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What's the best small business checking account?

9 minutes

Does your small business need its own checking account? Now might be the time to open a business account.

Business checking accounts allow you to separate your personal checking account from the money you send and receive on behalf of your business. 

Keeping these bank accounts separate can be enormously important for accounting and tax purposes and your business checking account may be able to be used by some of your employees.

But with so many choices, what is the best small business checking account? In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the best business checking accounts of 2021 and help you understand how their features can help your business. 

Invoice2go subscribers can now access our small business banking solutions to help you manage your business. We offer fee-free withdrawals and automatically match payments to invoices.

Read on to learn about today’s other major players to see how these features stack up against other business bank accounts.

Axos Bank

Axos Bank has provided online banking services since 2000. Presently, they offer two kinds of business checking accounts: Basic Business Checking and Basic Interest Checking. Both of these business bank accounts offer the same core features, which include:

  • Complementary set of paper checks upon sign-up
  • Online and mobile banking services
  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • Compatibility with QuickBooks
  • Cash deposits made through an ATM

As you'll discover from our other reviews, these services are hardly unusual, but Axos Bank provides these basic features without charging customers additional fees.

Even though Axos Bank is an online-only bank, small business owners can still take advantage of the savings accounts and the merchant services that they offer through a partnership with Celero Merchant Solutions.

Beyond these core features, their two business bank accounts have some key differences that you should be aware of.

Basic business checking

The Basic Business Checking account is distinguished by the following core features:

  • Minimum opening deposit of $1,000
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • The first 200 monthly transactions are free
  • $0.30/transaction for each transaction over 200

While there is no traditional brick-and-mortar bank, Axos Bank still boasts of having dedicated bank relationship managers available Monday through Friday.

Basic interest checking

The Basic Interest Checking account offered by Axos Bank offers the following:

  • Minimum opening deposit of $100
  • Pays 0.81% APY on balances below $50,000
  • $10 monthly maintenance fee
  • No monthly service fees with a minimum balance of $5,000
  • The first 50 monthly transactions are free
  • $0.50/transaction for each transaction over 50

As with the Basic Business Checking account, there are no ATM fees nor minimum balance requirements.

Bank of America

Bank of America has a proud history of personal and business banking. Currently, they offer two different business checking accounts: Business Advantage Fundamentals Banking and Business Advantage Relationship Banking.

Business Advantage Fundamentals Banking

What can you expect when you open an account using the Fundamentals plan?

  • Online bill pay
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Account alerts and security protection on debit cards
  • $16 monthly service fee
  • No monthly fee with an average monthly balance of $5,000
  • Merchant services and QuickBooks integration available for $15/month
  • Unlimited transactions
  • No ATM fees (at Bank of America ATMs)

Most small business owners will easily meet the requirements to eliminate the monthly service fees, which can make Bank of America a fee-free option for those looking for a business checking account.

We'd prefer to see their merchant services offered without a monthly fee, but small business owners can take advantage of Bank of America's numerous locations and customer service to provide assistance with their checking accounts.

Business Advantage Relationship Banking

The Business Advantage Relationship bank account differs a bit, notably in these areas:

  • $29.95 monthly service fee
  • No monthly service fee with a minimum balance of $10,000
  • 0.02% to 0.02% APY on large balances (over $10,000)
  • Cash back

The advantages of this option are slight, and some small businesses may struggle to meet the minimum balance requirement to waive the comparatively steep monthly fee.

Bank of America represents one of the best business checking accounts for small business owners who value traditional brick-and-mortar banking institutions. But many modern entrepreneurs will find options for a free business checking account through an online-only bank or another competitor.

Chase Business Complete Banking

With Chase Business Complete Banking, small business owners essentially pair a business checking account with the services of Chase QuickAccept. The latter is a relatively innovative new service that serves as a payment processing platform so that your small business can accept credit card payments directly through your business bank account. 

Advantages of Chase

This payment processing feature certainly adds value to this business checking account, which is already characterized by the following:

  • No minimum opening deposit
  • $15 monthly fee
  • No monthly fees if you meet minimum daily balance or other requirements
  • Free transactions for the first 20 deposits or withdrawals of each month
  • Additional monthly deposits, withdrawals, or check payments cost $0.40
  • Mobile check deposit
  • No ATM fees at Chase ATMs
  • Free online bill pay

Many customers will appreciate the fact that Chase has numerous locations across the United States, making it easy for your small business to make cash deposits and speak to customer service representatives about your business checking account.

Small businesses can open a business checking account online if they are structured as a sole proprietorship, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC) that is managed by a single member. This doesn't exclude other business types, though they will have to visit a physical branch to open a Chase Business Complete checking account.

Disadvantages of Chase 

However, there are some drawbacks to the programs from Chase. In addition to the monthly fees, there are some transaction limits that might impact your small business. These include:

  • Fee-free cash deposits are limited to $5,000 per month.
  • Chase Business Complete Checking debit card has a daily limit of $10,000
  • You can only withdraw $3,000 per day from Chase ATMs

These limitations are negligible for some businesses, but some business owners may find these limits restrictive, especially given the number of options for business checking accounts that are currently available.

