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    • mf78
    • By mf78 28th Jun 13, 1:18 PM
    • 117Posts
    • 53Thanks
    mf78
    HSBC increasing charges, suggestions for an alternative?
    • #1
    • 28th Jun 13, 1:18 PM
    HSBC increasing charges, suggestions for an alternative? 28th Jun 13 at 1:18 PM
    Hi everyone

    Just got the letter from HSBC saying their business account charges are going up in September. I'm looking for a cheap alternative. Turnover under 20kpa, most deposits are by cheque and I tend to manage the outgoings by internet payments. Any recommendations?
Page 3
    • InsideInsurance
    • By InsideInsurance 2nd Jul 13, 2:53 PM
    • 22,223 Posts
    • 11,386 Thanks
    InsideInsurance
    I wonder if you need to call your nearest BOS Private Banking office directly?

    https://www.bankofscotlandprivateclients.co.uk/privatebanking/contactus/privatebankingofficelocations.asp
    Originally posted by Wywth
    Tried that, they initially denied the product existed. Finally got them to go onto the website and check. They then spoke to a Private Banking relationship manager who said I needed to speak to Business Banking who again deny the product exists and then says I need to speak to a Private Banking relationship manager

    Basically no one knows who deals with it. After 30 minutes on the phone speaking to 6 different departments plus one guy who did try and "own" the issue and spoke to a couple more on my behalf, I am guessing its not the account for me as I'll end up spending more on phone calls than I'll save from HSBC Direct fees
    Last edited by InsideInsurance; 02-07-2013 at 2:56 PM.
    • mf78
    • By mf78 2nd Jul 13, 8:02 PM
    • 117 Posts
    • 53 Thanks
    mf78
    Spoke to the local manager of Yorkshire Bank yesterday and they do a free switcher account - no charges for 18 months. She laughed and suggested I do what everyone else does - move every 18 months to somebody else Only issue was that I would need a letter from my accountant or solicitor to confirm my business trading name. As I no longer use an accountant and do it all myself, the cost of a solicitors letter may outweigh a good portion of the free 18 months.
    Last edited by mf78; 02-07-2013 at 8:02 PM. Reason: spelling
    • zcacmxi
    • By zcacmxi 2nd Jul 13, 9:30 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 280 Thanks
    zcacmxi
    Excluding the 18 month initial free period that the big 4 banks all seem to offer, the monthly fees appear to be:

    Lloyds £5.00
    Natwest £5.00
    Barclays £5.50

    And now HSBC are introducing a £5.50 charge...

    Doesn't seem right to me, they're all charging around the same amount and the amount chosen has nothing at all to do with the costs involved, as clearly they can all afford to do it for free for at least 18months, and in HSBC's case a lot longer prior to Sept.

    They charge £5.50 because they all do and they can get away with it. Seems Metro Bank is the only way to go, especially if you're in London.
  • Wywth
    Excluding the 18 month initial free period that the big 4 banks all seem to offer, the monthly fees appear to be:

    Lloyds £5.00
    Natwest £5.00
    Barclays £5.50

    And now HSBC are introducing a £5.50 charge...

    Doesn't seem right to me, they're all charging around the same amount and the amount chosen has nothing at all to do with the costs involved, as clearly they can all afford to do it for free for at least 18months, and in HSBC's case a lot longer prior to Sept.

    They charge £5.50 because they all do and they can get away with it. Seems Metro Bank is the only way to go, especially if you're in London.
    Originally posted by zcacmxi
    HSBC charge £5.00 per month today for their small business banking - this will also rise to £5.50 per month from September.

    It's only the HSBC Business Direct account that was designed primarily for electronic transactions that had no monthly charge.

    Some equivlients elsewhere include the RBS Business Banking Direct (that has no monthly fees at present) and Bank of Scotland Business Internet Banking which currently has no monthly fee, but a £5 monthly fee will be introduced next month.

    Oddly, in HSBC renaming 'Business Direct' to 'Electronic Banking' to better reflect it's intended use, they are reducing fees for many non electronic transactions (but perhaps this is offset by the fact there are no free allowances per month, e.g. 5 transactions free)

    I don't follow your suggestion that the monthly fee does not reflect the cost when all seem to be (or will soon be) about £5 per month. Perhaps you have some evidence to support that allegation?

    But yes, the banks are commercial organisations, owned by their shareholders. Their aim is to provide financial returns for those shareholders (and many taxpayers are currently shareholders of some of the big banks).
    So yes they do charge what they can get away with subject to limitations set by their competitors. That's how business works; those of us in business realise that (hopefully).
  • Headly
    ... the amount chosen has nothing at all to do with the costs involved ...
    Originally posted by zcacmxi
    Exactly. And HSBC's letter of advice regarding the withdrawal of their free banking is quite patronising, stating:

    "We are making changes which we believe will make our charges clearer and make it easier for you to manage your costs."


