This article is aimed at reducing the odds of rejection when applying for a business bank account, and offering alternatives to for those that can't open a traditional business account 

For those that don't have time to read through the whole article, we've listed our top business bank accounts for would-be business owners with bad or poor credit histories below:

Top business  bank accounts – no credit checks:

The top card based business accounts for those with bad credit or who need an account opened ASAP.

  1. Cashplus Business Account – 1% cashback on expenditure, no up front fees, instant sort code and account number
  2. CardOneMoney Account – Guaranteed acceptance, account open within 24 hours
  3. Tide – Free fast small business account. Best for online businesses
  4. Acorn – Easy to use online business current account. Even with bad credit

Top traditional business bank accounts:

The top three traditional business bank accounts for those with poor credit histories.

  1. Santander start-up business account – Good value account, but terrible app
  2. NatWest foundation business account – See below of more details
  3. Barclays  – Still one of the quickest and easiest to open

Millions of people in the UK suffer from a bad credit history. Whether that's from defaults, County Court orders, or bankruptcies. In some instances they might not even be to blame for the initial debt. Think couples with joint finances, or students renting a shared house.

The affects of a poor credit history on your personal life are well known. Difficulty in obtaining loans, credit cards, or mortgages at a decent rate, or even being accepted for credit at all. But at least there are a number of ‘Basic Bank Accounts‘ that will allow you to make deposits and withdraws and even use a debt card.

What if you are self-employed and need a bank account for your business? If you're a sole trader with extremely limited activity, you might be able to use your personal bank account for very basic transactions, but if expect to do a decent trade, or you're setting up a limited liability company (LTD) or limited liability partnership (LLP), you will likely need a dedicated business bank account.

The problem

Despite limited liability companies, and partnerships being separate legal entities to that of their owners, or directors, both high-street and on-line banks require the director(s) to pass a personal check before an account for the business can be opened. For those with a bad credit history, that can often lead to rejection, as many would-be business owners have found out.

Unfortunately there's no such thing as a basic business bank account, but there is action you can take to help tip the odds of acceptance in your favour.

With that in mind, we've created this guide to help you open a business bank account even with a bad credit history.

Note: We've been made aware of a website claiming to offer information on a “UK Business Bank Account with Visa Debit Card and Cheque Book For Those With Bad Credit.” We'd question the wisdom in paying any website for this type of information. If you're going to pay for advice make sure it's from a trusted professional, who'll be qualified and insured to give the advice requested.

1. Create a solid business plan

Many of the traditional high street banks are stuck in the past, and opening a business account means setting an appointment with a ‘business advisor'. Creating a solid business plan is a sure way to show these advisers that you are serious about your new venture and have a good understanding of the financials. You don't have to be a Cambridge MBA to create a decent business plan nor does it have to be a mammoth document; you can get advice and support from Business Link (now part of, as well sample business plans.  The most important aspect here is to base your plan around solid financial forecasts and projects giving both you and your new bank an idea of the business' potential.

2. Check your credit report history

You'd be surprised by the amount of people who apply for big-ticket financial products, like a loan or mortgage, without first checking their reported credit history. If you are one of these people, stop now.

You need to get hold of your credit report. It will flag up any potential issues in your credit history and allow you to get them sorted out before applying for your business bank account. It could literally be the difference between acceptance and rejection. Not only that, but checking your report is free with Noddle, and Clear Score.

In the case of Experian's Credit Expert, and Equifax you can even get paid to check your report by taking advantage of special offers through cashback websites like Quidco (you'll get £2 for signup via his link)  or Top Cashback.

What should you be looking for?

Check your file for any County Court Judgements (CCJs), Bankruptcies, and defaults. Make sure all the basics are correct, your current and previous addresses, name, date of birth, and financial accounts. If you notice anything that seems wrong or out of place such as outstanding debts that you've long since cleared, or misspellings in you name or addresses, contact the agency and get the information corrected. It is also worth find out exactly how your address is listed on the report and ensure you copy that format when you apply for an account, as even slight discrepancies can trip up your application.

If you are currently in a dispute with a company over a debt, you can place a notice of correction on your file. This will force new lenders to personally look over your file to see what you have written, rather than the process being an automatic “computer says no” affair. It will make the application process take a little longer but at least you get to explain yourself.

3. Get on the electoral role

Next check to make sure that you are listed on the Electoral Roll at your current address. This is extremely important, as not being registered will make it nearly impossible to open a business bank account. If you are not registered, make sure you register by clicking here. Do this as early as possible as the register is only up dated twice yearly (Spring/Autumn) and it can take credit referencing agencies up to two months to update their records once the register is published.

