HSBC vs Barclays Business Banking: Comparison for the UK

Paola Faben Oliveira

Having a dedicated business account is a good idea to keep your personal and company finances separate - and may even be mandatory, depending on your entity type. If you’re just starting to consider which business account may suit you - or if you’re ready for a change for your business - this guide is for you.

There are plenty of different options of business accounts for UK based companies, both from major banks and non-bank alternatives. Products tend to be optimised for various customer needs - whether you’re a sole trader, startup, scale up, or already have an established organisation.

We’ll walk through the options from HSBC1 vs Barclays Business Banking2, looking at features, fees and more. Plus, we’ll introduce the Wise Business account as a non-bank alternative which might suit your business - particularly if you have contractors, suppliers, customers or staff overseas.

💡 Learn more about Wise Business

HSBC vs Barclays Business Banking - Comparison overview

Let’s kick off our Barclays Business account vs HSBC business account review with an overview to give a flavour of the features you can expect from both banks. Afterwards, we’ll look at each account option in more detail.

It’s also worth noting that in this guide we’ll focus on the HSBC standard business account, and the Barclays account for mid-size SMEs. Both banks have other options, from accounts aimed at sole traders and startups, to products for enterprise level customers.

ServiceHSBC Business AccountBarclays Business Banking
Account maintenance fee£10 per month£8.5 per month (Established Business account product)
Target customerSMEs with a turnover of £6.5 million or more, looking to work with a banking relationship manager

For smaller businesses, HSBC also offers the Kinetic account3

SMEs with a turnover of £400,000 to £6.5 million per annum

Options for startups4 and small businesses5 are also available

Eligibility criteriaContact HSBC to discuss your specific needs and situationIf your business is under 12 months old you may be able to apply online - if not you’ll need to discuss your account options with the bank business team
International payments✅ - from £17✅ - from £15
Business card
Expenses cardsBased on account set up
Multi-user accessBased on account set up
Accounting integrations
Customer support channelsIn app, by phone and in personIn app, by phone and in person

Barclays business account - Overview

Barclays has 3 different SME business accounts, including one for sole traders, one for new businesses with a turnover up to 400,000 GBP, and one for more established businesses from 400,000 GBP to 6.5 million GBP annual turnover.

In this guide we’ll focus on the account for established businesses - but if your business is at an earlier stage you can also consider opening one of the other Barclays accounts and switching up to the established business account once your enterprise grows.

Some of the features you may get from your Barclays business account include:

  • Free business banking for the first 12 months
  • Linked debit and expense cards
  • Option to apply for a Barclays Business credit card
  • Overdrafts and lending
  • Free access to some cloud based accounting tools
  • Support from business growth experts
  • International expansion advice and support

If you’re growing your business internationally and need to hold, send or receive foreign currency payments, you may also be pleased to know you can open a [Barclays foreign currency account]( -foreign-currency-account), to help you manage your money across currencies more efficiently.


Newer businesses may be able to apply for a Barclays business account online or in the Barclays app - if you’ve got a more established or larger business you’ll need to request a callback online, to discuss your options.

Learn more about how to open a Barclays business account

Barclays business account charges

Let’s take a look at the standard fees for a Barclays business account aimed at established businesses primarily using electronic transactions.

Current account maintenanceFree for 12 months, then £8.5 per month
Receive local paymentsDigital payments are free, cheques cost £0.60 each, depositing cash costs £0.60 per £100 deposited
Send local paymentsFree, aside from cheques which cost £0.60 each
ATM withdrawalsFree locally
Receive international paymentsSEPA credit transfer free

Other payments over £100 in value attract a £6 fee

Send international paymentsFrom £15

HSBC business banking - Overview

The HSBC business account is for businesses with a turnover of 6.5 million GBP/year or more. If you’ll be making high value transactions, or dealing with a high volume of transactions, you may also be assigned a banking relationship manager for a more personal service.

The HSBC Business Bank Account has all the options you’d expect to find including easy ways to send and receive local and international payments, mobile and online banking services, and access to business loans and financing. Other features include:

  • 12 months with no maintenance fee to pay
  • Loan, credit card and overdraft facilities
  • Debit and expense cards
  • Mobile cheque deposit
  • Pay in cash at a bank branch or Post Office
  • Accounting integration with Sage
  • Cheque book on request
  • Foreign currency accounts available (additional fees apply)

To open an HSBC business account you’ll need to visit a branch or start a live chat with the business banking team online or in app to discuss your requirements. When your account has been opened and verified you’ll also be able to get an HSBC business debit card, plus additional expense cards for team members, to make spending and cash withdrawal easier.

If your business is at an earlier stage, you can also apply for a Kinetic account, aimed at newer or smaller companies.

