When looking for the best banks for startups, there’s more to consider than just what the bank offers.
Your banking needs and financial requirements will be the main drivers that direct your decision-making process. However, it doesn’t end there.
Pricing, budgeting requirements, customer support, and account options are some of the decision drivers you also need to consider when looking for the right financial institution.
Whether you’re looking to get a business checking account, a business credit card, or small business loans, you will need to look at everything the bank has to offer.
Startups can be a lot of fun, especially early-stage startups, where a lot of activity is happening at any given time. However, running a startup can be very time and energy-consuming.
That’s why small business owners need to find one of the best banks for startups to help them manage their financial affairs.
Startups funded through venture capital, where investors and shareholders have a stake in the business, have even more to consider.
Getting the right bank can help you continue to grow your business and succeed well into the future.
10 Best Banks for Startups in 2021
Here are the top 10 best banks for startups to open an account with today:
- 🏆 Chase: Best Big Bank for Startups
- Lili: Best Mobile Banking App
- BlueVine: Best Online Bank for Startups
- Novo: Best Bank with Financial Tools
- NorthOne: Best Bank with Sub-Accounts
- Axos: Best for Interest-Bearing Checking & Savings
- Capital One: Best for Unlimited Transactions
- Silicon Valley Bank: Best Bank for Guidance
- Mercury: Best Bank for Tech Startups
- Hatch: Best Bank for Simplicity
While Chase offers several business accounts, startups will find the Chase Business Complete Banking the most interesting.
With lower entry requirements, it has smaller businesses squarely in its aims.
While it might not have all of the bells and whistles that come with the other accounts, it still boasts some great and useful features.
There is a monthly service fee of $15, which can be avoided by meeting any of the following four criteria:
- Maintaining a daily balance of at least $2,000
- Make a minimum of $2,000 in purchases on Chase Ink Business Card
- Deposit a minimum of $2,000 from eligible merchant services
- Link a Chase Private Client checking account
The account comes with access to QuickAccept, which allows you to take card payments using the Chase Mobile app.
The app also provides same-day deposits for any payments approved before 8 PM (ET) every day except Saturday.
The account also comes with access to Bill Pay, wire transfers, and QuickDeposit, giving you even more options to make and receive payments.
- QuickAccept to take payments on the go
- Wide range of products and services
- Upgrade account as the business grows
- Monthly fees can be relatively high
Lili offers a full-service banking solution squarely aimed at freelancers.
Aside from banking functionality, Lili also offers its customers functionality that helps with taxes, invoicing, and savings, making it something of a one-stop shop for someone who’s just starting out.
The main account is called Lili Account and comes with no maintenance fees and no balance requirements. You also get fee-free withdrawals from some 38,000 ATMs located across the US and Puerto Rico.
Payments from online platforms such as Upwork and Etsy will conveniently arrive in your account up to 2 days early.
One of Lili’s most prominent strong suits is the mobile banking app, which comes packed with features designed to help startups stay on top of their finances.
While the app includes many of the typical features (like push notifications and mobile check deposits), it also has many other features to make your life easier.
You can automatically sort expenses to help you stay organized, while the Tax Bucket will help you set aside a percentage of your earnings to save you from panic come tax season.
The account also comes with free overdrafts of up to $200 for eligible customers. Unlike many other online banks, Lili also offers cash deposits at over 90,000 retail locations, including CVS, Walmart, and several others.
Lili accounts are FDIC insured through Choice Financial Group – their sponsor bank.
- The basic account has no monthly fees
- Certain payments arrive up to 2 days earlier
- Tax bucket helps you save for tax season
- Limited account options
BlueVine is a banking app that’s wholly aimed at small business customers.
They have an A+ rating from the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and are FDIC insured through The Bancorp Bank. Technically speaking, they are not a bank but still offer various financial products and services, including a checking account and several others.
The account comes with no monthly fees, and there are no NSF fees either, something a startup facing cash flow issues will surely appreciate.
