How to Open a UK Bank Account for a Foreign Company

One of the most sought after setups in international banking today is pairing a foreign company with a UK bank account.

There are tons of reasons for this. But businesses differ. Motivations vary. And, opening a UK bank account for a foreign company is definitely not guaranteed.

In fact, most foreign companies will never make it past a UK bank’s due diligence and KYC process.

But on the other hand, some foreign companies have no trouble opening UK bank accounts at all.

Regardless of which bucket you fall into, one fact should give you some comfort if you want a UK bank account for your foreign company…

London is overflowing with banks!

As the world’s largest banking hub, there are plenty of options to choose from. There are over 150 banks from 38 different countries, as we shared in a recent article about account opening for UK companies.

But one thing that sets London apart from the rest of the banking world is that it comes with a built-in offshore financial center.

It’s the ultimate banking hybrid… or at least it used to be.

For decades, the world’s super-rich flocked to London for tax, banking, lifestyle, and more.

Everyone from Saudi Princes and Chinese billionaires to Hollywood megastars and Russian oligarchs descended upon the UK to take advantage of the non-dom tax system.

But “Londongrad” isn’t open to everyone…

Banks here have given the cold shoulder to many foreigners, making it difficult for their businesses and themselves to open accounts.

So, in today’s article, we’re going to tackle an important question…

If you’re not an oligarch, billionaire, foreign royal, or a wealthy movie star, how can you get your foreign company a UK bank account?

We’ll explore the answer, what’s possible, and what’s not below…

Which Foreign Companies Can Open UK Bank Accounts?

foreign company uk bank account which country

When it comes to your foreign company, a UK bank account can be very difficult to open. In fact, the denial rate for applications is incredibly high.

That’s why very few people try to open bank accounts in the UK for foreign companies.

Almost all applications that get rejected are for one of two reasons…

  1. Applicants are unable to meet the bank’s account opening requirements and give up
  2. Applicants apply with the wrong bank, branch, or banker

But, there are a few exceptions…

For example, foreign companies that successfully open accounts typically fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Large clients that will be incredibly profitable for the bank
  2. Have direct business ties to the UK
  3. Have existing contacts that can help them open accounts

Or…

  1. They have the right information, the right contacts, and understand how to approach banks as someone that they typically deem high-risk.

Since you haven’t opened a UK bank account for your foreign company yet, let’s move forward and assume you fall into category four.

And that’s a good thing because if you target the right banks, have the right account opening strategies (and some patience), you should be able to open an account at a UK bank…

Why You Can’t Get Your Foreign Company a UK Bank Account

foreign company uk bank account can't open

To understand how to open an account at a UK bank, you first need to understand why it’s so difficult to open a bank account in the first place…

Otherwise, you’ll just keep making the same mistakes when applying for accounts.

The bottom line is this: 

Dealing with foreign companies is high-risk for banks!

Today, new compliance regulations require banks to know every detail about a client’s business, related parties, shareholders, directors, and more.

And, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But account opening can get extremely challenging if your company isn’t from the same country as the bank.

So, what do most UK banks now? Instead of dealing with time-consuming due diligence, increased compliance expenses, and a foreign company that could cause huge headaches, many UK banks prefer to just say “Sorry, we’re not interested!”

In other words, most banks think your foreign company is a big, hairy compliance headache and they’d rather avoid you… and that’s especially true if your company isn’t going to be a profitable client for the bank.

And that brings us to…

TOP 10 REASONS: You Can’t Get Your Foreign Company a UK Bank Account

  1. Your business is registered in a non-cooperative jurisdiction
  2. The industry your business operates in is considered high-risk
  3. The directors and shareholders of the company (you?) are from a high-risk country
  4. You’re only going to make the minimum required deposit
  5. Your business won’t use any of the banks higher ticket products or services
  6. Your business won’t invest in any of the banks higher value products
  7. You applied before asking if the bank will open a UK bank account for a foreign company
  8. When applying, you chose a UK bank that has a long history of rejecting foreign companies
  9. You chose a branch and banker that doesn’t open for foreign companies
  10. You applied without understanding the experiences of others

Unfortunately, even if you do all of the above right, it’s still going to be tough to get your foreign company a UK bank account.

