How to open a euro business bank account from the UK

Tilly Michell3
FinanceBusiness tips
How to open a euro business bank account from the UK
In this article

If you’re a UK business with customers or suppliers in Europe, opening a euro business bank account can save you a lot of money. 

If you don’t have a euro account, you will be charged currency conversion fees every time you collect payment from your European customers, send money to your European suppliers, or pay for expenses in euros.

By opening a euro account from the UK, you can avoid these fees and significantly increase your profit margins. 

What is a euro business bank account? 

A euro business bank account is similar to a sterling business bank account, except rather than holding pound sterling, it holds euros.

By opening a euro business account from the UK, you can collect, hold and send euros whilst avoiding unnecessary currency exchange fees and cross border transaction charges.

Depending on the account provider you choose, you may receive a debit card when you open a euro business bank account, which you can use to pay expenses in euros without being subject to fees. 

You can open a free euro business account with Airwallex online and start spending and collecting euros across borders with zero charges.   

Why open a euro business bank account?

Between 2021 and 2027, the cross-border eCommerce market is projected to grow at an annual CAGR of 27%, reaching $4,820 billion by 2026. 

Overseas expansion presents countless opportunities for UK businesses. But unless firms adapt their banking strategy, they could end up cutting a chunk out of their bottom line. 

Here are some examples of how your business could be stung:

  • Collecting revenue from eCommece platforms: when your European customers pay in their local currency via PayPal, Amazon or Stripe, you will be charged cross border fees and a steep currency conversion rate if you collect those currencies into a sterling bank account. These fees can be as high as 6.7% per transaction.

  • Paying international suppliers: high street banks charge between 2.6 - 3.5% above the interbank rate for currency exchange. That means if you pay your European suppliers £100,000 a year, you could end up paying out £3,500 to the banks, just for the privilege of sending money abroad.

  • Paying European employees: the rise of remote working has allowed more businesses to employ overseas staff. But unless you have a euro account, every time you pay your European employees, the banks will take a cut. 

  • Paying for international expenses: many tech companies, including Facebook, Google and LinkedIn are billed outside the UK. If you pay for your online ads or software subscriptions from a sterling account, you may be hit with fees. 

  • Spending abroad: if you or your employees take regular business trips to the continent, you'll be charged a fee every time you use your debit or credit card, unless that card is linked to a euro account. 

Over the course of a year, your business could rack up hundreds of thousands in unnecessary fees. Fortunately, these fees are easily avoidable if you set up an international account.  

The best euro account options for UK businesses

Once you’ve decided to open a euro account, you have a couple of options: 

1) Apply for a foreign currency account with a bank 

High street banks will allow you to open a euro account if your business meets their criteria. The only snag is that high street banks charge a variety of fees on foreign currency accounts. These include:

  • Account fees ranging from £24 - £60 per year 

  • Fees for paying out and receiving money, between £6 - £25 per transaction

  • Non-sterling debit card charges up to 2.75% of the transaction value

  • Cash withdrawal charges between 1.5 - 2.75 %

  • Currency exchange fees between 2.6 - 3.5% above the interbank rate

In short, opening an euro business account with a traditional bank will help you curb the cost of collecting and transferring large sums of money to Europe. But it won’t help you save on other costs, such as paying smaller international expenses, receiving payment from customers, using a debit card abroad, or converting euros to pound sterling. 

2) Open a free Global Business Account with Airwallex

If you want to make your business truly borderless, a better option is to sign up for a free Global Business Account with Airwallex.

With an Airwallex account, you can open multiple foreign domicile bank accounts at the click of a button. This means you can collect customer payments in multiple currencies—including Euros, USD, Chinese Yuan, and more—into your account without being subject to high fees.

The benefits of Airwallex include:

  • Zero account fees 

  • Zero transaction fees when sending and receiving currencies across borders

  • Collect payments from eCommerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay without being subject to cross border fees or high FX rates, saving you up to 4% on each transaction

  • Zero transaction fees when you spend in euros with our borderless debit card, at home or abroad 

  • Currency exchange between 0.5 - 1% above the interbank rate

So whether you’re collecting payments from customers, sending money to suppliers, or paying with your borderless card, you won’t be hit with unnecessary fees. You’ll also have the advantage of managing multiple currencies from a single account.

How to open a euro bank account from the UK

It's easy to open a euro bank from from the comfort of your home.

Applying for an international business account is similar to applying for a sterling business account. Sign up online and you will be asked some simple questions about your company, before being prompted to upload some documentation to prove your identity. This will include:

  • Proof of identity, such as a picture of your passport or driving license. 

  • Proof of address such as a bill or bank statement (if you’re a sole trader or freelancer).

  • Certificate of incorporation, memorandum and articles of association (if you’re a limited company).

Your provider will then check your eligibility and be in touch to set up your account. The process should take between 2 - 5 business days. 

Unsure which provider to choose? Visit our business bank account comparison page to weigh up the benefits and fees of the UK's leading banks and FinTechs, including Starling, Barclays, NatWest an Airwallex.

Final thoughts

Expanding your business to the EU used to come with a hefty price tag. But by choosing the right business account, you can push into new foreign markets without the cost.

If you’d like to learn how an Airwallex global account can help you manage your money more efficiently, apply online today.

Related article: How to open a Euro bank account from Australia

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Tilly Michell
Content Marketing Manager

Tilly manages the content strategy for Airwallex. She specialises in content that supports businesses in their growth trajectory.

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