Finding the best savings account for small businesses

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One of the first tasks for small business owners is securing a reliable account for business banking needs. Many focus on checking accounts, but neglecting the best savings accounts is a disservice that could cost you thousands of dollars over the long haul.

With a list of your needs and a little bit of research, you can identify the best business savings account for your business. Before diving into the best bank account for you, let's first take a look at what a business savings account offers.

What is a business savings account?

Typically used for safeguarding and growing funds, a business savings account allows your business to set aside money and, oftentimes, grow it with annual interest. 

A business savings account shouldn't be confused with a business checking account, which is used to issue and deposit checks, send and receive money orders, and secure business credit cards. Simply put, most businesses can't survive without a business checking account. But a business savings account, while not essential, is also beneficial.

While a business checking account makes it possible for your business to operate on a day-to-day basis, a business savings account can be a great safety net. By setting aside money in a business bank account each month, you can build a rainy day fund that ensures your business has the funds to cover emergencies as they arise. Every business should have an emergency fund, and a business savings account is a great way to build one. And let’s not forget the interest-based growth that often comes with a business savings account.

Now, let's determine what makes the best savings account for small businesses.

What makes the best savings account for small businesses?

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When looking for the best available business savings accounts through U.S. banks, there are several factors to consider. No two businesses have the same exact needs, so what's important to you may not matter to another business. Consider the following when finding a savings account for your small business:

1. Support

Whether you have an accountant or are managing your own finances, reliable support can be a defining factor when choosing a bank. If you run into issues with your business account, you'll need dependable customer support to troubleshoot the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again moving forward. In the past, large established banks like Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, or Capital One were the standard for customer support. Now that online banking is  commonplace, that level of service has become more accessible.

Before settling on a traditional bank, look at reviews for online banks and local credit unions that pique your interest. Finding a reputable bank with great features and support can pay dividends down the line.

2. Interest rate

A benefit of savings accounts is the ability to grow your money  if it has a high annual percentage yield (APY). The APY determines the rate at which your account can grow over the course of a year. A high-yield account can help your cash grow beyond 2% APY per year, depending on what the bank offers.

For example, if you have $10,000 just sitting in a 2% APY account, you can expect to have roughly $10,200 by the end of the year. Now imagine if you were adding to this account consistently.

APY rates can change depending on the economy, so compare offers against the current standard. If most banks are offering 2%, for example, you don’t want to settle for a bank that offers only 1%.

Keep in mind that many high-yield banking services require a certain amount of money to open the account and maintain it, which can limit small businesses and startups. If there's a high-yield account you can't access yet, go with another one and transfer your money later.

3. No excessive minimum balance requirement

A minimum balance is something to keep top of mind when conducting your search. If you have limited funds, rule out any accounts that require a high minimum opening deposit. Because many accounts offer a higher APY and the benefit of compounding interest, they can be an attractive prize to keep your eye on —but they won't help you right now.

Turn your focus toward accounts that have no minimum balance requirement, or one that is easily affordable. If you make the minimum opening deposit but fail to maintain the minimum balance requirement, your account risks closure or incurred monthly charges. This is the last thing you want from a savings account. Consider the long-term financial strategy when making these decisions.

4. Low monthly fees

Your savings account should work for you, not the other way around. To ensure this, look for an account with low monthly fees. Common fees to look for include:

  • Monthly service or maintenance fees: A monthly service fee is found on many high-yield accounts, is automatically withdrawn, and will eat into your earnings for the life of the account.
  • ATM fees: Many banks charge ATM fees anytime you use an out-of-network ATM. If you can, find a bank with free ATM withdrawals or low ATM fees.
  • Account fees: Many banks will tack on additional account fees, so if you notice a fee you don’t recognize, bring it to your bank’s attention. There's a chance it's an account fee that they've masked with their own branded name.

You may run into the above fees on an account you otherwise like. Don't let this be a complete dealbreaker, but keep in mind that these fees can add up quickly. Calculate the total likely cost of these fees over the life of the account before you commit.

5. Online banking features

Online banking is essential for most businesses because it allows leaders to stay aware of their finances when away from work. This is especially helpful for mobile startups or vendors, who tend to travel often. 

Think long and hard before opting for a bank that doesn't have a solid online banking interface, as it can seriously hinder your business. Without proper online banking, transferring money from one account to another becomes a chore. Your bank of choice should allow you to initiate and receive transfers, check your account balance, and deposit checks, at minimum. These features ensure you’re able to manage and scale your business on the go.

6. Mobile app

A mobile banking app is almost as important as online banking. With a mobile app, you can easily check account balances and monitor cash flow while on the move. Like online banking, this allows you to operate your business from anywhere, and stay on top of your financial situation.

7. Unlimited cash deposits

Depending on the type of business you run, cash deposits may or may not be a common occurrence. If your business makes frequent cash deposits, you'll want to find an account that facilitates those transactions.

