revolut or Silverbird, which are flexible and offer low-cost business services in multiple currencies.

Can I get a bank account before I go to the UK?

Most banks require you to have proof of address in the U.K. If you want to set up your GBP account before you get there, you might be better off using a specialized fintech service or a digital bank.

How do you open a bank account in the U.K.? 

To create an account with traditional banks in the U.K., you must show proof of identity and address most of the time. This means you’ll need the following:

  • A valid passport, national I.D. card, or driver’s license.
  • A credit card statement, an energy bill, or a tax return. 

Some fintech services are more open about how they check the identities of their customers. This can make it much easier for people who don’t live in the U.K. to get a U.K. account legally. 

Conclusion

There’s no law that stops non-residents from opening a bank account. But traditional banks tend to make the process complicated, expensive, and inflexible. 

Many customers will get a better overall deal using a specialized online service. This is because the verification process is easier, the fees are lower, and the exchange rates are better.

FAQs

Can someone from outside the UK create an account at UK banks?

Yes. But it will be difficult for people who don’t live in the UK to create accounts at traditional banks. It may be easier for them to do so with a specialist online provider. 

How much do I need to have to create a UK bank account?

Opening an account at a UK bank is often free, but some traditional banks require a minimum payment. Compare a few banks to find the best deal for you.

Can I open accounts without a job in the UK?

Yes. You can do that without proving that you have a job. But some specialty accounts may require you to make regular deposits from your pay, benefits, pension, or another source of income.

Can I start a bank account in the UK online?

Yes. If you have proof of a UK address. If you don’t have this, you might be better off with a specialist online provider that lets you create accounts on your laptop or mobile device and has a more flexible verification process.

Can I have a UK bank account even though I don’t live in the UK?

You won’t be able to open a regular bank account without proof of address, like a bill in your name from a UK energy company. But there are online specialist multi-currency accounts that accept proof of address from your home country.