I am not going to influence the start of the debate by giving an opinion but it would be of great interest to know who is providing the best service for small to medium sized land-based businesses at the moment?

Please contribute both positive or negative experiences.

Tags: account, banking, best, business, deals

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Have added my two pennyworth.

Philip Voice said:
I hope LJN members take some time to explore and respond to the following...

Banks to be examined by OFT over treatment of small businesses

The Forum of Private Business, working on behalf of the Office of Fair Trading, has created a survey which aims to establish how well the banks have dealt with small businesses. The survey comes amid growing concerns over lending – and is available on the following website:

http://www.fpb.org/images/surveys/oft_survey.htm
Read Phil's view of the Nationwide Building Society.
I moved from Barclays who where charging £20 a month to Natwest about 2 years ago,

Natwest
Free banking,cheques clear in 3-4 days, I get a phone call to tell me when Im about to go overdrawn and they then move money about over the phone to cover it, Internet banking is very easy and to top it all went in last year to get some info for a loan to get a van, they filled in the forms and I walked out an hour later with the loan going in my account 24hrs later. They are brilliant!! and Im a happy customer

Barclays where out to make money from me above all else,
charged for cheques paid in,just no help at all- £20 monthly account charge- complete con merchants!
We have been with the Natwest since we started 24 years ago. We never had a free banking period with them, our current monthly charge is £6.50 we pay from memory 67pence for each cheque we write (it was at one time 97pence) deposits cost again from memory 60pence plus a per item charge on top, cash deposits additionaly cost us 30pence per £100.
It has taken them 5months plus to arrange a business development loan to replace our overdraft, I had considered changing to another bank on occasion but was not confident they would be any better, Santander was under active consideration until this discussion started.

Colin@Green Room Gardens said:
I moved from Barclays who where charging £20 a month to Natwest about 2 years ago,

Natwest
Free banking,cheques clear in 3-4 days, I get a phone call to tell me when Im about to go overdrawn and they then move money about over the phone to cover it, Internet banking is very easy and to top it all went in last year to get some info for a loan to get a van, they filled in the forms and I walked out an hour later with the loan going in my account 24hrs later. They are brilliant!! and Im a happy customer

Barclays where out to make money from me above all else,
charged for cheques paid in,just no help at all- £20 monthly account charge- complete con merchants!
Can I ask who uses a personal current account for their business and how have they got on with it?
When that two years is up Ill be off to another bank for another 2 years of free banking!!!! very happy with Natwest at the moment though

Alan Welsh said:
'About 2 years ago'.
Have a feeling you're soon to find out exactly when you began banking with Natwest.........free for 2 years for new business' and you'll be paying for cheque deposits etc etc. No such thing as a free lunch chap and suggest you keep an eye on those charges.

Colin@Green Room Gardens said:
I moved from Barclays who where charging £20 a month to Natwest about 2 years ago,

Natwest
Free banking,cheques clear in 3-4 days, I get a phone call to tell me when Im about to go overdrawn and they then move money about over the phone to cover it, Internet banking is very easy and to top it all went in last year to get some info for a loan to get a van, they filled in the forms and I walked out an hour later with the loan going in my account 24hrs later. They are brilliant!! and Im a happy customer

Barclays where out to make money from me above all else,
charged for cheques paid in,just no help at all- £20 monthly account charge- complete con merchants!
On one occasion I withdrew £200 cash from the TSB in £20 notes I walked across to the Nationwide BS and deposited the £200 in my account the cashier said one of these notes is a forgery I'll have to hang onto it. Give me it back here I said and walked back into the TSB and tore the cashier there off a strip for passing forged notes they gave in and changed it before I called the Police.

Alan Welsh said:
Cheques funds may 'appear' to be in your account in 3 to 4 days but I'm afraid they still remain uncleared for up to 10 days. When the 'Dunlop' cheque occasion arises and you have transferred funds thinking the cheque has cleared you'll find out how cooperative they can be when you're overdrawn!!

On one occassion I withdrew £200 in cash from ATM within the bank and split the money with my wife. £100 in pocket I filled up with fuel and went to pay and was horrified to be told that I'd presented a fake £20 note to the cashier - I had no other funds in pocket other than those extracted from the ATM.
Dutifully -and never again- I informed Natwest and presented the forgery to them, but they fervently denied the possibility of such happening or being at fault due to security measures in place. After a month - and 30 years banking-we eventually received the £20 in our account.

One week later Police raided an address in Birmingham arresting the occupants for producing and secreting fake notes into the system - 'coincidentally' there is a cash ATM preparation facility near Birmingham which provides a service to Natwest bank!!!!!

