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I've just registered my UK limited company through "companies house" and would like to set-up corporate bank account.

I've already paid for registered office service and have an UK address for my business.

I'm not a resident/citizen of UK and not a resident/citizen of EU; i don't have a plans to visit UK.

I would like to know, is it possible to open business/corporate account in UK bank electronically, without physically visiting the branch etc.?

  • Next to impossible. They would ask you to come down to the bank to open one. They would need your personal(passport, bank account, residential etc) details in person. I doubt if any of the high street banks will allow you. You can get an accountant though who could do it for you. But the accountant has to be an UK resident. – DumbCoder Feb 7 '14 at 11:26
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It's generally not possible to open a business account in the UK remotely. It's even difficult (near impossible) for a non-resident (even if a citizen) to open a business or personal bank account while visiting the UK.

A recent report says that it may be possible to open an account via Barclays Offshore in the Isle of Man. This requires a large deposit, and probably lots of paperwork and fees (most offshore locations have stricter "know your customer" rules than major countries). Note that while the Isle of Man is inside the UK banking system (for sort codes, account numbers), it is a separate territory that doesn't have the same deposit guarantees as the UK.

There is no legal reason why a UK company has to bank within the UK banking system, although many companies paying the company would expect it or require it, and an account in anything other than sterling would complicate the accounts. It could have an account in your home country.

It's not even a legal requirement that the company has an account in its own name at all. Some people use a (separate) personal account for this purpose. There are plenty of reasons why this is a bad idea (for example it's unclear who/what owns the money in the account, and can give the appearance of director's loans), but it's a work-around. Most inbound electronic payments only require a sort code and account number, the account owner name is not checked.

The UK does have a much simpler and cheaper company registry than most European countries, but the near-impossibility of opening a bank account for a business in the UK as a non-resident has made it an unsuitable place to register a small international company.

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We use Cater Allen for our business banking (recommended/introduced by our accountants so we've saved the standard "minimum funds per month" limit) which was set up all remotely - our accountants sent us the forms (which you can get from Cater Allen's site), we photocopied the identity documents (driving licence etc) and sent them off. Within a couple of weeks we had the account open. Cater Allen hasn't got any physical branches, so that's "one way" of working around the "come into a branch" solution - pick a bank without branches!

Girobank (which became Alliance and Leicester Business Banking and then became part of Santander) used to allow all account creations remotely - but that was back in the 90s and I've got no idea if Santander still do.

Since you've setup an Ltd company, you are probably looking for an accountant too (even if it just to do your year end or payroll) - ask them for their recommendations.

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I have just established a limited company (three directors spread around the UK) and I am in the process of setting up a business account.

We will be able to arrange everything over the phone and each of us will have to appear in one of the branches with original documents: passport, bank statement. We are EU citizens and have UK bank accounts for over 5 years. That would probably be a problem for you.

But still, you can try to call around and see if you can find a company to help you.

You can also setup an account on one of the online currency exchange websites and then provide your customers with the website's bank account details with appropriate reference. You would have to check the legal side of this solution.

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    I am sorry, but you'll need more community rep before I can allow a specific recommendation. The problem is that unless wee see a real commitment to participating, it is just too hard to tell spam from legit recommendations. Besides the fact that recommendations go out of date too quickly to be good content. These might be legit, but I hope you will understand. – MrChrister Mar 10 '14 at 23:51
  • Recommend viewing this edit for some useful recommendations: money.stackexchange.com/revisions/28913/1 – cja Mar 14 '14 at 14:51

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