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Business bank account recommendations (Read 33197 times)

Monolith

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Business bank account recommendations
November 18, 2013, 08:08:49 pm
After spending what feels like an eternity pondering which scum hole should be the undeserved recipient of my monies, I'm still only moderately further on in deciding which bank I ought to plump for.

I was vibing towards Santander but no matter which bank I seem to moot with other business owners, there does appear to be a sea of conflicting opinion. Naturally I'm looking for the cheapest (or free!) transaction charges and if taking 12 or 24 months of free business banking means that I'll be paying more in the long run, I'm happy to forfeit this initial privilege.

In light of this and after digesting various literature, I'll turn to the fold. What say you?

underground

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#1 Re: Business bank account recommendations
November 18, 2013, 08:26:45 pm
I use HSBC. No cause for complaint but no further insight than that I'm afraid.

mrjonathanr

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#2 Re: Business bank account recommendations
November 18, 2013, 08:27:57 pm

I was vibing towards Santander. What say you?

Was with this bank a few years (4 accounts, now none). Unremarkable, money did what it was supposed to. Until they cocked up a minorish transaction and I had the pleasure of dealing with customer services. They don't give f..  And they lie.

Never experienced anything like it.

'We'll deal with your complaint and we'll get your money back'. Next letter. 'We've dealt with your complaint and closed the file. And we haven't got your money back. That's your problem now.'

Another complaint.

'We've dealt with it. You need to get your back from the other bank 'we sent it to' '

err, no, you just waited 72 hours and closed the file.

Next letter: 'Ok here's a cheque for the money we lost, can't be bothered to transfer funds into your account. We've dealt with everything to your satisfaction'.

No you haven't. Another phone call.

'Ok I can offer you 5 cheque for compensation right now and close the file' Me "No thanks, I'll wait for the complaint to be properly investigated"

Ten days and a few phone calls later.....

Letter: ' Here's that 5 cheque you accepted, so glad that you agreed that we had dealt with everything and we could terminate the complaint'

 :wall: :wall:

This was 50+ they lost. I'd never trust them with larger sums now. They cannot investigate when things go wrong, say that you said things you didn't, send out contradictory letters and don't comply with legislation governing their responsibility to pass money between banks.

But you may want to give them a whirl. Good luck.

Monolith

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#3 Re: Business bank account recommendations
November 18, 2013, 08:41:33 pm
I use HSBC. No cause for complaint but no further insight than that I'm afraid.

I thought all looked rosy there too Jim until I read of some changes made since Sep 2013 to the terms of free banking. Cue reading thread of disgruntled customers that was so irate I've now even forgotten what the changes were...

Mrjonathanr - This certainly doesn't read like a recommendation and I'm grateful for your precedent.

I've been reading about 'setting-off' too in business banking. General advice is to not set up your business bank account with your current account providers. It sounds like outright theft to me no?

Plattsy

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#4 Re: Business bank account recommendations
November 18, 2013, 08:55:21 pm
Like Underground I use Hairy Scary Black Canary Bank with no problems so far. Used to work there and so seemed easiest to stick with them as I haven't moved my personal account from them since I left. For me it was a case of better the devil you know. I know how their online/telephone/branch banking works as a customer.

Might be worth checking out some industry customer complaints figures. Think Santander were not ranked well if memory serves me right.

Good luck Monolith.

Whoops......I might go read those changes you've just mentioned and then probably doing nothing about it....

Johnny Brown

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#5 Re: Business bank account recommendations
November 18, 2013, 09:04:14 pm
We use HSBC. No issues with service so far, but the online banking is terrible. You have to carry a dongle to do so much as check your balance, but once logged in it lets you do anything. The online statements are confusing and regularly crash. My own account is with Natwest, whose online setup is brilliant, as is the phone app.

Monolith

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#6 Re: Business bank account recommendations
November 18, 2013, 09:08:51 pm
Cheers guys, HSBC looking like a challenger.

JB, I'd roll with Natwest bar still owing them some monies from my hedonistic student days. Granted this figure is fast reducing but I reckon I'm still keen to keep things separate.

All quiet on the Barclays front?

Plattsy

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#7 Re: Business bank account recommendations
November 18, 2013, 09:22:25 pm
Barclays top the customer complaints league I think.

HSBC business internet banking isn't great compared to their personal internet banking admittedly.

chris j

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#8 Re: Business bank account recommendations
November 18, 2013, 09:28:26 pm
Bank of Scotland / Lloyds have been ok for me for a few years now for basic small business banking. Apart from their phone banking, where the people are very helpful but getting through to them is tricky - if I get the security right it cuts me off, it I get it wrong then it puts me through for a real person to check my password... If you need anything to do with the corporate side (like a euro currency account) then they are utterly useless, the corporate people won't give you any useful information and the normal business banking people don't know anything about the corporate side to help you. But at least their standard response to a complaint letter is "we're sorry you believe you weren't told x, please have 50 for the inconvenience and we'll refund the charges you think you weren't told about".

Barclays were inoffensive when I was with them before (5 years ago) but the monthly charges were sky high compared to BoS.

Monolith

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#9 Re: Business bank account recommendations
November 18, 2013, 09:46:57 pm
That's the second recommendation I've had for BoS. Seems apt given my product.

mrjonathanr

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First Direct (HSBC)are top for personal banking customer satisfaction, but telephone and internet contact only.

I thought Santander were ok till this but they're farcical. You can only be that incompetent (EVERY interaction has either been messed up or not acted on as promised) if you don't care. They are competent to make money elsewhere, after all.

