Natwest Business Account Review

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Every business needs a bank account to keep their finances in order. When the business is still new, every coin counts and this is where a free bank account can come in handy. Such accounts might not have the features that other accounts are known for, but if you take time and consider your options carefully, you can still find one with decent futures that can handle your business transactions as long as you need as you work on building your brand.

Luckily, gone are the days when traditional banks had a chokehold on the finance industry. Challenger banks are giving traditional banks a run for their money, and with unlimited access to the online world and technology, even a free account from these banks can do wonders.

10 Free Business Bank Accounts

Pay iO Business Account

Full disclosure: Pay iO business account isn’t entirely free. But comparing the low monthly price of £25 and the features you get for the account, it might as well be free. Pay iO is one of the premier challenges banks to focus solely on businesses. While other fintechs also have business accounts, the account is only a secondary option, with the primary one being money transfers and others.

With Pay iO, you get a product designed for small and large businesses. The range of bank accounts is tailored to give you a picture of just how business-oriented Pay iO is; their premium offering can be customised to the needs of the business, ensuring you only pay for the services you get.

With the Pay iO entry-level business account, you get access to business debit cards, international payments, local payments, card payments, round-the-clock support and a GBP wallet, among other functions and services.

Some of the reasons you should consider a free Pay iO business bank account include;

Mobile app and web access

Every business needs to have access to their funds anytime and anywhere. With the Pay iO mobile app and web access, you take your account with you. You can access your money anywhere and at any time. The app is compatible with both Android and Apple phones. You can also access your account through their web portal.

Designed for small and big businesses

Pay iO offers comprehensive features for both small and large businesses. Small businesses can get bank payments directly from their customers and manage their transactions and expenses in only places, easing book and record keeping.

Big businesses have even more features, including sending and receiving money globally and other tools and features that conveniently allow them to manage their account and reduce administrative time and effort.

Modern convenience

Your Pay iO bank account grants you access to a digital wallet, dedicated bank details and a business card. Everything is hassle-free, and you don’t have to wait a minute of your time in a queue – everything is online.

Pay iO offers additional features that businesses might find handy, such as currency exchange with competitive mid-market rates that allow businesses to make the most out of their currency and cut back on the costly forex rates.

Businesses also benefit from the fast, simple multi-currency bank transfers. With a global network, you have an account everywhere, which eases the movement of money and allows businesses to transact efficiently.

Revolut Business

Revolut is a 21st Century digital or e-money institution with over 25 million users. It has premium business bank accounts and offers a free, entry-level account that benefits new and budding businesses.

Revolut offers multi-currency accounts, making it ideal for businesses that regularly do business abroad or if you want to send money overseas at low rates.

Another aspect that makes Revolut excellent is that it offers Revolut Pro, a free business bank account and card designed for freelancers, sole traders and contractors. Something that you don’t get from other services and bank accounts.

Despite all the benefits this account offers, it’s vital to know that it is unsuitable for firms, partnerships and other similar entities. It’s only designed for freelancers and contractors and can only be accessed using Revolut’s retail app, not the business app. You must also have a Revolut personal account to open a Pro account.

The account has no monthly payments, UK card purchases are free, and ATM withdrawals and bank transfers have low costs attached to them.

While the account is not FSCS protected, it is FCA regulated so you can rest assured that the provider follows all the necessary safety and security protocols to safeguard your money and personal data.

You will also be happy to know that the account can be integrated with accounting software, further easing administration.

Pros

  • You can hold and exchange up to 25 currencies
  • Customer support is available 24/7
  • Free transfers to other Revolut accounts
  • IBANs for global transfers
  • Local accounts in GBP and EUR
  • You can accept payments using the account
  • Ability to buy and hold crypto with your account

Cons

  • The account is not FSCS-protected
  • You pay up to 2% to withdraw cash via the ATM
  • Premium features are only available with paid plans

CashPlus Go

Cashplus Bank offers one of the best free bank accounts with the Cashplus Business Go plan. However, you will still need to pay fees for certain transactions, such as card issues and ATM withdrawal fees.

If you don’t carry out many monthly banking transactions, this could be your perfect account. It’s quick and easy to open this account, and it makes it easy to manage your money and capture digital receipts directly in the app. The account also allows you to use card controls such as freezing and PIN retrieval, which are only available as premium options in other accounts.

The Cashplus Go account has no monthly fees and offers three free UK card purchases and three free bank transfers. Customers are also FSCS protected up to £85,000; Cashplus is also FCA regulated.

