Best Business Checking Accounts for Entrepreneurs, Freelancers & Small Business Owners

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When it comes to choosing the best business bank account for you, there are hundreds of options. We've put together a list of some of the best business checking accounts for December 2022. You should carefully consider your choices before deciding, but our list of best banks is a solid starting point.

What Is a Business Checking Account?

A business checking account is a banking product available to businesses. At face value, it looks quite similar to personal checking accounts and comes with debit cards, bill pay, and other services. Business checking accounts often come with additional features such as invoicing capabilities and access to other small business tools. In many cases, these accounts also come with additional fees.

Keep reading to learn more about the best business checking accounts for small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers.

Best Business Checking Accounts for Freelancers

  1. Lili – Easy Access Banking for Freelancers
  2. NorthOne — Custom Banking for All Your Business Needs
  3. Revolut Business — Best for Freelancers with International Clients
  4. Mercury — Checking and Savings For All Your Freelance Needs
  5. PayPal Business — Quickly Send and Receive Money

As a freelancer, having a business checking account is vital to keep track of your earnings and better manage your finances. But how do you choose the right bank account for your freelance business?

There are many institutions and financial services that offer low to no-fee business checking accounts, so you can be sure to find your best match. Some of these include:

1. Lili – Easy Access Banking for Freelancers

Our Score: 8 Lili is a free bank for freelancers and sole proprietors looking for an easy way to manage their accounts.

  • There are no fees to open an account.
  • With Lili you can track your expenses and create reports, so you know how much income you have. These reports can also double as a resource when you do your taxes, saving you time and money.
  • Create automatic savings buckets to save for things like taxes and other financial emergencies.
  • You can possibly get paid two days faster when you use direct deposit from a service provider like PayPal, Shopify, or Square.
  • Get access to 38,000 MoneyPass ATMs and withdraw money in-network for free.
Lili bank is only available for freelancers who do their taxes with their Social Security number, not an employer tax ID number (EIN).

Sign Up to Lili Bank | Lili Bank Review

2. NorthOne — Custom Banking for All Your Business Needs 

Our Score: 8

NorthOne is a bank dedicated solely to businesses and is available to small businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers.

  • The account works with a single monthly service fee of $10.
  • There are no hidden fees, no minimum balance requirements and you can cancel your account at any time.
  • Though NorthOne doesn’t offer interest-bearing savings accounts, they compensate through the use of “envelopes.” Specifically designed for businesses, these accounts can be created to allocate funds for taxes, payroll, rents, or any other purpose.
  • Your account comes with a debit card with unlimited usage, as well as free cards for every owner of your business. You’ll also have access to over 1 million in-network ATMs.
  • NorthOne business checking can integrate with popular online business services and apps, like QuickBooks, FreshBooks, ADP, PayPal, Etsy, Amazon, Venmo, Uber, Lyft and Airbnb. This makes it a perfect banking app for freelancers and those working in the gig economy.
  • Customer service is available through live chat, phone, and email.
Apart from the monthly service fee, there’s also a $15 domestic wire transfer fee ($25 for international wires).

Plus, it’s one of the few online business banks that let you deposit cash. Other NorthOne features include:

  • Unlimited transactions
  • Access to 1 million fee-free ATMs
  • Budget for expenses with envelopes
  • Invoice directly from your checking account

And right now you can get three months free as an Investor Junkie reader.

Sign Up to NorthOne | NorthOne Bank Review

3. Revolut Business — Best for Freelancers with International Clients 

Revoult
Revolut is one of the fastest-growing challenger banks with a wide array of features. Like Lili, Revolut offers business banking services where you can manage all your transactions in one place. When you open a Revolut business account, you’ll access the following features:
  • Send and receive international payments with no hidden fees
  • Low transfer fees
  • Access to a debits card you can use to withdraw cash from ATMs
  • You can link your account with third-party service providers, including Xero, Quickbooks, Zapier and Slack
The low transfer fees and the no hidden fees make Revolut the perfect bank for freelancers. It could also be a perfect add-on to your traditional business account.

4. Mercury — Checking and Savings For All Your Freelance Needs

Mercury Online Banking
Mercury offers banking services for startups like your freelance business. The online banking platform includes both a business checking account and a savings account. Unlike many other business bank accounts, opening a Mercury account is fee-free.

Some of the notable features of Mercury banking include:

  • No transaction fees, no monthly fees, or initial deposit requirements
  • Access to built-in digital tools that lets you send and receive money, track transactions and monitor spending
  • Access to virtual debit cards
  • Access to over 55,000 fee-free ATMs
  • FDIC insured

5. PayPal Business — Quickly Send and Receive Money 

paypal
While it’s not a bank, PayPal offers business solutions to millions of people worldwide, including freelancers. PayPal business operates as a business checking account. The only difference is, it’s named under a company rather than an individual.

