T O P

I'm a British national now living abroad. Does anyone know of any physical/high street bank that I can open a business account with, without traveling back to the UK to do so?

I'm a British national now living abroad. Does anyone know of any physical/high street bank that I can open a business account with, without traveling back to the UK to do so?

Fireblade_Uk

You’ve not got a hope in hell. I work for Lloyds and the procedures state you have to live in the country. That means providing ID and Address verification for your home address. That doesn’t mean, you can fudge it and give them your old address because when they do a credit and fraud check, this will likely flag up. It’s also needed to send your correspondence such as cards and regulatory documentation The London address on companies house I suspect is some PO Box or default address that some companies give you. Doesn’t mean anything and ultimately, everything comes back to your registered and living address. The moment you state Thailand, as currently living the application will get declined immediately. There is no back door way around this. You need to live in this country to open a bank account. The only other option would be to consider offshore business bank account. We’ve only got an option of Euro, Sterling, USD and I believe they are hinting at Australia Dollar in the near future. There are costs associated with a cost per month. Ultimately as others have said. You come across as someone doing something under hand. Money laundering, drug trafficking and living in Thailand won’t help your cause. I’ve just read a few of your other replies while I was typing this. If you are needing it to make international payments then open one in Thailand. The fact you want to give the image of a respectable UK Business and or website as a facade and then require it to make international payments makes me smell a rat.


CorneliusQuinn

As I stated I am perfectly aware that Lloyds and Barclays do not do accounts for non residents, full stop. Others do. The only reason I can't with HSBC, which someone else mentioned, is that I don't have a UK number. I got rid of it when I left UK 5 years ago as up until now, I have had zero use for it. Only a mug would keep a contract going that isn't being used on the off chance that might need it in the future. Anyway, the easy way around that is by having someone send me a SIM. I was hoping for a quicker option, but that will do. As soon as I recieve said SIM (probably a couple of weeks) I could open that account. So, it's not true what you say for all banks. It is possible. Also, I never once claimed that I should be allowed to use the business address, there was confusion as to where I was and where the business was, I was clarifying that. I do also have an address in UK where I am registered. As for international payments, and not that I feel I should explain what my business is, but it is selling high end and luxury garden furniture, sports equipment and home furnishings. I will need to have the ability for my customers (uk only) to pay for the items, and also to transfer monies out to the factories (plus all taxes, etc). There is no showroom, no shop, no warehouse. There are no staff in the UK. The goods go directly to the customer from the factories where I have negotiated bulk order discounts on all items. That's why I can sell high quality teak dining sets, outdoor office/garden rooms/bars at 50% of the RRP of any other online or brick and mortar business. My only costs are taxes (customs and excise, income, corporation) and multimodal logistics.


BastardsCryinInnit

>Only a mug would keep a contract going that isn't being used on the off chance that might need it in the future. Or most clued up expats. We did ten years in various Asian countries, we always had a working UK number. It's very, very common.


mediumredbutton

Yep, very silly to lose your number for a country you wish to still engage with. A cheap payg tariff costs fuck all.


tc10b

>A cheap payg tariff costs fuck all. Only thing with PAYG is that if you don't use it in however long, you will literally lose it. Better to get some sub tenner contract to guarantee service.


CorneliusQuinn

You paid a contract for ten years without using the number?


BastardsCryinInnit

The number(s) was/were used sporadically for incidences such as the the one that you now find yourself in. The cost is low, and the convenience is high. Almost every expat in our group of friends had a sim card from home.


CorneliusQuinn

Well, we have internet now, so keeping a number isn't such a big concern for people. It's usually backpackers/travelers I've met have kept their numbers, but expats in general no unless they go back regularly. I haven't been back and have no plans on doing so. My contact was 20 a month. 60 months (5 years) x 20 = £1600. This is the first time in those 5 years I've ever needed a UK number, and now I'll just have to wait a couple of weeks. A little annoying, but I saved myself £1600. I would most certainly classify myself as a mug if I thought for one minute paying 1.6k was a wise move, just to save myself a 2 week wait over this. In fact, I'd go as far as to call myself a fucking moron. Each to their own though!


tc10b

>My contact was 20 a month. 60 months (5 years) x 20 = £1600. >I would most certainly classify myself as a mug I'd agree, you can get sim only contact deals for less than £5 a month. Even less for a genuine business, such as yours.


