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Best Banks for Small Business in 2021

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Finding the best bank for small business is an important step in separating your personal and professional finances. To help with your search, we researched and evaluated a variety of banks to narrow down a list of the best business bank accounts based on particular perks and services.

6 best banks for small businesses

Here’s our list of the best business checking accounts:

Methodology

To find the best bank to open a business account, we researched over 30 business bank accounts that offer zero or low monthly fees. We evaluated the additional services offered (like business credit cards, merchant services and small business loans), benefits (such as welcome bonuses and interest-earning potential), transaction limits and fees charged to highlight six best banks for small businesses for different categories.

Best banks for small businesses

BankMonthly service feeAPYTransaction fees
BlueVine$0$00.60% on balances up to $100,001$0, unlimited transactions
Kabbage$0$01.10% on balances up to $100,000$0 ATM fee, $3 per teller cash withdrawal, 3% foreign transaction fee, $25 per payment order (outgoing domestic wire transfer)
Wells Fargo$10 for Initiate Business Checking, waived if daily balance is $500 or more $25 for Navigate Business Checking, waived if daily balance is $10,000 or more$25Depends on accountFor Initiate, 100 free transactions per month; $0.50 per transaction thereafter For Navigate, 250 free transactions per month; $0.50 per transaction thereafter
Chase $15, waived if your business meets one of the following:
  • $2,000 daily minimum balance
  • $2,000 in monthly purchases on your Chase Ink Business credit card
  • $2,000 in deposits from QuickAccept transactions and/or Chase merchant services account
$0None20 free transactions per month; $0.40 per transaction thereafter
Axos Bank$0 for Basic Business Checking account $10 for Business Interest Checking, waived if balance is $5,000 or more$0 for Basic Business Checking $100 for Business Interest CheckingNone for Basic Business Checking; 0.81% on balances up to $50,000 for Business Interest CheckingBasic Business Checking: Up to 200 free transactions per month; $0.30 per transaction thereafter Business Interest Checking: 50 free transactions per month; $0.50 per transaction thereafter
Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)$0$00.20% with a minimum balance of $0.0120 free deposits per day; $0.10 per transaction thereafter

Best for fee-free, online banking: BlueVine

Although BlueVine is known as a small business lender, it is also one of the best banks with no fees. BlueVine’s business checking account does not charge monthly service fees, fees for nonsufficient funds or ATM fees at over 37,000 MoneyPass locations. In addition, BlueVine offers unlimited transactions and no minimum required deposit or balance, plus two free checkbooks for funded accounts.

On the downside, BlueVine does not have physical branch locations. You also cannot open a business savings account or personal checking account with BlueVine. If you have a cash business or want a complete solution for savings and personal checking as well, you may need to look elsewhere.

Main features:

  • Minimum amount to open:$0
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • APY: 0.60% on balances up to $100,001
  • Transaction limits: Unlimited
  • Fees: $0
  • New account bonus: None

ProsCons
  • No hidden fees
  • High APY
  • Unlimited transactions
  • No physical branch locations
  • No business savings account available
  • No personal checking account available

Best for earning interest: Kabbage

Kabbage is a good option for a high-yield, interest-bearing business checking account, currently offering a 1.10% APY on accounts up to $100,000. Additionally, Kabbage currently offers a $300 welcome bonus for new accounts until Dec. 15, 2021. Kabbage’s checking account has no monthly fee, no minimum deposit and no fee for in-network ATM withdrawals, which you can find on the Kabbage app. However, this account charges $3 for each teller cash withdrawal, 3% for foreign transactions and $25 for payment orders.

To open a Kabbage checking account, you need to be an existing Kabbage customer. And if you want to take advantage of Kabbage’s business line of credit, you need to be an existing customer with American Express.

