10 January 2021

5 reasons why your application for a UK business account could be rejected

There are many reasons why an application for a UK business account could be rejected. In this guide we highlight 5 reasons why this happens and discover how to avoid them.
5 Reasons Why You Might Be Turned Down For A Business Account | 3S Money

At 3S Money, we understand the difficulties entrepreneurs face when trying to scale a business. It can feel that with every positive step forward an even bigger hurdle stands in the way. 

The trials and tribulations of independent businesses are challenges owners willingly accept. What they shouldn’t have to accept, however, is overcoming barriers set by the very institutions that should be helping them. 

It can feel that high-street banks and traditional financial service providers will look for any excuse to reject an application. For too long banks have slammed the door in the face of SME owners – it’s time for them to take back control of their financial lives.

In this guide, we’ll explore 5 reasons why UK business account rejections happen and how to avoid them.

Holding a foreign passport

The foreign ownership or directorship of any business is seen as an immovable red flag for domestic banks. In their antiquated view, holders of a foreign citizenship are considered high-risk and therefore to be avoided. 

When applying for a business account, simply the colour of a passport can be enough to see an application rejected. This simple but powerful digressional measure systematically locks out thousands of wealth-creating entrepreneurs from local markets. 

This level of discrimination is as prevalent in online banks, as it is in their high-street competitors. At 3S Money, our mission is to stamp out passport-based financial discrimination once and for all. We accept businesses from 190+ countries and seek to empower business owners globally.

Having a complex business structure

High-street banks always prefer to stick to the status quo and either can’t or won’t, understand that small businesses don't always operate in linear terms.

A business with a complex structure is defined as an organisation in which the ownership structure isn’t clear. This can include having multiple Ultimate Beneficiary Owners, shareholders, investors, or strategic partners. All corporations have purposefully complex structures. Their true ownership is often hidden behind layers of corporate officers, holding companies and regional directors.

Yet, they face no difficulty accessing financial services or opening new business accounts. The idea that financial services providers aren’t operating on a level playing field, shouldn’t come as a surprise. Scaling a new business in today's economic environment is complicated enough, without having to face unnecessary barriers.


Operating internationally

Cross-border trading is another business activity that can set compliance alarm bells ringing. With financial crime being at record levels, it’s understandable that banks are becoming ever more risk-averse regarding international payments.

However, this attitude seems counter-intuitive in today's modern, borderless global economy.  Businesses, whatever their size, can now access international markets directly from their smartphone. Yet, their financial services providers can barely facilitate their domestic payment needs.

Businesses that regularly make high-value international payments, will understand how frustrating the restrictions of traditional banking services can be. Even with a dedicated multi-currency business account, international payments can still be blocked or delayed without reason.

At 3S Money, we aim to work with companies facing financial blockers and make international payments possible in seconds, not days. 


Interacting with "high-risk" countries

Every business that trades globally is aware of sanctioned countries. However, there is still a select number of countries that, whilst not sanctioned, are considered ‘high-risk’. There are myriad reasons why a country or region can be considered high-risk, but it’s usually decided based on political and economic parameters. 

The parameters are traditionally defined through the prism of western ideals. Not only does this result in an unconscious bias towards ‘preferred’ regions, but it also limits access to business opportunities in emerging markets.

Our progressive, risk-based approach allows us to process high-value international payments in 190+ countries. This enables businesses to scale faster, reach their overseas customers, pay suppliers and trade without borders.

COVID, Brexit and other uncertainties


Britain’s exit from the European Union ended five decades of shared financial infrastructure. Although much of the framework remains the same, EU passport holders no longer benefit from unilateral access to UK banking.
European business owners are now subject to the same administrative checks as other foreign nationals. This has resulted in an increase in application processing times and opportunities for rejection. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic & impending recessions has seen many banks scale down their business account offerings.

SMEs continue to be underserved by the institutions that are supposed to help them. At 3S Money, we believe in banking for the brave and challenging the status quo. Our global multi-currency business accounts provide every SME with limitless payment opportunities.

Enjoy this blog?  Share with your connections