In my comprehensive review, I explore Counting Up Bank, a business current account backed by Sage and ING Bank, which includes its own accounting software.
I’ve used the account for several months, exploring its functionality, features, security protocols, fee structure and customer service. So how good is it?
By the end of this review, you should have a well-rounded perspective of the overall banking experience that Counting Up Bank provides. I’ll also compare it against other top business accounts to see how it stacks up.
- My Verdict
- Pros and Cons
- Who owns Counting Up?
- Is Counting up a Bank?
- Who is Eligible for a Counting Up Account?
- How to Open a Counting up Account?
- How Secure is the Counting Up Bank Account?
- Counting Up Mobile app and Web Platform Review
- What’s the Customer Service like at Counting up Bank?
- Customer Reviews
- Counting Up Bank Account FAQs
Counting Up Business Account Review: My Verdict
I found Counting Up to be an efficient, simple bank account that definitely has a place for sole traders and small businesses.
Account sign-up is easy and fast, and I found the app very effective at all the basic banking tasks you might expect: checking balance, making transfers etc.
Counting Up’s pricing is broadly comparable to competitors, although it doesn’t have a free account option. It’s really the volume of your deposits which decides how much you’ll pay and that changes automatically which is a nice feature. Most will pay around £9 a month unless you take over £7,500 in turnover.
New users get a three-month free period without charges, which is a nice way to ensure the account meets your expectations.
Overall, this is a decent basic business bank account with plenty to recommend it. Their user base is small – only 50,000 users so far, which tells me they’re actively building the brand. As that happens, I would expect more functionality and refinements to be added.
For most small businesses, I would still recommend Tide, which is a more comprehensive offering. Nevertheless, if you want a good starter account, Counting Up should be on your shortlist.
Pros and Cons of Counting Up Bank
- Fast account opening process – You can complete signup online in minutes
- Contactless debit card included – Allows for easy in-person and online payments
- Deposit options – Ability to deposit cash at Post Offices and PayPoints
- Invoicing capabilities – Create, send, and track invoices within the app
- Expense tracking – Upload receipts and track spending through expense capture
- Tax features – Get real-time tax estimates and make tax payments
- Accountant integration – Provides the ability to share data with external accountants
- Intuitive mobile app – Well-designed app interface for managing account
- Free 3-month trial – Gives the ability to test service at no cost initially
- No cheque deposits – Lack of option to pay in checks
- Transaction fees – Charges fees for transfers, withdrawals, etc.
- Monthly fees – Ongoing subscription fee based on deposit tiers
- Not FSCS protected – Funds not protected under £85,000 guarantee
- Limited customer support – Only provides email and chat, no phone
- Slow payments – Transfers and payments can take a few days
- Limited accounting features – Lacks some expected accounting tools
- Small bank network – ATM access more limited than major banks
Who owns Counting Up?
Countingup was established in 2017 by a trio of seasoned professionals: Tim Fouracre, Mike Moate, and James Hayhow.
Tim Fouracre, Countingup’s CEO and Founder, brings over two decades of financial technology experience to the team. Before establishing Countingup, Fouracre led Clear Books, a cloud-based accounting software company he co-founded in 2007. Mike Moate, the CTO and Co-Founder of Countingup, also shares more than 20 years in the software industry and held the position of CTO at Clear Books before co-founding Countingup. The third Co-Founder, James Hayhow, who serves as the COO, has a solid background in financial services spanning over a decade, having previously been the Head of Product at Clear Books.
Countingup’s founding was initially supported by a £2.3 million seed funding round led by investor Will Neale, former CEO of Sage UK and Ireland. In 2018, the company secured an additional £9.1 million in Series A funding led by Framework Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology companies. Founding Partner of Framework Venture Partners, Peter Misek, is also an investor in Countingup.
With its headquarters located in London, England, Countingup has grown to over 50 employees and has successfully assisted over 50,000 businesses across the UK.
Is Counting up a Bank?
Countingup is not a bank but a financial technology company that offers a business current account (e-money) built for sole traders and small limited companies.
The Countingup business current account is issued by Prepay Technologies Ltd. E-money issuers cannot participate in the FSCS, and therefore your account is not protected by FSCS in case of insolvency.
Counting up Features
The main features of the Counting Up account are as follows:
|Countingup Account Features||Availability|
|In-built Accounting Software||✔|
|Easy Account Opening Process||✔|
|Time-saving Financial Administration||✔|
|Real-time Business Insights||✔|
|Invoicing and Billing System||✔|
|Automated Transaction Categorization||✔|
|Account opening in minutes||✔|
|Real-time profit and loss reports||✔|
|Send invoices and get paid easily||✔|
|Unique card payment link for customers||✔|
Counting Up Bank strives to be more than just a business account, offering a plethora of bookkeeping, tax, and accounting features. These functions are specifically designed to suit the needs of both sole traders and limited companies with up to two directors.
