Digital-based Countingup is a business current account that’s plugged into an accounting package. It’s designed to let small business customers pay their bills, issue invoices and do their accounting all from the same app.
What is Countingup?
Having launched in January 2018 for freelancers and sole traders, the business e-money account is 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 35,000 businesses.
Countingup isn’t a bank, but the account is provided through an e-money institution that’s authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
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.
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 costs £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 account 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 the current account, so you’ll get the most out of the app 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 current account and accounting software package.
Is Countingup safe?
Countingup isn’t a bank, so your deposits won’t enjoy the standard £85,000 protection that comes from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
However, Countingup’s account is an e-money account provided through a company called Prepay Technologies, which is authorised and regulated by the FCA. As an e-money institution, the company must keep your money in a segregated “safeguarding” account – it’s at Barclays, in this case. This means that if the company were to go bankrupt, your deposits couldn’t be used to repay its creditors. However, while there’s no cap on the amount safeguarded this way, you might not get all your money back as administrators are allowed to deduct costs in the event of bankruptcy.
Countingup has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 from around 1,400 reviews on the App Store, while over on Google Play it has an average score of 4.6 out of 5 from more than 650 Android app users.
On Trustpilot, Countingup received a mark of 4.5 out of 5, and a rating of “Excellent”, from around 1,500 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 (last updated: June 2021).
Pros and cons of Countingup
- Quick and easy online set-up.
- Combines a current account with accounting.
- Free trial available.
- You can deposit cash into the account at Post Offices and PayPoints.
- Monthly fees and transaction fees.
- No overdraft options.
- Can’t pay in cheques.
Our verdict: Is Countingup any good?
Integrated accounting in a business account 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.
Get started by visiting Countingup’s website and sign up for an account. If you have read this review and decided that Countingup’s account is not for you, you can also compare other business bank accounts.
Frequently asked questions
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