With a PayPal business account, you can:

  • Send and receive money quickly
  • Create invoices and pay merchants
  • Get a debit card you can use at any bank account
Typically, everything you do with your traditional bank accounts can be done using your business PayPal account.


Best Business Checking Accounts for Small Business Owners

  1. LendingClub Bank — Tailored Checking
  2. Novo — Powerful & Simple Business Banking
  3. Axos Basic Business Checking — Scale Up Your Business
  4. Huntington Bank — Unlimited Business Checking

As a small business owner, learning to properly manage finances is key to your future success, and choosing the right bank can help. First off, you’ll need to open a business checking account to keep up with all your transactions.

Finding the right bank for your business isn’t a walk in the park, especially if you want your finances organized. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the best checking accounts for small business owners. Here are some of our top picks:

LendingClub Bank — Tailored Checking

Our Score: 7

LendingClub Bank offers a tailored checking account as an online business checking account for small businesses. It may be the perfect business account because it provides fee-free unlimited transactions. 

  • You’ll have access to 24/7 online and mobile banking, complete with digital invoicing capabilities.
  • The account also comes with a debit card that provides unlimited 1% cashback, which may be a welcome discount on business-related purchases. The cashback applies to both online and signature-based credit transactions made with the card.
  • LendingClub also pays unlimited rebates on ATM fees charged by other banks. 
  • But the account also pays interest of 0.10% APY on balances of $5,000 or more. There’s a $10 monthly service charge which is waived with a balance of at least $5,000.
  • You can open an account online in a matter of minutes. Although you’ll need $100 to open the account, there’s no minimum balance requirement after.

I actually use LendingClub Tailored Checking for one of my business accounts. I like that it pays interest on certain balances. Some of the standout benefits that make LendingClub the best bank for small business include:

  • Earns interest on balances of at least $5,000
  • ATM fee refunds
  • Unlimited free transactions
  • No minimum balance requirement

Sign Up to LendingClub Bank | LendingClub Bank review

Novo — Powerful & Simple Business Banking

Our Score: 8

Novo has a free business checking account for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and freelancers.

  • It comes complete with online and mobile banking.
  • There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, although you will need $50 to open an account.
  • The account also provides free transfers, mailed checks, and incoming wires. Plus, you can apply for an account in under 10 minutes.
  • You’ll be provided with a Novo debit MasterCard that can be used for online or point-of-sale purchases, and to access cash at in-network ATMs. The bank will provide unlimited reimbursement of fees charged by ATM owners.
  • The account connects with various popular business apps, including QuickBooks, Slack, Xero, Stripe and Shopify.
Perhaps best of all, Novo’s fee schedule shows a lot of zeros. In fact, the only charge they have is a $27 fee for insufficient funds or uncollected funds returned. Along with Bluevine, it may be the closest thing to a true no-fee business checking account.

Some of the standout benefits of banking with Novo include:

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • ATM fee refunds
  • Access to business tools like Slack, TransferWise, Xero, and Zapier
  • Free incoming wire transfers
  • Ability to mail paper checks free

Sign Up to Novo | Novo Review

Axos Basic Business Checking — Scale Up Your Business 

Axos Online Banking
Axos Bank offers banking solutions to both young and more mature businesses, so it can scale with you. It has two primary checking accounts for small businesses. Their basic business checking account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. Plus, they offer unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.

Some of the standout features that make Axos the best bank for small businesses include:

  • New business owners get a $200 welcome bonus with promo code NEWBIZ200. Not a new business? Use promo code NEWAXOSBIZ for a $100 bonus.
  • ADP Payroll Services – Axos clients receive 1st 4 months free
  • Zero monthly maintenance fees
  • Unlimited Transactions
  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • $0 Minimum Opening Deposit requirement
  • 2 Free Domestic Wires, monthly
  • Cash Deposit capability via MoneyPass and AllPoint networks
If you want to earn interest on your account, you’ll want to opt for a business interest checking account. This option allows you to earn up to 1.01% APY on your balance. However, you will need to maintain a $5,000 minimum average daily balance. Additionally, Axos Bank is FDIC insured.

