I started this review over two years ago when ANNA first launched. Due to a raft of new business bank accounts at the time, I put it on hold until I could better compare it against its peers. Now that ANNA has made it on to the Money Saving Answers list of best UK bank accounts with no credit checks, this the perfect time take an in depth look into ANNA
What is ANNA?
ANNA often called ANNA Money or Absolutely No Nonsense Admin (to give it its fully name), is a mobile business current account provider and admin assistant aimed at freelancers and start-ups. It not only includes a business current account with debit card, but also helps with invoicing, expense management, bookkeeping, and tax reminders.
You might have heard this before. After-all Tide, Coconut, Counting Up, all offer business current accounts and accounting and admin software, but whilst they might be much of a muchness in that regard, ANNA has a trick up its sleeve.
Who is an ANNA bank account for?
Its original market might have been those working in freelance creative positions, such as designers, developers, copywriters, but the account is really open to anyone in with a start up or small business.
The branding moves away from the stuffy corporate image of high street banks and even that of some other challengers, and instead focuses on being fun, fluid, and creative. This is immediately obvious when signing up, as users are greeted with several animations as they go through the process of registering.
Probably unique to Anna, is what’s termed the ‘chat bot’ interface. Once you’re in the app there’s no account section, banking section, invoice section etc.. Instead, you’re greeted with what looks more like a chat app.
The idea is that everyone knows how to chat, whether it’s via SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger the basic interface is the same. It means that you don’t have to learn a whole new interface, push toggles, and shift from screen to screen. Instead you type what you type what you want, are looking for.
It’s a progressive flow with ANNA asking questions for you to answer, if there any difficulties or if ANNA doesn’t understand what you’re trying to do, a member of the Anna Money team will answer. This support team is available 24 hours a day seven days a week, and usually within 60 seconds.
How does ANNA work?
There are three key elements to the ANNA Money account. The business current account, the debit card and the invoice assistant.
The bank account
The mainstay of the package is the ANNA Money business current account. You’ll be given a UK account number and sort code, allowing you to send and receive funds easily. It supports Faster Payments for instant transfers and uses the SWIFT network for sending money overseas.
What can you do with an ANNA bank account?
- Send and receive money
- Set up direct debits and standing orders
- Make international transfers
- Pay in cash
- Create invoices
- Automatically chase invoices
What can’t you do?
- Pay in cheques
- No credit or overdraft
The debit card
The business debit card is backed by Mastercard, and of course allows ATM withdrawals both in the UK and abroad, as well as online and point of sale purchases. One thing to mention about the card is that the limits on it for things such as ATM withdrawals are set by your account type/pricing tier.
Its well-known that small business owners spend a disproportionate amount of time preparing and chasing invoices. This is something ANNA has set to tackle from the onset. Invoices can be created and sent from within the app and templates set up for regular clients.
There’s also an invoice chasing option which uses machine learning to chase invoices on your behalf.
How much does ANNA Money cost?
ANNA has three different pricing tiers from Free pay as go for small businesses to £49.90 a month for larger entities.
The pay as you go account doesn’t have any monthly fees. Instead, you pay for the services you use. Transfers in and out of the account are 20p per transfer. ATM withdrawals £1, paying in cash costs 1%, and international payments are £5 per payment. Additional debit cards can be had for £3 a month, and pots for £1 a month. Card payments are always free.
The business tier is £14.90 a month and includes 50 free local transfers in and out of the account, and 3 free ATM withdrawals. The cash pay in fee remains at 1% but doesn’t kick in over £300. It also offers 1 free international transfer which is a nice touch.
ANNA claims the allowances and discounts on this package are worth £35 a month. That is questionable, and would depend on if the business could make use of them all.
The Big Business account at £49.90 include unlimited everything except for international transfers (4 free per month)
It’s worth noting that all of these fees are before VAT, so if your business isn’t VAT registered, you’ll end up paying more.
ANNA Money account limits and tiers
ANNA used to operate a tiered system when it comes to account limits. Fortunately this tiered system was removed in 2021. Rather than being hidden in the app only visible once you join ANNA. Account limits are no clearly stated on the ANNA Money website.
Current account limits:
- Maximum account balance – £10,000,000
- Maximum outbound payment – £250,000
- Maximum in bound Faster Payment – £250,000
- Maximum inbound payment (BACS) – £10,000,000
Debit card payment limits:
- Maximum single transaction – £30,000
- Maximum per day – £50,000
- Maximum per month – £200,000
£300 per transaction, £1,000 a day, and £5,000 a month.
