Starter, here is your guide to choosing the right pro bank account!
Dear freelancer, it all starts and it all ends there: in your business bank account. That is why your bank account is at the core of our app. We want you to have all the essential information to your success as a freelancer at hand.
Once you have connected your business bank account to Accountable, you can match financial transactions to their proof, be it an invoice to your client or an expense note. As you open the app, you directly see which transactions lack a proof: this is your on-the-go admin to-do list.
Best of all, you gain real-time visibility on your professional revenue and the share of that revenue that you can afford to spend today. Accountable takes into account social contributions, VAT, and income taxes that you will have to pay later rather than sooner on your earnings.
In short, we put an end to the uncertainty in which freelancers too often have to navigate.
>> If you are a natural person, you are not obliged to open a bank account dedicated to your business. We highly recommend it though.
All your financial inflows and outflows, and only them are concentrated in one same place. You know what you have to do to clean your admin. You know what is your available cash. In short, you gain peace of mind.
In the case of tax control, only your business bank account will be inspected. The inspector will not look into your personal spending, as he would if you had an account mixing both private and professional finances.
💡 This account is in your own name.
You choose freely the bank and the type of account. You can even opt for a basic current account, with limited services and… costs.
>> If you are a legal person, you have no choice: you must open a dedicated bank account.
You open that professional bank account under the name of your company. Your bank account number is among the data that identifies your business within the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises. It appears of each of your invoices.
You pick up your bank account among the large offer of professional bank accounts. These accounts gather features that are relevant to self-employed workers – e.g. professional credit.
In most cases, banks display a basic offer that you can top up with different options according to your needs such as payment terminals or fuel cards.
Find your professional bank account
Do not look for the very best bank account: it probably does not exist. Try and open the one that best suits your needs and projects. Here are a couple of criteria to take into account when looking for a professional bank account.
✅ Open your bank account from your sofa
Who loves running to the bank in the middle of the day and start queuing? Few of us and even less when launching a business. Unfortunately, most banks ask you to physically come to a bricks-and-mortar office to open your professional bank account.
If you want to open an account as a natural person, ING asks your data via an online form. You validate by email or letter and you receive your card and card reader by post. If you are a legal person, you can also open your account online via Business Bank or Telelink Online.
Belfius sends you to the agency of your choice. There you will be able to open a Belfius Business Account. If you need an account dedicated to your business, and not an account reserved to legal persons, you need to go to the bank only if you are not yet a client.
BNP Paribas Fortis will ask you to book an appointment with one of their counselors.
If you are a natural person and want to open an account dedicated to your business (but not among the professional offer of BNP), you can do so online. Still, some operations (e.g. transfers beyond the Eurozone) will be unavailable to you until you go to an agency.
✅ Pay as little as possible
You are a legal person and you must open a bank account, chosen among the professional offer of banks. That account will not be free, you will have to pay for it. Measure exactly what you need for your professional bank account and make sure to pay according to your needs, not more. You can invest in the business money that you do not put into banking fees!
At BNP Paribas Fortis, you pay each quarter either 3,75 either 9,80 either 24,80 euros. Depending on the package you choose, you have from 0 to 3 cards and a few other options. A Coda/XML report is included in the pack priced at 24,8 euros.
Belfius prices its packs at 10,31 or 14,50 or 35 euros. If you pay 14,5 euros, you benefit from a professional bank account, with a card, mobile and online services as well as a professional savings account. If you pay 35 euros, you receive a credit or prepaid professional card.
At ING, you pay 40 euros a year for a bank account made for natural persons. Legal persons pay 44 euros each year for the Enterprise plus professional bank account and 70 euros as a lump sum covering operations.
At KBC/CBC, you pay early from 23,91 euros to 117,96 euros. What makes the difference are e.g. the number of proxy holder and cards per account.
✅ Get a helping hand at the start of your business
Starting as a freelancer is not an easy task. Banks are aware of it and they offer interesting options to starters. Here is a sample – feel free to look at their entire offer and choose which approach suits you the best.
BNP Paribas Fortis offers the first 12 months of a professional bank account. A counselor dedicated to starters is also available to them. Starters can also activate their VAT number for free if they resort to BNP Paribas Fortis’ partner, Securex.
The professional business account is also free for starters at ING. The bank also provides a “Funding Compass” with a large view on all financing options.
Belfius gives away i.a. the business pack in the first year as well as two months of payments ’ terminal.
KBC/CBC structures on its website all the info the aspiring starter needs. The bank also launched an incubator, Startit @ KBC.
Ready to try a neobank?
N26, Revolut, Qonto, Bunq and the others: all neo-banks that popped up in recent years in Europe and offer a 100% mobile banking experience. Their apps are user-friendly and the fees attractive. Still, freelancers in Belgium might find them a bit limitative.
- Most neo-banks, including N26 and Revolut, do not allow overdraft.
- Structured communications are not possible. To pay social contributions or taxes, you have to transfer money first to a traditional bank account and, from that account to the tax or social contributions administrations with the right communication.
- Your IBAN will be a foreign IBAN, as these banks are not based in Belgium. One user told us that her foreign IBAN, from a neobank, was refused by the counter for enterprise.
4 million users in Europe, fundraising of 50 million euros: Revolut is not the smallest of all neo-banks.
- It is apparently not the bank for small businesses, rather for big ones: one user, a legal person (SPRL/BVBA), wanted to close his business account at Revolut and be reimbursed of the management fees for the remaining months of the year. To that aim, he had to ask his accountant a letter proving that his turnover was under one million.
The German neo-bank offers to open a professional account in 8 minutes chrono. It also acknowledges on its website that:
- Clients must resort to Transferwise for international payments.
- B2B payments are not possible either.
Holvi is a veteran: founded in 2011, the Finnish bank has a mobile and desktop version. Sizeable advantage:
- Holvi offers a professional bank account, with MasterCard included, for free.
Now you know enough to choose whether a neo-bank is or not your thing. Still, keep in mind that it is a fast-moving world. Things on offer change quickly!
Do you have another experience to share? Or you like to know more about it? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do you like to know what we do with your banking information? That is a legitimate question, we answer it here.