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Best banks for small businesses

As a small business owner myself, I’ve been frustrated that finding a good business banking solution isn’t easier.

A good bank for your business should do more than provide a checkbook and a debit card. And it shouldn’t penalize you with account maintenance or transaction fees just because your business isn’t bigger.

Overview: Best banks for small business

Novo

Novo was built with small business owners in mind. They offer a business checking account that comes with unique, easy-to-use features that are perfect for almost any business or freelancer.

Open your account whenever, wherever, in a matter of minutes with no monthly fee to worry about.

Great for Small Business Owners
Novo Business Checking

Novo is an online business platform geared towards small business owners, startups, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. When you start your own business, you’ll quickly find that using your personal bank account can get overwhelming.

That's where Novo comes in with an easy to set up free checking account dedicated to separate business expenses.

Pros:
  • No monthly fees or balance requirements
  • Unlimited fee-free transactions
  • Smart Insights for your business
Cons:
  • No cash deposits (money order required)
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Novo is a fintech company; not a bank. Deposit account services provided by Middlesex Federal Savings, F.A., Member FDIC. Physical debit cards issued by Middlesex Federal Savings or Patriot Bank, N.A., Member FDIC; virtual cards issued by Patriot Bank, pursuant to licenses from Mastercard® International Incorporated. Mastercard can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

The company prides itself on not surprising customers with any hidden fees. ACH transfers, funds wired to your account from the U.S. or abroad. Novo does charge a $27 fee if you have an overdraft on the account. Novo will refund up to $7 dollars worth of ATM fees per month.

Novo’s made for banking on-the-go. Convenient features include TouchID app login, the ability to deposit checks by snapping a photo, and transferring funds with the touch of a finger. Novo offers stress-free integration with existing software like Quickbooks and Slack to pull your small business together.

While Novo was built for efficiency and simplicity, the company does have a top-notch customer support staff to assist you during regular business hours. You’ll get a real person—not a bot—and an answer to your question in less than an hour. If you’re working early or late, you can reach out for customer support via the app.

» MORE: Open an account with Novo here or read more our Novo Review

Lili

Lili niches down even further than Novo, creating a banking platform designed specifically for freelancers.

You’ll get banking with no minimum balance or opening deposit required. That makes it easy to create a separate account for your business transactions, which becomes vital during tax time. There are no hidden fees, and the standard account is free.

With Lili, if you are paid via direct deposit, you’ll have access to those funds as early as two business days before you could use them in other bank accounts.

Access your account at no charge at more than 38,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide, and if your Visa® business debit card is missing, you can lock the account in no time.

But where Lili really shines is in its freelance-geared accounting tools. You can easily track your transactions in real-time and assign them categories. At tax time, just pull a report and you’ll have all your deductions right in front of you.

Lili also has a pro account (Lili Pro) that takes those business tools to the next level. With Lili Pro you’ll get customizable expense categorization and unlimited invoicing, and earn cash back on your spending with certain merchants, as well as 4.15% interest on your savings. There’s a $15 monthly service fee with this account, but it also covers you for up to $200 in fee-free overdrafts. There are also Lili Smart and Lili Premium account plan tiers.

Lili also offers automatic savings features that allow you to have small amounts of money pulled out of each deposit and put into “buckets.” You can save for taxes, build an emergency fund, and more using this tool.

What’s best is that you can set up your account in just three minutes, perfect for the freelancer looking to save time (and money).

» MORE: Open an account with Lili or read more in our Lili Business Checking Review

The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Lili Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of September 1st, 2023. Must have at least $0.01 in savings to earn interest. The APY applies to balances of up to and including $100,000. Any balance over $100,000 will not earn interest or have a yield. Available to Lili Pro, Lili Smart, and Lili Premium account holders only.

Mercury

Mercury is a financial technology company offering no-fee, scalable banking for startups and technology companies. In addition to business checking and savings accounts, Mercury offers a credit card, treasury services for businesses with lots of cash, and venture debt funding.

Mercury

Mercury offers free business checking and savings accounts with no balance requirements. An optional no-fee credit card provides 1.5% cash back and higher credit limits designed for business.

