Bank Novo Review 2021

Checking Accounts for Small Businesses

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Novo Online BankNovo is an online bank for small businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers. If you're self-employed and want a bank account that is easy to use with almost no fees, you'll want to check out Novo. Read more to find out the details of how Novo works and whether or not an account makes sense for you.

Bank Novo

Commissions & Fees - 10
Customer Service - 9
Ease of Use - 8.5
Locations - 0
Savings Options - 0
Traditional Banking Features - 7

8

Novo is an online-only bank ideal for small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers. The bank charges nearly no fees and makes it very easy to handle typical online banking transactions. You can't get a regular chequebook, send wire transfers or deposit cash. But if you're looking for a self-service bank and don't need those three features, it can be a great choice.

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What Is Bank Novo?

Bank Novo is a digital-only bank based in New York. You can manage your account through online banking on your laptop or desktop computer or through the Android or iPhone mobile apps.

This bank is built for business owners who are comfortable managing their money online on the Novo website or mobile apps. While it doesn't have every feature of a traditional checking account, Novo offers plenty of features for most modern entrepreneurs and cashless businesses.

Behind the scenes, Novo Bank uses Middlesex Federal Savings to manage accounts and debit cards. Everything will look and feel like Novo Bank, but accounts are held in FDIC-insured accounts at Middlesex Federal Savings.

Bank Novo has no branch locations. The bank is relatively new, founded in 2016. But it offers far better terms than most old-school, traditional banks.

Novo Online Bank Features

TypeBank
AccountsSavings, Checking, Money Market, CDs
AccessWeb Based, iPhone App, Android App, Blackberry App
Amount of Branches0
ATM Reimbursement
Online Deposits
FDIC Insurance
Customer ServiceEmail, Phone
  • Online and mobile banking: Novo is online only. You can easily manage your money with the Novo online banking website and mobile apps.
  • No fees for typical activity:– There are no recurring fees. The only fees charged are for insufficient funds when sending a check or when a deposited check is returned for insufficient funds. Incoming wires, domestic ACH transfers, ATMs and paper statements are all free.
  • Send checks from your phone: You don't get a paper checkbook with Novo. However, you can still send paper checks. Using a feature that works similarly to bill pay at other banks, you can send a paper check from the Novo mobile apps.
  • Digital integrations: Novo integrates with popular online tools used by tech-forward businesses. It works seamlessly with Xero accounting, Stripe, Shopify, and Quickbooks. It also triggers notifications on Slack, and allows international transfers through TransferWise.
  • Business perks: As a bonus, Novo customers get access to discounts with Google Cloud, Zendesk, HubSpot, Stripe, Salesforce, and other providers.

How Does Bank Novo Work?

Novo offers only one type of account. The small business checking account handles the most important features for online business owners and other businesses that don't use cash.

  • You can deposit to the account via ACH, international or domestic wire transfer, or with a mobile check deposit on your smartphone.
  • You can withdraw and send money via ACH or send a paper check by mail with the mobile app.
  • All transfers in and out of the account are fee-free.

A few traditional banking features are missing:

  • There is no conventional checkbook.
  • You can't send wire transfers.
  • As with all online banks, you can't deposit cash.
  • There is no interest paid on account balances, so you probably won't want to hoard too much cash there.

Bank Novo Competitors

The closest competitors to Novo are NorthOne and LendingClub Bank.

  • NorthOne is a bank for freelancers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. With NorthOne you get unlimited banking without hidden fees or minimum balances for just $10 per month.  And you can create unlimited envelopes to easily manage your finances with different categories, like taxes and vacation. Plus as an Investor Junkie reader, you can get three months free when you sign up.
  • LendingClub Bank has a number of products, with a checking account specifically geared towards small businesses. With this account, you can get 1% cash back with your LendingClub debit card and get 0.10% APY on balances of $5,000.

Here's a quick comparison between the three:

HighlightsNovo Online BankLendingClub BankNorthOne Business Checking Account
Rating8/107/108/10
AccountsSavings, Checking, Money Market, CDsSavings, Checking, Money Market, CDsSavings, Checking, Money Market, CDs
Online Deposits
Physical Branches
FDIC Insurance
ATM Reimbursement

Bank Novo Fees

Novo charges almost no fees. You'll need $50 to open a new account, but after that, there are no minimum balance requirements or recurring fees of any kind.

