The Business Accounts most recommended by the UK’s SMEs

Biggest is not always best according to a new and significant survey of 19,992 small businesses nationwide.

Commissioned by Business Banking Insight (BBI), this new research provides unbiased ratings of the most recommended Business Accounts for the UK’s SMEs.

And because what works commercially for a sole trader in Shropshire often does not for a 150-strong manufacturer in Dumfries, the survey independently compares the most recommended current accounts by company size, turnover, geography and business sector.

1) Choosing a Business Current Account isn’t a personal matter

While the features, service levels and costs of personal and Business Accounts couldn’t be more different, 51% of start-up SMEs go to the provider they have their personal account with*. Once set up, businesses don’t take the opportunity to review their current account every two years, often resulting in charges, fees and service shortfalls that a switch might have improved.

Recently, the rise of new, often specialist business-to-business banks with business models centred around service and superior back-end technology has created new options for SMEs. The commercial downside of not undertaking a simple review can often be significant in terms of cost, convenience and time wasted.

2) The top 10 most recommended Business Current Accounts for SMEs

In the Business Banking Insight survey, SMEs were asked by independent researcher ICM if they’d recommend their Business Current Account. Adding up ratings across all company sizes, sectors and regions, the top 10 were:

Business Banking Insight data, Q4 2016. Minimum base size of 30 respondents

You can see how your account compares and what your peers are saying about your and others’ accounts here.

3) What criteria should you consider when reviewing your Business Account?

Independent recommendations are important, but best results will come from a more balanced scorecard. When comparing your existing provider with competitors, there’s value in measuring them against the following criteria: does the bank understand your business? Does it have a reputation for treating customers fairly? How high are its charges and fees? How fast is its speed of response? Are the terms and conditions clear and transparent? Does it offer value for money? How easy is it to get in touch? And does it have the best interests of your business at heart?

You’ll find details of how individual accounts rated here.

4) Which banks were most highly rated for individual criteria?

In the Business Banking Insight survey, no one provider achieved the highest SME ratings for their bank account across all criteria, but the two highest for each (all ratings out of 10) were:

  • Understands my business: Handelsbanken (8.9), Nationwide (7.8)
  • Treats you fairly: Handelsbanken (9.3), Nationwide (9)
  • Level of charges and fees: Nationwide (8.7), Cater Allen (8.1)
  • Clear, transparent charges: Nationwide (9.1), Cater Allen (9)
  • Timeliness of response: Handelsbanken (9.4), Cater Allen (8.9)
  • Clear terms and conditions: Handelsbanken (8.8), Cater Allen (8.4)
  • Value for money: Nationwide (9), Cater Allen (8.6)
  • Goes out of their way to help: Handelsbanken (9.2), Coutts (8.2)
  • Ease of getting help: Handelsbanken (9.6), Cater Allen (9)
  • Has the interests of my business at heart: Handelsbanken (8.9), Coutts (8)

You’ll find details of how individual accounts were rated here.

With new, independent data available, it’s easy to see how your current Business Account provider measures up against those most recommended by SMEs. The BBI data allows you to see the most recommended bank accounts for your company size, turnover, sector and region, to give you a unique like-for-like comparison – helping you decide if your business is in the right place.

 

* FCA Competition Report 2013-2016

 

 

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