One of the most basic tools for a new small business owner is a business checking account. There are dozens of accounts to choose from, which can make the selection more challenging. But to help you sort through the list of options, we're presenting our list of the best business checking accounts.
The table below provides a summary of the most basic features of the seven best business checking accounts based on our research. Detailed descriptions of each account are provided below.
|Provider||APY||Monthly Fee||Minimum Deposit||ATM Fee||Best for|
Refund of ATM fees
Applicants with bad credit
$15, with five ways to waive it
$16, with three ways to waive it
Assistance from small business specialists
$10, waived with $500 average balance
Unlimited ATM fee rebates
Earn 1% cash back on qualified purchases
Earning high interest
Up to 1.01%
$10, waived with minimum average daily balance of $5,000
$0 or $100
Unlimited ATM fee rebates
Large ATM network
Best business checking accounts
Lili offers what may be the simplest business checking account anywhere. That’s because it requires no minimum initial deposit, no minimum balance, and no fees whatsoever. And it offers plenty of analysis and accounting features for individual entrepreneurs who operate small businesses.
To start, the account pays 1.00% APY in interest. The account comes with a Visa business debit card that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted. You’ll also enjoy expense categorization, expense reports, and tax savings tools, all at no additional charge. You can also earn 1% cash back when you make purchases at participating merchants. The debit card also comes with free overdraft protection of up to $200.
Mobile banking comes complete with Apple Pay and Google Pay. You can also open a rainy day fund, called an Emergency Bucket, which you can fund for contingencies.
Lili is an online only banking app that was created originally for freelancers and single proprietors who want the benefits of a business checking account without the cost of keeping a minimum balance at a traditional, brick-and-mortar bank.
- Other business services offered: Lili automatic savings, invoice templates, free tax resources.
- Other fees: None.
- Other products offered: N/A.
- ATM Network: Over 38,000.
- Customer Service: Phone or email, Monday through Friday, 9:00. AM to 7:00 PM, Eastern time.
Novo provides its business checking account for more than 175,000 small business owners. The account provides online banking, a virtual card for secure spending, and integration with other small business tools. You will be required to deposit $50 to open an account, after which there is no minimum balance requirement. Checks can be mailed out directly from the Novo app, but paper checks are not available.
You can deposit checks using mobile deposit, but there is a limit of $20,000 per day and $40,000 per month. Be aware that while you can receive domestic and international wire transfers, you cannot send domestic wires. (ACH is available for domestic transfers, and integration with the Wise app enables you to send international wires).
The account comes with Novo Reserves, a feature that allows you to set aside funds from your checking account for future expenses, like taxes. You can maintain up to 10 Reserves at any time.
- Other business services offered: Integrates with popular business apps, like Stripe, Square, Quickbooks, Xero, Wise and Shopify.
- Other fees: Insufficient funds, $27; uncollected funds, return fee, $27.
- Other products offered: N/A.
- ATM Network: None, but Novo will reimburse you for all ATM fees.
- Customer Service: Available through the website and mobile app, or by email, Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Eastern time.
Chase offers their Business Complete Banking account for small businesses. Because Chase is a full-service bank, not only do they offer more banking services than other banking apps on this list, but more business services as well.
For example, you can accept credit card payments through Chase QuickAccept, and provide associate debit cards and employee deposit cards for your staff. They are also currently paying $300 when you open a new account and complete qualifying activities.
The account also provides business debit cards, Bill Pay, wire transfers, and up to $5,000 of no-fee cash deposits per statement cycle. Meanwhile, there are no transaction fees for electronic deposits, ACH, and ATM transactions, debit card purchases and internal transfers.
As is common with commercial banks, Chase does have more fees than the other accounts on this list. For example, there’s a $15 monthly service fee, but there are five ways to have it waived, including having $2,000 in net purchases or deposits.
- Other business services offered: Business savings and credit cards.
- Other fees: QuickDeposits, 2.6% + $0.10 ($25 monthly fee for scanner with two-year contract); out-of-network ATM fees, $3; foreign exchange rate, 3%, insufficient funds, $34; incoming wires, $15; outgoing domestic wires, $35, outgoing international wires, $50; stop payment, $30; deposited item or cashed check returned, $12.
- Other products offered: Personal banking services, loans, and credit cards; investing through J.P. Morgan Chase.
