These days, virtually every business owner will expect to have access to internet banking for their business bank account.
We have covered many aspects of comparing business bank accounts, and the basics of choosing a bank for your new business in our separate guides – so we won’t duplicate those points here.
With business internet banking a must for most new businesses these days, what should you expect to be able to do online, and what additional services are available via online banking?
Online business banking – typical benefits
- A key benefit is that you can access your bank account via the web 24 hours per day.
- You can view real-time statements, and historical data whenever you like.
- Make payments to other businesses whenever you need to, and pay any outstanding bills online.
- You can instantly transfer funds between any accounts you have open at the bank (e.g. between business and personal).
- View, edit and set up standing orders, direct debits, and other regular payments.
- Make ‘Faster Payments’ (which means your money can be transferred to other participating banks within hours rather than days). Most of the major banks now participate in the FP system, and there are no costs for using the service.
- You will be able to easily export bank statements electronically for use in accounting software packages, such as Sage and FreeAgent.
- Online security is extremely high, as you would expect from major banks. You will typically have a username, banking ID, as well as a password. Barclays provides a ‘PINsentry’ tool, which generates a unique code associated with your debit card each time you try to log in.
- Many of the major banks are now offering paperless updates (e.g. changes to terms and conditions), as well as statements. This may take some time to get used to as bank statements are usually stored away for safekeeping, but it is likely to become mandatory in years to come.
- In many cases you will be able to order replacement cheque books or paying-in books online.
- Although virtually irrelevant in an era of extremely low BoE base rates, online business accounts often have lower transaction costs, and marginally higher interest rates.
Naturally, few businesses can conduct all their banking needs completely online, as you still need to visit a branch to pay in cash or cheques, to make changes to your banking services, or talk to a relationship manager. However, the technological advances being made in the banking industry can only be good for small businesses – saving both time, and money.