Best instant business bank accounts that you can open quickly

Say goodbye to stacks of paperwork and long wait times. Instead, discover how to get a business bank account up and running in a matter of minutes.

Gone are the days when you would have to book an appointment at your local bank branch, provide a stack of paperwork and wait for weeks for your business bank account to be approved.

Most banks now let you apply for a business account entirely online. You might even have your account up and running in a matter of minutes.

Latest reviews of business accounts that are fast to apply for

ANNA Money - ANNA Pay As You Go

ANNA Pay As You Go
Finder rating
★★★★★
Go to site Read review
Earn 1% cashback for paying with your ANNA card in selected categories.
It takes 3 minutes to open an ANNA Money account. ANNA Money offers 3 types of accounts: pay-as-you-go, business and big business. Pay-as-you-go could be a good option if your business is just starting out and you’re unsure of what features you might need. But it does charge fees for most services which could easily add up. The other 2 account options charge a monthly fee and have a limited number of services included in the package. Overall, you can expect to benefit from multiple debit cards for colleagues, cashback and the option to give your accountant access from all 3 accounts. Keep in mind that ANNA Money is an e-money provider, so your deposits aren’t covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if the company goes bust.
  • 24/7 support
  • Fast set-up
  • Invoice and expense services within the app
  • Ability to connect other provider accounts to the ANNA app through Open banking
  • No credit or overdrafts available
  • Still require a traditional bank account for majority of your business financial needs
  • No cash and cheque deposits
  • Cannot be used in web browser
Account fee N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations Clear Books
FreeAgent
QuickBooks
Sage
Xero
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

CountingUp - Countingup Starter Business Account

Countingup Starter Business Account
Finder rating
★★★★★
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No monthly account fee for the first three months.
It only takes a few minutes to open a Countingup account. Designed for sole traders and small businesses, Countingup offers built-in accounting software and you can share access with your accountant too. It doesn’t charge a maintenance fee for the first 3 months, which could be a good chance to try out the account before you commit. It only has 1 type of business account, which has 3 tiers with different pricing depending on how much you deposit in the account each month. But it’s not a bank so your money isn’t protected by the FSCS if it collapses.
  • Automated business accounting
  • Contactless card
  • Apply in minutes
  • Subscription fee applies after first three months
  • Fee can fluctuate from month to month
  • No interest paid on credit balances
Account fee N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations N/A
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

Mettle by NatWest - Mettle by NatWest - Mobile business bank account

Mettle by NatWest - Mobile business bank account
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
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Get FreeAgent included - all you have to do is make at least one transaction a month from your Mettle account.
It takes minutes to apply and Mettle aims to review bank account applications in 72 hours. So while it’s not the quickest, it’s still likely to process your application faster than many of the high street banks. Mettle offers free bank accounts for sole traders and small businesses, plus you don’t have to pay to use and integrate the accounting software Freeagent (both Mettle and Freeagent are owned by NatWest). But if your business relies on international payments, needs 24-hour support, or has multiple owners who all want access to the account, you might want to look elsewhere.
  • Quick and easy application
  • Freeze your card if you lose it
  • Free, with useful features
  • Backed by the Natwest group
  • Sleek easy to use app
  • Overdrafts are unavailable
  • Daily payment limit of £10,000
Account fee N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations FreeAgent
QuickBooks
Xero
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

Starling Bank - Business Current Account

Business Current Account
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
Read review
It takes around 10 minutes to apply for a Starling account and most are open in less than 24 hours. Starling has 1 business account with different add ons including a Euro business account and a US dollar business account. However, these come with an additional fee. The digital-only bank offers 24-hour support with real people by app, phone or email. It continually scores highly for its customer service, coming second place for business bank accounts according to the latest survey from the Competition and Markets Authority. Plus, you can enjoy fee-free spending abroad, send international payments and pay in cash and cheques by visiting a Post Office branch.
  • Add the new Business Toolkit onto your free Starling account and get the first month free of charge (RRP £7pcm)
  • Completely free UK current account opened and ready to use in 20 minutes
  • Safe and secure
  • Fully licensed by the FCA and PRA
  • Free to use your card abroad including ATM withdrawals, splitting the bill made easy with "settle up" feature, competitive and comprehensible overdraft fees
  • Decent interest rate paid on current account balances
  • Efficient app offering a range of good features such as budgeting tools and saving features
  • Has a marketplace offering competitive pensions
  • Mortgages and insurance from other growing fintech companies
  • Teen account options
  • 24/7 customer support (for all types of enquiries)
  • Relatively new so does not offer every feature, e.g. mortgages
  • No bank branches, all done via the web
  • Only available to UK residents
Account fee N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations FreeAgent
QuickBooks
Xero
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

