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Published 01 May 2024
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Best Online-Only Business Bank Accounts May 2024

Digital-only business accounts have become increasingly popular in recent years. But which one should you choose? Compare the best online business bank accounts in the UK below.

Many or all of the products and brands we promote and feature including our ‘Partner Spotlights’ are from our partners who compensate us. However, this does not influence our editorial opinion found in articles, reviews and our ‘Best’ tables. Our opinion is our own. Read more on our methodology here.

The business banking landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade, with a wave of digital, online-only accounts emerging.

For businesses that don’t need branch access and are looking to manage their finances online and via an app, digital-only providers can be an efficient and effective solution.

But which is the best online-only business bank account? With the increasing number of options out there, it can be hard to decide which provider to choose.

That is why we have ranked the top online-only UK business bank accounts, based on what business owners say are the most important criteria when searching for an account. That includes low monthly fees, easy account access, quick account set-up, and the ability to deposit cash and cheques.

This list exclusively features providers that are digital-only. This means they do not have branch access.

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Editor’s Picks

Business Bank Accounts

Editor’s Pick

UK Card Purchase Fees

UK Bank Transfer Fees

Monthly Fee

 

Cashplus Bank Business Go Account
No credit checks
Free
3 free per month
Free

Revolut Business Account
International
Free
5 free per month
Free

Important information about Editor’s Picks

The Editor’s Picks listed above are based on NerdWallet’s editorial team’s analysis of products reviewed by us and is not a whole of market view. The team evaluates which brands offer standout features that may be important to you.

Editor’s Picks exclude any assessment of a providers’ rates, fees or product suitability, which must always be a priority when considering any financial product. Always consider others in the market and obtain professional advice.

Editor’s Picks are our own opinions and don’t constitute advice, recommendation or suitability of your financial circumstances. They are editorially independent of any partnerships with NerdWallet.

Top 7 Best Online-Only Business Bank Account Providers

This top seven is from 23 business bank accounts that NerdWallet evaluated and reviewed. Others are available. Find out how we use ‘best’ and our guide to ratings.

4.8

Monzo

Monzo Lite Business Account

Monzo Lite Business Account
  • Monthly Fee
    Free
  • UK Card Purchase Fees
    Free
  • UK Bank Transfer Fees
    Free
  • Offer
    n/a

This product may be one of a range offered by this provider. Always check terms & conditions for suitability before applying.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Available to sole traders, or the director of a registered limited company by shares (Ltd)
  • Must be based in the UK
NERDWALLET’S REVIEW SUMMARY

Monzo is a simple option for sole traders and limited companies looking for a streamlined online solution. It offers a wide variety of business banking services for £5 per month, but you can just stick to the free option if a basic account is what you need.

For further details, read NerdWallet’s Monzo Business Account Review.

Monzo key features:

  • Account opening: Accounts are generally open on the same day as an application is made.
  • FSCS protection: Deposits of up to £85,000 are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
  • Low cost: Monzo has a free and paid for business account, but at £5 per month its premium offering is more affordable than much of the competition.
Monthly feeFree
Transaction feesYes (cash deposits, plus ATM withdrawals outside EEA)
Account managementOnline and via the mobile app
FSCS protectionYes
Average set-up timeSame day
Cash depositsYes (£1 at PayPoint)
Cheque depositsYes (free by post)
Pros and cons

Pros:

  • There is a free business account available (Monzo Business Lite), and at£5 per month, Monzo Pro offers a relatively low monthly fee compared to other banks we reviewed.
  • Your eligible deposits of up to £85,000 will be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
  • You may be able to get access to online banking on the same day as you apply.

Cons:

  • Business accounts are not available to charities or partnerships.
  • Cash deposits for Monzo business accounts cost £1 at PayPoint, which could have an impact on businesses that deposit cash on a regular basis.

4.7

Starling

Starling Bank Business Account

Starling Bank Business Account
  • Monthly Fee
    Free
  • UK Card Purchase Fees
    Free
  • UK Bank Transfer Fees
    Free
  • Offer
    n/a

This product may be one of a range offered by this provider. Always check terms & conditions for suitability before applying.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Must be a Limited Company or LLP registered at Companies House. General partnerships or charities that aren’t registered as a Limited Company aren’t supported yet
  • All directors with access to the account must be UK residents
NERDWALLET’S REVIEW SUMMARY

With no fees for basic transactions, high scoring mobile apps and a very fast account set up process, Starling might be an appealing option for eligible sole traders, limited companies and limited liability partnerships.

