Opening a euro account in UK for business (2024)

Despite Brexit, the UK's financial and payment ties with the EU remain robust. Opening a euro account in the UK for your company can be a strategic move, especially if you have business activities in the Eurozone or deal with clients and suppliers who prefer transactions in euros. In this article, we review existing options to help you make an informed decision and choose the best euro account for your UK business.

Are UK bank accounts part of SEPA?

Yes, although the UK left the European Union, it still remains part of the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area). This is why you can make a SEPA payment from most UK bank accounts, be it a bank or a digital payment platform. That means quick settlements in euro with other SEPA zone countries.

These payments are also often less costly than standard international payments sent through the SWIFT network. However, since your account balance is in pound sterling, currency conversion charges still apply every time you are making or receiving a payment. High street banks are known for having quite hefty FX charges. If your business is making regular transactions with European counterparties, opening a euro account can be a good cost-saving option.

Can I have a euro account in the UK?

Yes, you can open it with most local banks as well as choose digital alternatives. However, note that EUR accounts offered by traditional banks are usually separate accounts with additional account fees and strict eligibility criteria. They are more often than not reserved for larger businesses.

If we are talking online banking alternatives, multi-currency accounts such as MultiPass can be a good option. It comes with a single IBAN to hold, send and receive money in multiple currencies, including GBP, EUR, USD and others which makes working with your foreign clients and partners much easier.

What are the advantages of a EUR account in the UK?

Having a euro account can offer several benefits for businesses in the UK, especially those engaged in international trade or other business operations in Europe. Here are some key advantages:

  • Avoid high exchange fees every time you need to pay or receive money from your foreign counterparties. Banks are known for unfriendly exchange rates and hidden fees. By keeping the balance in euros, payments and receipts can be processed directly without the need for currency conversion.
  • Mitigate FX risk. A euro bank account helps British businesses reduce the risk associated with currency fluctuations in case the value of the pound decreases against the euro. Having balances in both the pound sterling and euro allows the choice of holding funds in the stronger currency.
  • Lower per-transaction fees. Having a euro account typically comes with access to SEPA, a payment scheme used for domestic transfers denominated in euros. This results in faster, cheaper, and more efficient cross-border payments.

Which UK banks offer euro accounts?

Euro bank accounts are available at most major banks as separate currency accounts alongside sterling accounts. Let's review them one by one.

Barclays

Eligibility: To open a euro account, your business must already hold a Barclays sterling current account with them.

Account maintenance fee: Barclays charges a variable account maintenance fee, which may depend on your business turnover. Additionally, transaction handling costs apply, ranging between £0.45 and £0.64 per transaction, billed quarterly.

Payment fees (EUR, SEPA): Receiving: £0, Sending: £0.35.

EUR card: Unavailable. A 2.75% fee applies for non-sterling transactions.

Dedicated manager: Barclays does not offer a dedicated manager for euro bank account holders. However, they provide separate support phone lines, with the level of support depending on your business's turnover.

HSBC

Eligibility: An active HSBC current account in GBP is required before opening a euro account. Some account types may have a minimum balance requirement.

Account maintenance fee: HSBC currency account maintenance fee ranges from £96 to £180 per year depending on the business size.

Payment fees (EUR, SEPA): Receiving: £0 to £0.20, Sending: £0.24.

EUR card: Unavailable. A 2.75% fee applies for non-sterling transactions.

Dedicated manager: HSBC offers a dedicated manager only to businesses with an annual turnover exceeding £100,000.

Lloyds Bank

Eligibility: Lloyds Bank requires an annual turnover between £3 million and £25 million for their Euro Current Account. Additionally, having a GBP account with Lloyds is necessary.

Account maintenance fee: The euro account comes with a yearly maintenance fee of £24.

Payment fees (EUR, SEPA): Receiving: £0, Sending: £5.

EUR card: Unavailable. A 2.75% fee applies for non-sterling transactions.

Dedicated manager: Yes, Lloyds Bank provides a dedicated manager.

Santander

Eligibility: Santander's foreign currency account is available in a range of currencies, including euro and is aimed at businesses with a turnover exceeding £250,000.

Account maintenance fee: The information regarding the account maintenance fee is not publicly available, suggesting a need for direct inquiries with the bank for tailored pricing information.