Main features:

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • APY: 1.10% on balances up to $100,000
  • Transaction limits: No specific limits; $3 per teller cash withdrawal, 3% foreign transaction fee and $25 per payment order (outgoing domestic wire transfer)
  • Fees: $0
  • New account bonus: $300 for accounts opened between Oct. 1, 2021, and Dec. 15, 2021

ProsCons
  • Higher-than-average APY
  • $300 welcome bonus
  • No monthly fee or minimum balance
  • Various transaction fees
  • You need to be an American Express customer to qualify for business lines of credit
  • You need to have a Kabbage account to open a Kabbage checking account

Best for branch access: Wells Fargo

If you prefer a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, consider Wells Fargo for its nationwide branch access. Wells Fargo offers three tiers of checking accounts, each geared toward different levels of business owners from startup owners to seasoned business owners. Wells Fargo also offers a range of small business funding options.

Even the lowest tier checking account carries a $10 monthly service fee, but this can be waived if you maintain a $500 minimum daily balance. Also, this specific checking account doesn’t earn interest, so if you can’t meet the higher balance threshold for the Navigate account, and you want your money to do more than sit idle, you may need to look elsewhere.

Main features:

  • Minimum amount to open: $25
  • Minimum balance: $500
  • APY: Depends on account
  • Transaction limits: First 100 transactions are free; $0.50 per transaction over 100
  • Fees: $10
  • New account bonus: None

ProsCons
  • Nationwide branch access
  • Wide range of financing services (personal banking, business lines of credit, merchant services, business savings)
  • Offers a business credit card with rewards
  • A monthly service fee, if you can’t meet the minimum balance requirements
  • Some accounts do not earn interest
  • Limited transactions per month

Best for business credit cards: Chase

If you want to pair your business checking account with a strong business credit card rewards program, then consider Chase.  Chase also offers a range of small business loans. Chase bank business accounts include three tiers of checking accounts based on business size.

Businesses that are starting with low cash flow may need to look elsewhere because Chase requires a high minimum daily balance to waive the $15 monthly fee on its lowest tier checking account, the Chase Business Complete Checking. Chase will waive this if you have a Chase Private Client account or if you’re a military veteran or active-duty service member. Another way to waive the monthly fee is by meeting certain requirements, like maintaining a $2,000 daily minimum balance, spending $2,000 monthly on your Chase Ink Business credit card or depositing $2,000 from Chase merchant services transactions.

Main features:

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Minimum balance: $2,000
  • APY: None
  • Transaction limits: 20 free transactions per month; $0.40 per transaction 21+ in the same month
  • Fees: $15
  • New account bonus: $300 welcome bonus if you deposit a total of $2,000 or more within 30 days, maintain a $2,000 balance for 60 days and complete five qualifying transactions within 90 days of opening the account

ProsCons
  • Business credit card rewards program and $300 welcome bonus
  • Monthly fee waived for veterans
  • Allows you to link your personal and business accounts for easy transfers
  • High minimum balance required to waive monthly fee
  • Low transaction limits
  • Welcome bonus requires a high daily balance for 60 days to qualify

Best for startups: Axos Bank

Axos is an online bank that provides a $100 sign-up bonus for startups that open a business checking account. To qualify, your business must be incorporated after June 1, 2020. Axos has two tiers of checking accounts: Basic Business Checking, with no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirements, and Business Interest Checking, requiring a $5,000 daily minimum balance.

The Business Interest Checking account also has a transaction limit, only allowing 50 free transactions per month, with a fee of $0.50 per transaction thereafter. The average daily balance requirement of $5,000 may also be a barrier to new startups with uneven cash flow.

