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Best Business Bank Account

From 1 April  I am going to incorporate my practice. I am looking to open a business bank account. Thanks Sir Digby for raising a thread on what to do on this subject.

I looked at the following that do not have bank charges for life

Alliance Leicester now Santander

Co-operative bank - no bank charges since I am a member of FSB.

I would be grateful for recommendations of a good business bank account. No bank charges and easy to deposit cheques where clients insist on pay by chq.

Should I be looking for anything else apart from no bank charges and easy deposits?

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02nd Mar 2011 17:24

business banking in branch

make sure that they deal with business banking at the branch in case u have a problem and don't want to deal with someone in the call centre.

I know santander does not have that (only an itinerrant business bank person that deals with new signings etc) but better check with your branch

santander also annoy me by having to send an SMS code each time I make a transfer online. but not sure what is better, gettign a small card machine like nationwide does or having to remember a fourth password... this is getting very complicated. 

see what perks you get with your account

 

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By Flash Gordon
02nd Mar 2011 17:26

I'm with Santander (as well as having numerous bank accounts I'd forgotten about, all with security issues that require me to log on again following a handy link!). No charges and I can post cheques off to them instead of trailing into a branch. But if you do go to a branch you have to remember to take your machine card with you as you have to use a machine and can't use the counter service! I wouldn't say they were the best (and they've been a pain in the proverbial with website access changes and so called security features) but it costs me nothing and is fairly convenient so I can't be bothered to find an alternative right now.

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By Flash Gordon
02nd Mar 2011 17:30

Security...

santander also annoy me by having to send an SMS code each time I make a transfer online. but not sure what is better, gettign a small card machine like nationwide does or having to remember a fourth password... this is getting very complicated. 

I got round that by refusing to register for their ridiculous system! But now still have to refuse to register every time!!! Why they would think that sending text messages to a mobile is a good idea for a BUSINESS account I don't know??? And I have a current account with Nationwide but choose the memorable data option as I'm buggered if I'm going to find my card and machine every time I want to check my balance!

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02nd Mar 2011 17:50

Who's the least bad

I would run a mile from the so called free banking at Santander.

Yes, all fine and well but can they communicate?

Can they hell.

I wrote  a simple letter getting my client to sign it requesting a few simple things be done.

I tried requesting a simple s/o arrangement to start and also to arrange for my client's statements to be produced on the last business day of the month and also a request was made for 2 missing statements form a round 7 and 8 months ago.

The sort of request that a trained chimp could handle in around half an hour with a decent and civilised written reply.  10 months later I have an ongoing case when Ive complained myself on behalf of my client and as a personal customer who can see what is happenning to a client. How can such a letter exchange develop wasting everyone's time.

It will doubtless go to that momentum sapping organisation the Ombudsman who will find in the banks favour miraculously in about 2015. Actually, not on this occasion. I have threatenned throwing the book at them this time, there will be a case file with all letters of exchnage showing just who has been unreasonable here. I have full client permission. This will show their utter incompetence and just to what extent they stick up for each other and how pathetic they can be.

RBS have not let me down in 11 years so far, I'd pay the going rate and give them a go.

 

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02nd Mar 2011 18:10

Business banking

Since we incorporated our practice three years ago we have used HSBC. We are on a tariff where we basically only pay charges if we pay in cash. Have been so impressed with the service and how they deal with us  that we have recently moved our personal banking to them. They also pay us £50 for client introductions, one of these was paid by a branch 100 miles away to for a long distance client. 

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02nd Mar 2011 18:28

HSBC

We use HSBC - purely because it's the nearest bank to us and has a convenient free car park right next to it :)

Their online banking is ok - it does all we want, and their charges are minimal. 

I used to bank personally with NatWest - until I paid in a cheque for £13k and they promptly lost it and took 3 weeks to find my money.  They seemed surprised when I then told them they were an incompetent bunch of idiots and I was closing my account immediately.

I don't think there's much to chose between the major banks, just use the one that's most convenient for you to get to, although the way they are all closing branches I doubt any will be convenient soon unless you live and work in a city centre.

 

 

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02nd Mar 2011 18:51

Business Bank Manager

In our area the only banks that have an on-site Business Bank Manager is NatWest & HSBC.

We use HSBC, and pay no charges. The Business Bank Manager has a dedicated phone no and actually answers the phone!!!!! We have been with them over 2 years now, and very happy compared to our experiences with LTSB.

