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Reviews

Best Business Checking Accounts

Over the years, we’ve started dozens of businesses spanning numerous industries and business models. While each business is unique, there’s one common thread among them all—a business bank account. Based on our experiences, Novo offers the most comprehensive business checking account on the market with no monthly fees, numerous tech integrations, and a dead-simple application process that takes less than ten minutes.

The Best Business Checking Account for Most Businesses

Novo

Novo

Best for Most

Think an unlimited business checking account with no monthly fees sounds too good to be true? Novo offers the most comprehensive checking accounts with no monthly fees and an accessible $50 opening deposit. Enjoy a modern, clean, and fee-free banking experience with the best mobile app available.

If you’re looking for an online fee-free checking account with no transaction limits or minimum balance requirements, Novo Business is our top recommendation. It takes less than ten minutes to apply, you can set up a reserve savings account, and you get human-centered customer support with a five-star mobile banking experience. 

Whether you’re just getting started or have been in business for years, Novo offers the most generous checking accounts we’ve seen without any fees or high barriers to entry.

The 6 Best Business Checking Accounts to Consider:

  1. Novo Business – Best business checking account for most
  2. LendingClub Bank – Best for unlimited cash-back on business purchases
  3. Mercury – Best checking to scale with your startup
  4. Chase – Best for businesses that handle a lot of cash
  5. BlueVine – Best interest-bearing checking account
  6. Lili – Best for freelancers

When It Makes Sense to Open a Business Checking Account

Every business needs a business checking account.

Whether you’re a startup, small business, freelancer, running a side hustle, independent contractor, international enterprise, or something in between, opening a business account is one of the best moves you can make.

If your business is set up as an LLC or a corporation, you’re legally required to keep your personal and business finances separate.

For sole proprietors, there’s no legal requirement. But it’s certainly a smart idea.

While you don’t technically HAVE to have a business checking account to manage your finances separately, it’s hands-down the easiest and safest method. Ideally, it’s one of the first things you figure out when starting something new. Doing so also works wonders for your mindset and helps your business feel like an actual business (even if it’s just a side hustle).

With numerous fee-free options with very low minimum deposit requirements, opening one is easier than ever. In most cases, you can open one in just a few minutes without ever leaving your house.

So, it won’t take a lot of time, nor will it cost you anything to set up.

#1 – Novo — The Best Business Checking Account for Most

Novo

Novo

Best for Most

Think an unlimited business checking account with no monthly fees sounds too good to be true? Novo offers the most comprehensive checking accounts with no monthly fees and an accessible $50 opening deposit. Enjoy a modern, clean, and fee-free banking experience with the best mobile app available.

Novo is an online-only banking option that stands out as our top pick because it comes with unlimited transactions and has no monthly fees with a generous $50 minimum opening deposit. The $50 minimum isn’t a hard requirement—it’s a suggestion, so there are no barriers to entry.

It’s accessible for even the smallest and newest of businesses. But it’s also an excellent choice for established freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small to midsize businesses looking for a simple, cost-effective checking account. 

Novo isn’t actually a bank. It’s a tech company that delivers and maintains the banking software you see when you manage your account.  Novo partners with Middlesex Federal Savings (an actual bank), which provides the other half of your bank account—FDIC insurance and the financial framework that goes on behind the scenes. 

The two services combined make for an excellent online banking experience because Novo focuses solely on developing and improving its customer-facing software over time.

Which is something a lot of the other options on our list don’t have the capacity to do.

Besides top-notch software, your Novo checking account comes with numerous features others charge extra for, including ACH transfers and incoming wires.

You can also make as many internal transfers as you need to with your other bank accounts and receive payments from anyone without losing money to nickel-and-dime transfer fees. 

When it’s time to pay vendors, suppliers, or employees, you can issue paper checks right from your account dashboard. All you have to do is log in, provide some basic information about who’s receiving the payment, and Novo handles everything else, including mailing and issuing the check for you. 

You can send as many checks as you’d like with no limits or fees.

If you prefer writing checks yourself, you can order them through one of Novo’s partners. And a built-in integration with Wise lets you send international payments for a small fee if you need to pay businesses or individuals outside of the US. 

When you’re ready to hit the ATM, you can withdraw up to $1,000 per day and you don’t have to stick to in-network options because Novo reimburses all foreign ATM fees at the end of every month. 

So, you can enjoy the convenience of hitting that ATM down the street while keeping more of your cash. 

There is one thing missing, though—the ability to deposit cash. However, you can buy a money order or cashier’s check and deposit that as a workaround. 

It’ll do for infrequent cash deposits, but we don’t recommend it if you handle cash all the time. 

