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designgirl designgirl is offline
Starting Out
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 11
Business banking

Hi everyone

Can anyone advise me on the best banks for business banking. My business is small, just me, and probably won't have a huge revenue at the start. I've looked at the bank of Scotland who offer free banking forever (apparently) but they need a high balance to be maintained to get this (£5000). I want to hear from people who are using the facilities not those selling so I can get a realistic picture.

Any advise and opinions of services both good and bad from people already in business will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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VLAHAKISA VLAHAKISA is offline
Connector
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Birmingham, UK
Posts: 1,494
I've had an excellent experience with HSBC. You get two years free banking, start up pack and video, an offer of a meeting with a free business advisor.

Plus they are friendly and helpful and their online banking (also available for your business account) is very efficient and easy to use.

Having worked for Natwest for many years I can say that they are a fairly good company and are quite good to their business customers. But I have to say that their online banking system is beyond tedious (my personal account was with them whilst an employee) and is constantly crashing therefore I would be very put off personally to have a business account with them because I just couldn't face using the online banking regularily. Even recently I have tried it and it really needs a complete overhaul.
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Emily Emily is offline
Maven
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Chester
Posts: 53
We use HSBC and they've been nothing but brilliant. Very friendly staff and plenty of time to spend discussing various things.
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ion_star ion_star is offline
Entrepreneur
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 42
Banks my favourite subject at them moment! Looked at several, co-op, lloyds-tsb (my personal account with them), etc. Ended up with the RBS. Why? well they own Natwest and UlsterBank, and they moved slightly faster to start with then my other choice lloydstsb(best internet banking out there can check you account anywhere in the world). However it finally took them over four weeks to open the account and I attempted to open a Euro account on the 9/12 I have been assured today that it is being progressed and will be done in the next few days!! And we have had great fun trying to arrange a Euro Transfer over Christmas.

My opinion of all banks is generally very low. I have yet to find a bank that stands out. Some people recommend Bank A and yet other people will say they are the worst on the planet. In general I feel if they had do buisness in the real world like you and I they would not last long.

Most banks offer startups free banking on a limited range of services. However as my Accountant said anything important they will charge. Conclusion, probably best you stick personal bank if they offer business accounts and you are happy with them. If your banking is minimal you can always change. Keep an eye on them all the time.

Regards
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Catherine Catherine is offline
Newbie
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5
My new business is also very small, and until it takes off was hoping to open a new personal current account, and have any cheques made out to my name. Obviously I wouldnt advertise this fact to the bank.

Has anyone looked into this, is it a viable option? or am I breaking some rules??
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KevinL KevinL is offline
Entrepreneur
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 46
From my experience, the smaller banks are the better banks to bank with (depending on your size and needs) and not the big 4 - Lloyds TSB, Barclays, HSBC and NatWest.

In terms of the smaller banks - RBS, Bank of Scotland, Allied Irish, Bank of Ireland, Bank Leumi, etc. Of course most people are constrained by the banks they have in their locality unless are receipts are paid direct into your bank account because you need somewhere to bank your cheques so some people will have no choice other than the likes of HSBC and Lloyds TSB.

Of the Big 4, HSBC and Barclays are the better of the 4 to bank with.
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4c design 4c design is offline
Newbie
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 6
Having spent the last year with the Bank of Scotland direct banking (the eternal free banking account), I don't have much good to say about it and we are looking to move to the RBS very swiftly having reached the end of my tether.

I think it is worth paying any charges you may get (although you should get at least 1-2 years free anyway) in order to get a 'relationship manager' that you can speak with face to face at most times and that will stay with you for at least a couple of years.

At the Bank of Scotland our manager didn't seem to have a clue about what we dd despite e-mailing business plans, brochures etc, she went on holiday for 1 month without sorting out our overdraft which took over 2 months to re-instate and we were then given new manager without being told and any slim relationship that had formed had to start again. Everything took a very long time to implement having to pass through various groups before a decision was made.

I could go on, but I can't wait for our meeting tomorrow when an RBS manager is coming to our premises to meet and speak face to face with a promise of a minimum of 4 years as our manager.

I will let you know how it goes!

Nick

www.4cdesign.co.uk
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craig_bell craig_bell is offline
Connector
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Gateshead
Posts: 177
I would go for HSBC... you can not beat the help and advice you get there and the staff are always friendly. I thought about using my personal account but there are some people (because we sell over the net) that would not write a cheque out in my name. The thing is they have wrote the cheque out, not to the business but you, so there is no real security for the customer!

Hope this helps!

Craig
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designgirl designgirl is offline
Starting Out
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 11
Thanks guys, it's been helpful!!
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