You will have 6 months from the date you receive your letter to move your account to another provider to ensure continuity of your day-to-day banking needs. While this is enough time to make the move, it is advisable to start the process as early as you can to ensure that your account (and any direct debits and standing orders attached to the account) is fully moved to another provider and is operational before your existing account is closed. This is extremely important for business customers where the volume of account transactions is higher than for personal customers and there is generally a broader range of accounts required.
The account migration process can also be more complex than for personal customers in terms of the anti-money laundering process where a number of directors may be involved, business account mandates are required, and creditor/payroll details may need to be set up on new a new online banking system. Businesses can therefore expect that is will take longer to set up new accounts with an alternative finance provider than in the case of personal customers.
All business account providers in the market want to help businesses to change provider in as seamless a manner as possible. However, given the volume of businesses switching to new providers, we ask and advise business customers to take action as soon as possible.
It is important to know that you do not have to wait until you receive a communication from your bank to start the process of moving your account. The sooner you start to prepare the better.
To open a new account, you will first need to decide who you want your new provider to be. To get information about account providers, you can go online to individual providers’ websites which provide very detailed information on how to open a business account and the type of information you need to provide. You may also contact local branch/office of your chosen providers.
There are several ways that you can apply to open a new business account. The process generally depends on your business type, whether a sole trader, company, unincorporated entity, partnership etc.
Typically, the steps to open a business account are as follows:
You can contact a local branch/office of your chosen provider by phone to book an appointment at which you will be provided with a business application form and be advised of what you need to do next.
Alternatively, some providers offer an online option of starting the account opening process by downloading a Business Account Application Form which you will need to complete and then book an appointment with your chosen provider. You can generally book the appointment online using a Business Appointment Form. You can then bring along your completed application form to your appointment.
Some account providers offer an online account opening facility for sole traders while other business types such as companies and partnerships etc. will have to arrange a meeting.
Depending on your business requirements, you will be provided with a number of forms to be completed such as Account Mandate forms, various authorisation forms for online banking, debit and credit card usage etc.
What documentation do I need to open a new business account? Why do I need to provide this?
While account providers will have their own specific requirements for opening new accounts, there are some general requirements that unlikely to differ much between providers.
When opening a business bank account, you will typically be asked to provide the following:
|Proof of Identity and Address
|Proof of identity and addresses for one or more signatories on the account
|Proof of identity and addresses for one or more directors of the business
|Proof of identity and addresses for all Beneficial Owners* of a company.
* Any individual who owns or controls 25% or more of the issued share capital
|Certificate of Incorporation (if you are a Limited Company)
|Certificate of Registration of Business Name (if you are using a different name to the Company or if you are a sole trader using a registered business name)
|In the case of a partnership, a copy of the Partnership Agreement
|Copy of your company’s Memorandum & Articles of Association
|Details of beneficial owners, Directors and Company Secretary
|Proof that your company is registered with the Registration of Beneficial Ownership (RBO) – required as part of the Customer Due Diligence measures under the Criminal Justice Money Laundering Act 2010.
|Recent bank statements
|Most recent set of certified accounts (if requiring credit facilities)
|Business plan (if requiring credit facilities)
To open a new business account, you will need to provide proof of your identity and your address. The reason you have to prove your identity is to prevent financial crimes e.g., money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud and to ensure that the person opening the account is who they say they are. Financial services providers and their staff are required by law to request this information from you.
Depending on how you open your new account – online or in a branch – there may be different documents required.
Some examples of the documents that are accepted for proof of identity and proof of address to open an account are listed below. Your new provider will advise you if these documents are accepted or if not, what other documents may be accepted.
Examples of accepted documents:
Examples of accepted documents:
Different providers will have different account opening requirements. Your new provider will advise you of the documentation they require, which once received they will have to review and process. The timeframe for opening a business account is likely to vary depending on the complexity of your banking requirements and the business type (e.g. sole trader, partnership, limited company) so this is something you can discuss with your new provider.
If you need credit facilities, you can apply for these at the same time as opening your new account. It will take longer to process applications for credit facilities, so make sure to discuss this with our new provider to ensure to allow enough time for the new facilities to be put in place.
Many businesses will be opening new accounts over the coming months, which is why it is important that you start the process as early as you can.
If you choose to open a new account yourself and gradually transfer across any Direct Debits and Standing Orders, you can continue to use your existing account. However, you should ensure that you have sufficient funds in both existing and new accounts to be able to meet continuing payments and transactions coming out of the account.
Once your new account is up and running and you have moved all your payments to your new account, you will be able to close your existing account. Please read the communication you receive from your existing provider to understand the options available to you to close your account and the timeframe they are giving you to do this.
You may not be aware but there is a switching service that is available to certain SMEs. This service is set out in the Central Bank of Ireland’s “Switching Code”, which sets out the ground rules for providers when you choose to switch your account from one provider to another.
More information is provided later in this guide.
You should inform your customers/debtors of your new account details once the account is open and you have the new account details. This will ensure that your customers/debtors have the details necessary to make payments into your new account. If there are any other sources of income into your account, you will need to contact them also.
If you have Direct Debits or Standing Orders set up on your old account, you will need to ensure that they are set up on your new account, to ensure that any payments due will be paid.
Most businesses use the Revenue Online Service (ROS) which allows companies and other businesses who are liable for tax in Ireland to file certain tax returns (e.g. VAT/RCT/PAYE etc) online. ROS provides for the setting up of a direct debit Instruction, the electronic payment of taxes and duties and facilitates tax refunds such as VAT for example. It is important therefore to ensure that you advise ROS of your new bank account details.
Different providers will have different online business banking offerings, so it is important to discuss your particular needs with your new provider.
If you are using online business banking with your existing provider, you may have regular payment beneficiaries set up. You will need to set them up afresh on your new provider’s online banking system and depending on the volume of payees, this may take some time to set up, so ensure to allow for that. Where possible it may also be useful to download/save payee details from your existing online banking system.