The 7 Best Banks for Startups and Entrepreneurs

a bank building with a graphic overlay that says "Top 7 Best Business Bank Accounts"

In this best banks for startups review, we offer some of the best business checking account services in 2022, breaking down their advantages and disadvantages, and explaining how you can go about registering with each one.

The seven best banks for startups and entrepreneurs offer some of the best business checking accounts spanning a range of industries.

Best Banks for Startups

     

Lili

4.9/5 star rating.

4.9/5

Best Bank for Startups

  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Expedited ecommerce payments
  • Fee-free overdraft up to $200
  • Cashback rewards on everyday purchases
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Relay

4.8/5 star rating.

4.8/5

 Best for Startups Looking to Scale

  • Up to 50 virtual or physical debit mastercards
  • Great Trustpilot reviews
  • Free domestic and international wires
  • No monthly-fee option
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Novo

4.7/5 star rating.

4.7/5

  Great for Ecommerce Businesses

  • $20,000 in fee-free card processing with Stripe
  • High number of discounts and integrations
  • No monthly fees
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Brex

4.6/5 star rating.

4.6/5

Optimum for Venture-Backed Startups

  • Partner perks worth over $150,000
  • Expedited ecommerce payments 
  • Up to $150 credits in Google ads
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Chase Bank

4.4/5 star rating.

4.4/5

 Ideal for In-Person Banking

  • Most assets with over 5,000 branch locations and over 17,000 ATMs
  • Options to eliminate monthly-fees
  • 24/7 customer service
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NorthOne

4.2/5 star rating.

4.2/5

 Easy Payment Processing Integrations

  • Solid partner and affiliate programs
  • Optimized landing pages
  • Fast: Can open a business account in as little as three minutes.
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US Bank

4/5 star rating.

4/5

Go-to For SBA Loans

  • 125 fee-free transactions per month
  • Low minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly fees
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Best Business Checking Accounts for Startups and Entrepreneurs

It is important to consider the best business checking accounts for startups and entrepreneurs.

This is because business banking is a fundamental requirement for every business and is a prerequisite for taking care of payroll, paying business insurance, collecting money, and having a merchant account to accept credit card payments. 

Your business type will determine the best business checking accounts or best banking platform you might want to consider. 

The top seven best banks and banking platforms for startups and entrepreneurs:

  1. Lili: Ideal for freelancers and solopreneurs
  2. Relay: Best online banking platform
  3. Novo: Great for ecommerce businesses
  4. Brex: Optimum for venture-backed startups
  5. Chase Bank: Good for in-person banking 
  6. NorthOne: Easy payment processing integration
  7. US Bank: Go-to solution for SBA loans 

Ideal for Freelancers and Solopreneurs: Lili

Lili’s online banking platform offers two packages — Lili Standard and Lili Pro —  with the latter requiring a small monthly fee of $4.99 a month.

Benefits

Lili comes with a large number of features, including an automatic “savings” tool for business taxes, as well as a service that prefills users' 1040 Schedule C form annually.

Moreover, Lili users have the ability to get paid up to two days earlier on certain ecommerce platforms (e.g., Uber, Shopify, etc.). 

Here are some benefits of Lili’s banking platform:

  • Can use Lili debit card internationally anywhere where VISA is accepted
  • “Auto-Saving” service is offered
  • Invoicing tool to manage your bookkeeping by creating an unlimited amount of invoices through Lili's online and mobile banking app.
  • Can save and download all invoices as PDF documents directly from Lili mobile app
  • Can find location of free withdrawal ATMs within Lili app
  • Lili pre-fills your annual 1040 Schedule C form, saving time when you need to file it with your accountant or with the IRS
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Extremely affordable
  • FDIC insured
  • Highly secure: Includes real-time transaction notifications, as well as the ability to freeze and unfreeze debit cards at any time through the Lili mobile app
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No hidden fees
  • Business cashback rewards on everyday purchases
  • Can categorize different business expenses through Lili’s online and mobile banking app in real-time
  • Online bill pay service

What to Look Out For

Despite its large amount of benefits, Lili can be quite “limited” in some aspects. You will likely want to consider these before making a final decision: 

  • Funding limitations can be very inconvenient unless you are a solopreneur or microbusiness (e.g., $2,000 a month in ACH Inbound, etc.)
  • Lili’s business account is only available for single-owner LLCs and sole proprietorships
  • No 24/7 phone support
  • Not for foreign owners of US businesses
  • No checks available
  • No wire transfers

Who Is Lili Best For?