Tip: Unless you want to be inundated with junk mail make sure you don't sign up for the ‘edited, or open' register. This is the one is open to companies for marketing purposes. 

4. Register with HMRC

Current tax rules mean that you must register with HMRC within three months of trading. There can be reasons delaying this registration but we recommend registering before you apply for your business bank account.

It seems that some accounts now check this and will reject your application if you are not registered.

The actual registration process is straightforward, and can be done online via the website. Register with HMRC.

Applying for a business bank account

If you have and outstanding balances on credit cards, store cards, or overdraft, it's best to clear these (if you can) at least three months before making your application. This helps because typically banks are wary about ‘lending' to those who might be overexposed financially. Yes, you may just want a simple business account, and have no intention of obtaining credit, but banks will be assessing your business' potential to make them money, and means loans, overdrafts, and credit cards.

Once you are satisfied that your credit report is order (as much as it can be), and you've got at least a basic business plan prepared complete with financial projections, you're ready to apply for a business a bank account.

Where to apply

Do you have defaults but no CCJs or Bankruptcies?

In this case it might be worth talking with your current personal bank about a new business account. If you have a basic current account with one of the main high-street banks, and you’ve run your account well then they should be your first port of call. Half of the work is already done. They have already verified your ID and address and will have a good idea of the risk you might pose. Barclays is known to be particularly accommodating, especially if you are a current account customer, and a new account can usually be opened within 10 days.

To avoid an unnecessary credit check, arrange an appointment with one of their business advisers, explain your situation and ask for their opinion on the chances of you successfully opening an account. You might be asked some tough questions about your business, so make sure you know your stuff inside out.

Can't open an account with your existing bank or you have some CCJs?

If you have previous CCJs, and can't open a business bank account with your existing bank, the Natwest Foundation Current Account might be the one for you. The account is specifically designed for those with poor or bad credit histories looking to set up in business. Here's what they say:

If you're starting your first business and have no trading history, or if you have a poor credit history, our Foundation Account could be just what your business needs.
It provides straightforward, transaction-based business banking, giving you and your business time to establish a credit and trading record.

Natwest regularly change their website. Often information about the foundation account is missing, but their business account page recently stated:

If you don’t qualify for our startup Business Current Account package, for example if you have a poor credit history,  we will talk to you about our Foundation Account when we receive your application.

There are no borrowing facilities available with a Foundation Account.

Update Apr 2017: Natwest Business confirm via Twitter that the Foundation Business Account is still available. For an application pack contact the New Accounts Team on 0800 206 1962

Can't use the Natwest Foundation account?

Despite specifically being aimed at those with a bad credit history, the Natwest/RBS Foundation account is only offered to those who fail a credit check for their main business accounts. Even then, it's not unknown to be turned down for this account, particularly if your adverse history is with any of the banks in the RBS group.

In this case your options in terms of the main highstreet banks are more limited. Though it has been known for people to be turned down by Natwest only to be readily accepted for the Santander Start-up Business Current Account.

Yorkshire Bank

Yorkshire Bank (along with Clydesdale Bank) currently has a drive to boost its business customers, particularly in the small business and start-up phases. Whilst the rules are still the same regarding bankruptcies and CCJs, the current marketing push could mean there is a little more leeway for those with a poor credit history.

The bank is recently won Best Commercial Bank in the 2019 Yorkshire Financial Awards. The application is now completely online and takes roughly 15 mins, and the account enjoys the longest free banking period of any business account in the UK.

You can find out more about the Yorkshire Bank Business Account here.

Digital challengers and app-based business ‘bank‘ accounts –  A fast surefire alternative with no credit checks

If you need a business account in a hurry, then perhaps these digital  challengers offer the best solution.

These accounts have improved massively over the years and offer most, if not all of the features of a traditional bank account at a similar cost and are much faster to open.

Even if you don't intend to use the account in the long term, in the short term, these accounts can be a life-saver, enabling you to get your business up and running with minimum delay. Once your business is earning money consistently you can then re-apply for a traditional bank account, and back up your application with proven financials to help your case.

In fact some of these challenger accounts are even in process of becoming fully fledged banks in their own right.

These type of accounts are great for small businesses, contractors, freelancers, you name it. Everyone should be accepted for these accounts as there no credit check involved, but you will need to verify your identity.

The beauty of these accounts is that if you are rejected for one of them (and we can't think why you would be), then you can apply for the other without it affecting your credit record.

The top card based business accounts are summarised below:

Cashplus Business Account

Update: Cashplus has now applied for a Banking licence. If/when granted, it will become a fully fledged bank joining the likes of HSBC, Barclays, Santander etc… Applying now could be a good method of obtaining a full business bank account later on.  

