When running a small business, you will have a lot of different things to worry about than you would as an individual using a personal checking account. First, you have to ensure your business finances are separate from your personal finances. If they’re not, it could open up risk in many ways—including liability for business debts and lawsuits, or issues when you go to file your taxes.
In this article, I’ll share our picks for the best business checking accounts, as well as some key factors to consider before opening one.
Let’s get started.
The best business checking accounts
Chase Total Business Checking
If you’re looking for a little cash to go with your new business checking account; Chase Total Business Checking has you covered. To earn a $300 cash bonus, you need to complete the following steps:
- Open a Chase Total Business Checking account
- Deposit a total of $1,000 in new money within 20 business days of account opening
- Maintain that balance for 60 days
- Complete 5 qualifying transactions within 60 days – debit card purchases, Chase QuickDepositSM, ACH (Credits) and wires (Credits and Debits)
There is a $15 monthly maintenance fee associated with the Total Business Checking account but it can be waived if you meet one simple requirement: a minimum daily balance of $1,500. If you cannot reach this amount, Chase will reduce your monthly fee to $12 if you enroll in paperless statements.
Some of the benefits of this business account are as follows:
- Unlimited electronic deposits
- 100 transactions per month at no charge
- $5,000 in cash deposits per statement cycle without an additional fee
- Convenient access to 16,000 ATM’s nearly 4,900 branches.
Bank Novo Powerfully Simple Business Banking
Another option for business checking is with Bank Novo; you won’t pay any fees for your Bank Novo business account and businesses have access to members-only perks discounts on business tools like Google Cloud, Zendesk, Hubspot, Stripe, and Salesforce Essentials.
There is a $50 minimum opening deposit requirement, but after that, you won’t be required to keep a monthly balance to maintain the account.
A few standout perks that really stand out in my mind:
- No monthly maintenance fee
- No minimum balance requirement
- Free transfers and mailed checks
- Free ATM including waiving and refunding fees you accrue from lenders that own the ATM you use
Bank Novo operates completely online, and aside from withdrawing cash, Bank Novo ensures you can do everything through your app. Not only can you apply for an account and get approval in minutes, but once accepted, you can login to your account through your favorite mobile device. Using the app, you can:
- Transfer funds
- Deposit checks
- Pay bills
- Mail paper checks
- Access integrated business tools like Xero, Zapier, Slack, and TransferWise
You also get free ACH transfers and incoming wires, and if you ever need to mail a check, Bank Novo does that for free as well.
Radius Bank Tailored Checking
Radius Bank Tailored Checking is Radius Bank’s new business checking account. Tailored Checking is specifically geared toward small business owners and individuals with side hustles, helping you earn money with unlimited penalty-free transactions.
As with its personal accounts, you’ll get fee-free checking and 1% cash back on every dollar you spend. You’ll also earn interest on any other checking and savings accounts you open with them.
A Tailored Checking account includes the following benefits:
- Easy, paperless online application that can be completed in 10 minutes or less; no documents needed
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all debit card purchases
- For a limited time, get 1.50% cash back on every dollar you spend in the health, food, entertainment, and social good categories
- Earn 0.10% APY on your account balance
- Fee-free ATM visits, including rebates on third-party ATM fees worldwide
- The $10 monthly maintenance fee will be waived after your balance reaches $5,000
- $100 opening balance requirement
- No minimum monthly balance required
As a business owner, you’ll have access to a variety of convenient features. You can easily add employees to your bank account, allowing them to make deposits and have their own debit cards to make ized business purchases.
In addition to the above benefits, you can also enjoy these features:
- Free membership to Autobooks, which offers small business banking tools
- ACH debit and credit origination
- Professional invoicing
- Remote deposit capture
- ACH debit/block filters
- Merchant services
- Free bill pay
- E-payment solutions
- Reporting and accounting integrations
If you’re a business owner looking for a business checking account that keeps fees low while giving you rewards and interest, Radius Tailored Checking is definitely a great option.
Huntington Bank Unlimited Business Checking
With business accounts tailored to the unique needs of small businesses and startups, if you’re still growing, you may be able to stick with a Huntington Bank Unlimited Business Checking Account. Right now, the’re offering a $300 cash bonus and deposit at least $5,000 within the first 60 days. (Note the $300 will be deposited into your account after the account has been open for 90 days.)
- *This offer is only available to applicants residing in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia
Other enticing benefits well worth noting:
- Sweep Services
- Remote deposit
- Tools and resources for small business owners
- Unlimited monthly transactions
In addition to unlimited transactions, you also choose from one of the following bonus solutions:
- Fraud Tool
- Up to 50 deposit scans per month
- 10% off Paychex payroll services
- Two incoming domestic wires per month
- Or up to 25 returned deposit items per month
Finally, another real benefit of setting up an account with Huntington Bank is its resources. Through The Hub for Business, you’ll get tools like cashflow monitoring, financial forecasting, and alerts. Huntington also has articles to help business owners and a checklist to help you open a business account.
US Bank Silver Business
- No monthly maintenance fees
- 150 free transactions each month
- 3,000+ branches across the eastern half of the United States
The US Bank Silver Business checking account is another great option for those with newer businesses and a relatively lower transaction count each month.
What sets US Bank Silver Business apart is that it gives you 25 free cash deposit units per month. That’s right, units.
Once you read the fine print from US Bank, they tell you that a unit is whatever cash dollar amount you deposit, divided by 100, then rounded to a whole number. Here’s what I mean…
Say you deposit $225. You’d divide that by 100:
225 / 100 = 2.25
Then you’d round that to the nearest whole number (in this case 2). So by depositing $225, you use up 2 of your 25 free cash deposit units. Pretty unique if you ask me (and confusing). Once you pass the limit, you’ll be charged a small fee for every additional unit you use.
