Since 2011, Helsinki-based fintech company Holvi has been offering freelancers and small business owners digital online-only banking. Providing business accounts with added money management tools, Holvi is licensed for operations across the EU by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Finland (FIN-FSA) and SEPA. Still, saying Holvi bank isn’t correct because Holvi is licensed as an Authorised Payment Institution. This describes what Holvi is from a regulatory point of view and that it matches the strict requirements of FIN-FSA. The differences from the bank are that customers’ funds managed by Holvi are segregated from the company accounts, do not accrue interest, and are not covered by deposit insurance as with a traditional bank.
Opening an account with Holvi is a very straightforward process.
New users simply have to provide some personal details, including name, address, and business name, and then provide verification for their identity and business. Holvi uses video chat for identification. Once the information is fully verified, you’ll receive a unique European bank account number and can start making transactions.
Offering a free, basic account is an excellent way to introduce freelancers or small business owners to the main functions of Holvi, without requiring any financial commitment.
Holvi offers its most basic service for free, which provides a secure business current account with free bank transfers, a fully integrated pre-paid Holvi business MasterCard, and the ability to create and store bookkeeping records.
However, once a user has become familiar with the app and decides to pay for an account, Holvi really shines, as the convenient invoicing functions evolve Holvi from a simple e-payments service into a real money management tool in its own right, helping freelancers and business owners keep track of every penny earned and owed with digital invoicing and expense claims.
For £9 a month, you get all that plus extra money managing tools, including the ability to invoice digitally, directly from your account, cutting out much of the stressful admin work freelancers usually have to do. The fee is taken automatically at the beginning of each month.
Both plans include a 2.5% fee for ATM withdrawals, which can seem a little steep but does reflect the fact that Holvi is essentially a cashless digital payment service.
Holvi accepts bank-only payments in EUR and GBP, which means cash and cheques and other currencies cannot be deposited into a Holvi account.
Payments to and from a Holvi account are made using FPS (Faster Payment Service), and Bacs is not yet supported. This means direct debits are not yet possible to make through Holvi.
One business card comes with a free account, up to 3 with Grower account, or unlimited Holvi business MasterCards with a €98 /mo Holvi account. All cards can be managed to live in the Holvi mobile app.
The mobile app works with your Holvi business MasterCard, so it will automatically keep your account up to date. Receipts are easy to save, and documents are simple to share with your accountant or bookkeeper.
You can set limits as to where and when your Holvi account can be used to make payments, and freeze a card payment if necessary, which adds valuable security to your account.
Holvi does not offer any specific savings account options, but as the overall aim of the service is to help you manage your money better, it can make saving money less complicated by making your business finances more clear.
Holvi does not currently offer any loans or overdrafts.
You can use Holvi from anywhere in the world, and the Holvi business MasterCard works wherever Mastercard is accepted.
Holvi also provides a pre-set expense category for travel expenses, which makes it easy to track and claim.
If you’re looking for a solution to replace your high street bank account completely, Holvi may be lacking some vital functions, and you may want to stick with trying out the free version available. However, for those digital-only freelancers or small business owners who need to manage a range of clients and online payments throughout each month, the financial tools provided by Holvi are great and definitely worth paying a monthly fee.