The CashPlus Business Account operates just like a regular business bank account, allowing you to send and receive cash in your business name, as well as use online banking and Mastercard debit facilities. There is a near 100% acceptance rate and no credit checks are required.

The drawback is that there is an annual charge of £69 to keep the account open (fee refunded for the year), though this actually cheaper than traditional business banking, such as Santander at £7.50 per month (£90 for the year). Additionally, you won't be able to accept cheques, but that is likely to change once Cashplus gains its banking licence.

Here's what they say:

  • 1% cashback on business expenditure
  • Send and receive bank transfers and pay in cash for free
  • Set up Direct Debits and Standing Orders for free
  • The account will be in your business' name
  • Register the account for Merchant Services & with HMRC

Cashplus account holders (and there's more than a million of them) can also use the Post Office to carry out ‘in branch' style transactions. The company's clients include government departments, and councils, as well as business of all kind. Cashplus has recently applied for a banking license, if granted, and there is every reason to believe it will be, Cashplus will become a fully fledge bank. That means it will be able to  offer additional services, and perhaps even be able to reduce the costs of some transactions. Applying now, could be an easy way to get a full bank account without the hassle of going to major highstreet bank.

>> We take a look at the CashPlus Business Account offering in more detail here

>> Apply directly for the CashPlus Business Account and get your account number and sort code immediately

The CardOneMoney alternative business account

The CardOneMoney account (formerly CardOneBanking) is similar to the Cashplus option, but it does allow you to deposit cheques, unlike the Cashplus account, and utilises Barclays branches as well the Post Office for other deposits and withdrawals.

Transaction fees are similar to the CashPlus option, though the CardOneMoney service fee is higher at £12.50 per month, but this can be off-set against tax as a business expense.

Crucially, this alternative business account allows you to easily accept international payments either electronically or as cheques, and of course there are no credit checks involved.

There is a £65 application fee, but this is refunded if you don't pass the identification process. CardOne tell us that the majority of accounts are opened within 24 hours.

>> Read more about the CardOneMoney business account in our overview

>> Apply for a CardOneBanking account now

Acorn Account

Like the CardOneBanking account, Acorn is a card based account that allows customers to pay in cheques via Post Office, and Barclays branches. Giving it a distinct advantage over some of the other accounts listed in this section. There's a £65 activation fee, that combined with £12.50 a month service charge, gets you a working business current account, that not only accept cheques, but also international payments too.

In terms of trying to open an Acorn account with a poor credit history, their websites reads:

You can get a Acorn Account For Small Business Account, regardless of credit history. We don't carry out any credit checks.

There are some caveats around that, such as businesses or persons currently in or about to enter an insolvency event, but otherwise it looks good for those who've previously experienced financial troubles.

>> Apply for an Acron account here

Fair Everywhere – Mutli-currency and international banking

Businesses needing regular access to international payments and multicurrency accounts may find their options are more limited. Yes, you can receive money from abroad via the options above, but it’s not all plain sailing.

In this instance the Fair Everywhere account from Fair FX is worth a look. It gives customers access to all the usual day-to-do day business banking, plus international money transfers in one current account with balances in Sterling, Euro and US Dollar. Exchange and transfer costs are claimed to be up to 60 per cent cheaper than the top 5 high street banks. Though it’s worth doing your own comparisons.

Application takes 5 minutes, and while there are the usual identity and anti-money laundering precautions, there shouldn’t be any hard credit checks. If all goes well, the account could be up and running in as little as 4 hours. The catch comes in the cover charge, which at the time of writing is hefty £50 per month.

Compared to the other options on our list, it’s certainly not the cheapest alternative, but it’s specialist nature could save business thousands in foreign exchange and transfer fees.

>> More about the Fair Everywhere account

Try Tide – a new fintech start-up

If you're running a small business, and prepared to carry out all your transactions electronically only, then perhaps Tide might work for you. We have a full overview of the account here , but essentially, it's digital account aimed at small to medium businesses.

It's still early days, and some commentators claim it isn't quite there yet, but it's worth keeping an eye on as new features and improvements are coming thick and fast. Do be sure to check the comments section in our overview to get real world views from others.

The main selling point is that there's no annual or monthly fee, just a £1 charge for using the card in UK ATMs, and a 20p charge for all faster payments transactions. The drawback being that you can't pay in physical cash like you can with the Cashplus or CardOneBanking accounts, can't use cheques, nor can you accept international payments, but not everyone needs those features (at first).

Also take a look at our guide to the top business bank accounts for more banking solutions.

