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Top 7 Noteworthy Banks for Your Small Business in 2021

The best banks for small businesses all have one thing in common: They make it cheaper and easier to have and use a small business checking account.

So why are we reviewing seven banks, and not just one? Because the best checking account for you will depend on your needs. Ecommerce stores vs. brick and mortar, solopreneurs vs. multi-member LLCs.

Different needs, different banks.

To get started, we’ll look at the best general purpose bank for small businesses—then narrow it down to more specific needs.

The Best Banks for Small Businesses

2021 Best Banks

Before choosing a bank, make sure you have all the documents you need to apply—the bank will want to know more about your finances, and will check your credit score. If you’re not sure you’re ready to get started, check out our article on how to open a small business checking account.

Best overall bank for small business: Chase

For general purpose small business banking, you can’t do much better than Chase. With a huge network—close to 5,000 brick-and-mortar locations and 16,000 ATMs worldwide—you’ll never be far from your bank. Plus, their mobile app lets you deposit checks online, pay bills, make transfers, and check your balance.

Chase Bank

Feature Details
Checking account fee $15
Minimum balance $1,500 to waive account fee
Free transactions per month 100
Transaction fee $0.40
Free cash deposits $5,000 per month
Cash deposit fee $2.50 per $1,000
Credit cards available? Yes
Loans available? Yes

The good

  • Over 3,500 branch locations and over 15,500 ATMs
  • Capable mobile banking app
  • Multiple tiers of business accounts
  • Small business loans ranging from $10,000 to $500,000
  • Some of the best business credit cards on the market

The not-so-good

  • The only way to waive monthly maintenance fees is to maintain a $1,500 minimum balance
  • The $200 signup bonus for Chase Total Business Checking is relatively small, and difficult to qualify for
  • Only 100 free transactions per month

Who it’s best for

A Chase business account is a good choice overall for most new, small businesses—especially if you need to make cash deposits, access to fee-free ATMs, or if visiting brick-and-mortar locations is otherwise important to you. Chase isn’t a good option if you anticipate making more than 200 transactions per month.

While Chase has a relatively low minimum balance, maintaining that minimum is the only way to waive account maintenance fees. So don’t choose Chase if you expect your balance to regularly dip below $1,500.

If you’re planning to use your credit card for most business purchases, Chase is the right bank for you. Their wide selection of cards offer very competitive interest rates, plus points, cash back, and rewards programs.

Best credit union for small business: Consumers Credit Union

Consumers Credit Union is one of the easier credit unions to join. To become a member and account holder, you must:

  1. Be part of the Consumers Cooperative Association, which costs a one time fee of $5 to join, and

  2. Open a share savings account with a minimum opening deposit of $5.

Credit unions are unique financial institutions. They are nonprofit organizations (hence the low minimum deposit) and when you join one, you get the right to vote in elections for the board of directors.

While credit unions often offer a limited range of financial products, CCU has a wide range of loans to choose from. They also have a fee-free Visa Business Platinum credit card, and also offer merchant services. And the minimum monthly balance for their checking accounts is considerably lower than most banks’.

Consumers Credit Union

Feature Details
Checking account fee $0
Minimum balance $500
Free transactions per month 150
Transaction fee $0.25
Free cash deposits $1,500 per day
Cash deposit fee $1.00 per 1,000
Credit cards available? Yes
Loans available? Yes

The good

  • Easy to join compared to other credit unions
  • More financial products than other credit unions
  • Checking minimum monthly balance of $500
  • Fairly advanced online services, including a mobile app with photo check deposits

The not-so-good

  • While CCU offers more financial products and perks than most credit unions, it’s still limited in comparison to most banks
  • All of CCU’s physical locations are in Illinois, so you may find yourself exclusively doing your banking with ATMs, online, or by phone
  • To deposit cash in your account outside of Illinois, you’ll need to use an ATM

Who it’s best for

If the non-profit mission of credit unions speaks to your values, and you also want to take advantage of low checking account minimums, CCU is a good choice. It’s easier to sign up for, has low fees, and offers more choices than most credit unions.

On the other hand, if it’s important that you have lots of financing options and credit cards to choose from, and maintaining a higher minimum balance won’t be an issue, you may be better off opening an account at a bank.

