For many users, an online account bank account is the ideal solution for everyday financial management. Many of us no longer need branch access, in-person account management, or any of the other trappings of traditional high-street banks.
But which account will offer your business the most?
A good online bank account should offer speed, security, a well-designed APP and a transparent pricing model. As an expert in the UK banking sector, I’ve spent time using all of the available accounts, comparing their functionality, and gauging which I feel are the best for a range of common business uses.
Read on to discover my best bank accounts of 2023. I’ll be updating this page regularly to reflect any ongoing changes these banks make to their account offerings.
- The 5 Best Online Business Bank Accounts: My Verdict
- What are the Typical Requirements for Opening a Business Bank Account
- How does a business bank account differ from a personal bank account?
- How to open a business bank account online
- What’s the easiest online business bank account to open ?
The 5 Best Online Business Bank Accounts: My Verdict
Tide: Overall Best Online Business Bank Account
I have found Tide to be a very streamlined, efficient and well-run online bank account, ideal for most businesses. While it isn’t a regulated bank, it offers offer FSCS-protected bank accounts provided by ClearBank Ltd.
Tide’s recent acquisition of Funding Options has also opened up the ability to apply for finance directly from the app, with instant approval available within a few clicks. This is a very useful bit of functionality and probably means Tide customers now have quicker access to finance, potentially, than any other UK bank provider.
Here’s what I like about them:
- Free business bank account with no monthly or annual fees (or you can choose a premium account with more functionality).
- Fast Sign Up with no credit checks or paperwork
- Low fees for bank transfers, ATM cash withdrawals, and cash deposits.
- Easy to open and manage your account online or through the Tide app.
- Access to a wide range of business banking features, including accounting integrations, expense tracking, and invoicing.
- Four different plans to choose from, so you can find the one that’s right for your business.
- Great customer support, available 24/7
- Free company registration at Companies House
- 24/7 legal support available on any paid plan
- Easy access to funding through the Tide app
|Account Plan||Monthly fee||ATM withdrawals||Bank transfers|
|Plus||£9.99 + VAT||£1/withdrawal||20p/transfer|
|Pro||£18.99 + VAT||£1/withdrawal||Unlimited|
|Cashback||£49.99 + VAT||£1/withdrawal||150/month free|
Revolut: Best Online Bank Account for International business within EEA
Revolut calls itself a financial super-app which gives some indication of how much functionality is available within their bank account.
While the core functionality of their account is adapted to operating in multiple currencies, it has a lot of other additional features such as invoicing, accounting integration, expense cards and even the ability to invest in crypto, if that’s your interest.
The fees are competitive but especially if you’re operating within the EEA. If you’re sending money outside this area, other options, such as Wise may be cheaper.
My main reservations about Revolut are the inability to deposit cash and the fact it is not FCSC protected.
These points aside, Revolut is doing a lot right. Even if you didn’t choose it as your main bank account, it’s a useful tool for sending and receiving international transfers or exchanging 25+ currencies.
Here’s what I like about Revolut:
- Multi-currency account: Revolut Business allows you to hold and exchange over 28 currencies in the same account.
- Send up to 1000 bulk payments in a click
- Seamless international payments: Revolut allows you to make international payments in over 200 countries.
- Low ATM fees: Revolut charges low ATM fees when you withdraw money abroad. This means you can access your money when you need it, without having to worry about hidden fees.
- No monthly fees: Revolut offers a free business account with no monthly fees.
- Superb app: Revolut is easy to use, both online and through the Revolut app. You can open an account in minutes and start using it right away.
- Wide range of features: Revolut offers a wide range of features, including expense tracking, invoicing, and travel insurance.
- Good customer support: Revolut has good customer support, available 24/7.
Cashplus: Best Online Bank Account for Businesses with Poor Credit
Cashplus is a fully regulated bank account which tries to be as inclusive as possible when it comes to their business accounts.
This means there’s no credit check, and their fast application process means you can get up an running in no time.
