Compare UK business bank accounts

Tilly Michell
4-minutes
Business tipsFinance
Compare UK business bank accounts
In this article

Best Business Bank Accounts in the UK

Before committing to a business bank account it’s important that you do your research. Whether you’re the founder of a startup looking for the best financial options for your growing business, or part of an established company that’s considering switching to a better provider

In this article, we’ll compare the best business bank accounts on price, FX rates, customer support and benefits. We believe Airwallex offers businesses the best and most cost-effective global financial experience. But we’re biased, so we’ll let you decide!

Compare business accounts in the UK

Use our table to compare the business account benefits offered by some of the UKs leading banks and FinTechs. 

Business account comparison page

Sources checked in August 2021. We have compared Airwallex's pricing structure with standard pricing published by competitors. Revolut has a monthly subscription fee of £0 - £100. Wise has a one-time set-up fee of £16. 'International card fees' refers to non-GBP card spend.

What is a multi-currency business account?

A multi-currency business account (sometimes called a global business account) allows you to receive, hold and send funds in several currencies. Unlike a standard account, which will auto-convert funds in and out of your home currency, charging you fees each way.  

Multi-currency accounts are useful for businesses with international customers, suppliers and partners, as they allow you to accept and send foreign-currency payments without incurring unnecessary FX fees. 

Another key benefit of a multi-currency account is that it allows you to manage all your money in one place, rather than opening a separate account for each currency you trade in. 

What fees are associated with business accounts?

Unlike personal bank accounts, many business account providers charge fees for managing your money. These can include monthly account fees, transaction fees for receiving and sending money to and from your account, and card fees.

Account fees are generally charged on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, whilst additional transaction fees are levied as a percentage of each transaction value.

Airwallex doesn’t charge account or transaction fees, even on international payments. The only fee we charge is a small FX margin of 0.5 - 1%, which is 80% cheaper than FX fees charged by high street banks in the UK. 

Do I need a business account?

Limited companies in the UK are legally required to have their own business account because they are a separate legal entity with their own financial obligations. 

Sole traders and freelancers can manage their finances from a personal bank account, but many choose not to because manually separating business expenses from personal ones can make tax assessment a headache. 

Business accounts also offer benefits which personal accounts do not. These include:

  • Higher daily spend limits, which are useful when you need to purchase equipment or pay suppliers.

  • The ability to accept credit and debit card payments from customers. 

  • The chance to build up a good credit rating for your business. 

  • Greater access to loans and credit, including government-backed loan schemes such as the Recovery Loan scheme (RLs), standard business loans, and credit cards.

What do I need to set up a business account?

Setting up a business account is now easier than ever. Gone are the days when you had to go in person to a bank branch, most providers will allow you to do everything online. 

All business account providers will ask for some documentation before setting up your account. This is so they can check that you are who you say you are. 

Sole traders will be asked to provide:

  • Proof of identity, such as a picture of your passport or driving license. 

  • Proof of address, such as a bill or bank statement. 

Limited companies will be asked to provide:

  • Proof of identity for all company directors. 

  • Certificate of incorporation.

  • Memorandum and articles of association. 

Once you’ve submitted your documentation, your provider will look it over and assess your eligibility before setting up your account. This process should take no more than a week. 

How to choose a business account

The right account for your business will depend on your individual needs. Here are a few things to consider before deciding which provider to go for.

  • Account fees: some providers offer good introductory rates, then hike their fees up after a year. If your chosen provider does charge account fees, make sure you read the small print.

  • FX rates: challenger banks and FinTechs tend to offer a better currency exchange rate than traditional banks. Businesses who deal with multiple currencies can save a lot by choosing a provider with a competitive FX rate.

  • Multi-currency options: make sure your account can hold the currencies you trade in. That way you won’t be forced to pay unnecessary FX fees when accepting and sending payments abroad.

  • Cards: look into the card fees and find out how many cards you are allowed per account. Some providers will limit you to just one card, or charge fees for each new card issued. Others will allow you to offer your employees their own virtual or physical card, making expense management easier.

  • Online banking: whilst most providers offer online banking as standard, it’s worth researching the usability of the platform. Does the platform make it easy to view your incoming revenue and outgoing expenses across channels and currencies? Does it sync with accounting software? Does it include additional features such as instant payment links?

  • Customer service: if you have a question about your account, you want it answered pretty sharpish. This is your money we’re talking about after all. Choosing a provider that offers a good level of customer service can alleviate a lot of stress and worry later down the line. 

Airwallex business account benefits

Fees

Setting up a business account with Airwallex is free. There are no monthly account fees, set up fees, transaction fees or card fees. 

The only cost to you is a small FX margin of 0.5% for Euro, USD, AUD, HKD, CNY, JPY, CAD, CHF, NZD, SGD and 1% for other currencies. 

Our FX margin is 80% cheaper than high street banks, making Airwallex a great option for companies that send and receive money abroad.  

Features 

  • Multi-currency account: receive, hold and send multiple currencies from your account with no forced conversions. Avoid FX fees when accepting payment from international customers and use your multi-currency balance to pay suppliers with zero fees.

  • Low FX rates: we charge just 0.5 - 1% above the interbank rate for international money transfer. That’s 80% cheaper than high street banks.

  • Borderless cards: use our virtual and physical cards to pay for subscriptions, travel and everyday business expenses at home and abroad with 0% transaction fees. Reward each of your employees with their own card and track spending in the app.

  • Payment links: create multi-currency payment links for your customers in a click. Allow them to pay in their chosen currency with no forced conversions.

  • Intuitive online platform: manage all your money in one place, track revenue and expenditure across currencies, and switch easily between your currency balances.  

  • Dedicated Account Manager: no more waiting in call queues or talking to chat bots. Your dedicated Airwallex Account Manager will always be on hand to answer questions about your account. 

  • Xero integration: make bookkeeping a breeze with our seamless accounting software integration. 

If you’re interested in setting up a free Airwallex business account, sign up today or click below to watch a 3-minute demo.

Related article: How to switch your business bank account in the UK

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Tilly Michell
Content Marketing Manager

Tilly manages the content strategy for Airwallex UK. She specialises in content that supports businesses in their growth trajectory.

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