International Payments with ANNA Money
You can send and receive international payments via your ANNA Money account, but since there is a £5 fee (price plan dependent) for doing so, you’d be better off with a service such as Wise or Revolut if it’s something you need to do on a regular basis.
ANNA Money for advertising and affiliate marketing businesses
Those businesses earning money from Ads or affiliate marketing will be used to services such as Payoneer. The good news here is that if you have a Payoneer account, you can now link it directly to your ANNA to receive payments in USD and EUR.
There’s also an inbound foreign payment services provided by Currencycloud. This isn’t something I’ve personally looked into, as sending and receiving international payments regularly is cheaper elsewhere, but it’s useful to know it’s there if needed.
Customer support – based in Cardiff
ANNA’s customer support is probably the jewel in it’s crown. Like other mobile or digital bank accounts, ANNA offer in app customer support. However, unlike some it doesn’t just prioritise those on higher price plans. Everyone gets equal treatment.
What’s more the waiting time to chat to a human (at the time of writing) was just 39 seconds, and the UK based live chat services operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
You’re not just limited to in-app support either, for more detailed queries, you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, and soon it might also be possible to use other channels such as Slack, and Skype.
Unfortunately, there’s no telephone support. There is a telephone number available, but it is strictly for cancelling lost or stolen debit cards.
How to open an ANNA bank account
Assuming you meet the eligibility criteria (see below) you should be able to open an ANNA Money account within about 10 minutes.
The application process is entirely online, and you’ll need to supply your basic information, such as name, date of birth, address etc.., and also information about your business. The nature and structure of the business, and how the business will earn its money.
These questions are all part of the anti-money laundering and Know Your Customer checks that all banks and financial institutions are required to ask.
As part of the application process, you’ll need to upload a copy of your ID. This should be a Passport or full driving licence. You may also be asked for proof of address in the form of a utility bill, council tax bill, or bank statement.
Sole traders will also need their HMRC Unique Taxpayer Reference. Partners, their partnership agreement, and Limited companies will need their company registration number.
Who is eligible for an ANNA Money account?
First off, ANNA is for UK based businesses only, and you’ll need to be a UK resident to open an account. Secondly, although 16 year old can legally be company directors, most bank accounts, including ANNA will only open account for those over the age of 18.
The types of businesses that can open ANNA account are:
- Sole traders
- Partnerships and Limit Liability Partnerships
- Limited companies listed at Companies House
Charities, clubs, social and community organisations unfortunately aren’t supported.
ANNA reviews and ratings
I take review sites such as Trustpilot with a pinch of salt. We all know that companies can and do get bad reviews removed, and many people complain about things they themselves have done wrong, or about having to go through KYC checks (which are required by law) etc..
That being said we’ve listed a couple of the most popular review site ratings for ANNA below.
Trustpilot – 4.7/5
Smart Money People – 4.4/5
Google – 3.1/5
Is the ANNA Money account worth it?
Any account that eases the barriers of entry and is low cost (the pay as go model) is definitely worth considering. ANNA has some unique features designed to help new small business, but the key will be how well the customer can adapt to the chat style interface. The good news is, with three month’s free trial there’s little to lose in checking it out.
If your business needs the features of the paid account (£14.90), then alternatives such as Tide, or Starling would offer better value at a lower price point. Both also have the benefit of FSCS protection, and as I’ve mentioned, businesses sending and receiving international payments on a regular basis, would also be better off elsewhere.
ANNA Money FAQ
Is ANNA a Bank?
ANNA is not a bank in the traditional sense. It is an e-money provider and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. E-money providers operate under different rules to registered banks, and cannot offer credit facilities or invest customer deposits. ANNA is registered under the name Absolutely No Nonsense Admin Ltd.
Is my money safe with ANNA?
Yes. Although ANNA is not a bank, Electronic Money Regulations mean that ANNA must keep customers’ deposit in a separate ring-fenced bank account. These funds cannot be used by ANNA for investment or other business related activities.
This is however less protection than you get under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so do bear that in mind. As ever, we always encourage businesses to have more than one business account. This helps to mitigate issues should your account be frozen for any reason (usually whilst awaiting KYC checks), technology issues, or in the very unlikely event that the institution ceases trading.