It’s not the cheapest account, as they charge for ATM withdrawals, depositing cash and transfers, but otherwise has a lot to recommend it.
Here’s what I like about Cashplus.
- No credit check: Cashplus does not carry out a credit check when you apply for a business account, which means that businesses with poor credit can still get approved.
- Overdraft: Cashplus is one of the only online banks we know that offers an overdraft (to eligible accounts only) other than Starling.
- Creditbuilder: Cashplus offers a clever functionality called Creditbuilder on its Business Extra account, which can improve your credit score on autopilot over time.
- Wide range of features: Cashplus offers a wide range of features, including expense tracking, invoicing, and credit builder. This means you can streamline your business operations and save time.
- Good customer support: Cashplus has good customer support, available 24/7. This means you can get help if you need it, when you need it.
Anna: Best Online Business Account for Freelancers
Anna, standing for Absolutely No Nonsense Admin, is a great online bank account which really takes the sting out of admin.
You can send invoices straight from the app, plus Anna offers its own bookkeeping software, which you can share with your accountant. Everything about it is simple, streamlined and hassle-free. I love their auto-reconciling functionality and the ability to file VAT returns directly from the APP.
The downsides for me are the lack of ease in sending and receiving international payments, and the cost of £14.90 for the business account. There is a Pay as You Go account but it makes sense to get the premium plan to use some of the additional functionality.
Here’s what I like about Anna:
- Fast and easy signup. You can open an account in under 10 minutes with just your ID.
- Virtual cards are issued instantly. Get a virtual card to start spending right away before the physical card arrives.
- Personal payment link. Get a shareable online payment link to invoice clients or receive payments.
- Pay in cash. Deposit cash into your account at thousands of PayPoints.
- Expenses control. Issue employee debit cards and set spending limits. The app tracks expenses.
- Money-saving pots. Create pots to save for taxes, salaries, etc. Set up auto-transfers.
- Notifications. Get instant updates on incoming/outgoing payments to stay on top of cash flow.
- Free direct debits. No extra fees to set up direct debits for bills, etc.
- Scheduled payments. Can schedule recurring outgoing payments.
- Cashback rewards. Get 1% cashback on certain business expenses paid by debit card.
- Connect accounting software. Integrates with Xero, QuickBooks, etc., via Open Banking.
- Low fees. The monthly fee starts from £0. Free ATM withdrawals and transactions.
Wise Business: Best Online Bank Account for International Transactions
Wise, the popular money transfer company, now offer a bank account. While it’s not a fully regulated account, it’s a useful way to send money abroad with all of the speed and low rates Wise offer.
Here’s what I like about it:
- Wise business accounts offer a number of benefits that can save businesses time, money, and hassle.
- Low fees for international payments. Wise business accounts can save you up to 19x on international payments compared to PayPal and 8x compared to banks.
- Ability to make and receive payments in 70+ countries. With a Wise business account, you can easily make and receive payments from customers and suppliers all over the world.
- Provides unique international account details for 9 major currencies. With Wise business accounts, you can get unique international account details for 9 major currencies, so your customers can pay you in their local currency.
- Batch payment capability. With Wise business accounts, you can make up to 1,000 payments at once via CSV file. This can save you a lot of time and hassle.
- Integrates with accounting software. Wise business accounts integrate with popular accounting software like Xero, QuickBooks, and FreeAgent. This makes it easy to keep track of your finances and reconcile your accounts.
- Offers multi-user access. Wise business accounts offer multi-user access, so you can share account controls and reporting with your team members.
- Comes with a debit card. Wise business accounts come with a debit card that you can use to make payments in person or online. This can be helpful for businesses that need to make payments in multiple currencies.
- 24/7 customer support. Wise business accounts offer 24/7 customer support via email, chat, or phone. This means that you can always get help when you need it.
What are the Typical Requirements for Opening a Business Bank Account
Business registration documents
- Certificate of incorporation or other legal documents that prove the existence of the business.