- ATM Network: Over 16,000.
- Customer Service: By phone or email, 24/7.
Bank of America
Bank of America offers their Business Advantage Fundamentals Banking account. It comes with cash flow monitoring, mobile check deposit, Zelle, access to dedicated small business specialists, a virtual financial assistant, digital debit cards, and integration with QuickBooks.
The account does come with a monthly fee of $60, which will be waived if you maintain a combined average monthly balance of $5,000, spend at least $250 in new net qualified debit card purchases, or become a Preferred Rewards for Business member.
- Other business services offered: Business Advantage Savings account, other business checking accounts, business CDs, business credit score, and access to a financial management service (Business Advantage 360).
- Other fees: 200 free transactions, then $0.45 per item; non-BofA ATMs, $5; international transaction fee, 3%; redeposit fee, $14; overdraft items, $10; stop payment, $30.
- Other products offered: Personal banking services, mortgages, loans, credit cards.
- ATM Network: Over 17,000.
- Customer Service: By phone, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Eastern time.
LendingClub is best known for personal loans. But for small businesses, they offer their online Tailored Checking account. The account can earn 1.00% APY on balances up to $100,000 and provides 1% rewards on qualified purchases. The account does come with online banking and a business debit card.
You can use the account to pay bills, transfer funds, send wires, make mobile check deposits, and accept credit card payments. It can even be used to generate digital invoices, and be synced with Mint, QuickBooks and Quicken. You’ll also enjoy unlimited transactions, with no access or transaction fees.
- Other business services offered: Business savings and money market accounts, CDs, business loans and SBA loans.
- Other fees: Deposited item return, $7; stop payment, $25; domestic wire out, $18; international wire out, $40; international transaction fee, 0.90%.
- Other products offered: Personal banking services, personal loans, auto refinancing.
- ATM Network: Over 37,000.
- Customer Service: Phone, email or live chat, Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to midnight, and weekends, 8:00 AM 8:00 PM, Eastern time.
Bluevine Business Checking is available for small business owners. The account pays 1.50% APY on account balances up to $100,000, but to be eligible, you must spend at least $500 per month with your Business Debit MasterCard, or receive at least $2,500 per month in customer payments into your account.
The account provides for mobile deposits of checks, and you can deposit cash at more than 90,000 Green Dot locations. Bluevine also offers Bill Pay, enabling you to schedule one-time or recurring payments directly from your account. It also provides two free checkbooks, unlimited transactions, and up to five sub-accounts to better organize your finances.
- Other business services offered: Business line of credit.
- Other fees: Bill Pay credit card transactions, 2.9%; outgoing wire fee, $15; ATM cash deposit fee, $4.95; out-of-network ATM fee, $2.50.
- Other products offered: N/A.
- ATM Network: Over 37,000.
- Customer Service: By phone or email, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
Axos is a full-service bank that offers two business checking accounts.
Basic Business Checking is designed for smaller businesses. It comes with no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum deposit requirement, unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, and even paper checks. New business owners can even get a $200 welcome bonus for opening a new account. The account comes with a Visa debit card, unlimited item processing, mobile deposits, and is QuickBooks compatible. You’ll also have access to dedicated relationship managers.
Small Business Interest Checking pays 1.01% APY on balances up to $50,000, with an average daily balance of at least $5,000. There are no monthly maintenance fees, and this account also offers a $200 welcome bonus for new accounts. The first 100 transactions in your account are free, and there is a Visa debit card with the account. Like the basic account, it’s also QuickBooks compatible.
- Other business services offered: Business Premium Savings, money market and CDs.
- Other fees: Transactions over 100, $0.30 or $0.50 per item; outgoing domestic wire transfers, $7 online, otherwise $15; outgoing international wires, $50; returned items, $10; stop payments, $10 online or $35 with assistance.
- Other products offered: Personal banking services, mortgages, personal loans, auto loans, and investment accounts.
- ATM Network: Over 91,000.
- Customer Service: By phone, 24/7.
In our evaluation of the best business checking accounts, we used the following criteria in coming up with our list:
- APY paid on the account, if offered.
- Monthly fees.
- Minimum deposit requirement.
- ATM fees.
- What each account is best for.
- Other business services offered.
- Other fees.
- Other products offered.