While Novo’s fee-free offer is a standout feature on its own, it’s the little things that truly make it an over-the-top checking account. 

One of those little details is Novo Reserves. With it, you can automate short-term savings for things like quarterly tax payments, upcoming purchases, or a rainy day fund. You can manually add funds to your reserve at any time, or let the automated software do it for you. 

If you want to save for taxes and an upcoming purchase, you can create up to five reserves for anything you’d like. Soon, you’ll also be able to automatically move a set amount of your income into different reserves on autopilot.

Another reason we love Novo is that it integrates with eight business tools and allows you to create automated workflows with more than 1,500 different apps with a Zapier integration.

Most checking accounts integrate with two or three tools, at most. 

So, Novo’s time-saving tech integrations with Stripe, Square, Shopify, Xero, QuickBooks, and more are offer more flexibility and autoations than any other option on our list. Want to accept credit and debit card payments directly into your account? No problem. 

Want to create invoices and set up email notifications for them? It takes just a few clicks. 

If you’re just starting out, you can also take advantage of Novo’s partnerships with 13 different business tools, including Gusto, Zendesk, Hubspot, QuickBooks, and more for excellent discounts to help you get your business going without breaking the bank. 

Because Novo’s a tech company, its mobile banking app is one of the simplest, cleanest, and easiest to use. With it, you can deposit unlimited checks, send payments, and more. Plus, there are thousands of happy customers all over the country who love the minimalist feel of a modern app that doesn’t sacrifice functionality for ease of use. 

To recap, Novo’s checking account offers:

  • No minimum balances or monthly fees
  • $50 minimum opening deposit
  • Unlimited transactions in the U.S. and fee-free incoming wires
  • Unlimited fee-free mobile check deposits
  • No cash deposits – there is a workaround, though
  • Unlimited foreign ATM fee reimbursements
  • Support in 60 minutes or less

Applying for a Novo account takes less than 10 minutes and is entirely online. It’s so easy you can do it from your phone. All you need is a bit of personal and business information to get started. 

If you ever need help along the way, the customer support team strives to resolve issues within 60 minutes. So, you shouldn’t have to wait more than an hour for help from a real human. 

Sign up today in less than 10 minutes to get started!

#2 – LendingClub Bank — The Best for Unlimited Cash Back on Purchases

LendingClub Bank logo

LendingClub Bank

Best for Cash Back Perks

Regularly use your debit card for business purchases? LendingClub Bank’s unlimited 1% cashback checking account rewards you for doing just that if you have more than $2,500 in your account. Waive the $10 monthly maintenance fee for fee-free online banking experience with a minimum balance of $5,000.

Most checking accounts and debit purchases don’t come with cashback perks. If they do, most are so insignificant they don’t matter. But LendingClub Bank’s rewards checking account is one of the few that offers cashback perks worth paying attention to.

It offers unlimited 1% cashback on all online purchases made with your debit card and in-person purchases as long as you run it as credit. With no caps, this unlimited 1% offer is incredible.

It’s the highest rate we’ve seen for a checking account, making it an attractive option if you regularly use your debit card to make business purchases. 

However, it’s probably not worth it if you only make a handful of purchases a month or use a credit card for business purchases most of the time. Novo is a better option if you’re not going to use your debit card for most purchases.

We say that because this checking account has a $10 monthly fee for balances of less than $5,000 at the end of your statement cycle. So, it’s not totally fee-free unlike other options on our list.

You also have to have at least $2,500 in your account to unlock cashback perks, with a mandatory 30-day waiting period after you open your account. 

So, there are more cost-effective checking account options—like Novo—if you don’t regularly use your debit card or are unable to maintain at least $5,000 in your account. 

If you don’t mind the monthly fee, LendingClub Bank offers unlimited transactions with no restrictions, penalties, or upcharges. So, you never have to worry about hitting transaction limits, which is great for businesses with high volumes. 

You can also link external bank accounts and transfer money freely between them at any time.

However, it’s important to note that incoming ACH transfers are held for five days within the first month of opening your account. After the first month, they’re held for two days. So, you may not be able to access your funds right away if ACH transfers are a common occurrence. 

Another restriction is that you only get one incoming wire per year for free. Other options on our list don’t charge for incoming wires at all, so this is certainly a drawback to pay attention to if it’s something you do regularly.

Aside from cashback perks, LendingClub Bank also offers a small interest rate on balances over $5,000. At 0.10% APY, it’s not noteworthy or comparable to BlueVine’s 1% APY. 

But it’s an excellent perk you can use in conjunction with cashback for a bit of extra dough. 

LendingClub Bank reimburses all ATM fees at the end of your statement period. And you can withdraw up to $2,000 per day, which is twice as much as you can with Novo. 

