Revolut launches free accounts for freelancers and small business

Digital challenger bank is mainly used by tech start-ups with staff who either travel abroad a lot or are paid regularly in international currencies and want to avoid punishing foreign exchange fees

Updated: Revolut, the challenger digital bank, has made two of its business accounts free for freelancers and small businesses.

The bank is suitable for entrepreneurs who travel or trade overseas a lot. Its currency exchange rates are far lower than high-street banks and customers can hold, exchange and transfer 29 currencies. Employers can issue fee-free corporate cards to employees to reduce expenses when they’re abroad. Revolut also integrates with apps including Slack, Xero, FreeAgent and Zapier. Future bolt-ons include expenses management.

More than 100,000 businesses in Britain and the rest of Europe have signed up for the service.

Although Revolut will not say how many customers it wants to sign up by scrapping its £25 per month, product owner James Gibson said: “We got feedback from small businesses that £25 a month is too much for them. Now that we’re free, we want customers to come and give us a go.”

And although there is no subscription fee, international transfers are charged 0.4pc above the interbank rate.

Revolut for Business has also introduced more flexibility into its paid-for plans, enabling customers to either upgrade or downgrade their plans at any time.

Gibson said: “We understand first-hand how frustrating it can be for ambitious entrepreneurial businesses to get the support they need to kick off their journey to success. Using our own experience, we’ve developed a brand-new free offering which will save our customers’ time, money and give them the flexibility and control they need to operate both locally and globally. Our businesses are the beating heart of the economy and we’re so excited to be able to do our bit to support them.”

Revolut for Business says it mainly appeals to young technology companies that operate internationally. That said, Revolut has users among FTSE 250 companies.

Starling opens up business accounts

Meanwhile Starling Bank has opened up its business account to hundreds of thousands more UK small and medium-sized businesses by inviting companies with more than one significant stakeholder to sign up.

Starling’s new multiple person-of-significant-control (PSC) account comes 16 months after it launched its mobile business bank account for single-person businesses. Nearly 60,000 customers have signed up for the account.

In April, Starling was awarded £100m from the Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF), funded by Royal Bank of Scotland to boost competition in SME banking. Starling is using the money to build out its digital banking products, intelligent forecasting tools, and digitally enabled relationship management, as well as offer new lending products.

Further reading

What are the best business bank accounts in the UK?

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Tim Adler

Tim Adler is group editor of Small Business, Growth Business and Information Age. He is a former commissioning editor at the Daily Telegraph, who has written for the Financial Times, The Times and the...