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Looking for Ally Business Checking? What Small Business Owners Should Know

Brian O'Connor

Contributing Writer at Fundera
Brian writes about finance, business strategy, and digital marketing. He has worked at Morgan Stanley, Foreign Affairs magazine, Student Loan Hero, and as a partner of a small consulting firm, too. Combined, these experiences allow him to offer a unique perspective on the challenges small business owners face.

If you’re excited about online banking, then you certainly know Ally Bank. In the handful of excellent online-only checking accounts on the market, chief among them is Ally. Ally Checking is not only fee-free, it also actually accrues monthly interest at rates that are comparable to those of a savings account. Plus, Ally offers class-leading customer service. All things considered, the bank offers a unique product for consumers that’s earned it rave reviews. And, if you’re searching for Ally business checking for your company, brand loyalty, clearly.

And most big banks do offer business checking accounts that offer similar (if not better) perks than their consumer options. So, if you’re already eager to open an online business checking account, why not try to do your business checking with Ally?

Unfortunately, if you’re looking to open an Ally business checking account, you’re out of luck. We’ll cut right to the chase: Ally does not currently offer a business checking option, as their banking division is personal only as of this writing, only for individuals and joint account-holders.

As disappointed as you might be to learn that there’s no Ally business checking account, that doesn’t mean that you’re totally out of luck. If you’re searching for a business checking account, that means you probably still need one—and there are more than a few great business checking accounts, including one option that’s online-only and doesn’t require you to apply in-person.

We’ve looked at some of the best parts of Ally’s personal checking to help you figure out your best Ally business checking alternatives.

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The Best Online Alternatives to an Ally Business Checking Account

Ally is, obviously, an online-only bank. So, if you’re after an Ally business checking account, it’s quite likely that you’re looking for a digital business bank account—or you’re at a minimum interested in the convenience and modern features that one could provide you. That’s why we’ll start here.

There might be a bevy of great online-only banks out there for personal checking, but the same can’t be said for the business checking market. A lot of that has to do with the reality that it’s really difficult from a regulatory standpoint for banks to complete opening business checking accounts entirely online (mostly due to identity theft and fraud protection).

In fact, there are only a handful of entirely digital business checking accounts: Bank of Internet (BofI) Business Interest Checking, Azlo Business Checking, and Novo checking. And of those three, only BofI Business Interest Checking offers provides account holders with compounding interest. But what Azlo and Novo lack in interest rates, they make up for in technology: Both are brand-new and tech-heavy options for entrepreneurs who are interested in maximizing the best technology in online banking for their business.

BofI Business Interest Checking

Founded in 1999, BofI was one of the first online-only banks. They were quick to adopt the model of offering enticing perks, like good interest rates on checking and savings accounts, in order to attract new customers who may not have been totally on board with ditching their brick-and-mortar banks. Ally may have a bigger name brand for offering interest checking, but BofI was one of the innovators.

BofI Business Interest Checking offers a fantastic alternative to would-be Ally business checking customers. Their account offers a flat 0.8% APY irrespective of the amount of cash in the account, a nationwide network of free ATMs, 50 free items, and up to 60 free remote deposits every month. Better still, BofI Business Interest Checking also comes with the ability to use paper checks, which Azlo and Novo don’t support. This account comes with a monthly maintenance fee of $10 per month, but this gets waived if you maintain an average daily balance of $5,000.

Azlo Business Checking

Azlo Business Checking, another newcomer to the business checking scene, provides a fully online banking option for small businesses of any size. Azlo offers mobile check deposit, free ATM withdrawals (from member ATM networks), and unlimited ACH transactions. The bank also supports integration with Stripe and Square, and allows users to invoice clients directly from their account page.

Like Ally, Azlo doesn’t require a minimum balance to open an account. Nor does it charge you monthly fees to keep the account open. But the two banks differ with regards to ATM fee reimbursements and interest rates. Azlo doesn’t provide a $10 monthly reimbursement for ATM fees like Ally does; nor does it offer interest-bearing checking. But all told, most customers won’t miss these features (and won’t likely find them with other business checking accounts).

If you’re already familiar with Ally, Azlo will be a snap to use. Both banks are digital-first, meaning that all of your banking is done online or through the bank’s app. Just like Ally, Azlo also requires all of its clients to deposit via their app. The deposit function within Azlo’s app is straightforward and simple enough that you won’t miss having the mail-in option, however.

Novo

Novo is a brand-new bank that just left its invite-only beta stage. The company touts itself as an online bank that’s built for startups, but any business can apply for an account as long as the applicant is a United States citizen with a Social Security number.

The bank offers fee-free checking, no minimum balance, and an intuitive mobile app that serves as the core of their banking experience—something you’ll appreciate if you’re searching for Ally business checking.