Starling key features:

  • Transaction costs: Direct debits, faster payments and standing orders are free with Starling, though sending money outside the UK will carry a cost.
  • FSCS protection: Deposits of up to £85,000 are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. 
  • Customer service: Starling customers can access support 24/7. 
Monthly feeFree
Transaction feesNo for Faster Payments, direct debits and standing orders, but fees may apply for other transactions
Account managementOnline and via the mobile app
FSCS protectionYes
Average set-up timeOne day (94% same day)
Cash depositsYes (Post Office)
Cheque depositsYes (free by app or post)
Pros and cons

Pros:

  • The standard Starling business account comes with no monthly fee.
  • You can make Faster Payments, direct debits and standing orders for free.
  • Eligible deposits are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
  • Starling offers 24/7 customer support through its app, over the phone and via email.

Cons:

  • Some account features are only available through the Business Toolkit, which costs £7 a month.
  • Cash deposits at the Post Office carry a £3 minimum fee.
  • Partnerships and charities not registered with Companies House cannot apply for an account.

4.1

Mettle

Mettle Business Bank Account

Mettle Business Bank Account
  • Monthly Fee
    Free
  • UK Card Purchase Fees
    Free
  • UK Bank Transfer Fees
    Free
  • Offer
    FreeAgent Included

This product may be one of a range offered by this provider. Always check terms & conditions for suitability before applying.

Eligibility Criteria
  • For sole traders or limited companies with up to two owners
  • Maximum balance of £1million
  • You’ll need an iOS or Android device to open and manage the account
  • For UK-based companies with owners who are UK residents and pay tax in the UK only
NERDWALLET’S REVIEW SUMMARY

Mettle is a business account, which is part of the Natwest Group and is aimed at self-employed workers and limited companies with up to two owners. With no monthly fees, no transaction charges and one of the best reviewed apps on the market, Mettle is a low-cost and simple option. 

For more details, read NerdWallet’s Mettle Business Account review.

Mettle key features: 

  • App reviews: The Mettle business banking app is one of the best reviewed on the market, with positive responses from customers.
  • Eligibility criteria: Mettle business accounts are only open to UK-based sole traders or limited companies with up to two owners.
  • Deposits protected by FSCS: Eligible deposits are protected up to a total of £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Monthly feeFree
Transaction feesNo
Account managementOnline, over the phone and via the mobile app
FSCS protectionYes
Average set-up timeWithin 72 hours (excluding weekends)
Cash depositsYes (via Post Office or PayPoint)
Cheque depositsNo
Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Mettle business accounts are completely free. There are no monthly fees or transaction charges.
  • Mettle’s business banking app is one of the best reviewed on the market.
  • You can pay cash into your Mettle bank account at the Post Office and also at a PayPoint if you have an e-money account.
  • You can access Mettle customer support via the app or email and over the phone seven days a week.
  • Eligible deposits are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Cons:

  • It’s not possible to pay cheques into a Mettle account.
  • You cannot make or receive international payments with your Mettle account. 
  • You cannot access business overdrafts, credit cards or loans through Mettle.
  • Business accounts are not offered to partnerships or charities.

4.1

Allica Bank

Allica Bank Business Rewards Account

Allica Bank Business Rewards Account
  • Monthly Fee
    Free
  • UK Card Purchase Fees
    Free
  • UK Bank Transfer Fees
    From free
  • Offer
    Up to 1.5% cashback

This product may be one of a range offered by this provider. Always check terms & conditions for suitability before applying.

Eligibility Criteria
  • For UK-based businesses only
  • Must have been trading for at least 12 months
  • Must have a minimum balance of £50k or be an existing Allica loan product customer
NERDWALLET’S REVIEW SUMMARY

Allica Bank’s Business Rewards Account targets small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by offering a chance to earn interest on savings while paying nothing in monthly fees or everyday payment fees. As such, this could be an appealing option to businesses who expect to hold funds for extended periods.

To find out more, read NerdWallet’s Allica Bank Business Account Review.

Allica Bank key features:

  • Savings: Account holders can earn 4.33% AER on business savings, as well as depositing or withdrawing from these at any time.
  • Cashback: Customers also have the opportunity to earn 1% cashback on eligible monthly debit card aggregate purchases up to £10,000, and 1.5% on monthly aggregate purchases above £10,000.
  • FSCS protection: Eligible deposits up to £85,000 are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Monthly feeFree
Transaction feesNo
Account managementOnline and via the mobile app
FSCS protectionYes
Average set-up timeThree to five days
Cash depositsNo
Cheque depositsNo
Pros and cons

Pros:

  • The Business Rewards Account is free to open and there is no monthly fee for keeping it.
  • There are no transaction fees for incoming or outgoing bank payments or card payments.
  • Allica Bank’s business banking customers in England, Scotland and Wales have access to local relationship managers who can provide tailored expertise.
  • Each Business Rewards Account provides an instant access savings pot with 4.33% AER.
  • Cashback of up to 1.5% is offered on eligible purchases using the Business Rewards Account debit card.