Huntington Bank — Unlimited Business Checking

Our Score: 8

This ranks as one of the best small business checking accounts because of its unlimited free monthly transactions, as well as some of its resources for small business owners. Here are some of the main perks associated with this business checking account:

Huntington review


Best Business Checking Accounts for Entrepreneurs

  1. Chase Business Complete BankingSM
  2. Bluevine — Earn Interest on Your Business Account
  3. Citizens Bank — Clearly Better Business Checking

Whether you’re just starting out or have been an entrepreneur for several years, having a business checking account is crucial. With many accounts to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find one that best fits your needs. Here are some of the best banks to choose from:

Chase — Chase Business Complete BankingSM

Our Score: 6.5

If you're looking for one of the “big guys,” Chase offers a solid small business checking account product. Some of the perks that come with this best business bank account include:

  • In-person access to almost 5,000 branches
  • Wide ATM network
  • Unlimited electronic deposits
  • Waived fee if you maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance
The monthly fee for this account is $15, but it's relatively easy to avoid the fee if you can keep $1,500 in your business account. Plus, you can see a reduced fee if you enroll in paperless statements.

Chase Business Complete BankingSM Review

Bluevine — Earn Interest on Your Business Account

Our Score: 8

If you're looking for a great mobile and online business bank, check out Bluevine. One of the best features of Bluevine is that you can earn 1.5% interest on your balance up to $100,000. Plus, there are no monthly maintenance fees, no account minimum, and no NSF fees.

  • No maintenance fees
  • Earn 1.5% interest on balances up to $100,000
  • Get a debit Mastercard
  • Pay vendors and bills by ACH, wire, or check with Bluevine Bill Pay
  • Create up to five sub accounts to help manage and budget for expenses
  • Get access to 38,000 ATM locations nationwide
  • Cash deposit at 90,000+ Green Dot locations

Sign Up For Bluevine

Citizens Bank — Clearly Better Business Checking

Our Score: 7.5

This is a solid checking account that adds the benefit of more than 1,000 branches, so you can speak with someone in person, depending on your location. However, it's also possible to manage your account online. Some of the benefits of the Citizens Bank business account include:

  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • You can grant controlled access to a trusted accountant or bookkeeper
  • 200 monthly transactions free
What's great about Citizens Bank is that it is mostly fee-free. However, you do need to be aware that if you have a lot of transactions, you could start seeing a charge.

Citizens Bank review


Why Do You Need A Business Checking Account as a Freelancer?

Unless you’re running a hobby business, you should have a dedicated business bank account. There are many benefits of having a business account, including:

1. Separation of Business and Personal Financial Activity

It’s much easier to keep track of your business-related income and expenses in a dedicated account. When you separate business and personal expenses in dedicated accounts, year-end income tax preparation is much easier.

Having a bank account where only business transactions happen makes tracking your profit and losses easier. It allows you to see problems quicker and helps you make profit adjustments earlier rather than later. Novo is one fintech company that focuses on business banking, and you might find its checking account helpful for organizing your transactions. You'll also be able to see all business-related fees, memberships, and subscriptions in one place.

Remember, business fees and memberships/subscriptions qualify as tax-deductible business expenses. But of course, you'll have to be able to prove it through proper and organized record keeping.

2. Additional Flexibility

Having a business bank account allows you to accept more types of payments from clients. Especially if you do business online and/or have international clients. With a business account, you can accept credit cards and payments via PayPal, Stripe, and TransferWise. You can also sign up for merchant account ACH bank-to-bank transfers. This is something you can't do with a personal checking or savings account.

A business account allows for future business structure expansion. You may decide to grow your business and add a partner. Or you may take on employees. Or move from a sole proprietorship to a different structure. If so, you'll need to have a business bank account.

3. Unique Business Banking Services

Business bank accounts offer certain business-related services that are not available with personal accounts. Examples include the ability to integrate the account with third-party service providers and processing large numbers of transactions.

Also, having a separate business bank account allows you to stay accountable to other aspects of your business. For instance:

  • Give an accountant or bookkeeper access to help you manage and double-check your business finances. (This means you don't have to give them access to your personal transactions.)
  • Know what's going on with your business financials each quarter. See how the business is doing overall, so you can adjust for future growth.
  • Manage your business budget each month.
  • Know what's going on with your business, where the money is coming from, and where it is going.
  • Keep track of all sources of income, expenses, merchants, and clients. This makes tax time more manageable for you and your accountant.

4. A Dedicated Business Bank Account Looks More Professional

When a client, customer or vendor sees transactions from a business account, your business will seem more legitimate than if you transact business through your personal account.

A business bank account will give you the professional credibility that a personal bank account can't. It doesn't matter what type of business you run, whether it's an LLC (limited liability company), incorporated company, sole proprietorship, or a side hustle.

