Best Business Bank Account from Starling Bank
My Business Bank Account Woes
I have been on the look out for a new business bank account for a few months. My limited company will soon be three years old and the high street free banking offer ended a long time ago. I chose Barclays three years ago as they were recommended by several small business colleagues. Once the free 18-month period ended the charges started adding up, I was paying 35p for EVERY transaction that hit my account, this really started to add up, some months paying £10. Turns out my account had been set up incorrectly, a refund of £100 was issued after I noticed and made a complaint. I moved to a flat fee of £6.50 per month plus extra for cash and cheque deposits (a rarity in my online business) At this point I was thinking I need to move my account!
Something New and Exciting
I was excited to see on Twitter a few weeks back that Starling bank had introduced a free business bank account, aimed at small businesses with a limited company. Yes, you read that correctly, FREE!
My concerns were addressed over a private Twitter Chat
I had a chat to the Starling team over Twitter as I had a few concerns about switching business bank account. Mainly around all my clients who have my Barclays details and will continue to use these for ongoing payments unless I (forget!) change their system details. I have affiliate contracts set up with many companies who have my details, I was worried that my payments due might end up sitting in a dormant/closed Barclays account.
I was reassured that even after my Barclays account is closed, any payments received will be transferred over to my new Starling account for period of one year. This gives me plenty of time to work out exactly who has my details and needs to be amended.
My decision was made, and I opened the business account. This process was the simplest account opening I have ever experienced! Compare this to three years ago where I had to go to a branch and have a meeting for two hours for my account to be opened, even after then I had to wait for confirmation of the account a few days later. Forms had to be signed by everyone who had an interest in the company, even minor shareholders. Any subsequent product I have needed from Barclays has taken time to arrange, a business overdraft took a one-hour phone call, to then be told of the high monthly fees and interest, so I decided against the product.
2 minutes to set up my account!
The Starling business account took around 2 minutes to set up, super quick as I was already a personal bank account customer. They needed name, address, limited company number. You will also need to provide evidence of your company’s web presence, or, if you don’t have a website, you will need to give a description of your company and what it does.
If you are new to Starling they will need to verify your identity with a short video from you and identity documents such as a driving licence. Starling will validate your identity with a credit reference agency, you will hear on the same day if your account has been approved. You also need to set up the security to get into your account along with a pin.
As soon as my account was set up I transferred over my business reserves from my Barclays business account, so I could start using the account for business expenses and goal setting. My Mastercard arrived 2 days later and I was good to go.
What do I love about the Starling app?
I have been playing with the app and using the account for a couple of weeks and want to share what I love and what makes my life so much easier, giving me a huge feeling of control over my money.
Real Time Notifications of Money in and Money out
I get a notification every time money goes in or out of my account. I love this! Especially when you see money going in, hurrah to being paid, I just got one today a little notification of joy. I have 30-day payment terms on my invoicing, but I never really know when I am going to be paid. Some days, towards the end of the month, I would check my Barclays account five times a day to check for payments received. No more will I be doing this!!
Not only do I get a notification of my spending, but Starling also categorises my spending for me. So, I know that last week I spent £20.25 on food, £16.30 on transport and £7.58 on bills and services (postage). I can export all this information into PDF or CSV files to pass onto my accountant or to input into my own accounting software.
Switching between Business and Personal Spending
As I mentioned I have a personal and business account and its so simple to toggle between the two. And this is very exciting, I have linked up my Pensionbee account in the marketplace section of the app and can see the balance of my pension whenever I choose to!! This is after the open banking rules changed earlier in 2018.
I love the goals section of the app as well. It enables me to create a list of different goal pots to move money into. It all still resides in my business account but allows you to save for certain things like tax and not spend the money you set aside. I also have a goal of new laptop that I am putting money aside for.
The Feeling of Control Over your money
I think the best feeling to come from having this account is feeling in control. Money and cash flow is such an important part of running a business. I need to know how much cash I have in the business at any point of time and I need to know straight away when payments have been made. Control over my business spending is crucial, to be honest until now I have had very little control over this. Thank you, Starling.
If you are a limited company with turnover of up to £1.7m and less than 10 employees and have significant control as main shareholder, then this is perfect for you. Business accounts are also free for larger businesses for a limited time.
Starling are UK regulated bank by the FCA and PRA, just like HSBC, Barclays etc and have the £85k FSCS deposit protection. There are zero monthly fee, no fees on payments, cash withdrawals and transfers.
Disclaimer – This is a collaborative post with Starling, this does not affect my view in any way.