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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.

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.

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 all of your incoming and outgoing business transactions.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

Best Free Business Checking Accounts

Here are a few of our favorite business checking accounts for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike. Each of them offers free accounts, as well as a number of other benefits and services.

Chase Total Business Checking

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 Total Business Checking Account
  2. Deposit a total of $1,000 in new money within 20 business days of account opening
  3. Complete 5 qualifying transactions within 60 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 the Chase Total Business Checking Account are as follows:

  • Minimum deposit: None
  • Minimum monthly balance: None (if you want to waive the monthly maintenance fee, though, the minimum daily balance is $1,500)
  • Monthly maintenance fees: $15 or $12 if you’re enrolled in paperless statements (Can be waived entirely if you have a $1,500 minimum daily balance or maintain a linked Chase Private Client Checking account or maintain a Chase Sapphire Checking personal account)
  • Interest bearing: No (other business account tiers do offer interest, however)
  • Mobile banking: Yes
  • ATM access: 16,000 free ATMs across the country
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Branch banking available: Nearly 4,900 brick-and-mortar locations

Bank Novo

If you’re looking to open an account entirely online, without ever needing to step foot inside a local branch, Bank Novo might be the answer for you. This bank offers checking accounts aimed at small businesses 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

Read More: Bank Novo Review

Huntington Bank Unlimited Business Checking

While not their lowest tier business account, Huntington Bank’s Unlimited Business Checking might be exactly what you need to manage your monthly finances. This account offers unlimited transactions 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

Axos Bank Basic Business Checking

You can quickly and easily open a Basic Business Checking account with Axos Bank, entirely online. They have a low minimum deposit requirement as well as no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. Plus, you’ll get your first 50 checks free.

  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum monthly balance: None
  • Monthly maintenance fees: None
  • Interest bearing: No (other business account tiers do offer interest, however)
  • Mobile banking: Yes
  • ATM access: Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursement
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Branch banking available: There are only three brick-and-mortar branch locations for Axos Bank, located in CA, NV, and OH.

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.

Author Bio

Total Articles: 99
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. She is currently working toward her CFP certification. Her full portfolio can be found at stephaniecolestock.com.

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