As a freelancer, it’s simply not fun to spend more time on financial & accounting issues than one your actual job. Enters Holvi, which promesses to solve both at the same time. This Holvi bank review answers the question: “Have they succeeded?”.
Holvi bank review: TL;DR
You will find a detailed Holvi bank review in this post. Here are the main points:
- Holvi is a business bank account designed for freelancers & small businesses in Germany.
- Its main USP is that it gathers banking & accounting features into one.
- It’s available in English and easy to open an account online.
- The cheaper plan (Lite 6€/month) cannot be recommended because it does not have the relevant features most freelancers need. We recommend the Pro plan at 12€/month.
- Holvi cons: Support is a bit limited, it doesn’t support cash-oriented use cases & cannot compete with full-fledged accounting solutions for freelancers.
- Holvi pros: It’s relatively cheap for what it does, it supports e-invoicing generation if you work with public customers.
- We don’t recommend Holvi unless you do need a business bank account, a business credit card or the e-invoice features. You can be served better by opening a free bank account in Germany somewhere else and connecting it to a bookkeeping software (for about the same price).
You can read onto the parts that interest you the most.
What’s unique about Holvi
Holvi is an online bank that caters to the self-employed & small businesses. They offer business accounts with IBAN, as well as a number of accounting services such as invoicing, bookkeeping, expense tracking, and tax calculation. Their aim is to offer a holistic finance management solution to freelancers and small businesses who want all of their banking and accounting handled on one platform. In addition to this, Holvi also allows individuals to sell products online.
Founded in Finland in 2008 and headquartered in Helsinki, Holvi quickly spread to other parts of Europe and now offers banking services in Germany.They’re authorized by the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA) to operate within the European Economic Area (EEA) and are a Financial Payment Institution operating as a Mastercard Principal member, meaning they issue their own Holvi Business Mastercard.
Being a multinational banking institution, Holvi’s website and support content are available in English, German, and Suomi.
How do I open a Holvi account?
Opening a Holvi account is quite straightforward.
- Start by heading to their home page and then clicking on the “Open Account” button.
- You’ll need to select the country you want to register in, the type of business you operate, the name of the business, your tax identification number, plus your personal details.
- You also have to verify your identity which Holvi allows you to do completely online or in the Holvi app using IDnow Videoident. Essentially it involves presenting your passport or ID to an agent using your phone or webcam who will verify that you are who you say you are.
- Once the verification process is completed, you can use your Holvi account immediately and the relevant account documents and credit/debit card will be sent to you in the post.
Holvi bank review: main features
Holvi is pretty transparent when it comes to fees. They offer two different accounts at two separate prices.
Holvi Lite costs 6€ per month and allows you to manage your finances, see your profits as well as your VAT balance in real-time. This plan does not offer enough feature to truly fulfill its vision: to replace accounting software too. It misses crucial features like invoice creation & VAT reports.
Holvi Pro costs 12€ per month gives you more advanced financial management and allows you to send invoices and prepare and export all transactions for tax filing. This is the plan we would recommend.
Below you can see the breakdown of available features between the two accounts.