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02nd Mar 2011 19:11

Santander and Natwest

 

I recommend Santander business account which guarantees free for life for normal transactions. However, if you get bounced cheques, DD's or go overdrawn they charge quite heavily. I have been using them for many years and we have a very good relationship.

Also, I recommend Natwest which is free for first 18 months and have very good business advise. 
http://www.deanco.co.uk

 

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By jpcc1
03rd Mar 2011 08:39

I would avoid NAT WEST / RBS at all costs !!

My experience is that when things go wrong Nat West / RBS are arkward and intransigent to the highest level. In fact, despite having gone through the last eighteen months I still can hardly believe how utterly, unreasonably destructive they can be.

I would avoid them like the plague!

On the contrary my experience of HBOS is that they have been willing to listen and reasonable.

 

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They are all rubbish ....

so as CD says, pick the one that is most convenient. They all work fine provided everything goes smoothly and they are capable of monumental stupidity when it doesn't. I have, however, heard more complaints about Satander from clients than any other bank over the last few years. Shame as they are a great mortgage lender!

Nothing is free in life Fast Tab ... its just a question of how and when you will pay!

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03rd Mar 2011 09:26

42 years with HSBC

I have had my personal banking with HSBC (formerly Midland Bank) for 42 years and have NEVER had cause for complaint.  I have had dealings with all but Natwest in business and would say that HSBC and Barclays are the most clued up.  If HSBC still do free banking if no cash transactions (check it's not only for 12m) I would go for them.

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Santander all the way for me

But then I am a very low maintenance customer. I just want to be able to walk up to the atm pay in my checks and shuffle out again without being pestered. I use the internet banking for everything else and it's never cost me a penny. I've never needed to contact them about any issues, but when I first started the account they were very helpful getting my online banking account up and running.

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03rd Mar 2011 10:46

Co-Op

I use Co-Op's Business Direct which has been a delight these last 10 years.  It's an online and postal system although their branch network does exist.  But by and large you should know infinitely more about business issues than the dullard you'll get in the branch network of a Lloyds/RBS/Barclays/HSBC.  It's not utterly free but it's a rare month when my charges are over £10 and that's for processing large numbers of cheques and small standing orders.

And they are universally lovely people on the end of the phone.

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By Luke
03rd Mar 2011 11:45

Santander too

I also use Santander but like Sir Digby I am very low maintenance.  Only one client pays by cheque and everyone else pays directly into the account.  I do all my banking online and am careful to manage money so that there is no overdraft or bounced cheques.  I have the business manager's mobile and email should I have problems although I've never needed to use it.

That said I have heard higher maintenance clients complain that Santander do charge heavily if you accidently go overdrawn or have other problems.

If you can manage money carefully, and let's face it you're an accountant so should be able to manage it!, then Santander is free and easy.

 

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By chatman
03rd Mar 2011 14:24

Santander (ex Alliance & Leicester)

Despite guaranteeing no bank charges, Alliance & Leicester  then introduced them for accounts with less than £1k coming in per month. No big deal but if they can break their promises once they can do it again.

Also, the only phone numbers they provide are premium rate, so if you want to speak to them you pay a charge. That to me is a bank charge.

They also charged me £32 for going overdrawn for a few hours during a single day, although they did reverse it when I complained.

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04th Mar 2011 15:36

Abbey - Santander

Hi 

I have had a abbey - santander business bank account with no charges .  I have always been happy .  When they did the official change over from abbey there was a mix up for a few days.  They credited me with £20 pounds .  I have never been charged any bank charges.   The worst business bank account in my experience is RBS and Lloyds.  I actually like the one off text code from santander.  Its easier then the card machine.    I really like their icons coding on their statements and it shows clearly if you lodged a cheque what date it clears for the funds . As others most payments are bacs now anyway.

 

-- Kind Regards Sarah@ Douglas Accountancy & Bookkeeping Services, Glasgow

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04th Mar 2011 20:58

Santander

Another vote for Santander.  They had a sticky patch at the end of 2010 when they were merging A&L into the Santander computer system  but they seem through that now.

Never been charged anything but I do try to get all clients to pay via bank transfer.

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14th Mar 2011 11:24

HSBC is best by a mile.

 

I work with MANY banks, both business and personal accounts, both in the UK and abroad.

HSBC is by far unrivaled.

 

The worst I have dealt with is Lloyds TSB.

 

As regards to business banking fees - do not be fooled that there is free lunch. Fees will be hidden elsewhere. If you do business, you must be prepared to pay. The better the banking service, the more invaluable time you will save and apply to making yet more money for yourself. How much is that worth?...

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