The best UK business bank account

Last reviewed 10 July 2024 by Fiona Prior.

Bank cards on a keyboard

The best bank account for your business will depend on what type of business you run and what services you want and need from your bank. A self-employed freelancer, a local bricks and mortar retailer and a business that trades internationally will all have very different requirements

**Note rates and fees correct on 10/07/24 (limited-time offers may apply).

If you're self-employed, you might be tempted to use a personal bank account for your business. While you aren’t legally required to have a business bank account, we'd strongly recommend opening a separate business bank account. For one, it will make keeping on top of your cash flow and business accounts much simpler. If your business is a limited company, you must open a separate business bank account for the company.

Opening a business bank account

Business bank accounts aren't only offered by high street banks. As banking has increasingly moved online, a whole new set of challenger banks and alternative services has emerged – and for some businesses, these new options can be a better bet.

Here's our guide to some of the best business accounts available, including both high street banks and new online ‘challengers’. Click on the links below to see the latest deal for each bank account. 

If you want to do your own research, you can use Nerdwallet's business bank account comparison tool to find details of more accounts for start-ups and businesses looking to open or switch bank account.

Best business bank account for free extras

Tide | Free and paid accounts | Free company formation and financial management features

Best business bank account for start-ups and small businesses

Starling | Free | App-based account tops customer satisfaction ratings

Best business bank account for easy bookkeeping

ANNA Money | Free plan (pay-as-you-go for what you use), business plan £14.90 per month | Free company formation, easy invoicing and tax estimation

Best bank account for freelancers and side hustlers

Revolut Pro | Free and paid plans available | manage income, earn cash back and make and take payments from anywhere

Best business bank account for international businesses

Revolut Business | Free basic account | Strong multi-currency and international payments services

Find out more about:

It’s worth being clear about exactly what you are looking for, and what the different account providers are offering, before you make your final choice of bank account. You should also check for up-to-date information – services and pricing can change.

Compare business bank accountsNerdWallet


If you’re starting up or looking to switch bank accounts, Nerdwallet also have a free business bank account comparison tool.

Tide - Best business bank account for free extras

Good all-round offering for start-ups and smaller businesses, with company registration and additional services thrown in for free.

Key features:

  • quick, free company incorporation with business account for start-ups
  • free expenses management, invoice tracking and cash flow insights features
  • optional ‘credit builder’ loan
  • mobile and desktop access


  • free, £9.99 per month 'plus', £18.99 per month 'pro' and £49.99 per month ‘cashback’ plans
  • additional charges for payments above plan limits
  • cashback plan offers 0.5% cashback on card payments (£49.99 + VAT per year)

Find out more about the Tide account.

Starling - Best business bank account for start-ups and small businesses

Key features:

  • sole trader, business and multi-currency accounts available
  • good range of standard features included in the free account
  • earn interest on your credit balances
  • no foreign exchange or transaction fees
  • 24/7 UK-based customer support
  • online only, but cash transactions available at Post Office


  • free business account
  • £7 monthly for optional business toolkit
  • £2 per month for a Euro account or £5 per month for a US $ account
  • charges for cash deposits

Visit the Starling website.

HSBC Kinetic

If you like the idea of the digital-first approach offered by challenger banks, but would be more comfortable with a high street name, HSBC’s award-winning** Kinetic account might be right for you.

Key features:

  • 500 UK branches
  • app-based Kinetic account for sole traders and single owner-director companies, small business account for companies with turnover up to £2 million
  • spending and cash flow analysis tools in app
  • send and receive international payments to more than 200 countries (fees apply)


  • HSBC Kinetic account for sole traders is fee-free for the first 12 months, then £6.50 per month
  • small business banking is fee-free for 12 months for start ups and account switchers, then £32 per commercial card per year
  • free online payments

**Awarded Best App-based Business Bank Account 2022, 2023 & 2024 by Moneynet

Find out more about the HSBC Kinetic account.

ANNA Money - Best business bank account for easy bookkeeping

Mobile-first approach and easy invoicing tools make it easy to manage finances through your mobile.

