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Published 18 April 2024
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Ulster Bank Business Account Review: Pros, Cons & Features

Ulster Bank offers three types of accounts for businesses. Find out more about its pros and cons in our review.

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.

Ulster Bank is a traditional high-street bank that forms part of the NatWest Group and serves Northern Ireland.

Ulster Bank offers three business current accounts, which each have a quarterly maintenance fee of £8. However, the Start-Up account offers no quarterly maintenance and no transaction fees for 24 months, as well as a range of free programmes to support new businesses. Its Business account is for established businesses looking to grow and although you’ll have to pay the quarterly maintenance fee, you’ll only pay for what you use in terms of transactions. For not-for-profit businesses, Ulster Bank offers a Community account with a reduced quarterly tariff for up to two years, depending on turnover.

Ulster Bank also offers a Foreign Currency Account for businesses that heavily rely on foreign trade, but this is only available to customers who already have an Ulster business bank account.

Ulster Bank Business Bank Account

Ulster Bank Business Bank Account
  • Monthly Fee
    Free for 24 months
  • UK Card Purchase Fees
    Free for 24 months
  • UK Bank Transfer Fees
    Free for 24 months
  • Offer
    24 months free banking

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

Eligibility Criteria
  • Available to eligible customers over 18 who have the right to be self employed in the UK or Northern Ireland

Learn more about how we bring you our review.

Key features

  • FSCS protection
    Ulster Bank has FSCS protection for deposits up to £85,000 as part of the NatWest group.
  • Lending facilities
    Ulster Bank offers a range of loans and finance options, on both fixed and variable rates, as well as business overdrafts and a credit card.
  • 24/7 customer service
    You can get help from Ulster Bank around the clock through its online support via X (formerly Twitter) or the digital assistant Cora (which can direct you to an adviser) via the website or app.
  • Regulated by the FCA
    Ulster Bank is a UK bank regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Ulster Bank business account pros & cons


  • Ulster Bank offers easy account management with mobile banking, 24/7 customer service, and services at its branches.
  • All business accounts from Ulster Bank come with free accounting software provided by FreeAgent.
  • Ulster Bank offers different accounts for different types of businesses (start up, established or not for profit) so you can choose what works best for you.
  • There are a range of borrowing options from business overdrafts to fixed-rate loans repayable over up to 25 years.


  • Ulster Bank serves Northern Ireland, so customers in Great Britain will generally be directed to the brand most closely associated with their location (NatWest in England and Wales, and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in Scotland).
  • While the Start-Up account offers 24 months without transaction fees or the £8 quarterly maintenance fee), at the end of this period you’ll start to pay the standard quarterly tariff as well as fees for your everyday transactions. Plus, you will be charged for any ‘unarranged borrowing’ and ‘additional charges’ during the fee-free period.  

The pros and cons featured here 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 was conducted on behalf of NerdWallet UK in December 2022 to identify the business bank account features that people feel are most important. They are unlikely to be the only product features and restrictions that you should consider. Pros and cons are subjective and you should align them to your own personal and business circumstances. Information was correct at the time of publication but may have changed since. 

Ulster Bank business account full review

Ulster Bank was originally established in Belfast in 1836 and now forms part of the NatWest Group, serving personal and business customers through its online and in-branch services. 

Ulster Bank has three business bank accounts, each specific to a different business type: Start ups, Business, and Community. There is a fourth account, the Foreign Currency Account, which is specifically for making and receiving payments in foreign currency. However, customers must have and maintain a separate Ulster Bank business bank account to be eligible to apply. 

Start-Up Account

Ulster bank’s Start-Up account is for businesses that have been trading for less than a year and have a turnover of less than £1 million.

For the first 24 months, this account offers free banking (no account maintenance fee and no transaction fees), but you’ll start to pay the standard quarterly tariff and fees for transactions at the end of that period.

The Start-Up account also offers access to overdraft facilities, a business debit card, free access to FreeAgent bookkeeping software and a range of business programmes to support start ups to move forward.

Business Account

The Business account is for any business that has been trading for over a year, or for businesses which have been trading for less than 12 months but have already achieved turnover in excess of £1 million. 

There is an £8 quarterly fee for the account, which comes with free access to accounting software from FreeAgent, a range of borrowing and savings options, as well as a dedicated relationship manager who can assist with applying for additional accounts. In terms of transactions, you’ll only pay for what you use with no minimum monthly fee spend. 

Additionally, the business bank account opens up access to the Ulster Bank accelerator, which offers support for those looking to grow through coaching, networking and events, as well as use of co-working spaces in Ulster Bank hubs.