US Bank offers some extras, too:
- A free card reader
- Viewpost Digital Invoicing
- A $200 credit on payroll services
You just have to meet certain requirements to get them. This is a good account for those who don’t do a ton of business, want a familiar bank, and like the option of going into a branch to do business.
This is not an exhaustive list. Larger banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase offer excellent options for business checking. Many of them, however, require larger balances and have a fee structure that rewards more established businesses, which is why I narrowed our picks down to these five.
In addition to a checking account, your business will likely also need a business credit card. Even if you don’t use it very often, it will come in handy while you’re traveling or during those months when you’re struggling with cash flow. Here are a couple of business-friendly credit cards I recommend.
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Spend $4,500 in your first three months, and this card will earn you $500 cash back. The way I see it, that makes this a great card for covering those initial expenses associated with building or growing your business.
The Capital One Spark Cash for Business card comes with an annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that. With this plan, you’ll earn 2% unlimited cash back on every dollar you spend.
Don’t want an annual fee? No problem. Choose the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business card and you’ll pay no annual fee while still earning 1.5% cash back on every dollar you spend.
Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card
If you plan to spend time on the road, I definitely recommend you take a look at the Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard®, giving you 3 points for every dollar you spend on travel through the Bank of America Travel Center.
All other purchases earn 1.5 points on all purchases all the time. And the points don’t expire.
And if you make $3,000 in net purchases during your first 90 days, you’ll get $300 in travel rewards. (For me, $3000 in 90 days is very doable.) And if you go overseas with your $300 in travel awards, you can spend without worry because there are no international transaction fees with this card.
But I have to say one of the most appealing features of the Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard is that it comes with an annual fee of $0.00.
It’s like the icing on top of an already decadent cake.
Finally, you’ll enjoy See Terms for the first 9 billing cycles, and then See Terms thereafter.
Key factors to consider with a business checking account
Before running out and signing up for a business checking account, you need to understand a few key things. First, when you see an advertisement for a “free” business checking account, know that it’s not entirely “free.”
In order for these banks to stay in business, they have to make money off of you somehow, right? So what you’ll normally see with business checking accounts are two things:
- You probably won’t earn interest on your balance
- Slightly hidden fees
Banks will typically not pay you interest, but they’ll earn some kind of interest off your money—that’s just how banking works.
With regard to fees, make sure you read every fine detail before signing up so you know exactly what fees you’ll be charged and how you can reduce them or avoid them altogether.
With a business checking account, most banks will put a limit on the number of transactions you make every month.
Seems kind of backward, doesn’t it? With a personal checking account, you’re often encouraged to make more transactions, not less.
Limits placed on business checking account transactions also don’t apply to just debit card charges. It usually includes things like deposits (both check and cash), withdrawals, checks written, and payments you make electronically.
Most banks will put a limit of up to 500 transactions, depending on the bank. Some can be as low as 200. On average, though, you typically won’t see a limit below 100 transactions per month. Expect the fees to be as high as 50 cents per transaction over the stated limit.
That’s like a 25 percent surcharge on a $2.50 coffee.
Balance and deposit requirements
Some banks will charge you a fee if your business checking account’s balance falls below a certain threshold. It’s calculated on an average, by day, so as long as you’re maintaining a certain level of money in the account you should be fine.
A bank may also require your initial deposit to be a certain amount. If you don’t have that on hand, it may disqualify you from opening the account at all.
On the flip side, some banks will actually reward you for having a high balance, much like they do with a personal checking or savings account (typically a higher interest rate). With checking accounts, you may get a higher interest rate or even a reduction (or elimination) of some of these other silly fees by carrying a large balance.
If you don’t see anything in the fine print about high-balance bonuses, then contact a service representative to see if they’re willing to give you a break if you agree to keep your balances above a certain amount.
Ah, the good old monthly maintenance fee. Usually, banks will require this if you or the product you chose aren’t very profitable for them. An example might be if you don’t bank very often—they may not be able to collect transaction fees from you, so they make it up with a fee.
This type of fee doesn’t exist with every business checking account, but this fee can vary pretty widely in the cost. On average, it’s usually under $10, but in some cases, it can be as high as $50.
Make sure you check to see if there’s a monthly maintenance fee before signing up. If there is, ask to have it waived. If they won’t waive it, I would urge you to look for another account elsewhere.
Bank location and size
You don’t tend to see a lot of online-only business checking accounts. This is for a good reason. Banks want to develop a relationship with their business-owner account holders. Once they have a good relationship with you, they can offer other products, like small business loans, business credit cards, and other premium products.
This is an important factor for you to consider as well. If you don’t want to deal with someone face-to-face, you may be better off finding an online-only bank. But if you would prefer the personal touch of a small business specialist, then ensuring your bank has a physical branch close to you is critical.
This may also mean having a nearby ATM for you to take out cash. If you choose an online-only bank, your options to get cash out may be limited (unless you want to pay a higher fee).
The other thing to think about is how large the bank is. Are you choosing a small, possibly less-credible bank because of their better offer? If so, it’s okay, but be prepared for more limited options and slightly reduced service.
It shouldn’t matter if you’re an established business or a brand new blog. If you have a business, you should have a business checking account. Every business is going to have different needs, so just be sure to do your research before signing up for an account. Otherwise, you may end up with something that doesn’t suit your business model.