We want to hear your success stories. Share your thoughts and experiences on business bank accounts by leaving a comment below.


  • Jon83

    It’s a real shame that basic business bank accounts don’t exist. With unemployment at over 7% we need more entrepreneurs taking the initiative and setting up their own businesses. After all small businesses employ over 47% of the UK private sector workforce.

    It’s near impossible to run a business without a bank account, and those with a pervious poor credit history or bad debts are the ones that suffer the most, but the Government is still waiting for banks to agree on minimum standards for basic bank accounts for personal use, so a basic business account looks a long way off.

  • frustrated

    I went in to Metro Bank and was told the deposit account is only available if you also have the current account (despite what it says on the website to the contrary)

    • admin

      Sorry to hear that. That wasn’t always the case, but things could have changed since they started expanding. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll check it out and update the article.

  • Mel

    I have two accounts with Santander but was refused a business account because of poor credit history , went to Natwest and was given the foundation account with no problems!!
    They offer two years free banking while Santander offer one. A better deal for me. Thanks for the refusal 😉

  • James

    Has anyone been able to open a business account with a CCJ?


  • Peter

    I had to have a business account to operate as a contracting consultant. I don’t have any outgoings to speak of except for business expenses (travel, hotels, etc) and I only have income which is not inconsiderable. I have no need or desire for overdrafts, cheque books, etc.

    Initially I tried with my own bank HSBC and the computer said no. I then tried with Metro and their computer also said no. I haven’t even bothered trying with the other high street banks on the basis of these 2 rejections.

    I did get ‘accepted’ by Cash Plus but they have been an unmitigated disaster. My first set of invoices came to nearly £23k and the payment was rejected because there is a limit on ingoing payments of £15k (which I guess is in the small print somewhere but I didn’t know about it). I then had my limit raised to the maximum £30k and I even got the remitting company to split the payment and send it in 2 amounts. The 2 payments of £11k odd then went into investigation when they came in because they were ‘large amounts’, whatever that means. It took me emailing a complaint to the CEO of APS to get these payments ‘authorised’.

    With all of these financial institutions I find it exceedingly hard to understand why it has proved so difficult to give them money. Although I have 2 very old defaults sitting on my personal file, there is absolutely no credit risk to them from this business. It is simply money in and then a bit in the way of business expenses and dividends out. I’m practically pleading with them to take in around £55k and they don’t want it.

    How has it come to this? Banks can not seem to think for themselves these days. Anyway, I’m not going to let this lie, particularly with HSBC. Metro ‘bank’ I couldn’t care less about. My whole experience with them was pure Disney.

  • martin

    I have to say Peter I’m right there with you. I have an LLP with business accounts at santander.I decided to trade then as a ltd company. Santander turned me down flat for a new business account. How the hell can that happen. Haven’t tried anyone else yet but it begs the question would anyone notice if I just continued to use the LLPs business accounts !!!!

  • John

    Interesting thread. I have recently started contracting back in the Automotive Engineering industry after a period of self-employment running a leased tied pub through the wonderful Pub company called Enterprise Inns.
    Although I appear to have managed to avoid the more usual fate of Bankruptcy that many of their lessees face I have been severely financially damaged.
    I was advised upon starting the contracting that I should set up as a Ltd company to take advantage of the benefits. Unfortunately the only thing likely to affect my ability to do this is my ability to get a business bank account.
    As the opportunity came about quickly and needed my immediate start I have started , initially I hoped, under an umbrella company.
    Obviously the Ltd option would be best and as I only need the account as a deposit account with the ability to pay my wages and dividend from, with no requirement for any credit or overdraft I hoped this wouldn’t be so difficult. I may have been wrong…unfortunately my credit history is damaged as a result of the three years lining Enterprises directors pension funds.
    If anyone can advise of a solution that may help here I would be interested as the Umbrella setup is not the most efficient.

  • Dave

    Do you know anyone that you can trust to own 80% of the shares of a new ltd company? I f they apply for an account for the new company, then if more shares are transferred to you later then you may not have to notify the bank, and in the interim you could have a signed share transfer form from the major shareholder that you can lodge at any time in the future.

  • Richard

    Have just been turned down by HSBC, this is insane. I do not need any financial support just an account in which to dump my earnings.

    How banks can refuse limited companies an account without any lending requirements at all is beyond me. The country is full of great business owners/entrepreneurs without fantastic credit reports and this stops us from making the most of the opportunities ahead of us.

    I’m now faced with having to transfer my shareholding to my wife and some point buy it back. So thank you HSBC for stopping me get on with own life.

  • carl

    Natwest are still running their foundation account but you need to specifically ask for it. Even then others have been turned down only to successfully open an account with Santander.

