What is the difference between a company name and a trading name?

a year ago   •   .7 min read

.By İlayda Birol
.Table of contents

What’s in a name? And what’s the difference between a company name and a trading name? Do you need both, and what are the officially recognised requirements of each? In this article we’ll walk you through the difference between a company name and a trading name. The very short answer to knowing the difference between your company and trading name is that the name you register your company with is your company name whereas the name you trade under, or your business name, is called a trading name. Let’s get into a bit more detail below.

A trade name is the name a business uses to identify itself to customers, while a company name is the official legal name registered with the relevant government authority.

What is a company name?

A company name is the legal name that you register your company with and use to trade in the market. In the UK you would file your company registration through Companies House. The name of your company needs to be unique and not too similar to any other existing or already reserved names. You can use the Company name availability checker when registering your company in the UK to ensure your company name isn’t already taken. The name you’ve registered your company with through Companies House is unique to you – it is protected by law and nobody else can use it. When using official correspondence, like invoices or letters, you should always use your company name. Depending on the circumstances and industry you work in, it might also be a requirement to have your company name displayed on your premises.

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.

What is a trading name?

A trading name, or names for that matter (your business can have as many trading names as you need) is the name you choose to use in the day-to-day running of your business. It is also known as a business name. It’s very common in the UK for companies to use trading names instead of their officially registered company names. This name is not the same as your own name or any name you’ve officially registered your company with. Your business can use multiple trading names but none of these can be registered officially as the company name. When coming up with your trading name, make sure to note that it should not :

  • be identical to any existing trade mark
  • include a sensitive word or expression (if it does, you’ll need permission)
  • include ‘limited’, ‘Ltd’, ‘limited liability partnership, ‘LLP’, etc. after the name.

If you don’t want anyone else to trade under the same business or trading name as you, it is advisable to register your chosen name as a trade mark. You can find out more information about doing so here.

The benefits of having a trading name

A trading name is a name under which a company trades. It is not the same as the company's registered name or business name, and it can be used for day-to-day operations. You might wonder why you would need two names when one will do just fine. Well, here are a few of reasons it is beneficial to have a trading name:

  • A trading name can be used when making payments or receipts of goods and services in order to keep your personal details private from your customers (and vice versa). This means that you don't have to worry about revealing sensitive information such as your address or bank account details when doing business with someone else over email for example; all correspondence will go through their own business address instead.
  • If you have multiple trading names for your businesses that fall under one umbrella company that is registered with Companies House, you can save administrative time and money when doing your reporting and accounting. You would only need to file your documents under the registered company name.
  • You can also choose a trade name that might be better suited to how to communicate with your customers. For example, if your company is called Industrial Plumbing and Building Intl. Ltd., it might not be easy for people to remember the whole name and it definitely won’t be easy to have a website domain with the exact company name. You might think about using a trade name like Best Plumb and Build, or something short and catchy.

Can a company trade under a different name?

Your corporate name must be distinct from any other name – it should be a unique company name registered through Companies House in the UK. The company cannot trade under a different name and still use its corporate one. However, you may wish to register your business under a trading name if:

  • You want to use an alternative title for your business (for example, if you are more commonly known as "ABC Ltd" but would like to trade as "XYZ Company"). This can help customers find you online or in directories such as Yellow Pages without having to search through all the companies listed with Companies House;
  • Your company name is difficult to spell or pronounce for your general customer base;
  • There isn't enough space on stationery or signage.
The easy-to-use international business account from wamo
If you want to expand your business abroad, you must have an international business account. Discover easy to use business account with wamo.

Open a business account with wamo

At wamo we want all business-related administration to be as simple as possible so that you can spend your time focusing on making your business successful. Opening a business account at a traditional institution often takes more time and money than you’d want to spend, whereas opening an account with wamo is quick and simple – you can do it online, from anywhere.

As a financial management service provider and a payments platform in one, wamo is much more than an app and operates differently from the traditional institutions you know. With small businesses and entrepreneurs in mind, we’ve designed our services to suit your specific needs. wamo is really big on great, personal customer service and we love to provide human-centred support to all our customers, every step of the way.

Download wamo Business from Google Play or the App Store to open a business account with wamo. You can also open an account from the website. wamo can be used from your smartphone via the app or from your desktop via the webapp, whatever works best for you.

When registering, you’ll be guided through some simple steps where you’ll need to share some basic information about you and your business. For your security and ours, we’ll need to verify your identity by asking you to scan your ID and record a very short video. Don’t worry, we won’t be running any credit checks or using your data for anything other than verifying that you are who you say you are. Security is our top priority.

Lastly, you’ll need to choose your subscription plan. Take some time to think about what plan will work best for your business. If you have a big team, for example, having free virtual and physical debit cards as and when you need them makes it worth opting for the higher monthly subscription amount, easily covering this cost every time.

Take a look at wamo’s subscription plans.

Once you have all the correct documents on hand, you’ll be able to breeze through the application process in under 10 minutes (we’ve timed it!). A team member from wamo will get back to you within 24 hours  and, if everything is in order, you’ll have a fully-functioning account ready for business immediately. This means you’ll be able to:

Order wamo Visa debit cards – get up to 10 for you and your team or more on request Create and use virtual debit cards instantly Open multiple sub-accounts with either EUR or GBP IBANs Take advantage of wamo Rewards perks and special offers

And a whole lot more!

Questions to ask before registering your company in the UK
You can find what you need to know before starting a company in the UK and details about company formation in the UK on wamo blog.

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

Requirements might change slightly depending on where you’re based and the type of business you run. But typically, you’ll need to have the following documents on hand to open your 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)

We hope that this article has helped you understand the difference between a company name and trading name, and that it’s also shed some light on how to register your company and get access to a business account.


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