So you know what’s available, but who can provide it? Banks that offer business accounts in the UK can generally be split into three categories:
Other high-street banks
Who are they?
National banks with less high-street presence than the ‘Big four’, such as the Bank of Scotland. Also former building societies, the Alliance and Leicester and Abbey National.
What they offer
Since these banks have fewer branches than the main clearing banks, they tend to offer a less relationship-focused service. Although customers can make transactions at a branch, they are encouraged to manage the account by telephone or over the internet.
Bucking the trend of their larger counterparts, these banks have lower or flat rate charges and offer interest on their current business accounts. If you need finance, these banks often provide overdraft or loan facilities, although the range of funding options may not be as wide as the larger banks’ offering.
They have fewer high-street branches than the “Big four”, which will be a drawback if you need to make regular transactions over the counter. You will not generally be assigned a manager, although advice may be available from business managers at selected branches or by phoning a central business centre.
Also, if they offer free banking, remember to read the small print. It is sometimes limited to a certain number of transactions per month, in which case it’s worth working out if you’re likely to exceed their limit and how much it will cost you.
Who are they suited to?
If you are looking for a bank with a high street presence, but you’re not interested in a very close relationship or hands-on advice from your bank manager, then this option could be for you. They don’t have the resources of the larger banks, but the cost benefits of interest on your account and low charges are certainly worth investigating.