As soon as you have to make or receive payments on behalf of your business, you need a business checking account to keep your personal and company finances in order.
If it’s time for you to find a small business account, you’ll want a product which doesn’t cost too much to run — either in regular maintenance fees or transaction costs — as well as offering the service and support you need.
Different small business checking accounts will suit different customers — so it’s well worth researching a few options to find the one which will work best for you. This guide gives some tips on how to choose a business account, and some of the best low fee accounts available for US business owners.
Doing business overseas and need to make international business payments? TransferWise could save you money versus your bank.
When you have to pay employees or suppliers overseas it might seem logical to do this with your bank. You already have an account there, they have all your information, so it just seems easier. Although these are valid reasons, easier certainly doesn’t mean cheaper.
Most banks won’t convert your money with the mid-market exchange rate when you make an international payment. Instead they add a mark-up and charge you a hidden fee that way. TransferWise is different. Its smart technology skips hefty international transfer fees by connecting local bank accounts all around the world. Which means you can save up to 8x by using TransferWise rather than your bank when you send your money abroad.
TransferWise also has a lot of additional features for business users. You can connect with Xero to make your life easier, upload a batch of payments in one go or even automate your payments by integrating with our API. And there’s more to come in the future.
Choosing a business bank account is much easier if you’ve got a clear view of what you need your account to do for you. Although most small business checking accounts on offer will have some similar features, each has slightly different fees, limits and perks. Here are some points to consider, when you’re working out what type of account will suit you.
If you’re running a cash business and need to make physical deposits, having a branch close by could be a big bonus. However, if you prefer to manage your money online, maybe it’s more important to find a bank or provider with a great app and simple smart ways to operate your account from your phone or computer.
It’s also worth considering the sort of service you want. Smaller banks may offer a good face to face service in branch, but may have limited ATM networks, for example, while the largest banks in the US have huge numbers of ATMs but might not offer so much of a personal touch.
Many business accounts come with a minimum opening deposit, and a minimum average or daily balance. Often, by meeting the minimum average balance, you can have the maintenance fee waived, or get free transactions. If you’re prepared to leave a large chunk of capital in your account, you may find you unlock some great benefits — but if you will be reinvesting your profits then choosing an account with a low minimum balance makes more sense.
Many accounts offer a fixed number of transactions for free, as part of the maintenance fee or in return for holding a fixed balance over the month. To work out whether or not this is helpful, you’ll need to think about the type of transactions you’ll carry out, and how many transactions you anticipate making per month. Check the transaction types you need are covered by the fee-free offer, and don’t forget to check the cost per transaction in case you exceed the number offered in the month.
Some transactions, such as sending or receiving overseas payments can be particularly costly. If you’re dealing with international clients, suppliers or staff, you may want to find a specialist account which offers a good deal on cross border payments, such as the TransferWise borderless account for business. More on that later.
Of course you want an account which saves you money, but you may also find that some options can save you time too. Features like integration with your regular accounting software such as Xero, batch payments and simple downloadable statements can make life easier and reduce the time you spend on admin.
Here are a few great account options to consider for your business.
Chase is reputed to be the largest bank in the US, with a strong branch network, and over 16,000 ATMs to choose from.
If you already have a Chase Private Client or Chase Sapphire Checking personal account, getting a Chase Total Business Checking account makes a lot of sense. You’ll not need to pay any monthly fee, and you’ll get 100 free transactions, and up to $5,000 in fee free cash deposits every month. After the free transactions, you pay $0.40 per transaction, including deposits and incoming wires.
If you’re not a Chase personal customer, you’ll need to maintain a $1,500 minimum deposit or pay a $12-16 monthly fee to maintain your account.
While you probably won’t struggle to find a Chase ATM, withdrawals from ATMs not on the Chase network in the US will cost $2.50, and $5 for international ATM withdrawals. You’ll also pay a 3% exchange rate adjustment fee for international card purchases and foreign cash withdrawal.
Bank of America is the second biggest bank in the US by assets, and its Business Fundamentals Checking account could be a good option for some business owners. There’s an $18 monthly fee to pay but this is waived if you maintain a minimum balance, spend $250 or more using your linked business debit or credit card, or if you enroll for the Preferred Rewards for Business program. It’s worth noting that the features and fees associated with this account may vary by state. Check the details for your location on the Bank of America website.
With your account you’ll get access to 4,600 Bank of America branches and offices, and 15,900 ATMs across the country. Your monthly fee gets you 200 free transactions, with a $0.45 fee for each transaction in excess of this. You can also deposit $7,500 fee free in a month, with a charge of $0.30 per $1,000 deposited after that.
The TransferWise borderless account for business might be a good choice if you need to make or receive regular overseas payments.
TransferWise is a financial service provider rather than a bank. Accounts are regulated similarly to bank accounts, and use the same sort of security as you might find in your regular bank. However, TransferWise accounts operate entirely online, which cuts overheads, and makes it possible for TransferWise to charge less for many services.
You can open a borderless account online, and there is no minimum balance or maintenance fee. It’s a multi-currency account which means you can hold your money in dozens of different currencies, and receive payments fee free using your own local bank account details for major currencies. Switch between currencies when you need to, using the google exchange rate and with just a low upfront fee to pay.
TD Bank is the US subsidiary of the Toronto-Dominion Bank, with 1,200 locations on the East Coast. TD Bank advertises itself as America’s most convenient bank, and offers several small business checking accounts, with different terms. If you do a lot of business with Canadian customers or suppliers, and have to travel to Canada frequently, this could be a good choice.
