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What do I need to qualify for business banking?

Whether you are a sole trader, a limited company or a partnership, a business account is essential to grow your company. It keeps your finances in order and separates your business transactions from your personal accounts. You can also feel confident knowing your finances are being looked after in a way that’s designed to help you as a business owner.

But with so many bank business accounts available, alongside ongoing crimes, like money laundering, fraud and identify theft, qualifying for an account isn’t a straightforward process.

From explaining about different business account requirements to listing those documents often needed to open an account, this article aims to give the information you need to qualify for business banking. 

What do I need to qualify for business banking?

Different accounts for different businesses  

Business bank accounts tend to be split into categories according to different company factors, and they can vary from bank to bank. This can include the size of a business, how long it has been trading, and its annual turnover – the amount of money it has taken in sales over a 12-month period.

For instance, a business account from one provider, which is aimed at small companies, might just be for those firms with an annual turnover below £1 million. An account for another provider, aimed at medium-sized business, could be for companies with a turnover of between £1 and 2 million. Meanwhile, a start-up account might just be for those companies who have been trading for less than 12 months.

This means your business might need to fit certain requirements for particular accounts. When enquiring about business accounts with many banks online you will also automatically be directed to applications for certain accounts, according to the details you give about your company.

Depending on what business account you apply for, you will need to provide information to show that your company meets its required guidelines. This could include the number of employees in your business and details about your company history.

Verifying your business and identify

In order to comply with legality regulations around money laundering and identity theft, banks will carry out different checks before you can open a business account with them.

This can include credit checks and checking your company details, such as the full business address, your estimated turnover, and evidence to show your business is registered in the UK, like your Companies House registration number. Companies House is the official government organisation that keeps a record of all UK companies.

The bank may also need to check the details of those people who will have direct access to the account, such as your finance manager and company directors.

For these checks to be carried out, you will need to show copies of documents that verify your business, which the bank can keep for their records.

Providing your business documents

Documents you might need to provide to open a business account can include:

  • Forms from Companies House to show your business is registered in the UK
  • Business bank or credit card statements addressed to your business’s trading address
  • Utility bills addressed to your business trading address
  • Health and safety certificate, relating to your business’s trading address
  • Passport for prove of identification
  • Identification and other personal or business details of those people who will have direct access to the bank account

It’s worth also pointing out that documents required for different types of businesses can vary. In addition to the above, this could include:

Limited companies ­– copy of your certificate of incorporation

Partnerships – copy of your partnership deeds or the contract of your co-partner

New business and start-up companies – your business plan and cash flow forecast

Established business – a given number of years of your audited accounts

Finding the best banking for your business

While your company needs to be right for certain business accounts, you should make sure they are right for you too.

When deciding where to open your business account and before applying for one, it’s wise to talk to different banks to see what their business specialties are to find the right fit for your company.

For instance, some banks might focus on financing for small businesses, while others might be specialists in property or loans for equipment. They may even have key people on their team who have expertise or experience in your industry or line of work. This can be beneficial in giving you specific financial advice when you need it most.

Providing a business account for you

With the aim of giving our members the best help and support to manage their company finances, we provide The Co-operative Bank’s FSB Business Banking account. This specialised account, exclusively for FSB members, is designed to suit your company needs so you can focus on what’s important: your business. Benefits of the account include:

  • 24/7 access to online business banking
  • Free change facilities at The Co-operative Bank branches
  • No charges on everyday banking services, including paying in cheques
  • Fee-free overdraft, subject to application

To find out more about our business banking services and how FSB can help you, visit our FSB Business Banking page or speak to a member of our team.


FSB Business Banking from FSB

FSB members are entitled to a specially tailored bank account from the Co-operative Bank, giving you the freedom to focus on running your business.

Find out more