A business account legitimizes your company and gives you professional credibility when it comes to writing checks, accepting payments, and sending invoices because the account is in your legal business name.

5. Legal Separation Between You and Your Business

Certain business formations such as corporations, S-corporations, and limited liability companies (LLCs) are established to limit your personal liability in business affairs. A dedicated business bank account will further strengthen that distinction.

The IRS guidelines for small businesses state that owners may keep any records necessary that best suit their business. They need to show any income and expenses clearly. The best way to do that is to make sure your personal transactions are kept as far away from your business transactions as possible. You'll thank yourself if there's ever an audit.

For some small businesses just starting out (and for some side-hustle businesses), there is the question of whether it's considered a hobby or business. According to the IRS publication, if you are keeping things organized with a business account and can prove you are making a profit, you shouldn't have a problem.

What Are the Different Financial Needs of Freelancers and Entrepreneurs?

While freelancers and entrepreneurs might have similar financial needs, freelancers have a few different financial needs. For one, each freelancer approaches their time and money in a different way.

A freelancer typically gets paid for hours worked, usually by acquiring different projects from clients to build a steady income. On the other hand, entrepreneurs build a business that can eventually generate income continuously. While they are both businesses, an entrepreneur tends to have a more structured company and might even have employees or plan to have employees in the future. Freelancers usually just complete work on their own and do not have employees.

Simply put, freelancers must work continuously not only to earn money but also to build a clientele, while entrepreneurs can earn unlimited income once their business grows.

Special Needs for Small Business Owners

There are business checking accounts that best fit small business owners but not freelancers. While both professionals need to have separate business accounts to better manage their finances, many banks allow small businesses to choose accounts that suit the financial needs of different stages of business.

Although these accounts are great for small business owners, they may not be suitable for freelancers with fluctuating incomes. The assumption that several of these accounts hold is that there will be regular money coming in, and therefore a consistent balance. That is why some small business accounts can have hefty fees.

The bottom line is that small business can manage the fees and maintain the balance, which may not be the case for freelancers.


What Do You Need to Open a Business Checking Account?

Most business checking accounts will let you get started online. In many cases, you may need the following documentation to move forward:

  1. Articles of organization or certificate from your state showing you're a registered business
  2. Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS
  3. Address and phone number of the business
  4. Personal information (Social Security number, address, birth date, etc.)

Read more about the requirements in our guide about how to Open a Business Bank Account here.

Key Factors to Choose a Business Checking Account

While we've provided some solid choices for some of the best business bank accounts, it's important to do your own research and choose a bank that works for you. Some of the things to consider when choosing a business bank account include:

Fees

Many banks come with various fees. Some of these are fairly obvious, like monthly maintenance fees, but others may be a little harder to see, like transaction fees. For business accounts, you might see between 100 and 500 free transactions before they begin charging.

Exactly what fees will be charged with a business bank account will depend on the bank and the checking account product they offer.

Typical fees charged on business bank accounts include:

  • A monthly service fee: This can range from $5 to $50 or more, but you’ll naturally want to favor a bank account that either doesn’t charge a monthly fee or has a way for it to be waived.
  • ATM fees: Some banks charge a fee each time you access an ATM. This charge is typically for the use of your debit card at out-of-network ATMs. If a business checking account is mostly online, find out if they reimburse you for ATM fees. This can make a big difference down the road.
  • Transaction fees: Traditional banks typically allow a certain number of free transactions, after which you’ll be charged a fee of anywhere from $0.30 to $1 per transaction.
  • Cash deposit fees: Once again, this is more typical of traditional banks. They may charge you a fee of 2% or 3% of each deposit beyond a specific limit. That limit may be $5,000 or $10,000 per month.
  • Wire transfer fees: Wire transfers are common in certain businesses, and the fees can add up. Banks often charge fees based on incoming or outgoing wires, as well as domestic and international transactions. These fees can range from a low of $15 to as much as $50 per wire.
  • Penalty fees: These are fees that can vary between $5 and $35 per item for nonsufficient funds, returned deposited items, or overdraft charges.
  • Unlimited free monthly transactions – If you have a lot of transactions each month, it might make sense to choose an account that offers unlimited free monthly transactions, even if there's a monthly maintenance fee. Compare the potential costs. Additionally, many accounts that charge monthly maintenance fees also waive those fees if you meet certain requirements.

The above are the basic fees you should expect to see in a business bank account. But each bank may have a slightly different format, charging for some activities but not for others. Before you sign up, look at the bank’s most recent fee disclosure to learn exactly what you’ll be paying.

In the end, there will probably be a fee somewhere along the line. Consider all your business needs so you can minimize the fees you pay.

