How to check company name availability in the UK

10 months ago   •   .8 min read

.By İlayda Birol
.Table of contents

One of the first things you’ll need when starting a new company is a great name. Not only will your company’s name need to be representative of your business, but it should also be catchy and appealing to your customers and the public in general if you want to expand your client base. It will probably take some time to decide on the perfect fit and it might be helpful to test it out on friends and family first. A key factor to consider is that your company name is unique! In this blog post you’ll find out how to check if your chosen name is available and we’ll share a few of the rules and regulations associated with naming your company. We’ll also go over some other important aspects of registering and opening your company in the UK.

Get creative when naming your company

Everyone starts a company with the hope that it will be successful and that it will be around for many years to come. In order to have a company or brand that is memorable, recognisable and respected, choosing the perfect name is super important. Below are some things to think about when naming your company. Have fun with this process and see what you come up with.

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Simple is often best: You’ll want people to be talking about your company, so make sure that your company name is relatively easy to pronounce for a wide range of the population. You don’t want a name that people feel awkward saying out loud if they’re not too sure how to pronounce it. This applies to its spelling too – unusually spelled names, or difficult to spell words, could create confusion and lessen the chance that potential customers can find you online.

Website domain availability: Check that the domain for your chosen company name is available to buy with your preferred extension (.com, .biz, .org, etc.). It might not be ideal if there is another website with the same name as yours but a different extension. You want to limit confusion for potential customers and clients.

Search the internet: Once you’ve narrowed down some ideas of names you’d like to go with, have a thorough search online to see if anyone else is using your preferred name. Have a look on different social media platforms and through various search engines. If you come across similarly named companies it might not be cause to change your mind, but it will be good to know what else is out there.

Allow for growth: Think big and expansively when naming your company. This applies to different aspects of your business – the products, services and location. You could easily be limiting yourself with a company name such as Brighton’s Best Bagels. What if your bakery expands to producing other goods and decides to open up in other towns too?

Names with meaning: While you don’t need to go in depth about the origin and significance of your company name, it is probably something you’ll be asked about quite often. Does the name you’ve chosen mean something to you? This might be helpful both in choosing a name and being satisfied with your choice. Take some time with this.

Feedback: When you have a few options of names for your company, it’s a good idea to run them by friends and family as well as a sample of your target audience. This will help you narrow it down and should also point out if there are any glaring reasons why you should not go with a certain name.

Do your research

Once the tricky part of coming up with a company name (that is catchy but not too weird, has an available domain and is also loved by friends and family) is out of the way, the next step is to see if that name is available and appropriate to register in the UK.

According to the gov.uk website some words and expressions will need prior approval before being used in a company name, LLP or business name. Some examples of what might not be appropriate to use in your company name include:

  • Words that suggest a particular status or function, like ‘British’, ‘Institute’ or ‘Tribunal’
  • Words or names that imply a connection to the UK government or particular authority
  • Words that represent regulated activities
  • Words that could be offensive Have a look at this list of sensitive words and expressions that might need approval before you use them in your company name.

Check company name availability in the UK

The Companies House register has a useful tool for you to check whether your chosen company name is available in the UK before you go ahead with filling out your registration. You can easily input your preferred name into the Company name availability checker. You can also check the availability of a company name by submitting a name reservation application to Companies House. This will reserve the name for a period of up to 3 months, during which time you can register the company. If you need help with this process, you can think about consulting a company formation agent or a solicitor. Another useful thing to check before going ahead with your company registration is if your proposed name infringes on an existing trade mark. You can do that by checking the UK Intellectual Property Office trade marks register.

How to check company name availability in the UK?
The first step in setting up a company in the UK is choosing a company name. Find all the details about choosing a company name on the wamo blog.

Register your company

Now that the exciting part of finding and securing a company name is out of the way, it is time to register your company in the UK. This can be done with Companies House or through various third-party services or online platforms like wamo. Below are the usual steps included when you go about registering a company in the UK:

  • File the appropriate incorporation documents: These include the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association. These documents set out the structure and regulations of the company.
  • Appoint directors: A company must have at least one director. These individuals are responsible for managing the company's operations.
  • Register for taxes: All companies in the UK must register for corporation tax and VAT.
  • File confirmation statement and annual return: These are legal documents that need to be filed with Companies House every year.
  • Register for employees: If you’ll be employing people as part of your business, you must also register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and National Insurance.
  • You may also be interested in registering for VAT (Value Added Tax). If you've done your research and are feeling ready, it's time to get the ball rolling!

Required documents to register a company in the UK

The documents listed below are typically required to register a company in the UK. It is useful to have everything in order so that you aren’t delayed by needing to resubmit anything later on:

  • Memorandum of Association: This document sets out the company's name, registered office address, and the names and addresses of the initial shareholders.
  • Articles of Association: This document outlines the company's internal management and governance structures, such as the rights and responsibilities of shareholders and directors.
  • Form IN01: This form is used to register the company with Companies House and includes information about the company's directors, shareholders and registered office address.
  • A Declaration of Compliance: This document confirms that the company is in compliance with the Companies Act 2006.
  • Register of Directors and Secretaries: This document contains the names and addresses of the company's directors and company secretary.
  • Register of Members: This document contains the names and addresses of the company's shareholders.
  • Certificate of Incorporation: This document is issued by Companies House upon the successful registration of the company and serves as the company's official registration certificate.

Open your business in the UK

Hopefully this blog post has given you some direction in choosing a company name, but more importantly, checking its availability before going ahead with registration.. We’re here to guide you the rest of the way. If you have the right documents ready (see below) you’ll be able to ease through the company formation registration process easily with the right partner. After your business is registered, next step would be to get a business account and you'll be ready to go!

Your wamo business account will help to make the experience of running your new company  much smoother. You’ll be able to:

  • order wamo Visa debit cards - get up to 10 for you and your team and more on request.
  • instantly create and use virtual business debit cards
  • open multiple sub-accounts with either EUR or GBP IBANs
  • take advantage of wamo Rewards perks and special offers

And so much more!

Documents you’ll need to open a business account with wamo

Requirements for opening an account might vary slightly depending on where you’re located and the type of business you run. But, in general, you’ll need to provide the following documents to open a business account with wamo:

Necessary Documents

  • Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A)
  • Proof of shareholder structure
  • Proof of company address

Not necessary, but could be required at a later stage

Registry extracts Certificate of Incorporation (COI)

To get started, download the wamo app from Google Play or App Store or visit our website. You can also contact us via email on support@wamo.io or via the chatbox on our website. We’ll always reply to your emails personally and never send you messages via a no-reply email account.

A wamo business account: the final step

If you're thinking of registering a business in the UK and then running a business with the least amount of hassle - you'll need a business account. We're obviously now going to recommend a wamo business account! You can apply for a wamo business account through the app or web app in around 10 minutes. Your application will be processed within 48 hours. Your wamo business account gives you a fast, efficient and affordable way to make and take payments for your new business, simple.

You may open a business account with wamo HERE.

wamo is specifically designed for small and mid-sized business owners and their needs. wamo is quicker, more technologically advanced and can work at the pace of the UK's digital advancements.

You can, of course, apply for a business account in either traditional institutions or in financial technology based service providers that operate in Estonia. Note that traditional institutions in the UK can be more strict than other financial institutions regarding the application process, eligibility and requirements. So, if you do choose to go this route we advise you to contact more than one branch before making an application to get a better idea of their individual requirements.

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