Business Bank Account Opening Europe
Currently, opening a business bank account in a European bank demands a lot of effort due to the increased requirements for the beneficiaries and activities of the companies as well as complex application processing.
Our team here at Regulated United Europe has eight years of experience in helping clients to open business bank accounts across Europe. We use our wide network of trusted partners in the European banking industry to offer the most suitable and efficient options that improve the functioning of the companies we serve.
The benefits of a business bank account include the following:
- Professional image
- An opportunity to build a credit history
- More organised accounting records
- Online tools for invoicing and other accounting processes
- Annual tax reporting (it’s imperative to ensure business transactions are separated from any personal transactions)
- Business account allowances and benefits (a bank can offer reduced fees, free business advice or competitive interest rates to new business account owners)
- A European bank account enables easier management of funds and transactions within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)
You may consider opening a business bank account if:
- The amount of the company’s transactions is high
- The company’s income and expenditure have increased significantly and you need to simplify tax self-assessment
- You’re preparing to incorporate a limited liability company
- Your company needs a business credit card
- If your company intends to accept card payments from clients
- There’s an intention to apply for a business loan
Things to consider before choosing a bank:
- Whether it’s friendly to your business area (e.g. crypto) and operational framework (e.g. connectivity with PayPal)
- Business bank account fees (admin, various types of transactions, etc.) that might seem non-obvious from the first glance
- The level of customer support (communication channels and whether it can be tailored for you)
- Interest fees
- Transfer limits
- Insurance of the deposited money
- Offshore banking
Business Bank Account Opening Europe
An Overview of the European Banking Industry
The European banks are thoroughly regulated and therefore trusted by many international businesses, which can add an extra level of security to your company’s operations. The European Banking Authority is the EU’s regulatory agency whose role is to enforce transparency and integrity across the financial industry and who can override national regulations in order to achieve its goals. Another impactful institution is the European Investment Bank whose purpose is to fund strategic EU projects.
The total of the balance sheet is one of the key indicators of a bank’s success. While you can choose from a huge number of European banks, keep in mind, that the following banks are the largest (and the most successful) with regard to total assets:
- BNP Paribas (France)
- HSBC Holdings (UK)
- Credit Agricole Group (France)
- Deutsche Bank (Germany)
- Banco Santander (Spain)
- Barclays PLC (UK)
- Societe Generale (France)
- Groupe BPCE (France)
- Lloyds Banking Group (UK)
- ING Group (Netherlands)
Corporate Banking Services in Europe
Many European banks aim to cater to the varying needs of businesses and thus offer services that boost business efficiency and keep up with technology-led solutions. That said, it’s crucial to evaluate how much your company is willing to spend on banking services prior to making the decision.
Traditional European banks provide the following services:
|Some banks offer digital onboarding services, which enable businesses to open a bank account quickly and easily online.
|Online banking allows businesses to manage their accounts, make forex and shares trades, and perform wire transfers abroad from anywhere in the world.
|Credit and debit cards
|Many banks provide credit and debit cards that can be used for business expenses, managing cash flow, and accessing credit.
|24/7 customer service
|Some banks offer 24/7 customer service to provide support and address any issues or concerns that may arise.
|Personalised customer service
|Some banks offer personalised customer service, including access to a personal banker who can provide guidance and support in managing business finances.
|Harmonised service and pricing models
|Many banks have harmonised service and pricing models across the countries where their branches are available, making it easier for businesses to manage their accounts and finances across borders.
|International debit cards
|Some banks offer international debit cards that can be used for business expenses and transactions while traveling or doing business abroad.
|Connectivity with virtual wallets and online payment systems
|Some banks provide connectivity with virtual wallets and online payment systems such as PayPal, making it easier for businesses to manage their payments and transactions.
|Many banks offer business advice and support to help businesses make informed financial decisions and succeed.
|Harmonised reporting formats
|Some banks have harmonised reporting formats, making it easier for businesses to manage and consolidate their financial reporting across borders.
In addition to traditional banks, companies can also explore options within the digital banking industry, which boasts plenty of advantages. The most popular digital banks in Europe, inter alia, are Wise, Monzo, Revolut, Bunq and N26.
Pros and Cons of Using a Business Bank Account for Your Company:
|Speedy digital onboarding process
|May require a high minimum balance to open and maintain the account
|Streamlined transaction processes, which leads to reduced administration fees
|May have higher transaction fees compared to personal accounts
|Borderless multicurrency accounts, facilitating transfers and collection of payments in different currencies
|May have lower interest rates compared to personal accounts
|Exchange from euro into other currencies and vice versa, protecting from the fluctuation of exchange rates
|May require higher fees for foreign currency transactions
|Instant access to and management of funds, providing easy access to cash flow
|May require higher fees for additional account features and services
|Instant inspection of the current balance, available balance, monthly statements, and other records of information, offering easy account management
|May have higher overdraft fees or insufficient funds fees
|Lower administration fees compared to personal accounts
|May require additional paperwork or documentation for account opening and maintenance
European Banks Offer the Following Types of Business Accounts:
|Business current account
|An active account created for everyday payments, withdrawals, and transfer of funds. This account typically includes features such as online banking, debit and credit cards, and access to cash management services.