Cons:

  • It isn’t possible to deposit cash or cheques into the Business Rewards Account.
  • While Allica Bank’s customer service team is based in the UK, it doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support.
  • Applicants must have been trading for more than a year to be eligible for an account. In addition, your business will need to keep a balance of £50,000 or more in the account or have a loan product with Allica Bank.

3.8

Tide

Tide Business Account – Free

Tide Business Account – Free
  • Monthly Fee
    Free
  • UK Card Purchase Fees
    Free
  • UK Bank Transfer Fees
    20p
  • Offer
    n/a

This product may be one of a range offered by this provider. Always check terms & conditions for suitability before applying.

Eligibility Criteria
  • For registered business account: you must be registered with UK Companies House as a director of that company or partnership
  • For sole trader account: you must be a UK based sole trader/freelancer
  • For all accounts: you must be aged 18+, have a valid UK phone number and address, and hold compatible device registered to a UK App or Google Play store
NERDWALLET’S REVIEW SUMMARY

Tide’s four different accounts offer a variety of features at several different price points, ensuring there is an affordable option for any type of business. Perks include accounting software integration, free invoicing and a free company card. With quick set-up times and well-reviewed app, Tide could be very attractive to small business owners looking for an online banking option.

To learn more, read NerdWallet’s full Tide Business Account Review.

Tide key features:

  • FSCS Protection: Eligible deposits of up to £85,000 in new Tide accounts are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
  • 24/7 support: Tide account holders can access customer service at all hours.
  • Lending options: With Tide, customers have access to lending options such as a government-backed loan for start ups. 
Monthly feeFree
Transaction feesYes
Account managementOnline and via app
FSCS ProtectionYes (for new accounts)
Average set-up timeSame day
Cash depositsYes (via Post Office for £2.50 each up to £500, or 0.5% on amounts over £500. Via PayPoint for 3% of deposit amount)
Cheque depositsNo
Pros and cons

Pros:

  • A business account with no monthly fee is available.
  • You can access the account digitally via a mobile app and on the Tide website.
  • Tide offers bank accounts provided by ClearBank, which are eligible for protection through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
  • Tide offers 24/7 support with its member support team.

Cons:

  • E-money accounts (for some existing customers) from Tide are not protected by the FSCS.
  • Currently, it is not possible to deposit cheques into a Tide account.
  • Even everyday transactions, such as ATM withdrawals and transfers in or out, carry fees with Tide’s cheapest accounts.

3.8

Cashplus

Cashplus Bank Business Go Account

Cashplus Bank Business Go Account
  • Monthly Fee
    Free
  • UK Card Purchase Fees
    Free
  • UK Bank Transfer Fees
    3 free per month
  • Offer
    n/a

This product may be one of a range offered by this provider. Always check terms & conditions for suitability before applying.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Available to UK registered companies with at least one UK resident director or UK-based sole traders and self-employed
  • Applicants must be aged 18+ and have a valid UK phone number and residential address
NERDWALLET’S REVIEW SUMMARY

Cashplus offers various features in its two different accounts, one free and one paid, but is perhaps most interesting to businesses with a poor credit rating. No credit check is required in the application process and Cashplus’s Creditbuilder tool aims to improve businesses’ ratings.

To find out more, read NerdWallet’s full Cashplus Business Account Review.

Cashplus key features:

  • FSCS Protection: Eligible deposits up to £85,000 are protected by the FSCS.
  • Lending Facilities: Account holders can apply for business overdrafts, credit cards and a business cash advance from Cashplus. 
  • Build credit: Businesses can improve their credit rating with the Cashplus Creditbuilder tool.
Monthly feeFree
Transaction feesYes (payments outside free allowance, ATM withdrawals, cash deposits)
Account managementOnline and via the mobile app
FSCS protectionYes
Average set-up timeSame day
Cash depositsYes (0.5% fee, minimum £3)
Cheque depositsNo
Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Cashplus offers a business bank account with no monthly fees.
  • Cashplus business accounts are FSCS protected.
  • Cashplus claims that 99.9% of its customers open an account on the same day as their application.
  • Cashplus business customers can potentially access overdraft and credit facilities.

