Guide to Setting up a Starling Business Account.

Starling Business Account

In today’s financial world, banks compete for your business, making it possible to score some impressive perks as an account holder. One of the biggest names in business banking is Starling Bank, even though it’s a relatively new brand.

We did a little research into Starling’s history, account features, and fee structures. Our Starling business account review explores the perks and drawbacks of doing business with them.

Business Banking Account

About Starling Bank

Anne Boden launched the UK-based Starling in 2014. The digital, mobile-only bank rapidly expanded and announced a partnership with TransferWise in 2017.

Starling had another huge year in 2018. March marked the launch of Starling business accounts, followed by another partnership (with Post Office Ltd.) in November. By February 2019, the bank offered personal Euro accounts in the United Kingdom.

To date, Starling Bank raised more than £363 million in backing, earned an Excellent rating on Trustpilot, and was voted the Best British Bank three times. The bank boasts more than one million customer accounts and remains an independent, privately-owned company.

Starling Business

The Perks of a Starling Business Account

Starling Bank exists on the premise that they offer security and heart. They list four things that set them apart as a banking institution.

  • Ethical practices means listening to customers and cutting out unnecessary Starling business account fees.
  • Diversity extends to every aspect of their team and their client base.
  • Making money equal entails transparency and easy to understand language for their customers.
  • Innovation first is Starling’s commitment to modern, convenient design for all of their banking features.

It may sound like lip service, but it turns out that Starling Bank does its part to deliver on every level. Starling business accounts cater to every level of business owner, including freelancers and contractors. You don’t have to be a massive corporation to take advantage of these perks.

Business Accounts are Free and Easy to Start

It takes just a few minutes to get started, and you skip those annoying, lengthy forms. Just answer the in-app questions and get started with no monthly fees attached.

If there are no monthly fees, inevitably, they charge you somewhere else, right? As long as your business has fewer than ten employees and does less than £1.7 million annually, your account is free.

Larger businesses receive free banking for a period of time. We could not find a fee structure for larger businesses.

Do you have more than one director? Starling offers multi-director accounts, so everyone who needs to know is in the know.

Business Account Starling

24/7 Customer Support

Is there anything more frustrating than having a burning question (like an unknown charge) with no way to contact your bank until morning? With Starling, business owners can contact them 24 hours per day, seven days per week by phone, or through the app.

Streamline Your Finances

Are you worried about matching information from your money management platform (like Quickbooks) with your bank account? Starling solved that issue so you can streamline your finances by linking your accounting software.

You can also set up instant payment alerts so you know when money goes in or out. Starling also automatically categorizes your expenses to make reporting easier.

Every business that banks with Starling has the opportunity to use the Business Marketplace. The series of smart products and services available to Starling customers allows you to integrate many aspects of your business using one app.

Easy Deposit Options

Sometimes clients pay with cash or cheque, and that’s alright. Remember, banking with Starling means no branches, so they established alternatives. Deposit cash at a local Post Office (there are thousands to choose from). You can deposit cheques under £500 via the app.

Additional Features

It’s difficult to highlight everything that sets Starling apart, but there are many reasons they remain a favorite among business owners. Business accounts function much like personal accounts and share some neat features that round out the customer experience and put Starling Bank over the top.

  • If your card is lost or stolen, you can freeze it immediately via the app.
  • Disable, restrict, or block payments and spending limits.
  • Set savings goals.
  • Split payments via the “settle up” option.
  • Free cash withdrawals when you’re abroad (though individual machines may charge you).

Starling Bank also plans to offer a Business Toolkit for a monthly fee. The toolkit includes a part-time bookkeeper feature, ability to manage and send invoices, record VAT, and submit VAT. The toolkit should enhance your business banking experience and is set to launch in 2020.

The Downside of Starling Business Accounts

No banking experience is perfect, but Starling does their best to appease its customers. There are a few things to understand clearly before jumping into a Starling Business Account.