Lili is best for microbusinesses, freelancers, and solopreneurs due to its low fees and banking limitations.

Recommended Service: Lili’s digital banking platform is ideal for microbusinesses and solopreneurs. 

Disclaimer: Lili is a financial technology company, not a bank. Startup banking services provided by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC.

Best Online Banking Platform: Relay

Relay is an online banking and money management platform.

We placed it as our number one small business online banking option because of its very low fees, high flexibility, premium customer reviews, and rewarding accounting and payment processing integrations. 

Benefits

Relay offers two business checking accounts, both of which include no monthly checking account fees, no minimum balance requirements, up to 50 virtual or physical debit Mastercards, 20 business accounts or sub-accounts for easy budgeting, and much more. 

It also has a decent amount of third-party integrations, including Quickbooks Online, Xero, Expensify, Gusto, Plaid, and wise. 

Here are some additional digital banking benefits offered by Relay:

  • Great reviews: 4.5/5 stars on Trustpilot
  • Relay Partner Program: Can earn revenue share and discounts by adding clients (e.g., 17% revenue share by adding 10 clients, etc.)
  • Collect payments from PayPal, Stripe, Square, and much more
  • No account fee option
  • No overdraft fees
  • No withdrawal fees
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000
  • Debit cards are covered by Mastercard’s Zero Liability Policy
  • Two-factor authentication for logins is provided. 
  • As an accountant, you can log in to multiple clients’ Relay business accounts by using one set of credentials. This means you do not need to share client passwords and 2FA codes.
  • Extremely scalable — very high limits on wires, direct deposits, and ACH transfers.
  • Free Relay Demo offered with live Q&A

What to Look Out For

  • Relatively high monthly maintenance fee, although this is made up through unlimited fee-free transactions.

Who Is Relay Best For?

Relay is ideal for all small businesses, but it should be noted that its accountancy and payment-processing integrations make it particularly effective for both ecommerce and accounting businesses.

Recommended Service: Check out Relay's online digital banking and money management platform.

Great for Ecommerce Businesses: Novo

As of 2022, Novo’s business account has no fees for international incoming wires, mailed checks, or ACH transfers. It also has no monthly account fees. 

Benefits

One of the largest benefits of Novo is its high number of online service discounts. These are highly diverse (e.g., bookkeeping services, online ad discounts, etc.).  

Here are some benefits of opening a Novo Business Checking Account:

  • FDIC insured
  • ATM fee refunds in and outside the US
  • Highly secure:  Includes EMV chip, bank-grade encryption, and a disposable virtual card
  • $20,000 in fee-free card processing with Stripe
  • 100% discount on the first three months of any Gusto package
  • 40% discount on the first six months of any QuickBooks Online package
  • 30% discount off first year HubSpot subscription, as well as 15% for all the following years
  • 6% cashback on all Booking.com trips when you pay with your Novo debit card
  • $3,000 in Google Cloud credits
  • $25,000 in segment credit for the first two years
  • No monthly maintenance fees for six months on any Zendesk Suite licenses
  • $150 in Snapchat ads credits 
  • Online banking check deposits
  • ATM fee refunds in and outside the US

What to Look Out For

Even though Novo offers a top-tier business checking account, users should keep in mind that not everyone will be eligible for their services. 

Here are some things to look out for when opening a Novo Checking Account:

  • Novo is only available for US registered businesses and sole proprietorships that are owned by US citizens.
  • Some Novo account apps' advanced functionalities may incur fees charged by Novo's partners (e.g., Wise integration, etc.)
  • Novo is not available to small business owners who work with cryptocurrencies, privately-owned ATMs, or gambling.

Who Is Novo Best For?

Due to its high number of discounts, integrations, and almost non-existent fees, we believe Novo is the best small business banking platform for ecommerce businesses.

Disclaimer: Novo is a fintech platform, not an online bank. Banking services provided by Middlesex Federal Savings F.A.; Member FDIC.

Recommended Service: Check out Novo's online digital banking solution and expense management software.

Built for Venture-Backed Startups: Brex

Brex is an ideal option for tech startups, but its extraordinarily low fees and large number of bonus-based initiatives make it a great business banking option for all small businesses. 

