Where to Get Free Business Checking Accounts
A checking account is critical to the success of your small company, and the right account makes it easy to conduct business and minimize expenses. Some small business owners and freelancers are tempted to just use a personal account, but that’s problematic for several reasons.
Free business checking accounts are easy to find. Plus, they help you keep track of revenue and expenses, as well as gain legitimacy. They might even help you reduce personal risks.
There are two ways your business can bank for free:
- Find a bank that offers a truly free checking account.
- Qualify for fee waivers at banks that ordinarily charge fees.
We’ve listed several good options below, but things may have changed since this writing. Review each bank’s account agreement carefully before you open an account. Also, be aware that business accounts do not enjoy the same consumer protections that you have for your personal accounts—so monitor your accounts carefully.
As you may know from your personal accounts, free checking is not as common as it used to be. Consumers can often bank for free by setting up direct deposit or keeping a minimum amount on deposit with the bank, but when you add a business account, you essentially double the amount of cash needed to bank for free. Fortunately, there are still free checking accounts for both consumers and businesses.
Truly Free Business Checking Options
The best place to find free business checking accounts—as well as personal accounts—is at a local bank or credit union. These institutions want to build relationships with local businesses, and they don’t have the same overhead as big banks, so they’re able to offer free services. Call local banks to ask what they provide, and if they’re willing to waive fees while you get up and running. Building a local relationship may help if you ever need financing for your business.
Although BBVA comes from the brick-and-mortar world, BBVA’s ClearConnect for Business account is a robust digital offering. Highlights include:
- No monthly fee
- Free bill pay
- Mobile check deposit
- Account alerts for monitoring transactions in your account
- $100 minimum to open
US Bank’s Silver Business Package is a free business checking account for businesses that don’t need much. If you keep transactions to a minimum (many consulting and service businesses can stay under the limit), you’ll be able to bank for free. If you add volume at a later date, you’ll need to change to a different package or pay fees. Key features of US Bank’s free business account include:
- No monthly fee
- Make deposits with your mobile device
- Free online bill pay
- A business debit card
- Maximum of 150 transactions or 25 cash deposits per month
- No minimum initial opening deposit
TIAA offers a Small Business Checking Account for small businesses. The drawback? It’s only available for sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs. If you have a corporation, larger LLC, or another type of entity, your organization may not qualify for the account. Key features of the offering include:
- No monthly fee
- Earn interest on your deposits (this is interest checking).
- Make deposits with your mobile device.
- $1,500 minimum to open an account.
Banks that Waive Monthly Fees
If you can’t find anything locally, and the accounts above don’t work for you, you can still get free business checking through fee waivers. In most cases—even at small banks and credit unions—you can bank for free simply by keeping a minimum amount in your account at all times.
Banks may also waive fees when you use multiple services: In addition to using the bank’s checking account, you might also use them for payment processing or payroll needs. That said, this page focuses on how you can minimize fees without using those additional services. Below are some banks that offer fee waivers.
Chase’s Total Business Checking account costs $10 per month if you opt for electronic statements, but you don’t have to pay if you keep at least $1,500 on deposit at all times. The account also features a friendly $25 minimum to open.
BofI Federal Bank
BofI, also known as Axos Bank, has free interest-bearing business checking for those who keep substantial cash on deposit. With an average daily balance of $5,000, you can avoid monthly maintenance fees in the Business Interest Checking account. BofI also has a fee-free option if you plan to keep less in your account.
Bank of America
B of A offers a slightly different way to avoid fees with the Business Fundamentals account, which will appeal to businesses with regular expenses. The standard charge is $14 per month, but that fee is waived when you spend at least $250 on your business debit card (or a linked business card such as a credit card) in each statement cycle.
How to Choose an Account
Price is important, but sometimes you get what you pay for. If you can bank for free, that’s great.
The accounts above should get you started, and the questions below should help you shop for a business checking account. Depending on your business, it might make sense (or be necessary) to pay more.
- How many transactions are allowed per month, and how much do additional transactions cost?
- Can employees get debit cards? How much do those cost?
- What are the fees for international transactions?
- Will you send or receive wire transfers? How much do they cost?
- What protection do you have against fraud and other unfortunate events (consumer protection laws don’t apply to business accounts)?
- Do you offer account activity alerts to help manage risk?
- Can I deposit cash and checks in-person?
- Can I conduct business entirely online, or do I need to visit a branch?
What About Personal Accounts?
After reviewing the accounts above, you might decide that you’ll save money by using a personal checking account for business purposes instead of an account designed for business. That might work, but it’s not ideal. If you fail to keep business matters separate from personal matters, a creditor could “pierce the corporate veil” and make you personally responsible for business debts or liabilities.
In addition, it’s best to keep things separate. Doing so helps you understand the profitability of your business, and it signals to business partners that you’re a legitimate business entity.