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If you live and work overseas but you have business in the UK, you may want a bank account that can accommodate your UK income. You don’t always have to be a UK resident to open a business bank account, but it could be a trickier process than for those living here.

International banking options

Some banks such as Barclays and HSBC offer international services for businesses. They allow you to open a bank account as a non-resident and use it to hold income and pay for business expenses.

Barclays offers a current account which you can open in a selection of currencies and locations, depending on your needs. They currently allow you to open an account in either dollar, sterling or euro. You can choose to hold these funds in the UK, Jersey, or the Isle of Man.

The downside is that some of these international banking options might only have limited or no access in some countries.

You might also be expected to have a large amount of cash ready to open the account. Barclays ask for a minimum opening balance of £25,000 (or the currency equivalent in cash or investments). It’s not ideal for very small startups, those who simply don’t have that sort of cash.


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Online banking and international trade

For those who want more flexibility, there’s another route – online banking. Many online-only banks allow you to set up an account wherever you are, and deal with whatever currency you need.

Here are two popular options you could use, though there are a rising number of online banks to choose from:


Tide is an alternative bank account aimed towards businesses who prefer not to go with traditional high street banks or for those who work internationally.

It’s built around a smartphone app, so you can manage your account entirely within the app even whilst on the move.

You can use Tide just like any other bank account but with added benefits for businesses operating across borders. You can use the app internationally at the point of sale or online without any foreign exchange rate fees.

Tide also automatically labels all income and expenses however you want. This makes it easier to manage transactions through accounting software and helps out your UK accountant.


Revolut is a digital banking alternative allows you to exchange and transfer money within 25 different currencies with no fees. Their website says they have saved customers £150 million in fees.

You can also take advantage of fee-free global spending with their VISA card, currency exchange and peer to peer payments. If you’re invested in cryptocurrency, you can also buy, hold and exchange it through Revolut.

Both options allow you to immediately freeze or unfreeze accounts if your card or smartphone is lost or stolen, to maintain security. Tide is free to set up but charges 20p per transaction. Revolut has a free version and a premium version for £6.99 a month.

Many of our current clients who are non-residents use online-only banks, including Tide and Revolut with success. It’s always worth looking around and researching all your options to see which suits you best.

Do you need help setting up as a business in the UK? Get an instant quote from us to get started, or talk to an advisor for more advice. Just call 020 3355 4047, or use the live chat button on your screen.

About The Author

Kara Copple

An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.

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1 Comment
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Akash Patel
Akash Patel
10th July 2020 4:40 pm

Hey! just wanted to let you guys know Revolut Doesnt allow non UK residents.
Have a nice day!

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