|Business savings account
|A savings account designed to store extra funds and earn interest. This account typically offers higher interest rates than a current account and may have additional features such as overdraft protection.
|Business certificates of deposit (CD) account
|A savings account with fixed and usually higher than regular interest rates. This account typically requires a minimum deposit and a fixed term, which can range from a few months to several years.
|Business money market account (MMA)
|A savings account that has characteristics of a current account, such as the ability to write checks and make electronic transfers. This account typically has a higher interest rate than a current account and requires a higher minimum balance.
|A merchant account is created to accept debit and credit payments from customers, which are then processed and transferred to other business accounts. This account typically includes features such as payment processing solutions, point-of-sale systems, and access to cash management services.
|Foreign currency account
|A foreign currency account is denominated in a currency other than the local currency and allows businesses to avoid exchange rate fees. This account typically includes features such as online banking, wire transfer capabilities, and access to foreign exchange services.
Requirements to Open a Business Bank Account
Generally, requirements vary depending on the type of legal business structure, the country where you wish to open a business bank account, as well as your company’s residence status. Banks from various countries usually offer different services to sole traders, limited liability companies, partnerships and other types of businesses.
For a limited liability company, the following requirements may apply:
- Transfer of a specified amount of capital to a new business account, which enables the registration of the business in that particular country (the required amount varies in each bank)
- Registration of the company with local authorities (usually a national commercial register)
- The transferred capital can only be accessed once the company is fully registered with the local authorities
- The head office should be located at the same place where the registered office is located
While different countries require different sets of documents for resident and non-resident companies, the following documents are generally required to open a bank account in Europe:
- Articles of Association, Memorandum of Association or other company documents (e.g. partnership agreement)
- A certificate of company’s registration
- The company’s business plan
- Identity documents of the company’s shareholders and directors
- Proof of company’s registered address
- Samples of signatures by individuals to use the business account
In terms of requirements by country, Switzerland and Scandinavian banks tend to have the strictest requirements as they are the most regulated in the global context. You’ll normally need to attend a face-to-face meeting in the country where your selected bank is located and also have your background checked in order to open a corporate bank account. If you wish to avoid the pain of having to prepare a mountain of paperwork, we highly advise exploring the possibilities available in Estonia, where the e-residency programme opens doors to foreign non-residents as long as they own an Estonian company.
How to Open a Business Bank Account in Europe
In the digitalised world, you can normally open a business bank account remotely from any corner of the world. Depending on the selected country, bank, and the number of applications they receive, the process can take from several weeks to several months.
To open a business bank account in a traditional European bank, you should take the following steps:
- Determine your business needs and the types of accounts your company requires
- Choose a European country and a bank where you wish to open a corporate account
- Reach out to the selected bank to clearly define specific requirements
- Collect required documents
- Submit an application to the selected bank
To open a business bank account in a digital bank, you should take the following steps:
- Determine your business needs and the types of accounts your company requires
- Research and select a digital bank
- Use a corporate email address to create a business account with a selected digital bank
- Fill in an online application form – provide your company’s details (company name, legal structure, registration number, registered and trading address, information about directors and ultimate beneficial owners, etc.)
- Submit the application to the selected digital bank
If you intend to open a business bank account in one of the European countries, highly experienced consultants of Regulated United Europe will be delighted to assist you. Over the last eight years, we’ve developed a wide network of trusted relationships across the European banking industry, which will streamline your application processing at a selected bank. Book a personalised consultation now to receive advice that will accelerate your business success.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Opening a business bank account in Europe can provide many advantages, such as access to a stable and well-regulated financial system, the ability to conduct business across international borders, and the opportunity to benefit from competitive interest rates and low fees. Additionally, having a business bank account in Europe can provide credibility and legitimacy to your business, and make it easier to manage your finances while doing business in Europe.
The specific documents required to open a business bank account in Europe can vary depending on the bank and the country. However, in general, you will typically need to provide proof of identification, such as a passport or national ID card, as well as proof of address, such as a utility bill or bank statement. If you are opening a business bank account, you may also need to provide business documentation, such as articles of incorporation or a business license. It’s important to consult with the bank to understand their specific requirements and prepare accordingly.
Yes, our team can help you open a business bank account in Europe. Our team of experienced professionals has deep expertise in helping businesses in a variety of industries find the right bank and navigate the complexities of opening and managing a business bank account in Europe. We can help you prepare the necessary documentation and guide you through the process of selecting the right bank and account type to meet the unique needs of your business. Additionally, for businesses in high-risk industries, such as crypto or gambling, we can help you find a bank that is willing to work with you and provide you with the financial solutions you need to succeed. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you open a business bank account in Europe.
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