How to find free business checking accounts — and 5 to consider

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In a Nutshell

Typically, free business checking accounts aren’t completely free of all fees, but these accounts can cut your costs without skimping on features. Getting the right account for your needs is a balance of services, features and fees.
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Having a business checking account to separate your business and personal expenses is crucial for accounting and tax purposes.

Controlling business costs and separating them from personal expenses is crucially important for small businesses of all types. Even freelancers, independent contractors and gig workers can take advantage of the benefits that come with a free business checking account, including limited personal liability and access to credit in case of an emergency that affects your business.

Though a business checking account may be advertised as free, you could still be subject to certain third-party fees, including ATM withdrawal fees and international fees. Some “free” business checking accounts also still charge certain fees — or may even require you to meet certain requirements to have the monthly fee waived.

If you’re looking to open a free business checking account, here’s what you need to know about how they work, how much they can cost and how to find the right account for your needs. We’ll also cover some account options to consider.



How do business checking accounts work?

Business checking accounts function similarly to personal checking accounts but with some minor differences. To open one, some financial institutions require you to provide information about your business, which can vary depending on the type of business you own. For example, you may need to provide your business license, ownership agreements, business formation documents and employer identification number if you have one.

You can find business checking accounts with banks, credit unions and other financial companies. Some are online only, while others allow you to do business in person and online.

Depending on the type of business checking account, you may be able to get features that aren’t available with personal checking accounts, such as integration with your merchant services, bookkeeping and payroll services. In addition, a business checking account may be able to help you get better access to financing like a loan, line of credit or credit card.

How much do business checking accounts cost?

The costs associated with a business checking account can vary, depending on the financial institution and the features of the account. Here are some of the common fees you might see.

  • Monthly maintenance fee
  • Out-of-network ATM fee
  • Overdraft protection fee
  • Nonsufficient funds fee
  • Check order fee

Ideally, you want to find a free checking account that either doesn’t charge these fees or makes it easy to avoid them in your everyday business operations.

Many business checking accounts put a limit on how many transactions you can make on the account each statement cycle for free. Once you reach that threshold, you’ll typically pay less than $1 per additional transaction.

Many small-business owners, especially freelancers and independent contractors, may not have enough transactions every month to worry about transaction fees. But if your business has several transactions every day, you’ll want to check how high the free threshold is and what transaction fees you’ll incur after you reach the limit.

5 best free business checking accounts

Monthly fees

APY

Minimum opening deposit

Minimum monthly balance

Standout feature

Axos Bank Basic Business Checking

None

None

$1,000

None

Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements, plus a $100 bonus for select new business owners

NBKC Bank Business Account

None

None

None

None

No overdraft or nonsufficient fund fees

Novo Business Banking

None

None

$50

None

Refunds all ATM fees, plus discounts on select business services

BlueVine Business Checking

None

1.0% on up to $100,000

None

None

Unlimited fee-free transactions

U.S. Bank Silver Business Checking

None

None

$100

None

Thousands of brick-and-mortar branches in 40 states

Axos Bank Basic Business Checking

Formerly known as Bank of the Internet USA, Axos Bank offers online-only banking products and services. The Basic Business Checking account is best suited for businesses with modest checking needs.

With this account, you get up to 200 free items every month, which includes debits, credits and deposits. After that, it’s $0.30 per item.

The account doesn’t charge a monthly fee, and you’ll also get unlimited ATM fee reimbursements when you use a machine for domestic transactions outside of the bank’s network. You’ll also have access to roughly 91,000 in-network ATMs around the country.

Other features include the following:

  • First set of 50 checks free
  • QuickBooks compatible
  • Dedicated relationship managers
  • Zero minimum balance requirements
  • Mobile banking and check deposit

The account does have a $1,000 minimum opening deposit, which can be out of reach for some new business owners.

NBKC Bank Business Account

NBKC Bank isn’t completely online, but the financial institution has only four physical branches (all in the Kansas City area), so it’ll be an online-only experience for most business owners.

The bank doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, nonsufficient fund fees, stop payment fees or incoming domestic wire fees. There’s also no per-item fee, so businesses with hundreds of purchases and other transactions every month can rest easy.

The only two fees the account charges? A $5 outgoing domestic wire transfer fee and a $45 fee to send or receive international wire transfers.

