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If you’re serious about running and growing your small business, you’ll want to set up a business bank account ASAP so you can start managing your finances (and, eventually, apply for a small business loan).
But when you start searching for a bank to work with, you’ll quickly realize that finding the right small business bank is easier said than done: It takes more than just knocking on the door of the bank nearest your business. But it can be overwhelming to sort through the fine print on bank websites and really figure out if they can offer the products and services your business truly needs.
Lucky for you, we’re here to do some of the heavy lifting for you—we’ve scoured the banking landscape and put together this definitive guide on small business banks. First we’ll show you how to find the right bank for your small business, then the five overall best banks for small businesses in 2018.
If you don’t have time to look into the details of all the best banks for small business owners, here’s your quick list:
Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo stands out for its wide suite of small business banking services and a heavy emphasis on small business lending. With five types of small business loans and four low-cost business checking accounts, you’re bound to find the financial services you need at Wells Fargo.
Chase: Chase has a solid array of financial solutions for small business owners. They have strong small business lending options, inexpensive checking accounts, and stellar business credit cards.
Capital One: Capital One is fully devoted to small business owners—they even offer lower rates on small business loans to borrowers with existing relationships with the bank. Capital One is also a great bank for businesses that have a high number of monthly transactions and cash deposits, since it offers unlimited transactions and a high number of cash deposits. Plus, they have some of the simplest business checking and savings accounts on the market.
Bank of America: Bank of America offers a strong small business lending program and arguably the lowest-cost small business checking accounts, with the most ways to waive monthly account fees.
Azlo: Azlo isn’t quite a bank—it’s a bank account, backed up by BBVA Compass Bank. But if you don’t need the full-service of a brick-and-mortar bank, and really just need a bank account, then Azlo could just be what you’re looking for. It offers an all-digital, fee-free checking account designed with LLCs, sole proprietorships, and the smallest of small businesses in mind. In addition to standard banking capabilities, Azlo provides additional tools that help users keep track of their expenses even more efficiently.
No two businesses are alike, so every business owner will want different things from the bank they choose to work with. But when you’re on the hunt for the best small business bank, every small business owner should keep these issues top of mind:
Keeping these criteria in mind, we think Wells Fargo, Chase, Capital One, Bank of America and Azlo deserve a spot on the list of best banks for small business. Read on to learn why.
Wells Fargo has about $2 trillion in assets, making it the third-largest bank based on total deposits. Despite that huge number, Wells Fargo doesn’t just think big picture: they’re also very focused on small businesses. Here’s why Wells Fargo makes the list:
Wells Fargo Small Business Lending
We’re willing to bet that, at some point in your small business’s lifetime, you’ll need to take out a small business loan to finance its growth. And when that time comes, you’ll be glad you have an established relationship with a bank, so you can take advantage of bank loans’ excellent terms.
Unlike most traditional banks, Wells Fargo offers more than just medium-term loans and lines of credit. They also offer short-term loans, SBA loans, and equipment financing, making its lending program incredibly flexible for small business owners.
Depending on the type of loan you’re going for with Wells Fargo, your small business can secure anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 in financing, at a starting interest rate of 6.75%. And because you’ll already have a business account open with the bank, your business loan application for any of the Wells Fargo small business loans will be fast and easy.
Here’s why we think Wells Fargo lending really stands out: It’s the most active SBA lender in the United States. Just take a look at the numbers: In 2016, Wells Fargo issued 6,587 loans from the SBA 7(a) loan program—lending a total of $1,363,161,100 to small businesses.
So, if you find yourself wanting an SBA loan down the line, you’ll be happy to have a bank account with Wells Fargo—aka “American’s leading small business lender”—in place.
Wells Fargo Small Business Checking Accounts
There are four different Wells Fargo business checking accounts, which vary according to your business’s size, needs, and banking capacities: Business Choice Checking, Platinum Business Checking, Simple Business Checking, and Analyzed Business Checking.
The business checking account you choose to use will depend on what kind of small business you run and your needs. But let’s run through the details of Wells Fargo’s most popular and versatile small business checking account: Business Choice Checking.
Wells Fargo Business Choice Checking includes:
The Business Choice Checking account is a particularly good fit for small businesses that deal largely in cash, because you can make cash deposits of up to $7,500 a month with no extra charge. (That’s almost twice the amount other big banks will give you!) Once you’ve hit the $7,500 limit, there’s a charge of 30 cents for every extra $100 in cash deposits.
Extra Banking Features at Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo offers robust lending and checking accounts for small business owners. But you can also take advantage of the bank’s additional features, like:
Wells Fargo also allows you to integrate your QuickBooks accounting software so you can easily and safely maintain all your financials online. But if you prefer to do your banking in person, you can visit one of Wells Fargo’s 6,000 locations nationwide.
