If you’re starting a business, one of the first steps to take is opening a business checking account. Being able to make transactions and deposit funds is an essential component of actually doing business, after all.
Every business owner will need different things from their checking account, based on factors like how many transactions you make per month and what kind of minimum balance you can manage. However, these are the basic business checking account features you need to look for:
- Low transaction fees
- Low minimum opening deposit and minimum balance requirements
- High interest rates
- Access to physical bank branches
- Extensive ATM network
Since finding the right account can be a chore, we’ve compiled a round-up of the best business checking accounts that are currently available. Every month, we review business checking account rates using data from another LendingTree company, DepositAccounts.com, a database of offerings at more than 17,100 banks and credit unions. We sorted the products by APY, then eliminated institutions that were not available nationwide and did not meet the five criteria above.
To make the cut, the account needed to have minimal fees, a minimum of 50 transactions per month and the option to waive monthly fees if certain requirements are met. While offering an APY wasn’t a requirement, it was taken into consideration when developing this list.
- Best Business Checking Accounts of September 2020
- Business checking accounts vs. personal checking accounts
- Why you need a business checking account
- Benefits of a business checking account
- What you need to open a business checking account
Best Business Checking Accounts of September 2020
|Account Name||Minimum Balance to Waive Monthly Fee||Number of Transactions Per Month with No Charge||APY|
Average daily balance of $5,000
|Up to 50||0.50%|
Average monthly balance of $5,000
Daily balance of $5,000
|First 200 items||None|
Daily balance of $1,500
None, but must enroll in paperless statements
|Up to 175 items||None|
Prior 30- or 90-day average account balance of $25,000
Average monthly balance of $15,000
Average monthly collected balance of $500
|Up to 150 transactions||None|
BlueVine Business Checking
Internet-based BlueVine is currently offering the most competitive business checking account out there, with a generous APY and no fees. Currently, BlueVine’s Business Checking account doles out an APY of 1.00% if you maintain a balance over $1,000.
Customers of BlueVine’s Business Checking account will also enjoy the account’s minimal fee model, which features no monthly service fees, unlimited transactions with no monthly balance required, no ATM fees at MoneyPass ATMs nationwide and no NSF fees. BlueVine’s banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank.
- Transaction fees: Unlimited free transactions
- Monthly fee: $0
- ATM fees: None at MoneyPass ATMs nationwide
- Number of physical branches: Online-based, with three U.S. branches
Axos Bank Business Interest Checking
Axos Bank offers one of the few business checking accounts with minimal fees and a competitive APY, making it one of the best choices out there. Axos Bank’s Business Interest Checking account features an APY of 0.50% on account balances ranging from $0 to $5 million.
There is a $100 minimum required to open an account, and although the bank does charge a monthly maintenance fee of $10, you can waive the fee if you maintain a minimum average daily balance of $5,000. Other attractive features of the Axos Bank Business Interest Checking account are:
- Transaction fees: Up to 50 items per month, $0.50 after that
- Monthly fee: $10, can be we waived with minimum average daily balance of $5,000
- ATM fees: Unlimited domestic reimbursements
- Number of physical branches: Online only
Radius Bank Tailored Checking
Radius Bank is another online-only option that offers a great business checking account. Radius Bank’s Tailored Checking account features an APY of 0.10% on balances over $5,000. Like Axos, there is a $10 monthly maintenance fee, which can be waived if you maintain a minimum monthly balance of $5,000. There is a minimum deposit of $100 required to open an account, but no minimum balance requirement after that.
In addition to earning interest, other features of the Radius Bank Tailored Checking account worth noting are:
- Transaction fees: Unlimited transactions
- Monthly fee: $10, but can be waived with average monthly balance of $5,000
- ATM fees: Unlimited ATM reimbursements, excluding international exchange fees)
- Number of physical branches: One in Boston, otherwise it’s all online
TIAA Bank Business Checking
TIAA Bank offers a number of business checking accounts, ranging from options geared specifically to small businesses, to others tailored for non-profits. The standard Business Checking account is a solid product that ticks a number of boxes for a great, low-fee account. It’s worth noting that there’s a minimum deposit of $1,500 required to open an account, relatively higher than other business checking accounts out there.
