This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.


Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Many banks offer special current accounts for voluntary organisations and charities, and most give free banking if the account is in credit. Do your research on what's available and check out our information on specific bank accounts on our bank account comparison table. This highlights the main features of current accounts from some of the banks that have strong links to the voluntary sector or have a significant presence in Scotland.

See our bank account comparison

Opening a bank account can be challenging and could also take a long time. Here are seven things to consider when choosing a current account:

  • Look for a current account which offers the services your organisation needs, e.g. a local branch to pay in cash from fundraising activities, a savings account, credit or debit card, etc.
  • Check the terms and conditions are clear, eg how do you change a signatory if one of your trustees leaves?
  • Be aware of any charges eg if you go into an overdraft.
  • Check if your account offers online dual authorisation. To protect against fraud, any internet or card payments should be approved by two people for additional security and fraud prevention.
  • Some banks require a solicitor's letter to verify the names of your trustees. This can be expensive and add additional time and inconvenience when opening an account. Ask if the account you're applying for would require this.
  • Some accounts require high minimum deposits, so may be of no use to very small organisations.
  • What about ethical banking? Consider how your bank's ethos and activities reflect your organisation's charitable objectives.

What you need to set up a bank account

The eligibility criteria for each charity account will vary from bank to bank. You should be able to apply to open an account online, though some banks may require signatories to present certain documents in person. Whilst banks may differ on what they require from you to set up an account, this is commonly the documentation you will be asked for:

  • Your charity's registration number and proof of status.
  • Your governing document/constitution.
  • Your charity's financial details, eg turnover.
  • Details of all signatories, or in some cases, all trustees, including name, address and proof of identity.

Banking for Charities provides key information, including guidance on choosing and opening the right bank account, understanding banking charges and fees, and how to switch accounts. It also sets out key questions to ask banks, and options to help charities navigate the banking environment.

Note that organisations with a turnover of less than £6.5 million and fewer than 50 employees can use the free Current Account Switch Service which makes the process simple and stress free.

Last modified on 11 December 2023
Was this page helpful?
Thanks for your feedback!