Key features:

  • user-friendly mobile design
  • fast sign-up with no credit check
  • easy-to-use invoicing and tax estimation tools
  • free limited company registration when you open a business account
  • online only, but cash transactions available at PayPoint outlets


  • free option for small start-ups includes debit card and free card payments; pay-as-you-go fees for other payments (eg £1 per cash withdrawal)
  • business account for £14.90 per month includes additional cards and set number of free payments
  • ‘big business’ option at £49.90 per month includes unlimited free payments (some restrictions including limited international payments)

Find out more about the Anna Money account.


Free invoicing tool could be attractive, particularly for sole traders who spend a lot of time out and about.

Key features:

  • 200 pop-up banking sites, 347 UK branches
  • free invoicing and accounting software with the start up business bank account
  • phone access to business managers, plus specialist international and high-growth advisers
  • includes free FreshBooks invoicing and accounting software and access to the Eagle Labs accelerator programme


  • free digital banking for first 12 months for start-ups
  • £8.50 monthly account maintenance fee after the first year
  • free electronic payments with e-Payments plan

Find out more about Barclays business bank account.

Zempler Bank

Formerly known as Cashplus, Zempler offers and interesting range of tools. The easy application also make this an attractive package, particularly for applicants with poor credit records, but the pricing structure will not suit businesses with a high volume of low-value transactions.

Key features:

  • online only (but cash deposits available through Post Office counters)
  • near-instant online account opening with no credit check
  • range of useful accounting integrations, expense management tools and payment insights


  • free Go account allows three free electronic payments per month then £0.30 per payment
  • Business Premier account (£69 per year with the first year free) allows 20 free electronic payments per month then £0.30 per payment
  • 0.5% cash back (capped at £12,000 per year) with the Business Premier account

Find out more about Cashplus.


The UK’s biggest branch network might make this a convenient high street choice for your business, and a good option for businesses (such as law firms) that need to hold client funds.

Key features:

  • 1,195 UK branches
  • £5,000 instant credit when you open a business account
  • free Business Finance Assistant accounting software helps simplify accounting and tax returns
  • relatively simple set-up for client fund accounts


  • free digital banking for first 12 months followed by £8.50 per month (plus fees and transaction charges)
  • free electronic payments

Find out more about Lloyds bank accounts.


A relative newcomer to business banking, challenger Monzo has a devoted fan club for its personal banking app. In an independent survey in February 2024, Monzo came out top for overall service quality.

Key features:

  • mobile and web app only; cash deposits via PayPoint, cheques by post
  • can separate balance into different ‘pots’
  • invoicing, accounting links and multi-user access with Pro account
  • fee-free international spending


  • free Lite offering or £5 per month for Pro account
  • additional charges for cash deposits

Find out more about the Monzo account.

Revolut Pro - Best bank account for freelancers and side hustlers

The all-in-one account for freelancers, side hustlers and sole traders. Built to meet the needs of small-scale ventures, Revolut Pro offers a simplified business account within the personal Revolut mobile app.

Key features:

  • three-month free trial
  • no monthly fees
  • manage business and personal finances from one app
  • earn up to 1.2% cash back on every purchase
  • make and take payments


  • free and paid plans available (£3.99 - £55 per month depending on the plan)
  • additional fees may be payable

Find out more about Revolut Pro.


Good value from a high street bank, with no monthly maintenance fee and free FreeAgent accounting software.

Key features:

  • 523 UK branches
  • free access to FreeAgent accounting software for business account holders
  • optional HR support tools (free and priced options)
  • different accounts options depending on the stage your business is at including the free Mettle mobile account for side-hustlers and one/two person businesses


  • free mobile business account for freelancers, sole traders and side hustlers
  • free banking for first two years for new Start up accounts and switchers
  • no minimum monthly charge - after the free banking period only pay for what you use; per transaction charges for payments, with higher charges for manual payments and percentage charge for cash

Find out more about the Natwest account.

Revolut Business - Best business bank account for international businesses

Quality offering for businesses that want a multi-currency international solution, and the potential to grow with your business.

Key features:

  • range of options and pricing structures to suit different transaction volumes
  • competitive foreign exchange, multi-currency accounts and international payments
  • company cards plus growing range of additional services
  • online only – need separate account for any cash deposits or cheques


  • free business and freelancer accounts available
  • higher-cost options available from £19 per month
  • additional charges for transactions over account plan limit

Find out more about the Revolut Business account.