Some banks will limit your cash deposits per day or month, while others may charge fees for deposits above a certain amount. Keep this in mind when looking for a savings account.

8. Business checking account availability

While finding the right savings account, see if your bank also offers a business checking account with some of the following features:

  • Cashback on credit card use: Look for banks with a business credit card that rewards you with cashback on purchases. This feature allows you to stockpile points and redeem them for credit or cash in your checking account, which can help reduce your overall expenses.
  • Bill pay: Many banks offer online bill pay, which simplifies the billing process through automation. Online bill pay allows you to set utilities and other recurring bills to automatically deduct from your account each month, taking one more thing off your plate.
  • Credit card perks: Some banks offer additional credit card perks to account holders, like reduced rental car or hotel rates. These small perks can add up and really come in handy, especially if you or anyone in your company travels regularly.
  • Competitive interest rate: Interest rates fluctuate, so be sure to do some additional research and shop around. Ultimately, you want a credit card that won't crush you with excessive interest on your statements.

Most banks that offer a savings account will offer a checking account as well. If possible, open them together and check both items off your list.

9. Native integrations

Some bank accounts feature integrations with different accounting or expense software and platforms. These integrations can further streamline your accounting process, saving you time while helping you maintain accurate books.

For example, Brex Cash offers integrations for Quickbooks and Xero. Quickbooks syncs with your Brex card, allowing you to easily track your spending and even categorize purchases. The Xero integration makes expense management and bookkeeping a breeze, as well, with the ability to import pre-existing records as well as current ones. These integrations increase bookkeeping accuracy and allow you to close out your books in record time. 

Consider alternative account types

If your main goal in opening a savings account is to grow your money, there are a few alternatives to consider. While not traditional bank accounts, these high-yield investment accounts could give you a greater return on investment.

Certificates of deposit

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are high-yield investments that can be purchased from many banks and credit unions. These generally tie your money up for a set period of time, but also deliver on a fixed interest rate. This means you can invest an amount you're comfortable with and be sure of a return.

A CD isn't right for every business, but for those with free cash flow, as well as money and time to spare, they can be a safe way to grow wealth.

Money market or cash management account

A money market account, or cash management account, gives you the functionality of a combined savings and checking account, along with the high-yield growth often found in investment accounts. What's more, all of this functionality is offered through a single account, making it easy to stay on top of your finances while they grow.

The Brex Cash account is a cash management account that offers all of the above functionality with zero fees. And you can rest easy knowing your money is safe in a Brex Cash account.

If you're already looking at a checking account and savings account, a money market account is a natural choice that simplifies your finances.

The best savings account for your small business

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Every company has different business needs. Only you know what's best for your small business. Keep your goals in mind when looking for a savings account. No matter your situation, you’ll likely want online banking, a mobile app, and as few monthly fees as possible. Beyond that, determine how often you'll rely on customer support and whether you have the financial stability to maintain a high minimum balance. 

With enough patience and research, you'll find the best savings account for your small business. Then, you can check another item off your to-do list and focus on growing your business.

Terms subject to change. Brex Inc. provides a corporate card. The Brex Mastercard® Corporate Credit Card is issued by Emigrant Bank, Member FDIC. 

Brex Treasury LLC is an affiliated SEC-registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC that provides Brex Cash, a program that allows customers to elect to sweep uninvested cash balances into certain money market mutual funds or FDIC-insured bank accounts at program banks. Investing in securities products involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Brex Treasury is not a bank and your Brex Cash account is not a bank account.  Please see brex.com/cash for important legal disclosures. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

You could lose money by investing in a money market mutual fund. Although the fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it cannot guarantee it will do so. An investment in the fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or any other government agency. The fund’s sponsor has no legal obligation to provide financial support to the fund and you should not expect that the sponsor will provide financial support to the fund at any time. Although the fund’s board has no current intention to impose a fee upon the sale of shares or temporarily suspend redemptions if the fund’s liquidity falls below certain levels, the board reserves the ability to do so after providing at least 60 days’ prior written notice to shareholders.

These money market mutual funds are suitable for investors who are seeking as high a level of current income as is consistent with preserving capital and maintaining liquidity.  

Brex Treasury is not an investment adviser, and therefore investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses carefully before investing. Brex Treasury LLC does not charge transaction or account fees. However, money market funds bear expenses and fees. See program disclosures and the applicable fund prospectus for details and other information on the fund. Contact us for a copy of the fund prospectus and recent performance data. You should read the prospectus carefully before investing.

Securities in your account protected up to $500,000. For details, please see www.sipc.org

Brex Cash is not available to all investors. This is not an offer, solicitation of an offer, or advice to buy or sell securities, or to open a brokerage account in any jurisdiction where Brex Treasury LLC is not registered.

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