Our review looks at Soldo’s features, fees, pros and cons to help you decide whether it would make your business’s (and your own) life easier.
What is Soldo?
Let’s start with what Soldo is not: Soldo isn’t a bank nor does it offer a full bank account. It calls itself a “spend control and management platform” and it is ultimately made of:
- A spending account. The account is in the name of the company and it can be used to allocate money to various employees, who will use it for their expenses. If an employee’s expenses follow somewhat of a regular pattern, you can also set up auto top-ups so that you don’t have to remember to put money on their card every month.
- Prepaid Mastercard cards. You’ll give them directly to your employees. You can get as many as you need and, since they’re prepaid cards and not debit or credit cards, you’ll only have to put as much money as the person you’re giving it to is expected to spend. They can’t go into overdraft and you can also get virtual ones for online shopping. Soldo’s cards can be in three different currencies: sterling, euro or dollar.
- An app to manage both. It comes with a series of features to help you track your spending, such as reports and real-time notifications. Both you and your employees can get the app.
Soldo was founded in 2015 and is currently available in the UK, in Italy and in the rest of the European Economic Area.
How does Soldo work?
Once you’ve signed up, you need to top-up your Soldo account via bank transfer from your company’s main account. You can then start organising your expenses.
From the app you can create as many users as you want among your employees, provide each of them with a prepaid card and start allocating money.
Your employees will be able to add the picture of the receipt to a transaction and to tag it according to a set of categories you pick.
You’ll get a notification when something happens and also a variety of spending reports, which can be exported into spreadsheets and uploaded to your accounting software.
Soldo’s pricing and fees
Soldo currently offers three different pricing plans:
- A free Start plan. It doesn’t include the auto top-up feature, the receipt capture or some of the most advanced spending reporting features, but still does the job. You can’t have different cards in more than one currency though.
- A Pro plan. It costs £5 per month per card, includes foreign currency cards, receipt capture and auto top-ups but not all reporting and spending control features.
- A Premium plan. For £9 per month per card, you can get the full package.
You must also expect:
- One-off fees for each new card. £5 for a physical card that will be shipped to you, £1 for a virtual one you can start using immediately.
- ATM withdrawal fees. £1 each time one of your employees withdraws cash in the UK, £2 if they’re abroad.
- Currency exchange fees. They’re fixed at 1% of the transaction amount.
- Bank transfer fees (not in the UK). Transferring money from your Soldo account to another bank account is free in the UK, but Soldo will charge you £6 for SEPA money transfers in Europe and £16 for international transfers.
Basically, the standard way of using Soldo would be that you move money from your main account and then allocate it to your employees, and they can then use it to make purchases with the card. If you use it that way, you aren’t charged any extra fees.
Is Soldo suitable for your business?
Soldo offers a somewhat unique service by putting together banking and expense management, which isn’t that common among its competitors. It considers itself “ideal for small businesses” – if you’re running a big one, you’ll probably do your expense management differently rather than giving each employee who needs it a prepaid card.
Soldo offers a 30% discount to not-for-profit businesses, which sometimes have a hard time managing their expenses smartly due to the high number of people involved in the running of operations.
Soldo can become a bit pricey if much of your business’s expenses happen abroad – its 1% foreign currency transaction fee is more competitive than most traditional banks’, but some digital-only competitors offer a full business account with fee-free spending abroad in more currencies. Revolut for Business, for example, comes in 25 different currencies.
Is Soldo safe?
Soldo isn’t a bank, but it is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and has an electronic money licence. However, your deposits are not protected by the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme).
Customers’ money is kept in segregated accounts, which means that if something happens to Soldo, that money can’t be used to pay its creditors.
Finally, if any of the prepaid cards are lost or stolen, you can block them instantly from the app.
Pros and cons of Soldo
- It brings together banking and expense management
- As many users and cards as you want
- Useful tracking features to help you stay on top of your expenses
- Data can be exported into your accounting software
- Virtual cards for hyper-safe online shopping
- A basic free plan
- It comes with both an app and a web interface
- ATM withdrawal and foreign currency transaction fees on top of the monthly one
- You still need a regular business bank account for most of your financial needs
- Still safe, but not FSCS-protected
Soldo isn’t meant to be a bank, so you really shouldn’t use it to manage your day-to-day business banking – it would be unpractical.
However, it’s a tailored and smart solution for expense management, and if you need that, it’s probably a good investment. If you have a set of employees you often have to give your business debit card to, Soldo can save you a lot of trouble. Many business accounts are only conceived with a single user in mind, so Soldo’s different approach may be what you’re looking for. The prepaid cards can be personalised with the employee’s name, so everything will be crystal clear and well-organised.
On the other hand, Soldo won’t be necessary if you’re the one doing most of the spending – a regular business account will probably do just fine.
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