Identifying the best account option for your business can be difficult, but the standard small business account with a flat monthly fee could suit many smaller businesses.

Key features:

  • 444 UK branches
  • different account options depending on number of owners/directors and transaction volumes
  • alternative 1|2|3 business current account carries higher monthly fee but cashback based on payments credited to account
  • earn interest and up to £300 cashback a year with the 1|2|3 business current


  • discounted monthly fee of £5 per month for 1|2|3 business current account holders (18 months for start ups or 12 months for account switchers), then £12.50 per month
  • free everyday banking for 18 months (then £7.50 per month) for the small business account

Find out more about Santander.

Card One Money

Card One Money could be the bank account option for you if you need to open an account in a hurry. You simply need to verify your identity and residency.

Key features:

  • apply online in less than ten minutes
  • provide up to four team members with an expenses card and top up directly from your account
  • online and mobile account with 24/7 access


  • one-off application fee of £55
  • £12.50 per month

Find out more about Card One Money.

Common business bank account questions

  1. Does my limited company need a separate business bank account?
  2. How do I choose a business bank account?
  3. How do I open a business bank account?
  4. What information will I need to apply for a business bank account?
  5. What are the main alternatives to the high street banks?
  6. What fees and charges will my business bank account incur?
  7. How can I switch business bank account provider?
  8. What can I do if I am refused a business bank account?
  9. What do I need to know about foreign currency and international bank accounts?

1. Does my limited company need a separate business bank account?

Opening a separate business bank account can make managing your cash flow and budgeting simpler. Opening a business bank account may also be a legal requirement.

  • If you are a self-employed, sole trader, you're not legally required to have a separate business bank account.
  • If your business is a limited company or a limited liability partnership, you must open its own company bank account.

2. How do I choose a business bank account?

When choosing a business bank account, start by establishing what type of bank account you want and which services you will need. There is a growing number of traditional, high-street and online-only providers to choose from. To help you narrow down the options, you should ask yourself some key questions:

  • Do they offer the services you need?
  • Is it possible to link the bank account with your accounting system?
  • How easy is it to make routine transactions?
  • What will it cost make the transactions you need?
  • Does the provider have a good reputation for dealing with problems?

You may find it helpful to ask business contacts which accounts they use and how satisfied they are. You can also compare business bank accounts using Nerdwallet

Remember, you don't have to consolidate all your financial services with one provider. For example, you might have:

  • a day-to-day account with your main bank account provider
  • a savings account offering a higher interest rate with another bank
  • a specialist provider for international payments
  • separately negotiated borrowing facilities as required

Find out more about the different business bank accounts on offer:

3. How do I open a business bank account?

Opening a bank account for your business is usually quite straightforward, but is sometimes complex and time-consuming. You can make the process as simple and quick as possible by getting organised in advance with all the information the bank will want. You may find it takes longer to open an account if:

  • your business is in what banks consider a high-risk sector – for example, financial services, gambling or a business that involves a high level of cash transactions
  • your business trades internationally, particularly if you deal with countries that have a questionable reputation
  • you have external investors that the bank will want to understand
  • your business has a complicated structure – for example, if it is part of an international group of companies

For many small businesses, the easiest option is to apply online. You may want to discuss your requirements over the phone or visit a branch if you are a larger business or have more complex needs. For example, you might need help deciding which type of account best suits you, or to ask about different financing options.

4. What information will I need to apply for a business bank account?

Banks need a variety of information before they will open an account for you. They use the information to help them understand your business, check your identity and meet their legal obligations to prevent money-laundering. This information typically includes:

  • business basics – name and any other trading name, address, legal form
  • details of any existing business bank accounts
  • details of key individuals associated with the business, possibly including their bank account details
  • an overview of the business – what it does, when it started
  • financial details – for example, how much you are investing (in a start up), financial track record (for an existing business), cash flow forecasts

You may be able to provide much of the information needed electronically – for example, by supplying your company's registration number.

