5 of the Best Checking Accounts for Business Owners in 2019

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Starting your own business is an opportunity to be your own boss, make money and grow your skillset.

There are also the not-so-great, somewhat messy parts about operating a business. If you start off solo or small, you’ll be tackling a lot of tasks yourself.

But don’t worry. Today, we’re going to address something relatively simple in the business world: the best business checking accounts. 

We’ll go into why you need one, what you should look for and several of the best ones available, both in-person and online-only.

Wait, Do I Really Need a Business Checking Account?

The purpose of a business checking account is to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances. 

Technically, you might not need one depending on the legal structure of your business.

For example, if you’re a freelance writer who established a sole proprietorship and is starting slowly, you could use your personal checking account to get off the ground. But you’ll want to be extremely organized about keeping track of your business money for tax time. (Nothing will damper your momentum like getting audited.) 

The type of business you’re running makes a difference here. If it’s transaction-heavy — or a particular legal structure, like a limited liability company — you might need a business checking account, full stop. 

But if you’re starting any kind of business, it’s probably in your best interest to open one. 

Business checking accounts make it easier to track profits, expenses and deductions, and help establish your operation if you file for business credit cards or loans down the line.

What You Need to Open a Business Checking Account

To open an account, you’ll typically need the following:

  • Social security number (SSN) or employee identification number (EIN)
  • Valid driver’s license or state ID
  • An initial deposit

How easy it is to open a business checking account will depend on your business. If you’re a sole proprietor, the process might feel similar to opening a personal checking account. If you have a different legal business structure, you’ll likely have to provide additional documentation (like your articles of incorporation). Requirements will vary from bank to bank.

What You Should Look for in a Business Checking Account

Before your peruse accounts, get a good handle on your business needs and wants. For instance, do you make a lot of transactions? Do you want a business credit card ASAP? Do you prefer a big bank where you can pop into a different branch every half mile?

There are other considerations. Do you want your bank, credit union or financial institution to…

  • Offer free bank statements?
  • Have an app?
  • Offer free online banking and/or bill pay?
  • Have in-person locations?
  • Offer comprehensive customer service, i.e., allow you to talk to someone online and on the phone 24/7?
  • Have integration with tools, like invoicing software?
  • Offer multiple products, such as business credit cards, small-business loans, etc.?

There are lots of banks for small businesses to choose from, but you want one that will give you the most options. And ideally, save you some money and headaches in the process.

To choose the best business checking accounts, we focused on accounts that:

  1. Require a low minimum initial deposit ($1,000 or less — most require only $25).
  2. Offer a certain number of transactions for free.
  3. Either have no monthly service fee or make it easy to have the fee waived.

We also focused on checking accounts for small and medium businesses. If you’re looking for accounts to manage a higher volume, many of the traditional institutions on our list have them, too.

Pro Tip

Some banks offer promotions for new members, even for those opening a business checking account. Enter your ZIP code online to see what’s available in your area.

The 5 Best Business Checking Accounts

We chose five institutions and a couple of different checking options for each where available.

1. Chase: Best for 24/7 Customer Service and Overall Accessibility

Chase is a well-known brand with many physical branches and flexible options for business owners. It’s a good choice if you want to be able to find a chain easily and talk to someone in person. Chase also offers 24/7 support, so you can call and email them anytime of day. From personal experience, if you send them a secured online message, they typically follow up within 24 hours. 

  • Number of branches: Approximately 5,000
  • Number of ATMs: 16,000

Here’s the lowdown on Chase Total Business Checking and Chase Performance Business Checking.

Chase Total Business Checking

Chase Total Business Checking (for small businesses) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: $200 for new customers who meet certain criteria

Minimum initial deposit: $25

Monthly service fee: $15; waived if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or link a qualifying Chase account

Cash deposits per month: Up to $5,000 without an additional fee

Free transactions per month: 100

Other benefits:

  • Access to Chase online and mobile banking
  • Offers Chase Business debit, deposit and ATM card options for signers and employees

Chase Performance Business Checking

Chase Performance Business Checking (for medium-sized businesses) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $25

Monthly service fee: $30; waived if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $35,000 or more in qualifying accounts, or link a Chase Business Partner Savings account

Cash deposits per month: Up to $20,000 without an additional fee

Free transactions per month: 250

Other benefits:

  • Fee waived at non-Chase ATMs (though fees from some ATM owners may still apply)
  • Interest-bearing option available
  • No charge for money orders, cashier’s checks or counter checks

Chase has business saving account, lending and credit card options, too. Chase offers several small-business credit cars, all with new card member bonuses, which include $500 cash back to 80,000 bonus points depending on the card.

2. Wells Fargo: Best for Small Business Owners Just Getting Started

Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Wells Fargo is another strong choice for your business checking account needs. It has many branch locations and you can call them 24/7. Its website is also easy to navigate and lets you find answers to your questions without clicking on a ton of links.

  • Number of branches: Approximately 5,400
  • Number of ATMs: Over 13,000

Wells Fargo Simple Business Checking

Simple Business Checking (for new and small businesses) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $25

Monthly service fee: $10; waived by having an average balance of $500

Cash deposits per month: Up to $3,000

Free transactions per month: 50 

Other benefits:

  • Business debit card
  • Optional overdraft protection
  • App and online accessibility

If you’re just getting started with your small business and don’t expect to scale right away, Simple Business Checking is a solid, affordable account to open.