The Bottom Line on Banking with Wells Fargo
Across the board, Wells Fargo is particularly small business-friendly. It’s an especially good option for small business owners who are looking for a strong lending program from their bank. As an account-holder with Wells Fargo, you can easily apply to lots of different loan products with low rates.
With $2.39 trillion in assets, Chase has the biggest banking presence in the United States. In fact, Chase serves almost half of all American households. But Chase isn’t only focused on the consumer—it also has a significant small business banking program. Here’s why Chase bank might be the best bank for your small business.
Chase Small Business Lending
Chase offers a variety of loan options for small business owners, like term loans, lines of credit, SBA loans, commercial real estate loans, and equipment financing. While Chase is starting to offer more alternative lending products, it’s best known for those traditional small business loans.
And, for qualified borrowers, Chase small business loans can fetch huge amounts of capital. With a Chase line of credit, you can get as little as $10,000, or as much as $500,000 for your small business. And if you want an SBA loan, you have three options: A classic SBA 7(a) loan, an SBA Express term loan, or an SBA 504 loan.
Chase Small Business Checking Accounts
With its three Chase business checking accounts—Total Business Checking, Performance Business Checking, and Platinum Business Checking—Chase can easily meet your business’s checking needs.
Each account is designed for the different stages in a business’s lifetime. The one that’s best suited for small businesses, though, is probably the Chase Total Business Checking account.
Some fundamental features of the Chase Total Business Checking account include:
Extra Banking Features at Chase
If Chase’s established small business lending program and business checking accounts aren’t reason enough to sign up for account, here are some other advantages to consider:
The Bottom Line on Banking with Chase
Your small business will absolutely benefit from Chase’s well-established lending program and several low-cost business checking accounts. But we think Chase really shines with their small business credit card. In particular, Chase offers some of the most substantial cash back and rewards points earnings on business credit cards.
While Capital One has substantial consumer and commercial banking programs, their comprehensive suite of financing solutions proves that they’re equally devoted to small business owners.
Capital One Small Business Lending
Capital One wants to be a partner for your small business, not just your bank. When you need to grow your business and smooth out your cash flow along the way, Capital One has a few different loan products for you to consider.
With Capital One, you could take out a working capital line of credit, equipment or vehicle loan, business installment loan, or SBA loan. With a wide variety of loan products available, they’re sure to meet any financing need that comes up as your business grows.
Capital One truly prioritizes your banking relationship. If you have an established Capital One business account and apply for a loan with the bank, you might qualify for what Capital One calls “relationship-based” loan rates. Simply put, Capital One might give you a lower-cost loan if you already have an established relationship with the bank.
Capital One Small Business Checking Accounts
Capital One offers a straightforward small business checking account system. You have two options to choose from: the Spark Business Basic Checking and the Spark Business Unlimited Checking.
Here’s what you can expect with a Spark Business Basic Checking account:
It’s hard to find a business checking account that has unlimited transactions and a high number of free cash deposits. So, if you run a business that has a high number of monthly transactions and cash deposits, banking with Capital One is a smart choice.
Their Spark Business Savings Account is a stellar choice for a first savings account for many businesses, too, offering free business savings that you can set up entirely online. That’s a feature that’s rare to find.
Extra Banking Features at Capital One
When you sign up for a business account with Capital One, you’ll find that their Spark Business program has a lot to offer. Here are some of the features you can take advantage of:
The Bottom Line on Banking with Capital One
With a strong lending program and low-cost business checking accounts, Capital One is one of the best banks for small business. But Capital One really sets itself apart by being totally devoted to small businesses. No two small businesses are alike, and Capital One recognizes that by tailoring their Spark Business program to meet various banking needs across various industries.
But here’s where Capital One really shines: When you bank with Capital One, you’ll have access to Spark Business IQ—a program designed to help entrepreneurs manage their business’s operations, finances, and cash flow. You can tap into Spark Business IQ to access valuable guides and share ideas on how to grow your business.
In its 200 year history, Bank of America has supported more than 3 million small business owners with easy-to-use banking products and services. With that much influence, Bank of America might just be the best bank for small business. Here’s why it could be a good fit for your small business.
Bank of America Small Business Lending
You won’t have to worry about a lack of small business lending capacity with Bank of America: The bank secured almost $10.7 billion in new credit to small business owners in 2015.
Bank of America offers traditional bank financing, like secured business term loans and lines of credit, along with commercial real estate loans, equipment and vehicle financing, and SBA loans. And, as with any small business loans from major banks, you can get long-term financing at a low rate.
In particular, you’ll definitely want to check out Bank of America if you run a healthcare business, since the bank offers tailored financing solutions specifically for that industry.
Bank of America Small Business Checking Accounts
Bank of America has two solid business checking account options for small business owners: the Business Fundamentals account and the Business Advantage account.
