Mettle Business Account Review

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Every business’s first order of business when they set up is to choose a business account. It’s a crucial decision that could determine the financial future of their business and even their likelihood of success. Should you choose the wrong account or bank to work with, you increase your chances of failure and make it more challenging to succeed.

The only consolation businesses have when treading the murky waters or opening a business account there is no shortage of options. A vast selection of banks and neobanks offer business accounts with varying features. So you can easily find something that matches your needs and expectations.

One of the newer options available is Mettle. Being backed by Natwest, a seasoned and well-established high-street bank in the UK, Mettle has attracted a lot of attention from businesses looking to benefit from conventional banks’ features and neo-banks’ digital presence. But is it the right account for your business? Here is a closer look at a Mettle business account and what it has to offer.

Mettle Business Account Overview

Mettle was launched in 2019 by Natwest as a standalone product offering digital current accounts targeting small to medium businesses and self-employed individuals such as freelancers and startups.

The account is free to open, and you can open one in a matter of minutes through the app, making it perfect for businesses looking for a fast solution to their banking problem. It’s also considered a great choice for startups because there are no monthly or everyday banking fees. It is a good choice for businesses looking to keep their overheads low.

Besides being budget-friendly, the Mettle business account is also a feature providing various offerings you expect in a current business account. These include invoicing, bookkeeping, and cash flow forecasting tools. More on this later.

Although Mettle is a standalone product, the backing from Natwest does have its benefits. One of them is that your funds in the Mettle business account are FSCS protected up to £85,000. Not many other business accounts can boast of providing the same level of security.

However, the account also has its drawbacks, which are vital to understand and determine if there’s a way to work around it and whether they are significant enough to impact the account’s functionality and, consequently, your business.

How to Open a Mettle Business Account

A Mettle business account is rather simple to open with minimal requirements for eligibility. In order to open the account, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Your business must be registered in the UK
  • You must be a resident of the UK and have a UK phone number
  • You and any person with significant control in the business must be over 18
  • You need to pay tax in the UK only

The account also has a limit on the account size you can have. Sole traders have a £50,000 limit, and limited companies have a £100,000 limit.

Clubs, societies, trusts, charities and publicly listed companies, among others, are not eligible for the Mettle business account.

Businesses in high-risk and controversial industries such as gambling, tobacco manufacturing and cryptocurrency are also restricted from opening the account.

If you meet the criteria, you can proceed to begin opening the account. You start by downloading the Mettle App from the Google Play Store or App Store and begin the application process. You will be asked to submit the following documents;

  • Photo ID (driving licence or passport)
  • A short video message. This is used to confirm and match the person on your photo ID.
  • The names of people who own your company or have significant control

You may also be asked to submit proof or address. You can complete this by providing a council tax bill or utility bill. You will also need proof of trading (a copy of your latest accounts or tax return, a live website or social media account should do).

In some cases, you might also be asked for an in-person chat via the app to discuss your business’s details. This is mostly the case for new businesses in poorly understood industries.

Mettle might also carry a soft credit check to verify your identity. But this doesn’t affect your credit score or your eligibility to open the account.

Mettle states that the application takes about 72 hours to approve, excluding weekends, but it’s not unusual for the accounts to be approved and opened on the same day.

What Does the Account Offer?

Mettle offers an extensive range of features that will impact your day-to-day routines. Some of the ones that will provide you with a much better experience include;

Invoicing

Invoicing is a huge part of small businesses and one that they often struggle with. Regarding payments, Mettle has just the tools and features that will make it easier to invoice clients and get closer to being paid on time.

Mettle provides you with substantial invoicing support, and when a payment comes into the account, Mettle compares the payment reference, payment amount and payee to the outstanding invoices and then assigns a score to it. If the score matches perfectly, the payment and the invoice are auto-matched.

For this to happen, the invoice amount and the amount received must be exact. If the payment isn’t automatically matched, it only takes a few clicks for you to do it manually. This is a vital feature that helps businesses stay on top of unpaid invoices and better track the payments that are coming in without assigning them to a team member or using administrative time to match the invoices to the payments.

Pots

Pots is not a new term in the banking industry, particularly for those who have tried banking with challenger banks. Mettle offers something similar with a different touch.

Mettle understands that the most difficult part about saving is getting started. So, to help, the account has money pots, which are an easy and efficient way to put away money for a rainy day.

As a business, having a VAT pot and a TAX pot should be a priority. This means you can separate your profits from your tax obligations, and when it is time to pay your taxes, you will not be caught short. This takes some discipline, but Mettle provides the tools you need to start your savings.