If you’re a freelancer or client-based business, you can use the free Autobooks integration that makes creating and sending invoices easier than ever. Clients can pay directly from your invoices via credit card, debit card, or ACH transfer and you can access your funds as early as the next business day. 

With LendingClub Bank’s mobile app, you can deposit checks up to $20,000 per month—it’s as easy as snapping a photo. You also get all of your bank info at your fingertips. 

It’s intuitive, clean, and easy to use. However, the LendingClub Bank mobile app does have a slightly lower user satisfaction rating compared to Novo. We still found the app very clean and easy to use. 

In terms of integrations, LendingClub Bank isn’t the best. But it’s not the worst, either. There are three one-click integrations—Quicken, Mint, and QuickBooks. 

So, you can easily connect your account software, but that’s about it. 

To recap, LendingClub Bank’s business checking account offers:

  • $10 monthly fee for balances of less than $5,000
  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • 1% cash-back on qualifying purchases
  • Up to $20k in mobile check deposits per day
  • Unlimited transactions
  • One fee-free incoming wire transfer
  • Ability to deposit cash at any in-network ATM
  • Unlimited foreign ATM fee reimbursements

The signup process takes about seven minutes from start to finish and is entirely online. All you need is basic business information and personal info for all of your business partners (if you have them) to get started. 

If you ever need help along the way, you can reach out to LendingClub Bank’s US-based customer support seven days a week via chat, phone, or secure messaging. 

But as with most online-only banks, you should expect things to move at a much slower pace compared to in-person banking solutions. 

LendingClub Bank also offers various other types of business financing tools, including savings accounts, SBA loans, PPP forgiveness, lending accounts, escrow services, merchant services, credit cards, and more. So, you can easily get all the financial tools you need in one place.

Sign up in less than seven minutes to get started today!

#3 – Mercury — The Best Checking to Scale with Your Startup

Mercury logo

Mercury

Best for Scaling

Mercury offers a checking solution perfectly made for startups with an eye on growth. Get a completely free checking account with no fees for anything, plus access to specialized features that help your idle cash make money and help you with securing new funding.

Early-stage companies may start small but rarely want to stay small. Ideally, a startup shouldn’t have to switch business checking providers just because they accomplished what they set out to do—grow.

If you’ve felt this trepidation about choosing a banking partner, look to Mercury.

Of course, you get all the essentials of checking you’re looking for. Mercury’s checking accounts are insured by the FDIC with no minimum balance requirements. Wire money domestically or internationally for free or process and send ACH payments and checks.

Any way you want to do checking, Mercury’s accounts have you covered. Better still, there are no hidden charges or fees for any of those money-moving options.

You can even manage physical and virtual checking cards that you can issue for yourself, your business, and any employees that need to use them. And Mercury syncs easily with popular payment processors and accounting software.

What’s fantastic is that this all comes for free on Mercury’s Standard checking plan. There are no monthly or overdraft fees and it’s completely free to open an account.

Seriously, you can get started and use Mercury’s business checking for $0 forever.

All of this could be enough for any startup needing a stress-free checking account. But Mercury is truly committed to helping your organization grow. That’s why they also offer two incredible tools for investing your capital and fundraising.

Mercury Treasury is currently in closed beta, available to select customers who want to use their cash reserves to earn more.

Your money automatically earns a 0.1% APR as it is. On top of that, you can earmark any quantity of your idle cash to instead be invested safely in government securities and bonds. You can even set automatic transfer rules.

It’s important to note that Mercury Treasury is only available to checking customers who qualify for what Mercury calls the Tea Room. There’s no fee or payment to be a Mercury Tea Room checking customer, but you do have to make a minimum deposit of $250,000. Tea Room also unlocks extra support and access.

Perhaps of even more interest to startups is Mercury Raise, which periodically accepts 50 applications from startups to connect with over 300 motivated investors. You can take your fundraising efforts to the next level while Mercury handles all the behind-the-scenes work of getting your pitch deck in front of VCs and setting up introductions.

All of this together presents an incredible business checking package that you never have to pay any fees on. Get with Mercury and set up a checking account and financial partner that will stay and scale with you for the long haul.

#4 – Chase — The Best for Businesses that Handle a Lot of Cash

Chase

Chase

Best for Cash-Heavy Businesses

Deposit up to $5k, $20k, or $25k in cash every month with no fees at more than 4,700 physical branches and 16,000 nationwide ATMs. Plus, get access to a five-star mobile app with millions of raving fans and face-to-face in-person support at your nearest branch when you need it.

Unlike most of the options on our list, Chase has 4,700+ physical branch locations in 38 states and Washington, Dc. It also offers a wide variety of business financing tools and services, including credit cards, merchant services, lines of credit, and more. 

