Best banks for freelancers in 2021

Choosing the best bank account for digital entrepreneurs

As a freelancer, choosing the most suitable bank poses certain challenges - typically banks are mostly interested in bigger scale enterprises, the hassle of dealing with an individual entity incurring a lot of overhead is not exactly a lucrative option. However, digital-only banks are usually much more efficient in their operations (for example, customer support via chat is so much faster than over a phone call), so they usually welcome digital nomads, frequently offering specific products exactly for this audience. Let's dive deeper into the specific requirements these people have and then review all of the available options to find the best ones.

Most freelancer just want their bank to cause no hassle, rather than bring additional value

Specific freelancer banking needs

  • Accepting multiple forms of payment: Your customers may be paying you in a lot of different ways, with some of them also having a strong preference for the payment method because of the costs they'd otherwise incur. This can easily translate to losses on your end!
  • Ability to receive funds in various currencies: In a similar fashion, being able to provide your services for Australian dollars as well as for Polish zloty might win you a contract you'd otherwise never get!
  • Easy cash flow overview: This is especially important if you frequently find yourself with multiple income streams on varying schedules. Being able to have a one-stop-shop for all your finances is invaluable for people who are self-employed.
  • Personal bank account right next to the business one: An ability to manage your personal finances right next to, but both legally and UI-wise separate, is amazing for your grasp of both personal as well as professional economy.
  • Automation options: Either through the bank's app, or tools like Zapier, or even using the bank's Open API to write a script yourself, automating things like your recurring payments can be a massive time-saver.
  • Accounting software integration: Bookkeeping software can save you a lot of trouble when dealing with the tax services, and connecting something like Xero to your bank account can save you even more time on boring money admin tasks.
IT enthusiasts might appreciate neobanks for their powerful open APIs

Our Choice: Best Online Banks for Freelancers

bunq

An up-and-coming Dutch neobank that focuses on ethical investment options, giving their users an option to choose how their money get invested. bunq also planted over 2 million trees as part of their green initiative. Powerful Open API and colorful cards - what's not to like?

HQ: Amsterdam, NL
Founded in: 2015
Users: 2'300'000+
Deposit protection: Up to €100'000
Website: bunq.com
Personal plans: ✔️
Starting at €2,99 per month
 
Business plans: ✔️
Starting at €4,99 per month
Currencies: EUR, USD, GBP, BGN, PLN, CHF
Shared accounts: ✔️
Student accounts:
Support: Chat, email
Sign-up bonus: 30 days free trial
HQ: Amsterdam, NL
Founded in: 2015
Users: 2'300'000+
Deposit protection: Up to €100'000
Support: Chat, email
Sign-up bonus: 30 days free trial
Website: bunq.com
Personal plans: ✔️
Starting at €2,99 per month
Business plans: ✔️
Starting at €4,99 per month
Shared accounts: ✔️
Student accounts:
Currencies: EUR, USD, GBP, BGN, PLN, CHF

Who says business banking can't be flashy? NL's latest fintech unicorn, Amsterdam-based bunq is not only pushing for ethical investment practices by allowing users to choose how their funds get invested, but also planting over 2 million trees as part of their "Become CO2-neutral in 2 years!" initiative. This innovative challenger bank provides tech-savvy entrepreneurs with a powerful open API that lets you automate most of the routine day-to-day operations while features like invoice scanning, batch payments and auto-VAT can save you an astonishing amount of time. With sleek iOS and Android apps, and a (pretty basic) desktop app, bunq has everything you'll ever need for comfortable and hassle-free banking.

  •   Automatic payment categorization & Spending insights
  •   Open API and powerful integrations out-of-the-box
  •   Personalized payment links for easy payment collection
  •   Spend in foreign currency at a low cost
  •   Three physical & 25 virtual cards included
  •   Desktop app is very basic and lacks features
  •   Products launch so quick, sometimes they lack polish
  •   No cheque deposit options nor overdraft available

Wise

Formerly known as TransferWise, Wise is a go-to choice for money transfers abroad and international payments in any currency. With millions of loyal users, and a rich product development roadmap for years to come, Wise is a solid choice for a near-borderless experience.

