Sole Trader Bank Accounts – Personal vs Business
I know questions about bank accounts have probably been asked many times, but I need some advice on what type of account I need as a sole trader.
I am not expecting high profits, potentially just selling some items online, and a lot of the information surrounding business accounts seems to be aimed at a ‘higher end’ business than I am anticipating.
Can I therefore open a personal account in my name (in order simply to keep any transactions separate from existing finances), or do I legally have to open a business account?
I have heard that there are FREE business accounts with Abbey and RBOS – does anyone have experience of how easy these are to set-up?
Finally, as a sole trader I realise I cannot register a company name although I do plan to have a website/brand name other than my own. Can this other name be used as the name on the business account (if that is what I go for) or would it have to just be in my name?
Thanks for reading my many questions and thanks in advance for any advice.
Most banks will let you open an account personally as Jacqui Smith trading as Jacqui’s Jewels, or whatever. It’s always simpler with your own bank as you already have a ‘relationship.’ I have used HSBC for ages and highly recommend them (though others wouldn’t) and they have 18 months free business banking at pres. I don’t think their business accounts have to be for a Limited company.
Abbey is free forever, but the account is only for online/postage banking.
Startups Awards finalist 2005.
I think it makes things a lot easier to have a business bank account, especially as you don’t know how things will develop. If and When you will need a Merchant Account (to accept credit/debit card) then you will HAVE to have a busines account for instance.
Although my personal account is with HSBC, I opened an account with Abbey and I am very pleased.
I have one of the Abbey accounts – they are fine so long as you don’t need to do branch based transactions which I never do. Far too busy to go into the branch, and I don’t deal in cash.
I not convinced the banks would open a bank account personally as "Jacqui Smith trading as Jacqui’s Jewels" I think that would by definition be a business bank account. If you are trying to use a personal account for business transactions then it will be normally just be in your own name which of course isn’t helpful from a business point of view.
Nigel – if you are with HSBC you may be interested in their latest offering – they are doing an account to compete with Abbey when you start get shafted by fees after the free banking is over. Might be worth a look, its quite low profile I dont think they want to alert current clients to it as they will lose a stack of fees.
James Smith [i]Chartered Accountant[/i] www.jamesesmith.co.uk --------------------------- Your indispensable guide to Small Business Bookkeeping, Self-Assessment & VAT
I didnt realise that some business bank accounts charge 70p just for writing or cashing cheques. Was a little surprised , and i dont really know what you get back in exchange for these charges?
Thanks James, re HSBC. I heard about it ‘behind the scenes’ a few weeks ago and changed over. Saves me about £15 per month, which is quite significant for a small business.
Startups Awards finalist 2005.
I have started a limited company after about 1 year of using an umbrella company but i cannot get a business account due to an adverse credit rating. I therefor want my agency to pay directly into my personal bank account but they say they cant do this.
I thought the director’s name and the company name were supposed to be interchangeable? Also, why cant they just use the sort code and account number?why do they need to know the name on the account?
This is perfectly legal to do but none of the agencies i contact will do it – why not?:’(
The director’s name and the company name are NOT interchangeable. Using a personal account for company money can lead to tax problems.
NatWest have a business account called Foundations for businesses with credit problems. Why not have a look to see if you qualify for one of those.