With the Cashplus Go account, you can order up to 20 additional cards. However, there is a fee for each card delivery. You can track expenses and block certain transactions and cards. The account also allows you to download statements for each card in CSV format and manage cards and reconciliations online using the centralised management system.

Small business owners will also be excited to know that the account can be integrated with leading accounting software, which helps cut back on administrative tasks while maintaining proper records and balance sheets.

Pros

  • There are no monthly or annual fees
  • Deposits are FSCS-protected
  • You can apply and get approved for the account online
  • You get UK phone support
  • The account can be integrated with accounting software

Cons

  • You pay a one-time £9.95 card fee
  • There’s a £50k account limit on the free account
  • No cash back on the Go account
  • There’s a minimum £3 fee to deposit cash at the post office

Starling Bank

Starling Bank is one of the newest challenger banks, trying to transform the banking industry in the UK. They offer a generous free bank account tied into a slick and secure app as part of their efforts. Customers using the free plan bank account get free electronic payments and domestic transfers with no monthly account fee.

Starling might not have the vast product range that other providers have, but what they lack in diversity, they make up for quality. Starling has amassed various accolades in its short stay due to its exemplary service. These include Winner of the Best British Bank, Best Current Account Provider and Best Business Banking Provider in 2019 and 2020. Of course, Starling Bank has received plenty of challenges from other challenger banks, such as Pay iO, but remains steadfast in offering quality and affordable banking solutions.

Under the free banking plan, Starling Bank customers can enjoy banking with no monthly fees, with premium features such as overdrafts. There are also no charges for Faster Payments, Direct Debits and Standing orders.

The free Starling Business Bank account has no cash transaction limit. But there is a £3 charge per deposit of up to £1000. For amounts above £1000, there’s a fee of 0.3% of the amount deposited and a 50p charge per withdrawal.

Unfortunately, the free plan is not available for all businesses. The account eligibility requires businesses to have fewer than 10 employees and less than £1.7 in annual turnover.

If you require basic and affordable business banking that can cope without physical branches, the free Starling Bank account plan can be a good fit for your business.

Pros

  • Free ATM withdrawals in the UK and abroad and zero fee for spending overseas
  • Zero fees for opening a UK current account
  • Rapid delivery of cards within a week
  • Safe, secure and licensed by the FCA and PRA
  • Excellent customer service with 24/7 live chat support

Cons 

  • It is not ideal for cash users, especially those depositing huge amounts, as you need to deposit it in a post office.
  • No physical branches
  • Only offers services like mortgages on its marketplace

Wise Business Account

Technically, Wise isn’t a bank. It is an online money transfer service. It is one of the leading money transfer services in the UK and recently announced its Borderless business accounts, which give freelancers and organisations an account and a multi-currency card.

The fact that Wise isn’t a bank has its perks mainly because it makes things easier and cheaper than the high street organisations.

Besides providing businesses that opt for this free bank account with swift and affordable transfers, the Wise account has plenty of other features and services it offers to businesses that can help in many ways.

With the Wise free business account, you get your own bank details, including a UK account number and sort code. You also get a European IBAN and a US routing number. You get the flexibility to move and receive money without hassle.

You also get a business Mastercard from Wise. This comes in handy when travelling overseas. The card gives you access to over 150 currencies with no hidden fees. You can either access the funds in the local currency or receive an automatic conversion from the currencies you hold.

Once you have your free Wise business account, you can integrate it with various tools such as Xero, Quickbooks and other accounting tools to sync and track your activity from Wise Business easily.

The account also allows you to make batch payments, multiple payments, or more easily settle payroll. Such tasks often take the bulk of your time can now be completed in a few clicks.

Wise also provides you with an API that you can integrate with your current business tools for easy payment processing that increases customer satisfaction and reduces cart abandonment.

The Wise business account isn’t entirely free. You part with a one-time payment of £16. Given the features you get from the account, it is a small price.

There’s also a fixed 65p charge per transfer, which varies depending on the currency. Currency conversion fees on your card also incur costs ranging from 0.33% to 3.54% of the transaction, depending on the currency.

Pros

  • You can make and receive international payments in over 40 currencies
  • Transfer fees are up to 19 times cheaper than competitors
  • There is a range of transfer options available
  • The account is free to set up and gives businesses access to vital bank details to set up their financials.

Cons 

  • Although the rates are competitive, you can find cheaper rates elsewhere
  • Can only transfer to a bank account. There is no option for a cash pickup
  • Card currency conversions are pricey

Tide Business

Tide takes business banking a little more seriously. It is an app-based and card-based banking solution. You can set up an account, manage your finances and order a MasterCard using the Tide app. The company was first formed in 2015 as a fintech venture that has grown from strength to strength. Tide recently partnered with ClearBank to offer even better financial solutions to its customers.

