Back in 2012 we wrote a comprehensive guide on how to open a business bank account if you have poor credit history. Whilst we’ve updated continuously since then, the bulk of the content was aimed at those looking to open highstreet business account.
The rise of fintech has seen a number of new banks and finance organisations enter the market, specifically offering business bank accounts.
In this article we take a look at the top business bank accounts with no credit checks, these accounts provide a full UK account number and sort code plus a Mastercard debit card that can be used for chip and pin, contactless, ApplePay or Google Pay payments. Not having any credit checks means they are quick to open and suitable for people with bad credit histories, or no credit history at all.
Starling Bank – Business account
This might be a surprise entry, as Starling does do a credit history search when opening a business bank account, but it’s been included in the list for two reasons.
Firstly, it is one of the best business bank accounts around full stop, and one that convinced us at Money Saving Answers to switch away from traditional highstreet banking. See our long-term review of the Starling Bank business account here.
Secondly, rather than perform a full credit check, Starling carries out what’s known as a ‘soft search.’ That means the search isn’t visible to other lenders, and won’t affect your ability to gain credit in any way. So even if you are refused an account you could happily apply for one of the others on the list.
Finally, the bank currently has a 7 per cent share of the small and medium sized business banking market, and aims to overtake Barclays in the next few years by growing its share to over 15 per cent. That’s a lot of new business accounts to add to its books.
With that in mind, there’s nothing to be lost by trying to open a Starling Bank business account.
The account is free to open, there are no monthly fees and most transactions are free. The app is class-leading, and packed full of features for budgeting and money management, and also allows cheques to be paid in via a photo.
It also features add-on services such as tax calculation, payroll management, euro and dollar accounts, bookkeeping, and more via it’s business toolkit.
- Most well-rounded business accounts
- No monthly fees
- Free cheque deposit via app or post
- Full FSCS protection
- Small fee for paying in cash
Tide – Business account
Tide started offering business accounts back in 2017, and quickly became a leading challenger in small business banking. We reviewed it at launch here, but it’s improved a lot since then.
It’s one of the quickest and easiest business accounts to open, and one of the cheapest too. There are no sign-up fees or monthly account fees, just a 20p fee per transaction for electronic transfers in and out. More importantly there are no credit check so it’s open to those with a bad credit history.
Tide also has a partnership with Clearbank to give its customers full FSCS protection, and cash payments can be made over the counter at 11,000 Post Office branches across the UK and 44,000 PayPoints. Currently you can’t pay in cheques but Tide says this feature is coming in 2022/23.
With over 400,000 business customers in the UK, Tide is neck and neck with Starling Bank, and has established itself as a solid challenger in SME banking sector. The low barrier of entry makes it great for micro businesses, or people trying out new ideas.
In fact, Monzo Bank founder Tim Bloomfield said that Tide was best placed to do a much better job of offering a business product than Monzo. That’s high praise indeed. ( at 4:14 –https://twitter.com/monzo/status/765231785332572161)
- Fastest and easiest business bank account to open
- No monthly fees
- Full FSCS protection
- Can’t pay in cheques (but that’s coming soon)
- No international payments
Cashplus Bank – Business Go / Extra
Cashplus is the original challenger bank. Although it only gained its banking licence in 2019 it’s been providing accounts to businesses, councils, government departments since 2004 and has over 1 million customers.
Before the huge growth in fintech, it was one of the only options for business owners with a bad credit history. It is now branching out (excuse the pun) and becoming more of a mainstream challenger, but crucially still offers business accounts without requiring a credit check.
The bank recently overhauled its business accounts, removing the £69 annual fee and is instead offering tiered accounts. The Cashplus Business Go has no monthly service fee (there is a one-off £9.95 card fee), whilst the Cashplus Business Extra account has a £9 a month service charge (but no card fee).
The main difference between the two is the number of free transactions you can carry out per month three for the Go account versus ten for the Extra account. Additional transactions are charged at 30p.
The Extra account also offers 0.5% cashback on card spending, as well has larger maximum balance limits, and lower cost ATM withdrawal fees.
Cash can be paid in at Post Office branches country-wide, but cheques aren’t accepted. You can receive international payments (for a fee), but you can’t send payments abroad directly from your account.
It’s worth pointing out that the Cashplus account is one of the few open to unlimited liability partnerships, something even Starling Bank doesn’t offer. The introduction of the new Business Go accounts, makes this a quick and easy way for partners to get up and running.
