Online business banking

Online business banking lets you send and receive payments, but Soldo makes it a powerful way to manage employee spending, too.

Online business banking: what is it?

Online business banking lets you oversee your company finances at home, in the office or on the move.

You can use it to view your transactions, make transfers to other accounts and apply for business credit and debit cards. You might also get access a range of additional business services, but these will vary depending on the provider you choose.

Online business banking works hand in hand with multi-user expense accounts like Soldo. With a platform like ours, you’ll be able to maintain independent control of the bank account itself, while giving team members access to the funds they need.

Online business banking: why is it important?

With online business banking, you’re able to:

  • Pay invoices and accept payments
  • Keep business costs separate from personal ones
  • Identify deductible expenses and file taxes more easily

You can also order credit or debit cards linked to the account, and allocate them to members of staff or individual departments. This does mean, however, that they’ll have direct access to your business bank account – so you’ll need to think carefully before you decide who you want to share them with.

Alternatively, you can look to Soldo cards, which give employees similar flexibility to buy what they need. Unlike credit and debit cards, however, they’re linked to an expense account rather than the company account, which means the cardholders only have access to as much money as you give them.

Online business banking: what should I expect?

  • Low charges
    Any business bank account charges fees for its upkeep, but the deals you find will vary according to your size and needs. The cheapest are usually around £5 a month, but there may be other features included which push the price up.
  • A fee-free introductory period
    Many banks won’t charge you for the first year or so after opening your account. Just make sure you do your research into what the fees will be after this period, because it’s not always easy to change accounts further down the line.
  • Personal support
    A good online business banking provider will provide you a dedicated support team to support your company as it grows. They’ll offer you tailored advice as your needs change, and potentially even customise offers to your company.

Even with these benefits, an online business banking account is somewhat limited. You won’t be able to review transactions in real time, or identify which particular card was used to make a payment. And your employees will need to hang onto their receipts, so you can reconcile their expenses at the end of the month.

But with Soldo’s payment control console, prepaid card and mobile app, you’ll have a lot more insight and control. You can see live spending activity, and view each employee next to their transactions. Cardholders can even snap a photo of their receipts, making the reconciliation process run a lot more smoothly.

Frequently asked questions

Who can apply for online business bank account?
Anyone who runs a business, a charity, club or pension fund can apply for an online business bank account, but anyone who runs a limited company is legally required to.

Online business bank accounts aren’t a requirement if you’re a sole trader or freelancer, but they are highly recommended. They’re a good way to keep your personal and business finances separate, which will be invaluable come tax time.

How do I open an online business bank account?

In the case of most online bank accounts, the process is as follows:
1. Complete a registration form
You’ll first need to complete an online registration form, where you’ll be asked to provide a few details about your business.

2. Print and collect signatures
Once you’re registered, you’ll need to print a form and get a number of signatures from people in your business.

3. Return the signed form
You’ll need to return your signed form to the bank. They usually provide a freepost address, and will let you know when they’ve received it.

4. Receive your welcome pack
You’ll receive a welcome pack, which usually includes your first debit or credit card, by post.

What do I need to open a business bank account?
With most online bank accounts you’ll need to show the provider a variety of documents, which might include:

ID for all named company directors
Proof of address
Full business address
Contact details
Credit score
Estimated annual turnover

If you’re a limited company, you’ll also need to provide your Companies House registration number.

How easy is it to switch online business bank accounts?
It becomes more difficult to make the switch the bigger your business becomes, but banks will try to make the experience as straightforward as possible. Just remember to speak to them first: they may make an effort to improve your deal to keep you as a customer.

It’s always sensible to keep up to date with the best deals to see if there’s a better fit for you out there – particularly if you’re growing rapidly. After all, your business needs are likely to have evolved significantly from when you first opened your account.

Do banks offer overdrafts on business bank accounts?
Just as with a personal bank account, business banks might offer an overdraft in case you overspend one month. The size of this overdraft varies from provider to provider, and so will the interest they’ll charge on it.

Related articles

What is Soldo?

Learn how Soldo works, and how it could fit into your business.

What’s the best way to track employee spending?

Discover the tools that can manage your team’s spending for you.

What are corporate cards?

Explore the difference between corporate cards and prepaid cards.

Supercharge online business banking with Soldo

You’ll only make the most of online business banking when you combine it with Soldo’s multi-user expense account.

Together, Soldo’s three components show transactions in real time so you won’t need to wait till the end of the month. They enable you to collect receipts at point of purchase and steer clear of long-winded expense reconciliation. And they provide actionable insights you can use to transform your business spending habits.

The payment control console

With Soldo’s control console, it’s easy to keep track of how much everyone in your team is spending.

You’ll get access to an admin dashboard, where you can see your cardholders’ transactions in real time. You can set notifications, too, to alert you when certain conditions are met – if team members are running low on cash, for example. And then you can simply make a free and instant transfer of funds to keep them moving.

Soldo can export your company’s expense data to Sage, QuickBooks or any other major accounting platform in a couple of clicks. It also features the world’s first complete expense integration with Xero, providing a free automatic daily bank feed.

The prepaid card

With Soldo cards, members of your team can buy what they need, without any risk of going overboard on their spending.

Soldo cards, after all, aren’t linked to your online bank account, which means it’s up to you how much money you want to load onto each one. Even then, you can set daily, weekly or monthly limits on the amount cardholders can spend, or add rules about where and how often they can use the cards. All of which means you can give out as many cards as you like, with no concerns about misuse or fraud.

Plus, you can give members of your team virtual cards which they can use for online expenses.

The mobile app

With Soldo’s mobile app, members of your team can capture a photo of and throw away their receipt at the point of purchase.

This saves your finance team hours of expense reconciliation at the end of the month, and preemptively deals with disagreements that would arise if the receipt went missing. And with real-time in-app updates, staff will always be up to date on how much they’ve spent and how much they have left on their own card. In short, they’re much more likely to take responsibility for their own spending.

“Soldo’s become an invaluable tool for my business… Saves us a significant amount of time managing employee expenses.” Gus

“Five star package, five star service, with five star results.” Karen