Wise vs Starling for Business Banking

Updated on 7 August 2023

As businesses continue to go global, financial management has become increasingly complex, necessitating reliable and effective banking services. This article provides an in-depth comparison between two prominent UK-based banking services – Wise vs Starling Bank – focusing on their offerings for businesses.

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Wise vs Starling Bank

FeaturesWiseStarling Bank
International PaymentsYesYes
Fee-Free Overseas SpendingYesYes
Free Electronic Money TransfersYesYes
UK Bank AccountYesYes
Multi-Currency AccountYesYes
Mobile AppYesYes
24/7 Customer SupportYesYes
Physical Debit CardYesYes
Integrated Accounting SoftwareYesYes
LoansNoYes
OverdraftNoYes
Direct DebitsYesYes
Contactless PaymentYesYes
Scheduled PaymentsYesYes
Instant NotificationsYesYes
Real-Time BalanceYesYes
Accountant AccessYesYes
Business MarketplaceNoYes
Fixed Monthly FeeYesNo
In-App Security FeaturesYesYes
Wise vs Starling

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✓ High Street Presence
✓ FSCS Protected
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Mettle Business Banking
✓ Business Bank Account
✓ Online & App
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Monzo Business Banking
✓ Business Current Account
✓ Dedicated mobile app experience
✓ FSCS Protected
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Virgin Money
✓ Business M Account
✓ In-Store, Online & App Banking
✓ Insights & Forecasting Platform
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Wise

Wise, initially established as TransferWise, provides businesses with a seamless experience for managing global transactions. They have earned their reputation as a transparent, low-cost service that handles international payments with ease.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Excellent exchange rates: Wise uses the mid-market rate for currency conversion, avoiding any hidden charges.
  • Transparent fee structure: Fees are clearly indicated before any transaction.
  • Multi-currency account: Handles 40+ currencies, ideal for international businesses.
  • Free electronic money transfers: Within the Wise network, transfers are free of charge.
  • Integrated accounting software: Simplifies financial management.

Cons

  • No loan or overdraft facilities: Wise does not provide credit.
  • Lack of physical branches: Services are purely online.
  • Fixed monthly fee: A set fee regardless of usage.
  • Limited additional business services: Fewer services compared to traditional banks.

Fees and charges

ServiceFee
Monthly Account Fee£16
International Payment0.35% + £0.80
SEPA PaymentFree
SWIFT Payment£3.75
Currency Conversion0.35% – 2.85%
Wise fees and charges

Unique and Standout Features

Wise’s main selling point is its straightforward and low-cost approach to international money transfers.

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They use the real mid-market exchange rate and charge minimal fees, ensuring transparency.

Moreover, they offer a borderless account which can handle multiple currencies at once, making it ideal for businesses dealing with international transactions regularly.

Starling Bank

Starling Bank is a digital-only bank that offers comprehensive services for businesses, including lending options, with an easy-to-use mobile app.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • No monthly fees: Starling charges no fixed monthly fees for its account.
  • Overdraft and loan facilities: Provides credit services for businesses.
  • 24/7 Customer Support: Always available for assistance.
  • Business Marketplace: Allows access to third-party business services.
  • Free UK bank transfers: No cost for domestic transfers.

Cons

  • Mobile-only: All operations must be carried out via the mobile app.
  • Limited international coverage: Fewer currencies are supported compared to Wise.
  • Less competitive exchange rates: Exchange rates may not be as good as Wise.
  • Limited physical presence: Only one branch, located in Southampton.

Fees and charges

ServiceFee
Monthly Account FeeFree
International Payment0.4%
Electronic UK PaymentsFree
Cash Deposit0.3%
Overdraft Interest15%
Starling fees and charges

Unique and standout features

Starling Bank’s standout feature is its comprehensive suite of business services.

Besides the standard banking features, it offers loans, overdrafts, and a Business Marketplace, which allows businesses to integrate with other business services such as accounting software and insurance, right within the app.

Conclusion – Wise vs Starling

Both Wise and Starling Bank offer robust platforms for businesses to manage their finances efficiently.

Wise’s strength lies in its low-cost, transparent approach to international transactions, making it an excellent choice for businesses with heavy overseas dealings.

On the other hand, Starling Bank offers a more comprehensive banking experience, complete with credit services and a broader range of integrated business services.

Choosing between the two depends largely on the specific needs of your business.

If you often deal with multiple currencies or have frequent international transactions, Wise might be your go-to choice.

However, if you value having a broader suite of services, including loans and a more traditional banking experience, Starling might be more suitable.

FAQ

Do both Wise and Starling offer customer support?

Yes, both provide 24/7 customer support.

Do both Wise and Starling have physical branches?

Both are primarily digital. Starling has one physical branch located in Southampton.

Can I get a loan from Wise or Starling?

Starling provides loan services, but Wise does not.

Do Wise and Starling offer multi-currency accounts?

Yes, both offer multi-currency accounts.

Is there a monthly fee for using these accounts?

Wise charges a fixed monthly fee, while Starling does not.

Can I integrate my accounting software with both of these banks?

Yes, both banks offer integrated accounting software.

Which bank offers better exchange rates?

Wise is generally known to offer better exchange rates due to its use of the mid-market rate.

Which one is better for international businesses?

Wise could be more beneficial for international businesses due to its superior currency handling and better exchange rates.

Which one is better for domestic UK businesses?

Starling could be more suitable for domestic businesses due to its broader range of services and no monthly fees.

Can I open a business bank account online with both?

Yes, both banks allow online account opening.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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