These days, starting a company is a relatively easy process. As such, there are many services and financial products available to support entrepreneurs in their ventures. However, one of the trickiest elements of running your own business is keeping on top of your banking and expenses. When it comes to the end of the tax year, it can create headaches for many business owners. Thankfully, there are several services that make the process easier. One such service is Soldo. We take a look at what to expect from a Soldo account.
Quick look – pros & cons
Soldo has a diverse range of features that can make managing your business expenses and financials easy. We take a full look at what to expect, but have outlined the main pros and cons below:
- Combines your existing banking with expense management.
- Allows you to keep on top of your expenses and those of your employees.
- Offers plans for a variety of users.
- Allows you to export data into your accounting software.
- It’s not a bank account, so you’ll need a regular business account for all your needs.
- You’ll have to pay for ATM withdrawals and foreign currency transactions.
- Not FSCS protected.
Overall, this is a mostly positive view of what is a useful service for many. It’s not a bank account replacement, but it is a tool to work alongside your existing business finances.
What is Soldo?
Soldo is a company that provides businesses with pre-paid Mastercards to be used for expenses. These Mastercards integrate with Soldo’s expense tracking and accounting software. There are several levels of Soldo membership, catering to different business needs.
Carlo Gualandri founded the company back in 2015, initially aimed at consumers. However, after raising $11 million in funding, they expanded their offering to businesses. They’ve since grown to a team of over 100 people, with offices in four different countries. Soldo has helped over 40,000 businesses manage their finances, including huge names like Monzo, Mitsubishi, and Toyota.
How does Soldo work?
You can easily sign your business up for a Soldo account. You first need to select a plan that fits the need of your company. From there, you have to fill out a variety of information about yourself and your business. You can select how many cards you need initially, and request a custom quote if you need more than 30 cards.
Once you’re done with the setup, you can start handing out your pre-paid debit card(s) to your employees. These are each linked to your Soldo platform, where you can manage and monitor the cards in real-time.
There’s a lot you can do from the platform itself, either on the app or desktop version. You can set expense limits, sort transactions by type, manage receipts and more. Although Soldo isn’t a bank, you can still perform some actions that you’d usually do with a bank, such as depositing and transferring funds. Cardholders can also withdraw cash from ATMs.
The other main function of Soldo is to provide reports and analysis that can you can export into your accounting software.
What features does Soldo have?
Soldo is a service that is packed full of features. Many of these are incredibly valuable for getting organised with and keeping on top of your business finances. The exact set of features you get depends on the tier of service that you subscribe to. Below, we’ve outlined the main features of each of the three tiers:
This is the basic tier that Soldo offers. It comes with the following main features:
- Access to plastic and virtual cards for your business.
- The mobile and web app that comes with the real-time dashboard.
- Free deposits and transfers with your accounts.
- Basic CSV exporting to a variety of accounting software suites, including Xero automatic bank feed.
- Cards available in GBP.
The mid-tier comes with everything that Soldo Start comes with, and additionally has:
- Advanced CSV exporting to any accounting software.
- Complete Xero integration.
- The ability to capture receipts using the app.
- Additional card currencies, including EURO and USD.
- The ability to automatically top-up cards.
- Additional notes and tracking categories, giving an extra data layer.
- The ability to add permissions and roles to employees.
The top tier offering has everything that the initial tiers offer, with the addition of:
- Advanced reporting on financial activities.
- Non-nominative cards.
- The ability to custom-configure company roles.
What are the fees for using Soldo?
Each of the three tiers is priced differently, and there are also some additional costs for using Soldo’s service. We’ve outlined both sets of costs below. For the different tiers:
- Soldo Start. There is no monthly fee per card for using the basic service.
- Soldo Pro. Currently, there is a promotional offer of £3 per card per month. Usually, this service is £4 per card per month.
- Soldo Premium. At this level, it costs £7 per card per month.
For other Soldo fees, you can expect to pay:
- £5 for plastic card issuing and £1 for virtual card issuing. Each replacement card is charged at the same rate.
- £6 for bank withdrawals outside of the UK in Europe.
- £16 for other international withdrawals and transfers, applicable to bank transfer in USD, GBP to non-UK bank accounts, EUR using non-SEPA circuit.
- £1 for GBP withdrawals when your card currency is GBP. £2 when withdrawals in other currencies.
- €1 for EURO withdrawals when your card currency is EURO. €2 when withdrawals in other currencies.
- $2 for USD withdrawals when your card currency is USD. $2 when withdrawals in other currencies.
- Transactions in other currencies are charged at 2% for Soldo Start customers and 1% for Pro and Premium members.
- Currency exchanges between your accounts are charged at 1% above the interbank rate.
- Transaction investigation fees are £10.
Overall, this is a fairly competitive set of rates. Of course, some challenger banks have better rates, particularly on international payments/withdrawals, but Soldo isn’t a bank.
Who is Soldo for?
Small and medium-sized enterprises will find many of Soldo’s services to be beneficial. If you’re new to running a business, you may find that expenses, bookkeeping and taxation are particularly challenging. Soldo makes that entire process far easier and gives you and your employees the flexibility to manage their spending.
Those who are used to managing multiple employees expenses will find that Soldo can streamline your existing processes. The fact that it integrates with many of the top accounting software packages makes life particularly easy. Xero, in particular, has seamless integration with Soldo, meaning you can easily export and manage your company finances.
What are the drawbacks of using Soldo?
Like just about every financial product we review, there are a few downsides of using Soldo. Perhaps most notable is that it’s not a bank account replacement. It’s not trying to be, but it does mean that you have to add another layer of complexity to your accounting. You’ll still need a regular business bank account and accounting software to go alongside Soldo.
One of our other problems with the service is that there are quite a few additional fees for using it. Although the free tier is great for those starting out, most serious businesses will need at least the Pro level subscription. Here, fees can still creep up, particularly if you’re dealing with a lot of transactions in foreign currencies.
Finally, although Soldo’s customers’ money is kept in segregated accounts, it’s not protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
How safe is Soldo?
Soldo isn’t a bank, which is why it doesn’t need the FSCS protection. However, it is regulated by the FCA, and it holds an electronic money licence.
There are a few features of the app and website that add extra security to the experience. Firstly, you can instantly block a card that has been lost or stolen by using the app or website. Both are also encrypted and password-protected, meaning your data and your money remains safe.
Ultimately, Soldo has an impressive array of features. It’s easy to see how companies of various sizes could benefit from the services that Soldo provides. The pre-paid cards are a great way of keeping on top of expenses spending. And, with the advanced features of top tiers, you can create profiles for employees, giving an extra level of detail.
Although there are a few niggles, overall, the pros far outweigh the cons. If you want some real-time insight into how your expenses are shaping up, Soldo is definitely worth your consideration.