Countingup business account review - features and fees | Finder UK

Countingup review

Countingup calls itself an "accounting bank" because it combines business banking and accounting. Is it the right option for your small business?

countingup

Digital-based Countingup is a business “accounting bank”. As you may have guessed, this means that it’s designed to work both as a bank and as accounting software. It aims to let small business customers pay their bills, issue invoices and do their accounting all from the same app.

What is Countingup?

Countingup combines a business bank account with accounting software. As Countingup’s CEO Tim Fouracre modestly puts it, “it’s Xero and RBS in one app”. It launched on 24 January 2018 for freelancers and sole traders, but it’s now also available for limited companies. Countingup says it reached 8,000 customers during its first year, and that it’s now used by over 28,000 businesses.

How does Countingup work and what are its features?

You can sign up to Countingup online in a few minutes, as long as your business is registered in the UK and you are at least 18 and a UK resident. These are its main features:

  • Business current account. It allows you to send and receive money transfers, to make payments and to set up direct debits.
  • Prepaid card. It’s a contactless Mastercard, so you’ll be able to pay pretty much everywhere.
  • App. That’s where you manage your account and where you’ll find all the accounting features, which at the moment include automated bookkeeping and invoicing. For now, you can’t do it from a desktop.
  • Invoicing. You can create an invoice and, once it has been paid, Countingup will automatically match it to the corresponding transaction (provided that the invoice number is referenced in the payment and that the transaction amount is the same).
  • Expense capture. You can add a picture to each of your payments in the app, with the idea of attaching photos of your receipts for future reference.
  • Tax calculations. Work out your tax bill and how much you should set aside to pay it.
  • Profit and loss. Instantly see how your business is performing at a glance, based on income and outgoings from the account.
  • Share with your accountant. Invite your own accountant to digitally view receipts and statements if you need to.

Countingup fees

There are three tiers of monthly membership for a Countingup account:

  • Starter. For incoming funds of up to £500. This account plan is free.
  • Standard. For incoming funds of between £500 and £4,000 a month. This account plan costs £4.95 per month.
  • Premium. For incoming funds of more than £4,000 a month. This account plan cost £9.95 per month.

However, don’t expect these prices to be all-inclusive. You’ll also need to add fees for most of the banking services (these prices are the same for all the membership tiers):

  • Bank transfers. 20p each, both to make and to receive them.
  • ATM withdrawals. £1 each.
  • Cash deposits. £1 each at the Post Office, 3% of the transaction value at PayPoints.
  • Currency exchange. The foreign currency transaction fee is 3%.

When signing up to Countingup you get the first three months for free (so no monthly subscription fees or bank transfer charges, although the other transaction fees still apply).

Is Countingup suitable for my business?

Countingup has been created with small and one-person businesses in mind. Its features aren’t tailored for big and complex businesses, that employ many people and will be regularly banking tens of thousands of pounds.

Countingup’s main pro is combining accounting and banking, so you’ll get the most out of the account if you’re planning to use it for both of these things. To enjoy Countingup to its fullest you might be a freelancer or a startup, or a small business that has not established your banking and accounting systems anywhere else yet. Otherwise, you’ll have to be ready for quite a big change in the way you do things, and be prepared to switch over from both your existing business bank account and accounting software package.

Is Countingup safe?

Countingup isn’t officially a bank, so your deposits won’t enjoy the standard £85,000 protection that comes from the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme).

However, Countingup’s account is provided by Prepay Solutions, which has a licence for issuing electronic money granted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It also keeps your money in a segregated account at Barclays, which means that if Countingup was to go bankrupt, your deposits can’t be used to repay its creditors.

Customer reviews

Countingup has an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 from more than 1,100 reviews on the App Store, while over on Google Play it has an average score of 4.7 out of 5 from around 650 Android app users.

On Trustpilot, Countingup received a mark of 4.5 out of 5, and a rating of Excellent, from 1,400 feedback posts. Overall, reviewers on this platform praised the smooth account opening process and account features, although some customers said they would like the option of having more than one bank card with their account.

Compare Countingup against its competitors

Data updated regularly
Name Product Account fee Bank transfers Accounting integrations Non-Sterling transactions Overdraft Account management Key benefits
Cashplus Business Bank Account
Free
£0.20
First 10 payments sent each month FREE
Clear Books, FreeAgent, KashFlow, QuickBooks, Sage, Xero
2.99%

On invitation
App, Online
Tide
Free
£0.20
Free if both accounts are with Tide
FreeAgent, KashFlow, QuickBooks, Reckon One, Sage, Xero
Free
App, Online
Register your limited company for free (usually £12) and open a Tide account in one go: choose 'Register a company' from the Tide homepage menu
Starling Business Account
Free
Free
FreeAgent, Xero
Free

Min. 18 months trading to apply
App, Online
Add the new Business Toolkit onto your free Starling account, and get the first month free of charge (RRP £7pcm)
Mettle
Free
Free
FreeAgent, Xero
Unable to make international payments
App
Comes with a suite of free accounting software to integrate with
ANNA
Free
Free up to a max. balance of £5,000 (or up to £500 paid in per month)
Free
2 free transfers per month and unlimited free transfers to Anna accounts
N/A
Free
App
Earn 1% cashback for paying with your ANNA card in selected categories. Enjoy premium benefits free for the first 6 months.
CardOneMoney
£12.50
Free in first 3 months
No monthly account fee for the first three months*

From £0.30
N/A
£10
(international transfer out)
App, Online, Telephone
HSBC Kinetic

No monthly account fees during early access*
Free
QuickBooks, Sage, Xero

International payments unavailable

Up to £30,000 subject to eligibility and application
App, Online
*No monthly account fees for 18 months, thereafter a monthly charge of £6.50 applies
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Compare up to 4 providers

Pros and cons of Countingup

Pros

  • Quick and easy online set-up.
  • Brings together banking and accounting.
  • Free trial available.
  • You can deposit cash into the account at Post Offices and PayPoints.

Cons

  • Monthly fees and transaction fees.
  • No overdraft options.
  • Can’t pay in cheques.

Our verdict

Unifying accounting and banking is obviously a great idea, and one that can save small businesses much time and potentially also quite a lot of money, as they don’t have to pay for separate accounting software. Countingup’s features are smart and handy, covering off the basics of what you would expect from both a business current account and accounting software.

When it comes to pricing, there are both monthly account fees (unless you are a very small business using the free plan) and banking transaction fees involved. Some of Countingup’s digital banking competitors do have cheaper prices for these aspects of a business account.

However, let’s not forget that there aren’t many accounting and banking app combos around yet, so this is a relatively unique service at the moment.

Tide

Try Tide as an alternative

  • Award-winning, smart, simple business account
  • The hassle-free account for your business
  • Get your sort code and account number in minutes
Promoted
“There are a lot more banking providers offering digital-only business accounts these days,” says Matthew Boyle, Finder’s banking publisher. “If you want to find out more about the business accounts on offer from both the digital challengers and the high street banks, then head over to our business banking section.”

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