Step by step instructions on how to find and open the best UK community or charity bank account for you, including dealing with the common problems charities and community groups experience when trying to open an account, with charity bank account FAQs at the end. We have a separate guide on how to deal with charity bank account problems - advice, resources & people who can help.
Here are things to think about when setting up a community or charity bank account.
As with any bank account, ask yourself:
For charity savings accounts, also think about how quickly you may need to access your funds. Instant access accounts are obviously very convenient but usually pay lower interest than a notice or fixed term deposit accounts.
You don't need a bank account to register a charity with the Charity Commission. However, opening one can take a long time and very few funders will pay a grant, unless you have a bank account in your charity's name. It's a basic anti-fraud measure.
Given that securing income is almost always a priority for any charity or community group, starting the process to open a bank account early is usually a good idea. And securing funding can be even harder, so next think about how you plan to go about that.
Listed below is just some of our free support, but you also have our AI bunnies with you every step of the way. Just click the icon in the bottom right of any screen and tell it what you need - help with registration, finding funding, advice, expert free support, resources, guides, data, raffle prizes, whatever. Available 24/7, they'll go and get you what you need.
Use the free Funding Finder, to find a huge range of grants and Help Finder to find lots of free fundraising support and also companies that make product/financial donations. Like (most) charity bank accounts it's free, but unlike opening a charity account it's quick, simple to use and works for any non profit, no matter how small.
Quick, simple and very effective. Nearly half our ratings are 10/10.
Find Funding, Free Help & Resources - Everything Is Free.
To find funding and help with any problem, for individuals and non profits, click the bunny icon in the bottom right of your screen and tell it what you need - use short questions and include key words.
Opening an account can be very hard work and take time but listed below are the best known banks that offer free charity, community and club bank and savings accounts. This won't be a complete list but I have no commercial relationship with any of them and have not been paid to include them. Where I've had feedback or personal experience of particular accounts, I've included notes but this is anecdotal/opinion and doesn't necessarily mean that other banks are not better or worse.
If you're known at your local branch, particularly, if you're an existing business customer, that might make it a bit easier to open a bank account.
The list below includes those I've heard charities and community groups speak well of. However, that doesn't mean I'm able to endorse them, or that the others I've listed below them won't provide you with a good service.
Here other well-known banks that offer charity bank accounts
What you need and what you need to do.
This is the kind of documentation you may have to provide.
Each of the signatories - 2 documents: one to prove identity and one to their address.
To prove your identify, you need your passport, driving licence or identity card (if you’re an EU national).
You’ll also have to prove your address by providing another document. Every bank has its own list of what documents are acceptable as proof of address. Broadly speaking, however, these include:
You will also need a copy of you governing document/constitution.
Each bank has similar, but slightly different procedures to open a free bank account. Here are some examples of what you might expect.
There must be a minimum of 2 of signatories on the account.
Some banks have online account registration but, if not, contact your local branch and book an appointment.
Some require all of the signatories to attend the appointment together, with their proof of identify and address documents above.
Ahead of your appointment, Barclays will e mail you:
You should complete these and bring these with you to your appointment, together with your constitution.
Listed below are answers to common questions about bank accounts for charities, as well as the Charity Commission's banking guidance.
Charity Commission guidance on trustees’ legal duties and responsibilities in respect of operating a bank account - holding, moving and receiving funds safely, including when moving those funds internationally.
Charity Commission CC8 guidance on systems of internal financial control, including internal controls for banking.
Plus, 100+downloadable funder lists, 40+ policies, 8 online health checks and the huge resource base.
I am not an accountant, nor a lawyer, nor do I hold the necessary qualifications to provide financial advice and no advice can be applicable to all organisations, in all circumstances, so this resource is no more than a guide to understanding. I've summarised the regulatory guidance and augmented this with my own experience and Internet research, but I am not competent to provide professional advice. I have included links to the source guidance to enable you to check this yourself and, if you think you might need professional advice, use Help Finder to find pro bono support.