Our evaluation(4/5)
ANNA is a current account that excels at money management and support.
Features
  • Company: Absolutely No Nonsense Admin (ANNA) Ltd

  • Type of account: E-money current account for business

  • Intended for: Small businesses and sole traders

  • Loans & overdrafts: Not available

  • Monthly fee: £0-£19.90

  • Card: Business Debit Mastercard

  • IBAN & BIC: Not included

Absolutely No Nonsense Admin Ltd (in short: ANNA) is a private limited company that provides business current accounts to freelancers and small businesses in the UK.

ANNA – sometimes called ‘Anna Money’ – is not a bank, but nonetheless gives you a current account with a sort code and account number. With the business account comes a Debit Mastercard, money tracking features, invoicing and bookkeeping tools.

The account is managed entirely through a mobile app within an AI-powered chat and simple menu sections. You can message the chatbot 24/7 and it will ask further questions, post information or present appropriate options for your needs.

This can be refreshingly straightforward, or tedious if you prefer just a non-communicative app without the human element of a chat.

Who can open an ANNA account?

ANNA is mainly geared towards startups, freelancers and “creative types” as they like to call it.

Specifically, you need to reside in the United Kingdom and be one of the following to open an ANNA account:

  • Sole trader
  • Director of a limited company that’s listed at Companies House
  • Partner in a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

Your business should also be located in the UK. Note that only directors and partners of a company can be account owners, i.e. no ‘persons of significant control’ can open an account. Charities are currently not accepted.

Costs and fees

With ANNA, you only pay a monthly fee that depends on the size of your monthly income in the business account. There is no cost for creating the account and it remains free until you start exceeding the monthly income threshold of £500. The “monthly income” refers to all incoming transfers, even if it is from one of your other bank accounts.

It’s a flexible system, meaning if you receive less than £500 in the account during one month, you pay nothing the following month. If you receive more, the following month you will pay the monthly cost corresponding to that amount. The account can be cancelled any time.

ANNA account tiers
£0/mo£4.90/mo£9.90/mo£19.90/mo
Monthly income
Less than £500£500–£2,000£2,000–£20,000£20,000–£500,000
Maximum balance
£5,000£25,000£120,000£700,000
Debit cards included*
235Unlimited
Number of account users allowed
113Unlimited
Free UK transfers (in & out)
2/mo4/mo35/moUnlimited
Free ATM withdrawals
Up to £100/moUp to £300/moUp to £2,000/moUp to £10,000/mo

*Number includes virtual debit card.

ANNA account tiers
£0/mo£4.90/mo£9.90/mo£19.90/mo
Monthly income
Less than £500£500–£2,000£2,000–£20,000£20,000–£500,000
Maximum balance
£5,000£25,000£120,000£700,000
Debit cards included*
235Unlimited
Number of account users allowed
113Unlimited
Free UK transfers (in & out)
2/mo4/mo35/moUnlimited
Free ATM withdrawals
Up to £100/moUp to £300/moUp to £2,000/moUp to £10,000/mo

*Number includes virtual debit card.

However, it is not just the income threshold that can change you over to a higher tier. The number of allowed ATM withdrawals and incoming/outgoing UK transfers are limited on each tier. Exceeding those will also move you to a higher tier.

If you receive or send more than four domestic transfers on the £4.90 monthly tier, for example, you will jump to the £9.90 monthly tier the following month (or £19.90 tier if there are over 35 domestic transfers). In other words, there are no separate fees for account activities, only the monthly subscription cost.

The type of domestic transfers allowed are BACS and Faster Payments. Unlimited Direct Debits are allowed on all tiers (within the monthly transfer limits), just like transfers between ANNA accounts are unlimited.

Fees for international transfers are paid to Payoneer which is the payment service handling these. ANNE does not charge for international transfers.

All the plans have a 1% cashback offer on selected purchases like train travel and food.