Wells Fargo Business Choice Checking

Business Choice Checking (for small- to medium-sized businesses) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $25

Monthly service fee: $14; waived by having a combined business account balance of $10,000, 10 or more posted debit card transactions, or through a couple other options

Cash deposits per month: Up to $7,500

Free transactions per month: 200

Other benefits:

  • Business debit card
  • Optional overdraft protection
  • App and online accessibility
  • Fee waivers and discounts for business loans and lines of credit

Wells Fargo also offers small-business lending and credit card options.

3. U.S. Bank: Best for Simple, Fee-Free Banking

While primarily located in the Midwest, this chain has lots of locations across the country. That’s great news if you’re a small-business owner looking for a pretty simple checking account. 

U.S. Bank has no monthly service fees for its Silver account, so no worries about meeting certain criteria to have the fee waived. You can also go to its website and take a short quiz to determine which account would work best for your needs.

  • Number of branches: 3,106
  • Number of ATMs: 4,832

U.S. Bank offers Silver, Gold, Platinum and Premium business checking accounts, and we’re going to outline the first two.

U.S. Bank Silver Business Checking

Silver Business Checking (best for newer or smaller businesses) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $100

Monthly service fee: $0

Cash deposits per month: 25 for free 

Free transactions per month: 150 per statement cycle; 50 cents per excess transaction

U.S. Bank will charge you $5 for paper statements, so stick with online ones to save money and the planet.

Other benefits:

  • Free mobile check deposits
  • Discount on first check order
  • Small Business Visa credit card
  • Card payment processing
  • Access to Platinum Business Money Market account

U.S. Bank Gold Business Checking

Gold Business Checking (for businesses with moderate transaction levels) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $25

Monthly service fee: $20; waived by satisfying one of several criteria listed on its website

Cash deposits per month: 100 for free

Free transactions per month: 300 per statement cycle; 45 cents per excess transaction

Other benefits:

  • Interest-bearing option available
  • Free mobile check deposits
  • Discount on first check order
  • Small Business Visa credit card
  • Card payment processing
  • Access to Platinum Business Money Market account

Silver and Gold are good options for small businesses looking for free business checking accounts (as long as you stay within the limits). And in general, Chase, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank are all good options for an LLC.

4. Azlo: Best for Fee-Free, Online-Only Banking

Want to open an account on your phone and manage it entirely online? Welcome to 2019… and to Azlo.

Azlo describes itself as “easy, fee-free banking for entrepreneurs.” You can also connect Azlo to popular payment and accounting tools. Azlo also automatically orders all members an Azlo card, which is a Visa debit card.

  • Number of branches: 0
  • Number of ATMs: 55,000 in its network, where users can withdraw cash fee-free

Azlo at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $0

Monthly service fee: $0 (no matter the balance)

Cash deposits per month: n/a (no brick-and-mortar locations)

Free transactions per month: Unlimited 

Other benefits:

  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Free bank-to-bank payments and transfers
  • Send and receive instant payments with other Azlo members
  • Square and Stripe integrations
  • Coming soon: Ability to send payments internationally

5. Axos Bank: Best for Business Interest Checking

Axos Bank is another online-only bank. In addition to business checking accounts that earn interest, customers can take advantage of surcharge-free ATMs across the U.S.

  • Number of branches: 0
  • Number of ATMs: You can use any ATM in the U.S. and you’ll be reimbursed for the fees

Axos Bank offers Basic Business Checking, Business Interest Checking and Analyzed Business Checking. We’re going to look at the first two.

Axos Basic Business Checking

Basic Business Checking at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $1,000

Monthly service fee: $0

Cash deposits per month: Up to 60 items with remote deposit

Free transactions per month: 200; afterward, 30 cents each

Other benefits:

  • Pay bills with no charge through the app
  • First set of 50 checks is free
  • Compatible with QuickBooks

Axos Business Interest Checking

Business Interest Checking at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $100

Monthly service fee: $10; waived if there’s an average daily balance of $5,000

Cash deposits per month: Up to 60 with remote deposit

Free transactions per month: 50; afterward, 50 cents each

Other benefits:

  • Earn 0.80% APY
  • First set of 50 checks for free

Axos Bank also offers saving accounts and Business CDs, but no credit cards.

Regional Business Checking Account Options

Here’s a glance at three smaller, regional options for business checking accounts. If your area isn’t listed, you can research credit unions and banks near you.

America First Credit Union

This institution has branches in Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Arizona. America First offers four types of business checking accounts: Basic, Premier, High-Yield and Non-Profit. 

The Basic Business Checking offers 250 free monthly transactions, free online bill pay, access to money market savings, lines of credit and Business Visa credit card.

Capital Bank

Not to be confused with Capital One. This bank has branches in Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Houston. Capital Bank offers BizEssentials Checking (Value, Basic, Standard and Interest) and Business Interest Checking Account, which combines the benefits of a checking and interest-earning savings account.

The Business Interest Checking Account has no minimum balance requirements, plus you’ll earn interest on your balance and have access to a Visa Business debit card.

SunTrust

This bank has branches in Alabama, Arkansas, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. SunTrust offers three types of business checking accounts: Simple Business Checking, SunTrust Primary Business Checking and SunTrust Business Advantage Plus Checking.

SunTrust Primary Business Checking has a $15 monthly fee that’s waived in the first two statement cycles and after that when you have a $1,000 minimum daily balance. Each month, you’ll get 150 free transactions and $5,000 cash processing.

What’s the Right Business Checking Account for You?

The best business checking account for you will depend on your business and needs. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to level up, there are plenty of options out there, online and off. Start your search now, so your future self — and CPA, come tax time — will thank you later.

Kathleen Garvin (@itskgarvin) is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in U.S. News, Clark.com and Well Kept Wallet.



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