HQ: London, UK
Founded in: 2010
Users: 10'000'000+
Deposit protection: N/A
Website: wise.com
Personal plans: ✔️
Free personal plan available
 
Business plans: ✔️
Free business plan available
Currencies: 54 currencies
Shared accounts:
Student accounts: ✔️
Support: Phone, chat, email
Sign-up bonus: N/A
HQ: London, UK
Founded in: 2010
Users: 10'000'000+
Deposit protection: N/A
Support: Phone, chat, email
Sign-up bonus: N/A
Website: wise.com
Personal plans: ✔️
Free personal plan available
Business plans: ✔️
Free business plan available
Shared accounts:
Student accounts: ✔️
Currencies: 54 currencies

Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is a money transfer and exchange rate powerhouse. Incredibly popular (with over 10 million users enjoying their services), Wise claims sending money with them is on average 7x cheaper than UK banks. Their "Borderless" account allows you to bank like a local all over Europe - simultaneously! Wise is easily the best choice if you ever pay or get paid in currencies other than the euro.

  •   Send money internationally at the real exchange rate with no hidden fees
  •   Get your own UK account number, Euro IBAN, US routing number, and more
  •   Convert and hold 54 currencies. Holding multiple currencies is completely free at Wise
  •   Google Pay and Apple Pay included
  •   Secure payments are automatically performed in local currencies
  •   Not a "real" bank account - rather a service to supplement yours. Still FCA regulated!
  •   No credit or overdraft due to the point above
Most freelancer just want their bank to cause no hassle, rather than bring additional value

Qonto

Qonto is an up-and-coming French neobank for businesses that is equally suited for freelancers, micro-businesses, SMEs and startups. Diverse in its product portfolio and capable of satisfying business needs of any caliber, Qonto now offers a one-month free trial for new users.

HQ: Paris, FR
Founded in: 2016
Users: 150'000+
Deposit protection: Up to €100'000
Website: qonto.com
Personal plans:
 
Business plans: ✔️
Starting at €9,00 per month
Currencies: EUR
Shared accounts:
Student accounts:
Support: Phone, chat, email
Sign-up bonus: 30 days free trial
HQ: Paris, FR
Founded in: 2016
Users: 150'000+
Deposit protection: Up to €100'000
Support: Phone, chat, email
Sign-up bonus: 30 days free trial
Website: qonto.com
Personal plans:
Business plans: ✔️
Starting at €9,00 per month
Shared accounts:
Student accounts:
Currencies: EUR

Qonto offers 4 different plans, ranging from a sole proprietorship-focused "Solo" all the way to a respectable "Corporate" tier that will fulfill every enterprise's banking needs. The plans vary greatly in both price and the features available, so you can easily expect to find a plan that perfectly suits your company's current (as well as future) banking needs. Additionally, Qonto is the perfect "middle ground" between traditional and mobile banking, so you get to enjoy all the benefits of mobile-first banking while simultaneously enjoying the privilege of having a dedicated account manager you can call any time.

  •   Free 30 days trial on a "no strings attached" basis
  •   An impressive set of features to have full control your business expenses
  •   Easy to switch - first-ever bank mobility service for companies of any scale
  •   Dozens of "out-of-the-box" integrations readily available
  •   An ability to get in touch with your individual account manager
  •   Technically, Qonto is not a bank, rather a payment institution supervised by the Banque de France
  •   Costly - no doubt Qonto has a serious proposition, but it comes with a price

Summary: Is mobile banking a good choice for a self-employed worker?

As a freelancer, your time is valuable – it literally is equal to money most of the time! Which is why we suggest freelancers treat their bank account choice as an investment. Shaving off even an hour a month previously spent on calling your traditional brick-and-mortar bank or sorting through paper mail these "legacy" banks send you is absolutely worth an additional €10 spent on a better bank.

The risks are also not really there - these entities, despite being digital-first and, mostly, very young (if you compare them to, say, Barclays and their 130+ years of history) are subjects to just as much (if not more!) regulatory scrutiny as their "physical" counterparts. Audits, constant reporting to authorities, very strict reviews of processes and policies, as well as their financial health - you can definitely rest easy knowing that your money is deposited at a digital bank.

This, combined with almost non-existent switching costs (you can get a bank account in some of the digital banks like bunq in just 5 minutes!), creates a perfect scenario for you to try and jump into right now! So what are you waiting for?

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