What do SMEs think is the best business bank account? – survey

Swedish bank Handelsbanken overwhelming favourite when it comes to small businesses recommending a bank to others

Handelsbanken has been voted the clear winner when it comes to what SMEs think is the best business bank account.

The Swedish bank, which has more than 200 UK branches, came top of the leader board in four out of five categories, according to the latest Competition and Markets Authority survey published this month.

The bank was named best for overall service quality (79 per cent); relationship/account management (86 per cent); SME overdraft and loan services (78 per cent); and services in branches and business centres (73 per cent) for the fifth time by the survey.

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However, Barclays beat it to the top spot for online and mobile banking services.

BVA BDRC surveyed nearly 17,000 small business customers between July 2019 and June 2020, asking them if they would recommend their provider to other SMEs.

Mikael Sorensen, UK CEO of Handelsbanken, said: “We are particularly pleased to see this response coming from our SME customers, many of whom we have been working closely with to provide a range of tailored, flexible support.”

>See also: 12 of the best digital banking platforms for small business

Overall service quality – Handelsbanken

Handelsbanken was ranked first for overall service quality (79 per cent), beating Metro Bank into second place (67 per cent) and Santander third place (63 per cent). Royal Bank of Scotland tied with Allied Irish Bank for joint 13th place.

Overall service quality

Overall service quality   
#Bank%
1Handelsbanken79
2Metro Bank67
3Santander63
4Barclays59
5Lloyds Bank55
6=Natwest54
6=Yorkshire Bank54
8=Clydesdale Bank52
8=HSBC UK52
10Bank of Scotland51
11The Co-Operative Bank50
12TSB47
13=AIB45
13=The Royal Bank of Scotland45
Source: BVA BDRC

Online and mobile banking services – Barclays

This was the only category where Handelsbanken was not the most recommended bank by SMEs to others. Barclays came top at 73 per cent, followed by Metro Bank (72 per cent) and with Santander, NatWest and Lloyds tying for third ranked (69 per cent). The Co-Operative Bank was judged to have the least user friendly mobile and online banking service.

Online and mobile banking services

Online and mobile banking services   
#Bank%
1Barclays73
2Metro72
3=Santander69
3=NatWest 69
3=Lloyds 69
6Bank of Scotland65
7=Royal Bank of Scotland63
7=HSBC UK63
9=Handelsbanken62
9=Yorkshire Bank62
11Clydesdale Bank57
12TSB52
13AIB44
14The Co-Operative Bank41
Source: BVA BDRC

Relationship and account management – Handelsbanken

Handelsbanken was again the clear winner when it came to relationship and account management (86 per cent) followed by Santander (66 per cent) and Metro Bank (63 per cent). Royal Bank of Scotland was again ranked bottom in 14th place (48 per cent).

Relationship and account management

Relationship and account management  
#Bank%
1Handelsbanken86
2Santander 66
3Metro Bank63
4Barclays59
5Yorkshire Bank58
6NatWest57
6Clydesdale Bank57
8Lloyds Bank56
8AIB56
10TSB53
11HSBC UK52
12Bank of Scotland50
13The Co-Operative Bank49
14The Royal Bank of Scotland48
Source: BVA BDRC

SME overdraft and loan – Handelsbanken

When it comes to arranging small business overdrafts and loan facilities, Handelsbanken was far and away the highest-recommended bank by SMEs to their peers, scoring 78 per cent compared with 65 per cent for second-ranked Yorkshire Bank and 63 per cent for Santander.

SME overdraft and loan

SME overdraft and loan services  
#Bank%
1Handelsbanken78
2Yorkshire Bank65
3Santander63
4Barclays61
4HSBC UK61
6Clydesdale Bank59
7Lloyds Bank58
7NatWest58
9AIB53
10Royal Bank of Scotland52
11Bank of Scotland51
11TSB51
Source: BVA BDRC

Service in branches – Handelsbanken

Handelsbanken squeaked to first place at 73 per cent, although Metro Bank – known for its grand banking foyers – was just behind at 72 per cent. Lloyds Bank was some way behind in third place at 61 per cent.

Service in branches

Service in branches and business centres   
1Handelsbanken73
2Metro Bank72
3Lloyds Bank61
4TSB58
5Yorkshire Bank55
5Clydesdale Bank55
7Santander 54
7Bank of Scotland54
8HSBC UK53
9Barclays52
11NatWest50
12The Co-Operative Bank47
13Royal Bank of Scotland40
14AIB38
Source: BVA BDRC

Further reading

What are the best business bank accounts in the UK?