Business

7 Best Business Checking Accounts For Freelancers and Entrepreneurs

Even if you’re just starting out, a dedicated business checking account can be a great way to manage your money and make things easier come tax season. Here are some of the best free business checking accounts.

Editor's Note

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

When working for yourself–either as a freelancer or entrepreneur—your income tends to adopt an unpredictable nature. While your family, friends, and even your spouse may enjoy the reliability of a regular salary, your earnings may ebb and flow for a number of reasons.

As a result, making money is probably just as important to you as learning how to successfully manage it. That’s where a dedicated business checking account can come into play, making it easier to keep track of your earnings and expenses, and better manage your finances all year long.

Best Business Checking Accounts

Here are a few of our favorite business checking accounts for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike. Each of them offers free or low-fee accounts, as well as a number of other benefits and services. We'll give you all the details to decide which account is best for your personal business needs.

BrandBest for
NovoATM fee reimbursement
ChaseBonus offer
LiliFreelancers
LendingClub BankRewards
NorthOneSub-accounts
BluevineEarning interest
Huntington BankBranch service

Novo

If you’re looking to open an account entirely online, without ever needing to step foot inside a local branch, Novo might be the answer for you. This fintech company offers checking accounts aimed at small businesses and freelancers with low minimum deposit requirements and unlimited ATM fee reimbursement.

  • Minimum deposit: $50
  • Minimum monthly balance: None
  • Monthly maintenance fees: None
  • Interest bearing: No
  • Mobile banking: Yes
  • ATM access: No network machines but you’ll get unlimited ATM fee reimbursement
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Branch banking available: None

Visit Novo or read our Novo Review

Chase Business Complete Banking℠

Chase makes it easy to conduct your business banking from anywhere, with a robust mobile app and thousands of local branches. You’ll get 100 fee-free transactions each month and can make up to $5,000 in cash deposits monthly without fees.

Right now, new account holders can earn a $300 cash bonus after completing the following steps:

  1. Open a Chase Business Complete Banking℠ Account
  2. Deposit a total of $2,000 in new money within 30 days of account opening
  3. Complete 5 qualifying transactions within 90 days debit card purchases, Chase QuickDepositSM, ACH (Credits) and wires (Credits and Debits)
  4. Maintain that balance for 60 days

Boom. $300 in cash. A nice welcoming present from Chase for giving them a chance with your business. Other features of Introducing Chase Business Complete Banking are as follows:

  • Minimum deposit: None
  • Minimum monthly balance: None
  • Monthly fee:$15 with ways to waive
  • Interest bearing: No (other business account tiers do offer interest, however)
  • Mobile banking: Yes
  • ATM access: More than 16,000 free ATMs across the country
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Branch banking available: More than 4,700 brick-and-mortar locations
  • Digital Account Opening: Choose to open your account online or in person

Visit Chase Business Checking or read our Chase Business Checking Review

Lili

Lili is an online-only bank designed primarily for freelancers. The account has no fees and no minimum balance requirement, and it helps you stay on top of all your expenses for tax time. You’ll get a Visa Business debit card and push notifications on your phone each time there is a charge to your business account. Plus you’ll find other features like tax tools, automatic savings, and the ability to get paid up to 2 days early.

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Minimum monthly balance: None
  • Monthly maintenance fees: $0
  • Interest bearing: No
  • Mobile banking: Yes
  • ATM access: 38,000 ATMs across the U.S. and Puerto Rico
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Branch banking available: None

Visit Lili or read our full Lili Review

LendingClub Bank

LendingClub Bank is a strong option if you’re looking for an online business checking account that offers rewards. With this account, you can earn unlimited 1% cash back on all your debit card purchases. LendingClub Bank’s Autobooks technology also makes it easy to send invoices to your customers with multiple online payment options. Plus, you’ll get unlimited monthly transactions, free ATM access worldwide, and even earn a little interest on your deposits.