Checking account balances also earns a 1.0% interest rate on balances of up to $100,000. This rate rivals some of the best savings accounts. ATM withdrawals are also free of charge when using any of the 38,000 MoneyPass locations.
BlueVine also offers invoice factoring, which allows you to borrow money on outstanding invoices. Interest rates start at 0.25%, and applying does not affect your credit score. You can borrow up to 90% of the invoice, provided you qualify.
Once the payment of the invoice is received, you get the rest of the amount, less the processing fee. BlueVine also offers lines of credit that can go up to $250,000 with interest rates as low as 4.8%.
- No monthly fees
- No insufficient funds fees
- Checking accounts earn interest
- It might not be suitable for a growing startup
Novo is a small business neobank offering businesses an account that comes jam-packed with features and perks.
There is a $50 minimum deposit requirement to open the account with no minimum balance requirements and no monthly service charges once the account is open. While Novo doesn’t charge any fees, NSFs and Uncollected Funds Returned Fees are charged at $27 apiece.
You can send invoices through Novo via Stripe, which allows you to accept payments via debit card and credit card. You can also accept invoice payments via Square, but this feature is still in beta at the time of writing.
You can also send ACH payments and paper checks directly through Novo, and these are free of charge. If you’re looking to send international transfers, you can do so via Wise.
The app has many other features, including mobile check deposits and Novo Reserves (to set money aside for a rainy day or expenses like taxes or payroll). Plus, integrations with over 1,500 different apps help you improve your workflows.
Accounts also come with many perks, which can help you save cash on several subscriptions and purchases, including those from GoDaddy, Salesforce, gusto, booking.com, and many others.
- Stripe integration
- Free ACH payments
- Integrates with over 1,500 apps
- NSFs and Uncollected Funds Returned Fees cost $27
NorthOne is a financial app with a mission to save small businesses time and money. The account does come with a $10 monthly fee, which you won’t be able to waive.
Most other fees are waived except for domestic wire transfers, which will set you back $15.00.
NorthOne’s deposit account can be managed entirely from your phone or computer with no branches to visit. App features include Envelopes, which lets you set money aside for upcoming expenses.
You can set up daily, weekly, or monthly transfers or even save a percentage of any payments you receive directly to an envelope.
Other app features include mobile check deposits and integrations with other apps such as Amazon, Etsy, Airbnb, Uber, etc.
You can also sync your bank transactions to several accounting apps, helping you simplify your accounting without having to import transactions manually.
- Offers integration with several platforms
- Low fees
- Set money aside using Envelopes
- $10 monthly fee cannot be waived
The account that will best fit you and your startup business will largely depend on how much bank activity you generate.
Accounts are designed for different businesses, such as those having moderate activity on the one hand and growing businesses on the other. One important thing to note is that at the moment, Axos is running a welcome bonus promotion.
New businesses incorporated after the 1st of June 2020 that open an account with them get a free $100 bonus.
When it comes to checking, Axos offers two accounts called Basic Business Checking and Business Interest Checking. The basic account has no monthly maintenance fee and offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements when withdrawing within the US.
You get 200 free items per month (debits, credits, and deposits), with anything after that costing you $0.30 each. The interest-bearing checking account comes with a $10 monthly fee, which is waived if you keep an average daily balance of at least $5,000.
On the positive side, money in the account earns an APY rate of 0.81%
- The checking account earns interest.
- A wide range of banking services and products on offer
- New account offers
- The account comes with a monthly maintenance fee
7. Capital One
Capital One offers business owner Spark – their business banking platform that includes cards, accounts, merchant services, lending, and many other products and services.
This wide-range offering can help startups develop an ongoing relationship with their bank as they grow.
Their basic checking account comes with a monthly fee of $15, which goes up to $35 for their Unlimited Checking account. To have this fee waived, you’ll need to maintain a balance of $2,000 or $25,000 respectively.
Neither account earns interest, but you get unlimited transactions. There is also a minimum opening deposit requirement of $250. To apply for an account, you will need to visit one of their branches, so you’ll need to make sure there is one available in your area.
