Best Online Business Bank Accounts of 2021
#1 Best Overall & Best High-Interest Checking: BlueVine Business Checking
BlueVine started as an online small business lender, offering invoice financing and business lines of credit. It recently launched an online-only business checking account, which stands apart from other business bank accounts with its relatively high interest rate and lack of fees.
It’s easy to set up an account online, and there’s no minimum opening balance or monthly balance requirement.
In fact, BlueVine only charges two potential fees: $15 for outgoing wires and $30 if you want express delivery for a replacement debit card.
BlueVine's 0.6% annual percentage yield (APY) on all balances up to $100,000 may be particularly attractive if you tend to keep a lot of cash in your business account. While there are a few other business checking accounts that offer interest, they generally have a higher balance requirement and lower interest rate. Many don’t offer any interest at all.
- There may be a $10,000 limit per 30 days on mobile check deposits
- Up to $4.95 in third-party fees for depositing cash
Who needs a business bank account?
Setting up a business bank account should be one of the first things you do when starting a business. If you’ve formed an LLC or corporation, you may need a new account for the business or you risk “commingling” your personal and business finances and can put your personal assets at risk.
When you’re a freelancer or sole proprietor, you can use a personal account because there’s no legal distinction between you, the business owner, and your business. However, opening an account for your business can help you separate your personal and business finances. This can help you track your business’s progress and be especially helpful come tax time.
How to choose a business checking account
In many ways, choosing a business account can be similar to choosing a bank for your personal finances. You might ask other business owners for recommendations, read reviews online, or make a decision based on your experience with different financial institutions.
However, the bank you use for your personal finances might not offer the best account for your business. Or, you may find the bank you first chose isn’t meeting your business’s needs any longer.
As you compare business bank accounts, consider the following:
Balance requirements: Some accounts require a minimum opening balance, although it’s often quite low. You may also need to maintain a certain balance or meet other requirements to avoid a monthly service fee.
Fees: Fortunately, online accounts tend to have few and low fees. Still, consider how you plan to use the account and which fees the bank charges before getting started.
Interest rates: Don’t expect a high interest rate on a business checking account, but you may be able to get something. Particularly for businesses that keep a lot of cash on hand, the interest you earn can stack up over time.
Withdrawing and depositing cash: One of the biggest drawbacks with an online bank account is dealing with cash. It’s generally easy to withdraw money from an in-network ATM for free and some banks refund ATM fees. Depositing cash can be more difficult, and is rarely free. If your business frequently uses or receives cash, you may be better off with a brick-and-mortar bank or credit union.
Transaction limits: As businesses may frequently deposit and withdraw money, some banks charge a per-transaction fee once you hit a certain number of transactions in a month.
Integrations and ease of use: Having a business bank account that easily integrates with your accounting and payroll systems can make running your business much easier. Some bank accounts even include services for small business owners, like built-in invoicing, ACH payments, budgeting, and financial reporting. Look for other features that can make running your business easier as well, such as employee debit cards and responsive customer service.
The bank’s other business offerings: Depending on the type of business you’re building, you may want to open an account with an eye toward the future. If you think you’ll need additional financing in the future, starting a relationship with a bank that also offers business loans or lines of credit might make sense.
We used these same criteria when comparing online business bank accounts to find the best options for business owners.
Opening your business checking account
Opening a business bank account isn’t especially difficult, but you may need to provide a few more documents than you’re used to with a personal account. The specifics can vary depending on the bank, your state, and your type of business. However, common requirements may include:
Basic business info: Which may include the name, address, website, and contact information for the business. Some banks may ask more specifics, such as the size of the business, annual sales, expected number of transactions, or where its products or services are sold.
The business’s tax identification number: Such as the business’s employer identification number (EIN) or the business owner’s Social Security number.
Business formation documents: These may include the articles of organization or incorporation; a certificate of organization, incorporation, or formation; corporate bylaws; operating agreement; a partnership agreement; or business license.
Registration documents: If your business has a “doing business as” (DBA) name, also called an assumed, fictitious, or trade name.
Owners’ documents: The business owners may also need to share their personal information, such as their name, address, date of birth, tax identification number, country of citizenship, and their percentage of business ownership.
Frequently asked questions
Here’s an FAQ with common questions that entrepreneurs and business owners may have about business checking accounts:
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the right time to transition to a business checking account?
Considering many options have a low—or no—opening and monthly balance requirement, you should open a business checking account as soon as you start your business.
What’s the difference between a personal and business checking account?
Personal bank accounts are opened in an individual’s name, while business bank accounts are opened in a business’s name. Beyond that, the largest distinction is that business bank accounts may have business-specific features, such as the ability to send an invoice or get an employee debit card. However, banks may also charge additional or different fees for business accounts, such as transaction fees.
Should I use the same bank for my personal and business accounts?
Don’t assume your personal bank offers the best option for your business. Keeping all your accounts in one place can make managing your money easier when you’re starting out or if you’re a freelancer. But having a business account at a different bank may help you avoid accidentally commingling money.
What’s the best business checking account?
The best business checking account is going to depend on the type of business you run and the services you need. Online accounts can be a good option for businesses that don’t use or get paid in cash, while brick-and-mortar business checking accounts might be a better fit for retailers. In either case, consider the accounts’ benefits, features, and fees.
Can a business have multiple checking accounts?
Yes, you can open multiple checking accounts for your business. For example, you might have one account where you deposit cash, and an online interest-bearing account where you keep most of your money.
Are business bank accounts insured?
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance, which insures up to $250,000 per person, per bank, can apply to business bank accounts as well. You can check with the bank to make sure your account is covered. If you open an account with the credit union, you may be covered by similar insurance from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) rather than the FDIC.