  • Minimum deposit: $100
  • Minimum monthly balance: None
  • Monthly maintenance fees: $10 (can be waived by maintaining an average monthly balance of $5,000)
  • Interest bearing: Yes (0.10% APY for accounts with balances above $5,000)
  • Mobile banking: Yes
  • ATM access: 20,000 fee-free ATMs and unlimited ATM fee reimbursement
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Branch banking available: None

Visit LendingClub Bank or read our LendingClub Bank Review

NorthOne

Users can open a NorthOne account in three minutes to unlock benefits like mobile check deposits, faster payments, and remote banking. The accompanying app allows customers to do payroll, handle bill pay, and move money around in just a few taps. Withdraw cash for free through ATMs and automatically categorize purchases seconds after the transaction has gone through.

  • Minimum deposit: $50
  • Minimum monthly balance: None
  • Monthly maintenance fees: $10
  • Interest bearing: No
  • Mobile banking: Yes
  • ATM access: Withdraw cash for free
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Branch banking available: None

Visit NorthOne or read our NorthOne Review

Bluevine

Bluevine is an online business checking account that keeps things fee-free. The account also offers interest for businesses which is a rate that can compete with savings accounts let alone other checking accounts.

  • Minimum deposit: None
  • Minimum monthly balance: None
  • Monthly maintenance fees: None
  • Interest bearing: Yes - 1.5% - Eligibility requirements apply
  • Mobile banking: Yes
  • ATM access: Their network includes 35,000 ATMs
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Branch banking available: No

Visit Bluevine or read our full Bluevine Review

Huntington Bank Unlimited Business Checking

While not their lowest tier business account, Huntington Banks Unlimited Business Checking might be exactly what you need to manage your monthly finances. This basic business checking account has no transaction limit, as well as your choice of one Bonus Service (such as fraud tools or Deposit Scan). You can deposit up to $10,000 per month at your local branch or ATM without fee, as well as enjoy optional overdraft protection.

  • Minimum deposit: None
  • Minimum monthly balance: None
  • Monthly maintenance fees: $20 (can be waived by maintaining a minimum $10,000 balance across related accounts)
  • Interest bearing: No (the Unlimited Plus Business Checking tier does earn interest, however)
  • Mobile banking: Yes
  • ATM access: Their network consists of over 1,500 ATMs
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Branch banking available: More than 700 local branches

Visit Huntington Bank

Comparison: Azlo vs. Novo vs. Bluevine

Axos Basic Business Checking

If you need a full-service online bank that offers small business and commercial banking and lending, Axos Bank is a great option. They have five different business checking and deposit accounts to choose from and certificates of deposit for longer-term savings. The Axos Basic Business Checking account is ideal for businesses with more modest checking needs.

  • Minimum deposit: None
  • Minimum monthly balance: None
  • Monthly maintenance fees: None
  • Interest bearing: No
  • Mobile banking: Yes
  • ATM access: Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Branch banking available: No

Visit Axos Bank or read our full Axos Bank Review

Why You Need a Business Checking Account

If you have a small business, it’s important to maintain a clear separation between your personal finances and those of your company. The easiest way to do this, of course, is to have a dedicated business checking account for managing all of your business’s cash flow.

A business checking account will make it easier to view your current financial situation, track expenses, and watch for incoming funds. Not only that but if you are ever audited, having a separate business account will make the process much easier.

...Even Freelancers?

While it’s easy to see how a business checking account is imperative for small business owners and entrepreneurs, it might not be quite as clear for freelancers. And it isn’t a legal requirement, either.

However, if you want to be able to clearly track monthly finances, prepare for a potential audit, or simply separate home office and work-related expenses for tax deduction purposes, a designated account can be key. Depending on your tax filing status, you may or may not be able to qualify for a true business checking account as a freelancer. After all, a freelance business is still a business, so it only makes sense to treat it as such.

Instead, you might have to simply open another personal checking account that you designate for work expenses only. This will depend on the bank you choose, however, and whether you freelance as an individual, sole proprietor, or have an LLC.

Key Factors to Consider with a Business Checking Account

When shopping around for a new business checking account, there are a few things you’ll want to look for that will help you pick the right one. In selecting between these factors, always consider how you plan to use your business checking account, and why your typical usage patterns dictate.