  • No physical branches means you have to be comfortable handling everything online.
  • You won’t earn any interest on positive balances.
  • There is a charge to deposit money, £3 for deposits up to £1000 and 0.3% of the amount for deposits over £1000.

Starling Banking

How to Open a Starling Business Account

To open a Starling Business Account, you need to be a sole trader or limited company. You do not have to be an existing customer, but if you are, it’s that much easier to get started.

New customers need to verify their identity with a passport, EU/EEA ID card, UK residence card, or UK photo driving license. You also have to confirm your business type and may need to furnish supporting documents, like invoices, bank statements, or signed contracts.

Though it takes longer to open a business account than a personal account, you can expect the process to take less time than in person at a physical bank. Plus, everything is handled in-app.

Is a Starling Business Account Worthwhile?

At the end of the day, Starling Business Accounts seem to work for most users. They routinely score high on customer satisfaction and provide a lot of free services for clients. The app is secure and easy to navigate.

A Guide to Setting up a Tide Business Account.

Tide business UK banking

When you’re operating (or opening) a small business, deciding where to bank is one of your biggest decisions. You want something easy and convenient, preferably with low to no fees, but there are so many choices!

It’s tough to run a comparison, but we did some of the heavy lifting for you. Check out our Tide business account review for more on the ups, downs, ins, and outs of opening an account with them.

About Tide

This UK financial tech company roared onto the scene in 2015 as one of the first finance platforms to only provide digital services. The brainchild of George Bevis, Tide Platform Limited, received permission from the Financial Conduct Authority to operate in February of the following year.

Eileen Burbridge, the founder of Passion Capital, joined Bevis to serve as Chairman. She also helped infuse the startup with cash flow midway through 2016.

The beta version of Tide’s mobile app officially launched in January 2017, followed by a pop-up store in March. By July, Tide secured more investments from specialist fintech funds and announced a partnership with iwoca, a European online lender.

Tide expanded in 2018 with a new logo and several product features geared toward customer satisfaction. Though the company grew, Bevis stepped down from his role as CEO, replaced by Oliver Prill. The move proved beneficial for the company who secured more funding and investors.

Today, Tide offers a series of financial services and tools for small business owners. Everything works digitally through iPhones, Androids, and desktop devices.

Tide Business Banking

The Upside of Using a Tide Business Account

Tide prides itself on being a modern banking experience. They cater to small business owners and serve more than 150,000 customers.

Three Different Levels of Business Accounts

Unlike some other financing options, Tide business banking established three different levels. They understand that not every small business is the same size with identical needs and developed a tiered system to support that idea.

  • Free costs nothing monthly but provides scheduled payments, software integration, sub-accounts, and other member perks.
  • Plus costs £9.99 per month and includes everything from the free level plus additional perks, phone support, and a 24/7 legal helpline.
  • Premium costs £49.99 per month and includes everything from the other two tiers plus several perks, including a dedicated account manager and £1000 flexible balance.

The ability to choose a level that fits with your company goals is beneficial, especially for startups. As you grow, it’s easy to upgrade to the next tier.

Fee Structure

Tide does things a little differently from traditional banks because they can afford to be unique. They don’t charge monthly or annual fees on their accounts. However, customers do have other banking fees to consider.

  • Transfers in and out of accounts cost £0.20, though it’s free to transfer between Tide accounts.
  • ATM cash withdrawals cost £1 (plus any fees charged by the ATM).
  • Cash deposits cost £1 at Post Office locations or 3% through PayPoint.

Administrative Features

If you ever used an app that left you feeling frustrated, you know the importance of a functional app. Tide’s app includes up to date status on accounts, including transactions and payments.

You can schedule payments, review statements, and manage limits. The app allows integration with your banking software, like Quickbooks, and automatically categorizes spending.

Contactless Mastercard

No contact is more important than ever, but it can be a problem when you need access to money to keep your business afloat. Tide’s contactless Mastercard allows you to spend in the UK and overseas without fees or commission (unless using it at an ATM).