Tide - Tide Free

Tide Free
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
Go to site Read review
Get an £80 voucher when you open a Tide business bank account using the code £80CASHBACK.
It’s possible to open a Tide account in 10 minutes. Tide has a range of business accounts that come with different features and price tags, so whether you’re a freelancer or running a company, there’s likely to be one that suits your needs. You can also have 5 accounts open at once, which can be beneficial if you run more than one business. Other perks include creating invoices, integrating with accounting software, and managing expenses by uploading and matching receipts to transactions. Your colleagues can each get an expense card too. Tide is an e-money provider rather than a bank, but its deposits are held by ClearBank which means that £85,000 of your money is still protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Categorised spending
  • FCA regulated
  • Quick set-up
  • No monthly fees
  • Easy to manage accounts and track payments within the app
  • Ability to set up direct debits and standing orders
  • Can receive online bank statements
  • No branches - all done via the web
  • Doesn't accept cheque deposits
  • No personal accounts
  • No international transfers or interest offered
Account fee N/A
Bank transfers N/A
Accounting integrations Clear Books
FreeAgent
KashFlow
QuickBooks
Reckon One
Sage
Xero
Requires credit check N/A
Overdraft N/A

What is an instant business account?

An instant bank account is one that can be opened quickly, though the process is unlikely to be immediate.

While the application form might only take a few minutes to fill in, you then have to wait for the bank to approve your application. How long this process takes depends on the bank and your business.

Many high-street banks might take a week or more to open a business account, but some smaller banks and e-money providers take less than a day.

Can I open a business bank account in one day?

Yes, it is possible to open an account in a day. But it depends on the bank’s processes and what information you need to provide about your business.

If it’s a busy period, like the end of the tax year, it may take longer for a bank to review your application.

It also depends on whether anything is missing from your provided information. If the bank has to get in touch to ask for more details, this could slow things down.

Bear in mind that if your business has a complex ownership structure, that could also increase the time it takes to open an account.

Which type of banks and e-money providers provide these accounts?

Usually, the newer challenger banks make it quick and easy to open a business bank account.

For example, most Starling or Monzo customers have been able to open an account in less than a day. Mettle, a bank owned by NatWest, aims to review applications within a matter of days.

While they are not banks, some e-money providers like Revolut and Tide let you open a business account quickly, too. For example, Revolut reviews most applications in a couple of hours, and so does Tide.

What’s the difference between an e-money account and a bank account?

Banks are allowed to use customers’ deposits to lend and earn interest. They also have to abide by strict requirements to make sure they have enough available cash if a customer suddenly wants to withdraw their money.

However, e-money providers aren’t allowed to lend customers money, so they might segregate deposits into a special account. Compared to banks, the regulations around e-money providers are less restrictive, and their cash reserves don’t have to be as high.

This can have advantages for customers. For example, e-money providers are often more flexible and might be able to process an application quicker than a bank would.

Are business accounts from e-money providers safe?

Unlike deposits held with banks, money held with e-money providers won’t be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

This means that if the e-money provider goes bust, you won’t automatically be reimbursed under the FSCS. Instead, you might have to wait while the business goes through insolvency, which can be long-winded.

But that’s not to say that e-money providers aren’t safe. They are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which means they have to abide by rules and regulations.

With that said, some e-money providers hold money with other companies that are regulated banks, which means that your deposit would be covered under the FSCS. For example, Tide is a financial technology company, but its deposits are held by ClearBank.

It’s always good to check where your money is being held and what protection you are entitled to if the business runs into trouble.

What documents do I need to set up a business account online?

This varies between banks, but generally speaking, you need to provide this information:

  • Details about the nature of your business
  • Proof of your business address
  • Your registered company number or name (if you’re a limited company)
  • Your unique tax reference number
  • Some form of ID, like a passport, driving licence or national ID card

Some banks might ask for information about what the business does and how you intend to use the account.

Depending on your business sector, the bank might ask for details about things like qualifications or registrations.

If your company has shareholders and directors, the bank might want to carry out an identity check on them too.

Bottom line

Speed isn’t everything when it comes to choosing a bank account, so make sure you compare the other features that the banks offer.

While some more established banks can take a week or longer to set you up with a business account, it might be worth the wait if they offer extra support.

But, of course, if you’re in a hurry to open an account, the banks and e-money providers mentioned above might be worth considering. To start comparing, head to our best business bank accounts guide.

Frequently asked questions

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★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor

Finder scores, in blue, are based on our expert analysis. We also show reviews from users, where we've received more than 10, with a score in yellow. We gather more reviews from customers every year in Finder's customer satisfaction survey.

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We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables is provided by Moneyfacts.

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