Bank Accounts for Charities in the UK: Choose the Best 1

bank charity in uk

Bank Accounts for Charities in the UK: How to Choose the Best One for Your Nonprofit

If you’re leading a community group or charity institution in the UK, it’s crucial to establish a charity bank account for your organization. This specific account aids in keeping tabs on all incomings and outgoings and compliance with any legal and administrative requirements while illustrating clarity and responsibility towards your contributors, benefactors, and key players.

But the question remains – how can one pick the best charity bank account for their nonprofit organization? Which features or advantages should be prioritized during selection? And what is the procedure and the necessary documents required to set up such an account?

In this comprehensive guide, we will dive deep into answering these queries. We will expound upon diverse bank accounts for charities in the UK for charitable organizations, the means to assess them, and methods of establishing one. Additional sensible advice aiding sound decision-making will also be provided. So, let’s get started. 

Types of Bank Accounts for Charities

Bank accounts suitable for charities come in different forms, each tailored to fulfill specific needs and preferences. A few of the prevalent ones are

Current/transactional accounts: 

Primarily, these bank accounts permit transactions such as direct debits, standing order transfers, or cheque disbursement. These are excellent at facilitating routine transactions and cash circulation management concerns and generally provide debit card, web-based, and mobile banking access. And sometimes even overdraft possibilities. 

However, their returns through interest on your accumulated funds may be minimal, plus service fees could apply for specific services.

Savings/deposit accounts: 

These accounts enable saving money while earning an incremental increase on your balance through interest. They make your intent to expand your deposit towards specific programs or objectives rather than a conducive one. 

The benefit of deposit accounts far exceeds those transactional ones regarding every portion of engendering higher returns via interests; charities can also reap tax advantages. 

One downside they command is restrictions regarding the amount range and frequency of withdrawal/deposition actions. You may face corresponding penalties for preemptive disbursements. 

Notice accounts:

These accounts may ask you for official documentation before authorizing any withdrawal or transfer activity. Notice accounts are perfect for setting aside funds that are not required immediately but are required very soon. 

They deliver substantial interest compared to transactional and regular savings accounts. They also have potential tax incentives that are beneficial for charity institutions.

Fixed-rate bonds: 

While all three accounts may require maintaining a minimum balance and might impose charges for unscheduled transfers or withdrawals, fixed-rate bonds are an optimal choice for long-term savings. These agreements lock in a tenure of one to five years. 

Besides offering top-tier interest rates among various bank account types, these bonds provide unique tax advantages for charitable organizations. Nonetheless, they often demand high base balances and restrict any form of withdrawal or transfer before their redemption date.

How to Compare Bank Accounts for Charities

How do I set up a bank account for a charity?

After choosing the most suitable bank account for your charitable organization, the next step is setting it up. The requirements for this task can differ significantly, influenced by factors such as the respective bank and the nature of the account. Yet, a fairly standard procedure you will need to adapt looks something like this:

Check the eligibility criteria: 

Before proceeding with the application for your charity’s bank account, it is crucial to verify that you fulfill the requirements laid out by the bank. 

For instance, a few banks might necessitate that your charity be registered under the Charity Commission, have a specified annual income, or work within particular sectors or regions. You can access these prerequisites on the bank’s official site or contact them personally for this information.

Gather the required documents: 

To establish a bank account for your nonprofit organization, you must present specific documentation that verifies your identity, residential address, and legitimacy. This might include

  • untickedYour charity’s governing document, a constitution, contract deed, or association statute.
  • untickedIf applicable, the registration number and certificate of your charity.
  • untickedIf these are available, an annual report and financial statements concerning the past year.
  • untickedYour charity’s recent three months’ bank statements assume an existing account is operating.
  • untickedEach authorized person must provide personal identification such as a passport or driver’s license. A utility bill can also serve as proof of residence.
  • untickedBasic details about the nonprofit, like contact information, phone number/s, email IDs, and the website URL, if any.
  • untickedThe goals and beneficiaries of the organization – possibly illustrated using a mission declaration, proposal, or case summary.
  • untickedBudget outlines, fundraising strategy sheets, and grant applications must provide information about anticipated earnings versus expenses.