It’s easy to manage your card via the app, including freezing, unfreezing, canceling, or re-ordering one. You can even establish multiple team cards to track each members’ spending.

Member Perks

One of the niftiest things about Tide is the selection of Member Perks. The company partnered with several others to help small businesses succeed. From discounts on freelancing platforms (find the social media marketer you desperately need!) to pension plans, to music subscriptions, there is something for every business.

Hint: don’t forget to check out the Small Business Tips page! They cover everything from pricing strategies to payroll.

Tide Business Account

The Downside of Tide Business Banking

No banking business is all sunshine and roses, so Tide is no different. They have a great rating on Trustpilot and a solid customer base. However, there are a few things to consider before jumping in.

  • You can’t deposit checks, only cash.
  • They charge for ATM withdrawals.
  • It is not a regulated bank account; it’s an e-money account from PrePay Solutions (PPS).
  • You don’t get Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection (FSCS). If the company goes under, PPS says they can cover it, but you don’t have a guarantee.

How to Open a Tide Business Account

Opening an account is not difficult (Tide notes it takes as little as five minutes), but you have to qualify for one first. To qualify, you need to be registered with Companies House as the director. Some businesses don’t qualify for accounts based on the industry or what they deal with.

  • Cryptocurrency traders
  • Trading of precious metals or stones
  • Money services, like foreign exchange, loan providers, and gambling houses
  • Businesses selling unlicensed pharmaceuticals (like cannabidiol) or weapons

Sole traders and freelancers who are UK-based may also qualify. Further, you need to be 18 or older with a registered smartphone and have a valid UK phone number and address.

Provided you qualify, download the app, and start the process. You need to explain the nature of the business and verify your identity by scanning your ID along with a selfie. Once approved, Tide sends you a full UK sort code, account number, and business Mastercard.

Business Banking Tide

Final Thoughts on Tide Business Banking

Tide provides room for your business to grow and accommodate a wider range of business needs than many other service providers. Their three-tier approach and fee structure work well for small businesses of all types.

 

A Guide to Banking in the UK CBD Industry

Banking in the CBD industry

It seems odd that one of the fastest-growing industries in the world struggles with financing. Yet, that is just the case for many entrepreneurs seeking to capitalize on the flourishing CBD industry.

Banking in the CBD oil industry is heavily regulated, and startups face a field of bureaucratic red tape. However, if you know how to navigate the regulations to land sufficient financing, you could fare well in the industry.

Why Is It Tough to Get Financing in the CBD Oil Industry?

To understand why CBD oil products face so many restrictions, it helps to discuss the industry’s background and challenges. It’s easier to obtain financing when you can address potential roadblocks.

CBD-finance

What Is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD has calming properties that can help people relax without a psychoactive component.

Products made with CBD oil can aid in pain management and help curb some anxiety symptoms. However, you’re not likely to find a CBD oil product that is licensed as a medicine.

It’s Tough to Market a Non-Medicinal Treatment

Did you figure out the first issue facing the CBD industry? It acts as a medicine but technically doesn’t qualify as one. Marketing CBD is a challenge when your product intends to treat conditions like pain and anxiety but can’t be called medicine.

At this point, companies marketing CBD oil products can’t make any claims about the medical effectiveness of their products. All marketing materials must avoid all references to health benefits. That’s tough when it’s the purpose of your product!

CBD vs. THC

Six letters form two compounds that come from one plant. The Cannabis sativa plant creates Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but the two compounds have very different effects on the human body. CBD is perfectly legal in most places, but THC fares differently.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the chemical responsible for the psychological effects of marijuana. It has the calming, relaxing properties of CBD, but with a psychoactive component. Consequently, THC is illegal in many parts of the world and heavily regulated.

Many countries, including the UK, restrict the amount of THC that can be present in a CBD product. Since the amount of THC permitted is minuscule, it can be difficult to abide by the standards. Some investors refuse to take the risk and refuse to work with any CBD oil businesses.

cannabis-business-banking

The Struggle of a Faulty Infrastructure

CBD oil banking is problematic because of the UK’s faulty system. Though it’s not as tricky to navigate as other countries, like the US, the UK system relies heavily on perceived risks versus rewards.