The basics of the Tide business account are quite simple. Like other challenger apps, you start by signing up for the account and following the on-screen prompts. The whole process only takes a few minutes. The account is free to sign up. You will only need some basic information about you and your business and a few forms of identification to verify the account.

After the account runs, you will receive a free Tide MasterCard, which will take around three days to get to you. Using the app, you can make transfers and payments, but setting up Direct Debits may take longer.

Once you have everything set up, you can start enjoying the many features the Tide Business account offers.

Using the account, you can see an overview of your account balance, transactions you’ve made and any upcoming payments. It’s a simple and effective way to stay on top of your business’s financial obligations.

You can create categories and tag expenditures to understand better your expenses and a breakdown of what you’re spending the money on. You can also connect the account to multiple accounts to keep track of your business activity.

With the Tide business account, you can also freeze and unfreeze your card, check your PIN and reorder a lost card. You can also create and pay invoices through the app on a desktop.

Integrate your transaction feed with accounting software and easily download and export transaction information and statements.

Tide also provides you with access to live chat and allows you to speak to dedicated support team members at any time. These are just some of the features you can expect from Tide. And you get all that with a quick sign-up and no monthly fees.

Although the Tide business account is free, there are charges and fees associated with some of the features that the account offers. However, as you will notice, Tide has done an immaculate job of trying to keep some of the fees low for its services.

Transfers between bank accounts cost 20p a time, while ATM cash withdrawals are £1 a go. Cash deposits through the post office are £1, and through PayPoint are 3%. Compared to the competitors, these rates and fees are quite impressive.

Small and medium-sized business owners and freelancers might find the free Tide business account helpful for them. It allows you to start taking transactions with minimal effort.

Pros

  • It is a simple app and platform to use with various functions, including allowing you to manage your money with your Tide and other accounts.
  • Reasonable charges and fees compared to other free accounts
  • You can create business invoices and share details with your account from the app or by exporting the information.
  • Safe, secure and easy to use. Covered by the PRA and the FCA.

Cons

  • No direct customer service. You can also reach them by phone
  • You can’t make international money transfers using the account
  • You don’t get all the features of a traditional bank account, which might pose challenges for startups.

HSBC Free Bank Account

HSBC is one of the largest banks in the UK, and with that comes confidence in banking with them. The bank has solutions for all types and sizes of businesses, from startups to established companies, with many features and services offered.

One of the most attractive features for new businesses is HSBC’s free bank account. The account is free for the first 18 months for new businesses and 12 months free for businesses switching from another bank, after which an £8 monthly fee kicks in. HSBC does an annual audit of your account to see your progress to keep the fees low for businesses that are still struggling.

The best way to get the account is by applying online using their app. Once you complete and submit the online application, the bank will work on it within 48 hours.

You can also request a call back if you want to make a transition, in this case, they can complete the transition in seven to ten business days.

With your new free HSBC bank account, you can enjoy many exciting features, such as the competitive business banking services the bank has become known for. You get first-rate banking services, including international bank accounts, foreign currency and credit cards to companies worldwide.

The account is simple and convenient to access without compromising security. You can choose to access the account in person at a branch or by phone. You can also manage your finances via the mobile app, which is available for select accounts, including HSBC Kinetic, and is available on Android and Apple platforms.

Since HSBC is a fully-fledged bank, you can also enjoy perks such as FSCS coverage for up to £85000. The total amount of protection you get depends on your business ownership type, which requires careful consideration when registering a new business.

Businesses that deal in regular international money transfers can also rely on HSBC’s massive treasury division to provide worldwide round-the-clock coverage of the regional marketplaces.

HSBC is a leader in foreign currency markets with a network that features some of the best specialists in the world. The bank can provide foreign currency in various forms, including options, forwards and spots.

You also get an HSBC business card with your account. You can choose from various card types and data analysis tools to meet your organisation’s specific requirements. The card also provides you with insight into how much money you’re spending on business travel and other related expenses. It offers access to various tools to manage your working capital better and negotiate better terms with supplies.

Pros

  • You have various business banking options and features available to boost the level of your credit rating
  • Free banking services are available for new and transitioning businesses for the first 18 and 12 months, respectively.
  • Certain accounts can be synced with accounting tools such as Sage, Xero and QuickBooks.
  • Banking options include mobile apps, web, voice calls and physical locations
  • Business loans, savings accounts, and overdrafts are all options. Foreign exchange and international payments are also possible.