Best bank for ecommerce: Axos

Most ecommerce small business owners process all their transactions digitally, and receive payment the same way. In that case, having a brick-and-mortar location where you can deposit cash probably isn’t high priority. Enter online-only banking.

Axos is the oldest, most well-established online bank in the USA. Their basic business checking accounts have no minimum balance, and they offer a wide range of lending options. Plus, while Axos doesn’t have any physical locations, you can access your Axos checking account from any ATM in the USA for free.

Axos Bank

Feature Details
Checking account fee $0
Minimum balance $0
Free transactions per month 200
Transaction fee $0.30
Free cash deposits N/A
Cash deposit fee N/A
Credit cards available? No
Loans available? Yes

The good

  • ATM fee reimbursement for checking accounts gives you easy remote access to your account, while avoiding nasty surcharges
  • Free business checking. The $0 minimum daily balance is great for businesses that are just getting started
  • Many lending options for business, from lines of credit to equipment financing
  • Axos is built around online service, meaning you get robust online banking tools
  • Relatively high APY (annual percentage yield) compared to other business checking accounts. While nearly as high as a business savings account, this APY can help your retained earnings grow.
  • FDIC insured deposits means even though your money is online, it’s protected by federal insurance so it’s guaranteed safe.

The not-so-good

  • Zero physical locations means that, if you’d like to speak face to face to a bank representative, you don’t have the option
  • Just 200 free transactions per month
  • Some online reviewers complain that Axos phone support is only available for limited times each day

Who it’s best for

If you run an online business, you’re already comfortable with online banking, and you expect to make fewer than 200 transactions per month, Axos is a smart choice. You don’t need to maintain a high minimum balance, which can be a relief when your business is just starting out and cash flow is low. And if your business needs financing down the line, you have lots of options.

Best bank for online freelancers: BlueVine

Known best for its loans, lines of credit, and factoring services, BlueVine has expanded into banking. These online-only accounts are easy to open, with no minimum balance requirements or fees for incoming wire transfers, insufficient funds, or ACH payments. A BlueVine bank account also comes with a debit card with free ATM access at MoneyPass ATMs.

The only fees account holders have to consider are for cash deposits ($4.95 per deposit) and outgoing wire transfers ($15 per transfer). For businesses dealing with cash or sending money abroad, these fees can add up.

Since BlueVine began taking applications, demand has been high: there’s currently a waiting list to sign up. If opening up a bank account right away is a priority for you, you might want to consider elsewhere.

BlueVine

Feature Details
Checking account fee $0
Minimum balance $0
Free transactions per month Unlimited
Transaction fee $15 for outgoing wire transfers
Free cash deposits No
Cash deposit fee $4.95 per deposit
Credit cards available? No
Loans available? Yes

The good

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No overdraft fee
  • No monthly service fee
  • Unlimited monthly transactions
  • Access to a full suite of financing options
  • Earn 1% interest on balances up to $100,000

The not-so-good

  • Currently waitlist only–not accepting new accounts at this time
  • $15 fee for any outgoing wire transfers
  • No online bill pay
  • Zero brick-and-mortar locations
  • Cash deposits must be made at Green Dot locations and come with a $4.95 fee

Who it’s best for

If you’re a freelancer in need of an account to collect online payments and help you stay on top of business expenses, BlueVine is a great fit. If you aren’t collecting cash or sending wire transfers, this is a completely fee-free bank account. Plus, if you decide to grow your business down the line, BlueVine can help you access a loan or line of credit fast for that quick injection of cash.

Best bank for SBA loans: First Home Bank

Based in Florida but serving clients nationally, First Home Bank is frequently rated as one of the country’s top 10 most active SBA lenders. It also offers a wide range of other banking services for small businesses—including checking and savings accounts, and non-SBA loans.

The SBA has selected First Home Bank as a Preferred Lender. Meaning, if you apply for an SBA loan through First Home, the approval process will be faster than it would be elsewhere.

First Home Bank

Feature Details
Checking account fee $0
Minimum balance $0
Free transactions per month 250
Transaction fee (Unavailable)
Free cash deposits $7,500
Cash deposit fee (Unavailable)
Credit cards available? Yes
Loans available? Yes

The good

  • First Home offers three main types of SBA loan—7(a), 504, and International Trade Loans
  • Provides loans up to $5 million, but primarily works in the under-$350,000 range
  • Free checking accounts have no monthly fee or minimum balance
  • Full-featured online banking, plus a mobile app
  • First Home has loan officers across the USA

The not-so-good

  • First Home’s small business checking accounts don’t bear interest
  • All full-service locations are in Florida.