So, it’s an excellent choice for businesses that want 1:1 help and those that handle a lot of cash, like restaurants, bars, retail businesses, pop-up shops, and event venues. 

Chase offers three different business checking accounts to choose from. The right one for you depends on how much cash you deal with every month and the minimum balance requirements you can realistically meet.

For smaller businesses or those just getting started, the Business Complete account is an excellent place to start. 

It comes with fee-free cash deposits of up to $5,000 every month. There is a $15 monthly maintenance fee, but you can waive it by maintaining a $2,000 balance in your account or by receiving $2,000 in deposits with Chase’s built-in payment processor. 

Another option is linking your personal Chase account if you have one. 

However, the biggest limitation of Business Complete is that you only get 20 fee-free transactions every month. The good news is that electronic deposits don’t count towards your monthly limit. 

So, it’s perfect if you don’t make a lot of purchases or handle other types of transactions. 

If you deal with more cash or frequently hit your transaction limit, you can upgrade to the Performance Business checking account. With it, you can deposit up to $20,000 in cash every month and you get 250 fee-free transactions. 

It features a $30 monthly service fee. However, you can avoid it with a minimum $35,000 daily balance across all of your Chase business accounts. 

Despite it being much harder to waive the monthly fee than it is with Chase’s entry-level checking account, you may still end up paying less overall by avoiding costly cash deposits and transaction fees every month. 

You also get two free outgoing wires per month, as opposed to zero with a Business Complete account. 

Plus, Chase waives its foreign ATM fees so you can keep more of what you earn. However, you’re still responsible for paying fees charged by the owner of the ATM, so it’s not as beneficial as online-only banks that’ll reimburse you for all ATM fees. 

With the Platinum Business checking account, you can deposit up to $25,000 in cash every month and you get up to 500 fee-free transactions. 

It’s designed for large, established businesses that have more specialized banking needs. 

It has a hefty $95 monthly fee, but you can avoid it if you have more than $100,000 across your business banking and investment accounts. You also get four free outgoing wires per cycle. 

There’s even a commercial checking account for businesses that make more than $20 million in annual revenue. So, you don’t have to worry about outgrowing Chase. 

You can start with whichever account makes the most sense for your business, revenue level, and cash flow. And upgrade to a higher account as your business grows to avoid paying additional cash and transaction fees. 

All of Chase’s accounts come with unlimited incoming wires and ACH transfers, online bill pay, customizable alerts, and an online portal to manage your account from anywhere. 

Regardless of the account you go with, you can use the same mobile app to schedule bill pay, pay bills manually, transfer money, manage your users, and more. 

Plus, there are millions of Chase users all over the country who love the app’s ease of use, convenience, and continuous app development. Plus, it’s been around for a while so you can rest easy knowing there aren’t as many bugs or unexpected glitches. 

To recap, Chase’s business bank accounts offer:

  • $15, $30, or $95 monthly maintenance fees
  • Waived fees by maintaining a $2k, $35k, or $100k balance
  • Up to $5k, $20k, or $25k in fee-free monthly cash deposits
  • Fee-free transaction limits of 20, 250, or 500
  • Built-in payment processing

You can either apply online or make an appointment at your nearest branch to get started. 

If you’re not sure which account is best for you, we recommend visiting a branch to talk to a financial specialist who can guide you in the right direction. 

Overall, Chase is an excellent traditional bank option that offers 1:1 help any time you need it, access to financial experts in person, and convenient cash deposits. However, you have to meet higher balance requirements than online-only banks to waive monthly fees and you don’t get the benefit of unlimited monthly transactions or foreign ATM reimbursements. 

Apply online in just a few minutes to get started with Chase today!

#5 – BlueVine – The Best Interest-Bearing Checking Account

BlueVine logo

BlueVine

Best Interest-Bearing Account

BlueVine offers an industry-leading 1% APY (that’s 20x the national average!) on balances up to $100,000, making it an excellent option for businesses that regularly have a lot of cash in the bank. Plus, there are no monthly fees, transaction limits, or minimum opening deposit requirements.

Most banks don’t offer interest-bearing checking accounts. And the few that do, payout pennies at the end of every year because their interest rates are so low. In fact, the industry average is right around 0.05%. 

However, BlueVine’s checking accounts accrue an industry-leading 1% APY on balances up to $100,000, outshining other interest-bearing checking accounts by nearly 20x. 

If you regularly have a lot of money in the bank, there’s a massive amount of potential to earn interest. An account with the $100,000 max would accrue $1,000 every year compared to $100 per year with LendingClub Bank’s 0.10% APY. 

