Please help me choose a business bank

by Justin Souter on December 8, 2008

L.A. Bank Robbery

Photo credit to Colin Brown

I attended a rather good course on Friday, run by FinanceTree and called Managing Money – which was mainly about cashflow management.

A chap from RBS / NatWest give the class an idea of how Banks view this area, and their attitude towards business banking right now.

I need to set up a business bank account myself in the near future, and wondered whether you might be able to suggest the best provider?

I don’t think a web-based virtual bank will really cut it – I expect to need a bit of hand-holding, and I was pointed to the big retail banks.

I believe a number of banks offer free banking deals for new accounts, but would like your feedback on:

  • Banking charges
  • Customer service
  • Attitude to helping small businesses
  • Your experience to date
  • Any gotchas / things to watch out for…

Many thanks in advance!

  • saratpediredla

    We tried a few until we stuck to Barclays. I am not entirely satisfied with them yet but they seemed so much better (WAY BETTER) than Natwest/RBS.

    I wouldn't go for HBOS either as I have had terrible pre-sales advice from them and their support is non-existant.

    Barclays has a great Free Automated Transaction Tariff that is great if you do a lot of transactions online and/or pay electronically etc.

    They are pretty good with small business, with a Business Manager you can actually speak to (I still dont know who it was at Natwest).

    The only gotcha with Barclays are high borrowing rates (if you need it), and some business managers persistent on selling you their “value add-ons”.

  • justingsouter

    Sarat – brilliant, thanks for your feedback!

    The one thing I didn't say is that the advice at the Managing Money course on Friday suggested keeping your Business and Personal monies separate.

    What about Lloyds as an alternative to Barclays, d'you know anything about them?

  • saratpediredla

    No problem Justin. I have no idea about Lloyds TSB. They seem a safe bet. I agree that keeping your personal and business dealings separate.

  • justingsouter

    btw, Stephen Slater of RMT also mentioned HSBC & Alliance and Leicester. fyi info re Stephen – http://www.r-m-t.co.uk/news/more01.php?id=17

  • One think I remember when I had a Business account in the UK is to watch the hidden charges. Most personal banking is free but the banks can make substantial money from Bussiness ascount.

    Double-check what the real charges are likely to be.

  • Andrew – thanks for this. I am off to Newcastle this afternoon to sign up with HSBC.

    A&L Leicester phoned me to say that one of their Business Bankers (based in Leeds) was going to call me. He didn't, so they got struck off the list. Then again, I didn't fancy having my contact in Leeds – too far away.

    I also went to see Lloyds, but felt that HSBC were in better financial shape to help me, going forward.

  • Andrew – thanks for this. I am off to Newcastle this afternoon to sign up with HSBC.

    A&L Leicester phoned me to say that one of their Business Bankers (based in Leeds) was going to call me. He didn't, so they got struck off the list. Then again, I didn't fancy having my contact in Leeds – too far away.

    I also went to see Lloyds, but felt that HSBC were in better financial shape to help me, going forward.

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