Who it’s best for

Newer businesses and start-ups need access to quick capital. If your number one priority is getting approved for a loan from the SBA loan as quickly as possible, then First Home is the bank for you. But if you want a business interest bearing checking account or many brick-and-mortar locations, or small business lending isn’t your number one priority, you’re better off taking your banking needs elsewhere.

Best bank for unlimited transactions: Capital One

Capital One is the only bank on this list that offers checking with free, unlimited transactions, with no minimum account balance. It also offers five different small business credit cards.

Capital One

Feature Details
Checking account fee $15
Minimum balance $2,000 to waive balance
Free transactions per month Unlimited
Transaction fee N/A
Free cash deposits $5,000
Cash deposit fee $1 per $1,000
Credit cards available? Yes
Loans available? Yes

The good

  • If you do more than 200 transactions (most banks’ limit for free transactions) per month, a Capital One account can save you from transaction fees
  • Thanks to the bank’s partnership with Allpoint, there are over 39,000 free Capital One compatible ATMs worldwide
  • Zero minimum balance gives you some freedom to draw on your checking account for large purchases or emergency spending
  • Capital One also offers competitive money market accounts for handling your business savings

The not-so-good

  • Capital One’s monthly service charge is $15—higher than many other business banks. Its monthly minimum to waive that charge is $2,000—also higher than other banks.
  • With about 700 locations worldwide, you may have trouble finding a brick-and-mortar Capital One bank near you
  • You’ll need to apply for a small business checking account in person—Capital One doesn’t accept online applications. The low number of bank locations may make this difficult.
  • Free cash deposits are limited to $5,000 per month. That may cause trouble if you operate a cash-based business.

Who it’s best for

Does the idea of counting the number of transactions a month to avoid fees make you shudder? If you live near a Capital One bank, handle lots of transactions every month, and mostly get paid by card or bank transfer, Capital One could be the perfect choice for your business. However, it’s best if your business is well-established, and you can easily maintain a $2,000 minimum balance.

Best sign up bonuses: Bank of America

With 4,300 branches and 16,000 ATMs, Bank of America is everywhere. Plus, they offer some of the best introductory offers for new business checking accounts. That being said, you won’t get unlimited free transactions—as you do with Chase—and free cash deposits are also limited.

Bank of America

Feature Details
Checking account fee $14 – 29.95 (for Business Advantage)
Minimum balance $3,000 daily to waive fees
Free transactions per month 200
Transaction fee $0.45
Free cash deposits $7,500
Cash deposit fee $0.30 per $100
Credit cards available? Yes
Loans available? Yes

The good

  • Introductory offers: Get $100 cash back for an opening deposit of $1,000 or more in your first 60 days; $50 cash back for paying two or more bills online during your first 60 days; and $300 cash back if you’re approved for a small business credit card and spend $3,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Plenty of branches—helpful if you need to make frequent cash deposits, or prefer face-to-face communication to other methods
  • Multiple ways to get your monthly fee waived—such as making $250 in purchases each month with your debit card

The not-so-good

  • Free cash deposits are limited to $7,500 per statement cycle; after that, it’s 30 cents per $100. If you’re choosing Bank of America for the ease of cash deposits, this may be inconvenient.
  • Account minimums to qualify for free checking are relatively high, at $3,000 daily. However, there are other ways to get your fees waived.
  • Some online reviewers say that Bank of America’s customer support gives less priority to business clients than they would prefer.

Who it’s best for

If you can easily qualify for Bank of America’s introductory offers, and don’t anticipate any trouble getting your checking fees waived each month, opening a new business bank account could be a great way to earn a little extra money when your business is young.

However, if you’re looking to Bank of America primarily because your business needs to deposit a lot of cash every month, take into account the $7,500 limit for free deposits, and the cost after you exceed that amount.

Once you have a bank in mind, get started on preparing the documents you need to apply for a business bank account. When you’re ready to take the next step to separate your business and personal finances, find the best small business credit card for your needs.

Additional resources

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This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

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