The integrated solution combines a business account and accounting software in one application, automating the time-consuming aspects of financial administration. Counting Up wants business owners to spend less time on bookkeeping and tax administration and more time on their core operations.
Invoices can be created and sent directly from the app, and a unique card payment link allows customers to pay you with just a few taps.
Counting Up Bank’s live business insights feature is also worth mentioning. All financial data aggregated in one place provides real-time insights into business finances, including profit and loss reports, tax estimates, and information on unpaid invoices.
Counting up Bank Fees & Charges
This table covers the Counting Up fees in detail:
|Subscription Fee||Monthly Deposits|
|£3/month||£0 – £750|
|£9/month||£750 – £7,500|
|Account Transfers In/Out||30p|
|Direct Debit Out||30p|
|Foreign Transactions||3% of transaction value|
|ATM Withdrawal||£1 per withdrawal|
|Post Office Cash Load||0.5% of load amount (£2 min fee)|
|PayPoint Cash Load||3% of load amount|
What are the Counting Up Account Limits?
The accounts limits are as follows:
|Maximum Account Balance||£60,000||£400,000|
|Maximum Mastercard purchase per day||£10,000||£10,000|
|Cash deposit via Post Office per transaction||£2,000||£2,000|
|Cash deposit via Post Office per day||£5,000||£7,000|
|Cash deposit via PayPoint per transaction||£500||£500|
|Cash deposit via PayPoint per day||£1,000||£2,000|
|Incoming UK Faster Payment per day||£30,000||£100,000|
|Incoming UK Faster Payment per month||£120,000||£400,000|
|Incoming UK BACS/CHAPS per day||£30,000||£100,000|
|Incoming UK BACS/CHAPS per month||£120,000||£400,000|
|Card purchases per day||£10,000||£10,000|
|Card purchases per month||£60,000||£200,000|
|Cash withdrawal via ATM per day||£500||£500|
|Outgoing UK Faster Payment per day*||£30,000||£100,000|
|Outgoing UK Faster Payment per month*||£120,000||£400,000|
|Outgoing UK Direct Debit Payment per day||£30,000||£100,000|
|Outgoing UK Direct Debit Payment per month||£120,000||£400,000|
Who is Eligible for a Counting Up Account?
You are eligible to open a CountingUp account if you are:
- A sole trader or the director of a limited company,
- At least 18 years old, and
- A UK resident.
If you are seeking to open a Limited Company account, your business needs to:
- Be registered as active with Companies House
- Be limited by shares
- Have up to two directors, including yourself (Currently, CountingUp cannot support businesses with more than two directors)
- Have all Persons of Significant Control as UK residents
- Have all shares held by individuals, and not by a holding company or another business
Furthermore, because CountingUp is an app-based platform with no physical branches, the following requirements are also necessary:
- A smartphone with the CountingUp app installed (minimum supported version iOS 13+ and Android 6+)
- A valid UK mobile number
- A valid email address
- A valid form of identification, such as a UK passport, driving license, or European ID card
Who is Not Eligible for a Counting Up Account?
- Partnerships, charities, Community Interest Companies, Charitable Incorporated Organisations, trusts, and companies limited by guarantee
- Trading in weapons, explosives, or armaments
- Cryptocurrency & Non-Fungible Token (NFT) trading
- Stock Market/Forex Trading
- Money Service Businesses (such as foreign exchange, loan providers, money transfers)
- Gambling and betting activities
- Trading in precious metals, stones, and bullion
- Sale or trade of cannabidiol (CBD) products
- Activities of religious organisations and political parties/organisations
- Social/Community Clubs, not-for-profit services, and escort services
- Regulated businesses where the applicant is unable to provide the licence required to operate
How to Open a Counting up Account?
To open a Counting Up business account, follow these steps:
- Provide Personal Details: You will need to provide your full legal name, current residential address, date of birth, a valid UK mobile number, and a valid UK email address.
- Provide Business Details: You will need to specify the name of your business, its type (whether it’s a limited company or sole trader), a description of the business, and VAT registration details if it’s registered.
- Additional Verification: In some instances, Counting Up may need more information to help them verify your identity and/or your business. If this is the case, their Customer Support Team will call or email you for more information.
