Choosing the right bank for your business is a critical decision that can impact your financial management and overall success. To help you make an informed choice, we have compiled a comprehensive comparison of UK banks that offer business accounts. Explore the following factors to evaluate each bank’s offerings:
- Reputation and Reliability: Consider the bank’s reputation, stability, and reliability in the market. Look for established banks with a strong track record of serving businesses and providing excellent customer service.
- Account Types: Review the types of business accounts available, such as current accounts, savings accounts, and specialized accounts tailored to specific industries or business sizes. Assess which account types align with your business requirements.
- Fees and Charges: Compare the fees associated with each bank’s business accounts. Take into account transaction fees, monthly maintenance fees, overdraft charges, and any additional charges for services like international payments or cash handling.
- Online Banking Capabilities: Evaluate the online banking features and functionality provided by each bank. Look for features like secure online access, mobile banking apps, ease of payment processing, and integration with accounting software.
- Customer Support: Assess the quality and availability of customer support offered by the banks. Consider factors such as responsiveness, availability of dedicated business account representatives, and customer reviews regarding their experiences with the bank’s support services.
- Additional Services: Explore the additional services offered by each bank that can benefit your business. This may include business loans, credit facilities, merchant services, foreign currency exchange, or payroll management solutions.
- Accessibility and Branch Network: Consider the bank’s accessibility through physical branch locations, ATM networks, and online banking. Evaluate the convenience of accessing banking services and the availability of in-person support when needed.
- Integration with Business Tools: Check if the bank offers integration with popular business tools and platforms, such as accounting software, invoicing systems, or payment gateways. Seamless integration can streamline your financial management processes.
- Small Business Support: Assess the bank’s commitment to supporting small businesses. Look for resources, educational materials, or dedicated support programs that cater specifically to the needs of small business owners.
- Business Account Opening Process: Consider the ease and efficiency of the account opening process. Look for banks that provide clear instructions, convenient online application options, and reasonable turnaround times for account approval.
Remember to carefully review the terms and conditions of each bank before making a decision. Evaluate how well the offerings align with your business’s unique needs, financial goals, and growth plans.
By comparing these factors across multiple banks, you can make an informed decision and select the best bank for your business’s financial needs.
The best UK business bank account
Finding the best bank account for your business is a crucial step in managing your finances effectively. The right account will depend on your specific needs and requirements. Whether you’re a self-employed freelancer, a local retailer, or a business that trades internationally, it’s important to consider various factors when selecting a business bank account.
In addition to traditional high street banks, the digital revolution has introduced a range of challenger banks and alternative services that cater to the needs of modern businesses. These innovative options can often provide more tailored solutions and better value for money.
To help you navigate the options available, we’ve compiled a guide to some of the best business accounts on the market. This includes both established high-street banks and emerging online challengers. Please note that prices mentioned in this guide are accurate as of 20/06/23, but limited-time offers may be available. If you want to do your own research, use Nerdwallet’s business bank account comparison tool to find details of more accounts for start-ups and businesses looking to switch banks.
Best business bank account for start-ups and small businesses
Starling | Free | App-based account tops customer satisfaction ratings
Best business bank account for free extras
Tide | Free | Free company formation and financial management features
Best business bank account for easy bookkeeping
ANNA Money | Free plan (just pay for what you use), business plan £14.90 per month | Easy invoicing and tax estimation
Best high street business bank account
NatWest | Free banking for 18 months | Keen pricing and free accounting software
It’s worth being clear about exactly what you are looking for, and what the different account providers are offering before you make your final choice of bank account. You should also check for up-to-date information – services and pricing can change.
- good range of standard features included in the free account
- table-topping customer satisfaction
- 24/7 UK-based customer support
- online only, but cash transactions available at Post Office
- earn 2.5% AER interest when you also open a business fixed saver account
- free business account
- £7 monthly for optional business invoicing/tax toolkit
- £2 per month for a euro account, £5 per month for a US dollar account
- charges for cash deposits
Good all-around offering for start-ups and smaller businesses, with company registration and additional services are thrown in for free.
- quick, free company incorporation with a business account for start-ups
- free expenses management, invoice tracking and cash flow insights features
- optional ‘credit builder loan
- mobile and desktop access
- free, £9.99 per month ‘plus’, £18.99 per month ‘pro’ and £49.99 per month ‘cashback’ plans
- additional charges for payments above plan limits
- cashback plan offers 0.5% cash back on card payments (£49.99 + VAT per year)
Mobile-first approach and easy invoicing tools make it easy to manage finances through your mobile.
