There was a time not so long ago that choosing who to bank with as a small business – or any business – was a relatively simple task. And that’s because there simply weren’t that many options. Inevitably, you went with one of the big boys – and in all likelihood, someone you already banked with personally. But as with so many things, that’s all changed in the digital age.
Nowadays, new banks with disruptive business models seem to appear every week. And although some, inevitably, aren’t as exciting as their branding might suggest, others are really good options for the modern small business.
So, we’ve taken a deep dive into the world of business banking and put together a handy top 10 for small businesses – helping you to work out the right choice for your company.
We’ve based this list on customer reviews, overall service quality, and the variety of digital and in-person services on offer.
Starling Bank comes out on top on almost every measure.
Its customer reviews are unrivalled, its overdraft and loan services are industry-leading, and its digital services are also exceptional.
The only measure it doesn’t lead on is in-person services – but for most customers, this doesn’t appear to be an issue.
It also offers an account for businesses that has no monthly fees.
Tide is a new, disruptive, mobile-first bank.
But despite being digitally focused, it’s rated really highly already for simplicity of use and customer service.
For busy small businesses, it actually looks like a fantastic option because it offers the fastest and simplest way of getting banking info wherever you are.
It’s therefore especially good for small businesses that tend to be on the move.
3. Metro Bank
Metro Bank is a bit of an outlier on this list because of its focus on in-person banking and relationship building.
Its branches, if you haven’t seen them, are fantastic – and its customer service is renowned.
Lots of businesses swear by them, and really enjoy the dedicated account managers and quality of service.
It’s a great solution for businesses that still really care about the human touch in banking.
Monzo is now hugely popular for personal banking – and unsurprisingly it has moved into the world of business.
Its slick and simple design is a big benefit, as is the fact there’s no monthly fee.
For fast-growth small businesses, it’s less ideal because charges do kick in quite quickly.
But it has some great features – including a really simple way of capturing receipts for tax returns.
Revolut is another newer digital player in business banking – but with a relatively unique benefit.
Despite offering accounts with no monthly charges, it offers very low charges on international payments and transfers.
So, if your company does a fair bit of international business, it’s a fantastic option.
It’s also really well-reviewed, receiving plaudits for its simple design and usability.
Santander is the first of the big banks on this list, and it’s here because of several features and benefits.
It’s fee-free for 18 months and offers excellent rates on overdrafts and loans for smaller businesses.
It’s also praised for customer service both in and out of its branches, which are well spread across the UK.
Handelsbanken makes this list specifically for its unusual business model and relationship management.
It’s known for building local relationships, made possible because each branch operates like a local business – with the freedom to meet customers and make individual decisions about loans, funding and more.
And importantly, as a customer, you get a direct line to a real person at your local branch.
Mettle is Natwest’s attempt to muscle in on the digital banking movement that’s been driven by new businesses. And actually, it’s pretty good.
Well-reviewed and well-designed, it’s also backed by one of the UK’s biggest banks – something not all of these disruptive start-ups can say.
It’s free, easy to apply for and mobile-focused. And it’s backed by strong customer service, too.
9. Virgin Money
Virgin Money appears to be another bank that’s learning from the digital upstarts.
With no monthly fee, rapid set up and a mobile-first focus, it feels more like a challenger brand.
It also has some nice extras like cashback on purchases, discounts on travel and automatic access to a £1000 overdraft.
And finally, we have Cashplus.
It’s known for one of the fastest sign-up processes on the market – a real plus for small businesses.
There’s no monthly or annual fee, and everything is up and running faster than most competitors.
So although it hasn’t quite cut through commercially yet, it looks like an excellent option.
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