So, it’s an excellent option for businesses with a significant amount of cash in the bank. 

You could even use it as a supplementary account specifically for accruing interest without all of the red tape that comes with a savings account.

High-yield interest rates aside, BlueVine is also an all-around excellent online checking account. 

It’s one of the few options out there with no minimum deposit requirement or non-sufficient fund penalties. All incoming wires are also absolutely free. But the best part is that there are no monthly fees and you get unlimited transactions as well. 

The only fees you’ll have to pay are debit card replacements, cash deposits, and outgoing wire transfers. So, some of you may never have to pay any fees at all. 

There are 38,000 nationwide ATMs you can use for free. However, BlueVine doesn’t offer foreign ATM fee reimbursement. So, be sure there’s a convenient ATM closeby to avoid those penalties

Despite BlueVine being an online-only bank, you can make cash deposits at more than 90,000 retail locations and ATMs across the country. 

It’s a fantastic benefit since most online accounts don’t allow this all. 

But it’s important to keep in mind that those retail locations can charge cash deposit fees up to $4.95 per transaction, which can add up fast. So, it’s definitely not a cost-effective solution if you regularly make cash deposits. 

If you need to pay vendors or bills, you can do so 100% online via ACH, credit card, and wire transfers. 

However, wire transfers are $15 each, and credit cards will incur a 2.9% transaction fee. 

The benefit of paying with your credit card is that you can stack up those rewards points and keep more cash in your pocket for everyday operations. This is definitely a standout feature you don’t see very often. 

Alternatively, you can issue paper checks as well. BlueVine offers two free checkbooks—a total of 200 free checks—with every new account. Most banks offer a discount on your first set of checks at most, so two free checkbooks is an excellent deal. 

However, we were disappointed to see that BlueVine doesn’t offer the online check issuing and mailing feature that Novo does. 

You can use the mobile app to transfer funds between your accounts, view your balance, deposit checks, and manage your entire account online. But it’s not near as intuitive and modern as some of the other apps on our list. And hundreds of users continuously make complaints about being unable to use the app at all. 

For an online-only bank, we were pretty disappointed and we definitely expected it to be better. This is one of the few reasons BlueVine ranks so low on our list. 

To recap, BlueVine’s checking accounts offer:

  • No monthly fees or minimum balances
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • 1% APY on balances up to $100,000
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Ability to make cash deposits
  • 38,000 nationwide ATMs

The application process takes around three minutes to complete if you have all of your paperwork. It’s 100% online and very straightforward. 

But if you run into any snags along the way, you can reach the customer support team by email or phone if you can’t find what you need within the robust help center knowledge base. 

However, BlueVine isn’t known for excellent customer support and online-only banks are notorious for slow customer service. 

So, keep in mind that support inquiries may take a while to get resolved. 

Besides checking accounts, BlueVine also offers paycheck protection forgiveness, lines of credit, and invoice factoring. Having a BlueVine checking account will help make the transition of funds easier if you decide to apply for a loan down the road. 

Apply in minutes to get started with your high-yield BlueVine checking account today!

#6 – Lili — The Best Checking Account for Freelancers

Lili logo

Lili

Best for Freelancers

Lili revolutionized online banking specifically for freelancers with checking accounts that include everything you need and nothing you don’t. Choose between a 100% fee-free account (perfect for small or newer businesses) and a Pro account with the lowest monthly maintenance fees we’ve seen on the market.

Lili is one of the only business checking accounts designed specifically for freelancers and gig-workers. It’s simple, has no monthly fees, and comes with numerous freelance-specific tax features you won’t find with other checking accounts. 

So, you get everything you need to separate your personal and business finances without the expensive fees and bloat of features you’re never going to use. 

Whether you’re an artist, hairstylist, photographer, writer, personal trainer, graphic designer, or something else entirely, Lili is the perfect option for client-based businesses. 

With a focus on simplicity and ease of use, you get a hassle-free—and fee-free—online banking experience.

In addition to no monthly fees, there are no minimum balances, no minimum opening deposits, no ACH transfer fees, and no overdraft fees. The only things you have to pay for are foreign ATMs and cash deposits. 

However, there are 38,000 nationwide fee-free ATMs to choose from, so there’s probably a convenient option close by. 

And you can make cash deposits at more than 90,000 retail locations across the country—up to $1,000 per day—if you accept cash payments. However, retailers can charge up to $4.95 per deposit. 

So, it’s not the most cost-effective account for cash deposits, but it works for occasional use.

You can link your checking account to all of the online platforms you use to issue invoices and receive payments, making it easier than ever to manage client payments in one place. Plus, you can enjoy direct deposits up to two days sooner than you would with a traditional bank. 

With that said, there is a $50,000 monthly direct deposit limit, so keep that in mind. 

Setting up direct deposits with your invoicing software is easy. Just like with a regular bank, all you need is your account number and routing number to get started. 

Once you sign up and start using your account, you can track expenses and revenue for all of your projects. You can also monitor different types of expenses for a deeper look at your spending habits right within the Lili app. 

The app also lets you sort and categorize your expenses in a few taps. This is an excellent feature and can even replace your current expense tracking system if you have one. 

Plus, you can automatically set aside a percentage of every transaction for quarterly taxes. 

The software even makes recommendations on how much to set aside based on your annual income, so you can make accurate estimated payments throughout the year with no surprises. Other apps let you manually set aside money into a reserve, but Lili’s automation and tax recommendations set it apart from the other options on our list. 

Want to save up for something else, like a rainy day fund, emergency fund, or a big purchase? No problem. You can set up a non-tax savings bucket that helps you save on autopilot. 

You can either set up automatic savings or manually move money into your savings bucket at any time. 

When it’s time to file your annual tax return, you get all the expense reports you need. They’re clear, easy to understand, and detailed enough to centralize everything you need for tax time. You can either hand them over to your accountant or pull them up when you start filing taxes on your own. 

Since Lili’s an online-only bank, we expected a lot from the mobile app. And it didn’t disappoint. 

It even has a few advanced features like facial or fingerprint recognition as a login option to keep your account secure. With it, depositing checks is easy (you can deposit up to six per month), you can set up custom notifications, locate the closest ATM, and more. 

Thousands of users love the app—and we understand why. It’s modern and clean to ensure your bank account doesn’t get in the way of delivering excellent client experiences. 

To recap, Lili’s online checking account offers:

  • No monthly fees or minimum balances
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • Up to $50,000 in direct deposits per month
  • Up to six mobile check deposits per month
  • Freelancer-specific tax features
  • Ability to make cash deposits
  • No option for wire transfers

Lili also offers a Pro checking account with a $4.99 monthly fee. It has higher limits and fewer restrictions if you need an account that does a bit more or you exceed the limits of your free account. 

With Pro, you can create invoices and earn interest on your non-tax savings bucket, as well. 

So, you don’t have to worry about outgrowing your checking account if your needs change as your business grows. 

All you need to apply with Lili is your social security number and a few pieces of basic information about yourself.  The process takes three minutes and is one of the easiest we’ve seen. 

Note: you can’t use an EIN number to set up an account. 

Lili offers a comprehensive help center with hundreds of articles to help you navigate your new account and all of its features. Alternatively, you can give Lili a call or shoot an email during business hours if you prefer 1:1 support. 

But because Lili’s an online-only bank, you’ll probably experience longer wait times to get in touch with a real person than you would with a traditional bank. 

Apply in less than three minutes to get started with Lili today!

Methodology For Choosing The Best Business Checking Account

With so many options to choose from, finding the best business checking account for your business might feel like an uphill battle. Fortunately for you, we’ve simplified the process.

Keep these considerations in mind as you’re evaluating the options that were recommended above. This methodology will make your life much easier when it comes to finalizing a decision.

In-Person vs. Online Banking

Online banks are considered a more modern banking experience, but it has its limitations. It’s a great fit for businesses that want to sign up quickly and have a place to easily manage their money from anywhere. 

They’re typically better for smaller businesses that don’t handle a lot of cash. Most online-only banks don’t accept cash deposits. And if they do accept cash, they charge very high fees. 

However, you can buy money orders and deposit those with your phone if you need to deposit cash every once in a while. 

If you go with an online bank, it’s crucial to understand that they come with a much lower level of hands-on support for non-emergency situations. It’s one of the trade-offs you get in exchange for lower fees and a modern banking account. 

Having less support staff keeps operating costs low, which results in a fee-free experience for you. 

With that said, less support doesn’t equal nonexistent and you should still be able to get the help you need if something goes wrong with your account. 

Just keep in mind that you’ll probably have to wait longer and you won’t have the option of visiting a branch in-person for 1:1 assistance if your account gets locked or you need help. 

A good way to gauge the level of support you can expect after you sign up is by reaching out via numerous support channels before opening an account. Doing so can give you a good feel for how responsive the reps are and how long it takes to get an answer. 

It’ll also let you know how hard it is to get in touch with an actual human. 

Stuck in an endless phone navigation tree or stuck chatting with bots that spit out nothing but canned responses for hours on end? 

Those things are great for common questions but they’re the last thing you need when your account is locked and you can’t access your money. 

Even with an online-only bank, there should always be an option to talk to someone. 

If you prefer going to the bank in person, want more hands-on customer support for general issues, or regularly handle cash, your best bet is sticking to a traditional bank with a convenient branch close by. 

Either way, make sure you understand all the stipulations of your new account before signing up so you know what to expect. 

Some accounts, for example, place five-day holds on your incoming deposits for the first 30 days. While it isn’t ideal, it’s done to protect you and preserve the reputation of the bank overall. Other banks may limit your daily withdrawals and deposits to protect you, as well. There’s no way around it, but the best thing to do is know about it beforehand. 

These seemingly small quirks and limitations can help you decide between two or three different options if you’re on the fence. 

Transaction Limits

Most banks have a monthly transaction limit around the 200 ballpark for business accounts, but some are even lower—especially those with no monthly fees and very low barriers to entry. 

However, that’s not always the case. We did our best to highlight those that don’t have transaction limitations so you don’t have to worry about it at all, regardless of the size of your business. Novo, Radius, BlueVine, and Lili all come with unlimited transactions. 

On the other hand, Chase has various transaction limits depending on the account you choose. 

After you hit your transaction limit, you get hit with extra fees for every additional transaction that month. It’s usually around $0.30 to $0.50 per transaction. 

While it seems like a small price to pay, those small fees can add up quickly, especially if you regularly go over your limit. 

Even if you meet Chase’s threshold for fee-free banking, your fee-free account won’t stay free if you’re stuck with hundreds of dollars in transaction penalties every month. So, it’s worth it to think about when it makes more economical sense to upgrade to a higher account, even if you don’t hit the threshold to waive monthly fees. 

A $30 or $95 maintenance fee is much cheaper than $250 per month in transaction fees. 

Most banks also have separate limits on cash deposits. Rather than a specific number of deposits, it’s a monetary cap—like $5,000—in fee-free cash deposits per month. 

Once you hit that limit, deposit fees are usually structured as a set amount per additional $100. Some online-only banks don’t allow any fee-free cash deposits. While it’s fine if you only handle cash every once in a while, it’s not an economical solution for cash-heavy businesses. 

Businesses like restaurants, retail businesses, bars, and event venues that handle cash every day are better off going with Chase. 

Despite it being the only option with set transaction limits, you can deposit up to $25k in cash (depending on the account you go with) every month without paying any fees. 

Other transaction limitations to look out for include:

  • How many times you can withdraw cash every month
  • The amount of cash you can pull out on any given day
  • The number of external transfers you can set up
  • Fee-free incoming or outgoing wire transfers

Not every bank classifies transactions the same. And some may limit specific types of transactions more heavily than others. 

Paying your employees, for example, may not count as a transaction with one bank but it does count towards your limit with another. Some may not consider direct payments from a third-party app like Shopify or Paypal. But that’s not always the case. 

Wire transfers and ACH deposit limits depend on the provider, as well. 

And we can’t forget international payments. Many banks charge high fees for international transactions, so that’s something to pay attention to if you regularly deal with payments outside the U.S. 

Because of these discrepancies, it’s important to look at the different types of transactions you have every month to get a clear picture of any limits or fees you’ll incur with different banks. 

If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to ask about your specific situation. 

The Mobile Banking Experience

Top-notch software is THE selling point for most online-only banks. However, you should still expect a modern app that lets you bank from anywhere from large banks with physical locations all over the country. 

Whether you go with an online-only or a traditional bank, you’ll likely spend most of your time inside the accompanying mobile app. So, it’s worth it to find a user interface you enjoy. 

Some are significantly better than others, but it mostly comes down to your personal preferences and mobile banking needs. 

Most mobile banking apps cover all the basics, like:

  • Configuring your account settings
  • Updating your personal information
  • Transfering money to connected accounts
  • Controlling your debit card(s)
  • Customizable alerts
  • Viewing your account history
  • Tax-time reporting and analytics
  • Mobile wallet integrations
  • Locating nearby ATMs

However, there are a few areas you should pay close attention to, the first being the features you plan to use the most. 

Do you send a lot of invoices? If so, how good is the integration with your invoicing software? Can you create invoices in the mobile app or do you have to do it on desktop? 

Or maybe you make a lot of payments to vendors, for example. If so, make sure it’s easy to do so from the mobile app. If you have to spend ten minutes digging around trying to figure out how to do it every time you send out a payment, is it really making your life easier?

Another feature to look closely at is mobile deposits. 

Every option on our list lets you deposit checks by snapping a photo. But some of them are notoriously buggy and may require some fussing to get them to go through. 

If it’s something you do a lot, a streamlined interface for mobile deposits is crucial. 

Lastly, don’t forget to consider integrations. It’s often an afterthought for checking accounts, but a mobile app that integrates seamlessly with your accounting software, collaboration tools, payment processor, and invoicing software can save you hundreds of hours every year.