Account, debit card and cash

The ANNA account is not actually provided by ANNA directly. It is an electronic money (e-money) account with a Debit Mastercard, all managed by Wirecard Card Solutions Ltd (WDCS) who keeps your funds secure in a ring-fenced Barclays bank account. Payments are also processed through Wirecard. The account is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.

You might have read about the recent scandal with the now insolvent Wirecard. This resulted in the freezing of all ANNA business accounts for three days at the end of June 2020. During this time, users have been reassured that all funds are protected and that ANNA is now seeking a licence to become an independent e-money institution so something like this never happens again (more on ANNA’s response in the customer service section).

The account comes with a Debit Mastercard (not prepaid) that can be used for free anywhere in the world, whether in card machines or online. Payments in foreign currency will be subject to a base exchange rate, but ANNA does not charge anything on top of that. Cash withdrawals are also free anywhere in the world.

Each account is subject to account limits classed into one of five tiers (A, B, C, D, E) viewable in the app. When you open an ANNA account, you are automatically on the A tier. Once you receive the debit card in the post and activate it, you move onto tier B.

ANNA account limits
Tier ATier BTier CTier DTier E
Maximum card balance
£1,500£25,000£120,000£300,000£700,000
Max. inbound & outbound transactions (Faster Payments, BACS, Direct Debits)
£1k /ea
£1.5k /day
£2k /mo
£24k /yr
£8k /ea
£15k /day
£40k /mo
£300k /yr
£15k /ea
£30k /day
£60k /mo
£300k /yr
£30k /ea
£50k /day
£100k /mo
£500k /yr
£50k /ea
£200k /day
£500k /mo
£3M /yr
Max. card transactions (purchases per card)
£1k /ea
£1.5k /day
£2k /mo
£24k /yr
£2k /ea
£10k /day
£20k /mo
£200k /yr
£4k /ea
£15k /day
£30k /mo
£300k /yr
£5k /ea
£20k /day
£50k /mo
£500k /yr
£15k /ea
£30k /day
£100k /mo
£1M /yr
Max. cash withdrawals per card
N/A
(no physical card yet)
£300 /ea
£1k /day
£5k /mo
£10k /yr
£2k /ea
£2k /day
£5k /mo
£10k /yr
£2k /ea
£2k /day
£8k /mo
£15k /yr
£5k /ea
£5k /day
£10k /mo
£20k /yr
ANNA account limits
Tier ATier BTier CTier DTier E
Maximum card balance
£1,500£25,000£120,000£300,000£700,000
Max. inbound & outbound transactions (Faster Payments, BACS, Direct Debits)
£1k /ea
£1.5k /day
£2k /mo
£24k /yr
£8k /ea
£15k /day
£40k /mo
£300k /yr
£15k /ea
£30k /day
£60k /mo
£300k /yr
£30k /ea
£50k /day
£100k /mo
£500k /yr
£50k /ea
£200k /day
£500k /mo
£3M /yr
Max. card transactions (purchases per card)
£1k /ea
£1.5k /day
£2k /mo
£24k /yr
£2k /ea
£10k /day
£20k /mo
£200k /yr
£4k /ea
£15k /day
£30k /mo
£300k /yr
£5k /ea
£20k /day
£50k /mo
£500k /yr
£15k /ea
£30k /day
£100k /mo
£1M /yr
Max. cash withdrawals per card
N/A
(no physical card yet)
£300 /ea
£1k /day
£5k /mo
£10k /yr
£2k /ea
£2k /day
£5k /mo
£10k /yr
£2k /ea
£2k /day
£8k /mo
£15k /yr
£5k /ea
£5k /day
£10k /mo
£20k /yr

These tiers are independent from the pricing tiers, so it is still the case that receiving less than £500 a month and keeping the account balance below £5,000 will make your account free the following month. The A-E tiers only refer to the limits possible for your business at the moment. If you want to raise the limits, you can request this through the app.

