Co-operative Bank business banking review – Co-op fees & accounts compared

Updated on 1 August 2023

The Co-op Bank is built on promises of an ethical approach to financial affairs, making this an appealing prospect for any company that values transparency and integrity in its trading practices. Morality only takes a business so far, though – will the Co-op bank meet your needs as a financial institution?

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Choosing a business bank account

Does the Co-op Bank offer business banking?

Yes, the Co-operative Bank has a range of accounts that are suitable for eligible business customers. This bank is a little more specialist than more traditional high street rivals, so do not expect the same service that you would get from a name like HSBC or NatWest.

If you open a Co-operative Bank business account, you can run your account from one of the 50 branches found on the UK high street, online using the website, or through the Apple or Android app.

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Is my company eligible for a Co-operative Bank business account?

The fundamental requirements for opening a business account with the Co-operative Bank are as follows.

  • You must be a UK resident, aged 18 or over, and a sole trader or director of a business listed on Companies House
  • Have a clean credit history devoid of CCJs, IVAs or bankruptcy in the last six years, and no missed payments on unsecured credit payments in the previous six months
  • Your business accounts cannot have shown a negative balance in the last financial year

The Co-operative Bank also introduced an Ethical Policy in 1992 which still stands today, and the bank will not accept applications from any business customer that contradicts these values.

What business accounts does Co-op Bank offer?

If you are looking for a charity bank account, open a Community Directplus account. It makes sense that the Co-operative Bank offers a specialist product for non-profit endeavours. 

More traditional business customers can choose from one of five other accounts, each of which has pros and cons:

Type of accountWhat is it?
Business DirectplusIdeal for sole traders, startups, and SMEs are the smaller end of the spectrum, customers that keep their balance above £1,000 enjoy free banking for 30 months and limited charges after this.
Business Current Account30 months of free banking again, regardless of your account balance, and lower transaction fees after this – in exchange for a higher monthly account fee.
FSB AccountOnly open to companies enrolled in the Federation of Small Businesses, this account is free to run, has limited transaction charges, and offers invites applications for a business overdraft.
Cash Tariff AccountDesigned for businesses that deal primarily in cash, such as market traders and professional tradespeople. This account keeps the single fees involved with transactions lower.
Standard Tariff AccountA simple and basic account that ensures your charges and transaction fees will never change, regardless of your balance or account activity.
Co-op business bank accounts compared

Most business customers will be best served by a Business Directplus or Business Current Account with the Co-operative Bank, though there are clear advantages to an FSB Account if you qualify.

How do I set up a Co-operative Bank business account?

If you are certain which bank account will meet your needs best, and you’re confident you will meet the Co-operative Bank’s criteria to open an account, you can do so online from the relevant webpage. 

If you need to discuss your eligibility further or are not sure which account will suit your company, make an appointment with your local branch of Co-operative Bank. There are only 50 sites in the UK, so keep this in mind if considering this bank for your business finances.

What are the advantages of setting up a Co-operative Bank business account?

The period of free banking is much higher with the Co-operative bank than most rivals. 30 months of no transaction charges could make all the difference to a small business or sole trader.

Co-operative Bank offers considerably more options when choosing a business account for your company finances with five possible selections – most competitors limit their offering to just two choices, and a business will typically only be eligible for one of them.

If your business is a Federation of Small Businesses member, the FSB Account is among the cheapest ways to operate a business bank account from any provider.

What are the drawbacks of setting up a Co-operative Bank business account?

Not every business will be eligible for a business account with the Co-operative Bank. Take the time to study what types of trade this financial institution is prepared to work with, ensuring that your company values match those of the bank.

If you need a business account with access to credit lines, the Co-operative Bank will not meet your needs. Only the FSB Account offers access to an overdraft, and no Co-operative business account offers unsecured business loansbusiness credit cards or prepaid expense cards.

The microtransaction fees involved in running a Co-operative business account can grow comparatively high if you have numerous incomings and outgoings throughout the month.

What fees are involved with running a Co-op Bank business account?

The fees and charges you’ll accrue when running a Co-operative Bank business account depend upon the type of account you open.

Type of feeBusiness Directplus – balance > £1,000Business Directplus – balance < £1,000Business AccountFSB Member AccountCash DepositStandard Tariff
Monthly fee30 months free, then £7£7Free for 30 months, then £10Free£10£10
Automated creditsFreeFreeFreeFree10p20p
Automated debitsFree70pFreeFree10p40p
Debit card transactionsFree for 30 months, then 35p70pFreeFree10p40p
Cash credits£1,000 free, then 80p per £100£1,000 free, then 80p per £100£1 per £100£1,000 free, then 80p per £10055p per £10080p per £100
Cash withdrawalsFree up to £100Free up to £100£1 per £100Free up to £10055p per £10055p per £100
Cheque credits25 free, then 75p per £10025 free, then 75p per £100£1Free75p75p
Cheque debits50p70p£1Free50p60p
Co-operative business bank account fees and charges

What is Co-operative Bank’s reputation among business banking customers?

Although the Co-operative Bank prides itself on an ethical approach that’s a cut above rivals, its reputation online is not much better than most of the more traditional high street banks. 

The TrustPilot score for the Co-operative Bank is just 2.0 from 5. That’s still higher than the likes of RBS and Virgin Money, but much lower than challenger banks like MettleTide, and Monzo.

Now, when you read the reviews in question, many of the complaints stem from personal customers that switched to the Co-operative Bank based on referrals and financial incentives. 

Some of the five-star reviews mention the staff that resolved issues with business accounts by name, suggesting this arm of the bank is superior. As always, though, draw your own conclusions based on the feedback.


The Co-operative Bank is a small enterprise with a big heart, so if you place significant emphasis on the ethical conduct of your bank, this could be a match made in heaven. The wide selection of possible accounts is also welcome. Overall, though, this bank is best considered by smaller companies rather than corporate giants or businesses with plans to expand. 

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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