The best business bank accounts: Checking, savings, and alternatives
Business checking accounts remain a classic way to access your money and send payments. Plus, there are plenty of high-yield savings accounts that can help you expand your financial reach and provide a cushion in uncertain times. Or, you can break away from the traditional two-account setup that banks offer and opt for one cohesive cash management account (CMA).
While your business needs are unique, top-tier bank accounts have quite a few things in common. Below, we’ve rounded up the features, services, and perks you should expect. We’ll give you tips that help you shop for accounts, compare financial institutions, and most importantly, manage your money efficiently.
Business checking accounts
A checking account has historically been the business banking hub of everyday funds management. With a business credit card or debit card in hand, entrepreneurs can easily pay bills, buy inventory, purchase major assets, and more. In addition, most checking accounts include access to ATMs, checks, electronic transfers, multiple cards, and online banking.
What qualities should I look for in a business checking account?
You have a wide range of checking options, but they’ll vary dramatically in affordability and available features. Use the points below to learn what account holders should expect from the best checking accounts so you can find the best home for your company’s day-to-day cash.
Minimum balance requirement
A minimum balance requirement is how much money you need to have in your account on a daily basis. This number can range from $1 to $10,000, or even higher for premium business accounts. The best banks for small business will be the banks offering lower minimum balances.
Some small business checking accounts, especially online-only options, have no balance requirements whatsoever. As a bonus, banks often waive other account fees if you stay above their limit. So, choose an account with a target you can reliably meet.
One-time and monthly fees
If you have one of the best business bank accounts, account fees shouldn’t sneak up on you. Look out for monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees (which can be charged by your bank or the ATM owner), and overdraft fees. Fee structures should be clear, accessible, and regularly updated. These costs may also be negotiable, depending on your company’s credit history. Companies with the best credit score will be in the best position to negotiate.
Some business owners are clued in to the fact that their account has a monthly transaction limit when they’re hit with their first excess transaction fee.
Most business accounts let you make 100 to 200 transactions each month before there’s a per-transaction cost. Take a look at your current account activity and see where you fall within this range. Don’t forget to factor in your ATM activity. Depending on how much activity you have, you may need to look for an account that guarantees free ATM usage.
Online banking and integrations
Banking digitally saves time as well as unnecessary visits to a physical branch for quick actions. Be sure to check out reviews for the financial institution’s website and mobile app. Is it easy to navigate? How do their mobile banking services stack up? Are online bill pay and check deposit included with your checking account? How quickly can you set up account integrations using their web portal?
Quick benefits of a checking account
- A company checking account lets you keep your personal finances completely separate from your business finances, simplifying accounting and taxes.
- It’s common for banks to run introductory offers, awarding cash or other benefits after you make a few qualifying transactions.
- You improve your likelihood of qualifying for small business loans, like startup loans or working capital loans.
Don’t compromise on your banking priorities. If you need something specific, such as free cash deposits, and you don’t see it offered, ask.
Business savings accounts
A great savings account makes it possible for your money to earn money. Companies of all sizes, from small businesses to multinational corporations, use these accounts for two main reasons: to protect emergency funds and to maximize their capital.
A bank may not offer a savings account unless you have a checking account with them already. Other account providers allow you to sign up in minutes regardless of your customer status. In any case, it’s best to open a savings account when you’re certain you can maintain a steady balance. It’s common for savings accounts to have opening deposit or balance requirements.
What qualities should I look for in a business savings account?
Comparison shopping for savings accounts looks a lot like comparing checking accounts, with a few key additions. The list below builds on the requirements we covered in the previous section.
Generous interest rates
When it’s time to choose a savings account, many business owners look for the option with the highest annual percentage yield (APY).
The average bank offers just 0.1% interest on its savings accounts. But with the best business bank accounts, you could see a rate of 1% to 2% APY. Those few percentage points make a big difference. On a $25,000 balance, that’s $250 to $500 cash back instead of just $25.