You can also start pots for other purposes, including business expansion. They are a great way to separate finances in the business while ensuring you stay on top of all your financial obligations.

Apple and Google Pay

Apple and Google Pay have dominated online payments. They are a swift and secure way to pay for online goods and services. Mettle takes these benefits a notch higher by integrating them with their app, making online payments seamless and effortless.

If you’ve not tried Apple and Google Pay services before, consider them your payment card saved inside your mobile device, only faster and easier to use.

With Apple and Google Pay, you can finally ditch the cards and pay for things with your phone as long as the business you’re buying from accepts contactless payments.

They are a great way for businesses to pay small suppliers without incurring the hefty money transfer costs. You can also use the services while on travel, which is another benefit. As the applications of these payment options increase, there’s no doubt more businesses will jump on board. They could very well be the future of payments.

Card administration

Google and Apple Pay might be doing well. However, debit and credit cards are still the preferred methods of payment. One of the benefits of having an app-based business account is that you don’t have to go to the bank and deal with queues for most of the things. With the Mettle business account, you can carry out the following card functions yourself;

  • You can lock your card when you’re not sure where it is and reactivate it once you get it back.
  • Replace the card when you can long put your hands on it
  • View your PIN in case your memory slips, among other functions.

Carrying out all these functions in the app saves you time and the frustration of being put on hold by customer support as you try to get issues with your card squared away.

Integrations

Bookkeeping is an art form many businesses must develop from the earliest stages. As the business grows, the bookkeeping responsibilities will only increase. Luckily, Mettle has got you covered. You can integrate the Mettle business account with various accounting tools such as Xero, Quickbooks and Freeagent. The account is also considering adding more tools.

Another reason to be excited about having a Mettle business account is that you can export transactions to a CSV file to import the data into the software you use without having to input all the data again. This saves huge amounts of time and labour and improves the business’s efficiency in keeping accurate records and accounts.

Banks charges

When looking for a business account, you don’t want to hear they don’t have something unless it is the bank charges. Luckily, Mettle has no bank charges except for the transaction fees for various services such as deposits and withdrawals.

Mettle and Freeagents are members of the same family. This presents unique opportunities for Mettle customers because having a Mettle business account gives you a lifetime of free access to FreeAgent!

Other features and services you get with a Mettle business account include digital receipt capture, payment tracking and late payers, and 24/7 customer support.

Features That Would Have Been Nice to Have

On the flip side, Mettle is a standalone product. Having the backing of Natwest would lead most people to think that they can stroll into any Natwest banking hall to have any problems with the app solved. That is not the case. Natwest won’t provide any in-branch services to Mettle customers. As far as customer support goes, the best Mettle can do is online or by phone.

Mettle also doesn’t provide credit facilities or access to government-backed loans. For this, you have to retract to high-street banks. This is because they are not a fully-fledged bank and only offers e-money through Prepay Solutions.

At the moment, there isn’t an option to add second cardholders to the account, which is quite unfortunate considering that some businesses function better with various people accessing funds. But it is possible that Mettle could fix this slight oversight in the future.

A Mettle business account might not serve your best interests if you run an international business. The account doesn’t have the ability to make international money transfers or pay in foreign checks. That could pose a problem to businesses looking to pay suppliers or receive payments from overseas customers.

Benefits of the Mettle Business Account

The features available might give you enough reasons to consider opening the account. But, if you need more convincing, here are some more compelling reasons why you should consider a Mettle account;

  • Mettle business banking is free. As far as business banking goes, many providers have found ways to make it a premium. Even when they say it is free, there are restrictions and requirements that must be observed. That’s not the case with a Mettle business account. You will not need to pay a monthly fee to keep the account open, and you will not be charged for transactions, ATM withdrawals or deposits.
  • Mettle business account is bundled – You get other vital features and tools, such as FreeAgent accounting, at no extra cost. Additionally, there’s no cost to manage your books. This could save you substantial amounts in fees. But, if you prefer to use other premium tools like QuickBooks and Xero, they can be integrated into the account.
  • Professional-looking invoices – A Mettle business account allows you to send professional-looking invoices complete with the company logo directly through the Mettle app. It’s a functional feature that saves time and helps you earn customer and supplier trust.
  • Payments and transactions can be scheduled in advance at the touch of a button. You never have to worry about going past the payment period. This feature also makes it easy to run payroll or keep up with other subscription payments.
  • You can use the Mettle app to assign different money pots and set aside funds for impending expenses such as tax returns.
  • The account comes with a prepaid debit card that helps manage expenses and avoid accidental overspending while travelling. Having the card also diminishes the need to purchase external prepaid expense cards.
  • Customer support is conducted online. But you will have access to a human being. Not the infuriating chatbots that leave you talking in circles for hours.

