What’s Best for Your Startup? Accountant Online Explains the Difference Between Digital and Traditional Banks in Ireland

A bank account is needed by every business, and there are plenty of options available in Ireland.

However, the landscape is changing with the introduction of digital banks like Revolut and N26 into the market. What is the best bank account for your business?

“Over the past few months we’re seeing an increase in clients who are moving away from  traditional banks like AIB and BOI for business banking, instead about 25% of our new business clients are choosing to deal with such new digital banks,like Revolut, especially since the introduction of Revolut’s Irish IBAN.” – Christina McGreevy, Client Services Manager, Accountant Online.
“Our clients are referencing the ease of use, integration with pre-existing software and the minimal, if any, fees these digital banks offer when compared to the traditional banks operating in the Irish market. ”
The company formation services specialists at Accountant Online have compiled some information about how to choose the best bank account for your start-up and explain the differences between Digital and Traditional Banks ;
“Before choosing a bank to deal with you’ve got to ask the following questions ;
  • How much are the fees – 
  • Do they offer direct debit mandates – 
  • Is there a long application process? 
  • Are there any incentives/supports for startups? 
  • Are there any restrictions or limits on the account? 
  • Is there a banking app? 
Fees are hugely important, if you’re a new business just finding your feet you will ideally want to minimise expenses – If you’re paying large fees on every transaction you make it can really effect your bottom line.”
Bank Accounts Explained ; Digital V Traditional
There is most definitely an ongoing battle between digital and traditional business banks in Ireland, the team at Accountant Online have focused on two of the major players, Revolut (Digital) andAIB (Traditional).
DIGITAL – Revolut Business Account
Revolut is hugely popular in Ireland and now offer Irish IBANs, making it an attractive option for businesses across the country. This is a fully digital account and is incredibly useful for businesses who may be making and receiving payments in different currencies.

Key Points –
The Fees – Revolut offer a few variants of their business accounts, the free account incurs no feesbut limits you to only 5 free local transfers per month. Their ‘Business Grow’ tier is €25 p/m which allows unlimited team members, 100 free local transfers and allows you to exchange up to €10’000 p/m into more than 25 currencies at the real rate.There are various tiers on offer from Revolut that can scale up or down depending on your needs.

Prepaid Business Cards – Employees can be given physical or virtual prepaid business cards that are directly linked to your companies main account, these can then be tracked, limited and have expenses approved all in real time.

Multi Currency Accounts – Revolut allows you to deal with up to24 different currencies with no added fees.

Revolut Connect – Transactions can besynced in real time to accounting platforms like FreeAgent and Xero, cutting time spent on admin.

Send Invoices – Invoices can be created and sent from with Revolut’s mobile or web apps.

Open API – Revolut utilises an open API, which basically allows you to merge your Revolut business account with your pre-existing software and process, this can then allow you toautomate your payment processes.

Discounts, Perks & Rewards – Revolut has a number of ‘Business Partners’ like Google Adwords and Apple that offer various discounts for business accounts.

Revolut Pro – Special mention to Revolut Pro, it’s the ideal option for freelancers, the self employed and those working as part of the gig economy. This package offers 1% cashback, a dedicated IBAN, multi-currency payment acceptance, invoice templates and payment links. This is coupled with no monthly fees and no balance/deposit requirements.

How do I Open an Account?
“Opening an account with Revolut is simple as you can do the entire process online and accounts are usually approved within a few hours. You just need to provide them with a brief synopsis of what your business does and a photo ID. If you’re opening a corporate account you’ll have to supply Revolut with your incorporation number and company name.”
“Revolut’s overall offering is quite strong with an incredibly enticing pricing structure. It’s important to note they also offer a Subscription Management Facility which allows you to organise monthly payments from clients and other subscribers.

TRADITIONAL – AIB Startup Package
One of the most popular traditional banking options, the AIB Startup Account is available to any businesses that have been in operation for less than 3 years.

No Transaction or Maintenance Fees  – Two years with no transaction or account maintenance fees. However, this excludes cash handling fees. Cash handling fees up to a maximum discount of €100 per fee quarter.

Debit Cards – AIB allows you to withdraw up to €600 a day from an ATM with their business debit cards,the money leaves your account in real time also. You’re limited to 10 cards per company.

Business Support for Women Entrepreneurs – AIB run an excellent business masterclass for female entrepreneurs, ideally suited to business owners who have been active for 18 months or longer.

AIB’s Merchant Services – Access is granted to AIB’s Merchant Services for payments in store, online or even over the phone so you can find a payment solution suited to your business.

Online Services for Small Businesses –
 AIB have an online service specifically tailored to small businesses, there are also options for medium to large sized businesses.

Brexit Support – AIB are also offering Brexit support to all of their clients, includes support calls with specialist Brexit advisors.

How do I Open an Account?
“When it comes to opening an account with AIB, it’s a bit more involved – The director of the company and one other person who is authorised to sign transactions on company accounts must meet with the bank in a physical branch. Then, you are required to print and sign a document listing the terms and conditions of the agreed package, two company directors or one director and a company secretary are required to sign these forms.”

Digital V Traditional – What’s Best? 

“As you can see, the traditional banks in Ireland are lagging behind somewhat when it comes to convenience. Setting up a bank account with AIB is a very involved process, whereas you can get up and running with Revolut from the comfort of your own office.
The ability to easily create subscription payments is another massive advantage digital banks have over the traditional players – Revolut allows you to setup recurring monthly payments with little fuss, whereas organising a direct debit with AIB can be fairly restrictive.
More and more of our clients are moving away from traditional banking in favour of these digital banks, purely because of the ease involved.”