But tough doesn’t mean impossible, so let’s consider your options…

How to Get Your Foreign Company a UK Bank Account

foreign company uk bank account customer

When it comes to opening a UK bank account for your foreign company, you have a few options…

Naturally, we reserve our most powerful account opening strategies for GlobalBanks Insiders, who receive detailed reports from our team on how to open accounts in countries around the world.

But in this instance, we wanted to share a few insights on how you can open accounts…

The first step is knowing which strategy will work best for you.

That typically means assessing your client profile, the pros & cons you present, and knowing the bank’s sensitivities.

After all, no client is perfect, and even if you want to open an account for a foreign company, you probably still have something of value to offer the bank.

Get Your Foreign Company a UK Bank Account by Becoming Valuable to the Bank

Banks are businesses. And like any business, they want profitable clients.

So, if you want them to open an account for your business (as a potentially high-risk client) you’d better fall into the profitable category.

Keep in mind that banks typically generate income in a few different ways, either from fees or through investment products.

When you start thinking of it that way, you can start to imagine how you can become more profitable for the bank as a client.

Three Ways to Become a Valuable Banking Client

  1. Deposit a considerable amount of money into a bank account
  2. Invest a considerable amount of money into the bank’s products, or
  3. Purchase products and services that will generate income for the bank

The term considerable is obviously very subjective. Every bank is different. So knowing the bank you’re dealing with and their expectations is key.

In other words, if a bank is used to receiving $1,000,000 as a starting deposit, they won’t be motivated by you offering to deposit $25,000.

These are only three potential ways that can help to get your foreign company a UK bank account.

We go into much more detail in GlobalBanks Insider, sharing our best account opening secrets, and highlighting many more strategies that almost any foreign company can use to get a bank account at a UK bank.

Do You Have Any Other Options?

foreign company uk bank account options

If you’re a GlobalBanks Insider, submit a request in the Insider Dashboard and one of our team members will share the best UK account opening strategies for your situation.

If you’re not a GlobalBanks Insider, and you’re not able to use the strategies we’ve shared above, maybe it’s time to consider alternatives to getting your foreign company a UK bank account.

But before looking at other banking options, you should ask yourself the following four questions. These will help you determine whether the UK was really right for you, and where you should consider opening instead.

Four Questions to Ask Before Choosing Alternatives:

  1. Why do you want a UK bank account in the first place?
  2. Do you actually require a UK bank account?
  3. Can you access the same banking services elsewhere?
  4. Can you access the same currencies or products in another country?

The fact is, there are a lot of banking options available today, even for foreign and offshore companies.

How to Choose the Best Place to Bank

Choosing the best country to open a bank account for your foreign company should be based on your specific requirements, your business’ needs, and whether or not banks there will realistically accept you.

With this in mind, it’s entirely possible that the UK is not the best place for your foreign company to open an account.

Instead, be selective and determine which countries offer the service you need and allow you to access the best possible banks.

Maybe that’s the UK… maybe it isn’t.

At GlobalBanks, we specialize in helping our premium members, GlobalBanks Insiders, navigate the international banking world, and open the best accounts for their businesses in foreign countries.

More often than not, that means opening bank accounts outside the country where you live or your business is registered.

If you’re struggling with opening bank accounts for your company, grab your FREE copy of the Business Banking Starter Guide now and unlock insights that will help you get started right away.

Want to Open Accounts For Your Foreign Company Faster?

If you’re in need of a business bank account, don’t know where to start, or just want to sort out your banking options as fast as possible, we can help.

If you want to know which specific banks will accept you, which account opening strategies to use, how to avoid high fees, and overcome tough requirements, then we’d be happy to help you on your journey.

When you join GlobalBanks, you’ll also get instant access to our entire archive of Banking Intelligence Reports. These include proven strategies for opening accounts. We also share contact information for specific banks and bankers. And to make sure you don’t waste time, we’ll also provide details on each bank’s preferences, sensitivities, and more.

You will also get access to the GlobalBanks Database which includes easy-to-digest bank profiles, analyst insights, account opening contacts, and unique opportunities for the top banks in 50+ countries.

GlobalBanks Insider is the most comprehensive international banking resource you’ll find anywhere. Click through below to learn more…

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