Benefits and Perks

Don't forget to consider the benefits and perks that come with an account. Some banks offer access to accounting tools like Xero or provide free cash flow analysis. If you have a bookkeeper that you want to have access to your account, you may be able to give them limited access (just to see the transactions).

Think carefully about what business tools and resources you most likely need and use. Depending on the bank, you may be able to avoid paying for some tools, just because the bank includes access.

  • If your business relies heavily on credit or if you transact much of your business internationally, working with a large commercial bank will likely be a good match. If you’re running a sole proprietorship or working as a freelancer, an online bank will likely provide all the services you need, as well as low fees to help preserve your bottom line.
  • Another benefit to consider is personal checks. While checks are becoming less important every year, they are still a common payment method for some businesses. Since not all business bank accounts provide paper checks, you may need to narrow your list to those that do.

Integration

you may want a business bank account that integrates with popular financial applications and software like QuickBooks and PayPal. This will be an important feature for small businesses in particular. Integrating your bank account with other financial services will save you time and money while giving your small business the appearance of a large, well-oiled financial machine.

Customer Service

Sometimes that personal touch matters more than anything else. Check to see what type of customer service options you have. Is there someone you can talk to if needed? Is there an in-app chat? Maybe you prefer to go to a physical branch.

If your business runs outside the normal Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 timeframe, you’ll need an account that features 24/7 online and mobile banking. This will be even more important if you frequently travel for your business or for personal reasons.

Figure out what matters most to you in a banking relationship and prioritize those items as you evaluate different best small business checking account options.

FAQ

Do I Need a Business Checking Account?

Business owners should separate their personal and business finances. However, business owners may be able to use a separate personal checking account for their business finances. Sole proprietors can likely use a personal checking account, though many banks will require LLCs and corporations to open a business checking account. There are some features available to business checking accounts that aren’t available with personal checking accounts, so it’s likely worthwhile to set up an official business account.

Can I Deposit a Business Check in a Personal Account?

Whether you can easily deposit a business check into a personal checking account depends on the type of business you have and the name on the check. If you’re a sole proprietor who does business under your name, you should be able to deposit a business check into your personal account. If you do business under a different name, you may have to add your business name (aka DBA) to your bank account.

How Do I Open a Business Checking Account?

To open a business bank account, you’ll have to provide information about your business, such as your Employee Identification Number (EIN). If you’re a sole proprietor, you can use your Social Security number instead. You’ll also have to provide your business formation documents and license, if you have one. With that information, you should easily be able to open your business checking account at your local bank branch or online.

What Do I Need to Open a Business Checking Account?

To open a business checking account, you’ll need to provide:
  • An identification number for your business — an SSN in the case of a sole proprietorship, or an EIN for an LLC, partnership or corporation
  • Organization documents, such as your articles of incorporation
  • A business license, if applicable
  • Your personal information

Can I Use a Personal Checking Account for Business?

If you operate an LLC or a corporation, you’re legally required to separate your personal and business finances. Even for sole proprietors, the IRS recommends separating your finances for tax purposes. That being said, you may not be required to have a business checking account.

What’s the Best Business Checking Account?

There’s not necessarily one best business checking account. The account that is best suited to your business depends on which features are most important to you and your business needs. Be sure to research each bank’s features before choosing the right one for you.

Do I Need an LLC to Open an Account?

You don’t have to be classified as an LLC to open a business checking account. Sole proprietors can also open these accounts. In that case, you would provide your personal documentation and SSN instead of your business formation documents and EIN.

Can I Open a Business Checking Account at a Credit Union?

Many credit unions offer business checking accounts in addition to their other banking products. Check with your local credit union to find out if they offer this type of account.

Do Business Checking Accounts Charge Fees?

While business checking accounts traditionally required a fee, an increasing number of financial institutions offer accounts with no monthly fees. Those that do have fees typically charge between $10 to $15 per month.

What Banks Offer Free Business Checking Accounts?

There are plenty of business checking accounts that offer business checking accounts with no monthly fee. Some of our favorites include Novo, Bluevine, and Citizens Bank.

Bottom Line

You can open a business bank account at any commercial bank. However, you’ll often find those banks that offer accounts that are packed with fees. The most notorious are transaction fees; a commercial bank will typically charge a per-transaction fee once you get beyond a certain limit. Others charge percentage-based fees if your deposits exceed a certain dollar threshold.

Miranda Marquit

Miranda is a journalistically trained freelance writer and professional blogger specializing in personal finance. Her work has appeared and been mentioned, in various media, online and off. You can follow Miranda on: Twitter

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