There is no such thing as a perfect business bank account. But somewhere, there is a business account just right – or almost perfect – for your freelance situation.

Choosing a bank account as a self-employed individual is a precarious business, let alone choosing any bank account. Fortunately, UK-based sole traders now have a wide choice of online accounts with easy sign-ups and low costs to suit any budget.

We have tested quite a few business accounts suitable for sole traders and know the ins and outs of each. Not all are full-fledged bank accounts – most are actually e-money accounts with a connected debit card that (usually) works just as well as traditional bank accounts.

There are, however, limitations associated with any solution – which really depend on your particular needs and priorities. Let us pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of the best business accounts for UK sole traders.

Have a registered company? See our business account comparison for companies.

Account Cost Best for Link
Starling Bank
bank account

£0/mo Low cost, customer service and full range of banking features
ANNA Money
e-money account

£0-£19.90/mo 24/7 messaging support and assistance by ANNA team member
Revolut
e-money account

£0-£7/mo Multi-currency accounts and cross-border payments
Monzo Business
bank account

£0-£5/mo Budgeting features and TransferWise integration
Tide
e-money account

£0-£9.99*/mo Legal helpline on paid plan, okay features on free plan

*Excluding VAT.

Account Best for Link
Starling Bank
bank account

£0/mo
Low cost, customer service and full range of banking features
ANNA Money
e-money account

£0-£19.90/mo
24/7 messaging support and assistance by ANNA team member
Revolut
e-money account

£0-£7/mo
Multi-currency accounts and cross-border payments
Monzo Business
bank account

£0-£5/mo
Budgeting features and TransferWise integration
Tide
e-money account

£0-£9.99*/mo
Legal helpline on paid plan, okay features on free plan

*Excluding VAT.

Starling Bank – real bank with most to offer

Starling Bank
Our rating
  • Bank account via app and web browser

  • With IBAN, overdraft and Debit Mastercard

  • EUR and USD accounts available

  • 24/7 customer support with all accounts

Starling is a British bank run entirely online and through a banking app. It is one of the most advanced online banks in the UK, offering different bank accounts including a free Sole Trader account specifically for self-employed people.

The business account comes with a Debit Mastercard, IBAN for international transfers and the option to add a Euro account for £2 monthly and/or US dollar account for £5 monthly. You can deposit cash into the account at any Post Office and cheques directly through the app by snapping a photo of it.

To qualify for the Sole Trader account, you need to be resident and registered in the UK as a sole trader.

Image: Starling Bank

Starling Bank Business account

Starling offers a full range of banking features, with 27/7 access to customer support.

Self-employed people can apply for a business overdraft, but no loans except for the coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

The Starling Bank app has a lot of useful features such as:

  • ‘Spaces’ where you can ring-fence money for different purposes

  • Detailed debit card controls

  • Payment scheduling, subscriptions, Direct Debits, standing orders

  • Invoicing

  • Tax calculations for self-assessment

For £7 per month including VAT, freelancers can subscribe to Business Toolkit available exclusively in the online web account. This will automate your bookkeeping, give an up-to-date estimate of taxes due (cash basis accounting only) and organise expenses, invoices, bills and payments.

If you prefer, it’s possible to integrate with external software for accounting such as FreeAgent, QuickBooks and Xero.

Starling’s friendly customer support is available through the app 24/7.

Choose Starling Bank if: You prefer an online bank that feels most like a ‘real’ bank with a full range of banking features.

Learn more in our Starling account review for sole traders

ANNA Money – like a virtual assistant in your pocket

ANNA Money
Our rating
  • E-money account through app

  • Comes with Debit Mastercard

  • 24/7 customer support chat in app

  • Good bookkeeping & invoicing features

If you like the thought of getting someone else to do your admin, ANNA Money has nailed that with their round-the-clock messaging support in the app. You can basically fire the chatbot questions or tasks, and if the automated chatbot doesn’t know the answer, a real customer service agent will take over the chat to help within minutes.

ANNA Money sole trader account

The ANNA account comes with a Debit Mastercard.

With ANNA, the subscription cost depends on your monthly income within these limitations:

  • £0/mo: Less than £500 income/mo
  • £4.90/mo: £500–£2k income/mo
  • £9.90/mo: £2k–£20k income/mo
  • £19.90/mo: £20k–£500k income/mo

Faster Payments and BACS payments up to a limit are included on each plan (2/month on free plan, more on higher tier), as are cash withdrawals (up to £100/month on free plan, more on higher tier). Unlimited Direct Debits are included on any tier.

You get a Debit Mastercard from ANNA, which is better than the prepaid cards usually offered by other e-money accounts, but you can’t deposit cash into the account.

A clear strength of ANNA is how smoothly it manages admin tasks. For instance, just ask the chatbot to create and send an invoice to a client and it will ask about the information required for the invoice. Past the due date, ANNA can send polite invoice reminders to clients who haven’t paid yet. You can take pictures of expense receipts to save in the app, and even send physical receipts to ANNA for them to sort out. Monitor your sole trader taxes through the app as well.

ANNA does not provide an IBAN so international transfers are not possible directly, only through the third-party Payoneer platform. You can only use the business account in the mobile app – there is no web access.

An ANNA business account isn’t generally that feature-rich, but the personal approach to helping gives it a rare sense of warmth not seen in other business accounts.

Choose ANNA Money if: Your clients are primarily based in the UK and all you need are invoicing and basic bookkeeping features in a friendly app.

Learn more in our ANNA Money review

Revolut Business – built for international payments

Revolut