- Bank offers a wide range of products and services designed for businesses
- Unlimited transactions
- Access to over 70,000 ATMs with no ATM fees
- Monthly fee higher than the competition
8. Silicon Valley Bank
While Silicon Valley Bank offers several business financial products and services, their SVB Startup Banking is of particular interest. Approximately 50% of venture-backed startups in the technology and life sciences fields bank with them.
SVB offers a free business checking account with no monthly fees, no transaction fees, and unlimited wire transfers when it comes to bank accounts.
It also includes bill payments and mobile deposits. You can also get the SVB Innovators Card which comes with no annual fee, cash rewards, and venture-friendly credit approval, among other perks.
The bank also offers startups guidance with practical startup and financial advice.
These resources come in addition to curated events, pitch sessions, and other opportunities that can help you grow your business.
You can also get access to exclusive offers handpicked by the SVB team, including credits from the likes of AWS and Google Cloud, as well as discounts on several products and services.
Some of the other features that this bank offers include; integrations with QuickBooks, Xero, ERP software, and a mobile app that supports mobile check deposits.
- No monthly fee
- Cash rewards on the SVB Innovators card
- Guidance and practical advice
- The bank’s primary focus is on life sciences and tech startups and, as such, might not be the best option for everyone
Mercury is a San Fransico-based bank squarely aimed at startups with companies incorporated in the US. They offer both checking and savings accounts and debit cards and Mercury Treasury (more on this later).
You can choose between Standard and Tea Room, with the latter offering many extra perks. Whichever tier you select, accounts are free to open and have no monthly fees. The standard account has no minimum deposit, while Tea Room has a minimum opening deposit of $250,000.
Accounts have no overdraft fees, and ACH, wire, and check payments are all free of charge. The accounts come with several other tools and perks, including API access, team management, bookkeeper accounts, and rewards. Mercury Treasury, on the other hand, is only available with Tea Room accounts.
This account invests your extra money into US government securities and money market funds to improve both yields as well as safety. Other exclusive Tea Room perks include Tea Room partner regards, events, and complimentary tea.
With Mercury being a startup-focused bank, you also get access to opportunities such as Mercury Raise, through which you can apply to get your seed round in front of investors.
- No overdraft fees
- Management tools included with the account
- Opportunity to pitch to investors
- Account upgrade has high financial requirements
Hatch is a fintech company looking to help new businesses get started and grow. At the moment, their products lineup consists of three offerings – Business Checking, Business Line of Credit, and Sprout.
The checking account costs $10 a month; however, there are no waivers. The account does not charge any NSF fees, and eligible customers can access Hatch Cover, which covers up to $50 should you overdraw your account.
There is no minimum balance to maintain while card replacements and ACH transfers are free of charge.
Eligible purchases can earn you a cashback of up to 5%, with participating businesses easily found once you log in to your account.
Account-holders also get access to Hatch Perks, which offers discounts on several business tools and software products.
- Cashback on eligible purchases
- No NSF fees
- $50 cover for over withdrawals
- No waivers for the monthly fee are available
How To Open a Startup Bank Account
Opening a startup bank account is easier than ever before. In most cases, you can do so from the comfort of your own home, with the entire process taking just minutes.
Do keep in mind that requirements can vary from one bank to another. As such, it always pays to read what the requirements are before starting the signup process, short as it may be.
Things To Consider When Choosing a Bank For Your Startup
No bank account is going to be perfect for every startup. Each startup is different, might be facing various challenges, and might have additional requirements.
As a first step, you’ll need to sit down and make sure you understand what your business needs now, at least in terms of finances and what it might need down the line.
Doing so will help you choose the right bank and account for you and help you make sure that you can grow your business and your relationship with the bank.
Here are the top things that you would do well to consider, including:
Monthly Fees and Balance Requirements
Many accounts come with a monthly maintenance fee, which varies from one bank to another.
In most cases, you can waive the fee by meeting a preset requirement every billing cycle, which runs for a month.
Others don’t offer a waiver, so if you want the account and all its perks, you’ll have to pay the fee.