The bank has a network of more than 34,000 ATMs around the country, and you can get up to $12 in ATM fee reimbursements every month if you use an out-of-network machine, either in the U.S. or abroad.

NBKC Bank will integrate with the bookkeeping service Autobooks. But unfortunately, you have to pay $10 per month after a 60-day trial to use it — many other business bank accounts provide a similar service for free.

The account doesn’t have a minimum opening deposit requirement, making it worth considering for small businesses.

Novo Business Banking

Digital-only bank Novo offers a lot of free services. There’s no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, but you’ll need to deposit $50 to open the account.

The bank also allows you to send free and unlimited checks by mail and get free incoming wire transfers. Also, Novo doesn’t have its own ATM network but will refund you for any ATM fees, giving you a lot of flexibility.

The only two fees the bank charges include an insufficient funds charge and an uncollected funds return fee — both are $27. There’s no transaction fee.

Novo provides seamless integration with several business tools, including Wise, Slack, Xero, Stripe and Shopify. The bank also provides the opportunity to get thousands of dollars in discounts or credits with brands like Google Cloud, Stripe, Gusto, QuickBooks, Zendesk and more.

The biggest drawback of this account? As with other online banks, you can’t make cash deposits to your account.

BlueVine Business Checking

BlueVine is an online lender that has partnered with The Bancorp Bank to offer its business checking account, so you’ll still get FDIC insurance as with any other bank.

The account doesn’t charge a monthly fee or an NSF fee. You’ll also get your first two checkbooks for free and access to more than 38,000 fee-free ATMs — though there’s no reimbursement for out-of-network transactions.

BlueVine really shines when it comes to the interest rate it offers. Most business checking accounts don’t offer interest on deposits, but BlueVine will give you a 1% APY on the first $100,000 you have in your account. That’s even better than most personal high-yield savings accounts.

Some of the other account features include …

  • Unlimited free transactions
  • The ability to lock your business debit card to help guard against fraud if it’s lost or stolen
  • Integration with accounting and expense management software, including QuickBooks, Xero, Freshbooks and more
  • No minimum opening deposit requirement

BlueVine doesn’t have any physical branches, but it does allow cash deposits at Green Dot locations. The catch is that you’ll pay a $4.95 fee from Green Dot for each transaction.

U.S. Bank Silver Business Checking

U.S. Bank is the only bank on our list that’s not fully or mostly digital. The bank has thousands of branches and ATMs in 40 states, so it’s a good option if you need in-person service or regular cash deposits.

The U.S. Bank Silver Business Checking account has no monthly fee, but it limits how many transactions you can make. You’ll get 25 free cash deposits and 125 total free transactions every month. After that, there’s a $0.50 transaction fee that applies to each item.

You won’t get free checks, but you’ll receive a 50% discount on your first order of $50 or less. And if you want to do your personal banking with U.S. Bank, you can qualify for a 50% discount on your monthly service fee on a Gold Personal Package checking account.

Because the account is less flexible with free transactions than other free business checking accounts, it’s best for newer and smaller businesses. Also, if you don’t live in a state where the bank operates, some features will be limited.


Next steps: How to find a free business checking account that works for you

With so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. For the sake of convenience, it could be beneficial to open a business checking account with the same bank or credit union that you do your personal banking with. That can be a good idea in some cases, as some banks will provide special incentives to their customers who have multiple accounts with them.

But shopping around and comparing the best business checking accounts can give you a much better idea of the best account for you and your business.

Start by looking for business checking accounts that don’t charge a monthly fee, or that at least waive fees without requiring you to jump through a lot of hoops. You’ll also want to think about what your specific needs will be. For example, ATM fee reimbursements is an excellent feature, but if you never use ATMs, it’s not relevant.

Alternatively, an online business bank can be a simpler option for someone who runs their business online. But if your business handles a lot of cash, you’ll have a hard time depositing it in your account, so a bank or credit union that allows you to make branch deposits will be a better fit.

Finally, check to see how easy it will be to do all your banking needs from your mobile device, whether it’s an iPhone or Android. Getting access to your finances online can help you manage your money, no matter where you may be.

The process of shopping around for a business checking account can be time consuming. But it’ll also make your life a lot easier as a business owner, knowing that you have the tools you need to keep your business running smoothly while minimizing costs.


About the author: Ben Luthi is a personal finance freelance writer and credit cards expert. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University. In addition to Cr… Read more.