It’s worth noting that there’s a minimum deposit of $1,500 required to open an account, relatively higher than other business checking accounts out there. Other business checking accounts offered by TIAA Bank that are worth exploring, depending on your business’s needs, include the Small Business Checking account, which is made for sole proprietors and single owner LLCs and earns a modest APY, and the Business Analysis Checking account.
The TIAA Bank Business Checking account features the following:
- Transaction fees: First 200 items per month, $0.25 each after that
- Monthly fee: $14.95, but can be waived with balance of $5,000
- ATM fees: $15 monthly ATM reimbursement (domestic)
- Number of physical branches: 145
Chase Bank Total Business Checking
Chase Bank’s Total Business Checking account offers the confidence that comes with banking with one of the largest banks in the U.S., with its extensive branch network and deep bench of deposit and lending products. Chase charges a $15 monthly service fee for this account, but there are ways you can waive it or reduce it, including maintaining a daily balance of at least $1,500 or maintaining a linked Private Client or Sapphire Personal account.
Other standout features that come with the Chase Total Business Checking account include:
- Transaction fees: 100 free transactions per month, $0.40 each after that.
- Monthly fee: $15, can be waived if you maintain a daily balance of at least $1,500 or maintain a Private Client Checking account or Sapphire Personal Checking account; reduced to $12 when you’re enrolled in paperless statements
- ATM fees: No fee for Chase ATMs
- Number of physical branches: Nearly 5,000
First Citizens Basic Business Checking
First Citizens Bank, which has a branch network sprawling across the Southeast and Southwest, and also offers online banking services. First Citizens promotes its Basic Business Checking account as a “favorite starter account” for businesses because of its simplicity and affordability. It’s one of the few banks on this list that doesn’t have any monthly maintenance fees, regardless of the account’s balance, as long as you opt out of paper statements.
With a low minimum deposit requirement of just $100 to open an account and no minimum balance requirements after that, it’s also one of the more accessible checking accounts for businesses that are not flush with cash from the get-go. While the First Citizens Basic Business Checking account doesn’t offer many bells and whistles, it’s a low-fee account with attractive features similar to those offered at big financial institutions:
- Transaction fees: Up to 175 free transactions per month, $0.50 each after that
- Monthly fee: None
- ATM fees: Free access to First Citizens Bank ATMs
- Number of physical branches: Over 500 branches in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
Capital One Spark Business Unlimited Checking
The standout feature of Capital One’s Spark Business Unlimited Checking account is its unlimited transactions, a relatively rare feature for business checking accounts at the other big banks.
The Spark Business Unlimited Checking account requires a pretty hefty balance to waive the monthly service fee of $35. Capital One, however, does offer free overdraft protection with a linked small business deposit account. Other noteworthy features offered by the Capital One Spark Business Unlimited Checking account include:
- Transaction fees: Unlimited transactions
- Monthly fee: $35, can be waived with prior 30- or 90-day average account balance of $25,000
- ATM fees: Free access to 55,000 Allpoint ATMs
- Number of physical branches: More than 400
nbkc bank Business Account
The nbkc bank Business Account is a no-frills business checking account with competitive incentives, including unlimited transactions. There is no minimum required to open an account, and with no minimum balance requirements, this is a checking account that’s especially accessible for businesses just starting out.
For those who want more from their nbkc bank Business Account services, the bank also offers add-on options for an additional cost, like the Desktop Deposit, which gives you unlimited deposits from your office and unlimited account support. Drawbacks of the nbkc bank Business account include only having a handful of physical bank branches in Kansas and Missouri. However, nbkc primarily presents itself as an online-only bank.
Other standout features of the nbkc bank Business account include:
- Transaction fees: Unlimited transactions
- Monthly fee: None
- ATM fees: Free access to 34,000 MoneyPass ATMs and up to $12 monthly refunds for any ATM’s fees
- Number of physical branches: 4 total in Kansas and Missouri (it positions itself as an online bank)
Bank of America Business Advantage Checking
Bank of America (BoA) offers a number of business checking accounts, but its Business Advantage Checking account in particular has a number of competitive features. This account does have a relatively steep monthly fee of $29.95, but it gives you several options to avoid that fee. There is a minimum deposit of $100 required to open the account.
