Raise your hand if you agree: it’s a jungle out there when it comes to sensible business banking.
Putting your money where your morals guide you without compromising on business-essential features can be incredibly time-consuming and frustrating.
I tried and tested and poked with a stick app-based and green banks that offer a full-service account for entrepreneurs and business owners operating from Germany and doing business globally.
Here are my thoughts and findings:
First, let me state that you need two bank accounts, one for business, one for personal use.
You can thank me come tax time.
Here’s a list of business account features I’ve come to appreciate very much:
- Set and change my own personalized pin, ideally one that isn’t limited to four digits.
- Handling all my banking via smartphone.
- Fingerprint sensor as an additional security measure.
- Flawless interaction with my bookkeeping program (ask me why, after a 3-month deep-dive test-drive, I’m using Debitoor!).
- Accept and send payment in all common currencies to make things easier both for myself and for my business partners.
- No account management charges (your bank MAKES money off your money, after all!).
- Free transactions across the globe.
- Subaccounts to keep sales tax separate, save up for future investments, etc.
- Transparency about current and future fees and charges.
- Transparency about where the bank puts my money to work – and to what end.
Ideally, my bank is one more building block towards a streamlined, lean, green business with optimized processes, smart e-helpers and me focussing on my core area of business brilliance, happily delegating everything else -> my goal:
Optimize (thereby minimize) my office time AND bank (ha!) on (thereby supporting!) fellow one-human businesses for bookkeeping, taxes, teaching me what I need to know to grow and thrive, and more: win-win-WIN!
Back on topic: Are branch banks are a thing of the past?
Think paper waste, costs of building and maintaining fancy bank buildings often constructed and limited to only this one use, the CO2 footprint of getting there to take care of business, and did I mention ALL. THAT. PAPER?
Generally speaking, banks are a nightmare in bureaucracy, the pandora’s box level moral drama around their investment choices, and sustainability.
The reason for the average bank’s mind-boggling level of wasting resources: for decades, for centuries, they never had to make sustainability a focus – they were thriving on other measures.
Making sustainability and morals (aka, not investing in animal testing, child labor, and the arms industry) a necessity for survival rather than a green-washing marketing message is on us as account holders:
Putting our money where our values and moral conscience lie is a fast-track to teaching old dogs new, more sustainable, tricks.
When it comes to banking, introducing processes that accelerate dematerialization is a good starting point.
These include reducing the excessive and unnecessary volume of printed documents such as personalized card carriers, inserts, and PIN mailers as well as paper products associated with delivering and activating cards, sharing information with cardholders, and monthly bank statements in paper form.
So app-based banks with a paperless approach to everyday business are the greener choice.
But banks can do SO. MUCH. MORE. and it’s our responsibility and privilege to favor those who do.
Your bank uses your money to grant loans and make investments.
In other words, they put your money to work for them – but you get to decide if you allow the content of your checking account, savings account or fund to finance industries that operate at the expense of future generations. Think factory farming, child labor, arms industry or fossil fuels – the list is long.
Check your bank’s status via the Fair Finance Guide.
The good news: Without compromising on features that help you run an all-around nourishing business, switching to a green, ethical bank makes your money part of the solution – and every Cent counts.
- Funding small farmers who need non-Monsanto seeds to keep operating sustainably.
- Micro-credits for female founders in under-privileged areas, helping a woman to feed her family today and supporting equality and education for all long-term.
- Sponsoring in wind-farms and environmental research and protection.
- Investment into domestic low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure.
- Transparency about where our money works – and to what end.
In 2018, the EU Commission decided on a comprehensive overhaul of the financial sector in order to achieve global climate protection goals and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Investing and directing money toward sustainable, humanitarian, green ideas, initiatives, and businesses is an immense task that will span decades and billions.
But I can be part of it, and so can you.
In Germany, die Umweltbank
and die Ethikbank
both offer a one-stop address to cover your personal account, business account, and investments.
My personal favorite is the Tomorrow Bank
because they offer a specialized service that spans all the entrepreneur essential features I listed above AND they are literally just a click away for information and support (like, when I did the research for this article).
Sharing is caring – for our planet and our community:
If you know the greenest of them all when it comes to international banking for entrepreneurs, please share your insights in the comment section.