Mettle is probably not suitable for tech businesses

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Just to avoid any confusion, everything in this post is based on how things work in the UK and is for things available in the UK.

So far I have operated various business ventures off my personal bank account. Since I’ve been doing this as a sole trader, this is allowed. It does however make tax returns take more effort than necessary.


I recently had reason to interact with FreeAgent, which is some pretty cool accounting software that makes a lot of things simpler. Unfortunately to really use it to its potential, you need to link it to a bank account used solely for your business.

Conveniently, they offer a free account to anyone who has a Mettle account. I had seen Mettle before, and it is described as “the free mobile business account with no hidden fees or charges”, and is operated by NatWest, one of the big UK high street banks.

E-money accounts

After a quick investigation, it seems one of the reasons it is free (which is the norm for personal accounts in the UK but not business accounts) is that it is not actually a bank account, but an “e-money account”. You get an account number as well as a debit card, but it is not subject to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (a scheme in the UK in which the government guarantees bank balances up to a certain amount if a bank goes under).

That limitation seemed fine to me since I did not intend to keep a large balance, so I created an account. Sadly, I found out there are other limitations which basically rendered it useless to me.

Prepaid cards

Firstly, it does not come with an IBAN (international bank account number). This means I cannot receive payments from Apple. Secondly, the card is a prepaid card. Since it is tied to the e-money account they give you, it feels like a debit card to use, except some things just don’t accept payments using them. Crucially for me, Microsoft Azure and Google Ads.


In the end, I opened a business account with Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS and NatWest business accounts also get free FreeAgent accounts. The application was more involved (for Mettle, besides verifying your ID you just have to declare you aren’t in one of their list of prohibited business) but in the end was fine.

Lloyd’s TSB interest not as good as it sounds

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Lloyd’s TSB are current offering “over 150 more days of Interest”. The will you pay you interest from the day money goes in until the day it goes out. Since most banks don’t do this sounds like a good deal, but a lot people won’t gain from this.

It only applies to current accounts you see. The Lloyd’s TSB Classic current account offers 0.1% AER. If you pay in more than £1000 a month you can get the Classic Plus current account which offers 4% AER but that requires you to use online banking. And even then that rate is only on balances up to £5,000 (back to 0.1% after that). If you get an ISA or high interest savings account with an AER of 4%, 4 days interest is more than 150 days interest at 0.1%.

Bottom line, don’t change to Lloyd’s TSB for this reason alone. PS - Banking isn’t exactly common on this blog but I walk past the damn advert every day.