Managing a business’s finances is a major task, and comes with its own particular set of responsibilities and rules. So it’s no surprise that most top banks offer specially tailored types of account for businesses, whether you’re a sole trader or a multinational. NatWest, one of the UK’s top banks, isn’t an exception.
In this article you can find out what commercial banking services NatWest has to offer to UK businesses and organisations, and which of their accounts might be right for you.
Like a lot of banks, NatWest offers different sorts of business accounts depending on the size and type of your business. So, take a look through the different types below to see which one suits you best.
Of course, NatWest is just one option of many; there are lots of UK banks that offer business services, and even some other institutions that you can use. TransferWise for business, for instance, has a great range of business options, especially if you’re likely to do a lot of business with companies abroad.
Now, back to what you came here to read.
This sort of account is designed for companies that have been trading for less than a year, with an annual turnover (existing or predicted) of less than £1 million.
You might get 18 months of free business banking with this account, plus a Visa debit card, along with a few other perks like access to accounting software for free. Like with all of these accounts, you get access to mobile banking via NatWest’s app.¹
The next category up is for businesses with up to £2 million in annual turnover - “small to medium-sized businesses”, as NatWest puts it. The details are much the same as with the startup account: you still get the Visa debit card, free accounting software, and a few other features and benefits as well.²
Things change if your business has a turnover in excess of £2 million annually, for which NatWest offers a more personalised service with their Commercial account. You’ll have your own relationship manager, and access to various special products including a commercial credit card, a different online banking service called Bankline, and help with overseas trade through import/export management, to name just a few.³
If you’re a not-for-profit like a charity, club or society, a Community account might be the best way forward.
You might be able to get free banking with this account if your turnover is below £100,000, or - like with the startup account - you could get 18 months for free if the organisation is new. This account comes with a Visa debit card, just like the other accounts, and you can also get a chequebook and book for paying in - handy if you receive a lot of cash or cheques.
If you’re a nonprofit with a turnover above £2 million, then you’ll need to get a Commercial account instead.⁴
Doing business overseas and need to make international business payments? TransferWise could save you money versus your bank.
When you have to pay employees or suppliers overseas it might seem logical to do this with your bank. You already have an account there, they have all your information, so it just seems easier. Although these are valid reasons, easier certainly doesn’t mean cheaper.
Most banks won’t convert your money with the mid-market exchange rate when you make an international payment. Instead they add a mark-up and charge you a hidden fee that way. TransferWise is different. Its smart technology skips hefty international transfer fees by connecting local bank accounts all around the world. Which means you can save up to 8x by using TransferWise rather than your bank when you send your money abroad.
TransferWise also has a lot of additional features for business users. You can connect with Xero to make your life easier, upload a batch of payments in one go or even automate your payments by integrating with our API. And there’s more to come in the future.
For the Startup⁵ or Business account⁶, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:
- You’re over 18
- You own or direct the business in question
- Your business is registered at an address in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Gibraltar, or you’re registered there for tax
- You haven’t been declared bankrupt, and you haven’t received a county court judgement or court decree.
And the information you’ll need to tell NatWest, to get a Startup or Business account, is as follows:
- Personal details. Your name, date of birth, contact details, and address. You’ll need to provide this information for not just the business owner, but all directors, partners, members, and other signatories.
- Business details. You also need to provide information about your business, including addresses, contact details, information about what the business does and how many people it employs, and if there are any other names your business goes by. Be ready with basic details about your end-of-year accounts as well, even if they’re only forecasts.
- Registration details. And you’ll also need to provide information about your registration: your registered company number if you’re a limited company, and details of any country that either you or your business is registered in.⁵
As you’d expect, for a Commercial account things are a little more complex and you’ll likely need to provide a bit more financial information about your business.⁷
Things are also different for the Community account, where NatWest will need different information dependent on which sort of organisation you are - a registered charity or a church, for instance. They could need to see a few extra documents, so it helps to have ready:
- Governing Documents
- Overseas payment details: if your organisation sends money overseas
- Bank statements: if your organisation is transferring from another bank⁸
You can apply online with NatWest for a business account. The process will depend a little bit on exactly which sort of NatWest business account you’re opening, but the following should be a good guide to how to get set up in most cases.
- Work out which sort of account you need: a Startup account, Community account, etc.
- Get the necessary documents ready and all the information you need from other stakeholders.
- Begin the process online - NatWest lets you do this for all its business accounts. This may take some time, as NatWest will need to check through your details and may get in touch with you to confirm some information.
- Once they’ve confirmed everything, NatWest will set up your account for you and you’ll be ready to go.
You might find you’re eligible for free business account with NatWest, at least for 18 months, if you’re a startup with a low projected turnover or a community organisation. But otherwise, these are the fees you’ll face.
It’s not a complete list: there are other specialist fees like BACS payment fees, that are too numerous to list here. Be sure you have the full picture from NatWest before signing up.
|Monthly fee||£5 - but no fee if your monthly transaction charges are £5 or above|
|Automated payments in or out||£0.35 each|
|Cash payments in or out||£0.70 per £100|
|Manual payments in or out||£0.70 each⁹|
International payments are included in the table because this is often an area where bank fees can get surprisingly high - not just with NatWest. If you do a lot of business internationally, the fees for foreign transfers can make a big difference to your balance sheet, especially when you’re just starting out.
It could be worth looking into specialist international transfer providers like TransferWise. It sends money abroad at the real mid-market rate, without any of the markup that banks tend to charge when they convert money. All the fees are stated upfront before you hit send.
Those are the basics about a NatWest business account, but for further information NatWest itself is the best place to go. Check out their website, or contact them through one of these methods:
- Call from the UK on 0345 711 4477¹¹
- Search their website’s business support centre for answers to key questions
- Get in touch via Twitter: @NatWestBusiness²
- Or head into a branch and speak to someone in person.
NatWest also have direct contact numbers, depending on your annual turnover, to help with your application:
- Startup or business with a turnover under £2m - Call on 0345 7 11 44 77
- Business with a turnover over £2m - Call on 0800 073 2256.¹²
If you have any questions about TransferWise, you can contact their dedicated business customer support team at email@example.com or +44(0)2038087139.
Finding the banking option that works for you is essential, so that you can concentrate on making sure your business is successful. When deciding on the right account for your business, research is key - as features, benefits, and costs can vary widely. Natwest offers a range of account options and benefits that may fulfil your business needs, but if you expect to send and receive international payments frequently, it’s worth comparing the products available against a specialist business account from TransferWise, to see which will work best for you. There’s no monthly fee, and you get virtual account details in pounds, euros, US dollars, New Zealand dollars, and Australian dollars - making sending or receiving money in any of those currencies a breeze.
All sources were checked on 01-March 2019.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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