NatWest Business Review

An in-depth review of NatWest Business.

Updated: May 20, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

CompareBanks is reader-supported. When you click through some links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

NatWest is one of the “big four” banks in Britain, with its distinctive logo and colours instantly recognisable to almost everyone. But does it provide what you need from a business bank account in the United Kingdom?

Check out our ‘at a glance' summary for the highlights, or read on for the full rundown of everything a NatWest business account has to offer.

At a Glance — Pros and Cons

Pros

✔️ Free banking for 18 months for start-ups.

✔️ No ongoing charges for using the service.

✔️ Several potential sources of financing.

✔️  FSCS-guaranteed.

Cons

❌ Several branch locations have already closed.

❌ Micropayment fees.

❌ Online reviews are poor to mediocre.

❌ There are better places to put your savings.

NatWest Business Review — Overview

What is NatWest business?

Even though NatWest, like many other banks, has shut down many of its high street locations in recent years, it still stands as a true behemoth in the field of business finance, with an especially astonishing variety of lending streams accessible to company clients that will appeal to every income level.

NatWest may not provide the highest interest rates for business savings accounts, but there is still much to like about this bank if you want to put your faith in a major player regardless of the size of your company's annual revenue — and is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

Introducing NatWest business accounts

NatWest provides two business checking accounts, both of which are free of charge and come with access to the HMRC-approved accounting software FreeAgent.

A Start-up Account is a free checking account for businesses that have been open for less than a year and have annual revenues of less than £1 million. Everyone else must sign up for a standard Business Account, and there is no trial period.

Who is NatWest business for?

NatWest provides a free mobile banking account, a free account for 18 months to new companies, and a normal account, all of which may be used by a wide range of enterprises. To help you choose the best business bank account provider, we've included lots of useful details, taking a close look at the firm, the accounts they provide, the costs associated with those accounts, and other relevant details.

The Free Mobile Account, Start-Up Account, and Business Account are the three business checking options provided by NatWest.

What you get with a Startup account:

  • 24/7 access to your accounts.
  • For the first 18 months, all transaction costs are waived.
  • Easy and fast online registration.
  • Authorization is required for an overdraft.
  • Accounting software FreeAgent access.
  • Take online payments with ease with Tyl.
  • MentorDigital and the rest of their business network.
  • Advice from experts.

Mettle — now part of NatWest — offers the following free mobile account features:

  • No hidden costs, no minimum balance, and no monthly fees.
  • Make invoices and mail them out.
  • Compatibility with financial applications.
  • Use the online accounting tool FreeAgent.
  • Help available through app in real time.

Included in the Business Account for companies open for business for over a year are:

  • No set monthly fee, and you pay only for the data you really use.
  • Relations manager.
  • FreeAgent is a free accounting software.
  • One location to keep track of billing, spending, and account balances.
  • In-app and web-based banking.
  • 24-hour banking via phone in the UK.

There are no fees associated with the free mobile account (Mettle) account.

How to open an account 📁

In order to open a business account with NatWest, you must:

  • Start a business as a lone proprietor, partner, or board member.
  • Be eligible to reside in the United Kingdom.
  • Provide evidence of residency.
  • Be 18 or above.

The particular qualifying requirements are account-specific and vary by yearly turnover and company age.

The following items are required in addition to your application:

  • Information on the owners of the company (such as names, addresses, and phone numbers).
  • Specifics about the enterprise (such as location and contact information).
  • If you're a limited liability company, provide the number assigned to you by Companies House.

Setting up a bank account

The steps to opening a NatWest business account are as follows.

  1. Download the NatWest app from the App Store or Google Play, or register for an online account directly on their site.
  2. Get yourself to the closest branch of NatWest 
  3. Finish your application and NatWest will verify your status
  4. Make sure you can prove who you are by showing a valid picture ID, such as a passport or driver's licence.

Approval times for new consumers may take up to 10 days, while those for returning clients are often within 24 hours.

NatWest Business Review — What features do you get?

What features does NatWest business offer you as a business? We explore their key features in this section… 

1. Flexible accounts

Current accounts

Natwest provides three different types of checking accounts: one for new companies, one for established enterprises, and one for Community Enterprises and nonprofits. 