Given the above challenges facing the CBD industry, CBD startups look like massive risks for many banks. Even though many CBD products are legal in the UK, many High Street banks stick to their conservative ways and refuse to approve accounts for companies dealing in cannabidiol.

To further complicate the situation, few payment processors and point of sale systems agree to work with companies selling CBD products for all of the above reasons. Even modern banking companies struggle under the weight of restrictions and questionable legal issues under the UK’s financial system.

CBD-finance-UK

Financing Options for CBD Businesses

CBD oil banking options may be limited because of the restrictions around the product, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you believe in your product and understand how to navigate the industry, there’s no reason you can’t secure the funding you need.

  • Secure private investors to bypass the traditional banking system.
  • Start small and scale slowly to work within your means.
  • Save up before starting up. It may take a while but funding your business without a bank helps your long-term goals.

How to Accept Payments from Customers and Get Paid

Even if you have plenty of capital for your company, you won’t do much business if your customers can’t purchase your product. Thankfully, some payment gateways willingly work with companies selling CBD products.

Trust Payments

One of the first companies to embrace the CBD oil industry, Trust Payments, loves creative solutions. They deliver trustworthy customer service and encourage the growth of CBD companies.

Trust Payments accepts several payment methods, is easy to set up, and reliable. They tailor fees based on a company’s use and offer stellar 24/7 tech support.

Worldnet

This payment gateway happily works with businesses selling CBD products. They allow for secure, reliable online payments, and work with WooCommerce, WP Ecommerce, Magento, OpenCart, and Joomla.

They offer online payment options for your customers, and they provide tracking options, refunds, and low fees. Businesses also receive money faster with Worldnet than some other options.

Paytriot Payments

Another UK-based company that offers CBD oil banking is Paytriot Payments. They accept payments online, by phone, or via subscription so that you can expand your customer base.

Paytriot already works with more than 300 CBD companies, so they are well-versed in the industry. The company is also FCA registered with competitive fee structures.

Nochex

Nochex is well-established and one of the first to accept CBD oil banking. They require you to provide lab reports for all products you sell to ensure compliance. However, they are easy to work with and even have a dedicated UK-based account manager.

You don’t have to belong to the CBD trade association or present a Legal Opinion Letter to work with them. Many businesses gain approval within 24 to 48 hours of applying.

WeTranxact LTD

This company isn’t afraid to work with higher risk companies because of their massive, worldwide network of card processors. WeTranxact LTD has an excellent reputation with a large contingent of clients based in the UK.

Hundreds of CBD businesses work with WeTranxact LTD to obtain credit card services. There is a £195 startup fee, but they don’t charge monthly fees for WooCommerce, and have low card processing fees.

Axcess Merchant Services

If you’re looking for a larger choice in banking partners, Axcess Merchant Services may be the choice for you. They also offer dual banking so that you can work with two banks at the same time.

You may need to provide a Legal Opinion Letter, and they only accept businesses processing less than £50,000 per month. They do have a dedicated account manager in the UK and work with various European currencies.

A Word About PayPal and Viva Wallet

Both companies accept payment for goods and remain popular methods for transactions. Some top-ranking CBD companies use one or the other despite both companies stating they do not accept businesses selling CBD oil products.

There are ways to circumvent the system, like using more than one account on either service to funnel money around, but it’s risky. PayPal and Viva Wallet could shut down your accounts at any time if they choose.

hemp-business-banking

The Future of CBD Oil Banking Looks Bright

Though it’s difficult to navigate now, the trends for CBD oil banking should change. As government regulations shift to allow more sales of CBD products, the banking industry is sure to follow suit. Like most industries, it pays to get in at the front end of a new product, though you may have to be patient for financing to catch up.

