What is a Bank Mandate? A simple (but complete) guide

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Posted on
January 26, 2023

What is a Bank Mandate? A simple (but complete) guide

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 dependent on whether you are a business or commercial banking customer. Account signatories can:

  • View all balances and transactions
  • Set up payments
  • Sign up for new financial products and services
  • Add or remove other bank mandates

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 services. 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 take 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 among 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.

If you're an accountant, steer clear of becoming a bank signatory

As you scale your accounting 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 a costly 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 to handle your finances. A few other things to consider:

  • Setting up a bank mandate can also involve a lot of paperwork, as well as an average wait time of a few weeks. 
  • Best not to add any external consultants to your bank mandate, i.e. accountants or legal advisor
  • Keep in mind that the bank mandate can only include private individuals and not companies

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 a modern commercial payments systems such as Telleroo. Using a Corporate Banking System can be clunky. Instead, we have designed a clean user interface allowing you to to add or remove users easily, whilst maintaining security. With Telleroo you can add as many users as you’d like including various access levels:

  • Read only access
  • Submit payments only
  • Authorise payments
  • Admin access

Want to see how we can make your payments pain free? Sign up today for your Telleroo business user account or, if you're an accountant or bookkeeper in practice, check out our partner programme.