    I’d not thought of Dave’s method above and transferring shares to someone else. That takes a lot of trust and has implications for the other party.

    Card based accounts such as Cashplus and Cardone can be a decent stop gap to get you up and running, but they do cost. Saying that though Barclcays charge around £5.50 per month (£66 per year) for the pleasure of having an business account with them.

  • Geremy B

    It is astounding at a time when job creation and private enterprise is being promoted but banks are not playing ball by refusing basic business accounts, even to their existing customers. This is beyond ridiculous.
    Personal experience – I have applied with Barclays, HSBC, TSB, Metro and all turned me down. I’m still in the process with Natwest/RBS for the foundation account and will also try Santander and Lloyds. Suffice to say I’m not holding my breath for any success. In the meantime, I’ve opened the Cash Plus account since I have invoices to process imminently.

  • I have a very bad credit history, payroll companies don’t work for me. I have set up a Limited Company no problem and I have just tried Cash plus and been rejected. My Business is as an HGV driver,simple enough can anyone recommend what I should do next ?
    I have been off work for three months (operation) and now need to get back to work. Any help would be appreciated .

    • carl

      That’s odd that you weren’t accepted for the CashPlus card. Have you tried the CardOne Banking Accont? It’s similar with the addition of using Barclays branches as well as the Post Office. Neither of these applications will show up on your credit history so you’re safe there. CardOne also refund the fee if you’re not accepted, though I can’t think why you wouldn’t be.

  • John

    Thanks Carl, I have filled in the Card One Account and made the payment i’m waiting to hear from them .

  • James

    Hi John I have just applied for the card one account. How is it going with them – they say on their website the account can be up and running quickly.

  • umar

    Hi Guys, here is what you need to do to bypass all of this agro.

    Get someone with good credit to set the ltd company up.
    Make them go and open an account with a mainstream bank.
    Then after a couple of weeks, go to the bank with the director and add yourself on the mandate to sign and have authority.
    Then add yourself as a director
    Then resign the other director
    Then go and change the mandate to only you to sign.

    I did it with the HSBC, to whom i owe money to from having previous personal and business accounts with ! so i know it works.

  • John Hughes

    Hello Carl and James,
    I had to send them some other information which I did in support of my application and it was accepted just over a week ago. I have my card and my pin number is on its way so all good for now. Good luck with your application James.

  • Frederick Cowell

    Hi just a couple of bits of info.

    The Foundation Account does still exist with Natwest but you can forget it if you have a CCJ of any description no matter how old or how small. I was asked the question why I wanted the Foundation Account (which is pretty obvious is it not) and then asked if I had any CCJ’s. I gave an honest answer, as it’s still on my credit file I couldn’t do anything else really and that was the end of the conversation. At least by being honest it saved me the time and hassle of going through the whole application process and weeks of waiting only to be rejected at the end of it all.

    If your business or in my case limited company uses a mail forwarding address (no matter that you hold meetings and seminars from the same address) Cashpluswill reject you as they will not accept what THEY consider to be any mail forwarding address as a registered business address and state as much on their website, they care not if you also provide your home address and that it is also your trading address too believe it or not it is possible to trade from more than one address Cashplus!

    Which just leaves the CardOne account which is going through smoothly as I write, although I did squeak at the £50 application fee for which there is no real justification for in my opinion, as we the applicants do all the donkey work obtaining certified copies of our ID and proof of address pay the recorded postage and stick it in the post and all the CardOne Guys do is open the letter put a receipt stamp on your two pieces of documentation and put it in a file, but I guess we must be thankful for small mercies.

    Good luck with finding a business account everyone. Crazy situation that we are all having to go through, so much hassle for such a basic facility if you do not require an overdraft, loan or credit of any description with your bank account then why should you be prevented from using a bank. There quite simply should not be any credit checks for opening basic bank accounts ID and Proof of Address fair enough so perhaps it’s time for a two tier application process one for those wanting credit and one for those who don’t.

  • Julie

    Thanks for this very helpful article and the comments. Just trying to make sense of all business bank accounts etc and so this is very useful information from a trusted source.

  • NJD

    This is completely disgraceful.

    I have just had my business account cancelled with Santander. we do around 1 million of turnover per year, however I raised 23,000 GBP from High Net Worth Investors under the EIS Scheme and put the money through the account and they cancelled my account with 2 weeks notice. Metrobank, TSB have also turned me down.

    My credit is perfect, my chairman’s is not but he has 2.5% of the company and it should not matter.

    Someone needs to advise the government about this, the banks have been spooked by some new regulation or other and don’t want to take anyone on. This is complete madness.