Benefits

Brex offers expedited payments on a variety of eminent ecommerce platforms, partner parks that are worth over $150,000, and 3x reward points on eligible Apple purchases. 

Here are some additional business checking benefits offered by Brex:

  • Expedited payments for ecommerce platforms (i.e., Amazon, PayPal, Shopify, Square, Stripe, etc.)
  • High number of third-party integrations, including Rippling, Gusto, Expensify, QuickBooks, Xero, Slack, and much more
  • Partner perks worth over $150,000
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000 per account
  • No transaction, account, or international fees
  • Up to $100,000 credits via AWS Activate
  • 3x back on eligible Apple purchases, including hardware purchases
  • 40% off your first 12 months of QuickBooks
  • 50% discount every time you ship with UPS
  • Up to 150% in Google Ads
  • No monthly fee
  • Credit cards available

What to Look Out For

Even though Brex is a great option, there are a few factors you should keep in mind: 

  • Needs a pre-existing business bank account — you must connect at least one Linked Account to your Brex account, these are required to be business bank accounts
  • Must be in business for six months and be venture-backed to be considered for an account
  • Cannot be used to withdraw money from an ATM
  • Cannot deposit cash into your Brex account

Who Is Brex Best For?

We found that Brex was the best online business banking option for tech startups and other ecommerce businesses.

Recommended Service: Check out Brex's online digital banking platform for an easy way to manage your revenue and spend. 

Good for In-Person Banking: Chase

Chase is one of the most "conventional", brick and mortar bank account options on our list. It operates in similar ways to other eminent startup bank and money management account services (e.g., US bank, Silicon Valley Bank, etc.).

Chase's business checking account offers “everything you will need” as a small business.

They offer no minimum deposit requirement for opening an account, as well as a high number of branches and ATMs throughout the US.

Benefits

The Chase Business Complete Banking℠ account is arguably one of the best bank accounts for startups and entrepreneurs. 

Here are the main benefits of Chase bank:

  • Earn $300 when you open a business checking account online. For new Chase business checking customers with qualifying activities.
  • More ways to waive fees. Multiple options to waive the Monthly Service Fee, including maintaining a minimum balance requirement or purchases on your Chase Ink® Business credit card
  • Built-in card acceptance. Accept card payments anytime, anywhere in the U.S., and get transparent pricing with Chase QuickAccept(SM).
  • Same-day deposits with QuickAccept(SM). Free up the cash you need to keep your business moving forward with same-day deposits at no additional cost.
  • Alerts to help you stay on top of your account activity.
  • Easy account management through Chase Business online and the Chase Mobile® app.
  • Unlimited electronic deposits, ACH and Chase Quick Deposit(SM).
  • Convenient access to 17,000 ATMs and more than 5,200 branches
  • Checking and business savings accounts offered
  • Personal and business accounts

What to Look Out For

Here are some things you need to know before you initiate a business checking account with Chase bank:

  • Business savings account interest rates are on the lower end.
  • Premium business checking is expensive — their Platinum Business Checking account costs approximately $95 per month.
  • No free business checking account option.

Who Is Chase Bank Best For?

You can “bank” on Chase bank (pun intended) as being the best financial institution for startups and entrepreneurs for those looking for an in-person experience at a branch.

Recommended Service: Chase is the best in-person business banking option. 

Easy Payment Processing Integration: NorthOne

NorthOne offers all the “standard” business banking features that you would expect to find and/or need as a small business. It also has a high number of both accounting and ecommerce integrations.

Users should keep in mind that NorthOne does not have a free plan, and so all users are required to pay a fee of $10 per month per account in order to access its online startup banking services. 

Benefits

NorthOne’s largest selling point is its high number of fintech integrations. This includes expedited payment integrations with Amazon, PayPal, Shopify, and Stripe. 

Here are some benefits of NorthOne’s banking app:

  • Email, phone, and live chat support offered
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000 per account
  • Highly secure: Includes multi-factor authentication, ability to freeze cards instantly, as well as touch and face ID
  • Optimized landing pages to promote businesses
  • Access to exclusive promotions and rewards
  • Lucrative partner and affiliate programs offered
  • Mastercard debit cards offered
  • Can make free withdrawals at any MoneyPass ATM in the US
  • Online bill pay service
  • High number of mobile banking tools

What to Look Out For

Having said that, there are a few disadvantages of working with NorthOne that you should consider.