Drawbacks of the Mettle Business Account

There are some drawbacks to be aware of as well, such as; 

  • All business banking with Mettle is conducted online through the app. If you damage or lose your smartphone, it could pose serious challenges to your account. More so because you can’t walk into a physical account for assistance. Not even a Natwest branch.
  • Mettle business accounts do not offer any lines of credit, which are a lifeline for businesses. You cannot apply for a business overdraft or unsecured business loan using the account.
  • The account has maximum balance limits of £50,000 for a sole trader account and £100,000 for a limited account. The balances are strict. The question then becomes how you can handle a substantial cash injection, such as an investment or business loan that won’t leave your account immediately.
  • The maximum amount you can deposit into a Mettle account is £7,500 a week. It may not be a concern on the overall balance model, but a business that relies on regular large cash transactions might struggle with this limitation.
  • Mettle is for UK transactions only. You cannot arrange overseas payments through the app. That may place unwelcome limitations on your trading.

Is Your Money Safe with Mettle?

Mettle has a pedigree. It is owned by Natwest, which has a good reputation and has built a lot of trust with customers in the banking world. They are governed by the FCA, meaning they have to ring-fence customer accounts to protect your money.

Also, the low limits set by the app mean you have to have secondary accounts that hold the bulk of your funds, minimising your risk exposure.

Alternatives to Mettle Business Account

There’s no doubt that Mettle is a great account, especially for new and small businesses trying to keep their running costs minimal. However, its fair share of pitfalls might cause some businesses to look for other options. If you’re one of those businesses, here are some comparisons to give you the context of other business accounts you should consider;

Mettle Vs Pay iO

Right off the bat, you can tell that Mettle and Pay iO are very different apps. Their similarities end with both options being business accounts and digital apps. On the one hand, Mettle is limited to local transactions, while Pay iO facilitates both local and international transactions.

Pay iO also offers multi-currency accounts and services to different business ownership types, including LLCs and NGO. There are no transactional limits with Pay iO, which makes it ideal for all business sizes, small and large.

The only aspect where Mettle does better than Pay iO is the free services. Pay iO doesn’t have a free subscription but offers impressive services at highly competitive rates.

If you’re looking for a business account that doesn’t bottleneck your cash flow and limit your transactional might, Pay iO might be a good choice. It’s also worth considering if you conduct most of your business outside the UK borders.

Mettle Vs Starling

Starling is another notable option when looking for a business account. The two options offer vastly similar services and features. Most of Starling’s fees in the entry-level account are also free, so it is certainly worth considering. But none of the options offers a sign-up offer, and both are free to sign up.

You might have to part with a fee to access Starling’s premium features, and it might be the better account to consider for larger businesses looking for an account with more robust features and one that can provide international transactions for the business.

Mettle Vs Tide

If you’re considering an alternative to Mettle, you should consider it. On the surface, both Mettle and Tide seem to offer very similar business account services. But Tide has been around longer, and their range of services is better.

One of the main benefits of Tide over Mettle is the international transfers and payments. The lack of this with a Mettle account is a huge downside, considering most businesses make some form of payment abroad at some point in their life.

Mettle does have a huge advantage in having no transaction fees, whereas Tide charges for this. But it’s possible that Mettle will introduce some fees at some point. But until then, they maintain the edge.

Tide cuts into this advantage by having the ability to use multiple cards as well as the sign-up bonus that Tide offers. It’s a sensitive balance with an easy response for businesses with international monetary obligations. 

What Experts and Users Think About the Mettle Business Account?

Mettle seems to be highly revered by customers, with a score of 4.6 out of 5 stars from the leading third-party review website Trustpilot. That is reassuring to traders and sole proprietors looking for a reliable bank and account that is reputable and trustworthy.

It also appears that Mettle offers personal and tailored responses to negative feedback, which suggests action is being taken to rectify customer complaints rather than the generic, copy-and-past apologies that often achieve nothing.

Reviews on other third-party review websites are also equally positive. Most of the negative comments about Mettle revolve around customer service when a problem arises. This is a challenge that most neobanks have. It’s not possible to walk into a bank and have the problem solved.

Most of the reviews are left by business owners, which goes to the credibility of Mettle and its ability to deliver quality results to its customers.

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