- Fast and easy to open
- No ongoing fees (Business Go account)
- 1% cashback on business spending
- Allows unlimited liability partnerships
- Transaction fees
- Can’t pay in cheques
- No outgoing international payments
Card One Money – Business Account
Along with Cashplus, Card One Money was one of the top choices for business owners with bad credit. It offers a guaranteed business account, but unfortunately charges a £55 application fee plus a monthly account fee of £12.50 making it the most expensive account on our list.
Card One Money takes a rather unique approach to business banking, in that funds are split between the card and the account. This is an important distinction as if you want to move funds back from your card to the main account there is £5 fee.
Outside of that, Card One Money charges 30p per online transaction, but on the plus side allows cheques to be paid in, as well as receiving international payments.
- Can accept international payments
- Can pay in cheques
- Most expensive account listed
Acorn – Business account
We’ve listed the Acorn account here, but in reality, is the exact same account as the Card One Money business account and is run by the same company. The only difference is the marketing.
Acorn lists itself as a guaranteed business account, and states that “you can open an Acron business account regardless of your credit history”
Mettle by Natwest
Mettle is a digital account by Natwest. It’s a free account, and doesn’t require any credit checks. Sounds too good to be true right? Well it kind of is and it isn’t.
The Natwest Foundation account used to be the go to account for businesses/owners with bad credit histories. Unfortunately, NatWest removed all references and promotional material for the account. It still exists, but is only available to those that fail a full credit check for a regular NatWest Business account (thus further harming chances of obtaining credit in the future), and even then it might not be offered.
Mettle could have been an excellent replacement for the Foundation account. NatWest however has other ideas. Mettle is run as a separate entity from NatWest/RBS, and as such doesn’t operate under its banking licence. That means there’s no FSCS protection. Customer deposits are ring fenced at NatWest but remember this was an organisation that had to be bailed out by the government in 2008.
The bad news doesn’t end there though. You can now pay in cash for free at Post Offices or PayPoints which is great. You can’t however pay in cheques, and there’s no facility to send or receive international payments. That makes no sense given that NatWest can easily do these things, so why not let Mettle customers use NatWest branches to carry out such transactions?
The bigger concern though, is that NatWest/RBS has tried digital banking before with the launch of ‘Bo‘ back in November 2019. The development of that cost some £100m yet the project was terminated just seven months later leaving its 11,413 customers with 60 days to withdraw their money.
It seems, that Mettle has potential but is being held back in order not to cannibalise sign ups to NatWest business banking proper. In any case, it’s a free account, and seems like it would make a good back up to a main business account, and new subscribers can get free use of FreeAgent Accounting software.
Revolut – Business account
Revolut started as a pre-pay currency card, but has since grown into one of the largest digital account providers in Europe.
Headquartered in London, it has a banking licence in the EU, and has applied for its banking licence in the UK. Still, it offers both personal and business accounts, with all the usual services you’d expect.
Direct debits and standing orders are free as are sending and receiving electronic payments and card use. Paid accounts starting at £7 a month for freelancers or £25 a month for larger businesses, benefit from a number of free international payments and conversions too.
There are no credit checks when opening a Revolut account, and no requirement to order a physical card.
That being said, its business account is more of a niche product, with optional addons for payroll, expensive management, accepting card payments, and eCommerce integration.
Business bank account features comparison
To make comparisons a little easier, we’ve taken the top no credit check business bank accounts listed their fees and features.
|Starling Bank||Tide||Cashplus Go||Cashplus Extra||Card One Money||Mettle|
|Application fee||Free||Free||Free (£9.95 card fee)||Free||£55||Free|
|Card payments (chip&pin, contactless)||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free|
|Online payments||Free||20p||3 free (30p thereafter)||10 free (30p thereafter)||30p||Free|
|Paying in cash||0.7% (£3 minimum)||0.5% at a Post Office and 3% via PayPoint||0.3% fee||0.3% fee||£2 + 0.75%||Free at a Post Office/PayPoint (max £500)|
|Paying in cheques||Yes||N/A||N/A||N/A||0.75% (50p minimum)||N/A|
|International payments||Yes||N/A||Yes Inbound only (£15)||Yes Inbound only (£15)||Yes (£10 in / £30 out)||N/A|
|Daily ATM limit||£300||£500||£500||£500||£450||£500 (£4,000 month maximum)|
|Maximum transaction limit (Card)||£10,000||£10,000 daily (£50,000 monthly)||Depends on balance||Depends on balance||Undisclosed||£2,000|
|Maximum transfer limit||£250,000||£50,000||£25,000||£100,000||Undisclosed||£10,000|
|Maximum balance||N/A||£100,00 (£25,000 for sole traders)||£50,000||£250,000||£250,000||£100k for limited companies and £50k for sole traders|