It is not possible to deposit cash or cheques into the account. You can only add money to the business account via bank transfers (BACS or Faster Payments).

Moreover, the ANNA business account cannot have an overdraft. The lack of banking licence means there are no credit cards or business loans on offer either.

International transfers

The ANNA business account does not come with an IBAN, BIC or SWIFT code for international transfers. Consequently, you cannot send or receive international transfers – at least not directly.

That said, ANNA has partnered with the payments platform Payoneer so you can receive euro and US dollar payments from abroad into your ANNA account. This integration requires opening a Payoneer account, where you answer questions about your business, clients and the nature of your international payments. Only after the Payoneer account is set up can you link it to the ANNA account so money can be transferred between the two (they are two different accounts).

Incoming payments in US dollars or euros cost a currency conversion fee of up to 2% of the exchange rate (based on the wholesale currency market rates at the time of the transaction) as you transfer money from Payoneer to your ANNA account. An additional £1.50 fee is charged per Payoneer-ANNA transfer.

ANNA app

The ANNA app isn’t like all the other business account apps around in the UK. Why? Because the main screen screen is a messaging thread acting as your virtual assistent available to take questions and instructions round-the-clock. Beneath the chat is a simple menu for switching between the chat, account summary and settings, should you prefer to bypass the chat.

Credit: Mobile Transaction (MT)

Anna Money app chat

The in-app ANNA chat.

Credit: MT

ANNA app account summary

Account summary tab.

Credit: MT

Settings tab in ANNA app.

There’s not a huge amount of features in the app, but that is not a bad thing considering they are all relevant for your business books. The main functions are:

Invoice management: Message ANNA when you want to create an invoice, and the virtual assistant will fill in the details and even send the invoice. If a client hasn’t paid you by the due date, the app can send polite invoice reminders until the client pays. The automatic invoice reconciliation will also match invoices with incoming payments, chasing up outstanding payments where needed.

Credit: ANNA

ANNA invoice template

Template of an ANNA invoice.

Expense management: Take pictures of expense receipts and upload them in the app through the chat. On the £19.90 monthly plan, you can send ANNA your receipts (even paper ones) and they will file them for you. ANNA also categorises expenses in your account to make accounting easier.

Tax calculations and reminders: At the right times of the year, you will receive notifications that it’s time to submit your self-assessment form, VAT or corporation tax. You can view your total income, expenses and taxable income in the summary tab and adjust tax settings.

Schedule payments: If you know when someone needs to get paid, you can schedule payments to take place in the future.

Card management: Copy and paste the card details of the virtual Mastercard for online purchases, set spending limits, freeze or replace the physical card. When you use the contactless card, the app says “miaow” like a cat – but you can disable this setting if it’s too embarrassing!

Open Banking: Add your other bank accounts to ANNA so they can be viewed and managed from within the same app.

View spending limits, change your contact details and ask ANNA anything in the messaging chat. If the artificial intelligence (AI) powered virtual assistant isn’t able to answer, a real person from the support team will take over the chat and answer within minutes. If you prefer talking over typing, switch on your phone’s voice-to-text setting to allow for dictation instead of manual typing.

All transactions in ANNA can be imported to Xero for advanced accounting management. The support in the chat can help set this up.

We should highlight: it is not possible to manage the account in a web browser, only in the mobile app.

Customer service and ANNA reviews

Honestly, the quality of customer support and human element of the in-app virtual assistent are two of the best things about ANNA.

Every day of the year, 24/7, ANNA has a support team on hand to answer any questions and help solve problems through the mobile app or via email. If no one gets back to you within 10 minutes in the chat, your account subscription fee for the month will be refunded.

We put the response time to the test with various questions at different times, and ANNA really did answer them all within minutes with clear answers. If you’re stating an action like “create an invoice”, you get an automatic response to initiate it straight away. An invoice, for example, will prompt questions about what to include on the invoice, due date etc. until it is ready to be sent.

