Best business banking apps

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    Chris Godfrey

    Page written by Chris Godfrey. Last reviewed on May 27, 2024. Next review due April 6, 2025.

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      Modern business is a 24/7 experience, with many UK SMEs working round the clock, or needing access to their money any time of day. Business banking apps are the digital passport to complete banking freedom, giving account holders control of their cash, anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

      Read on to learn more about the UK’s best business banking apps and how they can unlock a whole new world of business opportunities. 

      What is a business banking app?

      It’s a digital banking application that operates via your mobile phone or as a desktop version that you can access via your computer. Business banking apps give the account holder real-time access to their money, plus a host of banking services, such as payments, transfers, transaction histories, loans, automatic invoicing, and foreign currency exchange. Business banking apps are operated and provided by two types of financial institution – the traditional high street banks, and ‘challenger banks’ who are the newer, digital rivals attempting to revolutionise the way UK SMEs bank. Many of the challengers do not call themselves banks, they prefer to be known as ‘digital platforms’, but the services they offer often mimic those provided by the old guard such as Santander and Barclays Bank.

      Why use a business banking app?

      In a word, convenience. Since the arrival of true open banking in 2005 it has become much easier for SMEs to access their business bank account, and now, businesses – limited companies, sole traders, freelancers and gig workers – expect to be able to access their money 24 hours a day. Business banking apps allow account holders to check balances, make payments, exchange currencies, and conduct many other types of transaction with a simple tap and click on their mobile phone from wherever they may be.

      Which challenger bank has the best app?

      Challenger banks, (also known as digital platforms) are relatively new to the world of UK banking, but they have proliferated since the early 2000’s and now number in the dozens. Most, if not all, challenger banks offer business banking apps, and they compete against each other and the traditional high street banks by offering fast, easy to use, convenient banking services that work off your phone. Of the many business banking apps offered by these newcomers, which is best for UK SMEs?

      Revolut

      Launched in London in 2015, Revolut are a digital platform operating in more than 200 countries and with more than 500,000 business users. Claiming to be the UK’s fastest growing challenger bank, their services include standard current account features, currency exchange and transfers, free corporate credit cards for client employees, pre-paid debit cards,  payroll and expense management, and various perks courtesy of commercial partners such as Deliveroo and Google. 

      • Costs: Limited companies can pay up to £100 per month, or they may negotiate their own terms directly with Revolut. Sole traders, freelancers, and gig workers can pay £zero per month for the Free account, £7 per month for the Professional account, or £25 per month for the Ultimate account.
      • Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection: Yes, up to £85,000 for eligible accounts.

      Monzo

      Also in existence since 2015, Monzo Bank are a UK-based digital platform offering the full suite of business services to UK SMEs. Their app also offers a biometric login and the option of splitting your business cash into ‘pots’ – convenient sub-accounts within the account where you can store funds for specific purposes, such as paying taxes. Account holders will need the paid-for service if they wish to link their Monzo account to digital accounting systems such as Xero, Quickbooks, or FreeAgent.

      • Costs: Monzo’s Lite business account is free. Businesses who prefer the Professional account will pay £5 per month.
      • Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection: Yes, up to £85,000 for eligible accounts.

      Starling Bank

      Founded in 2014, and now with more than half a million UK business users, Starling Bank was created with the goal of making business banking simpler and more accessible. They have mostly achieved these goals, and now opening and operating a Starling Bank business account is easy and intuitive. Once again, the full spectrum of business banking services are on offer, and you can link your account to Xero, Quickbooks and FreeAgent for free.

      • Costs: No monthly service cost. Business users can add a £7 per month ‘business toolkit for extra functionality, £2 per month for a Euro account, and £5 per month for a US$ account.
      • Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection: Yes, up to £85,000 for eligible accounts.

      The high street business banking apps

      As you may expect, as digital offerings from the long-established high-street banking giants, these apps are supported by the full range of business banking services – current accounts, business savings, currency exchange and transfer, loans, credit cards, and more. With the addition of a physical bricks and mortar presence, high street business banking apps may be the best bet for some businesses, however a mix of legacy operating systems and lower incentives to innovate can hamper some high street options, making them less intuitive, more expensive and less flexible than their challenger competitors. 

      Santander

      Santander UK are a division of the major global banking group Banco Santander. Santander UK have a physical branch network and provide online and mobile banking. Their business banking app provides a solid array of banking services, everything from payments and deposits, transaction search, transfers between accounts, account alerts, and bank/client messaging options. The app is clear and accessible, with secure login and easy access to the banking services SMEs need most. 

      • Costs: £150 annually, although automated payments in and out are free, as are cash and cheque payments in and out.
      • Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection: Yes, up to £85,000 for eligible accounts.

      Bank of Scotland

      One of the more affordable high-street business banking apps, the Bank of Scotland option provides all the features you would expect from a major UK bank. Secure biometric login (or three-digit combination from pre-set memorable information) comes as standard, as do balance checking, transferring between accounts, viewing and cancelling direct debits and standing orders as well as resetting passwords. You can also deposit cheques online, which gets them into the bank’s payment system as soon as possible.

      • Costs: 6 to 18 months free business banking, then an all-in fee of £78 per year.
      • Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection: Yes, up to £85,000 for eligible accounts.

      Barclays

      Provided as part of Barclay’s business banking services, the app delivers an array of features including paying in cheques, international payments, and contactless payments, and foreign currency payments in Euros and US$. The Barclays app also has a real-time business spending tracking, which may be particularly useful for businesses operating with slim margins or high transaction volumes.

      • Costs: First 12 months free, then £78 per year. Charges for deposits are extra, but similar to other high street banks.
      • Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection: Yes, up to £85,000 for eligible accounts.

      How to get the best business banking app

      To get the best business banking app, you first need to open a new business bank account or switch the business bank account you currently have. Both options can be difficult and time consuming. The paperwork you need and the application forms and processes you must complete will vary from one bank to another. Without expert guidance, SMEs could find themselves forever searching for a business bank account and app that suits their individual needs.

      Instead, working with a broker, who can compare business bank accounts and apps from a wide range of providers is a better way to go. No more cold calls and endless demands for information, just tell us what you need and leave the rest to us. 

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      Written by

      Chris Godfrey

      Chris is a freelance copywriter and content creator. He has been active in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries for more than twenty-five years. Writing for Barclays Bank, Metro Bank, Wells Fargo, ABN Amro, Quidco, Legal and General, Inshur Zego, AIG, Met Life, State Farm, Direct Line, insurers and pension funds, his words have appeared online and in print to inform, entertain and explain the complex world of consumer and business finance and insurance.

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