|Features||Holvi Light||Holvi Pro|
|Business account with IBAN, payment capabilities, and balance management.||Yes||Yes|
|Business Debit Mastercard®||1||3|
|Up to 500 free monthly SEPA transfers (each transfer costs 0.25€ after)||Yes||Yes|
|ATM cash withdrawals (costs a small fee)||2.5%||2%|
|Card use abroad (transactions outside of the EU are charged a small exchange fee)||2%||2%|
|Additional users||Up to 2||Up to 2|
|Expense and income tracking||Yes||Yes|
|Receipt scanning and storing||Yes||Yes|
|Transaction categorization and in-line editing for simpler accounting and VAT reporting||Yes||Yes|
|Create and send invoices (PDF and emails)||No||Yes|
|Customer list management||No||Yes|
|Profit and Loss and VAT balance overview||Yes||Yes|
|Financial forecast in real-time||Yes||Yes|
|Detailed view of income, expenses, profit, and VAT summaries||Yes||Yes|
|Add non-Holvi transactions to your account||No||Yes|
|Detailed VAT breakdown on sales and purchases||No||Yes|
|Data export via Dropbox||Yes||Yes|
|Generate income statements, invoicing, and VAT reports||No||Yes|
|General ledger and accounting journal reports||Yes||Yes|
Holvi unique features
While Holvi is a digital bank and a player in the FinTech space, it’s different from competitors such as N26, Bunq, or Penta. In addition to its traditional business banking services, its bookkeeping, accounting, and tax reporting features give it more advanced functionalities and set it apart from competitors. These features include:
- Invoicing creation, sending, and tracking capabilities
- Accounting and bookkeeping features
- VAT and income tax calculator
- Accounting software integration (just LexOffice for now)
- Options to export accounting data via Dropbox
- Receipt scanning and recording
- Sending e-invoices (that’s required if you are working with the federal government & billing them more than 100€. It’s basically an invoice sent in XML machine readable format)
What are Holvi’s weaknesses?
No Holvi bank review would be complete without mentioning its drawbacks.
Support is lackluster
Since the bank is completely digital, it doesn’t have any physical branches should you want to speak to an employee about any banking matters. Their support also leaves something to be desired. While you can contact them online via email and through a dedicated live chat in your account, they don’t offer any phone support, so it can be difficult to contact them for urgent matters. The window for chat support is also very narrow (10am – 3pm on weekdays), so it can be quite frustrating if you need to contact them outside of these times.
Poor cash support
And while you can withdraw cash from any ATM for a fee, Holvi doesn’t support any methods of depositing cash, which can be frustrating if you’re a small business owner who deals in cash. The only way to deposit cash is to make a SEPA transfer using a third-party bank, which can be a deal-breaker if you’re planning on using Holvi as your main and only business bank account.
Bad a repeated business
Also, if you’re a business that relies on repeat payments from customers, you’ll be disappointed to know that Holvi doesn’t support any methods of direct debits from customers yet. They don’t support integration with Apple or Google Pay just yet. They also don’t offer any overdraft or credit capabilities.
Bookkeeping features are done better somewhere else
German-based self-employed people have a great choice of bookkeeping software designed for freelancers. They are available in English or sometimes other languages, with a better-track record supporting freelancers in this field. While Holvi is matching most features, it doesn’t do it any better or with the same flexibility. The only truly differentiating feature is e-invoicing. That might convince you to go for Holvi.
Who is Holvi good for?
Holvi strikes a really interesting offer in one platform that takes care of your banking, invoicing, bookkeeping, and tax reporting. The fees are very reasonable for what it does. If you are just starting out as a freelancer in Germany, it might be a great way to start. One could argue however that in the case you don’t need the following:
- A business bank account
- A business credit card
- e-invoicing capability when dealing with public customers
If you already have enough business for a bigger monthly fee, we would however recommend Kontist instead. It does anything Holvi can on the banking side, but it also offers “hands-off” accounting service for a low 50€ monthly fee.
Holvi bank reviews: what do customers say?
Holvi has been received quite well by the users of Trustpilot. With over 1300 reviews, the FinTech startup has a 4-star rating, with e-invoicing, accounting, and reporting capabilities. On the other hand, users complained about the limited support and the fact that many previously free accounts were upgraded to paid accounts without any notice or consent.
On the Apple Store, Holvi bank reviews enjoys a 4.4-star rating based on over 1500 reviews. Users praised the banking, accounting, and bookkeeping features, but criticized the limited support.
On Google’s Playstore, Holvi currently has a 4-star rating based on over 1800 reviews. Users praised the user-friendliness and intuitiveness of the app as well as the various banking and accounting features on offer. Others criticized the lengthy verification process and the time it took to process documents.
I hope this Holvi bank review was useful to you. Feel free to ask questions or leave your own review in the comments.Bastien