Cons:

  • You cannot cash cheques with a Cashplus business account.
  • You cannot send international payments through your Cashplus account.
  • Cashplus does not have 24/7 customer service.

3.6

SumUp

SumUp Business Account

SumUp Business Account
  • Monthly Fee
    Free
  • UK Card Purchase Fees
    Free
  • UK Bank Transfer Fees
    Free
  • Offer
    n/a

This product may be one of a range offered by this provider. Always check terms & conditions for suitability before applying.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Must have a valid form of ID, such as a passport or driving license
  • Must be able to provide a utility bill or bank statement as a means of verifying your address
NERDWALLET’S REVIEW SUMMARY

SumUp’s free current account for UK businesses SumUp already provides business owners with the means to process sales in person and online, and its business bank account is designed to work seamlessly for customers already using these point-of-sale technologies. As such, it could be a good option for business owners who want extensive retailing capabilities from a single provider.

Find out more by reading NerdWallet’s SumUp Business Account Review.

SumUp key features:

  • Quick application: SumUp applicants can have an account open on the same day that they apply.
  • Business tools: An account comes with a suite of useful tools for business owners, including the means to create and send invoices and ways to send easy payment links via channels such as WhatsApp and Instagram.
  • No hidden fees: SumUp’s single plan has no monthly fees and clear parameters for transaction charges. 
Monthly feeFree
Transaction feesYes
Account managementOnline and via app
FSCS protectionNo
Average set-up timeSame day
Cash depositsNo
Cheque depositsNo
Pros and cons

Pros:

  • SumUp claims that you can set up its business account in three to five minutes.
  • SumUp has a dedicated customer support team available to help via chat, email or phone seven days a week.
  • Account holders can sync their business account with their SumUp card reader (sold separately) and get cash from sales in their accounts the next day, even on weekends and bank holidays.
  • SumUp offers in-built business tools, including invoice and payment link creators that you can use for free directly from the mobile app.

Cons:

  • As SumUp is an e-money institution, your deposits aren’t protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
  • You can’t deposit cash or cheques into a SumUp business account.
  • SumUp only offers inbound and outbound payments to other UK bank accounts, so you can’t transfer funds internationally or in different currencies.

This top seven only contains business account providers reviewed by NerdWallet UK.

The pros and cons featured with each brand are chosen by us based on a combination of our expert, research-based opinions and an exclusive survey of UK business owners and decision-makers. The survey identified the business product features that people felt were most important. There are other pros and cons that should be taken into account before considering a financial product. Information was correct at the time of publication but may have changed since.

Nerdwallet Survey: December 2022

Top 7 Best Online-Only Business Bank Account Providers: Summary

This selection of brands has been reviewed and evaluated by Nerdwallet, but others are available in the UK market. Find out what we mean when we say ‘best’, why we are comfortable using it, and an in-depth explanation of Nerdwallet UK’s review methodology.

ProviderStar ratingNo. of accountsFree account available?*
Monzo2Yes
Starling4Yes
Mettle1Yes
Allica Bank1Yes
Tide4Yes
Cashplus2Yes
SumUp1Yes

*We have defined free accounts as ones that do not charge a monthly or annual fee. This definition does not include business bank accounts that offer a fee-free introductory offer period; require a special status such as a charity account; or have minimum turnover requirements.

Important Information: Our Reviews, Star Ratings and Editor’s Picks do not consider the product provider’s lending rates and therefore do not reflect how much it costs to borrow from the reviewed brand. Always compare rates from other providers when considering any type of borrowing.

What is an online business account?

In many ways, the features of an online business bank account are pretty much the same as a ‘traditional’ business bank account.  It will allow you to send and receive payments, and manage your business finances.

The big difference is that online, or digital-only, business accounts do not have branch access. That means you can’t pop to your local high street and go into physical premises to make any transactions or seek face-to-face support.

Since these providers are online-only, their apps are often very easy to use, and most will open your account on the same day as your application. The majority of digital-only providers also offer accounts with no monthly fees – not just as an introductory offer, as with many traditional lenders, but as a permanent feature.

The lack of physical branches does, however, mean that your ability to make both cash and cheque deposits can vary greatly depending on the digital-only provider.

Some, but not all, online business accounts may also be e-money accounts rather than fully-licensed bank accounts. This is important, as it means your deposits are not protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). However, e-money providers will ‘safeguard’ your money by either keeping your funds in a separate account from their own funds or protecting them through an insurance policy. This is a requirement of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Do online business bank accounts have any fees?