The fee schedule shows no charges for everything, except for an “Insufficient Funds Charge” and an “Uncollected Funds Returned Fee.” Both fees are $27. So, as long as you don't send bad checks or deposit bad checks, you won't pay for anything.

If you use your debit card abroad, you may incur foreign transaction fees from the card networks, but Novo doesn't add a fee of its own. And there are no outgoing wire transfer fees because you can't send wire transfers.

Bank Novo Accounts

Novo offers just one type of business checking account with a debit card. There is no current option for a savings account, credit card or other loans. But the Novo website says it does intend to offer lending products and other new features in the future. Are saving accounts important to you? Here are some options:

Novo Online Bank Pros & Cons

Pros



No Fees for Most Activity
— You won’t pay any fees for regular banking activity. The only charges are for sending or depositing checks with insufficient funds.

Easy-to-Use Online Banking
— Manage your account with the Novo website or apps for Android and iPhone.

Deposit and Send Checks With the Mobile App
— Use mobile check deposit to add paper checks to your account. Send paper checks in the mail using the mobile app.

Free Transfers and Payments
— Incoming wires are free. Incoming and outgoing ACH transfers are free. Sending a check by mail is free.

ATM Reimbursements
—Although Novo Bank doesn't have its own network of fee-free ATMs, the bank will reimburse you for another bank's ATM fees.







Cons



No Checkbooks or Outgoing Wires
— Some traditional banking features are nonexistent at Novo. You don’t get a paper checkbook and can’t send wire transfers.

No Interest
—You don’t earn interest on your balance. It just sits there safe and FDIC-insured.










Summary

Novo is a good banking choice for nearly anyone who runs a solo, online business. Tech startups and small businesses that don't use cash will most likely find all of their needs met. And there are almost no fees.

A few features common at traditional banks are missing, including the ability to send a wire transfer or get a checkbook. But for modern banking features, Novo has most people's needs covered.

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel and technology writer in Ventura, California. He is a former bank manager and corporate finance and accounting professional who left his day job in 2016 to take his online side hustle full time. He has in-depth experience writing about banking, credit cards, investing and other financial topics and is an avid travel hacker. When away from the keyboard, Eric enjoys exploring the world, flying small airplanes, discovering new craft beers and spending time with his wife and little girls.

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14 Comments

  1. Everything went well with Novo for several months–as long as I didn’t need any help. Sure the process to get a debit card was slow, and trying to get a second card for my business partner was a way-too-difficult experience. But it was when I tried to reach customer service that the wheels really fell off the bus. There is no phone number nor any live chat. Best you can do is message them. Then, it doesn’t matter if you work at your desk for your job, their replies to your requests are only accessible in the mobile app itself, not the website. But the kicker for me was when my ending balance one month did not match the beginning balance the next month. I asked them why, and going on two weeks later and repeated follow-up, they still have no answer for me. When I can’t trust a bank to safely take care of my money, no other features and benefits are worth risking my hard-earned funds.

  2. Don’t EVER expect to talk to a person live. I can’t get away from NOVO fast enough. It’s been a pain from the beginning. They can’t even successfully connect to QuickBooks. I’ve been trying to close my account for days and they aren’t responding! I have sent many requests. They are horrible and the day that my account is finally closed will be a breath of fresh air. HORRIBLE bank. There are much better banks out there… that will actually support their customers.

  3. What a HUGE WASTE OF TIME! They might be a good fit for some. Not only did I have to wait forever for my debit card after opening the account. One thing I never checked was if the debit card had tap to pay. It doesn’t. Not only that, I almost threw it away thinking it was junk mail. I need batteries for my postal scale so I can’t compare weight but it feels extremely cheap. If you plan on using the debit card much I doubt it will last very long. Not only that, even though I gave them my company name and EIN. They put my name down twice on the card and account and linked it to my SS#! Azlo initially asked for a DBA certificate when I started with them. After explaining that it’s not a legal requirement for my State/County they were happy to open my account after giving them a copy of my federal EIN. Not Novo. After waiting days to hear back from support and getting a cookie cutter answer. I explained things like I did with Azlo and instead of understanding, Novo says they can’t do anything without something I don’t need anywhere else. I have accounts with several real banks. They don’t require this because they don’t need to where I’m located and in possibly can’t legally. If there were no other options I’d look into legal recourse against Novo for false advertising and wasting my time. Instead, I’ll give them the rating they deserve in my opinion and hopefully save some other’s some time and frustration.