Payment fees (EUR, SEPA): Receiving: £0, Sending: £0.20.

EUR card: Might be available for private banking customers. Where not available, a 2.75% fee applies for non-sterling transactions from a GBP Debit card.

Dedicated manager: Might be available for private banking customers.

NatWest

Eligibility: NatWest offers a Business Currency Current Account in a range of currencies, including euro. No minimum balance is required, however security may be required. A GBP account with NatWest is required as well. Eligibility is subject to status.

Account maintenance fee: NatWest's website indicates that product fees may apply, indicating bespoke pricing based on individual business needs.

Payment fees (EUR, SEPA): Receiving: £0, Sending: £0 to £0.45.

EUR card: Unavailable. A 2.75% fee applies for non-sterling transactions.

Dedicated manager: NatWest provides dedicated managers exclusively for high-net-worth customers, focusing on delivering specialised services to this particular segment.

Starling Bank

Eligibility: Specific eligibility criteria for Starling's Euro account can only be confirmed after opening a GBP account with them. According to information accurate in January 2024, Starling is not accepting new applications for euro accounts. However, they have indicated that these accounts will be available again.

Monthly account fee: A monthly fee of £2 is charged for euro-denominated business accounts.

Payment fees (EUR, SEPA): Free for both incoming and outgoing SEPA payments. It is important to note that Starling's Euro account is limited to sending SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) and Target2 payments. This means that the account is suitable for businesses that primarily deal with transactions within the Eurozone.

EUR card: Available

Dedicated manager: Starling does not provide dedicated manager support.

How does MultiPass compare?

euro-account-with-multipass

Eligibility: MultiPass multi-currency accounts are available to businesses from the UK, EU, UAE and several other jurisdictions with local and non-resident owners, regardless of business size.

Account maintenance fee: Monthly fees vary depending on the pricing plan and start from £29 for plan Global. There's no need to open a separate bank account in every currency and market you plan to enter. With MultiPass you get a single provider for UK, EU and US accounts as well as efficient transactions in over 30 currencies at bank-beating exchange rates. All plans come with dedicated support.

Payment fees (EUR, SEPA): Receiving: £0, Sending: £0.50 (plan Global). The same fees apply to local payments in GBP, USD, AUD, CAD, CZK, DKK, HKD, HUF, IDR, INR, MYR, NOK, PHP, PLN, RON, SEK and SGD.

EUR card: Available. No charge for card payments in EUR; 1.5% when you withdraw cash from an ATM.

Dedicated manager: Available.

How to open a euro bank account in the UK for business

  1. Choose a bank or contact your existing bank to learn about international banking options.
  2. Check eligibility and requirements. Typically, you'll need to be a UK resident and have a UK-based business that fits the bank's risk appetite. The banks will require you to open a business account in pounds sterling before you can open a euro bank account.
  3. Gather necessary documents. You will likely need to provide various documents, including proof of identity (such as a passport or driver’s license), proof of address, and business-related documents. These can include your company registration details, articles of association, and possibly recent financial statements.
  4. Apply online or in person. Please note that most banks will require your personal presence for identity verification or the presence of another company director with a UK residence.

Get an IBAN for your business with MultiPass entirely online

Apply for your MultiPass account online and get onboarded in days, not weeks! The process is simple - submit an online form, attach the required company documents and pass a quick digital identity verification. Our team will review it and contact you to guide you through the rest.



Sources:

www.barclays.co.uk/business-banking/accounts/rates-and-charges/
www.business.hsbc.uk/en-gb/products/foreign-currency-account
www.lloydsbank.com/assets/commercial/international/int_services_tariff.pdf
www.lloydsbank.com/business/fx-margins.html
www.lloydsbank.com/business/international/commercial-foreign-currency-account.html
www.santander.co.uk/content/dam/sites/santander-uk-cb/resources/documents/international/international_current_account_tariff.pdf
www.santanderprivate.co.uk/global-private-banking/global-currency-accounts
www.natwest.com/business/bank-accounts/business-currency-current-account.html
www.natwest.com/business/support-centre/manage-your-account/manage-your-account-charges.html
www.starlingbank.com/business-account/multi-currency/euro-business-account/
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