Your relationship with your bank could last for many decades, so it’s important you choose one that suits you and your business.  Here is our guide on what to consider when choosing your account.

How do I choose a bank?

If you have a personal bank account already, your own bank is a good place to start, because they know you and can, hopefully, see how well you run your personal account. But do compare the rates and products they’re offering with at least three other banks. This should help you to identify what services you are most likely to want, and allow you to compare their tariffs and charges.

Magazines and web sites like Business Money or Business Money Facts  will also be helpful to you. Most banks have a lot of material to help small businesses plan their finances. It’s important to compare the services and prices of several banks before deciding.

Bank charges

Will I have to pay bank charges?
Many banks offer charge-free periods for start-up businesses and some follow this with discounting their standard tariff for a time. All banks publish their standard tariffs and are committed to tell you of any other charges before they are incurred.

How will my charges be calculated?
The size of charges will be based on the amount of work passing through your account. This may take the form of a fixed amount charged periodically (e.g. monthly, quarterly); a charge for each item passing through your account or a charge based on the turnover of your account during the charging period. The method of charging may differ from bank to bank. Your charges will normally appear on your bank statement about two weeks before the bank takes the money from your account. If you think the charges shown are wrong, contact your bank and ask for an explanation in writing if you remain uncertain.

How can I keep my charges low?
Remember that the size of any charges will be based on work done. As a general rule of thumb, the greater the amount of cash handled and the greater the volume of cheques passing through your account the more you will pay. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a special tariff with your bank if you think the standard one is too expensive. Also remember to ask about different services, such as automated payments. These may be cheaper than cash or cheques and will help reduce the cost of running your account.