There is no monthly fee: new firms get free banking for the first 18 months, whereas established companies pay per transaction. Overdraft protection, credit cards, and a personal banker are all available, as one would expect from a larger financial institution.

Overdrafts

Overdrafts from NatWest are available for businesses up to £50,000. Expect an interest rate of roughly 13.65%, with details on interest rates and set-up expenses to be provided following approval of your application.

According to other sources, NatWest provides 12-month, £500-£25,000 business overdrafts to companies with revenues of less than £2 million. Fees for the arrangement range from £50 to £375, with interest rates ranging from 11.73% to 11.62%. 

If a company has a revenue of above £2 million or has access to a Relationship Manager, they may be eligible to borrow up to £50,000, double the standard business loan of £25k.

Savings accounts

There are three different business savings accounts available from Natwest, each offering interest rates between 0.01% and 0.05%. Depending on your needs, you can open an account in either the Business Reserve, the Liquidity Manager, or the Treasury Reserve categories.

See the next section for further details.

2. Savings accounts at NatWest

In addition to its personal savings options, NatWest offers rapid access, fixed term, and notice accounts specifically for companies.

  • Business Reserve
  • Fidelity Funds Reserve
  • Cash Flow Manager

Business Reserve

There is no minimum deposit required for the Business Reserve, and you may withdraw your money anytime you choose at no additional cost. This savings account offers an interest rate of 0.80% AER for balances up to £9,999,999 and 0.85% AER for balances of £10,000,000 or more.

There is no minimum balance or maximum withdrawal amount associated with this account type. Interest is computed daily and paid monthly, in arrears, on the last business day of the month. Interest is accrued at an annual percentage rate (APR) of 1% on balances under £10,000 and at an APR of 1.26% on amounts exceeding this threshold.

Fidelity Funds Reserve

Deposit funds into a savings account and receive interest daily depending on the prime rate negotiated at the time of application. You won't be able to cash in on these savings bonds until they mature. 

The minimum deposit required to guarantee money for a period of six days or less is £500k. This decreases to £250k for a short-term savings plan of up to 27 days and to £10k for a longer-term bond.

When taken as a whole, the Treasury Reserve is a savings account with a set term of up to 12 months. There are no maximum balance limitations for time deposits of one day or less, seven days or more, or more than 28 days. When you apply for a loan, you and NatWest negotiate the interest rate.

Liquidity Flow Manager

You won't be able to access your funds in your Liquidity Manager Notice Account until the requisite 35 or 95 days have passed. There is no minimum deposit required to start the account and the interest rate is 1.10% or 1.50% AER.

In general, it's a less complicated savings account that requires no minimum deposit. You may earn interest at an AER of 1.61% (calculated daily and paid at the end of each month) on any amount you deposit and wait 35 days to withdraw, or at an AER of 1.97% if you provide 95 days' notice.

3. Financing

NatWest provides a variety of services for commercial clients, including checking and savings accounts.

  • OneCard
  • Business Credit Card
  • Business Credit Card Plus
  • Fixed Interest Rate Loan
  • Small Business Loan
  • Variable Rate Loan
  • Asset Finance
  • Invoice Finance
  • Commercial Mortgage
  • Green Loans
  • Business Credit Card
  • Real Estate Finance

A regular NatWest business credit card with a typical APR of 24.3% is available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and sole proprietors with annual revenue of less than £2,000,000.

The annual fee is £30 (free for the first 12 months which gets waived for those who purchase over £6,000 in a year). 

OneCard

Small and medium-sized businesses and single proprietors with yearly revenues exceeding £2,000,000 will be taxed £45 annually, plus 1.6% interest each month. You may establish spending restrictions and load money into your NatWest business bank account using your OneCard.

Enhanced Business Credit Card

A NatWest business credit card costing £70 annually with a typical APR of 29%, available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and sole proprietors with annual revenue of above £6,500,000. With this credit card, you may get cash back on purchases, up to £600 annually.

SME Loans

The loan term might be as long as seven years, and you can borrow between $1,000 and £50,000. Estimated typical APR is 12.35%. 

Variable-Rate Loan

Borrow any amount in excess of £1,000 with interest calculated using the NatWest base rate. There are no penalties for paying off your loan early, and you may take advantage of repayment breaks if necessary.

