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What is a Bank Mandate? A Simple (But Complete) Guide

July 27, 2020

A bank mandate is a document that lets a bank know who is authorised to access an account, which can include additional private parties besides the account holder. People on the bank mandate are called account signatories.

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What is a bank mandate?

A bank mandate, or account signatory, is a person in your business who is authorised to manage your bank account. Most banks offer a broad range of options depending if you are a business or commercial banking customer:

Note: All account signatories are officially named as individuals on your business bank account. You can’t list companies on your bank mandate.

How to change my bank mandate?

Most banks require you to call your relationship manager or to ring up their customer service. You can’t add or remove people from your bank mandate through regular online banking. Any changes on your mandate may take a few weeks to go into effect.

Can I add users without making them a signatory?

You can add users to your account without making changes to your bank mandate, provided you are a commercial banking customer (i.e. Natwest Bankline or Barclays.Net). As a regular business banking customer you can only add more people to your bank account by making them an account signatory. 

Advantages of a bank mandate

Once a bank mandate has been ratified, you will be given your own login and key fob with which to access your bank accounts, removing the need to share banking logins in your finance team.

Most banks also offer a number of different access types. You might be given permission to set up payments, for example, but not to authorise payments, or you may only be given permission to view the bank account in question. These permissions can be tailored to your needs, making a bank mandate a flexible option, i.e. Barclays offer dual authorisation upon mandate change.

Steer clear of client bank signatories as accountant

As you scale your business and deal with more and more clients, things can quickly become complicated. You might, for example, have two clients who use the same bank, so you now have two different logins and key fobs to keep track of. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which you enter the wrong details too many times and end up locking a client’s account.

Realistically, your clients will use a number of different banks, each with their own payment flows and permissions. Additionally, there is no universal standard for payment files, as each bank accepts a slightly different format. All of this adds up to extra training for your staff, and an even greater risk of making an embarrassing mistake. 

Disadvantages of having too many bank signatories on your bank mandate

Having people on your bank mandate is a big commitment to the person being the account signatory. They can act on your business’ behalf toward the bank. It makes sense to only add people to your bank mandate who you fully trust handling your finances. A few other things to consider:

There are options to add users without adding them to your bank mandate.

How to best handle multiple banking users

You either sign up to become a corporate customer or you take advantage of modern commercial banking systems such as Telleroo. Using a Corporate Banking system can be clunky vs we have designed a clean user interface allowing you to to add or remove users on the fly. With Telleroo you can add as many users as you’d like including various access levels:

Learn more about Telleroo's banking system by getting a free test account here.

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