- The size of each institution’s ATM network.
- Customer service availability.
Though the above are the basic criteria, we also considered business services and account features offered by each. This can include anything from credit/debit card processing to invoicing capability and business service assistance offered.
Why should you get a business checking account?
One of the most important – and overlooked – reasons to get a business checking account is that you can separate your business finances from the personal ones. By having a dedicated business checking account, you’ll be in a better position to know exactly what the financial condition of your business is.
A second reason, and perhaps most important, is for income tax preparation purposes. Having a dedicated business checking account avoids the need to separate business and personal expenses from a nonspecific account.
Finally, having a separate business checking account is an important way to distinguish your business among customers, vendors, and business partners. Think about it this way – is a customer going to think more highly of your business if required payments must be made to you individually, or to your business?
Having business transactions run through a personal account can give other people the impression your business is just a side hustle. That may make it more difficult, both to build trust and increase sales.
How to pick a business checking account
Choosing a business checking account will depend on a combination of your personal preferences and the growth phase your business is at. For example, while a large commercial bank can be an excellent choice if you have over $1 million per year in sales, it may have too many fees for an upstart business.
In choosing your business checking account, consider the following:
- Minimum opening deposit and ongoing account balance requirements.
- Per transaction fees. Typically, banks offer a certain number of free transactions each month, beyond which you’ll pay a per item fee.
- Secondary fees. These fees are on top of the monthly maintenance fee. Pay careful attention to these fees, particularly transaction fees, as they can add up quickly.
- What are the services offered? If you plan to accept credit and debit card payments, you’ll need a bank that will provide card processing.
- What is the availability of customer service? 24/7 access usually works best.
- Mobile banking. Being able to transact from your phone has become a must in today’s world because it enables you to bank even when you’re not home. Mobile banking should provide all the features and capabilities of the web version.
- ATM network. Most banks have a network where you can take advantage of fee-free transactions. The larger the network, the better.
If you’re an upstart business, you’ll need to evaluate if the checking account will grow with your business. If not, you may need to switch accounts as your business grows.
What you need to open a small business checking account
To open a small business checking account, you must be 18-years-old and will typically need the following:
- Have a verifiable address in the US.
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident alien.
- Have a verifiable phone number and email address.
- A valid Social Security number or IRS employer identification number (EIN).
- Supply satisfactory identity documentation, such as a valid state issued driver’s license, a US passport, or other government issued document with your photo.
Most business checking accounts will also put restrictions on the type of business you can operate. For example, most will not provide an account if you’re engaged in the business of gambling, adult entertainment, or any activity considered illegal.
How to open a business checking account
Many financial institutions today will allow you to open an account online, though some more traditional banks still require an in-person appearance. Though you can open an account in your own personal name and with your Social Security number, it’s often better to have a registered business name, as well as an IRS issued employer identification number (EIN).
Be prepared to provide basic information, like your address and phone number. But the bank will also be interested in a list of any individuals who will have access to the account.
You’ll also need certain business documents, like articles of incorporation if you’re incorporated, or partnership agreements for a partnership. And if it is required in your state or county, you may also be required to furnish a business license.
What is a business checking account?
A business checking account is much like a personal account, except it’s in the name of your business. They can be opened as a sole proprietorship, partnership, an LLC, or a corporation. It will typically provide greater services than a personal account, such as credit card processing and certain business services.
Can I use a personal bank account for my small business?
You can, but there are complications. Clients and customers are less likely to trust a business with a personal bank account, than one with a dedicated business account. And your life will be considerably more complicated at tax time when you have to separate the business transactions from your personal account.
How are business and personal checking accounts different?
Business accounts are specifically set up for business transactions. That includes processing a larger number of transactions than you will with a personal account, such as deposits and payments. But it will also include important business services, like credit card processing.
What is the difference between online and brick-and-mortar business checking accounts?
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate online from brick-and-mortar business checking accounts. That’s because most brick-and-mortar banks now offer online banking.
But the bottom line is that brick-and-mortar is no longer necessary for any banking functions, since virtually anything that can be done in a bank branch can be done online. But online also gives you the ability to operate more quickly, particularly when you are away from your home or business.
Should you use a credit union for a business checking account?
Though there may be limited ability to run small business transactions through a credit union account, credit unions don’t typically offer business checking accounts.