Business checking accounts are similar to a personal checking account.
The biggest differences to look for are:
- Balance requirements
- Transaction limitations
You don’t have to pay for an account if you know where to look. There are plenty of great free business checking accounts out there.
And I’ve put together seven of my favorites below.
The 7 Best Free Business Checking Accounts
There are hundreds of different checking account choices for business owners. The majority of those options charge a monthly fee.
In terms of free business checking, there are really only seven accounts that I’d recommend.
Chase Total Business Checking
Chase offers business owners a great incentive to open a Total Business Checking account. They’ll give you a $200 sign up bonus if you:
- Deposit $1,000 within 20 days of opening the account
- Maintain that balance for 60 days
- Make five qualifying transactions in 60 days
There is a $15 monthly service fee associated with this account, but it can easily be waived in one of two ways:
- Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance
- Link a Chase Private Client Checking or Chase Sapphire Checking personal account
Chase has more than 16,000 ATMs and roughly 4,900 branches across the country. They offer exceptional 24/7 customer service to business customers as well.
Your Chase Total Business Checking account comes with 100 free monthly transactions and unlimited electronic deposits. You’ll also get debit, deposit, and ATM cards associated with the account. As the owner, you’ll have the option to add signers and give employees access to make purchases.
Chase offers exceptional digital banking services as well, which includes digital bill pay, account alerts, and up to seven years of paperless statements.
Between the introductory incentive and low minimum requirement to waive the maintenance fee, Chase Total Business Checking ranks at the top of our list.
US Bank Silver Business Checking
US Bank Silver Business Checking is perfect for startups and small business owners.
The account is 100% free, with no minimum opening deposit or monthly minimum balance to maintain. You’ll be charged $5 per month for paper statements, but it’s easy to go paperless and eliminate that fee.
Your Silver Business Checking package with US Bank includes:
- Online and mobile banking
- Digital bill pay
- 125 transactions per statement cycle
- Check fraud prevention
- Remote check deposits
- Payment processing capabilities
- Overdraft protection
- 50% discount on first order of checks
The one potential drawback of the US Bank Silver Business Checking account is the way they track and limit cash deposits. You’ll get 25 free “units” of cash deposits per month.
According to the fine print, “units are calculated by dividing each cash deposit by 100 and rounding the results value to the nearest whole number.”
For example, let’s say you deposit $625. Divide that by 100 to get 6.25, and round that to the nearest whole number; 6. You’ve just used 6 of your 25 units on this deposit. If you go over the limit, you’ll be charged a small fee for each additional unit per month.
It’s a strange way to say you get $2,500 in free cash deposits per cycle. Aside from this one feature, the account is extremely straightforward and deserves a top spot on our list. But I’d only use it if you don’t make cash deposits often. Otherwise, choose another bank.
Axos Bank Basic Business Checking
Axos is an online-exclusive bank, which means they have no physical presence at all.
So if you don’t need to visit a branch in-person for anything, the Axos Basic Business Checking account will be a top choice for you to consider.
New customers get $50 by using the promo code “NEW50” when signing up for Basic Business Checking. You just need to maintain an average balance of $1,000 or more in the first two months of opening the account to get your bonus.
Here are some of the top benefits of using Axos for business checking:
- No monthly maintenance fee
- 200 free transactions per month
- Remote deposits from anywhere using the mobile app
- Free bill pay
- First 50 checks free
- Quickbooks integration
Axos charges $0.30 per transaction if you exceed 200 monthly limit. But most of you won’t come anywhere near that number. The easy way to reduce checking account transactions is to run the majority of your spending through a business credit card.
The account requires a $1,000 minimum opening deposit as well.
The only major downside of using Axos is that you can’t deposit cash. Since it’s an online-only bank, you’d have to write yourself a check and deposit that to workaround those transactions.
If online-only banking suits your needs, Axos Basic Business Checking is free to use.
Navy Federal Business Checking
If you or a family member has ties to the armed forces, DoD, or National Guard, then Navy Federal Business Checking is an excellent choice for you to consider.
The Business Checking account is perfect for new business owners with a low volume of banking transactions.
This is one of the most basic accounts on our list, but there is no monthly maintenance fee.
Navy Federal does charge $0.25 for all non-electronic transactions. But the first 30 are free. In-branch checks, deposits, withdrawals, and transfers are all considered non-electronic transactions. However, depositing up to 12 checks at the same time counts as one transaction.
The account comes with a debit card, free starter checks, and digital banking access.
For businesses with larger transaction volumes, higher deposit limits, and more frequent banking activity, you can upgrade to the following accounts:
- Navy Federal Business Plus Checking — $8 per month
- Navy Federal Business Premium Checking — $20 per month
There’s no way to waive the $8 fee for a Business Plus account. But you can get Premium checking for free by maintaining an average daily balance of $5,000.
Citizens Bank Clearly Better Business Checking
Citizens Bank has more than 1,100 branches and 3,100 branches across the country. But the majority of those locations are on the east coast, stretching from Maine to South Carolina. If your business is located in New England or an eastern state, check out Clearly Better Business Checking by Citizens Bank.