    So paying fees is now easier to manage than not paying fees?

    and

    "We are removing the free monthly allowances which means you will only pay for what you use."

    Huh?


    They charge £5.50 because they all do and they can get away with it.
    That's the truth - it has less to do with the cost of the service they provide, especially when you consider they're sitting on our deposits and having free use of our money. But will they get away with it? There seems to be quite a reaction over this, with most folk talking about leaving. Whether that will have any influence remains to be seen, but it probably won't.


    Seems Metro Bank is the only way to go, especially if you're in London.
    Or Cater Allen if you keep £5000 or more on deposit.
  • Wywth
    Exactly. And HSBC's letter of advice regarding the withdrawal of their free banking is quite patronising, stating:

    "We are making changes which we believe will make our charges clearer and make it easier for you to manage your costs."

    So paying fees is now easier to manage than not paying fees?
    Originally posted by Headly
    I'm not trying to defend the bank in any way (in fact I'm looking to ditch & switch myself) but after I read this, and thought about it, I think I understand where they are trying to come from.

    At present, if you exceed the free allowances, you start getting hit with very high transaction charges. Now you know all chargeable transactions will be charged at the same, lower rate it will be easier to manage.

    and

    "We are removing the free monthly allowances which means you will only pay for what you use."

    Huh?
    Originally posted by Headly
    I think what they are getting at here is that once you exceed the small number of free transactions, you currently are hit with high transaction charges which presumably subsidise the free transactions yoou were given and those who don't pay any charges at all.

    In future, you only pay the lower transaction charge that presumably more accurately reflects the cost involved. You will pay these on all chargeable transactions, but so will everyone else, so no subsidising the freebies currently on offer

    HTH

    Or Cater Allen if you keep £5000 or more on deposit.
    Originally posted by Headly
    That again comes out about the same monthly cost.
    £5k in a deposit account at say 1% is £50 a year - not much lower than the big banks charge will charge over the year in monthly fees.
    Last edited by Wywth; 03-07-2013 at 12:03 PM.
    • darrinm81
    • By darrinm81 3rd Jul 13, 12:16 PM
    • 78 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    darrinm81
    Spoke to RBS about their Business Banking Direct.

    No account maintenance fee. Free internet banking. Includes free debit card. Credit card at £32 per annum.

    You can apply online or by phone - takes approx 10 working days.

    Unless I missed something this appears to be a free account that would suit most who don't need a dedicated Relationship Manager and can get by with Internet Banking.

    http://www.business.rbs.co.uk/afb/public/rbs/
    Business Banking > Accounts > Current Accounts

    I feel more comfortable with parking my money with a UK High Street brand.
    • mf78
    • By mf78 3rd Jul 13, 12:20 PM
    • 117 Posts
    • 53 Thanks
    mf78
    That account sounds like it would do me nicely, but alas theres no branch of RBS locally.
    • mf78
    • By mf78 3rd Jul 13, 12:23 PM
    • 117 Posts
    • 53 Thanks
    mf78
    Ah, just noticed its not designed for using the local branch anyway.
    • Slinky
    • By Slinky 3rd Jul 13, 12:47 PM
    • 4,158 Posts
    • 16,764 Thanks
    Slinky
    Spoke to RBS about their Business Banking Direct.

    No account maintenance fee. Free internet banking. Includes free debit card. Credit card at £32 per annum.

    You can apply online or by phone - takes approx 10 working days.

    Unless I missed something this appears to be a free account that would suit most who don't need a dedicated Relationship Manager and can get by with Internet Banking.

    http://www.business.rbs.co.uk/afb/public/rbs/
    Business Banking > Accounts > Current Accounts

    I feel more comfortable with parking my money with a UK High Street brand.
    Originally posted by darrinm81
    This is the account I have. Somebody asked earlier about depositing cheques - they give you free envelopes to post cheques off in, so they are usually in your account within a couple of days.

    Somebody mentioned icici, no way would I go there for business banking, got a personal account there and the website is soooo user-unfriendly, I'd rather pay for a business account than have their account free.
  • Wywth
    Spoke to RBS about their Business Banking Direct.

    No account maintenance fee. Free internet banking. Includes free debit card. Credit card at £32 per annum.

    You can apply online or by phone - takes approx 10 working days.