Keep in mind that all savings account rates will fluctuate depending on the federal funds rate. Although your APY may change, some banks work harder than others to preserve their promised rate.
Minimum opening deposit
In order to open a savings account, you may have to make a certain minimum deposit. It could be as low as $1 or as high as $1,000 to activate the account. Though, unless your bank has account balance requirements, you don’t have to maintain this balance after the account opening period. If you make large, regular deposits, however, you could receive benefits like waived fees or premium banking services.
Withdrawal limits and fees
Generally, federal law allows you up to six withdrawals per statement cycle on a savings account. (It’s important to note that the six-withdrawal limit has been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak.) This rule applies no matter which financial institution you hold an account with, and it includes ATM withdrawals.
Check this list to learn which transactions fall under this rule. Some institutions charge a fee for each extra withdrawal, or convert your savings account to a checking account if you repeatedly go over. Make sure you understand how each bank treats withdrawals.
If you’re trying to save for multiple goals at once, piling all your excess funds into one account can get messy. Increasingly, banks are adding a “bucket” feature to savings accounts. This lets you create and name multiple goals, designate where funds should go, and manage several saving efforts under one account. For new businesses with a lot to purchase, it’s a no-brainer. Build capital for desks, software, and an end-of-year conference all at once.
Quick benefits of a savings account
- Many savings accounts unlock both personal and business perks with a financial institution, such as a higher yield personal account or discounted merchant services.
- Some types of savings accounts deliver a large APY in exchange for not withdrawing funds for an agreed-upon period. This could lead to significant gains for more established businesses.
You don’t have to sacrifice simplicity to get access to the best business accounts. Rather than juggling a checking and savings account, consider a cash management account.
Cash management accounts
A cash management account (CMA) isn’t a bank account. It’s the ideal tool for business owners who don’t mind managing their money online and who prefer to manage funds in one place. CMAs, like Brex Cash, are not bank accounts. They're alternative financial accounts that combine the features of checking and savings accounts with the profitability of an investment account.
Although it’s possible for banks and credit unions to offer CMAs, non-bank financial institutions lead the pack. And because they’re online-only, CMA providers can offer more competitive interest rates than most savings accounts.
What qualities should I look for in a cash management account?
A CMA is an all-in-one financial product. That means you should consider the qualities of the best checking and savings accounts, along with the ones we list below, when you’re comparing your options.
Like most online-only accounts, CMAs are known for delivering a fee-free experience. For example, Brex Cash has no monthly service fee and no ACH or wire transfer fees, which can range from $20 to $50 per transaction. There’s also no minimum balance requirement to open an account. And some CMA providers even offer ATM fee reimbursements.
Without these unnecessary fees burning a hole in your wallet, you’re free to spend or save in a way that actually benefits your company.
User-friendly online tools
With a CMA, business owners depend on an intuitive online portal, a secure mobile app, and top-notch fraud monitoring. It should be quick and easy to make vendor payments, transfer funds, and deposit checks.
Many CMAs also include in-depth cash flow analytics. And if you have employees, you should also be able to easily add or remove employee credit card permissions and adjust spending limits.
Quick benefits of a CMA
- You don’t have to choose between earning interest and handling daily purchases when you use a CMA. It’s built to optimize both short-term and long-term financial management.
- Start-ups have a higher likelihood of approval, because CMAs don’t rely on outdated qualifiers like business credit score or history. Small business owners with strong revenue or funding may qualify, too.
The best bank account for your company may not even be a bank account. Read our side-by-side comparison of a CMA and small business bank account for a deeper dive into the pros and cons of traditional banking vs. CMAs.
The big opening
Opening any bank account can offer a business advantage, but the best business bank accounts go much further. They provide your growing company with a low-fee, high-tech banking experience so you can get back to business.
Once you've found the right account match your needs, the hardest part is over. Use our free checklist to get ready to apply.
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