What you need to know about mobile business banking
A mobile business bank account can be accessed anywhere you have phone service. Since the online banks operate 100% online, accounts can be set up quickly and easily.
Once upon a time, to open a business bank account, it was necessary to book an appointment with a bank, go into the branch with your ID and paperwork, explain your business, fill out lengthy forms, and then wait for weeks or even months for your account to be approved. You would then receive your sort code and account number in the post and have to set up your online access separately.
But business banking has been completely revolutionised by a crop of online-only “challenger banks”. Some of these banks offer both business and consumer accounts, but their primary selling point is that they operate 100% online.
What is a mobile business bank account?
Some of these online-only banks are mobile-first, meaning they are designed to be used primarily from a mobile app, but with a desktop component, and some are mobile-only. This format comes with a lot of benefits in terms of set up and ease of use.
Mobile business banks don’t have any high street locations and are run entirely remotely. This means that they can offer competitive products that aim to beat traditional banks in areas like cost, efficiency, ease of use, customer service, and access.
What do I need to set up a mobile business bank account?
Typically, you’ll need photo ID, proof of address, and documents that show you’ve registered with Companies House (however, if you’re setting up a new business, some mobile business banks will help you register as part of your bank account application).
For some mobile business banks, you’ll need a credit check.
Are mobile business bank accounts safe?
Mobile banks are generally considered as safe as traditional banks. They’ve had to go through all the same scrutiny and meet the same standards as other banks operating in the UK. Some are registered with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects balances of up to £85,000 for limited companies, small businesses and charities as well as personal accounts. You can check if your bank is signed up to the scheme on the FSCS website.
However, you should consider the security of your devices and who has access to them, as well as taking safety measures like having a strong password and making sure you don’t use open Wi-Fi networks or shared or public computers to access your account details.
What are the pros and cons of mobile banking?
There is plenty to consider when opening an online business bank account, and as with choosing any type of financial product, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons to see how it will suit you and your situation.
- Speedy set-up: some mobile bank accounts get you a sort code and account number in minutes, with others giving a turnaround time of just a few days.
- Real-time updates: get notifications when you send or receive a payment, or use a card.
- You can scan cheques via mobile with some business bank accounts.
- Integration with popular accountancy software is often available.
- Some mobile bank accounts have an invoicing function built-in.
- Many mobile business bank accounts have 24/7 customer service.
- Mobile bank accounts require a smartphone or other mobile device to log in; some may not have a desktop feature.
- If you prefer to be able to talk to someone face-to-face, online banks might not be suitable.
- If your device breaks or gets lost or stolen it might be difficult to gain access to your account.
- Online banks may have limited products available, so for example, getting a business credit card or loan may not be possible.
- Some mobile business bank accounts may have deposit or transfer limits.
- They may not be suitable for those with disabilities that mean holding or operating a device presents a difficulty.
Before choosing your mobile business bank account, you should also consider elements like pricing – while online business banks are usually cheaper than high street business bank accounts, they have varying fee structures, features and functionality, and limitations.
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Vivienne is a freelance business and finance writer, and the founder of Artists Make Money, a podcast and personal finance resource hub for people who work in the arts industry. Read more