In 2018 Starling became the first digital bank to open launch a dedicated business bank account in the UK. Sure there were digital offerings before, such as Tide, and Coconut, but none of these are licenced banks.
The initial account launch was aimed squarely at private limited companies, and had a number of caveats one being that it could only support a single person in control of the business finances. Now that has changed as the company has extended its business banking offering to sole traders.
The move means that Britain’s 3.4m sole traders can now apply for a fully fledged business bank account in 10 minutes directly from their smartphone.
While the large high-street banks have enjoyed a monopoly on business banking, small businesses, start-ups, contractors and sole traders have often criticised the slow, laborious, and antiquated process of opening a business account.
Business banking for the digital age
As the UK embraces the gig economy, a growing number of people are becoming self-employed or earning money outside of their regular jobs, through what is known as a ‘side-hustle.’ Many of these would simply run funds through personal accounts, which more often than not breaks the draconian terms and conditions of the tradition high street banks.
In fact, when researching for a previous article I posed this very question to Barclays Bank (amongst others). It responded by saying that even a part-time babysitter would be breaking their terms and conditions if they were depositing their earnings in a personal account.
Speaking about this very subject Anne Boden, CEO at Starling Bank said;
“We live in the age of the entrepreneur and start-up, but banks haven’t been providing a good enough service to them. We want to change that.”
The good news for sole traders, and small businesses (with less than 10 employees and £1.7m in turnover) is that there are no fees for having an account, no fees for making a payment to another bank account and no fees for withdrawing cash. That makes the Starling Business account one of the best value products on the market.