You’ll get fee free ATM withdrawals at TD branches in the US and Canada, as one of the account perks. ATM withdrawals and balance inquiries at non-TD ATMs cost $3.
The Business Convenience Checking Plus account has a monthly fee of $25, which is waived if you hold $1,500 in the account, or in a linked TD personal checking account. You’ll get 500 transactions a month for free, and will be able to deposit up to $10,000 a month for free, with a fee of $0.20 per $100 after that.
US Bank is another of the largest banks in the country, with a range of accounts for businesses of different types. You’ll find over 3,000 US Bank locations, and nearly 5,000 ATMs in their network.
If you need a simple account with a focus on low everyday costs, the Silver account might be a smart choice. There’s no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance amount to worry about, and you can carry out up to 150 transactions per month for free. Beyond that, transactions will cost $0.50 each.
You are able to apply for a linked business bank card, and use ATMs for withdrawals. It’s worth noting that there’s a paper statement fee to pay if you need your statements in hard copy, but you can opt to have them online instead if you would like to avoid this extra cost.
This is the most basic of the Wells Fargo business checking accounts, but still comes with up to 50 transactions for free per month. Once you exceed this number, you’ll pay $0.50 per transaction.
You can also deposit up to $3,000 fee-free, with a charge of $0.30 per $100 deposited added after that amount. There’s a monthly maintenance fee of $10, but this can be avoided by holding just $500 in the account.
As an account holder you can get a linked bank card, which you can custom make to suit your business. There’s also online banking, and 13,000 fee free ATMs to choose from. Incoming local and international wire transfers cost $15, with outward payments made to domestic or international account costing $30 each.
The exact terms and fees of Wells Fargo business checking accounts may vary depending on where in the country you are. You’ll need to put your zip code into the website to see the exact options available in your state.
The BBVA Business Connect Checking account requires a minimum opening deposit of $100, but has no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement beyond that. You get free digital banking services, and fee free use of a wide range of ATMs, including those at participating 7-Elevens — that’s over 43,000 fee free ATMs in total.
If you’re a sole proprietor you may be able to apply online for your new BBVA account, to get up and running quickly. Once your account is set up, customers can make up to 2 in branch deposits, and 5 in branch withdrawals a month for no charge.
BBVA Business accounts are available in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas. For the exact terms and conditions for each state you’ll need to head over to the BBVA website.
Formerly known as Bank of Internet, Axos doesn’t have a branch network, but does offer good value business checking accounts for customers who prefer to manage their money online.
The Basic Business Checking account has the advantage that there are no monthly fees to pay. You’ll need to make an initial deposit of $1,000 to get the account up and running but there’s no average daily balance requirement to worry about. You can make unlimited withdrawals from US ATMs for free, and get free online banking and Bill Pay services. There’s a remote deposit feature, so the fact that Axos doesn’t have physical branch locations may not matter to you.
Axos also offer an interest bearing business account, and an analyzed checking account for more complex business needs.
The fees associated with the Comerica business account depend on the state you live in. To get full details you’ll need to enter your zip code on the website.
Wherever you are, the account offers up to 300 transactions fee free per month, online banking, a business debit card and the option of specialized services like payroll processing. You can deposit cash up to $5,000 a month for no charge, with a fee added for deposits in excess of that. The minimum opening deposit amount could be as low as $50, although there is a monthly fee to pay if you don’t hit the average monthly balance requirements. These vary based on your location — so you’ll need to check online to see how they might impact you.
PNC Bank has almost 2,500 branches across 19 states and the District of Columbia. There are also over 9,000 ATMs in the PNC network. If you’re in one of the states serviced by PNC, you might want to look at the business banking options available.
The basic Business Checking account has a monthly fee of $10, which is waived if you meet a number of different criteria, including having a minimum balance of $500, or making at least $500 of purchases using a linked bank card. You’ll also need a $100 opening deposit to get started.
One thing PNC are known for is their special offers. At the time of research, you can get $200 cash back for opening a business account. The account gives you 150 free transactions per month, with a fee of $0.50 for each transaction after that. You can also deposit up to $5,000 a month with no extra charge.
When you’re researching business checking accounts, you’ll quickly find that there is a wide range of options to choose from. This can be a bit daunting, so it’s a smart idea to narrow down the things that really matter to you before you get too far into your research. Look at the fixed regular fees, and also the transaction costs you’ll pay if you use more than the fixed amount included in your package. As your business grows you might find that you need more from your account then you do right now — so planning for the future makes sense.
Don’t forget to look at the price of international payments if you’re building a business which will work with international customers or suppliers. These can be costly and quickly eat into your profits. An account like the TransferWise borderless account for business is a good way to make sure you don’t pay more than you need to on cross border bank fees — so you can focus on building your business and pleasing your customers no matter where in the world they are.
- Chase business services and fees schedule
- Chase business checking page
- Nerdwallet Chase ATM review article
- Boa Business Fundamentals account page
- BoA Business schedule of fees
- TD compare business checking accounts
- TD Business Convenience Checking Plus account guide
- US Bank's business checking accounts page
- Wells Fargo business checking accounts page
- Wells Fargo Simple Business checking account fees
- BBVA Business Connect checking account
- AXOS Bank's small business checking accounts
- Comerica Bank small business checking account page
- PNC business checking overview
All sources checked on 14th June
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