    Unless I missed something this appears to be a free account that would suit most who don't need a dedicated Relationship Manager and can get by with Internet Banking.

    http://www.business.rbs.co.uk/afb/public/rbs/
    Business Banking > Accounts > Current Accounts

    I feel more comfortable with parking my money with a UK High Street brand.
    Originally posted by darrinm81
    Do you have a link to the place you can apply online please?

    This was my original suggestion (post#3), but I can only see where to apply by phone ... and based on earlier post by one user, it didn't sound too promising, wanting 30-45mins just to send you an application form.
    http://www.business.rbs.co.uk/afb/public/rbs/!ut/p/c5/pZLJkqpKFEW_xQ-oIpMmgSEWjTSJNCkIE0NRUTpBKLqvf_renVgV18mDARGcWBk71 z5UTD3eat9f0313vVX7gtpSMdqJgQ-B_sWCtasAoDu0wqwDk3Fp7jGP0A785ZHAKx0wCOji2uc8hGhfY aiQ2gJ252dDzYg34PjK6EC3M60N2yXJbIBIaE2_tqF7NFXfq-rvy8po9mUdN1HoXSPDyA9lk-Ta1Y-1L7-q49vj6xalqxWWE8xWcgskcrxuC33xX9I3WV6SbiAPdA5KS6wRR oP8exrw7-gV95P-dfr_oB_z9w2Fz07fZ3_O33X4wgsrXn3wlu_ZPDaUFf3-_KfZV96QxUdCyxWgoNO0Dil7dStPVETF_N9viSjyZ1emWp_z2c tmdyQzHuyDPmAln4gc4072BywnNMlUh2zgGmcYkAwzUBBhoLqK ZCyLYT0sKIOKr4fyc0jKT_CJAEsjlmVoFjE0z1IhSaZRvuFBlo i7ZVfLiM2qc17V6WUidaHJ6WhmwBJ6N8-6Y9VU67nfC_sQMam0DOlOPuJeOrmrpJjcIPmC3LIeDZ983Jcfb ovybccOE09nberEoL7Xzb3kRzy4augcg86Omn6Ep0JhU-6A9B1r0puISTjW-WiSifSmqR2indZebrVGOlQC53geO1f10sXivUKR_aUQDJDICoP JU2GB8T166LOxLePZlzcMPkTABtAmxLBA-0ehuRWlMPmhEHBI5CHNcRwv8ByEiAq96ClRH1Ql3F1Oml37H-vDt5zGmt6m_NXtOs-USoY46cPk5uJ2XDcnV9SfzuD6lR-lQSv3Qs7a3-dIZuUZWKmmIbWXgtrMDe8i8R6Ivd00ZnHFrgLpQ43apj0COGbb SimWG16NzOCG6mTad1tkRa6pwdXIiENY4uQEabm_XCYJbe-7NCBKO8H2XJgNc-kTerLF1hDKzU-hr5vLAvq30BGTTQvxAf-7k_bsOT7xdJypOskf_-el7me67BdVw823xkx1qSintfssry43j3ZNC3mKJ9hnm7tzvS0t Fv8A4QIbjQ!!/dl3/d3/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/
    Last edited by Wywth; 03-07-2013 at 1:24 PM.
    • InsideInsurance
    • By InsideInsurance 3rd Jul 13, 1:46 PM
    • 22,223 Posts
    • 11,386 Thanks
    InsideInsurance
    Do you have a link to the place you can apply online please?

    This was my original suggestion (post#3), but I can only see where to apply by phone
    Originally posted by Wywth
    I did find it somewhat ironic that the electronic/ direct/ online account was the only one that you dont appear to be able to apply for online and must actually talk to someone about.
    • polymaff
    • By polymaff 3rd Jul 13, 2:54 PM
    • 1,531 Posts
    • 658 Thanks
    polymaff
    RBS Business Banking Direct
    I've just spoken to RBS. There are a couple of points to bear in mind, it seems:

    1. They exclude certain professions - one of which is Accountancy/Book-keeping - and the *Black-list isn't published.

    2. They only permit one style of business per account. The example we discussed was a Management Consultant who receives Publishing Royalties. "That's two accounts, then, Sir"

    Quite eccentric!

    *Estate Agents, Scrap-metal Dealers, too, I understand
    • InsideInsurance
    • By InsideInsurance 3rd Jul 13, 4:00 PM
    • 22,223 Posts
    • 11,386 Thanks
    InsideInsurance
    2. They only permit one style of business per account. The example we discussed was a Management Consultant who receives Publishing Royalties. "That's two accounts, then, Sir"
    Originally posted by polymaff
    What do they mean "style"? A trading style aka trading name? Do they mean business activities?

    If it is the former, do you really need multiple trading styles?