CorneliusQuinn

I'm sorry that you all find it so unbelievably hard that I would leave the UK and not take a number with me. I'm a grown ass man, I had no intention of going back to the UK after Brexit. With the internet, why the fuck would I bother? 5 years I've never needed one, I needed it this one and it turns out HSBC are happy with me having one sent over. What's the big deal? You all fucking 16 or something and never left home?


tc10b

I was simply pointing out that you have little to no business acumen if you can't even negotiate a phone contract cheaper than £20 a month.


CorneliusQuinn

I left the UK 5 years ago. I cancelled my contract because I had no need for a UK number and did not foresee wanting one. Even for £5 a month, I had no use for one. This business was conceived this year. If I could go back in time, I still wouldn't negotiate one, even for £2, as I have now solved this problem for the total cost of £5 and have opened my account. You tell me why spending more money is better than spending less money for the same outcome? So don't go talking to me about business acumen, if that's how you conduct your own business, then you should seriously be concerned.


BastardsCryinInnit

£20 a month, is a lot to some people. I get it. For others in Asia, that's a bottle of half crappy wine, or afterwork drinks on one occasion. We didn't pay £20 a month, but it wouldn't bother us if we had had to. That's still value when you're an expat in Asia. For anyone who isnt so clear on the economics of expat-ing in far flung places.... Decent imported home comforts are disproportionately expensive, although they have come on leaps and bounds. We paid about £9 for a smaller box of Yorkshire Tea as an example. But £20 a month on a phone contract for an expat isn't a hardship.


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AlunWH

I’d be quite surprised if any bank would allow you to open a business account while you were abroad. If the business is also abroad, you should open it there. If the business is here, why aren’t you?


CorneliusQuinn

Many people non-residents who own companies. There is no legal requirement that you have to be in the same country as your business. My business is in the UK, I live abroad. I have no need to be in the UK due to the nature of the business.


AlunWH

From the banks’ point of view you sound very much like a criminal. (I’m sure you’re not, I’m just explaining how the bank would see it.)


postuk

>From the banks’ point of view you sound very much like a criminal. Don't be ridiculous.


AlunWH

Do you work in a bank?


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AlunWH

Fair enough. I stand by what I said, though.


postuk

It's more common than the average guy/gal in the street realises; for companies to operate in (and even be **based in**) the UK yet run/owned by someone abroad. The only thing *slightly* odd about this post is that the OP wants a Debit Card posting to him/her in Thailand. Well...it's a bit more than slightly odd. It's odd. And I'm not sure any UK bank would do this. OP should just apply using the company's UK registered address and then get someone to courier the debit card to him in Thailand.


CorneliusQuinn

It wasn't that I needed it sent to Thailand from the bank directly, one of the banks told me during application that they just couldn't. There wasn't a place in the application to differentiate between working and living in different countries, so computer said no. Sorry if I didn't make it clear.


AmazingSully

Anti-money laundering legislation makes this very difficult. I'm fairly sure it's impossible. Is there a reason you can't open an account in your current country in GBP and just use that for your UK based business? If not you'll need to come back to the UK to open an account.


CorneliusQuinn

It's very possible indeed. And yes, and money laundering measures are in place. Each bank I try has something that won't work. Either I can't get a debit card here, or I need a UK phone number which I don't have any more. To come back just for the sole purpose of walking into a bank for an hour simply isn't worth it. It would cost me at least £3k to get back to where I am due to covid. That's just coming back. Otherwise, there is absolutely no reason for me to be in the UK. The company is already set up and registered at companies house, the website is in place. I just need somewhere to put my money that has uk sort codes and that will allow me to make international payments and give me a debit card.