If your business is a limited company, the bank is likely to want copies of or access to:

  • the company's certificate of incorporation, confirming that the company has been properly registered with Companies House
  • the company's articles of association
  • any recent appointments of directors (or company secretary)
  • documentation proving the identity and address of every individual with significant control over the company or who you want to be allowed to operate the account

You will also need to prove the identity and address of every individual with significant control over the company, and of anyone else who you want to be allowed to operate the account. Be prepared to provide this information for all the directors and anyone else who is a significant shareholder.

Many of the UK's leading banks have cooperated to agree what basic information they will need from you. But each bank has its own particular application process and requirements, so check with the bank where you want to open an account.

5. What are the main alternatives to the high street banks?

The main alternative bank account providers are the new wave of digital 'challenger' banks. There are also smaller banks, sometimes specialising in a particular type of customer or product (for example, lending to the property sector or fixed-term savings) or aiming to provide ethical finance.

Challenger banks tend to be online-only. In some cases, they may be less convenient for businesses that use cash (or cheques). Some challengers have arrangements with other organisations to accept cash or cheque deposits, or allow cash withdrawals.

Challenger banks can offer several advantages:

  • Because they don’t have the costs of maintaining physical branches, challengers may offer lower costs and/or higher interest rates than high street banks.
  • Challenger banks tend to have well-designed, user-friendly websites and smartphone apps.
  • Some challengers have a reputation for superior, friendly customer service (but online only).

Relatively few challenger banks offer business accounts, though the number has been increasing. Well-known business account providers include Monzo, Tide and Starling.

Other new types of account providers, such as 'electronic money institutions' (EMIs), are not directly licensed as banks. This means they are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so money held with them is not protected in quite the same way.

6. What fees and charges will my business bank account incur?

Most business bank accounts tend to have charges, though most providers offer new small business customers free banking for the first year or 18 months.

Costs can include:

  • a flat-rate, monthly account maintenance fee
  • monthly charges for additional account services – for example, if you also have a foreign currency account
  • charges for each deposit or withdrawal – charges for electronic transactions are generally lower than for cheques
  • additional charges for depositing or withdrawing cash, often as a percentage of the amount
  • higher charges for international transactions
  • a range of possible one-off charges – for example, for one-off enquiries or copies of bank statements

There will be separate charges for any borrowing, such as an overdraft facility.

If your business has high transaction volumes costs can mount up. There may also be an 'opportunity cost' from receiving zero or low interest on money held in the account, which could earn more elsewhere.

7. How can I switch business bank account provider?

If you're a small business and you want to switch from an existing business account to another bank, you may be able to use the Current Account Switch Service to make the process easier. The service is open to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and an annual turnover of less than £6.5 million. The service can automatically move your balance and any existing payments to your new account before closing the old account.

8. What can I do if I am refused a business bank account?

You should check first whether your chosen bank has any restrictions on opening a new business bank account. For example, a bank may not accept applications from certain types of business, or may prefer to offer small business accounts only to new businesses rather than those switching from another bank.

Even if the bank hasn’t said that they are not accepting applications from your type of business, they may still reject your application. This may be because they consider your business too high risk, because you couldn’t provide adequate documentation, or because you (or someone else associated with the business) has a poor credit record.

It may be worth checking your credit records with the major credit report providers and checking any inaccurate information that could be harming your application:

You may also want to ensure that you are on the electoral register. If you are a sole trader (or in a partnership), make sure you have registered your business with HM Revenue & Customs. The easier you make it for the bank to check your credentials, the less likely you are to have your bank account application declined.

If a high street bank rejects you because of your poor credit record, it may be worth applying for an online account. Many of the new digital account providers process applications without carrying out a full credit check.

9. What do I need to know about foreign currency and international bank accounts?

Costs can be significant if you need to make international transactions. These extra costs can include:

  • the service fee for a foreign currency account (for example, in Euros or US dollars)
  • significantly higher transaction costs for international payments
  •  the costs of converting money between UK sterling and other currencies, including both explicit fees and the extra costs of being given a poor exchange rate

If you just need a foreign currency account for a small number of transactions, you may find that your main bank account offers a suitable service. If you make a significant number of transactions, you may want to look at the new generation of online multi-currency accounts such as Revolut or Wise.

If you want to be able to arrange import or export finance at the same time, you may find it easier to deal with a bank that offers the services you need.

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