Choose the Right Business Account: Traditional Banks vs. Digital Banks


Self-employed people have many responsibilities. One of them is the bookkeeping. Only a few companies can afford a commercial management that deals exclusively with this topic. If ever, a half-time worker is entrusted with preparing the documents for the tax consultancy office. There, in turn, the main focus is on preparing and recording the vouchers as required. There is not much time left for the consultation. And that’s the first mistake: not taking the time to do one of the most important tasks in a company.

Granted, just as a freshman you are busy enough. With the acquisition , the daily business – and in the evenings and on weekends, the billing is done. For an appointment with the bank, even for a call then the time is missing. Only when the suffering is too great, you take this.

And once you’ve finally made it to a bank appointment, it has to be painstakingly prepared and bureaucracy becomes a stressor. So you drag yourself with a folder full of files and paper to his bank.

To be honest, is that still up-to-date today? Many start-ups and the self-employed see a good alternative in digital banks. There they can easily scan and upload the documents and clarify their concerns – at any time of the day, from anywhere. Good reasons to take a closer look at this possibility before you commit yourself to a bank.

Which business account is right for me?

Which business account is right for me?

Many founders open their business account directly in the next branch of their own house bank. Not infrequently, this is the bank where they had their first passbook as a child – it is familiar, the use routine. Which terms and features are offered is secondary.

At first glance, many banks actually offer business accounts that do not differ in their basic functions: you can receive and send money. The differences only become apparent on closer inspection.

The first step on the way to the right business account is the choice of the right bank. This point is often neglected. Before you decide on a bank, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I value on-site service?
  • Do I value a fast service?
  • Do I value clear online banking?
  • Do I value useful additional functions and the integrations of third-party services?

What are the differences between traditional banks and digital banks?

What are the differences between traditional banks and digital banks?

The main differences are the presence or absence of out-of-home stores and the focus of digital banks on online banking, features and integrations of third party services.

If you want to be personally advised on site, the choice is easy, as only traditional banks operate branches. If you have answered the first question with “No”, the selection will be a bit more difficult.

Traditional bank or online bank – what suits me better?

Traditional bank or online bank - what suits me better?

Traditional banks are available on site with their professionals. They usually look back on a long history and convey stability and security. However, they tend to be a bit cumbersome: who wants to open an account with them, must bring time. And although online banking is now offered by every bank, it is often limited to the basic functions.

A counterbalance to this are purely digital banks that completely do without a branch network such as Fidor and Penta. Here the online banking, functionality and integrations are in the foreground. If you need a direct connection of the bank account to a balance sheet software or manage several users, you will often find a suitable solution here.

As a rule, direct account banks open their account promptly and without an appointment. A real plus, because hardly anything annoying more than long waiting times, especially if you want to start with the business. Without a business account, however, things often do not progress.

In addition, some banks do not even offer companies in formation the opportunity to open a business account. First, the company must be officially founded. Annoying, especially if it is the wish bank.

Not all forms of business can open a business account at any bank. Legal entities, ie corporations, are hampered by some traditional banks.


Outside hui, inside often too lazy to keep up with the technical innovations: traditional commercial bank.

For these problems, the online and direct banks apply. Registration and activation of the account without appointment and within a few days is not uncommon. If you are interested in Twitter transfers, social trading or trading in virtual currencies, you will not find yourself shaking our heads, but rather using user-friendly digital solutions.

In addition, many digital banks have recently started to specialize in special target groups. For example, there are banks that offer freelance self-employment conditions that they can not find in any traditional bank: a business account, for example, which automatically calculates taxes and social security contributions or creates tax reserves.

Other digital banks offer targeted solutions for start-ups and are set up for all legal forms, from the UG to the KG.

Digital banks are thus characterized by flexible and individual offers. Rather than relying on “one size fits all”, they offer customized packages for every need. They attach importance to meet the different needs by constantly new developments, and purposefully use the feedback of their customers.

In addition to fast account opening and low fees, a major benefit of many digital banks is that they provide their customers with a variety of digital tools beyond just online banking. For example, it is possible for Penta to link their own business account via API interfaces directly with an accounting software.

Open API interfaces make it possible for account owners to try out and change new FinTech solutions for companies in the market (eg Lexoffice, Currency Cloud, etc.)

What options are available for freelancers?

What options are available for freelancers?

Many banks do not offer freelancers the opportunity to open business accounts. Therefore, the choice for this professional group is also quite sparse. Currently, for example, Hufsy, Kontist and Holvi currently offer accounts for freelancers. Especially Kontist has a strong feature with the automatic calculation of taxes and social security contributions.



As soon as you say goodbye to the idea that a bank must have a local branch, a whole new world opens up for you. Functionality, speed and cost savings are the trump cards of many digital banks. No queues, no appointment, but new useful features that make business life easier.

Even though the bank around the corner nowadays offers you online services, these often have the goal of arranging an appointment at the store instead of requesting the documents with an upload field.

In terms of price, digital offers with many included services, such as a credit card, team banking or a fixed number of bookings, are often cheaper than traditional banks. A price comparison, preferably at quarterly level, is worthwhile in any case. Of course there are (still) areas where digital offerings reach their limits, but the industry is developing rapidly.

Any company, large or small, should not rely on the “one” bank, but choose the right mix of different concepts: For day-to-day business, an online bank may be ideal for making daily transfers easy with your smartphone to do. On the other hand, it may make sense to choose a traditional bank for the long-term financing of your company.