- user-friendly mobile design
- fast sign-up with no credit check
- easy-to-use invoicing and tax estimation tools
- online only, but cash transactions available at PayPoint outlets
- free option for small start-ups includes a debit card and free card payments; pay-as-you-go fees for other payments (eg £1 per cash withdrawal)
- The £14.90 per month option includes additional cards and a set number of free payments
- The ‘big business’ option at £49.90 per month includes unlimited free payments (some restrictions including limited international payments)
Free invoicing tools could be attractive, particularly for sole traders who spend a lot of time out and about.
- 800 UK branches
- free invoicing and accounting software with the start-up business bank account
- phone access to business managers, plus specialist international and high-growth advisers
- free digital banking for the first 12 months for start-ups
- £8.50 monthly account maintenance fee after the first year
- free electronic payments with an e-Payments plan
An interesting range of tools and easy application make this an attractive package, particularly for applicants with poor credit records, but the pricing structure will not suit businesses with a high volume of low-value transactions.
- online only (but cash deposits are available through Post Office counters)
- near-instant online account opening with no credit check
- range of useful accounting integrations, expense management tools and payment insights
- free Go account allows three free electronic payments per month then £0.30 per payment
- Business Extra account (£9 per month) allows ten free electronic payments per month then £0.30 per payment
- 0.5% cash back (capped at £1,000 per month) with the Business Extra account
- get your first year’s annual fee refunded
If you like the idea of the digital-first approach offered by challenger banks, but would be more comfortable with a high street name, HSBC’s Kinetic account might be right for you.
- 500 UK branches
- app-based Kinetic account for sole traders and single owner-director companies, small business account for companies with turnover up to £2 million
- spending and cash flow analysis tools in the app
- international payments not available in Kinetic app
- HSBC Kinetic account for sole traders is fee-free for the first 12 months, then £6.50 per month
- Small business banking is fee-free for 12 months, then £8 per month
- free online payments
The UK’s biggest branch network might make this a convenient high street choice for your business, and a good option for businesses (such as law firms) that need to hold client funds.
- 1,600 UK branches
- relatively simple set-up for client fund accounts
- optional Business Finance Assistant accounting software helps simplify accounting and tax returns
- £7 monthly account maintenance fee
- free electronic payments
- free banking for the first 12 months
- Business Finance Assistant free for three months, then £5 per month
A relative newcomer to business banking, challenger Monzo has a devoted fan club for its personal banking app.
- mobile and web app only; cash deposits via PayPoint, cheques by post
- can separate balance into different ‘pots’
- invoicing, accounting links and multi-user access with Pro account
- fee-free international spending
- free Lite offering or £5 per month for a Pro account
- additional charges for cash deposits
Good value from a high street bank, with no monthly maintenance fee and free FreeAgent accounting software.
- 750 UK branches
- free access to FreeAgent accounting software for business account holders
- optional HR support tools (free and priced options)
- different accounts options depending on the stage your business is at including the free Mettle mobile account for side-hustlers and one/two person businesses
- free mobile business account for freelancers, sole traders and side hustlers
- free banking for the first 18 months for start-ups
- no minimum monthly charge for the business account – only pay for what you use; per transaction charges for payments, with higher charges for manual payments and percentage charge for cash
Quality offering for businesses that want a multi-currency international solution, and the potential to grow with your business.
- range of options and pricing structures to suit different transaction volumes
- competitive foreign exchange, multi-currency accounts and international payments
- company cards plus growing range of additional services
- online only – need separate account for any cash deposits or cheques
- free business and freelancer accounts are available
- higher-cost options available from £25 per month
- additional charges for transactions over the account plan limit
Identifying the best account option for your business can be difficult, but the standard small business account with a flat monthly fee could suit many smaller businesses.
- 450 UK branches
- different account options depending on number of owners/directors and transaction volumes
- alternative 1|2|3 business current account carries higher monthly fee but cashback based on payments credited to account
- discounted monthly fee of £5 per month for 1|2|3 business current account holders (18 months for start-ups or 12 months for account switchers)
- free everyday banking for 18 months (then with £7.50 per month) for the small business account
Remember to regularly review your banking requirements as your business evolves to ensure you always have the right banking solution in place.