Cons

  • There are regular monthly fees and reassessed transaction costs after the free period ends.

Mettle

Mettle is a subsidiary of NatWest. It is a forward-looking business account with an app with a business Mastercard. The service is designed for sole traders and partnerships, offering them easy and early access to functional free business accounts. The app-based account is the first among major UK banking brands. Considering the success of services such as Starling, Pay iO and Revolut, it’s an expected move.

Mettle has impressive features that customers can leverage to grow their businesses. Mettle eliminates the hassle new companies must go through to open a new business account and provides numerous features.

The most notable among these has to be the friendly and simple user interface the app offers. It’s a breeze to use and manoeuvre with easy access.

The app also has built-in tasks and reminders. It provides you with a daily list of tasks that you need to tackle as far as your finances are concerned. This includes things like paying bills, overdue invoices and receipts you need to capture.

Mettle also adds a crucial feature for a new business that allows you to create and send invoices effortlessly. Once you receive the payment, you can match it to the relevant invoice, making bookkeeping and accounting much easier.

You can also add copies of receipts from your expenses and transactions for easier tracking of expenses and accounting at the end of the year. Mettle allows you to export your expenses easily in an accounting-friendly format. This feature comes in handy when doing your taxes and helps to cut back on administrative duties.

It’s easy to see why Mettle is touted as the future of banking. With numerous handy features and no monthly costs, it is the perfect choice for new businesses looking to begin their journey to success.

Pros

  • The account is free to open, and there are no monthly fees
  • Easy, user-friendly app interface
  • Bundled with FreeAgent Software
  • FSCS protected
  • Excellent customer reviews and feedback

Cons 

  • No overdraft or lending streams are available
  • Lower account limits than some rivals
  • Not compatible with international money transfers
  • Cannot accept cash or cheque payments

TSB Business Plus Account

TSB is a UK banking service that offers both personal and business accounts. It was founded over 200 years ago and boasts a rich network of branches. Its Business Plus account, available to both startups and established businesses, offers a single simple tariff and a 30-month fee-free offer to new customers. Eventually, you will start paying for the account, but customers get up to 30 months of free service. At the end of the free period, businesses part with £5, and the account will be subject to some transaction fees, namely a 70p charge for cheques paid in or out.

With the account, you also get a 12-month trial of Revenu, an app that integrates with the account to support payment requests and invoices. Once the trial period has ended, there is a £6 monthly charge to use the app, with the option to cancel at any time.

Some of the most outstanding features that TSB offers its clients include an extensive network of branches across England, Scotland and Wales. The customers can access services or speak to advisers.

The standard free period is up to 24 months. But with TSB, customers get up to 30 months of free services, which is competitive and gives businesses the time they need to grow and stabilise their finances.

The free TSB Business Plus account allows businesses to deposit cash and cheques at any post office or branch, providing them with multiple ways to fund their accounts.

Businesses can also integrate software and a free 12-month trial of Revenu that makes payment requests and invoices easier and less time-consuming.

Even after the 30-month free trial, some aspects of the account remain free, such as everyday transactions, debit card transactions and cash withdrawals.

As impressive as the account sounds, there are some drawbacks that you should be aware of. For instance, TSB doesn’t have a branch in North Ireland. While you can open an account there, you should be aware that there are no physical branches in the country.

Also, none of the TSB customer service options have a 24-hour option. You can contact TSB’s customer support using several methods, but only the automated chat service has a 24-hour option.

Pros

  • All new businesses benefit from 30 months of everyday banking
  • The account can be managed online via an app, over the phone or in a branch
  • Eligible for FSCS protection for amounts up to £85,000
  • There are branches in England, Wales and Scotland for face-to-face support
  • Business Plus customers can get the payment services app Revenu free for 12 months

Cons

  • There are no TSB branches in North Ireland
  • The account is subject to a monthly fee and transaction charges after the 30-month free trial period is over.
  • Customer support is unavailable 24 hours a day except for the automated chat services.

Metro Bank

Finally, there’s Metro Bank. It offers a unique free business account that remains free as long as you maintain a balance of more than £6,000. The bank offers two main business current accounts. A business bank account is for sole traders, small businesses, or startups, and a commercial current account is for large and commercial businesses. The free account is available to the former.

The account for sole traders and startups is for limited companies with a turnover of less than £2 million. Your business must be owned by individuals and not a parent company to be eligible for this account.

The account offers access to local business managers across Metro Bank branches who can offer support and you get access to business overdraft of up to £60,000 if you qualify. If you don’t hold the minimum £6,000, there’s a £6 monthly fee.

