You don’t have to be a genius to realize that self-employment has its perks. Choosing your own clients, setting your own schedule, and working from anywhere are pretty awesome things. You might even make more money, too.
But there are also trade-offs. Fluctuating income, tracking business expenses, and the looming dread of tax season are common stressors.
Unless you’re hyper-organized, the accounting side of freelancing can easily become overwhelming. Fortunately, a good business bank account can help.
This post covers Lance Bank, a mobile banking app for freelancers whose co-founders also started as freelancers.
Keep reading to learn what Lance brings to the growing playing field of online business banks.
What is Lance Bank?
Lance is a mobile-only business checking account for side hustlers that began in 2018.
Above all, Lance aims to address the common pain points that come with freelancing. Its accounts allow customers to simulate a regular salary, stay on top of taxes, and stash money away for the long term.
To get an idea of how it all works, let’s dive into Lance’s primary features.
Lance Bank Features
Lance’s entire platform is based on its mobile banking app. There are no physical branches, and you can’t access your account from your computer.
The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. It currently has a 4-star rating in the App Store and a 4.1-star rating in the Google Play Store.
Lance Debit Card
All Lance accounts come with a Visa business debit card. When making purchases, you can use a physical card or a virtual card through the app.
The main benefit of the Lance card is that it tracks business expenses. Any time you swipe your card, Lance flags transactions that are tax-deductible — making it easier to handle your expense reporting come tax time.
Customers also have access to fee-free ATM withdrawals within the Visa, Interlink, and Accel ATM networks.
Stacks is Lance’s term for dedicated sub-accounts. The primary purpose of stacks is to help freelancers enjoy the regular income of a salary while automating tax and savings goals.
Every Lance account has three stacks — one for your chosen salary, one for savings, and one for taxes.
Lance automatically estimates and suggests how much your tax stack contributions should be with an estimating algorithm.
Your salary stack is transferred to your personal bank account either bi-weekly or monthly, according to your preference. Likewise, your savings stack automatically builds up in your Lance savings account.
When you boil it down, stacks function similarly to other banking providers’ envelopes.
Lance sets aside funds for tax withholdings no matter which account tier you have. If you have Lance Pro, the app can automatically make your quarterly tax payments to the IRS.
This is a pretty cool feature that most business bank accounts don’t offer. You will just have to verify that your payment amounts are correct.
With Lance Checkout, you can easily bill your clients within the app. The feature is only available with Lance Pro, and it’s pretty simple. Create a payment request, send the link to your client, and they can pay right away with a credit card.
Lance also links with payment apps like Venmo and PayPal.
Lance Bank Products
Lance offers two account tiers — Free and Pro. Here’s what you get with each option:
- No monthly fee
- Automatic tax withholding
- Fee-free salary transfers
- Virtual debit card
- Unlimited payments, deposits, and transfers
- Free in-network ATM withdrawals
- Costs $11.99 per month
- All features included in Free
- Lance Checkout is included
- Automatic tax payments
- Automatic salary transfers
- Export your Schedule C
Lance avoids most of your typical banking fees. There’s a monthly fee if you upgrade to Pro, but there’s still plenty of functionality in the free version.
Otherwise, consider Lance a free platform. There are no minimum balance requirements, and you won’t feel like you are getting hit with fees at every turn, as you so often do with bigger banks.
To sign up for a Lance account, head over to the website or download the app. The application process takes just a few minutes.
After filling out your basic contact information, the next step is entering your tax filing info, Social Security number, and business details. Lance does not require an EIN to apply.
You will also need your personal bank account information to link with your Lance account.
Lance doesn’t have any promotions or sign-up bonuses at the moment.
That said, you can usually find a promo code for up to three months of Lance Pro for free if you poke around online.
Lance is a secure digital bank, so you can feel safe trusting it with your money. Here are some of the standard practices that you can count on:
- FDIC insurance through Blue Ridge Bank
- PCI DSS certification
- Encryption for sensitive data
- Regular third-party testing for vulnerabilities
- Two-factor authentication
If you need assistance with your Lance account, you have a few options.
The first one should be visiting the FAQ section in the app. You can also chat with the team live or send them an email at email@example.com.
Personally, I’m a fan of getting help in real-time so I’ll always go with the chat option.
Pros & Cons
- Designed with freelancers in mind
- Tax assistance
- Mostly fee-free
- In-house invoicing
- No APY
- High monthly fee for Pro
- Limited account options
- No cash back rewards
Alternatives to Lance Bank
Lance is far from the only neobank serving freelancers and small business owners. Here are some of its most popular competitors:
Lili, like Lance, is a mobile bank account built for freelancers. It comes with expense management tools and tax buckets, and two tiers — one free, one paid.
Unlike Lance, Lili offers an APY on your savings along with cash back rewards. Lili is Lance’s most similar alternative, so it’s in your best interest to look at them side by side to figure out which one makes more sense.
Novo is an all-in-one digital business banking platform. It’s intended for small business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, and comes with absolutely no fees.
Novo’s greatest strength is arguably its compatibility with a ton of software integrations. It works with everything from Shopify to Stripe and even offers discounts and cash back offers for its connected products.
NorthOne is a business banking platform that’s based on the Envelope Method. Account-holders can easily set a budget and break revenue down into various spending envelopes.
NorthOne comes with a $10 monthly fee but doesn’t charge for anything else.
Lance Bank FAQs
Is Lance a local bank?
No. Lance is a neobank and only offers accounts through its mobile app. It does not offer physical branches or in-person support.
What bank is Lance?
Lance partners with Blue Ridge Bank, a member-FDIC institution based in Virginia.
What bank accounts do freelancers use?
It depends on the freelancer. Most people start out using a personal account and then upgrade once the money starts rolling in.
The key is to identify what you need from your bank. If you need help with taxes, find an account like Lance that comes with features to support you.
If you frequently need to access or deposit cash, you might be better off using a large national bank.
Is Lance Bank Right For You?
Personal finance is one of the trickiest aspects of being self-employed. Whether you’re freelancing as a side hustle or going full-time, you need to stay on top of it.
This is where a Lance account can make a huge difference. With automated Stacks, you can make sure that you have enough to spend while staying ready for tax time. Plus, you can get it all without getting hammered by fees.
The bottom line is that Lance is an attractive option for newer freelancers, but it might not be the best choice for well-established businesses. There’s no APY or rewards, no brick-and-mortar branches, and no phone support.
Whichever bank you go with, think of it like an employee of your small business — the right fit makes all the difference.