Fixed-Rate Loan

Loan amounts in the range of £25,001-£10,000,000 are available, with repayment terms of between 3 and 25 years. These loans could need collateral. There are no prepayment penalties if you pay off your loan early. 

Funding for Assets

Obtain financing from NatWest through Lombard for a sizable corporate asset acquisition, with the option to buy at the end of the lease period or to participate in the proceeds of its selling.

Receivables Financing

You can have up to 90% of an invoice's value released, with the remaining 10% (less a charge) sent to you by NatWest whenever your client or customer pays up.

Business Mortgages

You can take out a mortgage on a commercial property and pay it off over a period of up to 25 years.

Eco-friendly Finances

To finance environmentally responsible and long-term profitable company strategies, you can borrow from £25,001 at either a fixed or variable interest rate.

Property Investment

Borrow up to £50,000 for up to 20 years to fix up and build your company's portfolio of investment properties.

4. Large liquidity

With 19 million clients in its personal and corporate banking portfolio, NatWest Group is the biggest business and commercial bank in the United Kingdom. They claim that they serve one-quarter of all firms in the UK and Ireland, from sole proprietorships to conglomerates.

The companies that make up the NatWest Group include NatWest, Ulster Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Adams & Company, Coutts, Holt's Military Banking, Child & Co, Drummonds, Lombard, RBS International, Isle of Man Banking, NatWest Markets, and FreeAgent.

In 1968, three separate banks merged to become what is now known as NatWest. With over 1.8 million clients, NatWest is the largest bank in England and Wales. They provide three different business checking accounts to startups and a specialised solution to companies with annual revenues above £2 million.

5. Migrate to NatWest simply in seven business days

If you're interested in making the transfer to NatWest, you can fill out an application right on their website. Before an account may be established, we need to run certain checks. After you sign up, they'll use their Current Account Switch Service to move your money over from your old bank. This should take no more than seven business days. 

Direct debits and standing orders get transferred and the old account closed as part of the move. The Current Account Switch Guarantee ensures your satisfaction with this service.

NatWest Business Review — Buying Guide

With that, let's go on to the next section of our NatWest review, where we'll talk about cost. Let’s explore choosing a NatWest business account.  

NatWest business banking fees

Outside of a free billing cycle, microtransaction fees are also applied to NatWest business accounts. The basic breakdown looks like this.

Transaction type Cost 
Automated payments 35p per exchange
Crediting cheques 70p
Debiting cheques 70p
Money received or spent70p per £100

Mettle, NatWest's online-only competitor, offers free banking services. Microtransaction fees and account opening costs are waived in this scenario, but you won't have access to a branch or any kind of loan options.

How safe is NatWest?

Since NatWest is a UK-licensed bank, your savings may be insured (up to £85,000) by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This implies that your deposits at NatWest are protected up to this amount in the event of the bank going down.

It's important to remember that the restriction affects all of your bank and building society accounts together. If you run your company under your own name and also have a personal account with NatWest, your total maximum on both accounts will be £85,000.

Since a limited liability company is its own legal entity, its business accounts must be opened in its name rather than yours. In this instance, NatWest will insure up to £85,000 across both your personal and corporate accounts.

Both NatWest in England and Wales and Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland are covered up to the same FSCS maximum since they are both members of the NatWest Group. This implies that the total amount of your accounts at both institutions would be subject to the £85,000 protection barrier.

Although the Royal Bank of Scotland is a subsidiary of the NatWest Group, it is not covered by the FSCS. If you have several accounts with different banks, such as RBS and NatWest or Ulster Bank, each of them will have its own £85,000 limit.

What about customer service?

With over 300,000 total evaluations, NatWest's mobile app has received 4.6 stars across both Google Play and the App Store. Trustpilot gives NatWest just 1.4 ratings out of 5, with 86% of reviewers awarding them only 1 star.

What other features set NatWest business apart from the rest?

As one of the “Big Four” UK banks, NatWest serves the financial needs of one in four companies in the country via its business checking accounts. Formed in 1968 as National Westminster Bank, it's now a subsidiary of the far bigger NatWest Banking Group, and this also includes both the Ulster Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland.

NatWest Business Review: The Verdict

NatWest, one of the four largest UK banks, reportedly serves 8.5 million individual customers and 850,000 businesses.

