Co:author – Michelle Norton
New Zealand is home to more than half a million business enterprises – 515,050, in fact – according to Statistics New Zealand’s latest business demography report. And with businesses covering a whole range of categories, from shoes to cloud software, a “one-size-fits-all” banking solution won’t cut it.
Banking products that small businesses need include the following:
Outstanding value credit cards
In addition to secured loans, many businesses use credit cards to help manage expenses. Canstar assesses the pricing and features of the business credit cards on offer from our financial institutions, for both business owners who juggle debt, and those who pay off their card in full each month. Compare business credit cards here to compare rates, fees and features on offer.
Outstanding value deposit accounts
It’s not all about debt: businesses also need somewhere to stash their savings, and a transaction account for general expenses.
In 2017, Canstar reviewed and rated 14 business transaction accounts and 10 business savings accounts, across seven institutions, for its annual Business Transaction and Savings Accounts Star Ratings.
All 14 of the business transaction accounts in the star ratings have been rated based on their performance as both a low transactor account and a high transactor account.
Just on the account-keeping fee alone, you can save $240 a year, when comparing the maximum and minimum fee in this category. This might not sound like much but, if you’re a small business, it all adds up.
As well as products, financial institutions’ other services can be crucial for helping a business stay on track. Some institutional factors for small businesses to look for include:
Online banking functionality
Personalised service is vital – but small businesses also require excellent online banking functionality for sales, purchases and payroll facility. That includes general mobile banking, internet banking (the secure login) and website (the public, unsecure side of the website) functionality, as well as easily accessible small-business specific tools and information.
Other business services and advice
Small business is a diverse community encompassing business across numerous industries and at every stage of life. While all businesses have the common goal of surviving and thriving, each business will require a different path – and potentially, a different combination of financial products and coaching – to get there.
Business insights and education
Small businesses tend to be time-intensive, with most owners being hands-on in the day-to-day requirements. This can leave little time for research. Financial institutions can add a great deal of value to their small business clients by providing online economic and industry insights, analysis and education tools. It is in the interests of financial institutions for their customers to succeed financially and they can potentially play an important mentorship role.
Relationship manager availability
Despite the increasing popularity of online banking and banking self-service, for the many time-poor small business owners, the human factor is still an important feature of their banking needs. Whether face-to-face, or on the telephone, the availability of well-trained, knowledgeable and productive relationship managers is paramount.
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