Here are some major features of the Business Fundamentals Checking account, which offers all the essentials your small business needs:
If your small business mainly deals in cash, you’ll definitely want to consider a Bank of America business account—of the four best small business banks on this list, Bank of America charges the lowest fees on cash deposits.
Extra Banking Features at Bank of America
When you sign up for a small business account with Bank of America, you can take advantage of the bank’s additional features and services, like:
The Bottom Line on Banking With Bank of America
As far as the best bank for small business goes, Bank of America is a tried-and-true banking option, with a solid lending program and intuitive checking accounts. And if you want to be absolutely sure that you’ll waive a checking account monthly fee, Bank of America is probably your best bet, since it offers the most ways to waive that extra charge.
When you think about a small business bank, you’re probably thinking of the brick-and-mortar banks dotting your area. But with Azlo Business Checking, you don’t need to step foot into a traditional bank to have a positive banking experience.
Created especially for freelancers, self-employed individuals, and side-hustlers, Azlo stands out from the pack for two very obvious reasons: This bank account is completely digital, and it’s completely fee-free. Azlo was recently launched with the backing with BBVA Compass Bank, which holds all accounts on this platform and ensures that all deposits are FDIC-insured.
Azlo Small Business Checking Accounts
Azlo offers one tier of business checking account, and that account comes with no attached fees on any of its transactions. Some key features on Azlo’s app and dashboard include:
Since there are no fees and only one checking account tier involved, Azlo’s platform doesn’t come with the (admittedly complicated) fine print that some other checking account terms do. The model is super-simple: Without any minimum balance requirements or tier caps, Azlo offers users a free space to deposit, store, and transfer as much cash as they need.
Extra Banking Features with Azlo
In addition to all the capabilities you’d expect from a business checking account, Azlo streamlines expense tracking and management through their app and dashboard. Some additional tools on Azlo’s platform include:
The Bottom Line on Banking with Azlo
Azlo does have some clear limitations: Unlike brick-and-mortar banks, Azlo’s checking account is the only financing product on their docket. And since this bank account is totally digital, you won’t get the face-to-face customer experience that you would at your local bank branch (though they do have online customer service). And if you deal in cash transactions, it makes more sense to sign on with a traditional bank, that has a physical branch near you.
So, in all, Azlo is a simple, straightforward, and secure digital banking option for freelancers, LLC, and the smallest of small businesses that generate all of their revenue through digital transactions, and are happy to do all their banking online.
At last count, there were 4,398 commercial banks in the United States. That’s a lot of banks to sort through to find the one that works for your small business. To make things a bit simpler, we narrowed down that massive list to these five best banks for small business in 2018:
Whether you opt for one of these five banks or another institution, your best option depends on what you need for your small business. To find the perfect fit, you’ll have to ask yourself a few questions:
And when you’re answering these questions, be sure to have both your business’s current situation and future goals in mind. If you stay realistic and upfront with your banking needs, you’ll know exactly how to sort through the fine print and find exactly the small business bank you need.
You’re probably looking for a bank so you can open a business checking account, a business savings account, a business credit card, and, eventually, take out a small business loan.
The thing is, though, that finding banks with great checking and savings options will be easy—but finding a bank that will also lend you money can be tough, since bank lending to small businesses is down across the board. Additionally, credit cards are becoming a product you consider discretely, not necessarily based on which bank it’s attached to.
So, deciding on a small business bank will really come down to what you’ll be using that bank for the most: checking and savings accounts.
And if you don’t have a business credit card, start shopping for one now. Business credit cards are crucial financing tools for every small business, because they give you an immediate, flexible source of capital. The best way to find a business credit card is to search the market according to what your small business needs.
Here’s a list of a few of our favorite business credit cards, based on common needs.
Amex’s Blue Business Plus is our favorite 0% intro APR period business credit card on the market. Why? That intro APR period is 15 months long, the longest we’ve ever seen. Keep in mind, though, that after your 15 interest-free months are up, a variable APR sets in at a rate depending on your creditworthiness. This rate will also vary with the market, so check the issuer’s terms and conditions for the latest APR information.
Chase’s Ink Business Preferred business credit card is hands-down the best travel card on the market right now thanks to their stellar sign-up bonus: You can earn 80,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. If you use Chase cards for your personal spending, too, this card is even more powerful.
Capital One’s Spark Classic business credit card is great for business owners who are still building up their personal credit score, since you’ll only need a minimum credit score of 550 to apply—one of the lowest minimum credit card requirements you’ll find on a major credit card. Plus, you’ll get 1% cash back on all your spend, so you can earn while you build that credit score.
When you use a cash back card, you’re getting two financial solutions in one: a flexible line of credit, and the opportunity to receive cash back with every transaction. Check out Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® for a no-fee cash back card that gives you 3%, 2%, or 1% cash back, depending on where you spend.