Demystifying Small Business Banking: Your Comprehensive Guide

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Libby James
Merchant Services Expert

Libby James is co-founder, director and an expert in all things merchant services. Libby is the go-to specialist for business with more complex requirements or businesses that are struggling to find a provider that will accept them. Libby is regularly cited in trade, national and international media.

Small Business Bank Accounts

Embarking on the journey of setting up a small business involves navigating through a multitude of contracts, including those for finance, card processing, and business banking. Let’s simplify this process with our concise guide, tailored to assist you in selecting the perfect business banking solution for the unique needs of your small business.

Decoding Small Business Banking

While the operational mechanics of bank accounts for SMEs closely mirror those designed for larger corporations, the significance of pricing becomes more pronounced for smaller enterprises. Given the narrower profit margins for small businesses, a thoughtful consideration of your business requirements is crucial before applying for an account to ensure a harmonious, long-term fit.

Insights into the Application Process for Small Business Bank Accounts

For those new to the business world, understanding the application process for a small business bank account is paramount. Requirements and processing times vary among banks. Generally, you will need to provide identification, proof of address, and, for limited companies, business registration details with Companies House. Sole traders may be required to furnish proof of trading, such as invoices or contracts.

Selecting the Ideal Business Bank Account: A Checklist

Streamline your evaluation process with this checklist:


Transaction Analysis: Evaluate the regular transactions your business will undertake, focusing on where most costs will accumulate. Whether it’s daily cash deposits or international money transfers, each transaction incurs a specific cost.

Cost Considerations: Concentrate on monthly and setup costs, aligning your focus with long-term planning and preparing for potentially larger fees.

Flexible Terms: Look for banks and building societies that extend preferential terms to small businesses and startups, providing flexibility in monthly service fees, especially for an initial period.

Best Practices for Small Businesses in Banking

Effortless Switching of Your Small Business Bank Account


If your current business banking service falls short of expectations or you believe you’re overpaying, exploring alternatives and switching accounts is a viable option. While many business owners initially consider their current bank, it may not always be the most suitable choice for your business.


Streamlined Application Process for an SME Business Bank Account


Most banking applications can now be conveniently completed online, though supporting documentation may still be required. Properly packaging your application enhances not only your chances of approval but also expedites the account approval process.

How Merchant Advice Service Can Be Your Guide

Merchant Advice Service is dedicated to assisting small businesses in finding tailored banking solutions. Our partner banks regularly accept applications from SMEs and offer minimal monthly service costs for new businesses.


Commonly Asked Questions
How do small business bank accounts differ from those of larger companies?
While operational mechanics are similar, pricing may be more critical for smaller businesses due to narrower profit margins.
What documents are typically required for a small business bank account application?
Generally, you’ll need identification, proof of address, and, for limited companies, business registration details.
What factors should I consider when choosing the right business bank account for my SME?
Analyse regular transactions, focusing on costs associated with daily activities and long-term planning.
Are there discounts available for small businesses when applying for a bank account?
Yes, some banks and building societies offer preferential terms and flexibility in monthly service fees for small businesses.
Can I switch my small business bank account if I’m dissatisfied with the current provider?
Absolutely. If you’re dissatisfied or believe you’re paying too much, exploring other options and switching accounts is a viable solution.
How long does the typical application process take for an SME business bank account?
While most applications can be completed online, the processing time may vary. Properly packaged applications increase the speed of approval.
Do I need to visit a physical branch to apply for a small business bank account?
In most cases, banking applications can be conveniently completed online. However, some banks may still require physical documentation.
What kind of support does Merchant Advice Service provide for small businesses seeking banking solutions?
Merchant Advice Service assists in finding tailored banking solutions for small businesses, guiding through the application process with expert advice.

How Merchant Advice Service Can Help

For personalised assistance in finding the right banking solution for your small business, contact Merchant Advice Service today. Our expert guidance ensures you navigate the banking landscape with ease.


For more advice on business and finance, visit our blog page!

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Libby James

Libby James Co-founded Merchant Advice Service alongside David Bird in 2016. Her finance background, coupled with retail and customer service experience, gave Libby the drive to bring transparency and non-biased advice to the world of merchant services. Having come from the heavily regulated mortgage and insurance industry, Libby found it puzzling that other financial sectors lacked regulation and transparency leaving customers confused and unable to make informed decisions when it came to accepting card payments. This was soon to become Libby’s obsession!

With the help of some of the industry’s best, Libby began to research acquiring banks, complex terminology/regulation, and the problems customers experience within merchant services and payment gateway markets. She spent years on sourcing solutions for complex clients, which previously others were unable to assist with. Libby established relationships with brokers and banks which would soon form the cornerstone of Merchant Advice Service. As a result Libby has been featured in high-profile publications across the web.

Libby is proud to be the entrepreneur’s champion, supporting start-up businesses regularly. Her industry insights can often be found on LinkedIn where she provides free of charge advice and money saving pointers. It’s safe to say she has her finger on the pulse of everything card payments related.

Libby speaks of her experience in founding and running Merchant Advice Service…

‘Merchant Advice Service is one of my greatest achievements to date. We help business owners to overcome card processing issues which can become detrimental to their business. We assist SME’s in finding suitable card payments solutions, helping them create their vision. Each and every day is different, exciting and fore filling. As technology advances I can’t wait to see the way in which the merchant services market advances, and I’m pleased that our business will play a part in educating company owners along the way.’

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