Doing business overseas? Discover the best multi-currency accounts in the UK to receive and send money abroad.
As more and more of us manage our personal finances online and through apps, it’s no surprise that business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs are increasingly moving towards digital solutions for their business finances too.
Starling is a UK licensed bank which offers business accounts for eligible customers in GBP, EUR and USD. Wise Business is a financial technology coany with accounts that hold 40+ currencies, which come with local account details to get paid in up to 9 currencies.
But which is best for your business? Read this Wise vs Starling business account review and comparison to learn more.
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UK registered business owners and sole traders can open a GBP Starling Bank business account, and some eligible business owners can also add in other accounts covering EUR and USD. Starling accounts offer linked payment cards, with no ongoing fees for the GBP account, and no charge to make cash withdrawals.
The Wise business account is available for business owners, freelancers and sole traders in the UK, and a broad selection of other countries around the world, too. Accounts can hold and exchange 40+ currencies, with the mid-market rate and low fees. There’s a one time fee to access full account features, with no ongoing fee or minimum balance after that.
We’ll move on to a more detailed Wise business account review and Starling bank business account review in just a moment. To start to build a picture, let's first get an overview of Wise vs Starling on key features.
|Service||Wise Business||Starling Bank|
|Free business account||Get full account features for a one off payment of £45||GBP account has no monthly fee|
|Paid business account||Get full account features for a one off payment of £45||USD and EUR accounts have monthly fees |
Additional paid upgrades are available to GBP account
|Currency account details||Hold 40+ currencies |
Get local bank account details for 10 currencies
|USD and EUR accounts are offered to eligible customers|
|International payments||Send to 160+ countries, with fees from 0.41%||Send to 35+ countries from your GBP account, with fees of 0.4% + around £5.5|
|Accounting integrations||Xero, QuickBooks, FreeAgent||Xero, QuickBooks, FreeAgent|
|Overdraft||❌||✅ from GBP account|
|Multi-user access||✅||✅ for verified directors of businesses only¹|
|Manage and send invoices||✅||✅ for a fee|
|Bulk payments||✅||✅ for a fee|
Starling Bank² is a neobank with a full UK banking licence, which allows business customers, including sole proprietors, to conveniently manage their GBP finances online and through the Starling app with minimal fees. We’ll cover the costs you need to know about in more detail next, as we move through this Starling Bank business account review.
Once you have a Starling GBP business account, eligible account holders can also open a Starling euro account and a Starling USD account. Monthly fees apply to these foreign currency accounts, which give enhanced options to send, receive and hold euros and dollars.
If you need to send money in a different foreign currency, Starling offers international business payments to over 35 countries³, with fees that typically include a 0.4% currency exchange fee and a transfer fee of approximately 5.5 GBP per payment⁴.
For an extra charge, customers can upgrade their account to add the Starling business toolkit⁵ and bulk payment features. The business toolkit includes time-saving tools for managing bills, invoices, tax, VAT, and more.
Let’s take a closer look at the key services fees for Starling Business accounts.
|GBP account||No monthly fee⁶|
|EUR account||£2 per month⁷|
|USD account||£5 per month⁸|
|Receive payments||Free to receive payments to your Starling account|
|Send payments||No fee to send payments in the currency of your account |
International payments are available to 35+ countries from your Starling GBP account - fees of around £5.5 apply, varied by country
|ATM withdrawal||No Starling fee - ATM operators may impose their own charges|
|Pros ✅||Cons ❌|
Wise Business offers a multi-currency account with powerful international features, to UK business owners, sole traders and freelancers. Wise is not a bank - it’s a financial technology company. But Wise is strictly regulated in the UK, and other countries, and is safe to use
Wise really comes into its own if you’re paying contractors, suppliers or staff overseas, or if you need to get paid by customers and clients in foreign currencies. You can hold 40+ currencies, get paid from 9 currencies like a local, and get debit cards for spending in 150+ countries - making this a great all rounder for international businesses.
Here are some of the Wise Business account features you’ll want to know about:
- Get full account features for a 45 GBP one time fee, with no ongoing charges
- Hold and exchange 40+ currencies with the mid-market rate and low fees from 0.41%
- Send money to 160+ countries and get local account details to get paid fee free from 9 currencies
- Wise debit and expense cards for you and your team, for spending and withdrawals in 150+ countries
- Accounting integrations and batch payment solutions, with no monthly fee
- Add and manage user permissions so your team can also access the account as needed
With Wise Business you can even earn a return on the money you hold in multiple currencies. With Wise Interest, you can get a 4.82% variable rate on your GBP balance held in your Wise Business multi-currency account.
Capital at risk. Current rates do not guarantee future growth.
Variable rate is based on 7 day performance as of 10 Aug 2023. This fund has returned an 0.93% annual average over the last 5 years, excluding Wise and fund manager fees. See full 5 year past performance of funds
Keep reading our Wise business account review to learn more about the Wise Business account fees and features.
Want to know more? Here are the key features, services and fees for the Wise Business multi-currency account.
|Account opening fee||£45 no ongoing fees after this|
|Order a Wise card||£3 GBP|
|Receive payments||Free to receive payments in up to 10 currencies using local bank details |
Free to receive USD by ACH, with a 4.14 USD fee to receive a USD wire
|Send payments||From 0.41%|
|ATM withdrawals||2 withdrawals, to the value of £200 per month fee free |
1.75% + £0.5 per withdrawal after that
|Currency exchange||Mid-market exchange rate, with low fees from 0.41%|
|Pros ✅||Cons ❌|
You can open a Wise Business account using just your laptop or mobile device. The easiest way is usually to get started in the Wise app, which means you can conveniently take photos of the required verification documents and upload them there and then. Here’s how to open a Wise Business account in a few simple stape:
- Download the Wise app
- Click Open an account
- Confirm you want to open a business account
- Enter your personal and contact information
- Add details of your business
- Complete a verification step by uploading ID and address documents, and business paperwork, which varies based on business type
|💡 Learn more about the requirements to open a Wise UK Business account here|
The paperwork you need to provide to open a Wise Business account does vary a bit depending on your personal situation and the business entity type you run.
However, the Wise team is on hand to guide you through if you have any questions - and the entire application, verification and onboarding process is completed using just your phone - from home, from the office, or on the move.
UK business owners have plenty of choice when it comes to opening a digital business account. Starling Bank can be a good choice if you transact mainly in GBP, and need to pay in cash or cheques. However, Starling’s multi-currency account options are limited and come with monthly fees. If you’re looking for a more flexible way to manage your money across currencies, check out Wise Business. Open your Wise account online or from your phone, to hold 40+ currencies, get local bank details for 10 currencies, and send payments to 160+ countries - making it easier than ever to connect with customers around the world.
- Starling - who can access a business account?
- Starling business account
- Starling international payment fees
- Starling help - international payment
- Starling business toolkit
- Starling GBP business account fees
- Starling EUR business account fees
- Starling USD business account fees
Sources last checked April 28, 2023
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 Wise Payments 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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