Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
Asma is a fintech writer at AskWallet

Holvi – a digital banking service that revolutionizes the way of doing business

Holvi was created by entrepreneurs who understand the unique challenges of starting a small business. Using the latest innovations in financial technology, Holvi has created an all-in-one banking service that simplifies the most complicated and time-consuming financial processes. Holvi is not present in all European countries such as Spain etc because these nations do not meet its selection criteria.

5 min read 06.04.2021

What is Holvi?


Like the majority of neobanks for professionals, Holvi offers a current account with an associated bank card. It has developed a whole range of services such as expense report management, categorization of expenses, and the creation and sending of invoices. On the other hand, the start-up has joined forces with several accounting software in its various markets to allow for easy-to-use bookkeeping exports.

 

In 2016, Holvi was acquired by the Spanish Bank BBVA. In February 2021, BBVA accepted an offer to sell all Holvi shares to Keru Fintech Investments Oy (Keru), the new and sole owner of the neobank. Prior to January 1, 2020, Holvi had a partnership with the Estonian e-Residency program which would allow any entrepreneur in the world to acquire a digital identity card issued online by the Estonian administration (against 100 euros).

 

It was enough to set up a business in Estonia. Additionally e-residents could open a bank account without having to go to Estonia. This is no longer the case today, but this decision will not affect former customers and they will continue to benefit from this asset.
Holvi offers IBAN: users in Finland and the other Eurozone countries (BE, FR, IE, IT & NL)  are provided with a Finnish IBAN, and Accounts in Deutschland are provided with a German IBAN


Holvi services


Since March 2021, Holvi has introduced a new pricing plan; it has replaced Holvi Starter,a free account, with Holvi Lite for 6 EUR per month. Currently Holvi does not offer any free plan and free trial. All other previous plans such as Holvi Starter (free version), Holvi Grower, and Holvi Unlimited have been replaced with new pricing plans.

 

For Finland users, Holvi offers three plans; Lite (6 EUR/month), Pro (12 EUR/month), and Zen (69 EUR/month). For Germany, Austria, and other Eurozone countries, Holvi offers Lite and Pro plans.

 

For complete info on pricing plans according to place of residence, please refer to Holvi’s official website.


Account Features

 

 

  • Depending on the chosen plan, some of the Holvi features include:
  • To have one or more Business MasterCard cards with the account.
  • Free SEPA transfers (500 transactions/month, 0.25€ per additional transaction).
  • Ability to add multiple users to the account.
  • Help with invoicing, expense reports, and preparation for accounting.
  • Cash withdrawals are charged 2.5% with Holvi Lite and 2% with Holvi Pro.
  • Payments in currencies other than Euro (outside the EU) are charged 2%.

 

Is Holvi safe?


Holvi is a banking institution authorized by the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority to operate within the European Economic Area (EEA) as an authorised payment institution under the Payment Services Directive 2.
Customer funds are completely segregated following the regulations of the EU Payment Services Directive. This means in case of insolvency, the client money accounts will remain unaffected.

Pros & Cons

  • Free SEPA transfers and Free SEPA direct debits (up to 500 transactions).
  • Mobile app to manage your business: save receipts, account statements, create and send invoices.
  • Banking, invoicing, and expense management all in one place.
  • Data export for tax filing.
  • A free international MasterCard Business card.
  • Expenses tracking view.
  • Receipts scanning & storing.
  • Transaction categorization.
  • The IBAN is Finnish.(certain establishments may not accept it).
  • No loans, insurance and overdraft offers.
  • Unavailable in many European countries.

Conclusion


The Finnish neo-bank Holvi offers professional accounts with interesting features for small businesses and self-employed individuals who like to manage everything from their mobile including the invoicing process.
That being said, charges are high compared to similar services (2.5% per ATM withdrawal, 2% exchange costs), and it is impossible to carry out transactions outside the Eurozone. 


Like many neo-banks, Holvi charges all cash withdrawals, and does not offer check deposits. For comparison, the free N26 Business account offers 3 to 5 free withdrawals in Euros per month, and after that a charge of 2 Euro applies. Even, N26 applies a 1.7% exchange rate on withdrawals in currencies other than the Euro. So in terms of fees, Holvi is not a cost-effective option.


Incoming/outgoing SEPA transfers and SEPA direct debits are free up to certain transactions, which is good. However, apart from withdrawals and card payments, transactions in non-euro currency are impossible. Entrepreneurs who have customers or suppliers outside the euro zone therefore have little incentive to choose Holvi.

 

I would recommend checking similar services on the Askwallet platform, and compare the fees and other charges before signing up for this service. There are services such as Revolut for Business, and N26 Business etc, that may offer better value for money.

Holvi FAQ

What do I need to open a Holvi account?

