The best business bank accounts

Superscript
22 June 2021
5 minute read

Business bank accounts help you separate your business-related expenses from your personal ones. This makes it easier to track all kinds of things, like invoices, payroll (if you employ people) and taxes, especially if it connects to accounting software.

And thanks to fintechs and challenger options, a free business bank account isn’t so hard to come by. You might have to upgrade to unlock specific handy and professional features, but if free is what you’re looking for, you have choices.

But which are the best business bank accounts in the UK? Compare our top five, including their fees, best features and target markets. In no particular order:

  1. Starling Bank
  2. Tide
  3. Cashplus
  4. Monzo
  5. Metro

Where are the high street brands?

This list considers the best small business bank account only, which is why most of the high street banks are missing from it. Unfortunately, traditional providers have fallen far behind brands like Starling and Tide when it comes to providing the services that startups and side hustlers look for.

We scoured all the options out there, but from fees to online features and integrations, none of the high street banks are quite at pace with the disruptive brands we’re seeing in our feeds and top lists. Metro is maybe the exception, with their emphasis on in-branch support.

Top 5: compare business bank accounts

best business bank account

Starling Bank

With over 350,000 UK business customers on their books, Starling Bank are no longer the best-kept secret of the banking world (but on the plus side, you’re in excellent company). You can choose their original free business account, or upgrade to the Business Toolkit (£7/month), and enjoy award-winning business banking within minutes.

Show me the fees

No monthly fees 0.3% Post Office cash deposits charge (minimum charge of £3) £300 daily limit and 50p charge on Post Office cash withdrawals (Post Office ATM is free)

This is based on their Sole Trader account specifically – check out their other business accounts for limited companies if you need to – and there are also options for US dollar and Euro bank accounts.

Starling’s best feature

It has to be the award-winning service you’re buying into. Starling Bank are providing exceptional services at all sorts of price points, giving businesses real value for their hard-earned money.

Tide

If you’re scaling or adding new people to your team, a Tide business account could win you over. Extras like team expense cards and the ability to hold up to five business accounts give you room to grow, and an upgrade to their Plus or Premium membership unlocks more perks.

Show me the fees

No monthly fees 20p on all in/out transfers £1 on ATM withdrawals

Team expense cards come with a £5 monthly fee, and you’ll need to upgrade to enjoy some of Tide’s cutting-edge benefits and integrations.

Tide’s best feature

Tide have an eye on future-proofing their business customers, knowing that things change fast in the SME world. We’re impressed that they start with an excellent free option, but make it super-simple to upgrade and get lots of those fast-growth benefits as perks.

Cashplus

The ethos at Cashplus is that the brand has walked in your shoes, starting small and being largely frustrated by the lack of options for startup businesses. The USP here is that they won’t run a credit check when you apply, so if you don’t have a credit or tracing history (or would rather not dwell on it), it won’t affect your application.

Show me the fees

£69 per year 0.3% Post Office cash deposits charge (minimum charge of £2) Three free payments/transfers each month, then 99p each £2 on ATM withdrawals

This is the only business bank in our top five that carries a standard fee. Cashplus describes its fee structure as a ‘low annual fee – straightforward pricing with no monthly fees’, but you’ll need to be the judge of that. The absence of a credit check provides real flexibility and access, however.

Cashplus’ best feature

Cashplus is proud of its lightning-fast application and decision process, featuring zero credit check faffing. They say you’ll be up and running within four minutes – if so, you’ll be leaving most high street banks in the dust.

Monzo

Monzo’s Lite account is a slightly more stripped back than other business bank accounts, but it genuinely carries minimal fees and costs, keeping business banking really simple for people who are on a shoestring, just starting out, side hustling (or all three). You’ll need to upgrade for cool things like the tax pot option though, so check all the benefits before applying.

Show me the fees

Minimal – most of the Lite account option is completely free. To get the juicier benefits are only available if you go for their Pro price plan, at £5 per month.

Monzo’s best feature

Monzo provides award-winning, 24/7 customer support, and the human touch doesn’t cost you a penny. As well as this, the Lite account is light on costs and light on legwork for you to get what you need.

Metro Bank

Some of today’s banks (the fintechs/challengers) go big on their ‘no branches’ messaging, making it a feature of their product that absolutely everything is done online. The Metro brand is different – known as the ‘people-people bank’ Metro prides itself on having stores open 7 days a week until late – perfect for those who like option of both in-store and online service.

Show me the fees

£5 monthly fee on balances under £5,000 50 free transactions each month, then 30p each

A few things to watch out for here – you’ll need to keep an eye on your balance, which must stay at £5,000 or above to avoid the £5 monthly fee. That, plus Metro’s changing prices. From 1 September 2021, your balance needs to be £6,000 or above or the fee is £6/month, and their free UK transaction allowance is also decreasing to 30 per month.

Metro’s best feature

Sometimes you just need to speak to someone, in-person or by phone. Metro make it easy, with friendly, modern branches all over the world, and in the UK you’ll get a Local Business Manager who’ll help you tick things along.

The verdict

At the end of the day, you know your business and its needs best, so when it comes to picking bank accounts you’re going to be the best judge. All we’d recommend is to consider what exactly you need it for (which will determine the features you need) and how much you’re willing to spend on it a month (as a free option might be the best if you’re starting out). Once you’ve figured that out, you can narrow down your options. Happy banking!

If you’re ticking things off your business setup to-do list, don’t forget to think about business insurance, which often goes hand-in-hand with working out which business bank account to get.

Financial advice note

The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice on any matter. You should not rely on the information published in this article. The information in this article does not take account of individual circumstances and may not reflect recent changes in the law. Do not act or refrain from acting upon this information without seeking professional financial advice.

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