Main features:

  • Minimum amount to open: $0 for Basic Business Checking; $100 for Business Interest Checking 
  • Minimum balance: $0 for Basic Business Checking; $5,000 for Business Interest Checking
  • APY: None for Basic Business Checking; 0.81% on balances up to $50,000 for Business Interest Checking
  • Transaction limits: Basic Business Checking: up to 200 free transactions per month, $0.30 per transaction thereafter; Business Interest Checking: 50 free transactions per month, $0.50 per transaction thereafter
  • Fees: $0 for Basic Business Checking account; $10 for Business Interest Checking, waived if balance is $5,000 or more
  • New account bonus: $100 for startups incorporated after June 1, 2020

ProsCons
  • $100 welcome bonus for startups
  • QuickBooks compatibility
  • High-APY checking account option
  • Business Interest Checking requires $5,000 daily balance to waive monthly fee
  • Low transaction limit on Business Interest Checking
  • Does not offer business credit cards

Best credit union for small businesses: Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)

As one of the largest credit unions in the United States, Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) offers an interest-bearing business checking account. The Free Business Checking account has an APY of 0.20% and no monthly fee or minimum deposit. You also have unlimited check writing and 20 free deposits per day.

However, you’ll have to become a member of the credit union to open an account. Membership requires that you meet one of the following criteria: You work for or retired from a DCU participating employer, your spouse or family member is a current DCU member, you belong to an organization that DCU serves or you live or do business in a community in Massachusetts or New Hampshire listed on DCU’s site.

Main features:

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • APY: 0.20% with a minimum balance of $0.01
  • Transaction limits: 20 free deposits per day; $0.10 per transaction thereafter
  • Fees: $0
  • New account bonus: None

ProsCons
  • 0.20% APY
  • No required minimum balance or deposit
  • No fees for check writing
  • No welcome bonus
  • Need to become a credit union member to become a customer
  • Limited to four debit cards per business account

Requirements to open a business bank account

To open a business bank account, you need to provide your personal and business information. Depending on the bank requirements and your business structure, documents may vary, but common items include:

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Personal identification, such as a Social Security number
  • Additional documents, depending on your business structure, such as documents showing the names of all business owners and your business name
  • Initial deposit

How to pick the best bank for your small businesses

Choosing your best business checking account is an important step in starting a business. It involves reviewing the perks, savings and services you’ll need now or in the future. Keep these steps in mind as you research the best banks for small businesses.

Determine the fee structure: Some banks charge monthly service fees that can be waived in certain situations; typically, a minimum daily balance must be met. Ask to see a complete fee schedule for the account(s) you’re considering.

Ask about introductory offers: Some banks provide bonuses and incentives to do business with them. While your decision shouldn’t be based on the introductory offer alone, it might help if there’s a steep opening deposit or required daily balance.

Research security protocols: Find out the bank’s procedures for handling unauthorized charges, like the window for reporting fraudulent activities.

Consider your customer service needs: See if the bank offers 24/7 access through multiple channels such as phone, email, chat and apps. Also, consider whether banks have physical branch locations or if they are online-only.

Look for an interest-bearing account: Finding a high-yield account should be a high priority so that your money gains value.

Ask for perks: Find out what else the bank can provide if you become a business account holder. For example, Axos Bank’s Basic Business Checking account is compatible with QuickBooks.

Consider your personal bank: It could be convenient to open a business bank account where you already have a personal account. Some banks require you to be an existing customer to take advantage of their business checking account.

Business bank account FAQs

What is the difference between a personal bank account and a business bank account? Both business and personal bank accounts allow you to write checks, make deposits and withdrawals and make purchases with a debit card, but a business bank account will allow you to order employee debit cards. Business bank accounts also tend to have stricter account balance requirements and higher monthly fees, and they require more paperwork to set up.

Do I need a business bank account if I’m self-employed? No, you may not need a business bank account if you are a sole proprietor. However, a business bank account could be helpful to keep your business finances organized. Also, some banks have terms and conditions that prohibit using personal accounts for business transactions.

Can I open a business bank account online? Yes, most banks offer the option to open a business bank account online.

Is it legal to transfer money from a business bank account to a personal bank account?

Yes, it is legal to transfer money between business and personal accounts, and some banks allow you to link accounts. However, you cannot write off personal expenses as business expenses for tax purposes if they are not necessary for your business.

Can I open a business checking account with bad credit? You can open a business bank account with bad personal credit because banks will consider your business credit score. You can build your business credit score by opening accounts under your EIN.

 

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