We compare the two leading card based business ‘bank' accounts, Cash Plus, and CardOneBanking. Whilst they might seem similar on the surface, there are some key differences. Which one is right for your business?

Card based ‘bank' accounts are on the rise, and as they continue to enhance their proposition with the addition of new features, they're starting to rival traditional business bank accounts, especially for startups and small businesses.

The popularity of these accounts is in part, based around the fact they don't require any credit checks. That makes them quick and easy to open, and attractive to those who's poor personal credit history is preventing them from opening a business bank account.

That being said, they're not just limited to those with an adverse past. Over the past few years record numbers self-employed has risen to over 4.6m. For some that means the formation of a limited company, for others it means a partnership, a sole trader, or even a social enterprise, either way there is usually a need to separate personal and business finances. It's here where card based accounts excel, providing a popular alternative to a traditional business bank account, for contractors, consultants, tradesman, hairdressers, beauticians, and many others.

The fact that you can get your account set up and ready to take payments within 24 hours is also a large part of the appeal. In this regard the so-called ‘challenger' accounts can be a useful stop gap whilst pursuing a more traditional business account or when proving your business concept.

While there's no shortage of card account options available for personal use, when it comes to business banking it's whole different proposition.

CashPlus, and CardOneBanking are the two leading leaders in this field and while they might appear similar, their propositions are entirely different. We've already taken a look at each of these accounts individually, but we've never done a direct comparison, so here it is.

How do they compare

CashPlus Card One Banking
Application fee Free £55 (refunded if unsuccessful)
Cover charge £69 annual fee £12.50 monthly
Payments
ATM cash withdrawal £2 £1.50
Counter cash withdrawal £3 £3.50
Point of sale payment Free Free
Direct debits Free £0.30
Standing orders £0.99 (first three payments each month are free) £0.30
Other online payments £0.99 (first three payments each month are free) £0.30 (£7.50 for faster payment service)
Paying in
Electronic credit £0 £0.30
Counter cash credit £0 0.75% (50p minimum)
Counter cheque credit N/A 0.75% (50p minimum)
Receive international payments Yes – call customer services Yes
Maximum single load (on card*) N/A £1,250
Maximum balance £15,000 maximum pay in per day. Max balance negotiable £50,000 (account), £5,000 (on card)


* This is the maximum you can move from your main account pool on the card itself at any one time.

CashPlus Business Account

At first glance, the CashPlus business account presents itself as the most attractive product. It's certainly the most mature and has over 1 million UK customers. APS, the company behind the product has been issuing card-based accounts for over a decade.

The annual fee of £69 compares well with charges made by conventional banks (e.g. Barclays charge £6.50 per month, equivalent to £78 per year), and it doesn't have to be paid up front either. The main drawback is that you can't pay in cheques. It's also a little more work to receive international payments as you'll need to call customer services for help with that.

More recently APS signed a deal with the Post Office to become the first financial technology company to offer services through its network. This allows CashPlus customers to make deposits and withdraw funds over the counter, as well as making balance enquiries.

Continuing this line of ‘firsts' CashPlus has also become the first fintech company to provide bank feed integration with Sage.

CardOneBanking Business Account

The CardOneBanking business account is a slightly newer product. The monthly cover charge is higher, though charges for other services are similar. It also offers slightly more convenience and flexibility for your money in the ability to accept and pay in cheques, receive international payments, and use Barclays branches in additional to the Post Office network. Though at the Post Office you'll need a CardOneBanking Giro book which is charged for.

Compared to CashPlus this is more of a managed account with funds split between billing, where you can hold up to £50,000 (secure at Barclays), and spending, which is the money you load (a maximum of £5,000) onto the card. Be careful here, as while moving funds from the billing part of the account onto the card is free, there is charge when moving funds in the opposite direction.

Only you can decide which account is right for your business, though if you know that you need to accept cheques as payment, then your choice is limited. If you can accept online payments and/or cash, then the Cash Plus account looks to be a slightly better deal at the moment. Of course your mileage may vary.

Do you have experience with either of these accounts? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

10 Comments

  • John Booth

    Are either of these accounts available as a sole trader or must it be a Ltd Co?

    • carl

      Hi,
      Both are available to sole traders. Of the two CashPlus is probably the quickest to get setup, and less hassle in terms of documentation you need to provide. However be warned that their annual fee has now increased to £69.

  • Graeme Bell

    Hi, Can I receive international payments into these accounts?

    • carl

      Hi Graeme,

      You can receive international payments with CardOneBanking. CashPlus do not yet offer international payments, but I’m told they are working on it. Watch this space.

  • caroline ward

    Can I receive monthly direct debits and standing orders from customers with this card?

    • carl

      You can certainly receive payments via standing orders. You can’t by default accept direct debits, but that is the same with any bank account. Any business wanting to accept direct debits has be checked for integrity, financial standing and administrative capability.

      You can however use a third party provider like Go Cardless – there is a cost of 1% of the direct debit up to a maximum of £2. I’m not sure how that compares with bank offered direct debit schemes, as they don’t advertise their prices.

      Hope that helps.

  • Helena

    Will either of these accounts provide me with a card machine for use in my cafe?

    • carl

      No. The quickest and easiest thing for that assuming you want to avoid merchant banking services, is the Paypal chip and pin card reader. It’s about £50 one off fee and 2.75% per transaction. It’s worth comparing what more traditional options. They tend to be popular at exhibitions, trade stalls, markets, mobile vendors etc..

      https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/credit-card-reader

  • Ruth

    Is there a limit to how much one can maintain as balance or receive?

  • Samir

    One Question which every one missed.
    What is the Maximum Limit for these Account.

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