As a Limited Company is a separate legal entity to that of its directors and shareholders then it will need its own bank account. Setting up a bank account is a relatively straightforward affair, having said that there are a number of choices that may affect your decision as to who you sign up with and there is certainly no shortage of deals out there to confuse you further.

Where do I start ?
For many new company directors the first point of contact is their own bank, this may be the most convenient and quickest option as the bank is likely to be able to validate the identity of the director based on their existing records. If your company has multiple directors that bank elsewhere then this isn’t going to be an advantage.
The important and perhaps obvious thing to remember here is that you look for a good deal and your existing bank may not necessarily be able to provide that. At the end of this guide are several links to some of the large banks in the UK who are able to offer business banking facilities.

What do I need to look out for ?
Many of the big banks are now offering a free banking period of anything up to 18 months. This means you will not be charged for any regular banking procedures such as using your debit card, transferring money, issuing cheques and withdrawing cash. It is important however to look at the standard rates and decide if the charges are compatible with your business. To do this you need to look at the type, size and frequency of the transactions you are likely to make and compare this with the charges imposed by the bank. It is really a case of finding the right balance.

What will I need to setup a Bank Account ?
All banks must comply with stringent money laundering regulations and therefore will need to carryout a series of checks before opening the new account. You should keep the documents you have received when your company was registered safe as these will need to be produced before the account is opened. Most banks like to see an original copy of your certificate of incorporation (printed on the correct paper), a copy of your memorandum and articles and any share certificates that have been issued. You may also be required to show your passport to confirm your identity.

How long does it take ?
Depending on the number of checks that the bank carries out to confirm the identity of the directors, secretary and the company itself it can take anything between 1-4 weeks to open a new company bank account. To make the process as quick and simple as possible I would recommend that you confirm over the telephone what documentation is required so you can have this at hand when you first meet the business manager. It is also important to remember that the banks will usually need to see all the directors and the secretary for the company in person, if you have officers situated overseas then you should confirm the requirements of the bank as early as possible in order to make any necessary arrangements.