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Published 05 September 2023
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Ulster Bank Business Loans Review: Pros, Cons & Features

Ulster Bank offers small business loans through its lending platform. Read more about the lender’s pros, cons and key features.

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Ulster Bank offers an array of lending options for businesses. From small business loans of between £1,000 and £50,000, to fixed-rate loans with a borrowing amount of up to £10 million and repayment terms ranging from three months for variable loans to 25 years for fixed rate loans, there are plenty of options for business borrowing. 

While you don’t have to have an Ulster Bank business account to access its lending, you do generally have to be based in Northern Ireland. Since Ulster Bank is part of the NatWest Group, customers in England and Wales are likely to be directed to the brand most closely associated with their location (NatWest in England and Wales and RBS in Scotland). 

Ulster Bank Small Business Loan

Ulster Bank Small Business Loan
  • Representative APR
  • Representative Example
    12.35% APR representative based on a loan of £10,000 repayable over 24 months at an interest rate of 11.70% per annum (fixed). Monthly repayment of £469.33. Total amount payable £11,264.04.
  • Available amounts
    £1,000 – £50,000
  • Available Terms
    1 – 7 years (up to 10 years on request)

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

Learn more about how we bring you our review.

Key features

  • Range of borrowing options
    Ulster Bank offers small business loans, fixed and variable rate loans, green loans, asset finance, business overdrafts and a business credit card (OneCard).
  • No early repayment fees
    There are no early repayment charges for any of Ulster Bank’s business loans, so you can pay off your loan early with no additional fees.
  • Repayment holidays
    There are options across the community, fixed- and variable rate loans to pause capital repayments for an agreed period of time, though interest will still accrue during this period.
  • Options for charity sector
    For charities and social enterprises that may not qualify for mainstream loans, Ulster Bank offers social and community capital of between £30,000 and £750,000.

Ulster Bank business loans pros & cons


  • Small businesses can borrow between £1,000 and £50,000 with the small business loan, while the fixed-rate loan offers borrowing of up to £10 million and the variable rate offers a potentially unlimited amount.
  • There are a range of repayment terms available, from one to seven years for the small business loan, up to 25 years for the fixed-rate loan.
  • There are no early repayment fees for the small business loan, fixed-rate loan or variable rate loan.
  • Ulster Bank offers customer service support through Twitter, phone, a digital chat assistant, or an online chat with an agent via the app, as well as at a branch.


  • The small business loan only offers a maximum term of seven years. In contrast, the standard for many other high street banks is 10 years.
  • The small business loan may require a personal, director or member’s guarantee.
  • While Ulster Bank offers a range of online customer service options, its customer phone lines are only open Monday to Friday.
  • Generally, businesses operating within Northern Ireland can access Ulster Bank’s specific loans, but those elsewhere in the UK will be directed to the brand most closely associated with their location (i.e. England and Wales will be directed to NatWest and businesses in Scotland will be directed to RBS).

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 loans 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 loans full review

Ulster Bank was established in Belfast in 1836 and operates in Northern Ireland. Since May 2021, it has been part of the NatWest Group together with NatWest and RBS.

Ulster Bank offers several business finance options for both long- and short-term borrowing, including small business loans, fixed- and variable rate loans, overdrafts and a business credit card.

As is standard with its regional counterparts, NatWest and RBS, businesses do not have to have a business account with Ulster Bank in order to access its loans.

There are three main loans available within Ulster Bank’s suite of business products: a small business loan, fixed-rate loan and variable rate loan.

Small business loan

Ulster Bank’s small business loan offers between £1,000 and £50,000 over one to seven years.

The interest rate is fixed, meaning that your monthly repayments will remain the same throughout the duration of the loan. The rate will depend on how much you borrow, term length and your credit rating. 

You won’t pay any set-up fees for the loan, and there are no early repayment or early closure fees, so you can pay it off at any time without incurring additional costs.

You may be required to provide a personal, director or member’s guarantee for the small business loan, depending on your circumstances.

Fixed and variable rate loans

The fixed-rate loan allows businesses to borrow between £25,001 and up to £10 million. Repayment terms are three, five, seven, 10 or 15 years up to a maximum of 25 years.

With a fixed-rate loan, your repayments will remain the same for the length of the specified term.

The variable rate loan shares many of the same characteristics as the fixed rate loan, including a maximum term of 25 years. However, the variable rate loan has a minimum repayment term of three months and no upper limit on the amount you can borrow, so you may be able to borrow beyond the £10 million limit on the fixed-rate loan. 