Complete the application form: 

It is also necessary to complete an application form that can be accessed from your chosen bank. This process can be accomplished through various means: online, over the phone, via postal mail, or even directly at the branch. It all depends on the specific banking policies and account type. 

During the setup stage, you’ll need to provide all collected data and official papers alongside approval over project criteria. It may also require you to answer particular inquiries about your philanthropic group’s fiscal position, risk evaluation methods, and steps adopted to combat money laundering situations.

Wait for approval: 

Upon submission of your application form, anticipate a waiting period for the financial institution to scrutinize and authenticate it. The duration depends upon the specific bank and the nature of the account. It typically ranges between several days to weeks. 

The bank will likely require additional information or clarifications from you, and verification procedures for your identity may also be initiated. After acceptance of your application by the bank, receipt of an affirmation letter can be expected.

Subsequently, you’ll gain access to utilize your charity-specific banking services.

What does 2% APY mean?

Annual Percentage Yield (APY) refers to the actual annual rate of return from a deposit account. The deposit account may be a savings account or certificate of deposit (CD). APY considers the impact of compound interest. It also considers how interest accumulates on not just the primary investment but already-accumulated interest.

To illustrate this, suppose £1,000 is placed into a savings account, yielding an APY of 2% with monthly compounding. By the year’s end, you would have earned around £20.18. Also, keeping your earnings in your account monthly gives rise to more amounts from which interest can be derived. The derivation method of APY can be described as:


The term: ‘r’ corresponds to the nominal interest rate, which represents the before-compounding rate, and ‘n’ -represents the number of times compounding occurs in a year. In the given instance, ‘r’ equals 0.02 while ‘n,’ on the other hand, is 12; hence, according to these parameters, we can calculate APY as follows:

APY=(121+0.02​)12−1=0.02018 or 2.018%

APY is a valuable tool for comparing deposit accounts that differ in interest rates and compounding intervals. A notable rise in the APY will result in an aggregated yield on your funds in the long run.

Where can I get 7% interest on my savings in the UK?

Achieving a 7% return on your savings in the UK is complex, given that most savings accounts and Certificate Deposits frequently provide significantly lower rates. Nevertheless, some alternatives could yield higher profits. They include:

Regular savings accounts. 

These types of bank accounts necessitate setting aside a specified sum of money every month for a predetermined duration, typically about one year. Specific banking systems provide these accounts with attractive interest rates. 

For instance, Nationwide provides an 8% interest rate on deposits as high as £200 per month, and First Direct offers a 7% interest rate for amounts up to £300 monthly. But before appealing, you should be aware of the hurdles and restrictions you may face like the compulsion to maintain a checking account in the same institution. You can also face restrictions on either early withdrawal or adjusting the deposit amount.

Peer-to-peer lending: 

Peer-to-peer lending allows you to borrow funds from other businesses or individuals. You utilize online platforms to do so. This method could allow you to gain more significant interest rates than traditional savings accounts because of the highest risk involved in these transactions. ‘

Be aware that these lendings do not have a back end support by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). So, there’s a potential risk of loss if the party borrowing defaults on their payment or the platform becomes bankrupt.

Stocks and shares ISA: 

A Stocks and Shares Individual Savings Account (ISA) enables you to dedicate your funds to various investment options. You can invest your funds in equities, or fixed-income securities. You can also invest in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Stock marketing is expected to always grow, so this type of ISA can offer higher yields than traditional savings accounts. But it also has its own setbacks. The volatility inherent in these markets could lead to potential losses alongside profits.

Furthermore, responsibilities such as management fees for fund managers and charges imposed by the platform will slightly diminish your net return. So, although one might make significant gains through a Stocks and Shares ISA, consider all contributing factors that affect your expected returns.

Final Thoughts

Like any organization, charities need to be mindful of their financial strategies. Budgeting and securing funds is crucial in empowering you to accomplish your goals and prepare for unpredictable circumstances or unfolding opportunities. Nonetheless, there’s more to it than mere savings; ensuring that the money you built up actively works for you by opting for the optimal bank account geared towards charities is also essential. We hope you learned a lot with this guide designed with comprehensive information to assist in making financial management decisions about your charity. It’s paramount to remember that each charity is unique – no universally applicable remedy exists. The most apt banking choice should align with your charity’s specific requirements, predisposition, and ethical standards.