Best Business Checking Accounts of December 2021
Starting a business is an opportunity to be your own boss, make money and grow your skill set.
There are also the not-so-great, somewhat messy and complicated parts about operating a business. If you start off solo or small, you’ll be tackling a lot of tasks yourself.
But don’t worry. In this article, we’re going to address something relatively simple in the business world: the best business checking accounts.
We’ll go into why you need one, what you should look for and several of the best ones available, both in-person and online-only.
What to Look for in a Business Checking Account
Before you peruse accounts, get a handle on your business needs and wants. For instance, do you make a lot of transactions? Do you want a business credit card ASAP? Do you prefer a big bank where you can pop into a different branch every half mile?
There are other considerations. Do you want your bank, credit union or financial institution to…
- Offer free bank statements?
- Have an app? (a fair requirement in 2021)
- Offer free online banking and/or bill pay?
- Have in-person locations?
- Offer comprehensive customer service, i.e., allow you to talk to someone online and on the phone 24/7?
- Have integration with tools, like invoicing software?
- Offer multiple products, such as business credit cards, small-business loans, etc.?
There are lots of banks for small businesses to choose from, but you want one that will give you the most options. And ideally, save you some money and headaches in the process.
To choose the best business checking accounts, we focused on accounts that:
- Require a low minimum initial deposit ($1,000 or less — most require only $25).
- Offer a certain number of transactions for free.
- Either have no monthly service fee or make it easy to have the fee waived.
We also focused on checking accounts for small and medium businesses. If you’re looking for accounts to manage a higher volume, many of the traditional institutions on our list have them, too.
An inconvenient reminder: Banking institutions can be acquired and shut down (RIP Azlo). So, it’s a good idea to keep the following business bank accounts in mind in case you find yourself suddenly needing to move your money.
Do I Really Need a Business Checking Account?
The purpose of a business checking account is to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances.
Technically, you might not need one depending on the legal structure of your business.
For example, if you’re a freelance writer who established a sole proprietorship and is starting slowly, you could use your personal checking account to get off the ground. But you’ll want to be extremely organized about keeping track of your business money for tax time. (Nothing will dampen your momentum like getting audited.)
The type of business you’re running makes a difference here. If it’s transaction-heavy — or a particular legal structure, like a limited liability company — you might need a business checking account, full stop.
But if you’re starting any kind of business, it’s probably in your best interest to open one.
Business checking accounts make it easier to track profits, expenses and deductions, and help establish your operation if you file for business credit cards or loans down the line.
What’s the Right Business Checking Account for You?
The bottom line: The best business checking account for you will depend on your business and needs.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to level up, there are plenty of options out there, online and off. Start your search now, so your future self — and CPA, come tax time — will thank you later.
What You Need to Open a Business Checking Account
To open an account, you’ll typically need the following:
- Social security number (SSN) or employee identification number (EIN)
- Valid driver’s license or state ID
- An initial deposit
How easy it is to open a business checking account will depend on your business. If you’re a sole proprietor, the process might feel similar to opening a personal checking account. If you have a different legal business structure, you’ll likely have to provide additional documentation (like your articles of incorporation).
Requirements will vary from bank to bank.
The 5 Best Business Checking Accounts for December 2021
We chose five institutions and a couple of different checking account options for each where available.
Chase has business saving account, lending and credit card options, too. Chase offers several small-business credit cards, all with new card member bonuses, which include $750 cash back to 100,000 bonus points depending on the card.
To learn more, read our Chase Bank review.
Other benefits include a customized business debit card, 24/7 fraud monitoring and mobile deposit. Wells Fargo also offers small-business lending and credit card options.
Check out our Wells Fargo Bank review for more information.
U.S. Bank will charge you $5 for paper statements, so stick with online ones to save money and the planet. You can also access online and mobile banking, check-order discounts, get a small business Visa credit card and more.
Silver and Gold are good options for small businesses looking for free business checking accounts (as long as you stay within the limits). And in general, Chase, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank are all good options for an LLC.
Customers also get a BlueVine Business Debit Mastercard, access to a business line of credit, two free checkbooks, and phone and email customer support.
Regional Business Checking Account Options
Here’s a glance at three smaller, regional options for business checking accounts. If your area isn’t listed, you can research credit unions and banks near you.
America First Credit Union
This institution has branches in Nevada and Utah. America First offers four types of business checking accounts: Basic, Premier, High-Yield and Non-Profit.
The Basic Business Checking offers 250 free monthly transactions, free online bill pay, access to money market savings, lines of credit and a Business Visa credit card.
This bank has branches in Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Texas. First Horizon offers BizEssentials Checking, Plus Checking) and Interest Checking accounts.
The Business Interest Checking Account has no minimum balance requirements (though you can waive the monthly maintenance fee when you keep an average of $10K in it), plus you’ll earn interest on your balance and have access to a Visa Business debit card.
SunTrust, Now Truist
This operation has branches in Alabama, Arkansas, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. SunTrust offers three types of business checking accounts: Simple Business Checking, SunTrust Primary Business Checking and SunTrust Business Advantage Plus Checking.
SunTrust Primary Business Checking has a $15 monthly fee that’s waived in the first two statement cycles and after that when you have a $1,000 minimum daily balance. Each month, you’ll get 150 free transactions and $5,000 cash processing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Business Bank Accounts
Here are some FAQs about checking accounts for your business.
Contributor Kathleen Garvin (@itskgarvin) is a personal finance writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and former editor and marketer at The Penny Hoarder. She owns a content-writing business and her work has appeared in U.S. News, Clark.com and Well Kept Wallet.