While most online business banking providers offer the option of an account with no monthly fees, that isn’t the case for every digital-only provider. There may also be certain eligibility requirements, such as maximum turnover or trading history, that limit those who can open a free online business account. 

Similarly, the banking options available in a free account may or may not provide the range of transactions your business needs. 

Transaction fees can vary greatly from provider to provider. Some offer completely free UK bank transfers, while others have free allowances for certain everyday banking transactions. There are also accounts that operate on a ‘pay as you go’ basis, where every transaction you make comes with a fee.

You may decide to opt for an account with a monthly fee as some of these include a wider range of fee-free transactions and other features. 

Before opening an online business account, it is worth putting together a list of all the transactions you regularly make. This way, you will be able to assess which account is cheapest for your specific business.

How to choose the best online business bank account

While our star ratings can provide you with guidance over the best online business bank account, the final decision is down to you. It is a good idea to ask yourself some of the following questions before choosing which account to go for:

How to open an online business bank account

When opening an online business bank account, it is likely you will need to take the following steps:

  1. Select the best online business bank account for your organisation.
  2. Gather today any documentation you may need ahead of time. This could include ID, proof of your business address, your registered company name (if applicable), and your tax reference number.  
  3. Fill out an application form. This could be online or via the provider’s business banking mobile app.
  4. Wait for the provider to approve your application. 

» MORE: How to open a business bank account

Online-Only Business Bank Account Methodology

NerdWallet evaluated and reviewed online business bank accounts from digital-only banks. Collectively, these accounts represent the largest banks by assets and internet search traffic, along with notable or emerging players in the industry.

We considered more than 10 product features for each account, based on the criteria that matter most to users, scoring them on fees, accessibility and customer service, among other factors. This information was gathered from each financial institution’s website and company representatives. In addition, data is collected regularly and reviewed by our editorial team for consistency and accuracy.

Using the same data across all products and features, we were able to create star ratings presented on a scale of one to five stars, where a one-star score represents ‘poor’ and a five-star score represents ‘excellent’.  Please read more on our business bank account methodology.

Frequently asked questions about online business bank accounts

Do online business bank accounts have any restrictions?

Depending on the provider, there may be some restrictions with an online business account.

For example, certain providers may not offer international payments, access to other products such as overdrafts, or multiple user access. It is important to check the details of each account before applying.

Are online business account funds FSCS protected?

Whether or not an online business account is FSCS protected depends on if the provider offers e-money accounts or is a fully-licensed bank.

If the provider is an e-money provider, your deposits will not be FSCS protected. If the provider is a licensed bank, then your eligible deposits will be protected up to a maximum of £85,000. It’s worth noting that if you are a sole trader who has a personal bank account and business bank account with the same provider, £85,000 will be the total limit you may be eligible for across all your accounts. 

With e-money providers, your money will be ‘safeguarded’ in a separate account to the provider’s own funds or will be covered by an insurance policy, as per Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations. 

Review methodology

At NerdWallet UK, we base our reviews and our ‘Best’ pages on the results of surveys we undertook about what was important to people who use these products. This allows us to look at products impartially of any commercial arrangements we have and fairly rate the products on the same set of criteria.

Best means our ‘Best’ and is based only on what products we have aligned to our surveys, which form the basis of our reviews and ratings. This means that there will be other products on the market that we have not included in our ‘Best’ pages. Best does not mean it’s best for you, nor does it mean the ‘cheapest’.

Our reviews may display lenders’ rates. This additional information has not been included in our evaluations but is still very important when choosing a product. Rates offered can depend on circumstances, amount and term. Always check details before proceeding with any financial product.

Product details reflect the information that was available at that time but may have changed since. We strive to give you a review on as many products as possible, but there will be products not included on the market. The review is our opinion, but it does not constitute advice, recommendation or suitability for your financial circumstances.

You can view our full review methodology here.

    Image source: Getty Images

    Dive even deeper

    Why choose an online business bank account?

    Why choose an online business bank account?

    Online business bank accounts are inexpensive, convenient and easy to use. While they can differ from more traditional options, online accounts may offer extra services or functions that you won’t find at the typical high street bank.

    6 Benefits of a Business Bank Account

    6 Benefits of a Business Bank Account

    Is it worth having a separate business bank account? Limited companies and partnerships legally need to have a business account, but it’s optional for sole traders. However, there are many potential benefits to opening a business account, as listed below.

    What is an Instant Business Bank Account?

    What is an Instant Business Bank Account?

    Online business banks offer same-day current accounts that allow you to start sending and receiving payments immediately. To set one up, you’ll need proof of ID, proof of address, and some business details.

    Back To Top