Opening a NatWest business bank account: Everything you need to know


Managing a business’s finances is a major task, and comes with its own particular set of responsibilities and rules. So it’s no surprise that most top banks offer specially tailored types of accounts for businesses, whether you’re a sole trader or a multinational. NatWest, one of the UK’s top banks, isn’t an exception.

In this article you can find out what commercial banking services NatWest has to offer to UK businesses and organisations, and which of their accounts might be right for you.

🌎💸 Wise is saving over 10 million customers £3 million in bank fees every day. Join the revolution - get Wise.

What are the different account types for businesses with NatWest?

Like a lot of banks, NatWest offers different sorts of business accounts depending on the size and type of your business. So, take a look through the different types below to see which one suits you best.

Of course, NatWest is just one option of many; there are lots of UK banks that offer business services, and even some other institutions that you can use. Wise Business, for instance, has a great range of business options, especially if you’re likely to do a lot of business with companies abroad.

Now, back to what you came here to read.

1. Startup account

This sort of account is designed for companies that have been trading for less than a year, with an annual turnover (existing or predicted) of less than £1 million.

You might get 18 months of free business banking with this account, plus a Visa debit card, along with a few other perks like access to accounting software for free. Like with all of these accounts, you get access to mobile banking via NatWest’s app.¹

2. Business account

The next category up is for businesses with up to £2 million in annual turnover - small to medium-sized businesses. The details are much the same as with the startup account: you still get the Visa debit card, free accounting software, and a few other features and benefits as well. There is no minimum money fee so you only have to pay for the services that you’ll use.²

3. Commercial account

Things change if your business has a turnover in excess of £2 million annually, for which NatWest offers a more personalised service with their Commercial account. You’ll have your own relationship manager, and access to various special products including a commercial credit card, a different online banking service called Bankline, and help with overseas trade through import/export management, to name just a few.³

4. Community account

If you’re an non-for-profit like a charity, club or society, a Community account might be the best way forward.

You might be able to get free banking with this account if your turnover is below £100,000, or - like with the startup account - you could get 18 months for free if the organisation is new. This account comes with a Visa debit card, just like the other accounts, and you can also get a chequebook and book for paying in - handy if you receive a lot of cash or cheques.

If you’re a nonprofit with a turnover above £2 million, then you’ll need to get a Commercial account instead.⁴

Doing business overseas and need to make international business payments? Wise could save you money versus your bank.


When you have to pay employees or suppliers overseas it might seem logical to do this with your bank. You already have an account there, they have all your information, so it just seems easier. Although these are valid reasons, easier certainly doesn’t mean cheaper.

Most banks won’t convert your money at the mid-market exchange rate when you make an international payment. Instead they add a mark-up and charge you a hidden fee that way. Wise is different. Its smart technology skips hefty international transfer fees by connecting local bank accounts all around the world. Which means you can save up to 8x by using Wise rather than your bank when you send your money abroad.

Wise also has a lot of additional features for business users. You can connect with Xero to make your life easier, upload a batch of payments in one go or even automate your payments by integrating with our API. And there’s more to come in the future.

What are the requirements to open a business bank account with NatWest?

For the Startup⁵ or Business account⁶, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • You’re over 18
  • You own or direct the business in question
  • Your business is registered at an address in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Gibraltar, or you’re registered there for tax
  • You haven’t been declared bankrupt, and you haven’t received a county court judgement or court decree.

And the information you’ll need to tell NatWest, to get a Startup or Business account, is as follows:

  • Personal details. Your name, date of birth, contact details, and address. You’ll need to provide this information for not just the business owner, but all directors, partners, members, and other signatories.
  • Business details. You also need to provide information about your business, including addresses, contact details, information about what the business does and how many people it employs, and if there are any other names your business goes by. Be ready with basic details about your end-of-year accounts as well, even if they’re only forecasts.
  • Registration details. And you’ll also need to provide information about your registration: your registered company number if you’re a limited company, and details of any country that either you or your business is registered in.⁵

As you’d expect, for a Commercial account things are a little more complex and you’ll likely need to provide a bit more financial information about your business.⁷

Things are also different for the Community account, where NatWest will need different information depending on which sort of organisation you are - a registered charity or a church, for instance. They could need to see a few extra documents, so it helps to have ready:

  • Governing Documents
  • Overseas payment details: if your organisation sends money overseas
  • Bank statements: if your organisation is transferring from another bank⁸

How can you open a NatWest business account?

You can apply online with NatWest for a business account. The process will depend a little bit on exactly which sort of NatWest business account you’re opening, but the following should be a good guide to how to get set up in most cases.

  1. Work out which sort of account you need: a Startup account, Community account, etc.
  2. Get the necessary documents ready and all the information you need from other stakeholders.
  3. Begin the process online - NatWest lets you do this for all its business accounts. This may take some time, as NatWest will need to check through your details and may get in touch with you to confirm some information.
  4. Once they’ve confirmed everything, NatWest will set up your account for you and you’ll be ready to go.

What are the fees for a NatWest business account?

You might find you’re eligible for a free business account with NatWest, at least for 18 months, if you’re a startup with a low projected turnover or a community organisation. But otherwise, these are the fees you’ll face.

It’s not a complete list: there are other specialist fees like BACS payment fees, that are too numerous to list here. Be sure you have the full picture from NatWest before signing up.

Local transfer fees⁹

Services Fee
Automated payments (in or out) £0.35 per item
Cash payments (in or out) £0.70 per £100
Manual payments (in or out) £0.70 per
BACS transactions £0.18 per item

International transfer Fees

Non-Sterling Transaction Fee is 2.75% of the transaction value. This includes:

  • Cash withdrawals
  • Purchase of currency
  • Purchase of travellers’ cheques, outside the UK
  • Payments made in a foreign currency

We’ve included International payments as this is often an area where bank fees can get surprisingly high - not just with NatWest. If you do a lot of business internationally, the fees for foreign transfers can make a big difference to your balance sheet, especially when you’re just starting out.

💡 Tip! It could be worth looking into specialist international transfer providers like Wise. It sends money abroad at the mid-market rate, without any of the markup that banks tend to charge when they convert money.
    All the fees are stated upfront before you hit send. With Wise you can make foreign currency payments for as low as 0.35% across major currencies like EUR, USD and GBP. This means 87% cheaper than NatWest bank on payments in different currencies.

    Final thoughts

    Finding the banking option that works for you is essential, so that you can concentrate on making sure your business is successful. When deciding on the right account for your business, research is key - as features, benefits, and costs can vary widely.

    Natwest offers a range of account options and benefits that may fulfil your business needs, but if you expect to send and receive international payments frequently, it’s worth comparing the products available against a specialist business account from Wise, to see which will work best for you. You get virtual account details in pounds, euros, US dollars, New Zealand dollars, and Australian dollars - making sending or receiving international payments in any of those currencies a breeze.

    Sources used:

    1. NatWest Business Banking page- Start-up bank
    2. NatWest Business Account- Business Banking
    3. NatWest- Bankline
    4. Business NatWest- Business bank account
    5. NatWest Start-up bank
    6. NatWest Business account sign up
    7. NatWestCommercial Current account
    8. NatWest Community Bank account
    9. NatWest Business Account Fees - Price Brochure Section

    All sources were checked on 30-September 2021.

    This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

    Money for here, there and everywhere

    Find out more

    Tips, news and updates for your location