If no one gets back to you within 10 minutes in the chat, your account subscription fee for the month will be refunded.

When it comes to the general commitment of the service, we’ve seen a recent example of the company’s remarkable ability to handle a crisis.

To deal with Wirecard’s (provider of the Mastercard and business account) recent troubles, the ANNA founders promptly conducted a live Q & A with its users concerned about what will happen to their account and funds.

A crisis communication kit about dealing with concerned payees was published, regular updates were posted and there was complete transparency about what ANNA is doing and who’s doing what.

ANNA even offered to personally confirm to users’  business partners or stakeholders that the account suspension was outside of their control. If there was any doubt about whether users would get their money back, ANNA was prepared to “put our own money into customer’s accounts to prove how committed we are”.

This level of transparency is not so common in financial products, and you see customer reviews on Trustpilot showing appreciation for this.

Does this mean ANNA Money is perfect? It won’t be for everyone.

We have seen some users complain about delayed transfers, account limits being reduced and temporary freezes. These issues are usually related to security protocols and sometimes users who have not provided requested documentation for ANNA to verify certain information.

Signing up

Creating an ANNA business account is a breeze (at least it was for us) and takes only a few minutes.

Credit: MT

ANNA Money sign-up questions

Signing up in the ANNA app.

If you’re on a computer, enter your mobile number in the ‘Get started’ field at the top of the ANNA Money home page. This will text you a link to the App Store or Google Play where you download the ANNA app.

In the app, you are asked a series of questions about your identify and business in a messaging thread, including whether you are a sole trader or limited company. You will also need to take a picture of your face and photo ID to verify your identity. Sole traders might be asked to upload a copy of a letter from HMRC showing their unique taxpayer reference.

After submitting the information, ANNA will check your details and approve your account. It took about an hour for ANNA to approve our sole trader account, after which we were free to start using it straight away.

A Mastercard is automatically ordered and delivered by post within five working days. In the meantime, you can use the virtual Debit Mastercard accessible in the app.

Our verdict

The ANNA account is ideal for the self-employed, freelancers and entrepreneurs who would appreciate the always-on, friendly support in the app. Most of the customer base are digitally-minded professionals and creatives, whether that’s a sole trader or start-up.

Since you can’t deposit cash, it would be unsuitable for brick-and-mortar shops receiving cash payments. And the fact that the account can only be managed through a mobile app – preferably through a messaging chat – means it is essential you are comfortable managing all your finances on a phone.

Features are centred around bookkeeping and invoicing to make life easier for those who might otherwise struggle with accounting on their own. The ANNA business account is made for simplifying your books and connecting them with your payments. In fact, ANNA is working on adding more features like payroll support, self-assessment assistance and compliance with HMRC’s Making Tax Digital requirements.

Features are centred around bookkeeping and invoicing to make life easier for those who might otherwise struggle with accounting on their own.

The account is not ideal for those with regular clients abroad, as it can only receive international payments indirectly. If you need credit, loans or an overdraft, you won’t get that from ANNA.

The main strength of ANNA is the committed support team that exceeds the performance we’ve seen with other business accounts. The less-that-10-minutes response guarantee is refreshing, because it is common to wait for ages for help from other providers. With the recent account issues beyond ANNA’s control, it is this kind of service that saves their reputation as a serious business account provider.

Pros

  • Excellent customer service

  • Can chat to customer support 24/7

  • No complicated fees

  • Great features to support bookkeeping

  • Automated invoicing

  • Quick sign-up

Cons

  • No loans, credit card or overdrafts

  • International transfers only through partner

  • No cash and cheques deposits

  • Cannot be used in web browser

  • Reliance of Wirecard has caused account issues

Name of Reviewed Item: ANNA business account Rating Value: 4 Image: https://www.mobiletransaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/anna-business-account-review-uk.jpg Review Author:Review Date: