Running a business requires many financial tasks to be completed on time, with perfect accuracy, and at a price that won’t break the budget. That’s why finding a bank that can be a reliable business partner, giving you flexible and rewarding business bank accounts, is key. From savings to checking to merchant processing services, it pays to do your research in finding just the right financial institution for your banking needs, whether that be an online bank or one of many credit unions.
Here are the top picks we found for companies looking to open an account. From brick-and-mortar to online-only banks, these best business bank account offerings are the best in their category.
Best overall: Bank of America
Offering a number of ways to avoid the monthly fees, this bank has made it easy to turn your standard business checking accounts into free business checking accounts, earning it the spot of best bank for small business.
Bank of America has a relatively low monthly maintenance fee cost, just $14 – 18 (depending on geography.) To waive this fee, you merely need to do one of these each statement cycle:
- Maintain the average monthly minimum balance of $5,000
- Maintain the minimum daily balance of $3,000
- Maintain a combined average minimum monthly balance of $15,000 in your linked Bank of America accounts
- Spend $250 in net new purchases on a business debit or credit card
- Enroll in the Preferred Rewards for Business program
As you can see, even if you don’t keep a large amount in your checking account, you can easily wave fees by putting a modest amount of purchases on your debit card or qualifying for their rewards program.
What else do they offer? You get 200 free transactions a month, up to $7,500 in cash deposits a month, and low fees once you max these limits out. The ATM network is wide, totaling more than 16,000 in-network machines.
There are some additional costs to consider if you are a fan of wire transfers, however. Bank of America currently doesn’t give you a certain number of free incoming or outgoing wires. These will cost between $15 – $40 per wire, depending on if they are domestic or foreign. You’ll also pony up a $2.50 per transaction fee for out-of-network ATMs.
Other than these transactions fees and monthly fees, there are some rules for opening a business checking account. You’ll need a minimum $100 to open a business checking account, but you may earn rewards if you deposit more within the first 60 days. You may also qualify for bonuses for enrolling in online bill pay, qualifying for a small business credit card, or for spending on that card within the first 90 days. Visit any of the 4,300 branches in person to see what’s available.
Coming in a close second to Bank of America is Chase with their Total Business Checking account. This solution gives you many of the same perks, such as access to thousands of physical branches and an extensive ATM network, plus a slightly lower minimum balance account threshold. Where Chase doesn’t quite measure up, however, is its transaction limits.
First, let’s look at the minimums required to bank for free. You’ll just need a $1,500 minimum monthly balance to avoid the $15 monthly maintenance fee. You could also, however, link your Total Business Checking account to a Chase Private Client Checking or Premier Platinum Checking for the same benefits. You can also avoid $3 of the fee by moving to electronic statements and pay just $12 for failing to meet the minimums.
You get a maximum of 100 free transactions a month (just half of what Bank of America offers.) After that, you’ll pay per transaction. There’s also a limit of $5,000 in cash deposits per cycle before you have to pay. ATM transactions are free, as well, provided you use the Chase ATM network.
One other benefit for Chase customers is the savings that comes with using the Chase.com website or mobile banking app. By using these to accept incoming wires, for example, you’ll avoid the typical $15 fee. You’ll also save on outgoing domestic wire transfers ($25 vs. $35) and on international wires ($40 vs. $50.) AS you can see, it pays to use their tech to do your business.
To get started, you might be able to start your application online, but most approvals are done in person. Chase isn’t in every location, so be sure to check their map to ensure a physical branch that’s convenient to you. With frequent sign-on bonus offers, it may be worth considering this business checking account option for your business banking services.
Best online bank: Azlo
If you’ve never heard of Azlo, you may be surprised that it has earned the top spot for online banks. It’s one of the most fee-friendly small business banks out there today with almost no service charges. If you don’t need a physical bank branch or make frequent cash deposits, it’s a good pick for budget-savvy businesses who a core focus on paying less in fees.
What does it cost? There is no monthly maintenance fee, transaction fee, or incoming wire transfer fee (international or domestic.) This is good news for smaller businesses with less cash flow who may keep lower monthly balances and don’t want hit with penalties. You can also rest assured that months, where you have more transactions, won’t cause you to pay more than your budget allows. ATMs in the BBVA Compass or Allpoint networks charge no fees, as well.
The downside to Azlo is that it’s a virtual banking partner. With no branches to visit, there’s no way to deposit cash to your checking account. You also can’t wire money to other people. Outgoing transfers (both foreign and domestic) aren’t available. If you’re one of many brick-and-mortar small business owners who accepts cash, this may not be a suitable option for you.
You also get a free business debit card and have virtually no expenses to run your business with Azlo. If you do decide to expand into needing cash support or want to get the advice of a banking professional in a face-to-face meeting, you’ll need to shop elsewhere.
For companies who work largely online (including sole proprietors processing cashless transactions,) the price on Azlo banking accounts can’t be beaten. You have no minimums for your initial minimum deposit and for your account balance, so it can stick with you – even if your cash balance dips from time to time. You won’t be penalized for the natural ebbs and flows that accompany doing business these days. It’s also simple to sign up for online since that’s where they do all their business.
Best savings account: Citi
What if you have a need to stash cash and don’t require all the extras of a checking account? The CitiBusiness® Savings Account may be for you. This top-rated savings offering is simple and competitive. It is an FDIC-insured banking account (up to $250,000 per account holder) and comes with the extraordinary customer service that Citibank is known to offer.
One of the best-loved features of this account is that there is no minimum opening deposit. You can start it with just $1 and add to after account opening. It’s a good solution for smaller businesses that need extra time to grow! Because it featured unlimited deposits each month, you can continue to save on the schedule that works for you – whether that’s by making ten deposits a month, or a hundred.
The interest rate is competitive with market rates offered by similarly-sized banks. To get started, you’ll need all the documentation for your small business, including ID, tax paperwork, and articles of incorporation. Then, visit a branch near you to get started. Savings accounts cannot be opened online.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you still unsure which business bank account will best suit your needs? Here are answers to questions asked most about the topic.
What bank has free business checking?
Most all business banking accounts offer ways to waive fees, which is almost as good as having access to free business checking accounts. For no fees ever, consider an online-only bank like Azlo, which has limited services but requires no monthly minimum balances. You may also want to check with your local credit union to see what they offer.
Do I need a business bank account for LLC?
It’s smart to use business banking products and services – rather than a personal account — for your incorporated business. Not only will some banks require it, but it’s essential for building your business credit score – something that will be important when you apply for business loans down the road. Be sure you have all your LLC documentation with you when you open a business bank account. You need considerably more paperwork than when opening a personal bank account.
How do I choose a bank for my small business?
Before you know which bank is best, understand how you’ll use the checking account. Are you largely a cash business? Do you mostly sell online? How many transactions will you conduct per month? Are wire transfers needed? Since each account offers different free services, it’s essential to know what a typical month looks like before you choose. By using a service like Freshbooks to track your money each month, you can get a good picture of your needs ahead of time.
Can I open a business bank account without a deposit?
Generally, you need some money to open a business bank account, but the minimum may not be much, at all. Note that Azlo and Chase require you to deposit just $1 to get started. You’ll want to quickly add more to that amount, however, if you want to avoid paying additional monthly service fees. While there are some banks that may offer promotional offers that make them a true no deposit business bank account, you’ll want to carefully weigh the benefits and costs against those that require a deposit. The overall value should be considered, such as access to other services (including SBA loans, money market accounts, merchant services, and overdraft protection) — not just deposit amount.
Pro tip: What you don’t know can kill your business
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