Why you can trust ZDNet
ZDNet independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNet Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNet's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
You need a business checking account to keep your personal transactions separate from your business transactions. However, there are a lot of checking accounts to choose from these days. Some require monthly fees, others will waive any fees provided you meet certain criteria, while others are simply free. You might be tempted to go with the free one, but oftentimes the tools you receive through banks with monthly fees are more than worth their cost. To help you choose, here are our top five business checking accounts.
With Wells Fargo, you can choose between three business checking accounts:
Initiate Business Checking
Navigate Business Checking
Optimize Business Checking
Depending on your company and location, you may also be able to take advantage of Real Estate Trust Account and Federal Agency Checking.
Initiate Business Checking is the business checking account Wells Fargo recommends for new business owners. There is a $25 minimum opening deposit requirement and a $10 monthly fee unless you are able to maintain a $500 minimum daily balance or a $1,000 average ledger balance.
There is no fee for the first $5,000 cash deposits. Thereafter it is $.30 for every $100 deposited. For transaction fees, there is no fee for the first 100 transactions. After 100 transactions, you'll pay $.50 for every transaction.
Each Initiate Business Checking account comes with customized cards and checks where you can add your company logo and the ability to remotely manage your account from the mobile app or online portal.
Open an account either online, over the phone, or in-person
Chase Business Complete Checking has a lot of benefits for account holders. For starters, Chase offers multiple ways business owners can both receive and send money. QuickDeposit is one such example, and it allows account holders to use cash deposited the same day.
Other handy features include:
Accept card payments and issue refunds to customers from the mobile app
Easily link your business account to a private Chase account
$0 monthly fee if certain criteria are met (deposit $2,000 in a month, or maintain a $2,000 daily balance); $15 if you don't meet the criteria
2.6% + 10 cents for every transaction you receive with a QuickAccept mobile contact reader
3.5% + 10 cents for transactions received through the Chase Mobile app
New account holders can also receive a $300 sign-up bonus when they open a new Chase Business Complete Checking account, deposit $2,000 into their account within 30 days, and have 5 qualifying transactions.
Chase also offers two other business checking accounts -- Chase Performance Business Checking and Chase Platinum Business Checking. Performance Checking is best for a mid-sized company, whereas Platinum Checking is good for larger businesses that have high cash management needs.
Great mobile app
$300 sign up bonus
Same-day access to deposits
Must maintain a $2,000 balance to avoid a $15 monthly fee
NKBC's catchphrase for its business checking account is that zero is their favorite number, which is a good catchphrase because it appears true.
NBKC doesn't have a minimum deposit; it doesn't have a monthly maintenance fee; it doesn't have an overdraft fee, nor does it have a fee for bill pay. For a business that is just starting out, that's a lot of money saved and fewer hurdles to jump.
Each account holder gets a free debit card, which can be used at over 37,000 MoneyPass ATMs across the country. Use an ATM that charges a fee, and NBKC will reimburse you up to $12 each month.
Once you have an account, you can also open up other accounts as well. These include a savings deposit account -- be it a CD (certificate of deposit) or money market account, a business credit card, or even a loan.
No minimum deposit to open an account
No monthly service fee
Access to over 37,000 ATMs
Few physical branch locations
Other banks have stronger apps to help with your business
Relationship Banking is intended for larger companies that are able to maintain a larger monthly balance. Fundamentals is for companies just starting out. However, even with Fundamentals, you get access to a lot of tools to help your business.
For starters, you get unlimited access to small business specialists that can help you make better business decisions. You also get access to a multitude of digital tools to help you manage your money, such as Cash Flow Monitor, Mobile Check Deposit, and Erica, a banking-centered AI that can answer your banking questions, analyze the market, and assist with everyday banking tasks.
There is a $16 monthly fee with the Business Advantage Fundamentals Bank of America business checking account. Still, you can avoid this fee if you are able to maintain a $5,000 monthly balance or spend $250 on net-qualified debit purchases.
A large amount of physical branch locations across the country
Online resources to help owners monitor their business
Requiring an opening deposit of $1,000, the Axos Bank Business Checking account is a great 100% online banking solution. And, if you incorporated after June 1, 2020, you'll get a free $100 sign up bonus.
Axox offers two business checking options -- Basic Business Checking and Business Interest Checking. Both are very similar, but the big difference between the two is that with the Business Interest Checking, you get 0.81% APY if you are able to keep a daily balance of at least $5,000.
Another difference is that you get more free items with a basic account -- be they credits, debits, or deposited items.
Business owners also have two business savings account options -- business CDs and business money market accounts. Money market savings accounts come with 0.20% APY, and CDs are available from 3 months to 5 years.