  4. Terrible Bank. If you are starting a business , which is tough enough, you don’t want to be dealing with issues at your bank. We have had several issues getting our money out to pay expenses. We have had to use our personal accounts to pay and then reimburse ourselves. It makes book-keeping a mess. The customer support staff is horrible. They are mean natured and negligent . Most of the time we don’t get resolution and have to work around them . We are currently moving to a big bank , where at least we know what we are in for.

  5. Have to echo the complaints against Novo. I also had some problems getting the account started. But the real kicker came today as I opened my account to find someone had charge $450 on my debit card at a location I NEVER shop. Novo not only failed to flag this obviously fraudulent transaction, but they told me I had to collect information from this merchant and then that it would take them 4 MONTHS!!! to resolve my claim and that they would not offer credit during that time. So, at the holiday season, I am now out $450 until, I guess, until April. Not only poor customer service but actively hostile customer service and rather negligent behavior in monitoring for fraud. Do NOT open an account with these people or their parent corp Middlesex Federal Saving.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, I just had 3 fraudulent charges, I called them up to fix it. They asked me to sort it out with the merchant that I DO NOT KNOW nor am I familiar with. stay away from NOVO at all costs. open a business checking account with an actual bank not a middleman who’s clueless and doesn’t help you when you need then the most. CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT WITH NOVO NOW!

  6. This bank is down right awful. I’ve had nothing but problems
    With this bank. I will only keep it open and leave my tax money in there for the state to collect other than that it’s not worth it. I did a transfer that my bank hasn’t received over 2 weeks now and they keep telling me it’s out of their hands. I’m wondering if this “bank” is a scam.

  7. This bank is horrible. They have been stringing us along for 2 Weeks saying they are updating their user form and can’t add users to an account….it’s been WEEKS. If they can’t manage a simple user add form how can they manage money. This seems more and more like a scam and regulators are involved and that’s why it’s taking so long. Don’t walk, run from this bank.

  8. You need to review banks on their actual experiences and services they provide, not what they say on paper. Look at the comments here, look at trust pilot, this bank is s sham and possibly a SCAM. Violating the FCRA right out of the gate. Shame on you for recommending them.

  9. Worst bank. Call them and you’ll hear back after a month. No Zelle integration. ACH pull of $250. Basically good for kids selling lemonades. Definitely avoid

  10. I don’t recommend this bank we opened it for a business account. First to reach them it’s only through message and sometimes you have to send more then one to get a response. They are not organized at all so I imagine how they are with money. I had to fill out a form four times to add my business partner and they still didn’t add her they kept sending me the same form saying it needs to be completed like I said they have no idea what they are doing. Don’t put your money in this bank. I give them 1 star review.

  11. Bank Novo sucks. That’s it.
    Opening an account takes more than two weeks. All the staff members are incompetent and have lack of knowledge. For a simple question, they respond with very blended generic answers not for specific answers that I wanted. It should have been a simple yea or no but always came up with text book style generic answer which indicates they don’t know nothing. Such a poor staff and management. I will never recommend this incompetent bank to anyone. Go for Radius Bank. Much Much Better! Novo must go out of business. DO NOT OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH THEM!

  12. My experience with this bank has been awful.
    1. When opening the account I was told someone would reach out to me by a certain date. That date came and went, and poof 2 days after I was sent a welcome email.

    2. I tried to add a DBA to my account so when customers send me a check made out to my business name I can deposit them. And this may be my fault for opening the account with my SSN, part of the paperwork needed to add a DBA is an EIN, when I provided that, i was then informed I had to close the account on open a new one with the EIN not my SSN.

    3. After going back and forth with what seems like 1 person via email, I decided to close my account and move on. I have submitted 2 tickets now and still have an account. I must say, I have been getting more communication now that i want to close then I did before, so they have a great retention team.

    I would not recommend this bank to anyone. While the features of the account are very nice the lack of communication is mind blowing. I didn’t get the warm fuzzy that they have the stuff together enough to handle issues and that is NOT what a small business owner needs to worry about.

  13. Customer support is awful! They don’t respond in their 1-2 days they promise and then reply wish incomplete answers or often times drop tickets entirely and never reply.

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