MarkusBerkel

Dude. Banks have account opening requirements because otherwise it smells like fraud. AML regs generally won't allow this, hence the residency and in-face requirement. You sound pretty confused: > *"**It's very possible indeed.** And yes, and money laundering measures are in place. Each bank I try has something that won't work."* It's precisely the AML countermeasures are are literally preventing you from doing this--which is exactly the problem that you're facing. So, ***IS IT*** "very possible indeed"? All evidence to the contrary, it seems. AML is literally what's stopping you from succeeding at this. This is exactly the kind of thing they are trying to prevent. And it seems that net has caught you. *[As an aside, if the company was already established, I think you only have yourself to blame for not having set up the bank account while you were still here.* *I don't think banks--especially trad high street banks--are going to be sympathetic to your sob story of: "Oh, damn, I didn't have my shit together before I moved to a country that isn't supported by your online competitors, and now it's gonna cost me thousands to fix my mistake; could you please do me a solid and relax your AML requirements, because please believe me--I'm not a money launderer; I'm just doing something that looks exactly like what someone who is laundering money would do, pretty please?"* *Don't you think that if banks started doing that, that the actual criminals would all say: "Pretty please, would you open an account for me?"] WTAF*


CorneliusQuinn

HSBC will do it. Cheers for your input!


northernbloke

Virtual Phone numbers >https://www.smart-numbers.net/


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CorneliusQuinn

Yes. My company is registered with companies house, and the business address is in London. I also have my old residential address which is also in in the UK.


were_z

Does that Business not have a landline you can use for the UK number side?


CorneliusQuinn

No, it's just a PO box number. I don't need any actual real offices in the UK just yet. That's kinda the whole reason the business will work. No offices, no warehouse, no staff. Virtually zero costs apart from taxes and shipping.


germanlas

Your business needs a UK address to open a business account, even if your private address is abroad


CorneliusQuinn

And it has a UK address.


Comfortable_Occasion

I would probably ask this in /r/ukpersonalfinance op


CorneliusQuinn

Ahh, great idea!


kleptokiller82

Why does it need to be a physical bank? You can open a business account with a number of the new banks online with zero issue


CorneliusQuinn

I've already had some issues with services they provide, debit cards availability in my current country being one of them.


ravs1973

I opened an offshore Lloyd's account via their Isle of man branch over the phone without too many questions but that was over 10 years since, regulations might have changed since.


StNeotsCitizen

They have, massively so. Opening a bank account in the Crown Dependencies now takes WEEKS, it's like pulling teeth. Even if you actually live here.


irishreally

Starling is remote for example


CorneliusQuinn

Just tried that. I can't apply from my current country.


emkay123

Revolut. I use their business account so I can accept GBP from the UK to a local account in addition to Euros.


CorneliusQuinn

Do they use a UK sort code? Also, do they issue debit cards? Edit: scrap that. Just applied. Not available where I am.


emkay123

Interesting, I always thought it was available worldwide.


TillyMint54

https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-crime/money-laundering-regulations


Purple_rabbit

What country are you based in?


CorneliusQuinn

Thailand


Purple_rabbit

Yeah a UK bank isn't going to onboard you if your business has nothing to do with UK and you are living in a medium to high risk country.


CorneliusQuinn

My business has everything to do with the UK. My customers are only in the UK and I'm only living over here.


D34TH2

Who looks after your post in the uk? Can they not open the account for you? What about your accountant?


CorneliusQuinn

Mail is forwarded, but it looks like HSBC can do it. I just need a UK mobile number (which I don't have anymore) so I'll have someone send me one. Annoying as it will take a few weeks and wanted to get things thing quicker, but hey hi.


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CorneliusQuinn

I'm not the only person in Thailand who has a legitimate company in the UK.


uncertain_expert

Try contacting Lloyds Bank Asia, they are based in Singapore but may be able to help: https://www.lloydsbank.com/business/corporate-banking/international/asia.html


lupes-uk

First direct?


CorneliusQuinn

No business account


NobleRotter

Santander. Ive opened business accounts with them entirely online


CorneliusQuinn

Aha I haven't tried them yet! Did you need a UK phone number?