To choose the best business checking accounts we looked at a variety of factors including fees, minimum balances, minimum deposits and digital tools. Each checking above account is a little different, and there's no real clear winner among the five we chose.
Which one is right for you?
If your business is going to be transaction heavy, we recommend choosing an account that has a large amount of free transactions per month. If you anticipate slow, but steady growth, consider choosing an account that has $0 minimum deposit and balance requirements, and a $0 monthly fee. You can always switch accounts later, but in the meantime your business can take the time it needs to grow.
Always consider the following when choosing a business checking account:
Monthly fees: Many banks charge a monthly fee just for having an account; however, banks that do this often have a plethora of tools for their customers
Initial deposit requirement: While some business checking accounts don't charge anything to open an account, others require a deposit. The amount varies and can be as low as $15 to as high as $1,500.
Balance requirement: While banks will always allow you access to your money, you may incur a monthly fee if you dip below a certain balance.
Transaction limits: Have a large amount of incoming deposits? Your bank may only allow a certain amount before it starts charging you.
APY/ interest: Some checking and savings accounts come with APY benefits, but not many.
ATM network fees: If access to a fee-free ATM is important to the functioning of your business, you will want to choose a bank with a large nearby network so you're never going out of your way to access an ATM
Cash deposit limits: It's a good problem to have, but some banks do have cash deposit limits. If your business is growing, you'll need a bank that won't limit your growth.
Overdraft and wire fees: To grow, your business can't be nickeled and dimed for everything.
Branch locations: There are a lot of online-only banks these days. While this works for a lot of people, it may not work for your business model. Make sure you choose a bank that is easy for you to access.
The best business checking accounts FAQ
What does APY stand for?
APY stands for annual percentage yield. Banks often state what the APY (or annual percentage yield) is for CDs, deposit accounts, or savings accounts. It refers to how much money is expected to grow within a year.
Why do you need a business checking account?
A business checking account is needed to separate your personal and business accounts. It can help you keep track of your company's profitability and make filing taxes a lot simpler because you will know exactly what went out and what came in.
A business checking account can also protect you financially if you're registered as an LLC or corporation. If you're sued, your personal assets will be protected and left out of the courtroom.
Is it legal to transfer money from a business checking account to a personal checking account?
Yes, it is. Money transferred from a business checking account to a personal checking account is simply referred to as income.
Are there alternatives worth considering?
Though these companies didn't quite reach our top spots, they may still provide you with everything you need.
Novo's business checking account doesn't have a monthly maintenance fee nor a minimum balance requirement. In fact, the only fee it has is an overdraft fee of $27.
Though the lack of fees is great, NOVO is better suited for today's digital freelancer/ entrepreneur than it is for a growing business. This is because it is solely an online bank. It doesn't really come with any tools to help you manage your business, but it does integrate easily with Shopify, Quickbooks, Zapier, Slack and Stripe.
It only takes a few minutes to create an account, and it comes with free ACH transfers. To open an account requires a $50 initial deposit.
Well reviewed mobile app
Reimburses all ATM fees
Easily integrates with other digital business management software
Difficult to deposit cash; you need a money order to do so
TIAA requires a large initial deposit of $1,500, and it only has physical locations in Florida. However, TIAA offers a number of benefits to its account holders. Chief among them is that TIAA has developed a mobile banking app solely for its business banking customers. It comes with a variety of management tools to help you manage your business, including:
The ability to search your transaction history
Check your balance
Assign multiple users and limit their access
TIAA is also notable in that all account holders get free access to both Allpoing and MoneyPass ATMs, meaning users should easily be able to find a fee-free ATM in most cities. However, should you go to an ATM that charges a withdrawal fee, TIAA will reimburse you if you have at least $5,000 in your account. If your balance is below $5,000, TIAA will reimburse you up to $15 a month.
TIAA allows up to 200 free transactions per month for your business and up to 10 free online bill payments each month.
$0 monthly fee
Offers a wide range of online tools
An initial deposit of $1,500 required
Physical branches only located in Florida
Charges wire transfer fees for both domestic and international transfers
With BlueVine Business Checking, account holders earn 1% on balances up to $100,000. No minimum balance is required, and it's easy to transfer money to other accounts. Have as many transactions as you need each month for deposits, pay bills, or wire money.
If you lose your card, you can lock it within seconds by logging into your account online, which comes with 24/7 access. All deposits are FDIC insured up to at least $250,000.
If you need to make a cash deposit, you can go to BlueVine's partner, Green Dot, which has over 90,000 locations across the United States.