After rescuing the company in 2008, the British government now holds around 48% of the firm's stock, which includes the Royal Bank of Scotland and Ireland's Ulster Bank.

There are four primary business accounts offered by NatWest: 

  1. ✔️ For a new business. For companies that have been open for less than a year and have annual revenues of less than £1 million.
  2. ✔️ Company bank account. For companies that have been open for business for more than a year.
  3. ✔️ Community accounts. For the benefit of charitable institutions.
  4. ✔️ Mettle. A free account on your mobile device. 

If you want to create a new business account with NatWest, you can use their existing account switching option. The bank will coordinate the transfer of any recurring payments from your old account to the new one. 

If you prefer to do your banking in person, you may choose from among NatWest's many convenient locations around the United Kingdom.

Business accounts are available for both new and existing companies, with a free trial period for the former. After that, there are no more monthly expenses, however, depending on your company's requirements, you may want to consider if the “pay as you go” banking fees are still competitive.

Visit the NatWest website and register for an account to get started. If after reading this evaluation you determine that the NatWest account is not right for your company, there are plenty of alternative options available.

More about NatWest

Considering that the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest are both part of the same parent company, it would appear that NatWest would be the best option for a business in need of financing, given their offerings are almost similar. 

Ulster Bank, another member of the NatWest family, is also an option for Northern Irish enterprises. The “big four” high street banks also include Barclays and Lloyds; smaller alternatives include Metro Bank and the Co-Operative Bank.

Additionally, NatWest has started the process of terminating loans to firms who operate with fossil fuels out of concern for the environment. Many people will be relieved by the decision to put the planet's future ahead of quick riches.

NatWest products and packages

NatWest offers three different types of checking accounts that cater to the needs of businesses at different stages of development.

For the first 18 months after opening an account, new firms can use all of NatWest's normal business services, including wire transfers, ATM withdrawals, and depositing funds, at no cost. The usual business pricing from NatWest, which is pay-as-you-go and does not charge a monthly fee, will apply once the first 18 months are up.

NatWest contact details

NatWest provides the following methods of contact:

  • 0345 711 4477 (for general banking questions).
  • Live chat support using online banking and mobile app 
  • Mailing address: PO Box 16204, Birmingham, UK B2 2WP

Related Guides:

FAQs

In what ways can businesses meet the eligibility requirements?

Can I trust NatWest?

Can you trust NatWest?

How much do NatWest's business checking accounts cost?

What are the steps to getting a business account with NatWest?

What do I need to know about NatWest's payment policies?

In what ways can companies make use of NatWest's services?

Related Articles

10 Best Business Bank Accounts in the UK
10 Best Business Bank Accounts in the UK
As any small business owner knows, keeping your costs down is essential. There will...
Best Business Current Accounts
If you own a small company, whether it's just starting out or is well-established,...
Do You Need a Business Account?
If you’re a sole trader, or you own a limited business, you need to start thinking...
How to open a Revolut Business Account
When opening a business account, entrepreneurs are typically looking for three...

Mentioned Banks

About Bank of Scotland Bank of Scotland is a commercial clearing bank based in Edinburgh. Not to be confused with Royal Bank of Scotland, it was established in 1695 and is one...
Learn More
About Barclays Bank Barclays is a British multinational investment bank and financial services company. It was founded in 1690 and is headquartered in London. Barclays originated...
Learn More
About Lloyds Bank Lloyds Bank is a British retail and commercial bank. One of the ‘Big Four’ clearing banks, it was founded in Birmingham in 1765. It is the largest retail bank...
Learn More
About Metro Bank Metro Bank is a retail bank based in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2010 by Vernon Hill and Anthony Thomson, it is the first new high street bank to open in the...
Learn More
NatWest, or National Westminster, is a retail and commercial bank based in the United Kingdom. It is one of the ‘Big Four’ UK clearing banks and has more than 7.5million personal banking...
Learn More
About RBS RBS, or Royal Bank of Scotland, is a retail banking subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. The Group’s other retail subsidiaries are NatWest and Ulster Bank....
Learn More
About Ulster Bank Ulster Bank is one of the ‘Big Four’ Irish banks and is registered in both Northern Ireland (as Ulster Bank Limited) and the Republic of Ireland (as Ulster...
Learn More