Fees

The less you spend on bank fees, the more of your own money you can keep in your pocket. It makes sense, then, to look for a business checking account that doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees or provides an easy way to have them waived. After all, even a $10-15 monthly fee can add up to hundreds of dollars a year.

Sometimes, though, these fees are unavoidable. In some cases, you may opt for a bank that either doesn’t waive fees or charges fees for a more robust account. If that account provides the services you need most and/or you can earn enough in interest to offset those fees, it might be worth paying.

Be careful for hidden fees as well, which are fees for activities that you might not expect. Common examples might include insufficient fund fees, stop payment fees, a monthly service fee, a monthly maintenance fee, wire transfer fees, and more.

As with credit card annual fees, just be sure that the benefits you receive warrant a monthly checking account fee. Otherwise, do your best to avoid paying one altogether.

Transaction Limits

Just as important as fees (but sometimes overlooked) is transaction limits. Transaction limits are limits that are placed on certain activities within your account, and will turn into fees if you go over the allotted number.

Common transaction fees include limits on electronic transactions and checks. Some checking accounts have a cash deposit limit, which limits the number (or amount) of cash deposits you can make each month.

This speaks to the importance of understanding how you will use your bank account. Consider the type and number of transactions you usually undertake, and compare it against any limits on these transactions.

Interest

Certain business checking accounts are interest-earning, which can be a good way to see your money grow if you have a high account balance. Many interest-earning accounts will have certain transactions limits, fees, or a minimum balance requirement that you’ll have to consider. Match these factors against the interest-earning potential, to be sure that your earnings aren’t cancelled out.

Interest-earning accounts are usually best for business owners who don’t make as many transactions, and have a high amount of long-term cash in the account.

Accessibility

How do you personally prefer to bank?

If you handle a lot of physical currency or just prefer face-to-face banking, you will want to choose an institution that has local bank branches. If you do all of your banking online or through a mobile app, you’ll want to choose a bank that has a robust digital platform. Typically, an online-only bank will be easier to set-up, and often has less fees, but the lack of access to a physical location is a real consideration for many business owners.

Therefore, if you do choose an online-only bank, or you prefer to bank online, you need to consider the functionality offered by the app/desktop platform. Important features to look for include online payments, mobile check deposits, bill payments, invoicing capabilities, etc.

If you regularly deposit or withdraw funds from an ATM, you should choose a bank that has network machines in your area or reimburses accountholders for ATM fees, and whether these machines give you access to both withdrawals and deposits. You should also note whether there is a transaction fee for using the ATMs in your network. ATMs are a common way for a bank to hit you with hidden fees.

On the other hand, if you mainly deal with ACH transfers, be sure to choose a bank that allows for such without added fees or hassle.

Essentially, be sure to choose the business checking account that best matches your personal banking style not just the one that sounds nice.

Type of Bank

Depending on your business, the type of bank may play an impact on its functionality to your business. Consider whether it’s a local bank, a national U.S. bank, online-only bank or even a credit union. Local banks may have certain features that are more relevant to doing business in your area, while national banks provide physical branch access wherever you are, among many other relevant considerations.

Other Options: Business Credit Cards

While this list concentrates on banks, as a small business or freelancer, it makes sense to know your options for business credit cards, too. Here are some of our favorites right now:

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card is a great choice for a business credit card, even if you’re a freelancer. To start you’ll earn a $750 cash back bonus after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. You’ll also get a 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases (ongoing APR of 15.49% - 21.49% Variable applies after). There’s no annual fee, plus you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card allows you to get free employee cards (if you have employees), included fraud protection and purchase protection, as well as personalized account alerts to stay on top of all business expenses.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is an upgrade option if you’re doing a bit more volume with your business and want to really scale your bonuses and rewards. First, you’ll earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening (that’s equivalent to $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards).

You’ll earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on shipping, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines, internet, cable, and phone services, and travel each account anniversary year. From there, youll earn an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases, and points do not expire as long as your account is open. The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has loads of other features. Learn more about it here.

Bonus option: Brex

The Brex corporate card is a little bit different than the other two above. Brex is technically a charge card, meaning you can’t carry a balance and you have to pay the balance in full each month. There’s no annual fee and no credit check required to open the account, and your spending limits are going to be much higher than a traditional credit card.

