Opening a business bank account with bad credit

I have a bad credit history and am having difficulty opening a business bank account for my limited company. What else can I do?

Some business owners may be concerned about opening a business bank account when they have bad credit because of a low credit score, CCJs or bankruptcy.

To put yourself in the best position of opening a business bank account, ensure that you have fully prepared your case before meeting with potential sources of finance such as your bank manager. A detailed business plan is essential as this will demonstrate your understanding of how the business will grow, the associated risks and the behaviour of your market.

The plan will also show how your sales aspirations are deliverable and that, even if your do not achieve 100 per cent of your sales, the business can survive.

Be prepared to answer tough questions about the reasons behind your poor credit history and show that you have considered what has gone wrong in the past and how to avoid these pitfalls in the future. Click here for top tips on writing a business plan.

Ensure that you’re registered on the electoral roll at your current address as this will give your application greater legitimacy.

Can I open a business account with bad credit?

Yes, but you will be more limited. High street banks generally run credit checks so you wouldn’t be able to open an account. However, if they offer a more basic business bank account, they may not require a standard credit check.

How do I open a business account?

Open your account online, over the phone or in-branch, depending on your provider. Those who feel more comfortable online will be pleased to know that the process is often entirely online and takes less time to complete than traditional methods of opening a bank account.

What information will I need to provide?

It’ll vary depending on which provider you go with, but could be any of the following:

  • Companies House registration number
  • Full business address
  • Estimated annual turnover
  • Details of the main persons of responsibility
  • Passport, driving licence and/or EU identity card
  • Proof of address ( recent bank statement, recent energy bill, latest council tax bill, tenancy agreement or mortgage statement)

Which business bank accounts are available to me?

NatWest Foundation Current Account

As its name suggests, the Foundation Account is a basic account from NatWest.

The catch is that you won’t be able to apply for this account directly. It may be offered to you if you try and apply for another NatWest business account that you’re not suitable. For more information, contact the New Accounts Team on 0800 206 1962.

Digital-only banks

You may have more luck with a digital-only bank which don’t require your standard credit check.

Tide

Tide says that its account is suitable for all sizes, including freelancers.

You can manage multiple accounts, sync up with accounting software from Sage, Xero, KashFlow and more and you can open an account within minutes.

They don’t carry out credit checks; rather, they do electronic checks run by third-party services to verify your identity and do anti money laundering checks. These checks will appear on your credit report but will not affect your credit score.  

Cost

Free: £0
Plus: £99 per month
Cashback: £49.99 per month

Starling Bank

Apply for an account in around ten minutes on the Starling Bank app. There are no monthly fees and no UK payment charges.

The base account has a raft of features (though some are pretty standard) including receipt capture, free UK bank transfers and in-app and freepost cheque deposits.    

For more specialised features, there are three add-ons.

The Business Toolkit

  • Create, match and send invoices ‘in a matter of clicks’
  • HMRC tax calculation, tax report, and automated savings
  • Record VAT and submit Making Tax Digital VAT return

>See also: Making Tax Digital April 2022 – what’s changing

Euro business account

  • Exchange and hold euros
  • Local account details to make and receive local payments for free
  • Spend for free on card like a local using your regular business card

US dollar business account

  • Hold, send and receive dollars
  • Get local account details for cost-free payments
  • Use your regular bank card

Starling will perform a ‘soft’ credit check which means they’ll get a request for information from credit reference agencies. It won’t be visible to other credit reference companies or affect your credit score.  

Cost

Base account: free

Add-ons (all prices include VAT)

The Business Toolkit: £7 per month
Euro Business Account: £2 per month
US dollar business account: £5 per month

ANNA Money

ANNA promises to have your business account ready in less than ten minutes and give you a debit card that miaows. You’ll get a virtual card so you can start using your account while you wait for your physical card to arrive.

ANNA is compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay. You can also give cards to employees and set a spending limit – the app will automatically sort out their expenses.

It has an alternative credit checking system similar to Tide.

Cost

Pay as you go: Free (some charges apply)
Business: £14.90 per month
Big business: £49.90 per month

Monzo Business

With Monzo Business, you can set money aside from your balance with the Pots feature, get digital receipts and you can budget and categorise spending. Extras like Xero accounting software and multi-user access are available on the Pro version.

Monzo will perform a soft credit search when you apply.  

Cost

Lite: £0
Pro: £5 per month

Revolut

This is the right account if you do a lot of foreign currency transfers. First off, track the status of transfers in the app in real time. What’s more you can receive, hold and exchange money in over 30 currencies with no hidden fees. Set up as many sub accounts in each currency as you need.

The bulk payments feature makes paying clients and suppliers easier too.

Cost

Free: £0
Grow: £25 per month
Scale: £100 per month
Enterprise: Bespoke

Card One Money

Order up to four cards for your team to use for expenses and add some money to them directly from your account.

On both versions of the account, you can pay in cash and cheques. With the corporate version you get your own account manager, open banking API integration and multi-level approvals for payments.

In the absence of credit checks, you will be subject to identification, residency and company checks. The insolvency status of your company will also be checked.

Cost

There is a one-off fee of £55 for signing up to the Business account.

Business: £12.50 per month
Corporate: Bespoke

Countingup

Countingup’s pricing structure is different in that your subscription fee may go up or down depending on how successful your business has been that month. It’s all in the name of fair pricing for Countingup’s customers.

All of the accounts come with receipt capture, a tax estimate tool, automated categorisation and the ability to share your account with your accountant. There are charges for ATM withdrawals, Post Office deposit and foreign currency transaction fees.

Cost

Total monthly deposits of £0-£750: £3 per month
Total monthly deposits of £750-£7,500:
£9 per month
Unlimited monthly deposits:
£18 per month

The first three months are free.

Cashplus

Cashplus offers card blocking and PIN retrieval as well as the ability to capture and add digital receipts in the app. Add up to 20 business cards, track certain expenses and restrict certain transactions too. What’s more, you can export statements in PDF or CSV.

Apply in as little as four minutes, with instant online decision, account number and sort code.

A credit check isn’t performed, but Cashplus will need proof that your business is based in the UK. Limited companies will also be required to confirm the date of birth and home address of any Persons of Significant Control (PSCs).

Cost

The account costs £69 a year.

Acorn Account for Businesses

Any business can have an Acorn Account for Businesses, regardless of their credit history. Open your account within 24 hours, but you’re only able to do so between Monday and Friday.

You get a dedicated account manager to deal with your accounts. You can also pay in cheques and withdraw cash from Barclays branches.

Though there won’t be a formal credit check, there will be ID and business verification tests. As long as you’re not in an ‘insolvency event’, you’ll have a decent chance of landing an account.

Cost

The account costs £12.50 a month.

There is an activation fee of £60, which includes a Giro book.

What are my other options?

One further option, if your business has high growth potential is contacting a ‘business angel’.

Business angels are wealthy, entrepreneurial individuals who provide capital in return for a proportion of your company’s shares.

They take a high personal risk in the expectation of owning part of a growing and successful business.

Read more

Why small businesses should call upon the expert Angels

Related Topics

Business Bank Accounts

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