  • andy

    I have missed payments on my credit file and a default I am catching up with the payments but need a business account could anyone please advise me on the best bank to apply for a business account

    • carl

      You probably already have an account by now. A few missed payments and a single default could be a problem. In that case it’s best to try the bank you already have your current account with (unless your missed payments and defaults are with them), as they will have evidence of your running of the account, and an existing relationship with you. Barclays tend to be good in this regard.

  • John Walo

    I had the misfortune to have a shop fitting contractor go bust on me a few years back that caused me great financial difficulty, My bank -at that time took the opportunity to cash in on this mistake and consequently ruined my what was excellent credit rating. It seems that banks have forgotten that THEY caused the recession and the damage to business’s. I’ve found it very difficult to keep going, now we’re out of recession I need a bank that will give me some help but I don’t think there is one out there.

  • James T

    has anyone had any success with FSB? I saw that if you become a member with them you can access a co-op business account.

  • I successfully opened a Cashplus Business Account, as I wanted to set up a simple Internet business and receive Clickbank commissions, which is normal for most Internet Marketing businesses. However I hit a stumbling block, Clickbank only send commissions direct to bank accounts that have either an IBAN or SWIFT codes (which is the international equivalent of sort codes for global banks), sadly Cashplus don’t have either of those yet according to their Twitter feed. The only other alternative is to receive international cheques direct from Clickbank and pay them into my current account or get a current account with an IBAN or SWIFT bank code. Why are the banks making things so difficult for their customers, don’t they want our custom? It certainly seems that way!

    • carl

      Normally in such circumstances the organisation would receive the money into their account then use the reference on the transaction to appropriate it to the customer. It’s a shame Cash Plus can’t at least so that.

      I think if you’re receiving personal cheques you’ll be OK depositing them into your personal account provided it’s not like loads of tiny transactions per month.

      CardOneBanking accept personal or business cheques, but as you’ve already gone down the CashPlus route, it’d be extra hassle and cost to change.

      What we need a decent high-street bank to open up a ‘No-frills’ business account even if it’s charged for, but they don’t seem to want to do that because they make too much money from overdrafts and credit cards.

      UPDATE 2017 – Both CashPlus and CardOneBanking accept international payments now

    • carl

      CardOneBanking confirmed with me that they do accept international payments. Cashplus don’t. I will amend the comparison article in due course.

  • kristian

    I read a lot of comment on here realy good and helpful . I am thinking of starting my own business up first time. Yes ive screwed and had ccj . So ime hoping cash plus will be good .. as I dont think grom these comments other banks will help ..

  • Ben

    The co-op are stingent, they cited a 4 year old default during my December ’14 application and asked me to wait until June ’16 to re apply. This was through the FSB membership, so the membership itself although it gives you a better account (2 years free), still seems to have the same criteria, i didn’t even ask for any borrowing, just a ltd co. account.

  • I have just been down to the bank and opened a business account with my bank barclays had no problems at all and both me and my business partner have bad credit. We run a small leaflet distribution company based in Kent and have been in Business as sole traders for over 10 years but wanted to go LTD so it looks better. I had a good read of this site before going to my bank and picked up some great tips. Thanks for sharing

  • we went to Metro bank and were refused an account because some of our overseas trade – India, China etc were not markets they were comfortable dealing with. Given we are in Textiles and these are huge markets then this is a strange attitude.

  • Metro Bank refused me due to bad credit (They do an Experian check).

    Natwest/RBS foundation account is only applicable if you can declare your CCJ i.e. repayments etc, if its active then you’re dead in the water.

    Santander seem favourable but again depends on your CCJ status.

    Co-Op won’t accept anyone with an active CCJ (has to be over 6 years).

    Barclays seem favourable but again depends on your overall credit rating however they state they can still offer a basic free business account.

    CardOneBanking looks the easiest, be aware of the costs involved however there is a £55 application fee (Refundable if the application fails).

  • Johnson

    All this credit checking etc has gone hysterically too far, damaging entrepreneurs/small businesses from starting projects etc., especially after the banking crash, which damaged alot of good folk/established businesses through no fault of their own, only to be doubly damaged by having it all then registered on public data bases- credit reference agencies have now become a ‘cancer’ to progress,also actively marketing everyone to do credit checking on themselves (albeit at a cost and huge profit to the agencies) combined with the rush to log anything at all on these networks- it might be said credit reference agencies might have been major contributors to all the recessionary issues in the first place- capitalism only exists on the basis of money being allowed to flow, and so making that harder must have an obvious outcome to business expansion.The time has come to start putting a severe restriction on their activities.