- Business address documents, such as a utility bill or lease agreement.
- Residential address proof for the authorized personnel who will operate the account.
- Personal ID proof of the authorized personnel, such as a passport or driver’s license.
- VAT registration certificate or other tax registration numbers.
- Documentation showing the sources of money to be deposited in the account, such as financial statements or a business plan.
- A minimum opening deposit is required by many banks. This could range from £100 to £1000 or more.
Personal credit check
- Banks may run a credit check on the key directors, owners, or partners of the business. Good personal credit supports the application.
No existing bankruptcy
- Previous bankruptcies or insolvencies of the business owners may lead to rejection.
Business viability proof
- Some form of financial records, business plan, or summary to prove that the business is an active, trading business.
In addition to the above requirements, some banks may also require the following:
- A business bank statement from a previous bank.
- A letter from an accountant or other professional verifying the business’s financial status.
- A letter from a trade association or other organization verifying the business’s industry.
How does a business bank account differ from a personal bank account?
Here are some of the key differences between a business bank account and a personal bank account:
- Ownership – A business account is owned by the company whereas a personal account is owned by an individual.
- Purpose – A business account is used for official transactions related to the company’s operations. A personal account is used for individual’s personal finances.
- Taxation – Business accounts require tax ids like VAT number etc.
- Liability – For a business account, the company is financially liable. Personal accounts have individual liability.
- Services – Business accounts come with services like payroll, invoicing, multiple users etc tailored for business needs. Personal accounts don’t offer these.
- Limits – Business accounts tend to have higher transaction limits and maximum balance limits. Personal accounts usually have lower limits.
- Charges – Business accounts often have higher monthly fees and account maintenance charges. Personal accounts can be cheaper.
- Reporting – More thorough financial reporting and statements are expected for business accounts. Personal account reporting is minimal.
- Fund transfer – It’s easier to transfer funds between business accounts. Transfers between personal and business accounts may be restricted.
- Approval – Opening a business account has more requirements and scrutiny. Personal accounts are easier to open.
How to open a business bank account online
- Choose a UK bank that offers online business account opening like HSBC, Barclays, NatWest, Santander, Tide, Metro Bank, Co-operative Bank.
- Gather required documents – certificate of incorporation, company address proof, director IDs, VAT certificate, etc.
- Go to the bank’s UK website and find the business account opening page. Select the right account.
- Start the online application by providing company registration number, nature of business, address, expected annual turnover and other business details.
- Enter personal details of directors and authorized signatories like name, UK address, date of birth, nationality.
- Upload scanned copies of all documents from Step 2. Make sure they are certified if required by the bank.
- Accept all terms and conditions digitally and e-sign the application form.
- Make the minimum opening deposit through fast payment, CHAPS, or bank transfer.
- The bank will electronically verify all submitted documents and details for approval.
- Once approved, you will get the account number and sort code to start using digital banking services.
- A welcome kit may be mailed later with account statements, cards, checks and other items.
- Register for online banking using verification codes sent to your phone or email.
What’s the easiest online business bank account to open ?
Based on the criteria of easy and quick account opening process, minimal requirements, and good user experience, Tide would likely be the easiest online business bank account to open in the UK.
Some key reasons:
- No credit check – Tide does not require a credit check to open an account, unlike most major banks. This removes a major obstacle.
- Fast online onboarding – The entire account opening process can be done digitally in around 5-10 minutes on Tide’s website or app.
- Minimal documentation – Only basic business proofs like company registration documents are needed. No extensive paperwork.
- Quick approval – Accounts can be approved and ready to use on the same day in most cases.
- Intuitive mobile app – Tide’s app makes digital banking and account management very seamless. Easy to pay bills, invoice, track spending.
- No monthly fees – Tide has no monthly account fees, unlike most traditional banks.
- Great user support – Quick customer assistance for any account opening or usage issues.
- No prior trading required – Tide does not require your business to be actively trading already.