At the moment, Novo mostly caters to startup founders and tech-focused small businesses. They offer the usual bank features, such as mobile deposits and transfers, as well as a debit card for ATM withdrawals. Novo’s interface can help you track expenses, payments, burn rate, and daily banking concerns. The platform can even help you cancel recurring subscriptions; track your spending; and integrates into software platforms like QuickBooks, Stripe, Slack, and Gusto.

What sets Novo apart from other business bank accounts is Claire, Novo’s AI bot. Claire functions as your personal financial assistant, offering you real-time advice through chat and notifications about your company’s overall financial health. No business checking account offers something quite like Claire, making this a distinct advantage over Novo’s competitors.

The Best Brick-and-Mortar Bank Alternatives to Ally Business Checking

If your business works with a great deal of cash, or you need the ability to deposit a high volume of checks, you’re going to want to limit your search to business checking accounts that have physical branches.

Just like with Ally’s personal checking account, you’re not going to be able to deposit cash or checks with an online-only bank (and you can’t send these kinds of deposits to a branch, either, as there aren’t any). And unlike Ally, neither Novo nor Azlo provide account holders with physical checks—both banks rely solely on direct bank transfers to let their customers pay invoices.

But if you want a bank with branches that also has their stuff together on the technical end, Chase is an excellent place to look. First, the bank has highly invested in their digital infrastructure, so they have modern apps and a high-functioning website, which not every big bank does. They’ve also just launched Finn, an online-only personal bank, so even Chase is moving toward more online-only banking experiences.

That said, they don’t offer a business checking equivalent to their Finn account—nor do we know about any plans for one as of now. But what Chase does offer, besides their tech, is some of the best business checking accounts for small business owners. There are three accounts available that provide a wealth of features, low fees, and wire transfers that are tailored to each stage of your small business’s growth—but here are the two we think could be your best alternatives:

Chase Total Business Checking

Chase Total Business Checking is the entry-level option for small businesses that are just starting out, or don’t need a ton of features as part of their banking experience. This account offers low monthly service fees (which are waived with a daily balance of $1,500), a manageable account balance, 100 free transactions, and $5,000 in free deposits every month.

And as long as you don’t need to make a ton of incoming or outgoing wire transfers, you can avoid the standard fee that’s charged to your account for each one made. If you’re satisfied with the basic features of an Ally account, you’ll be right at home with Chase Total Business Checking.

Chase Performance Business Checking

Chase Performance Business Checking provides the next tier of small business banking support above the basic Total Business Checking account. Performance Business Checking is great for mid-size businesses, as it provides 250 transactions and two outgoing domestic wires for free every month. Plus, you’ll get $20,000 in fee-free cash deposits, and can have your $30 monthly service fee waived so long as you maintain a $35,000 balance.

Chase is also offering a limited-time welcome bonus of $200 for opening an account and performing a few steps, like a $1,000 minimum deposit, and essentially keeping your account active for 60 days.

Another Approach to Earn Interest on Your Business Cash

One thing you likely love about your Ally personal checking account—and that you’re probably seeing out in an Ally business checking account—is the chance to earn interest. Unfortunately, earning interest on checking is a rarity (hence why loyalty to Ally is high).

One option you have if earning interest in a business bank account is more important than anything: open a business savings account. Seems obvious, of course. But Capital One offers a business savings account that not only offers the option to earn interest, but also is entirely digital—and that could be a good place to start.

Capital One Spark Business Savings

Even if you only have a teeny balance to sock away—after all, we understand cash flow is tough as an entrepreneur—you might want to consider opening a Spark Business Savings Account with Capital One.

This 100% digital account only requires a minimum balance requirement of $1 and has no monthly fee with a 1.75% APY. By comparison, Ally’s Interest Checking Account requires a minimum balance of $15,000 with a 0.60% APY. Granted, they’re different types of accounts—for instance, you’ll only have six free withdrawals per month on this business savings account). But if yield is what you’re after, even putting away a little bit of money with a Cap One Spark Savings Account could get you what you’re after.

So, if interest is a priority, and so is keeping things online, this could be an option, too—if even to supplement a digital business checking account like Azlo, or a brick-and-mortar bank like Chase.

Finding the Best Alternative to an Ally Business Checking Account

The bad news is that Ally business checking isn’t currently available, and we’re not sure if the bank will branch out into business banking anytime soon. That said, you do still have options that’ll give you lots of what you like about being an Ally bank customer—including the opportunity to earn interest or bank online. Or, in certain instances, both.

Your best bet is to figure out what’s most important to your business, and then you can figure out the best alternative to pursue. Regardless, make sure you don’t use a personal checking account for your business; it’s essential you keep your personal and business finances separate, no matter how tempting it is to stick with Ally personal banking for business. We promise—you’ll find an account that’s right for you.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian O'Connor

Contributing Writer at Fundera
Brian writes about finance, business strategy, and digital marketing. He has worked at Morgan Stanley, Foreign Affairs magazine, Student Loan Hero, and as a partner of a small consulting firm, too. Combined, these experiences allow him to offer a unique perspective on the challenges small business owners face.

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