  • i want to open a business account i have tried the high street bank but the refuse me guess because of the bad credit. i apply to card one they refuse me and i tried cash plus they open the account after about one year of running the account the account was close i ask why they refuse to disclose the reason.. i dont now what else to do.. should i re apply to card one again? please i need an advice.. i really need a business account. all my transaction is on hold because of it… please can some one advice me. thanks

    • Carl Michael

      You have nothing to lose trying CardOne again since the application fee is refundable if you’re not successful, but you need to find out why your CashPlus account was closed. Did you inadvertently breach any terms or conditions? Since you’ve got a years worth of trading and proof of financials under your belt, I would try a highstreet bank again. Barclays and Santander seem the easiest to deal with, though if you hold a personal bank account with one of the other big player it might be worth starting their first.

  • These cards provide various advantages to the customers.

    Your credit file might not reflect all your clear credit score accounts.
    Holders with bad credit history do not have to get disappointed as credit scores do not act as the vital feature in approving
    these loans.

  • Hi,
    My credit rating at present isn’t brilliant……
    I recently went to a Metro bank branch based on that they only require basic info.
    I saw one of their business bank advisors and went through the application to open a business account. I was advised that they would do a basic credit check. I said knowingly my credit rating was brilliant at present mainly due to some missed payments as have been out of work for several months but I’m now back in work and I was sorting any monies being owned. The advisor advised they are only required to run basic check. Now something obviously came up on their screen as they said they needed to have a chat with the branch manager. So off they went for around 5/10 minutes. I’m now sitting at a desk like a naughty child thinking what’s come up… The advisor eventually returned and advised they will have to wait a decision from the Area Director before it would be agreed that they will open the account. I said why’s that as under current legislation you can’t refuse me a bank account based on whatever my credit history is. The advisor said yes I’m correct with regards to a basic current account but not on a business account. The reason my application was being put on hold so to speak was based on my ability to pay bank charges….!! Can anyone tell me if this is correct you can be refused a bank account on that basis.

  • Dennie

    I opened a startup business bank account with Santander last week for my newly formed Ltd company. I have 2 CCJ’s which are 2 and 3 years old which I’m still repaying. I had no idea it was so difficult to open a business account. I actually didn’t approach my own bank which afterwards I thought might be a mistake. Was a fast process with free banking for a year.

    • Isabella

      Thanks Dennis my credit rating ain’t great due to baggage from divorce. I am getting there but it’s still ongoing. I went to lloyds as my friend is s bank mgr there but no luck even with their influencing and speaking for me explaining this is no fault of mine etc etc. However I do bank with Santander and called them today no problem account now active. I was worried after Lloyds but your post encouraged me. Thank you

  • Martin

    Hi guys hope someone can help , I need to open a business account pretty quickly , I’ve just come out of bankruptcy, yes I know it’s bad but not all my fault but that’s in the past now , can anyone help or point me in the right direction. Many thanks in advance

  • Nigel Ford

    This country is a joke when in Spain you can open a basic bank account with a passport and contract of employment. All banks operating within the EU should be offering the same services on identical criteria should they not? Business accounts with no credit facilities should be a basic right providing you have adequate identity and paperwork from Companies House

    • Carl Michael

      The problem is that if you’re making money, they’ll always be organisations that want a piece of it. Hence why even the traditional banks like Barclays can charge up to 35p for making electronic payments, or £1.50 for cashing cheques, and they’re not alone.

  • Susannah t

    We tried with Natwest, we were told if we declared any CCJ’s then they would be considered. We were not successful. We got a letter saying they wouldn’t proceed with our application.
    I have 2 ccj’s.
    So we tried with card one. They accepted our identity checks, I emailed them a number of documents, photos, proving our business was as I claimed. Even a copy of our mycash plus statement show £10k in credit. Again we were refused, but they claimed it was probably due a breach of their terms? No idea what that is meant to mean…..
    A total shit system, I don’t want credit, I want to give them my money…….

  • Jen

    Took me 10 minutes to open Cashplus account with a low credit score and defaults… same day I was refused a HSBC business account even tho I bank with them, which left a negative footprint on my report! Cash plus does get bad reviews but so far it seems to me people want the whole facility for free… they charge an annual fee of £69.99 and a few other charges for additional facilities. But you are up an running in no time, meanwhile your credit score is building as you use them. I’ve since gone Ltd so need to close sole trader and open Ltd account. keep you posted!

