The Best Business Checking Accounts — Our Methodology
Any company worth its salt needs to start thinking about checking accounts as soon as possible. They give owners a way to access funds quickly, and they’re the first step toward managing company finances. Whether you’re trying to find the best small business bank or you’re interested in online business checking, you have to make sure to find the right bank that will suit your firm specifically.
This can be a long process. It involves going from bank to bank and asking questions, dealing with a lot of paperwork, and carefully weighing the pros and cons of each and every company. We’ve decided to do all of that work for you. With our experience in the world of finance, we know what to look for and how to choose the best business checking account offers.
However, we don’t believe you should simply take our word for it. Everyone who’s a serious business person needs to understand the ins and outs of every financial process related to their company, and we want to help you make an informed decision. You can choose who you do business with once you know every important detail.
That’s why, to help you find the best banks for business accounts, we want to show you our methodology. We intend to walk you through every step of the process so you’ll know exactly why these companies are on our list. We’ve done a thorough small business bank account comparison using a special procedure. We’ve gathered up every piece of info that we could find, and we carefully weighed the pros and cons of dozens of banks.
Here are the things we took into account:
You can absolutely find a small business checking account with no monthly fee if you go to the right banks. Financial institutions definitely want to work with corporations and they’re willing to go out of their way to give good business bank account offers, but that doesn’t mean that every bank has your interests at heart.
In your search for the best free online business checking account you might encounter a lot of shady dealings and fine print that ends up confusing you and hitting you with unexpected fees. Monthly fees are a big deal, too — it’s money that goes out of your pocket and ultimately reduces your profit. Terrible banks require exorbitant maintenance fees every single month. Good banks don’t. It’s as simple as that.
Don’t let anyone trick you into overpaying just to keep a basic account open. There are better checking account offers out there and that’s why we want to be clear about this. If there are any additional costs that you have to pay each month, we’ll let you know and we’ll tell you whether those costs are justified or not.
Transaction fees are nothing but a bother. If you have to pay each time you use a debit card, you’ll have to plan each transaction carefully to avoid wasting money. That’s why we looked for places with either minimal transaction fees or no transaction fees - or places that offer other types of benefits, such as cash-back rewards and discounts that can offset the cost. The best online small business checking account will help you grow your cash instead of wasting it.
ATM fees and availability
A place that expects you to pay an ATM fee within the bank’s own network is not really the best place to open a business checking account. While most banks require a fee if you go to an ATM that’s outside of the network, a bank that takes a fee within its own network is probably running some sort of scam. We looked exclusively for banks that don’t have any in-network ATM fees, or those that refund all ATM fees up to a certain limit every month. We want you to find the cheapest business checking account that will help your company manage its finances.
Domestic incoming and outgoing wires
Wire transfers are an essential part of any business. Whether it’s Bank of America business banking or Wells Fargo business checking, most financial institutions have wiring fees that you have to pay to transfer money to a client or a business partner. The trick to finding the best bank to open a business checking account with is to find a place that has low fees and quick processing so you can transfer cash right away.
International incoming and outgoing wires
It doesn’t matter if you want to open a small business checking account or an account for your new entrepreneurship: If you plan to work with international clients, you’ll need a reliable way of transferring money back and forth, and the best business checking account offers will give you lower fees. We found banks that don’t charge extortionate prices for international wire transfers.
Online banking features
Online banking is the future. Banks that don’t offer a full range of online features were immediately dismissed from consideration because businesses are run online today, and not having a fully optimized online interface means the financial institution isn’t serious. The best bank for business checking account operations will usually give you the option of conducting all your transactions online. It should also have a useful mobile application so you can handle your money while you’re on the go.
Minimum initial deposit
Most banks expect you to make a deposit when you open an account. This makes sense, because the bank wants to make sure you plan to use the account. An inactive account serves no purpose to either you or the bank. However, some places will ask for thousands in deposits from the get-go, and a lot of startups can’t afford that. We made sure to pick only the banks with reasonable minimum initial deposits, and we’ve included a few that let you open a free business checking account online with no deposit.
Minimum account balance
Banks want you to have a minimum account balance so they know you can pay all your monthly fees. A corporate checking account could have a minimum balance requirement of several hundred or several thousand dollars, but some of the companies on our list have no minimum balance requirement at all. Sme of them don’t require a minimum balance for the first 12 months. This is how you can pick the best bank for a small business checking account - because you can slowly build up to higher monthly revenues.
No one likes going to the bank. Visits usually involve long and complicated paperwork, a lot of waiting time, and exhausting conversations with the bank teller as you try to explain what you need. The only thing that’s more annoying than bank visits are phone calls and emails where you struggle to establish effective communication and solve your problem remotely.
Customer service is an essential part of any business, but it’s particularly important when it comes to banks. Our list of best business bank accounts takes customer service into consideration — we’ve dealt with all of these companies and we’ll tell you exactly how they treated us. We aimed to find helpful customer service workers who were able to answer our questions quickly and efficiently.
We took special care to compare business accounts and find small business banks and other types of financial institutions that were welcoming and easy to communicate with.
APY, or annual percentage yield, is basically the compound interest that you earn over the course of a year. When you open a business checking account online, the bank’s ongoing APY is one of the first things you need to consider because a higher APY means you’ll earn more money on your checking account.
APY takes compounding into account, where interests rates do not. Our small business bank reviews can help you sort all of this out without resorting to a calculator.
Each bank is different, and experienced ones know that they have to work hard to draw in customers. Find the right bank and you can get the best business checking account bonus, or a number of other useful features that other places don’t offer.
Some banks will offer great payroll options, excellent mobile optimization, free business debit cards, a lower ATM fee for withdrawals outside the network, or other handy tools to help you manage your business.
What to watch out for
Whether it’s overpaying for incoming wires, high minimum balance, or poor customer service, we want you to know all the pros and cons of every financial institution we review. You can only pick the best bank for business checking for you if you know both the good and the bad.
If there’s anything you need to watch out for, we’ll make sure to let you know right away. What you pick will depend on the needs of your individual business, so regardless of whether you’re running an eCommerce company or a small bookkeeping business, we’ll point out relevant details to help you make the right choice.