As your startup grows, Mercury also offers API access, treasury services and venture debt.

Pros:
  • Free business banking
  • Free ACH and wire transfers
  • Features to help your startup grow
Cons:
  • No cash deposits
  • No interest on basic savings account
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Mercury is a compelling banking choice for business owners who will have a lot of cash on deposit, make frequent wire transfers, or have received (or hope to receive) venture capital funding.

Mercury provides banking services, but isn’t actually a bank. Mercury is partnered with Evolve Bank & Trust and Choice Financial Group to provide business checking and savings accounts. That benefits Mercury customers who receive FDIC insurance on deposits up to $5 million ($250,000 is standard) spread across their partner banks’ sweep network of of established FDIC-insured program banks.

Eligible customers can opt to get Mercury’s IO Credit Card that pays 1.5% cash back on all spend and advertises higher credit limits to serve the needs of startups. And Mercury has treasury services for accounts of $500,000 or more, allowing And Mercury Treasury provides accounts with $500k or more the ability to protect their idle cash in a money market fund. For startups that have received VC funding, Mercury offers venture debt term loans, too.

» MORE: Open an account with Mercury here or read more our Mercury review

Chase Business Complete Banking®

Chase Business Complete Banking® is a compelling option for small businesses that need to accept credit cards or want access to a physical bank location. Through July 22, 2024, Chase is also offering a $300 bonus for new account holders who complete qualifying activities.

Chase Business Complete Banking®

Chase Business Complete Banking® is a small business checking account that offers a competitive suite of benefits for business owners providing you what you need to start or grow your business and keep it going.

Special offer: Earn $300 when you open a new Chase Business Complete Checking® account. For new Chase business checking customers with qualifying activities. Offer expires 7/22/2024.
Pros:
  • Convenient physical bank access
  • Wide range of additional banking services
  • QuickAccept℠ payment processing feature
Cons:
  • Monthly fee may apply
  • There's a limit to free transactions
Learn More

Chase Business Complete Banking® does not charge a monthly service fee if you maintain a $2,000 minimum daily balance or meet other qualifying activity, such as having linked Chase Private Client accounts or meeting monthly spend requirements on a Chase Ink® Business credit card like the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card. Otherwise, there is a monthly service fee of $15.

Chase Business Complete Banking® makes it easy to accept credit cards via an available chip reader or the Chase Mobile App. Chase QuickAccept® is a feature that allows you to get cash from credit card transactions deposited into your bank account on the same day.

» MORE: Learn more about Chase Business Complete Banking®

The competition

Bluevine

Bluevine has made a name for itself in the business banking world. With free business checking from Bluevine, you don’t need a minimum balance to start. Get unlimited transactions each month and online statements at no charge.

Keep more cash in your business’s coffers—you won’t be charged any fees for incoming wire transfers or insufficient funds. You’ll also receive two free checkbooks.

You can access your account at no charge at more than 38,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide. If your card is missing, you can lock the account in no time. And, when you need to deposit cash, you can visit GreenDot at more than 90,000 locations.

The mobile app provides a full range of features you’d get at a brick-and-mortar location, with the convenience of banking wherever you are. Check your balance, set up a transfer, and deposit checks with ease. Though Bluevine does not offer in-person service, you can get assistance from the support team via email or phone.

Bluevine also pays interest on your checking account. Currently, the standard APY is 2.00% on balances up to $250,000, which is significantly higher than the national average. To qualify for that interest rate you must meet one of the following monthly eligibility requirements:

  • Spend $500 per month with their Bluevine Business Debit Mastercard®, which can be used everywhere Mastercard® is accepted
  • Receive $2,500 per month in customer payments into their Bluevine Business Checking account via ACH, wire transfer, mobile check deposit, or directly from their merchant payment processing provider

There’s also Premier, which offers a higher 4.25% APY on balances up to $3,000,000 with no activity requirement. There is a $95 monthly fee for this plan but it can be waived by maintaining an average daily balance of $100K and spending $5,000 with your debit card. That interest rate may be worth it.