Learn more about how to open an HSBC Business Bank Account

HSBC business banking charges

The HSBC business account has pretty much no charges for the first 12 months for common transaction types, plus no account maintenance fee. After that, you’ll switch to the standard HSBC business account tariff, which means fees including the following:

Current account maintenanceFree for 12 months, then £10 per month
Receive local paymentsOnline payments are free, mobile cheque deposits £0.50, cash deposit 1.5% of deposit value
Send local paymentsFree
ATM withdrawals£0.25 withdrawal fee + 0.6% cash out fee
Receive international paymentsSEPA credit transfer £0.20

Other payments over £100 in value attract a £6 fee

Send international paymentsFrom £17

HSBC vs Barclays business banking - FAQs

Not sure whether HSBC or Barclays - or another bank or provider - is right for you? Here are some common questions and answers which may help you decide.

Does Barclays charge for business accounts?

Barclays has 3 different account types for SMEs, usually offering 12 months of free business banking covering many common transaction types and account maintenance fees. However, at the end of the 12 month period, you’ll move to the standard business banking tariff, which will mean maintenance costs and could mean additional transaction fees depending on your account type.

Is HSBC a safe bank in the UK?

Yes. HSBC is a large and established bank which is fully regulated in the UK by the FCA, and safe to use.

What do I need to open an HSBC business account?

To open an HSBC business account you’ll need to visit a branch or start a live chat with the business banking team online or in app to discuss your requirements. Usually you’ll have to provide some business registration documents, ID and proof of address for the business owner and important shareholders or directors. Learn more about how to open an HSBC Business Bank Account here.

Can I switch my business bank account to Barclays?

Yes. Barlcays offers a switching service which can help you close your existing business account and move over - or you can partially switch your existing account to a new Barclays account if you’d prefer.

Is it hard to get a Barclays business card?

Your eligibility for different Barclays business cards will depend on the account type you choose and your personal circumstances. Most Barclays business accounts come with a linked debit card, and you’ll be eligible to apply for a credit card - eligibility rules will apply here.

How long does it take to open a business account with HSBC?

The length of time it takes you to open your HSBC account will depend on the account and business type, and whether you’ve got all the necessary documents for verification. Once you’ve applied, your account will be verified by HSBC staff, and then you can start to transact.

Wise Business Account: alternative to HSBC and Barclays

The right business account for you may not come from a bank at all. Check out Wise Business as a non-banking alternative that has a dedicated business account which is optimised for international use.


Wise Business has no ongoing fees or charges, so you’ll just pay low, transparent transaction fees for the services you need. Accounts can hold and exchange 40+ currencies, and you’ll also be able to receive payments into your Wise account in a selection of global currencies conveniently.

That makes it easier to connect with customers globally. Whenever you need to convert from one currency to another, within your account, to send a payment or to spend with your Wise card, you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate and low fees from 0.43%7.

Wise has 16 million+ global customers, across both business and personal accounts, and is FCA regulated in the UK. Plus, on Trustpilot, which aggregates live customer feedback, Wise scores 4.3 out of 5 stars, from over 200,000 reviews posted so far8.

Wise Business account fees

Managing your business finances is going to involve some costs. However, Wise has low, transparent fees which can help you maximise your profits, particularly when transacting internationally. Here’s what you need to know:

Open account£45 one time fee
Receive paymentsReceive AUD, EUR, GBP, HUF, NZD, RON, SGD, TRY, CAD (non-SWIFT) and USD (non-wire) - free
Send paymentsFrom 0.43% for international payments
ATM withdrawals2 withdrawals to the value of £200 per month free

£0.50 + 1.75% after that

Currency exchangeFrom 0.43% with the mid-market exchange rate

Open Wise Business account

  1. Go to the Wise desktop site or app
  2. Tap Register Now and confirm you want to open a Business account
  3. Follow the prompts to enter your personal and business information
  4. Upload clear images of some documents for verification
  5. Pay a one time fee of 45 GBP
  6. Once your account is verified you can start to transact globally in 40+ currencies

Learn more about the requirements to open a Wise Business account in the UK in this full guide.

Get started with Wise Business 🚀

Getting a dedicated business account is important - but there are lots of different ways to go about opening a business account in the UK, which means you’ll need to do a bit of research to find a perfect fit. Use this guide to compare the options for HSBC vs Barclays Business Banking, and remember to check out non-bank alternatives like the Wise Business account as well, so you find the right option for your specific needs.

Sources used in this article:

  1. HSBC Business Bank Account
  2. Barclays business account for established businesses
  3. HSBC Kinetic
  4. Barclays Startup account
  5. Barclays small business account
  6. Barclays banking fees and charges
  7. Pricing/fees: Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.
  8. Trustpilot - Wise

Sources last checked February 15, 2024

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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