One of the top features of using Citizens Bank is the ability to grant someone else controlled access to your account, which is ideal for accountants and bookkeepers.
Benefits of Clearly Better Business Checking include:
- No monthly maintenance fee
- No minimum balance requirements
- 200 free transactions per month
Citizens also offers overdraft coverage, debit cards, and dedicated support for business customers.
The online and mobile banking features are simple and easy to use. You can pay bills, set up alerts, and make transfers from anywhere using the app.
Clearly Better Business Checking is basic and best for small businesses or startups.
As your business matures, you might want to consider upgrading to the Business Advisor Checking account. This does come with a $25 monthly fee, but it’s waived with an average daily balance of $10,000 or $35,000 combined monthly balance with other eligible Citizens accounts.
BBVA Business Connect Checking
BBVA’s Business Connect Checking account has no minimum balance requirements and no monthly fees. This makes it an appealing choice for small business owners.
While BBVA is a lesser-known bank, it’s not region-specific. They have branches in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas.
With that said, BBVA is an Allpoint partner, which has a network of 55,000+ ATMs across the country. You won’t be charged a fee using your BBVA business checking ATM card. You’ll get the same benefit at participating 7-Eleven ATMs nationwide.
Even if you’re not located near a BBVA branch, you can still apply online if your business is a sole proprietorship.
BBVA requires a $100 minimum opening deposit for new accounts, which is one of the lowest requirements you’ll find on the market today. Other top benefits include:
- Up to $5,000 free cash deposits per month
- Mobile deposits
- Free online banking, mobile banking, and digital bill pay
- Five free in-branch withdrawals or processed checks per month
- Free unlimited transactions (other than the ones named above)
- Account alerts
- Free online statements
It takes minutes for sole proprietors to apply for a new account online, which is great for those of you who want to skip a trip to the bank.
Novo is another online-exclusive business banking solution. It’s best for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners.
I like Novo because it’s straightforward, transparent, and doesn’t have any hidden fees.
Here are some of the quick wins and highlights of using a Novo business checking account:
- No monthly service fees
- No minimum balance requirements
- Apply in less than ten minutes
- Free transfers
- Free mailed checks and incoming wires
- Refunds at any ATM
Novo easily integrates with small business tools that you’re already using, like Slack, Xero, and Zapier. It’s a modern and tech-savvy way to handle online business banking. All you need is $50 to open an account.
The downside of Novo, like other online-only banks, is that you won’t be able to visit a physical branch for anything.
How to Choose The Best Free Business Checking Account
There are certain features that you need to take into consideration when you’re evaluating a small business checking account. It’s the same methodology that we used to come up with the list above.
Most banks charge maintenance fees or service fees for handling your account. This is usually for banking products that aren’t profitable for the bank. Fees typically range anywhere from $10 to $50.
But I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t have to pay for business checking accounts.
Look for banks that offer business checking with no maintenance fee or the ability to waive your maintenance fee with a reasonable daily account balance.
Opening Deposit and Balance Requirements
Usually, banks will require a minimum opening deposit to start an account. This can range anywhere from $50 to $1,000. Some accounts do not have a minimum opening deposit requirement.
Banks will also penalize you for dipping below a minimum balance, which is usually the same as your opening deposit amount.
Just make sure you have enough funds and cash flow to open and maintain your account without getting hit with extra fees that could otherwise be avoided.
Monthly Transaction Limits
Unlike personal accounts, lots of banks will put a limit on the number of transactions a business can make every month. It varies by bank, but things like deposits, withdrawals, written checks, and payments made usually count toward those limits.
Some banks limit in-person transactions while giving you unlimited digital or electronic transactions.
Look for a business checking account with a transaction limit suitable for your needs. In most cases, limits start around 100 transactions per month. Most small businesses won’t come close to exceeding this. But if you go over your monthly limits, you’ll be charged a small fee (usually $0.25 to $0.50) for each additional transaction.
Bank Size and Branch Locations
The size of the bank is essential if you need access to branches wherever you go. This is crucial for business owners with multiple locations throughout a region, state, or even the country.
Some of the best free business checking accounts are online-only, meaning you won’t have access to a physical branch.
This isn’t an issue for lots of business owners today in the digital era. However, if your banking needs require lots of in-person interactions and transactions, research the bank locations before you open an account.
Online and Mobile Banking
Nearly every bank offers some type of online and mobile banking access. Some of these choices are better than others.
If the bank doesn’t have a working mobile app, I wouldn’t consider it.
The best online and mobile banking features allow you to set up alerts, deposit checks electronically, and pay bills automatically.
Access to Other Business Services
You shouldn’t have to go to multiple banks for all of your business needs. So look for a bank that can offer you other business services, in addition to your free checking account.
For example, you might turn to your bank for a small business loan. Or maybe you want to open an additional account or get a personal line of credit through the bank. Even if you don’t need those services today, it’s nice to have those options down the road.
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