NobleRotter

Probably. Cheap PAYG ?


CorneliusQuinn

Yeah, that means I'll have to get one sent over. I was kinda hoping I wouldn't have to do that as it will take a few weeks but it's not looking like I have any other options now.


paclayt

Would one of the online VOIP services not suit? Once you've got the Santander account set up you can cancel the service.


Snowing678

Wise, formerly know as Transfer Wise


CorneliusQuinn

They can't do debit cards where I am


Snowing678

Really that's interesting to know.


cool110110

They can only send them to the UK, US, EEA, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, and Switzerland


Snowing678

Can you not have a digital only one and use it in Google/apple pay?


cool110110

That's even more restricted, need to already have the physical card and not available in the US or Japan


spaceshipcommander

I have a NatWest business account and have never been to a NatWest branch.


dwair

If you have a UK address and it's a British registered company - Try HSBC as I seem to remember their basic business account application can be completed on line.


CorneliusQuinn

Yeah, I've tried them. No can do unfortunately.


BennyInThe18thArea

Try Metro Bank.


Mikeymca

First direct allow opening accounts without anything physical involved. Their customer service is top notch too


havingmares

When I was abroad I think natwest had a personal non res account, but you’d need to check


Kis_Cica

Try the TSB and HBSC.


GrippaH

I would maybe look at something like Revolut. You’ll get a debit card no problem. Challenger banks are likely to be your best bet. But they usually don’t have physical branches


dreamerboy007

Have you tried Tide Bank? Business account, mastercard, what else you need? Edit: Sorry, they have no physical branches.


gotti7

Came here to suggest tide, purely business banking


jesuisnick

If you look into one of the big international banks that tends to lean more towards corporate banking (Handelsbanken, Commerzbank) you might be able to open a UK account from your local international branch in Thailand. I had a quick Google of Commerzbank, and their website says you can open an account in their international branches, but it doesn't say if you can open a UK account from a Thai branch, for example. But it would be worth sending them a Twitter message or something just to see if that's an option.


FamousWorth

I got a tsb business accoint last year without ever stepping into a branch. I wasn't abroad, but you could likely set one up, even if via a proxy such as a family address. Although if you are doing business abroad there might be fees receiving and sending from another currency. In that case, and spending time abroad in general, you should look up wise, formerly transferwise, who also have a business account option and their own intenational card


West_Yorkshire

Maybe try r/legaladviceUK ?


Friendly-Damage-6371

Try 'tide' or 'wise'


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CorneliusQuinn

I prefer a physical branch because I'm old school and for some silly reason I just trust them more, that's all. It's a personal choice. And it's not I don't want to go into one, I can't - I'm on the other side of the world. The cost to get back in the country (current) would have outweighed my reasons for wanting a physical branch and I would have opted for an online bank. I asked here just to see if anyone had any similar experience, and if it was possible. Anyway, it was possible and it has all been fixed. HSBC did it all. No problems. All thanks to suggestions from here. Thank you for spending time confused about my motives, you needn't have, but I'm touched none the less.


BeefcakeUK

Revolut Business


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CorneliusQuinn

I've tried them, not available where I am


BastardsCryinInnit

You would have to pretend you're in the UK and get a debit card sent to you via a friend/family member in the UK.


CorneliusQuinn

And if they ever found out they could close my account. I have to do this above board.


BastardsCryinInnit

Then the answer is, almost impossible to get a business bank account whilst overseas for overseas activity. You should nominate a proxy to open one for you in person.


CorneliusQuinn

It's not overseas activity. The company is in UK, the customers are in UK. I'm not. You can't nominate proxies, only directors can open business accounts. I'd have to make someone in UK a director and that's not an option. Thanks for your input though.


---x__x---

Couldn't you just send it to the registered address of your business and have somebody else from the business forward the card on to you?


Totti1024

I opened my Monzo account while I was out of the UK. Might be worth giving it a shot.


Stunning-Bat-1497

Starling?


CorneliusQuinn

Can't open with them from where I am