Unlike most free business accounts, the Metro account allows you access to borrowing. Customers have various business borrowing options, including overdrafts, business credit cards, loans, asset, and invoice finance.

With the account, you also get international capabilities such as sending and receiving money using the business account. This is crucial for businesses targeting customers overseas or those with suppliers abroad.

While the account has numerous features, it is relatively easy to set up. On average, it takes Metro Bank to set up a new business account for two days. If you get into a branch and apply, you can have your account and debit card set up on the same day. But in some cases, it can take up to 13 days.

Being a fully licensed bank, deposits in Metro Bank are eligible for FSCS protection. The protection covers amounts up to £85,000. If you’re a sole trader with both personal and business accounts, the protection covers up to £85000 on both accounts.

The account also allows you to integrate various accounting software. Alternatively, you can use Metro’s partner ClearBooks and various other accounting tools.

The bank also makes it easy for small businesses with less than 50 employees and an annual turnover of below £6.5 million to switch over from other banks, ensuring the new account is set up in less than seven days.

Before signing up for the account, you should know that limited free transactions exist. Metro offers 30 fee-free transactions per month. Additional transactions are charged at 30p each. Some business account transactions offer more than 30 transactions per month.

If you’re in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you should know that these areas have no metro branches.

Pros

  • You can get your account and debit card set up on the same day if you open a business account in a metro store
  • Metro Bank branches are open seven days a week
  • Metro Bank offers a range of borrowing options for businesses, including overdrafts, credit cards, and loans
  • Metro Bank offers accounting options. You can integrate existing software, organise receipts and create invoices.

Cons 

  • You must maintain the minimum monthly balance of £6,000; otherwise, there is a monthly fee of £6.
  • 24/7 customer support is not available at Metro Bank. But business customers can contact the UK call centre Monday to Saturday, 8 am to 6 pm and Sunday, 8 am to pm.
  • You will be charged transaction fees if your balance is below £6,000 when you start using your account.
  • There are only 30 fee-free transactions available if your balance is above £6,000
  • There are no Metro Branches in Scotland or Northern Ireland and only two in Wales.

What to Consider When Opening a Free Bank Account

It’s important to be aware that not all free business accounts work the same way. Generally, having a free business bank account means you won’t be charged a monthly or annual fee for operating the account. But that’s not to say you will not incur transaction charges and other fees to maintain the account.

Depending on the bank and the account, the free service might be a lifetime or, like in the case of most banks, last about a year or have other contingencies that must be maintained to avoid fees.

Eligibility

Before opening the account, you should check the eligibility requirements. Some fee bank accounts might only be available to startups, while others might require you to have been trading for at least a year. Others might also have a minimum annual turnover requirement.

Ensuring you meet these requirements might save you a lot of frustration from opening an account only to discover that it is not free because you don’t meet some of the requirements.

Some banks also have minimum balance requirements, like Metro Bank. You have to ensure your business can maintain such balances without impacting cash flow to maximise the benefit of the free account.

Fees

Many banks will float the idea of a free business account only to hide the monthly fees in other services. Besides getting a free account, you should also look at the different types of fees associated with the account and see whether they are competitive and affordable for your business.

Cash deposits

If you need to make regular cash deposits, you could be better off opening a bank account with a bank with a local branch. Some accounts will allow you to deposit cash via post office branches or PayPoints.

You should find out if there are any fees associated with depositing your money into a free business account. Some may charge a flat fee for each deposit, while others may charge a percentage of the amount deposited.

Cheque deposits

If you regularly pay cheques into your account, find out whether it is possible with your chosen account. With some digital banks, this is not possible. You should also check to see how much it will cost you to deposit cheques.

Transfers

Consider how many bank transfers you will make each month and find out how much you might be charged. If you need to make a lot of transfers each month, it might be better to look for an account that offers unlimited fee-free transfers but charges a monthly account fee in return.

Currency exchanges

Businesses transacting overseas need to look for an account that lets them do this for a low rate. Similarly, if you need to go abroad on business, look for a bank account that offers a card with free foreign spending.

Overdrafts

If you need an overdraft, be aware that the interest will be charged for using it is often high. Therefore, it is best to only use your overdraft for short-term borrowing.

Closing Remarks

Your best free bank account depends on how you run your business. If you only make a few daily banking transactions monthly or are new to the business and looking to maintain low overheads, you probably want to look for an account that charges no monthly or annual fee.

Fees for everyday banking won’t matter as much if you’re not making many of them. If you’re a more established business that carries out a large volume of business transactions each month, you could be better off with an account that charges lower transaction fees or none at all, even if you have to pay a monthly account fee in return.

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