Navy Federal Credit Union

The Navy Federal Credit Union can provide a business checking account to small businesses that meet the requirements for eligibility and the use of the services.

Credit Union Eligibility

You can open a business checking account through this credit union if you are a current or retired member of the U.S. military, an employee of the Department of Defense, or are an immediate family member of these groups.

At this credit union, qualifying small business owners can open one of three different business bank accounts, each offering fee-free online transactions. Each will require an opening deposit of $105 (or $100 for sole proprietorships).

Customers can also take advantage of their free online bill pay and mobile check deposit options. However, each business checking account offers slightly different services.

Business Checking

The basic business checking account offered by the credit union provides the following:

  • No monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements
  • 0.01% APY
  • Fee-free online transactions
  • Up to 30 fee-free non-electronic transactions per month
  • $0.25 per item after 30 transactions

The features of this business checking account are fairly standard, but the lack of monthly fees or minimum balance requirement make this an attractive option for qualifying business owners to open up business checking accounts.

Business Plus Checking

The Business Plus account is the next tier in their services, providing:

  • An $8.00 monthly fee
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • 0.01% APY
  • Fee-free online transactions
  • Up to 50 fee-free non-electronic transactions per month
  • $0.25 per item after 30 transactions

Note that this is essentially identical to the Business Checking account, but in exchange for the monthly fee, business owners can take advantage of the increased limit on online transactions.

Business Premium Checking

Finally, we come to the Business Premium Checking account, which offers the following features:

  • A $20.00 monthly fee
  • No monthly fees with a minimum balance of $5,000
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Up to o.45% APY (with a minimum monthly balance of $1,500)
  • Fee-free online transactions
  • Up to 100 fee-free non-electronic transactions per month
  • $0.25 per item after 30 transactions

The option to waive the monthly fee makes this one of the best business checking accounts for small businesses that would prefer a credit union to a traditional bank. However, be aware that business owners will have to meet the eligibility requirements before they can apply for a checking account through this credit union.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has long been recognized as an industry leader when it comes to managing business and personal bank accounts. Over the years, they've expanded their online and mobile banking services to serve a wider array of customers.

At Wells Fargo, you'll find three main types of business checking accounts, each with slightly different options and advantages. All three plans will offer mobile check deposit options and other mobile banking services as part of the checking account.

Initiate Business Checking

The basic business checking account is known as Initiate Business Checking. What can you expect from this business bank account?

  • Requires opening deposit of $25
  • $10 monthly fee
  • Up to 100 fee-free transactions per month
  • $0.50 per transaction
  • No ATM fees at in-branch ATMs
  • Free cash deposits as high as $5,000 per month

The monthly fee is waived if you maintain a daily balance of $500 or $1,000 average ledger balance.

Navigate Business Checking

The next business checking account option that Wells Fargo offers is the Navigate Business Checking account. Its features are as follows:

  • Opening deposit of $25 required
  • $25 monthly fee
  • Up to 250 fee-free transactions per month
  • $0.50 per transaction
  • No ATM fees at in-branch ATMs
  • Free cash deposits as high as $20,000/month

As with the previous business checking account, you can waive the monthly fee by maintaining a daily balance of $10,000 or $15,000 average combined business deposit balances.

Optimize Business Checking

Finally, Wells Fargo offers the Optimize Business Checking account, which is characterized by the following:

  • Requires opening deposit of $25
  • $75 monthly fee
  • Includes earnings allowance
  • Up to 250 fee-free transactions per month
  • $0.50 per transaction
  • No ATM fees at in-branch ATMs
  • Unlimited cash deposits, but cost $0.0025 per $1 deposited

Additionally, Wells Fargo assesses no fees for stop payments, cashier's checks, money orders, or incoming wires. This makes Wells Fargo one of the best business checking accounts in the industry today. Many small businesses can use these tools to help manage their assets and cash flow.

Which Business Checking Accounts are the Best for My Small Business?

With so many business checking accounts to choose from, how do you know which is the best business checking account for your small business?

The answer to that question will depend on the size and scale of your small business, as well as the types of services you need from a bank account. 

Most of today's financial institutions are offering a similar package of online banking services. Business owners that meet the eligibility requirements can easily waive the monthly maintenance fees, essentially providing a free business checking account.

Ideally, small businesses should pursue a business bank account that can grow with their business, one that can provide financial services that can meet the needs of an ever-changing market. 

When you open a business checking account, make sure that this business bank account will be capable of meeting your financial needs as your business grows and develops over time!

Invoice2go: Improving Small Business

We hope you've benefited from this survey of 2021's best business checking accounts. At Invoice2go, we stand behind small businesses, providing them with the tools and resources to send and manage invoices, accept payments, and more.

What can we do for your business? To find out, sign up today for our free 30-day trial. You'll discover that our innovative solutions can provide your business with a competitive edge in today's changing climate.

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