Top Facts About Trade Finance

Trade Finance

Trade finance plays a very important role in importing and exporting a range of products that involves transactions between small business, multinational corporations and other such organisations. As a result, the activity covers different types that include export credit, forfeiting, factoring, financing and so on. Apart from the buyer and the seller, trade finance transitions bring in a trade financier, insurers and export credit agencies. Due to that, the transactions that are carried forward are critical to the overall outcome expected by both sides. In the same manner, there are other facts on the table that need to be realised before anyone takes a step forward on this front. Hence, go ahead and read them out.

1. Reduces Pressure on Exporters and Importers

 
The financial gap between exporters and importers was a cause for concern for many. But thanks to trade finance, such imbalances have gone out of the picture. The growth of economies have propelled this change, and an exporter is no longer afraid of an importer’s default when it comes to payments and transitions. On the other hand, an importer is quite sure about the fact that all goods ordered by him/her have been sent by the exporter soon after a trade financier verified them.

2. The Aspect of Forfaiting

Forfaiting is a form of an agreement where exporters sell all their account receivables to a forfaiter at a specific discount in exchange for cash. As a result, the exporter transfers all his debt to the importer and to the forfaiter. Considering the fact that the importer takes all the goods on credit and pays the forfaiter only after selling them, the receivables bought by the forfaiter need to be guaranteed by the importer’s bank. Due to that, forfaiting has changed things for the better.

3. Reduces Risk

Reduces Risk

Trade finance has managed to eliminate the factor of risk as importers and exporters are more confident than ever. They are assured about payments, as financial institutions and other such organisations are involved. The kind of assurance that either party receives is well on schedule to help them move ahead and complete the transaction. Payments are processed accurately, and if anyone backs out through the wrong means, then that particular side will have to face the consequences.

4. Trade Finance Products and Services

A lot of companies have entered the picture, and thus, transactions have also changed. Due to that, financial institutions are here to offer various products and services like Bank Guarantee and Letter of Credit. Both these instruments have been critical factors in manoeuvring trade and helping it to move ahead in the right manner. As a result, the number of organisations looking toward trade as an option has only increased.

 

Informing your Business Banking Decisions

Ensuring you have the right information is crucial to making the right banking decisions for your business.

Despite efforts by financial services sector and other key stakeholders to rebuild customer relationships, businesses remain reticent to shop around for a better deal, and concerned about the paucity of options they face.

Many of businesses still struggle to differentiate between finance providers and still view the major banks as being “all the same” and so there may be a reluctance to move to a new bank even if the process for switching is made easier.

This is reflected in the results from the first Business Banking Insight Survey which revealed very similar ratings achieved by the big four banks across a wide range of indicators.

For example, for business current accounts, average satisfaction scores from small and mid-sized firms for the four major banks revealed that, on average, around a third of such firms are not satisfied with the level of service that they receive.

There is also little shopping around with businesses typically staying with their bank for a prolonged period of time and purchasing most of their financial product and services from the same institution.

However, the reality has been that businesses have long struggled to find access to the information they need to make an informed decision on who is the best financial provider for their firm.

Since businesses trust other businesses, firms place a huge weighting on the views of their peer group when making business decisions. That is why initiatives like Business Banking Insight (BBI) should be a vital tool for your business – as it shines a light on how businesses are treated when they engage with banks, including key criteria like the speed of decision-making, quality of onward support, consistency and transparency.

That is why this first of its kind website which looks at how well the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses are being served by their finance provider and is designed to help businesses make better informed banking decisions is supported by a wide range of stakeholders from the banking sector, Whitehall and the business community because it empowers business customers to make better choices by putting more information directly in their hands.

The real stand out point of BBI is that it allows you to review the performance of your bank to enable firms to make valid comparisons between financial institutions based on your own set of criteria. So, for example, if you’re a manufacturer looking for loan you see which finance providers are recommended by businesses that work in your sector.
Once you’ve found the right finance provider of the product or service for your business the BBI Site allows you to link directly to the website of the provider in question to find out more around pricing and terms and conditions as well as contacting the provider directly.