Neat Business review: A digital account for international businesses

If you’re a UK business with global customers or international banking needs, you may want to consider a Neat Business account.

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What is Neat?

Neat is a global payments company based out of Hong Kong, but it offers digital banking services to businesses from around the world, including the UK.

Neat does not operate traditional business bank accounts, but it does have an offering called Neat Business. This is designed for businesses to manage their international payments and collections in multiple currencies, and meet any currency conversion needs.

So if you’re a UK business that trades overseas, has a lot of international customers or sells globally through online marketplaces, then it’s worth taking a look at what’s on offer.

What are the features of Neat Business?

  • Sign up online from anywhere in the world.
  • Make payments in USD, HKD, EUR and GBP.
  • Receive payments from global customers, in multiple currencies.
  • Receive disbursements from ecommerce platforms, including Stripe, PayPal, Amazon.
  • Get prepaid corporate Mastercards for you and your team.
  • Integrate with Xero accounting software.
  • Exchange currencies.

What are the fees of Neat Business?

An account with Neat Business is free to open and operate. You’ll also get real-time notifications, access to an app to manage your Mastercard and multilingual customer support all for free.

Neat also offers free currency conversions, but there are charges to carry out certain other transactions. These include making ATM withdrawals, refunding a customer, and in some instances, making a transfer in or out of your Neat account to an international bank account. There is also a monthly fee to have the prepaid corporate Mastercard. The full list of costs can be found here: Neat Business pricing.

Also bear in mind that as the company is located in Hong Kong, these account charges will be payable in Hong Hong dollars (HKD).

How can I sign up to Neat Business?

You can sign up online for free, from any location in the world. You will need to provide a form of ID and some information about your business.

Neat says it will only take 15 minutes to complete the application, although it may take up to a week for your account to be fully operational, as Neat has to go through a due diligence process to verify your business details.

Is Neat safe?

Neat is not a licensed bank (and not run out of the UK), so it’s not specifically covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

However, in order to operate it holds several money licences in its native Hong Kong. Neat is also an FCA-approved EMD agent in the UK, and works with partners such as PayrNet Limited, which is an FCA-authorised Electronic Money Institution in the UK. All of this means that it will be safeguarding its clients’ funds in segregated accounts at a licensed UK bank.

Pros and cons of Neat Business

Pros

  • Open an account for free from anywhere in the world.
  • Make and receive payments in multiple currencies.
  • Take payments from international customers.
  • Multiple currency conversions.
  • Integrate with Xero accounting software.
  • Corporate payment cards available.
  • Multilingual customer support.

Cons

  • Not a full business bank account, so it may not provide all of the features you want.
  • Although there are no currency conversion fees, there are other transaction charges with the account.
  • Account balance limits and no credit facilities.
  • Not really relevant for your business if you’re not trading internationally or don’t have multi-currency needs.

Our verdict

Neat Business is definitely worth a look if you have international banking needs or your business has customers all over the world. Its free currency conversion is also a big draw, although you’ll want to check out the charges for some of the more complicated account transactions. If you’re a UK business it probably won’t be replacing your main business bank account, but it could be a good add-on service if you’re dealing a lot in multiple currencies.

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Data indicated here is updated regularly
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