Here are some things to look out for when using NorthOne’s banking app:

  • No “free” plan is offered. All users are required to pay a monthly fee of $10
  • Sending and receiving domestic wires is relatively expensive to other providers (i.e., $15 per wire, etc.)
  • NorthOne is not available to foreign owners of US businesses. 

Who Is NorthOne Best For?

NorthOne is best for small businesses that need a high number of fintech integrations (e.g., online businesses, ecommerce businesses, etc.).

Disclaimer: NorthOne is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC.

Recommended Service: Check out NorthOne's online digital banking and money management platform.

Go-to Solution for SBA loans: US Bank

US Bank offers one of the best business checking accounts for startups and entrepreneurs looking to build business credit and get a Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loan. It’s helpful to bank and borrow money for your business under one roof. 

Besides being convenient, it is a great way to build a strong working relationship with your bank to help ensure your business’s success. This can also help you build business credit.

Getting a small business loan can be a real challenge if you don’t know what you’re doing. There is a process for getting a business loan that ideally starts when forming your business. The mistake most businesses make is not planning far enough in advance. 

The SBA 7(a) loan will require some time to get, plus there’s a mountain of paperwork to complete. You will also need to build your business credit in order to have a chance of qualifying. 

That being said, US Bank is a great bank for businesses starting out. They don’t charge monthly fees for having an account, so new startups can rest easier knowing they’re not being charged money before they’re making money. They are also good at helping small businesses navigate the lending route, and offer great customer service. 

Benefits

Being a long-standing business bank with a good reputation, US Bank knows the business of business financing well. It’s no wonder they do such a great job helping startups to get the funding they need through the SBA loan lending program.

Here are some benefits of opening a Silver Business Checking Package account:

  • 25 fee-free cash deposits per month
  • 125 free transactions per month
  • $100 minimum opening deposit requirement
  • 50% discount on your first check order up to $50
  • 50% discount on the personal Gold Checking Package monthly maintenance fee
  • Free mobile check deposit

What to Look Out For

Though US Bank offers the Silver Business Checking Package account with no monthly fees, something we love about this bank, keep in mind that there is no unlimited transactions service, meaning that you will be charged a fee as soon as you go over the 125 free transactions per month. 

Here are some things to look out for with US Bank:

  • A $0.50 fee is charged for each transaction above the account’s limit of 125 per month.
  • A $5 fee is charged for paper statements.
  • If you’re an ecommerce company or restaurant or retailer with many merchant transactions each month, this account may not bode well for your bottom line given the higher rate charged per transaction over 125. In this case, you may want to reassess your banking options.

Who Is US Bank Best For?

US Bank is one of the best business checking accounts for startups and entrepreneurs wanting to learn how to build business credit and get an SBA 7(a) loan. This bank has lots of branches; last we checked, they had 3,067 branches. They also have great customer service and tend to work well with businesses seeking out small business loans, especially through the SBA 7(a) loan program.

Read our full US Bank Business Checking Review on How to Start an LLC.

Why Use a Business Bank Account?

One of the most important aspects of running an incorporated business is opening a business bank account. Besides the financial benefits, this can ensure that you do not accidentally pierce your corporate veil

“Piercing the corporate veil” refers to a legal situation in which the courts get rid of your incorporated benefits, including your limited liability under the law. This means that you would potentially be risking your personal assets if your business happens to accrue debt. 

Having a business bank account protects the owners because it ensures that all business-related expenses are kept separate from personal expenses. From a legal standpoint, this can act as proof that you have been treated your business and yourself as separate legal entities. 

There are additional benefits to opening a business bank account. It helps you build business credit, establish a working relationship with the bank, and helps ensure you do not pierce the corporate veil.

Our Choice for the Best Business Bank Account

Choosing the best banks for startups and entrepreneurs was no easy feat; however, with loads of determination and countless hours of analysis, we feel sure we’ve picked the best business checking accounts for startups and entrepreneurs. 

The top two banking options, Lili and Relay, are the most notable solutions for startups and entrepreneurs because of what they offer in particular.

Relay is the best online money management and business banking platform because of its low fees, high flexibility, and rewarding features. 

Chase is huge in terms of branch locations and the options they provide businesses for the long haul. Many businesses get started by opening a Chase business bank account and then staying with Chase as their business grows. They have case studies on their website to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit, and we feel they really get the mindset of investors overall.

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