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Charity Online Banking

I am involved with a small registered charity (turnover below £50,000) which has had conventional banking facilities with Lloyds TSB for many years.

The incoming treasurer wishes to switch to online banking for a number of valid reasons. Initial enquiries seem to suggest that Lloyds do not offer the dual authority system for making payments. This is recommended by the Charity Commissioners in their publication Internal Control for Charities CC8.

We are reluctant to move away fropm Lloyds because much income is received by long-standing standing order donations.

Has any member here had experience with dual authority internet banking; with particular regard to charities?



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13th Dec 2011 12:27


I know that HSBCnet supports dual authority, but it might not be appropriate for a smaller charity.

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15th Dec 2011 13:41

There are three banks who offer free dual authority internet banking:-



Unity Trust

The rest can usually do it but will charge you.

All the above have  some sort of deal to enable you to pay in easily. I have moved my Rugby Club to the Co-op and pay in via my local Post Office, open 830-1800 and very convenient to me.

The authorisation has to take place on the same day as the initiation. I usually set up a batch of payments just after midnight (its very quick once you have loaded the payees, a seperate operation)) so my authorisor has all day to sort himself out.


PM me if you want more info

or email [email protected]


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By phanmer
15th Dec 2011 11:03

My thanks to those who replied. It looks as if a move away from Lloyds to achieve dual authority is inevitable.

Many incoming standing orders are from elderly donors and I feel that they would ignore any request to change to a DD system or set up a new Standing Order. So we may have to keep the Lloyds account open to receive these. Unless anyone can think of an alternative.




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15th Dec 2011 12:01

CAF Are very good

I have spent some time as a treasurer of a charity and have used CAF bank.  They offer dual signatories and in addition offer very good customer support, which is normally much better than the high street banks.  I would recommend calling CAF and  see if they have any suggestions about changing standing orders to avoid keeping the old account open.  However, I think it will be likely that new standing orders / direct debits will need to be set up unless you keep the old account open. 

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15th Dec 2011 12:36


I know that HSBC and Natwest offer dual authorisation, can't speak for other banks.

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15th Dec 2011 12:54

Charity banking - Natwest

My charity is with Nat West. It took several attempts to get internet banking and finally they attached the account to the Chairperson's personal bank account, so that if she were to provide the log on to anyone else they would have visibility of her account. This negates the point of dual authorisation.

The branch staff try to be helpful but their systems do not handle charities at all well.Take the point about the standing orders - it's a real disincentive to moving to a new bank.

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15th Dec 2011 13:18

Yes just leave the old accounts collecting money

 I use Quickbooks for most of my charities so all the standing orders are set up as monthly memorised transactions, so it's just a matter of checking off the montly statement and writing a cheque every so often from the old Lloyds account to clear the balance.

NatWest branch staff have generally been quite helpful over the last twelve months, however I nearly always find that branch staff generally have little idea about this sort of thing and are quite surprised it cannot be done.


rayhelmke - yes they can do it for a price of £5 or £10 per month but the free basic level internet banking cannot work with dual authorisation at the moment, it seems to have been written for personal bank accounts.

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By 97mwill
15th Dec 2011 14:35

Agree with chris

I am in a similar position, new treasurer of a registered charity with income under £50k.

I was unaware that anyone did dual authorisation. We currently bank with HSBC. I will be looking at a CAF account now, that has this option as i definitely wouldn't pay HSBC for it - online banking is so much more convenient and easier to keep track of things then having to wait each month for the statement to arrive through the door.

I would agree with Chris though, leave the existing account open, set up a new account with the free dual authorisation, receive your income into the old account and just set up a standing order to clear the funds out of the old account into the new one at the end of each month.

The previous treasurer at our charity did this with one of our accounts - it saves having to think about it, it's all done automatically each month.

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By phanmer
15th Dec 2011 15:28

Yes. I am sure that is the way we will go.

CAF seems the best option.

The dual authorisation software was, I am told,  jointly developed by Lloyds. So why they do not offer it for their advertised special Charity Online account is baffling!

Thanks to all for your experiences and advice.


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15th Dec 2011 18:35

Charity Banking

We have been using Unity Trust for a couple of years and found them to be excellent. Only drawback that we have had was that they did not do the "faster banking" i.e same day transfers but I understand that this will be available from January 2012. Bank offers "local" facilities throught the Co-op bank.