The only downsides are that you must pay the balance in full each month and you’ll need at least $50,000 in your business bank account. But once your account is approved, you’ll get 50,000 bonus points.

How to Set Up a Business Checking Account

Setting up a business bank account doesn’t usually take long, but it can be a bit complex if you don’t have the right information or documentation. Here are the basic steps you’ll need to get started:

  • Register your business. Make sure your business is a legal entity set up as an LLC or something else. If you’re a freelancer and don’t choose to use this option, find a bank that allows for no business EIN (Employer Identification Number), such as Lili.
  • Gather the right paperwork. At a minimum, you’ll usually need your EIN, articles of incorporation (if applicable), and business license. More on this below.
  • Choose a bank. We’ve given you several excellent options here, so the first step is to select the one that suits your needs best. Remember that a true business checking account is going to require business documentation.
  • Submit an application. Filling out applications for business bank accounts online is very easy. All of the options we’ve listed above have a streamlined application process.
  • Wait. Unfortunately, you often have to wait while your business information is verified. NorthOne promises an account opening in as little as 3 minutes, but from my personal experience, it does take at least a couple of days for the bank to verify your business.

Related: Business Checking Accounts That Don't Use ChexSystems

What Do You Need to Open a Business Checking Account?

As I mentioned above, there are a few pieces of information you’re going to need in order to open a business checking account:

  • Your EIN. Legally-registered businesses can get this directly through the IRS. It’s like a Social Security Number for your business.
  • Your own Social Security Number. Often used to verify ownership, you’ll need your own Social Security Number handy.
  • Proof of incorporation. For things like an LLC, this is your Articles of Incorporation, but other business structures might have other documentation. Either way, you need documentation to prove your business is a legitimate, legal entity.
  • Business license. After you get an EIN, you will likely have to register your business officially with the state you’re operating in. This can usually be done directly through the state’s website, but you’ll need this to prove that you’re legally allowed to do business in the state.

Learn More: How to Open a Business Bank Account

FAQs

What can you do with a business checking account?

A business checking account allows you to do the same things you can do with a personal checking account, only for your business. The real benefit is that the account is tied to your business, not you, per se. This also allows you to keep your business and personal expenses separate.

When you transfer money from a business checking account to a personal checking account, in most cases it’s considered income. So you’ll need to account for that at tax time. If you have specific questions about paying yourself from your business, consult a legal or tax expert.

Can I use a personal bank account for business?

Yes, you can legally use a personal bank account for business, but it’s not advisable. By using a personal account for business, you run the risk of mixing your personal expenses and income with business expenses and income. Not only will that become challenging at tax time, but could also be considered “piercing the corporate veil” if you’re ever sued - meaning that someone could come after your personal assets since the two are intermingled.

Does an LLC need a business bank account?

If you have an LLC, you should have a business bank account. Legally, you can have a personal account that’s kept completely separate from all other personal expenses, but it’s in your best interest to legally set up a business account using your LLC.

Should I open a business checking account at my personal bank?

Above all, we would recommend that you open your business checking account at the bank which offers the features and functionality most advantageous to your business. This being said, your personal bank may be offering incentives for opening another bank account, which are often worth considering. Additionally, you may already be familiar with the bank’s online and mobile software, and will have the advantage of managing both your business and personal checking or savings accounts with a single log-in.

Bottom Line

Whether running a small business or working as a freelancer, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your finances. This will make it easier for you to maintain a budget even with a variable income, as well as track expenses for tax purposes.

Choosing the right institution for you depends on how you bank, how much money you tend to keep in your account, and what your financial management priorities are. Luckily, there are some great banks to choose from when shopping around for a new business checking account.

Related: Best Bank Account for Startups

Stephanie Colestock

Stephanie Colestock

Stephanie Colestock is a respected financial writer based in Washington, DC. Her work can be found on sites such as Investopedia, Credit Karma, Quicken, The Balance, Motley Fool, and more, covering a range of topics such as family finances, planning for the future, optimizing credit, and getting out of debt.


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