  • james jomes

    I had the same troubling problem with Lloyds Bank
    They opened my account fine online even called me to check what I was going to put through the account. Had an email with my account details etc, then a week later my debit card plus card reader arrived. I went awn for a week then came back and was all ready to access my online bank account but was met with a message saying my account had been closed even though I had paid money into the account. I spoke to the “relationship Manager” an contradiction in terms if you ask me and they informed me that the account had been closed due to further checks being made. NO IDEA WHY..
    The banks in this country have it all their own way and have had for far too long. I opened a Tide account but the limits are so small it will be impossible to run an account.
    ANY IDEAS ???

    • Steve

      I know this is 3 years later than the OP but I just wanted to add that during Covid-19 I also had the exact same experience with Lloyds. I opened the business account for a LTD company, received the welcome emails, sort code, account number, card reader, pin number and card and they closed the account with no warning citing that I had not passed further checks. When queried with their business relationship manager they would not explain why. So for others out there beware this can still happen even in 2020

  • Martin

    The info on Acron is wrong – there IS an application fee…

    • Carl Michael

      Thanks Martin. You are correct. There is an activation fee. It is the personal account that doesn’t have one. I will get that updated.

  • Aleem khan

    Hi All

    My one of friend recently applied for 12-month Business account online with Santander Bank. He had very bad history and 4 default on his account. Now he got approval from santander and happy to have business account.

    So try for santander online 12 month start up account not for 18 month…

  • Claire Flavin-Jones

    Applied for the Cash plus business account as I have bad credit, prior CCJs and already hold a personal account with them. Received email saying they are looking into it and will reply within 5 business days. Have just called as not heard anything and told I have been refused, no notes or reason why. Also that they do not notify you, you can only find out if you call to check in!.

    • Carl Michael

      Sorry to hear that, not great customer service especially when competing with the modern digital accounts. Other options are CardOne/Acorn, Tide, or some of the newer accounts like Coconut (though it’s still in Beta testing and is more of a combined accounts package).

  • Fs nicklinson

    Hi opened a new card one business account but having great difficulty in withdrawing cash from NatWest can’t one tells me that NatWest don’t have to do a cash withdrawal but have a relationship with them is there anybody that has a CardOneBanking account and do they draw cash from NatWest please advise as it’s becoming awkward to run my business as I can only withdraw 450 with the cost per day

  • Louise

    I lost a business last year and went bankrupt following that. I have no CCJs and currently no debts. I was discharged a month ago with no restrictions. What payment methods would I be able to offer new clients if I start a new business? Many thanks.

Leave a Reply to J SHAW Cancel reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Yorkshire Bank was founded in 1859. The bank has a large number of retail branches, and a strong personal customer base and a business banking capability. It is now part of the CYBG plc, along with Clydesdale Bank, B, and Virgin Money.

Account features

  • 25 months' free day-to-day banking
    • No charge for cash or cheque deposits, withdrawals or Direct Debits
    • Unlimited deposits and withdrawals (subject to available funds)
  • Easy-to-use internet banking and app
  • Guidance on financial management and products
  • Apply online in just 15 minutes
  • Optional overdraft
  • Contactless, Apple Pay, Google Pay

Key facts

Annual turnover limit: £2 million
Overdraft: on application
Interest: 0% on credit balances
Daily ATM withdrawal limit: £700

After free banking period

Cash deposit fee: of 65p per £100
Automated credit/debit: 30p per item
Manual transactions: 70p per item

Other charges may apply alway check the terms and conditions.


Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank, B and Virgin Money are becoming one bank This process is expected to be completed on 21 October 2019. As such, it's worth noting that  if you have any business products (in the case of a limited liability company) or personal products (in the case of a sole trader) with Virgin Money, your Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection could be affected.

Yorkshire Bank was founded in 1859. The bank has a large number of retail branches, and a strong personal customer base and a business banking capability. It is now part of the CYBG plc, along with Clydesdale Bank, B, and Virgin Money.

Account features

  • 25 months' free day-to-day banking
    • No charge for cash or cheque deposits, withdrawals or Direct Debits
    • Unlimited deposits and withdrawals (subject to available funds)
  • Easy-to-use internet banking and app
  • Guidance on financial management and products
  • Apply online in just 15 minutes
  • Optional overdraft
  • Contactless, Apple Pay, Google Pay

Key facts

Annual turnover limit: £2 million
Overdraft: on application
Interest: 0% on credit balances
Daily ATM withdrawal limit: £700

After free banking period

Cash deposit fee: of 65p per £100
Automated credit/debit: 30p per item
Manual transactions: 70p per item

Other charges may apply alway check the terms and conditions.


Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank, B and Virgin Money are becoming one bank This process is expected to be completed on 21 October 2019. As such, it's worth noting that  if you have any business products (in the case of a limited liability company) or personal products (in the case of a sole trader) with Virgin Money, your Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection could be affected.