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16th Dec 2011 06:42

Charity (?) banking

Has anyone any experience of this sort of problem/solution relating to clubs or community organisations?  I have a club, of which I was treasurer, where I wanted to bank on-line with a dual authorisation. Would they be treated the same as a registered charitable organisation?

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By phanmer
16th Dec 2011 09:38

It is good, recommended practice to use dual authorisation even if your club is not a registered charity. This follows on from the long established control of having two signatories to cheques.

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16th Dec 2011 14:45

Yes James

It seems that most banks have:-

a basic free product suitable for individuals and small businesses which cater for single signatory accounts, any one who has access can do everything.

a second product for larger business which typically cost £60 for £120 pa if not sold to you as part of a bundle of facilities. These have multiple user levels and authorisation systems.


Only the three banks I have  identified above (to the best of my knowledge and belief) offer free dual authorisation banking and that is because they set out to cater for clubs societies and associations.


The Charity Commission do not insist of dual authorisation but strongly recommended it, especially where controls are weak, if you are not regulated by them then there is no formal guidance. As an auditor & Independent Examiner in this sector I would want to know why an organisation who were looking after other peoples money did not have this sort of safeguard in place. That for me is the key point, while you are managing your own money or that of your own business then you only have to answer to yourself, but as soon as you are answerable to others then safeguards should be in place to protect you from malicious accusations from others as well as to protect the others from you.

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17th Dec 2011 10:50

Thanks Chris

I'll report back your findings. Thank you very much.

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19th Dec 2011 09:30

Alliance & Leicester (now Santander)

As treasurer for my local church, we changed to A&L a few years ago as previous bank was not providing the level of service that it should of.  This allows dual on-line authorisation.  In fact it lets you set up several online uses with different levels of access.  You can also set different autorisation levels for different payment bands (i.e. one person to authorsie up to £X, two people form £X to £Y, etc).  And all this for free!

Additionally, we can use the local post office for counter services.

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26th Dec 2011 17:19

Internet banking for charities

I have just become involved with a small charity who bank with RBS. They do not allow dual authorisation on internet banking but I have discovered that Bank of Scotland do using their 'corporate online' account. They have a special department dealing with trusts and not for profit organisations.

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26th Mar 2013 19:08

LLoydsTSB dual online authorisation

I know this thread is 15 months old, but in case anyone else finds it like I just have, LloydsTSB does now offer dual online authorisation for charity bank accounts, without a fee. I started using it a few weeks ago and my "authoriser" says it is a piece of cake to give the second authorisation..

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06th Sep 2015 00:28

HSBC Dual Online Authorisation

Like the last person, I know this is old, but still relevant issue sadly. HSBC does offer dual authorisation, but when I contacted them about it, they said it was only available to larger companies, unless we wanted to be charged for it. Shame as its convenient for me.

Does anyone have a list of current banks offering this facility?


Thanks Inadvance.

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11th Sep 2015 13:22

Bank Accounts for Charities
Aware that this discussion is old, but I'm interested in finding out the latest details of banks offering online facility with dual authorisation.

I've recently taken over as treasurer for a small family history charity with £3,000 anuual inccome from member subscriptions and currently bank with NatWest. I want to use the on-line banking facility but NW don't offer dual authorisations and worse still, links the "business" account with the post holder's personal bank account, which leaves the security aspect wide open!

Know the CAF offer the facility but what about other banks? Has anybody any personal experience?

Thanks in advance

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31st Mar 2016 15:32


Using this thread I explored the 3 banks listed by Chris Smail and Unity Trust looked the best deal - free on-line banking with multiple authorisation (even different numbers of sigs for different amounts which we haven't used as too small). The Alto card successfully drove out petty cash and concentrated most spending in 3 individuals. Setting this up was difficult, poor customer service with misinformation, 50p to top up the floats each time, but we got there. The relationship  has even survived their charging for paying in cheques at the PO (I send them in pre-paid envelopes instead but pay for recorded delivery - charging the customers 50p for using cheques instead of online payments).

But today Unity announce they will be charging us £6 per month so I'm exploring other alternatives. I must have dual or more authorisation (2 of 3 possibles allows for holidays); I'd like either a prepaid card or a limited amount debit card. We do handle cash so I need a PO facility since our last bank (NW) left town last year.

Can anyone help?

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