Colin@Green Room Gardens said:
When that two years is up Ill be off to another bank for another 2 years of free banking!!!! very happy with Natwest at the moment though
Alan Welsh said:
'About 2 years ago'.
Have a feeling you're soon to find out exactly when you began banking with Natwest.........free for 2 years for new business' and you'll be paying for cheque deposits etc etc. No such thing as a free lunch chap and suggest you keep an eye on those charges.

Colin@Green Room Gardens said:
I moved from Barclays who where charging £20 a month to Natwest about 2 years ago,

Natwest
Free banking,cheques clear in 3-4 days, I get a phone call to tell me when Im about to go overdrawn and they then move money about over the phone to cover it, Internet banking is very easy and to top it all went in last year to get some info for a loan to get a van, they filled in the forms and I walked out an hour later with the loan going in my account 24hrs later. They are brilliant!! and Im a happy customer

Barclays where out to make money from me above all else,
charged for cheques paid in,just no help at all- £20 monthly account charge- complete con merchants!
I have used my personal bank account for my business for the last ten years, and have not had any problems with it - my turn over is pretty small though (£25k last year) so I guess I am pretty much small potatoes. I use internet banking so that I can keep tabs on who has paid me what, and as all my customers pay me either by cheque or by BACS it is dead easy to keep a tally on money in and out. And no bank charges!


Dan Frazer Gardening said:
Can I ask who uses a personal current account for their business and how have they got on with it?
I think Colin with Santander its, variation in cheque clearing times, usually if you deposit a cheque in your account then post a cheque out to a supplier it would be a reasonable assumption that the incoming cheque would be cleared before the outgoing one. As I understand it with Santander often incoming cheques take longer to clear than outgoing ones, years ago a bank manager would look at an account see that there were cheques or funds about to clear and pay outgoing cheques with the knowledge that there are funds (abeit not cleared) in the account.
If you have a large credit balance in your account or are running well within your overdraft these thing are not a problem but when cash flows are very tight and people are hard up against their overdraft limit, cheque clearing times become critical. In these circumstances a decent bank manager with some discretion can be vital to a businesses survival.
Few people choose to be in financial difficulties but when they are I think it would be sensible for banks to stop charging punitive fees for bouncing cheques or debits these measures only make a difficult situation worse and do not assist a customer manage the situation.

Colin@Green Room Gardens said:
I am loving the fact that people seem to know how long my cheques take to clear in my bank acount!!! They are definately (in some caseses) cleared in 3-4 days I can withdraw the money and actually spend it, never had aproblem with boucey cheques
I mean using a seperate personal account for business and only business. I am considering it due to the much better service levels.

Gary @ Acer Paving said:
I would think using a personal account for business would be a tax nightmare, ( separating personal costs from business costs ).

Remember, it's not you you've got to satisfy on this count it's the taxman should you ever be audited, ( God forbid ).

Besides the fact that as soon as the bank rumble you're using it for that purpose they will make you change to a business account anyway.



Dan Frazer Gardening said:
Can I ask who uses a personal current account for their business and how have they got on with it?
We used to when we were a sole trader type of business with no problems, I was only ever and still only want a bank to hold money for me rather than credit facilities etc etc. I would not of changed only I had to set up a business bank account due to the business turning into a limited firm.

Dan Frazer Gardening said:
I mean using a seperate personal account for business and only business. I am considering it due to the much better service levels.

Gary @ Acer Paving said:
I would think using a personal account for business would be a tax nightmare, ( separating personal costs from business costs ).

Remember, it's not you you've got to satisfy on this count it's the taxman should you ever be audited, ( God forbid ).

Besides the fact that as soon as the bank rumble you're using it for that purpose they will make you change to a business account anyway.



Dan Frazer Gardening said:
Can I ask who uses a personal current account for their business and how have they got on with it?
Most personal accounts have a clause in the t&c's that if you use it for business (whether sole prop or not) they have the right to charge fees.

Also HMRC do not like this and strongly advise against it. Also if they query your submissions they can and will look at at all your personal transactions, something that can be avoided with a separate business account.

Each banks 'T&C's show their cheque clearing cycle, here's ours:


Clearly if they fail to follow and you are subsequently charged, you have a case for refund of costs and damages.

Regarding using a personal account for 'business', my normal barclays current account states - see section B:. Now whether you can 'hide' running a business from personal account is another issue, if do they may well be able to back charge transaction costs;


I can only suggest you check in person with your own bank to get the full facts for you own situation.

By the way our business banks with Barclays and we really have no problem with them, they have business section upstairs in our main branch which works well....

However, like most I would welcome less charges....;-))

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