If you’ve been asked for more information and would like to discuss your application further, you can contact the support team via email and they will send you a link to book a call at a time that suits you.
How Secure is the Counting Up Bank Account?
Countingup is secure for the following reasons, though less so than a fully regulated bank.
Countingup provides an e-money account through its partner Prepay Technologies Ltd (PPS), an FCA-authorized e-money institution. This means PPS keeps customer funds separate from company funds through a process called “safeguarding.”
Safeguarding guarantees that customers’ money is completely protected and not available to third parties like banks or creditors. PPS undergoes annual independent audits to ensure proper safeguarding procedures.
Safeguarding has no limits – all money within Countingup accounts is fully protected. This differs from traditional banks protected under the FSCS £85,000 limit.
As an e-money institution, PPS cannot participate in FSCS. In the unlikely event, PPS becomes insolvent, Countingup notes returning funds may take longer than an FSCS claim. An administrator may also deduct some costs from the money, meaning customers could get back slightly less than their full balance.
However, Countingup states that with safeguarding, all money within Countingup accounts remains completely safe and protected. The company takes the security of customer funds seriously.
Is Counting up FSCS protected?
So while FSCS protections do not apply, Countingup’s safeguarding procedures guarantee full protection of all money deposited with no limits. Annual audits ensure proper protocols to keep customer funds isolated from company funds.
Counting Up Mobile app and Web Platform Review
The Countingup mobile app, available on both iOS and Android devices, has a user-friendly interface that allows for instant invoicing, receipt capture, and built-in accounting software. I found it simple and straightforward for the most part.
The real-time tax estimates feature has been particularly useful, offering a quick glance at what I might owe, significantly simplifying my financial planning. Some users have reported that the only hiccup is occasional slow responsiveness and a somewhat challenging transaction history navigation.
Moving on to the Countingup web platform, it complements the mobile platform, serving as a more extensive version. It includes a convenient banking dashboard, cash flow forecasting, budgeting tools, and versatile reporting tools.
These additional features provide a detailed understanding of your account balances, transactions, and spending trends. However, I suspect that individuals without any accounting experience might find the platform a bit daunting.
What’s the Customer Service like at Counting up Bank?
In reviewing Countingup Bank, I had several interactions with their customer service to assess the level of support provided. You can access the support only by sending an email to email@example.com using the email address linked to your Countingup account.
While the responses were prompt and efficient, the lack of phone, in-app support or live chat makes it less easy to contact them than other major banking competitors.
That said, the team consistently responded promptly and efficiently to my emails, demonstrating a good understanding of the issues at hand and providing helpful solutions.
Another thing to note is that Countingup’s customer service operates between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
Counting up Customer Reviews
- Overall, Counting Up has a TrustScore of 4.5 out of 5 based on 2,254 reviews. The majority (81%) are 5-star reviews.
- Positive feedback highlights the easy and fast account opening process, smooth onboarding, great customer service, and helpful accounting features like invoice generation and expense tracking. Many mention it is better than high street banks for small businesses.
- The main negatives mentioned are some customers having issues receiving their cards, limited accounting features compared to paid software, and a few instances of poor customer service or communication.
- Counting Up seems very engaged with reviewers – they have replied to 100% of negative reviews, usually within a week. The company provides detailed responses addressing concerns.
- Counting Up appears popular with small business owners and sole traders who want a simple digital banking solution with basic accounting features built-in. Overall the service receives positive feedback but there are some areas like card delivery and accounting capabilities that could be improved.
Counting up also score well on Smart Money People with an overall rating of 4.86 out of 5 stars
Counting Up Bank Account FAQs
How is my money protected with Countingup?
Countingup safeguards your money through a process known as safeguarding, which means your business’s money is kept separate from Countingup’s and isn’t available to any creditors, banks or third parties. It’s important to note, however, that, unlike traditional banks, Countingup does not participate in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so your account is not protected by FSCS.
How can I sign up for a Countingup account?
You can sign up for a Countingup account on their website or through their mobile app. You’ll need to provide some basic personal and business information and some form of identification.
Does Countingup charge any fees for its services?
Yes, Countingup charges a monthly account fee, the amount of which can vary depending on the plan you choose. There are also transaction fees for some types of transactions, such as international payments and ATM withdrawals.
Can I use Countingup for my accounting needs?
Countingup’s built-in accounting software automatically categorises your expenses, generates real-time profit and loss reports, and helps you keep track of your VAT returns. It also provides real-time tax estimates and is Making Tax Digital (MTD) compliant, so you can file your VAT returns electronically.