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Written by
Katy Ratican
13 Apr 2022
4 minutes

How to switch banks: A step-by-step guide for UK startups

Not all startup bank accounts are equal. If you’re thinking of switching your startup bank account in the UK to get the best deal, here’s all the information you need
How to switch startup bank account

Running a startup means having to constantly optimise your operations. Sometimes this will mean switching your current startup bank account in the UK for one that offers better benefits and lower rates. If you’re thinking about changing your startup bank account, here’s everything you need to know.

Before we get into switching startup bank accounts, let’s address the question that some might have: do you really need a startup bank account?

Why startups and small businesses need a bank account in the UK

Beyond the regulatory requirements, there are proven advantages to opening a startup bank account. For starters, it separates your business life and makes your business more professional. It will also help you to better understand your startup’s cash flow and make it easy to manage and claim your expenses.

A startup bank account also makes it easy to accept payments from several sources. Finally, it will be easier to file your taxes since your business revenue and expenses will be separate from your personal finances.

Why switch to another business bank provider in the UK?

End of freebies: There would have been several free services for a period when you opened your startup bank account. You now realise how high those fees are once they start kicking in and that’s when you should look at other startup bank accounts.

Better products: Some startup bank accounts have a better understanding of the needs of startups and small businesses. You might find their account features friendlier than those of some other banks.

Scaling needs: Your banking needs would have been different when you were starting your business. With growth comes different requirements for which you might need a new startup bank account.

Introductory offers: Maybe the new bank will offer you lower or no fees on certain services. Or maybe you can negotiate for better rates for a longer period when you switch.

Customer support: Another reason to open a new startup bank account is customer service. If your current bank can’t be there for you when you need it, it’s time to look elsewhere.

When shouldn’t you switch banks?

You shouldn’t think of opening a new startup bank account if you’re planning to get a loan or open a line of credit. These will be easier with banks that have known you for years.

How to switch business bank accounts in the UK

1. Find a bank to switch to

Compare banks and find one that has special offers for startups and small businesses. These are some of the features that you should look for in your new startup bank account:

  • Automatic bill payment: Whether it’s a utility bill or credit card bill, money should be automatically transferred for bill payments.

  • Mobile banking: Your new startup bank account should have functional and easy-to-use mobile banking.

  • Transaction fees: Find an account with low transaction fees or one that has a high quota of free transactions.

  • Monthly fees: You shouldn’t have to pay a hefty monthly fee on top of your transaction fees.

  • Ease of opening: If the account opening is complicated and takes too much time, it’s indicative of a bureaucratic system.

2. Contact the new bank to open your new account

Depending on the bank, you may need any, some or all of the following to open a new account:

  • The name of your business

  • Address

  • Registration number with the Companies House

  • HMRC certificate

  • Bank statement, passport, or director’s driving license

  • Funding needs, if any

Note: sole traders are required to provide additional information.

3. Agree on a day for the switch to take place

There shouldn’t be any vendor bills or employee salary transactions scheduled for the day when you decide to switch. Also, be mindful of any holidays. In the UK, it is the responsibility of your chosen bank to ensure that all transfers take place seamlessly.

4. Set up online and mobile banking

What you need in most cases is a digital-first bank. You should be able to set up online and mobile banking and start transactions without having to visit the bank.

5. Ensure the transfer of all recurring deposits or payments

Check with your accountant and ensure all deposits or payments have been transferred to the bank. This will be easy to do if you use accounting apps.

6. Close old bank account

Finally, it’s time to close the old bank account. Approach your old bank with the appropriate form and conclude the procedure.

Chalkboard: Supporting your startup from day one

As a virtual number app, Chalkboard is in the business of supporting small businesses and startups. With Chalkboard, your startup can:

  • Reduce costs since you don’t have to pay for additional phones, PBX or hefty monthly charges.

  • Reach international customers with a virtual number in their country.

  • Improve your brand equity with a dedicated second line for work.

  • Engage in cost-effective group conversations with contacts.

  • Use auto-reply to send pre-written messages for missed calls.

  • Get an advanced and flexible digital phone system suited for remote work.

Download Chalkboard today and start your free trial. Your new startup bank account will be happier with your exceptionally low phone bills!

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