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.Get started
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.Get started
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
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.
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.
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
Estimated annual turnover
If you’re a limited company, you’ll also need to provide your Companies House registration number.
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.
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.