Community Account

Ulster Bank’s Community account is for not-for-profit organisations such as charities. While there is no maximum turnover limit for having this account, if your turnover exceeds £250,000, you will face additional charges.

If your business has charity status, you can benefit from no, or reduced, fees for up to  24 months with this account. After the discounted period, fees are reviewed. 

The account also allows you to authorise up to four signatories and provides the option of a chequebook and a paying-in book.

Ulster Bank business account features: at a glance

Monthly fee£2.67 approx. (£8 per quarter)
Transaction feesYes
Account Management Online, via app, in branch, over phone
FSCS protectionYes
Set-up timeOne day (on average)
Cash depositsYes (70p per £100 deposit for all accounts and outside of 24-month fee-free period for Start-Up account)
Cheque depositsYes (40p each per deposit for all accounts and outside of 24-month fee-free period for Start-Up account)
Access to other banking servicesYes
International paymentsYes (Specialist Foreign Currency Accounts available, but all business accounts have access to inbound and outbound international payments)
Customer service24/7 online support via Twitter or digital assistant Cora

0345 366 5592, Mon to Fri, 8.30am to 5.30pm
Multiple user accessYes
Create and send invoicesYes

Integration with accounting software tools
Yes via free FreeAgent software

Where Ulster Bank business account stands out

Sector expertise: Ulster Bank’s business customers can access its range of experts for additional support in industries from agriculture to technology. 

FSCS protection: Deposits of up to £85,000 are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Protection is pooled across all accounts held within the NatWest Group, not per account.

Borrowing options: Ulster Bank offers a range of finance options for businesses, including overdrafts and credit cards.

Multiple account options: Each account has different offerings to cater for different business types.

Customer service: There are multiple ways to get in touch with Ulster Bank, including 24/7 online and face-to-face options.

Access to software: Each of the Ulster Bank business accounts comes with free access to accounting software FreeAgent.

» MORE: Compare business accounting software

Where Ulster Bank business account falls short

Access in the rest of the UK: Ulster Bank generally serves customers in Northern Ireland, unless you already hold an Ulster Bank account. Customers in England and Wales will be directed to NatWest, while customers in Scotland will be directed to RBS.

Quarterly fee: There is an £8 quarterly fee for the business account, which also applies to the Start-Up and Community accounts once the fee-free period has ended.

Transaction fees: If you have the business account, or are outside the fee-free period for the Start-Up and Community accounts, you will face a charge for each transaction.

Negative reviews: Ulster Bank’s Trustpilot rating is in the ‘bad’ category, however this is for the business as a whole and not specifically for its business accounts.

Ulster Bank business account customer reviews

Ulster Bank has a ‘bad’ TrustPilot review of 1.3 out of 5, but this is based on a small sample of 305 reviews. However, it should be noted that these reviews are of the bank overall and not specifically related to the business accounts.

The mobile app has a rating of:

  • 4.8 out of 5, based on over 16,500 reviews on the App Store
  • 4.7 out of 5, based on over 15,400 reviews on Google Play

This information is correct as of 3 April 2024.

Ulster Bank business account eligibility 

To be eligible for an Ulster Bank business account, you must:

  • be over 18
  • have the right to be self employed in the UK or Northern Ireland
  • have an existing Ulster Bank account (if based in England, Wales or Scotland)
  • be an owner or director of the business you’re applying on behalf of
  • not have declared bankruptcy or received a County Court Judgement (CCJ) or Court Decree

There are also additional eligibility criteria for each account:

  • Start-Up account: Your business must be registered in Northern Ireland, have been trading less than 12 months and have a projected or existing annual turnover of under £1 million. 
  • Business account: Your business must have a turnover above £1 million and have been trading for under or over a year, or have a turnover of less than £1 million and have been trading for over a year. If your annual turnover is under £6.5 million you can apply online, but you’ll have to get in touch with Ulster Bank over the phone to apply if your turnover is more than this.
  • Community account: You must be a charity, community or voluntary organisation, social enterprise, religious organisation or Community Development Financial Institution. The Not for Profit (NFP) package is then available if you have Deemed Charity status, or can prove you have been approved for inclusion on the NI Charity Commission’s Register of Charities.

How to apply for a Ulster Bank business account

To apply for an Ulster Bank business account, you will need to take the following steps:

  1. Choose the account you want to apply for.
  2. Apply online, by phone or in a branch.
  3. Provide Ulster Bank with all the documents and information it requires, including your personal and business addresses, company registration and year-end accounts).
  4. Wait to hear if your application has been successful.

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.

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