For both loans, repayment holidays are available subject to approval, though interest will continue to accrue during this time. There are also no early redemption charges on either, so you can pay off your loan early with no extra fees.

Other products

Ulster Bank’s other loan products include:

  • Green loans: This product is designed to support businesses to become more sustainable, such as buying solar panels or heat pumps. The loan terms and minimum and maximum loan amounts are the same as the fixed- and variable rate loans (£25,001 to £10 million over three months to 25 years).
  • Social and community capital: This loan is for charities or social enterprises that may not qualify for mainstream loans. These businesses can borrow between £30,000 and £750,000 on a fixed interest rate with flexible terms.

Ulster Bank business loans: at a glance

Amount borrowable£1,000 to £50,000 (small business loan)
£25,001 to £10 million (fixed-rate loan), or unlimited (variable rate loan)
Term lengthOne to seven years (small business loan)
Up to 25 years (fixed- and variable rate loans)
Web-based customer service24/7 X (formerly Twitter) – @UlsterBankNI 
Chat Bot
Chat with agent via app  
UK customer service number0345 366 5592 Mon to Fri 8.30am to 5.30pm
Face-to-face customer serviceYes
Access to loans without pre-existing accountYes

Where Ulster Bank business loans stands out

Range of products: Ulster Bank has a range of business finance products to suit a variety of needs. The small business loan offers smaller amounts over shorter periods, while the fixed- and variable rate loans offer larger amounts, and the social and community capital loans are designed for charities and social enterprises.

No early repayment fees: Across the small business, fixed- and variable rate loans there are no charges for early repayments. This means you can reduce your overall interest by repaying the loan early without incurring additional fees.

Customer service options: Ulster Bank offers a range of ways to get in touch with customer service if you have questions about business borrowing. Online, you can get in touch via its 24/7 X account (formerly Twitter), chat assistant Cora or speak to an agent via the app. If you’d like to speak directly with an agent, you can call between 8.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday or nip into a branch.

No requirement for Ulster Bank business account: You don’t need a business or personal account with Ulster Bank to access its loans. But you must have a business bank account with another provider. This means you don’t need to switch your business account to Ulster Bank to take advantage of its finance options.

Where Ulster Bank business loans fall short

Regional borrowing: Generally, businesses based in Northern Ireland will be able to access Ulster Bank’s lending options, while those based in other areas of the UK will be directed to their closest associated brand (NatWest in England and Wales and RBS in Scotland).

Maximum term length: For the small business loan, Ulster Bank’s standard maximum term is seven years, which is lower than many other traditional banks.

Customer reviews: Despite having positive reviews for its mobile app, Ulster Bank has a ‘bad’ review on customer service website Trustpilot. It is important to note that this rating relates to the bank as a whole, not just its lending products.

» MORE: How to get a business loan

Ulster Bank business loans customer reviews

Ulster Bank has a 1.6 star rating on Trustpilot, based on 257 reviews, which would be considered ‘bad’ on the site. However, it’s important to note that this is a small number of reviews, which are for Ulster Bank generally and not specific to its business loan products. 

The Ulster Bank mobile app has the follow reviews, which are also not specific to its business loans:

  • App store: 4.8 out of 5, based on over 12,500 reviews
  • Google Play: 4.7 out of 5, based on over 12,000 reviews

This information is correct as of 31 August 2023.

Ulster Bank business loans eligibility 

While there may be slightly different criteria depending on which loan you apply for, generally you will need to fulfil the following to apply for a business loan with Ulster Bank:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • be a director of the business you’re applying on behalf of
  • have not been declared bankrupt or received a County Court Judgment (CCJ) or Court Decree
  • hold a business current account with any provider

Ulster Bank will also conduct a credit check when you complete your loan application.

How to apply for a Ulster Bank business loan

You can apply for an Ulster Bank business loan online, and will likely go through the following steps.

  1. Check the eligibility criteria, which may differ depending on which product you apply for.
  2. Gather the information required for your application. This will generally include three years of address history, the date your business began trading, the business turnover and net profit for the last 12 months, projected turnover for the next 12 months and details of any existing personal or business finance.
  3. Complete the online form. This will allow Ulster Bank to complete a full credit check on your business.
  4. Wait to find out if your application has been successful, and provide any further information if requested by Ulster Bank.
  5. If approved, the money could be in your account within a few days.

» COMPARE: The best business loans for June 2023

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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