Novo, our top pick, is known for its vast selection of time-saving tech integrations. However, the rest of our recommendations have fewer built-in integrations. 

At the end of the day, your checking account should come with a mobile app you enjoy using and an interface that makes sense for how you do business. 

Account Fees and Minimum Balances

Even “fee-free” accounts have fees—unfortunately, it’s impossible to find an account that never charges for anything. While you may not pay a monthly fee, there are other things that incur fees and may come as a shock if you’re not expecting it. 

However, the best account for you meets all of your needs, has an interface you enjoy, and comes with the right balance of fees. 

We recommend finding what you need first. From there, you should consider the different fees associated with all the accounts you’re looking at to narrow down your options. Doing it this way is particularly helpful if you’re stuck between two or three. 

The most common type is a monthly maintenance fee. Here’s a quick look at monthly fees for all of the options on our list:

  • Novo – No monthly fees
  • BlueVine – No monthly fees
  • Lili – No monthly fees (unless you upgrade to Pro for $4.99 per month)
  • LendingClub Bank – $10 per month if you have less than $5,000
  • Mercury – No monthly fees

With Chase, there are three accounts to choose from, including:

  • Business Complete – $15 per month if you have less than $2,000
  • Performance Business – $30 per month if you have less than $35,000
  • Platinum Business – $95 per month if you have less than $100,000

Aside from monthly fees, you’ll also pay penalties if you go over your monthly transaction and cash deposit limits. For regular transactions, it’s usually less than $0.50 per transaction. 

For cash deposits, it’s structured as a set amount per additional $100 over your limit. 

Novo, LendingClub Bank, and Chase also charge overdraft fees if you buy something and don’t have the cash to cover it. It’s typically around $35 per overdraft. On top of that, there may also be fees for replacement cards, paper checks, wire transfers, and foreign ATM fees. 

Unfortunately, there are going to be applicable fees regardless of the option you choose. 

So, we recommend estimating all of your monthly fees, including everything we just talked about, for each account you’re considering to get a clear picture of the most economical option. 

Don’t forget to consider how these fees will change as your business grows. 

Account Perks

Most checking accounts don’t usually come with a lot of extra perks or bells and whistles. They’re designed to do one thing and do it well. However, modern banking solutions are changing that across the board. 

Depending on your banking habits and how you do business, choosing an account with added perks and bonuses may be a smart idea. 

Many online-only banks have introduced foreign ATM reimbursements to help business owners keep more of their money, for example. This perk is excellent if you aren’t close to in-network ATMs or want to enjoy the convenience of withdrawing funds at the gas station down the street.

Unlimited cash back used to be reserved for credit card purchases for users with excellent credit, but LendingClub Bank now offers 1% on all of your purchases, both online and in-store. 

It’s a smart option if you use your debit card to make regular purchases for your business, as opposed to putting purchases on a credit card and paying it off with your checking account every month. 

However, if you don’t use your debit card often, you won’t get much out of it. 

Interest is another perk that’s uncommon for checking accounts. Most banks don’t offer interest-bearing accounts at all, and the few that do offer very minuscule amounts. 

But BlueVine offers an interest rate that’s around 20x the industry average. 

It’s a smart idea if you regularly have a high enough balance in your account to accrue a decent amount of interest over time. If you have $50,000, you’ll accrue around $500 in interest every year with BlueVine. In that case, it’s definitely worth it. 

For lower balances, like $1,000, you’ll only accrue $10 every year. So, it may not be worth it. 

Other account perks we’ve seen include tax tools, like automatic tax withdrawals when you get paid, and discounts on different types of business tools. 

As great as these perks sound, you have to weigh the value you’ll get from them with the price of using an account that offers them. For example, you have to pay a monthly $10 service fee for balances of less than $5,000 with LendingClub Bank’s 1% cash back account. 

It may not be worth it if you always have less than $5,000 in the bank. 

Is that 1% cash back perk really worth the added $10 monthly fee when you could opt for a fee-free account and keep that extra Hamilton in your pocket, instead? 

In some cases, maybe. But it’s ultimately up to you to decide what’s best for your business.

Novo

Novo

Best for Most

Think an unlimited business checking account with no monthly fees sounds too good to be true? Novo offers the most comprehensive checking accounts with no monthly fees and an accessible $50 opening deposit. Enjoy a modern, clean, and fee-free banking experience with the best mobile app available.

Summary

What’s the best business checking account? We highly recommend Novo for most businesses,

But that’s not the only option to consider. Use the recommendations, reviews, and methodology explained in this guide to find the best banking solution for your business.


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