As with any bank account, some things to think about:
- Do I want branch and/or online banking?
- For example, if you need to regularly bank collection tin, or event money, you’ll want access to a local bank branch.
- What charges might there be?
- Do I need/want:
- Payments with a debit card and/or access to an ATM?
- A bank savings account and, if so, how do the interest rates compare?
- A secure/mobile banking app?
- What else might they offer that we’d value?
- Supporting charities or adhering ethical guidelines.
- Access to funding, loans or other services, such as free accounting software.
Opening Your Free Charity Or Community Bank Account
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.
What You Need To Set Up A Charity, Community Or Club Bank Account
This is the kind of documentation you may have to provide.
Each of the signatories (normally a minimum of two) – 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:
- a tenancy agreement or mortgage statement;
- a recent electricity or gas bill (less than 3 months old);
- a recent (less than 3 months old) bank or credit card statement that’s not printed off the internet; or
- a current council tax bill.
You will also need a copy of you governing document/constitution.
UK Charity And Community Group Bank Accounts
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 an account.
The list below includes bank accounts who support charities/not for profits etc. However please be advised this is purely a list for information purposes only the Voluntary & Community Support team are not able to endorse these. Please be aware that accounts and their services can change regularly so we recommend all groups/organisations to carry out their own appropriate checks. The banks listed below are for reference and information only.
Here are the well-known ones:
- Natwest Community Bank Account. Free up to £100k pa income.
- Bank Of Scotland Treasurers Account. For non-profits with turnover under £50k pa.
- Barclays Community Account – not-for-profit organisations with a charitable purpose and income under £100,000.
- RBS Community Bank Account – non-profits, with income under £100k pa.
- Lloyds Bank – Treasurers Account (for non-profits) accounts. Free if turnover under £50k, on most accounts.
- Santander – club, society, charity, or other not-for-profit organisation with turnover under £250k.
- Co-operative Bank. If you open a Community Directplus account you can apply for funding of up to £1,000 from their Co-operative Bank; Customer Donation Fund.
- Starling Bank – if registered with Companies House.
- Metro Bank. Community current account offers 200 free transactions. Available for unregistered charities, clubs and societies.
- CAF Bank – charge £5 monthly fee.
- Charity Bank – savings account. Invests its funds in other charities and social enterprises.
Charity Commissions advice:
What are trustees’ legal duties and responsibilities?
Whatever the charity’s activities, all charity trustees are under legal duties to safeguard the charity’s money and assets and to act prudently. Trustees also have a duty to avoid undertaking activities that may place their funds, assets or reputation at undue risk. This means that when receiving, holding and moving funds, trustees need to ensure they take proper care to ensure the charity’s money is held safely, not placed at undue risk and reaches the intended destination for the purposes intended. As part of their duty of care, trustees must also ensure that they use reasonable care and skill when making decisions about financial procedures including movement and use of money. The greater the risks, the more important it is that trustees can show that they have discharged their duty of care. Ensuring strong financial management procedures and proper internal controls, and applying a common-sense approach, will help trustees meet their duties. They also need to promote the transparency and accountability of their charity, particularly as regards its finances, which is so important for public trust and confidence in charities.
Updated July 2023