Banking with Bluevine can help your small business grow. Its checking account and additional features are flexible, quick, and easy to use. Bluevine also offers financing options, and it provides expertise in small business funding.

» MORE: Open a Bluevine Business Checking account or read our Bluevine Review

Axos Bank

Axos Bank Logo

Axos is a digital bank that offers its customers a comprehensive banking experience — from checking and savings accounts to home, auto, and personal loans.

Its Basic Business Checking and Business Interest Checking account options are some of the best options for small businesses.

Basic Business Checking requires a $0 minimum opening deposit requirement. The account is not subject to monthly maintenance fees plus you get unlimited transactions.

Business Interest Checking requires a $100 minimum deposit to start. There’s no monthly maintenance fee if you carry a $5,000 daily balance. If the account dips below that, the monthly fee is $10. With Business Interest Checking, you’ll earn up to up to 1.01% APY*.

Enjoy the convenience of remote deposits anywhere and anytime via your mobile device. You can make cash deposits through wire transfer. Axos offers free online banking, mobile banking, and online bill pay free of charge.

You can integrate your account with QuickBooks to streamline your small-business budget processes.

If you’re ready to open an account for your small business, Axos has been in business for 20 years and provides a variety of online services to fit your needs. It’s a solid small-business choice.

» MORE: Read our Axos Bank Business Checking review

LendingClub Bank

LendingClub is an online-only bank that offers a full suite of services for businesses of all sizes.

Its Tailored Checking product is the best choice for small businesses. It also features Relationship Checking and Account Analysis Checking for larger companies with a higher transaction volume, as well as Interest Checking for non-profits and municipal organizations.

If you’re a small business owner or independent contractor, Tailored Checking boasts ease of use and 27/7 online and mobile access. Account management features include the ability to deposit checks, do a balance inquiry, and examine statements and transaction history.

With your LendingClub account, you can transfer funds to internal accounts, conduct wire transfers, and issue payments to others.

You can access funds fee-free at 20,000 ATMs across the country. The LendingClub debit card comes with a host of protection options, including setting transaction, activity, and location limits, receiving real-time security alerts, and deactivating a missing card via the app.

Your LendingClub account integrates with Autobooks so you can create and email customer invoices, then receive payments via card or electronic transfer.

LendingClub accounts do have fees attached. You’ll pay $10 per month if your account balance is under $5,000, a $5 per day overdraft fee, and fees to initiate and receive wire transfers.

» MORE: Read more in our LendingClub Bank review

What’s the difference between a personal and a business bank account?

It just so happens that there are some extra benefits that come with opening a business bank account including:

  • Added protection. A business account offers limited personal liability protection and purchase protection for your customers.
  • Line of credit. Many business banks offer you the option to take out a line of credit for your company. So, if you encounter an emergency or require some cash this can be incredibly helpful.
  • Additional information required. When it comes to opening a business bank account you will need to provide some additional information such as your Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security number if you’re a sole proprietorship and business license.

Do I need a business bank account for my small business?

It is highly recommended that as a small business owner you have a separate business bank account for the following reasons. First, it helps to keep your business and personal expenses separate

Second, this separation is extremely useful when it comes time to do your taxes. You don’t want to be sifting through your personal expenses trying to identify a business cost.

Third, having a business account makes you appear more professional and legitimate. And fourth, if your company is legally separate from you, as with an LLC or Corporation, then you need to have a separate account to protect your personal property in case of a lawsuit.

What are some important features to look for in a small business account?

When you start your search for a small business bank account that will best suit your needs consider the following features:

  • Fees (maintenance fees, transaction fees, etc.).
  • Interest rates for savings and checking accounts.
  • Minimum balance requirements.
  • Security (FDIC member).
  • Location.
  • Access to ATMs.
  • Online vs. in person.
  • Card options (is a debit or credit card available).

Summary

This article features some of the best small business bank accounts that offer a broad spectrum of features from online and in-person access, to high APY accounts, and low fee accounts.  If you are thinking about starting a small business, or you already own a small business, it’s important that you have a separate business account.

» MORE: The best credit cards for freelancers and self-employed contractors

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