Some banks, mostly neobanks and online banks, don’t charge any monthly fees at all.
The main reason these banks can offer lower fees is that they do not have any branches and, as such, have lower overheads.
FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insures account holders up to $250,000 per account category.
When a bank offers FDIC insured accounts, your money is insured, and you are guaranteed to get it back (up to the insured amount) should something happen to the bank. Most banks are FDIC insured, but it’s always worth checking.
Many online banks and neobanks do not offer insurance themselves but work with other banks to provide insured accounts.
Fees can be a sore point on the best of days but even more so for a startup where cash flow issues can hinder growth.
Be sure to check the fee schedule when choosing the bank account to see what kind of fees you might be liable to pay.
These can eat away at your profits and are not necessarily something you can do without.
Some banks focus on low fees and might even offer several free transactions every month or billing cycle.
With many startups being technology-friendly, integrations can go a long way in making your life easier and ultimately cutting down your costs.
From integrations with accounting software to integrations with payment systems and gateways, having everything play nicely together can help you focus more on your business.
Other Banks and Financial Institutions to Consider
Finding the right bank for your startup can be a very personal choice. There will never be one best bank that’s the best for everyone.
Startups and entrepreneurs can have very different requirements making it highly unlikely that one bank will accommodate every business.
To help you make the best choice for you and your business, here are some other options that you might want to consider.
Bank of America
Bank of America’s small business banking arm offers a wide range of products and services aimed at helping small businesses grow.
From the all-in-one checking account to credit cards, merchant services, and cash flow tools, the comprehensive package on offer can help any startup succeed.
The Business Advantage Fundamentals Banking has a monthly service fee of $16, which you can avoid by maintaining a combined average monthly balance of $5,000.
At the same time, the Business Advantage Relationship Banking package comes with a monthly service charge of $29.95, which can be avoided by maintaining a combined average monthly balance of $15,000.
Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the US, offers a wide range of business accounts. Their Initiate Business Checking Account is aimed at startups looking for a solid banking foundation to build their business.
The account comes with many of the features we have expected from business accounts with a monthly fee of $10. To have the fee waived, you will need to maintain a daily balance of at least $500 or an average ledger balance of $1,000.
While Stripe is not a bank, it offers an easy way to receive and make payments with their APIs making it easy to accept payments from various platforms.
Several banks and fintech companies that offer business accounts for startups offer Stripe integration.
If the account you choose does not offer this out of the box, they are still worth checking out.
Brex is a fintech company aiming to offer business owners a one-stop-shop solution to their financial requirements.
The account has no fees and minimum requirements; however, the premium version, which includes Bill Pay and spending controls, will set you back $49 per month. The monthly fee is a flat fee and will not go up when you add users.
Which bank is best for small businesses?
Because each startup and each bank is different, no one bank’s the best for everyone.
Instead, consider what’s essential for you and your business, such as online banking, cash management functionality, number of monthly transactions, and account options.
Which bank is best for LLC?
While you can set up most business banking accounts under an LLC, this might not be true for every bank.
Mixed-use accounts, such as Lili, can only be set up under the owner’s name, with the LLC set up as a tax identifier.
However, there might be some restrictions in such cases, so you will need to check if you can still operate within such parameters.
Either way, consider what the account has to offer since these can vary a lot from one bank to another.
Features such as unlimited transactions, online bill pay, free domestic wires, and many more can help you choose the right bank for you.
Choosing The Best Banks for Startups is Crucial to Your Business
Whether you’re running a tech startup, a freelance business, or anything in between, selecting the proper business bank account can be essential to your success.
After all, no business can function without sound financial management, and this is what business banking is all about.
When looking for a business bank account, make sure you first understand your requirements.
Also, remember to look at your projections to see how fast your business is likely to grow. After all, you might not want to look for a new bank account as you’re expanding rapidly, as this might make you lose your focus.
Whether you’re looking for unlimited transactions, low fees, a variety of accounts, or financial help, we’re pretty confident that you’ll find a bank that meets your needs.