Competition is a good thing and there are lots of business bank accounts for you to choose from. But which business bank account is best for your startup?
We’ve taken a good look at all of them so you don’t have to. Our recommendations are constantly updated as new services become available.
If you have a startup story you’d like to share with our community, we’d love to hear from you…just drop us a line on email@example.com.
Why Do I Need A Business Bank Account?
A business bank account helps you to separate your personal banking from your business banking. It will make all your reporting, VAT returns and budgeting much easier. You also need a business account to pay yourself and your employees, plus your bills, and to receive payments from your clients.
Step one is to register your business in Ireland. You can’t open a business bank account here until you do. If you need help with this, just drop us an email at Accountant Online or read our blogs on setting up as self-employed or starting a limited company.
What Is The Best Business Bank Account In Ireland?
The best business bank account is the one that offers most for your individual business needs.
Some banks have special offers for startups which could be valuable. Others offer key features which might be beneficial for your business. Features include free mentoring, free bank transfers within Europe, or they may offer a space for you to work in.
Only you know what matters to your business.
Common to all the banks detailed here is that they offer online banking and some form of book payment upload facility e.g. for paying salaries, and multiple administrator logins to business accounts. In summary, AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank all offer special services for startups
- Free Banking – Transaction and maintenance fees waived for 24 months for startups.
- Free Shared Workspace – A free workbench where startups can sit and work for free. You can find Workbenches in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, and Galway, and new workbenches coming up this year, so check here for the latest updates.
- The Workbench staff are hired on the basis that they have experience with starting businesses. They are familiar with startups and are in a position to offer valuable advice.
- Free events – Workbench also offers free events aimed at providing useful information for startups. The Dublin Workbench has about 7 events a week. They offer mentoring, training, and useful tips from other startups.
- Finally, you receive access to a service called FCR Media which gives you a free custom-built website, a .com domain registry for one year and GoldenPages.ie listing.
- Free Banking – Anyone eligible for their startup offer gets two years’ transaction fee free banking (other charges may still apply).
- Free Mentoring and Events – Free mentoring and events through Ulster Bank’s Small Business Can website
- • Historically this bank has always concentrated on personal banking rather than business banking. It may suit you if you are a Sole Trader.
• Low Banking fees – only €3.81c per quarter.
• No transaction fees within Europe, including countries outside the Eurozone.
• €10,000 limit on transactions.
• No business credit card.
• No other special offers for startups.
• Overdraft of 8%.
Two years with no Account Maintenance and Transaction Fees. Up to €100 discount off quarterly cash handling fees.
Special offer on My Business Toolkit at €15 a month. This includes:
- Receipt bank that helps you organise all your expenses.
- PlanHQ to help you map out your professional business plan.
- MozyPro that gives you access to 10 GB of data so you can backup and encrypt your files. Sage One Accounting and Payroll, which enables you to manage cash flow, file VAT returns, create invoices and process payroll.
- bOnline, an online website builder that is easy to use, as well as a domain name, and business email address and web hosting. If you haven’t already created your website, this might be a very valuable offer for you.
AIB Bootcamp and AIB Startup Academy is available to some startups. There is no workbench where startups can meet or sit to work. However, they do have “the Lab” in Dundrum where all AIB customers can come for advice.
- Quick and easy to open an account – can be opened online in 24 hours
- Get both Sterling and Euro accounts for bank transfers in/out – you can add new accounts immediately/in real time
- No set up costs or ongoing monthly maintenance fees
- Set up multiple users with different access levels
- Order multiple MasterCard debit cards for your team that are linked to both a Sterling and a Euro account
- Get instant notifications whenever you receive a payment, use your card, or there is any account activity
- Compatible with all major accounting software packages
- Carry out real time FX transfers between your accounts
- Integrate your accounts with your own systems using the Fire Business API – to automate reconciliation and receive real time updates on your accounts
- You can set up your account online in 8 minutes.
- Offer of interest on savings accounts through partner banks.
- Only available for Sole Traders, not Limited Companies
- Currently, only offer depositing cash for German customers.
- You need to be a citizen in a European country where they are operating. Full list here.
Requirements For Business Bank Accounts
There are some requirements that will be the same across all banks, so you might want to have that information ready before applying. Other specific requirements will depend on whether you are a Sole Trader or a Limited Company.
Opening A Business Bank Account As A Sole Trader
To open a bank account as a Sole Trader you will need:
- One form of ID verification.
- Two forms of address verification.
- If you have a business name that is different than your personal name you will also need your Business Registration Number.
Opening A Business Bank Account As A Limited Company
To open a bank account as a Limited Company you will need:
- To open a bank account as a Limited Company you will need:
- The original or a Certified Copy of the Certificate of Incorporation. This is issued to you from the CRO when you register your company.
- If you are trading under a different name from your company name you need the original of Certified Copy of the Certificate of Registration of the business name.
- The Company’s tax reference number.
- Proof of ID and two forms of proof of address. If your company has more than two directors you will need to provide this ID for two of the directors.
- Proof of ID and two forms of proof of address for one person who is authorised to sign transactions. For companies with more than two people who are authorised to sign, you will need this for at least two of them.
If the owner of your company is a Limited Company there are additional requirements, and you should contact the bank directly.
What Is Accepted As Proof Of ID And Proof Of Address?
Each bank will have a list of the documents they accept as proof of ID and proof of address, so it will be worth checking when you have selected your bank. Generally speaking, a passport or a national EU ID card is valid as proof of ID, and utility bills and bank statements are sufficient as proof of address.
EEA Nationals Setting Up A Business Bank Account In Ireland
The online banks such as N26 and Fire do the whole setup process online, without you having to go and see them in person. Note that for N26, you will have to be in the country where they operate. You can find the complete list on their website.
For AIB, TSB, Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland, you will have to meet the bank at least once in person to finalise setting up your account. Depending on the bank they might ask you to come in more than once. Bank of Ireland is the only bank offering a process especially for foreign business owners where they generally require only one in-person visit. They will schedule this towards the end of the business account setup process and do any earlier interviews via FaceTime or other online video call service.
In terms of documentation, you will need a certified copy of your ID and proof of address if you can’t provide the original. A bank or an official institution in your country can usually do this for you, but we recommend contacting an advisor at your selected bank directly to verify who can confirm the copy of documents.
Which One Is Our Favourite?
Hopefully reading this has given you a better understanding of what’s available for your business. For us, the one bank that really stood out during this research was the Bank of Ireland. They were very helpful both on the phone and face-to-face.
Having a free place to work and to meet other startups can be very valuable. So we went to check out the Bank of Ireland workbench in Grand Canal Plaza Dublin 2 where we were invited to one of their events. This turned out to be very useful, not only to listen to the presentation but to meet other startups, to share concerns and get advice.
That being said every business is unique, and you should choose the bank account that’s best for you. Don’t hesitate to contact the bank directly to ask what they can do for your business. Good luck!
What’s Next For My Startup?
At Accountant Online, we offer accounting services for new startups that aim to meet your compliance obligations, while also keeping costs low.
If you haven’t registered your company yet, we offer a company formation package. We cover everything from company name checks to your Certificate of Incorporation. If you’re not ready to take that step yet these blog posts will help guide you through the process;
- Will I pay less tax if I’m a Limited Company?
- 25% Tax Credit for Research & Development
- Sole Trader or Limited Company?
At Accountant Online, we can have your Limited Company up and running within a week! Our company formation service is fast, secure and given by trusted, qualified accountants.