    If it is the later, how are they going to know? You get 10 payments a month they will not know if that is from contracting, affiliate marketing or book sales. Google could be paying you for any one of the three and a bacs/ faster payment wouldnt specify. Secondly, you could go for a suitably vague business description that covers all your activities unless you really are running a butchers, management consultancy and primal scream therapist under one entity.
    • polymaff
    • By polymaff 3rd Jul 13, 4:31 PM
    • 1,531 Posts
    • 658 Thanks
    polymaff
    What do they mean "style"?
    Sorry, my ambiguous choice of word. "They only permit one business activity per account".

    Indeed, how would they know? At this stage I was just interested in trying to detect all of the trip wires as early on as possible - if only to give me the time to develop work-arounds, such as a vague, all-encompassing, business descriptions. Also to evaluate just how eccentric they really are.
    Last edited by polymaff; 03-07-2013 at 4:34 PM.
  • Headly
    I'm not trying to defend the bank in any way (in fact I'm looking to ditch & switch myself) but after I read this, and thought about it, I think I understand where they are trying to come from...
    Originally posted by Wywth
    All true of course. But speaking as an editor, I sense that these cleverly worded statements have just one primary aim, which is to be as persuasive as possible in their attempt to convince us all that they're doing this for our benefit and that we're all going to be so much better off. For a few users, that might be the case, but the majority who opened a Business Direct account and used it effectively in accordance with the reason they chose it in the first place (free banking) will be £66 a year worse off, and I just detest the patronising overtones in HSBC's literature that come across as little more than a suggestion that such charges are all for our own good. It would be so much better if they just came clean and told it the way it really is for the majority of their customers.

    As for the cost of maintaining your £5000 minimum balance with Cater Allen to achieve free banking, don't forget that they pay a very healthy interest rate on their free business bank account amounting to 0.25 per cent AER on balances of £100,000...
  • Wywth
    Sorry, my ambiguous choice of word. "They only permit one business activity per account".

    Indeed, how would they know? At this stage I was just interested in trying to detect all of the trip wires as early on as possible - if only to give me the time to develop work-arounds, such as a vague, all-encompassing, business descriptions. Also to evaluate just how eccentric they really are.
    Originally posted by polymaff
    How bizarre! I'm getting the feeling they don't really want anyone to open such an account with them.

    Oh well, that rules us out, anyway
    We have more than one business activity, as anyone could easily see by referring to the SIC codes we have on our Companies House entry.
    • polymaff
    • By polymaff 3rd Jul 13, 6:03 PM
    • 1,531 Posts
    • 658 Thanks
    polymaff
    by referring to the SIC codes
    EXACTLY - so how would RBS respond to our:

    74909 - Other professional, scientific and technical activities not elsewhere classified.

    As I said in my conversation with RBS, "we make profits - how we make profits changes by the week". The response, and I've found this true with all major banks we've talked to, was words to the effect: "don't care - you fit our model or we're not interested" - and that model is distressingly incompetent and outdated.

    Bankers!
    • socrates
    • By socrates 3rd Jul 13, 6:33 PM
    • 2,796 Posts
    • 1,711 Thanks
    socrates
    Apparently Cater Allen has no minimum balance requirement if you apply via IT Contractor

    http://www.contractoruk.com/money/free_business_bank_account.html

    No minimum balance required (please note the application form is a generic one, you do not need the £5,000 min balance if introduced by us)
    • squowse
    • By squowse 3rd Jul 13, 8:45 PM
    • 86 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    squowse
    Apparently Cater Allen has no minimum balance requirement if you apply via IT Contractor

    http://www.contractoruk.com/money/free_business_bank_account.html

    No minimum balance required (please note the application form is a generic one, you do not need the £5,000 min balance if introduced by us)
    Originally posted by socrates
    Great find.

    Arrived here from the small business banking thread.
    I was already looking at ICICI. They have a branch 2 mins walk from my current workplace but not 100% sure about phone and online service. I can;t go into the branch at the moment as I'm on nights. They don't mention a monthly fee on their website. I phoned to check and was pleasantly surprised to get an answer at 8.30pm (one of the benefits of an Indian bank I suppose) but he could only help me with personal accounts despite me having chosen business banking in the usual telephone menu.

    I was unaware of the RBS business direct account despite many internet searches, thanks for that. Not sure I have got 45 mins of my life I want to give them answering yes to a million irrelevant questions on the phone though. If it's my only option I'll take it.

    So the Cater Allen looks interesting. Does anyone have experience of banking with them? How similar to Santander are they? I've found Santander have really improved the service beyond recognition in the last year or so.
    What's their internet banking like?

    Thanks a million.
    Last edited by squowse; 03-07-2013 at 8:52 PM.
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