BTW Halifax messed up some standing order dates (at the same point, last few weeks), wrote and apologised, sent unsolicited 25 compensation and sent further requests by letter and phone for feedback on customer service. Like night and day.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 09:53:31 pm by mrjonathanr »

Tom de Gay

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My experience with Barclays business:


+
  • Decent app and online banking interface (but see below)
  • Opening an account was relatively straightforward (but see below)
  • Manager quite helpful


-
  • Online banking only stores transactions for last 3 months. Older stuff goes on a PDF statement.
  • Had extensive problems sending correspondence to my business address, as it didn't match the entry in Post Office database to the letter. This took months to not resolve, being passed around various people on helplines.
  • Refreshing yodlee feeds to connect with accounting software is a pain, as the physical dongle is required, and takes several minutes
  • This all suggests their back end systems are a bit rubbish
  • If you call the helpline, they'll try and flog you insurance or other pointless extras.


Initially attempted to open an account with NatWest, but found the whole application process completely inept so sacked it off.

Tommy

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I've used Santander and Natwest for business banking.

Santander - utter, utter toss. Unbelievably bad, especially on communication when you needed to sort something quickly.

Natwest - pretty good really. No complaints.

GraemeA

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We started with LloydsTSB.

Good points.

Very close so didn't need to drive to get there.

Bad points

Only 2 tellers so not very fast.

After 18 months our free banking expired and as we were paying 0.89% in cash banking charges we looked for alternatives. Lloyds didn't even respond to our letters. Natwest did, offering a fixed fee. So we changed.

Since then (5 and a bit years ago) I have found out.

Our local Natwest has 2-4 tellers on most times so much quicker.
Local Natwest is next door (give or take) to the Post Office so we can combine visits (fairly useful for us).
Natwest do a quick drop thing, put your cash in a bag and they count it later. Very useful, saves me waiting while they count the cash. Fairly useful if for no other reason than I don't get irritated waiting in line.

And the important things.

Our bank charges with NW are approx. 1/3rd of what we would be paying with Lloyds. But that might be partly because we are a cash business.

Lloyds internet business banking is totally shit. Downloading statements, payment searches etc are a pain in the arse. With NW they are a doddle.

I guess that each business has it's own unique requirements. Ours needs to track 200+ incoming Standing Order payments plus 200+ out-going payments every month. Internet banking is very, very important to running your business. For us Lloyds was shit and NW is fine, I don't know about Barclays or HSBC but check how often you need a card reader - with NW you only need it to set up a new payee, not to pay out every time.

SA Chris

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I was vibing towards Santander. What say you?

Was with this bank a few years (4 accounts, now none). Unremarkable, money did what it was supposed to. Until they cocked up a minorish transaction and I had the pleasure of dealing with customer services. They don't give f..  And they lie.

Never experienced anything like it......................................................


I was going to say the same about Natwest - 25 years of unremarkable but hassle free until something went wrong, and I had to deal with customer services who were a clusterfuck to end all clusterfucks. All accounts with Nationwide now, who have been excellent and shown how shit the "unremarkable" service I got from Natwest was. No idea how their business accounts are though.

Dolly

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We used to be with Barclays. Largely because when we were looking around to see who to go with the account manager was great. Whilst he was there service was great, but when he left it went from bad to worse. A catalogue of errors/serial incompetence. It was impossible to get hold of anyone to do or change anything.
Now been with RBS for about 4 years and its fine. Can always seem to get hold of someone and it just works. Nothing fancy or flash it just works

Johnny Brown

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Quote
we were paying 0.89% in cash banking charges

Ah that reminds me, I think HSBC charge us 2% to pay in cash, fucking outrageous! Can I give you some cash money please? Hmm, it'll cost you!

SA Chris

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Lets face it banks = cunts. Just need to choose the least cuntish of the lot.

Monolith

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Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and opinions. HSBC appeared to gain any slight edge that might exist but JB has thrown a spanner in the works with that  :'(

BoS and Lloyds will have access to one anothers accounts no? I want to divorce my Lloyds current account from any banking activity with a business account. This 'setting off' shit has my guard up.

T_B

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We were with NatWest for years, but they became increasingly sh*t post 2008 (no surprise there). Just terrible in pretty much all respects. We switched to Barclays last year and I'm happy we did.


ADC

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As no one else has mentioned it so far...

And assuming that you're also interested in building society business accounts and not just banks....

We use Nationwide and have found them pretty good.

They aren't as present in the high street as many of the others lsited above but that's OK for us because all of our transactions are electronic.

The online service isn't bad and they've been able to sort out any queries we've had very quickly.


Will Hunt

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Avoid Santander like the plague. I've only had a personal account with them, an ISA, but they made a right hash of that.
Just after I'd set it up they decided that I had asked them to close it down (of course I hadn't). Fortunately they managed to right the mistake but that would have been a nice way to lose a year's ISA allowance.

dave

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#23 Business bank account recommendations
November 26, 2013, 01:11:18 pm
I'm late to this party, and never had a business account, but my accounts are with Smile (i.e. Co-Ops internet bank, use Co-Op branches) and Lloydstsb (formerly TSB, think I've migrated to Lloyds after the recent rebrand). With the caveat that no banks are saints, I've had no problems with either of then, never had need to think about moving. Online banking for both of them is fine, Lloyds slightly better than Smile.

gme

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The most important thing in a bank account is your manager, a good one works a bad one doesn't no matter which bank you use.

I have been with Natwest for 8 years now and pretty much have a "go for a pint" relationship with our manager, can call him 24/7 and know he will do his best to sort things out. they have always supported my businesses.  I moved my personal accounts there as well for the same reason but now my personal manager has left i need to build up a relationship with my new one.

This unfortunately does not give you an answer as you need an account before you get to see how good your manager is, i suggest seeing a few of them but make sure the person you meet is the person who you will deal with; pretty much an interview with the person not the bank.

As far as i can see all banks are the same, they just want your money, so pick a manager not a bank.

 

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