To register a Holvi account:

 

  1. You need an active email address as it will be used to verify your account.
  2. You must register the account with real information (name, address).
  3. Choose a pricing plan during the registration process.
  4. Have business details ready to verify your account quickly.
How do I withdraw or deposit cash?

Cash withdrawal:      

     

To withdraw cash, you can use the Holvi MasterCard at ATMs. please note that ATM withdrawals are not free, and you will be charged according to your chosen pricing plan.

 

Cash deposit:


Currently, there is no way to deposit cash directly to a Holvi account. You may consider depositing cash/ top-up your bank account, and then transfer the funds to your Holvi account via a standard SEPA transaction.

Where do I find my account number?

Holvi does not assign an account number and sort code. Instead, users are provided with an IBAN that can be used for SEPS transactions. 

What do I need to open a Holvi account?

To register a Holvi account:

 

  1. You need an active email address as it will be used to verify your account.
  2. You must register the account with real information (name, address).
  3. Choose a pricing plan during the registration process.
  4. Have business details ready to verify your account quickly.
Where do I find my account number?

Holvi does not assign an account number and sort code. Instead, users are provided with an IBAN that can be used for SEPS transactions. 

How do I withdraw or deposit cash?

Cash withdrawal:      

     

To withdraw cash, you can use the Holvi MasterCard at ATMs. please note that ATM withdrawals are not free, and you will be charged according to your chosen pricing plan.

 

Cash deposit:


Currently, there is no way to deposit cash directly to a Holvi account. You may consider depositing cash/ top-up your bank account, and then transfer the funds to your Holvi account via a standard SEPA transaction.

Holvi Questions & Answers

Asma Ahmed

What is Holvi target audience?

Holvi CEO, Tuomas Toivonen

Holvi works best for businesses from 1-49 employees. So if you’re freelancing, running a small business or just start your own company, you’re right with us.

Asma Ahmed

Are there any upcoming features or updates?

Holvi CEO, Tuomas Toivonen

"We are constantly rolling out new features and improving our product so that it meets the wishes and needs of our customers. Currently, we are improving our invoicing and accounting features in particular."

Asma Ahmed

Name top 3 killer features on Holvi?

Holvi CEO, Tuomas Toivonen

Holvi is invoices, expenses and tax prep – all in one account.

  1. From scratch to finish, Holvi streamlines every step of invoicing: create, send, track and store reports. Our professional-looking invoices get the job done.
  2. The Holvi Business Mastercard® connects expenses to bookkeeping. Especially useful if you want to make your team's life easier. Give out a card to your team members, so they can pay business expenses directly. This makes the financial admin way more efficient.
  3. We automate everyday bookkeeping tasks to lighten the load. Our customers can save receipts, sort their income and expenses, add comments and see all their numbers – without ever opening a spreadsheet.

Asma Ahmed

What makes Holvi a preferred payment solution for users? What is your unique selling proposition?

Holvi CEO, Tuomas Toivonen

The financial home for small businesses. Holvi offers small businesses, from solopreneurs and freelancers to micro businesses and growing startups, a home for their finances. With a business account and Mastercard®,invoicing and bookkeeping tools all in one place, Holvi simplifies the time-consuming distractions of financial admin, helping business owners to manage their balance.

Asma Ahmed

Is Holvi safe? Please tell us How do you ensure security for your customers?

Holvi CEO, Tuomas Toivonen

Security is our top priority at Holvi. We do our utmost to keep our customers’ money and their data safe. Here are some of the ways we achieve that.

  1. We’re licensed and regulated by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Finland as an authorised payment institution under the Payment Services Directive.
  2. The European Banking Authority guidelines tell us exactly how we need to hold and safeguard our
  3. customers’ funds. In accordance, we hold funds in separate accounts with partner banks,
  4. where they’re safely protected under the applicable deposit insurance.
  5. Besides that we use 3D Secure 2 (3DS2) to verify online payments. This is much safer than receiving a code via SMS. We also implemented two-factor authentication for our customers. When they sign into their Holvi account or make a payment, they'll be asked to complete 2-factor authentication.
  6. On top of providing secret authentication material (password, PIN code, or biometric data), our customers are also required to input a one-time authentication code. So even if someone does somehow discover a password, they still won’t be able to access the Holvi account.

Asma Ahmed

What is the idea behind Holvi?

Holvi CEO, Tuomas Toivonen

We founded Holvi in 2011, in Helsinki. As self-employed people wading through oceans of paperwork, we noticed something funny going on – traditional banks were giving us the cold shoulder. Why not help ourselves? We asked. And so, with time and effort (and lots of
coffee), we mastered small business finance – and Holvi was born.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
As a fintech researcher and writer, she enriches AskWallet website with new posts and articles. Asma is an MBA graduate from IoBM, Karachi and has been working in the financial services industry since 2013. She loves traveling, listening to music, and watching Netflix.