One perk worth highlighting is that you’ll also receive an additional Business Advantage Checking account and an additional Business Advantage Savings account at no extra charge, as well as a $300 credit to new, eligible business credit cards if you make at least $3,000 in new purchases within the first 90 days.
Other standout features of the Bank of America Business Advantage Checking account include:
- Transaction fees: Up to 500 free transactions per month, $0.45 after that
- Monthly fee: $29.95, which can be waived in several ways, including maintaining an average monthly balance of at least $15,000, maintaining a combined average monthly balance in linked BoA accounts of $35,000, or spending $2,500 in net new purchases on a BoA business credit card
- ATM fees: Free access to Bank of America ATMs
- Number of physical branches: Over 4,000
PNC Bank Business Checking
PNC Bank’s Business Checking account is great for budding businesses interested in the checking essentials with minimal fees. There is a minimum deposit of just $100 required to open an account, and the $10 monthly maintenance fee is waived by meeting certain requirements, including maintaining an average, monthly collected balance of just $500.
There are drawbacks of the PNC Bank Business Checking account, though. PNC itself has a relatively nonexistent footprint in the Western region of the U.S., so if you live in that region and want the convenience of a bank with brick-and-mortar locations, you’ll want to take that into consideration.
Other noteworthy features of the PNC Bank Business Checking account are:
- Transaction fees: Up to 150 free transactions monthly, $0.50 each after that
- Monthly fee: $10, waived if you maintain a balance of $500, use a linked PNC business credit card to make a minimum of $500 in eligible purchases or Maintain a linked PNC Merchant Services account and generate a minimum of $500 in qualifying monthly processing deposits
- ATM fees: Free access to 18,000 PNC and partner ATMs, two reimbursements per statement cycle of non-PNC Bank ATM fees
- Number of physical branches: 2,300 in Alabama, Delaware, Washington, DC, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin
Business checking accounts vs. personal checking accounts
At first glance, business checking accounts versus personal checking accounts might seem fairly similar. But if you take a closer look, you can understand the key differences. While every account has its differing features, personal checking accounts usually have:
- No or low monthly service fees
- No extra fees
- Higher APYs
- Overdraft protection
Meanwhile, business checking accounts often have:
- Monthly service fees or minimum balance requirements to waive them
- Lower APYs
- Extra fees for actions ranging from having an excess of transactions to depositing cash
- More documentation required to open an account
- The option to order employee debit cards
Why you need a business checking account
If you’re a business owner, you might be wondering why you even have to open a checking account separate from your personal one. After all, personal checking accounts tend to have lower fees, higher APYs and better features. Why not just skip opening one and — when it comes to your checking accounts — mix business with pleasure?
There are several reasons why you should keep your work and personal checking accounts from co-mingling. First and foremost: If you operate your business as a legal entity that is separate from you – say, as an LLC – you’re legally required to keep your personal and business finances separate. Opening a business checking account is the simplest way to do that.
Another reason why you need a checking account for your business is to protect yourself. If you have structured your business entity as a corporation or an LLC, and you have a separate checking account for your business, you and other shareholders’ personal assets are not likely to be seized for damages your company is obligated to pay when filing for bankruptcy.
Benefits of a business checking account
There are a number of other benefits associated with maintaining a business checking account, aside from the obvious ones of following the law and protecting your personal assets. Those benefits can include:
- Keeping your business records organized. This will make it easier to track your business’s profitability and assess its performance.
- Simplifying your taxes. By keeping your personal and business checking accounts separate, it will be easier for you to file your taxes accurately and avoid penalties from the IRS. Also, it will make it easier for you to deduct business expenses from your taxes.
- Being able to accept credit cards as a form of payment, either by setting up a merchant system or credit acceptance system.
- Being able to allow your employees to use the business checking account.
What you need to open a business checking account
When opening a business checking account, you need more than just a spiffy company name and logo. You’ll typically be required to present the following documents:
- Employee Identification Number (or Social Security number if it’s a sole proprietorship)
- Your business’s formation documents
- Ownership agreements
- Business license
Opening a business checking account might be one of the first, big business decisions you will make as an entrepreneur. Make sure it’s an informed decision: Do your research, come with questions and be confident about the account you are opening before signing on the dotted line.