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Working for yourself can be one of the most rewarding challenges you decide to take on as a professional. You’ll rely on your self-motivation skills, multitasking ability, and prowess at selling your services. And on top of all that, you’re also going to need to find the best bank account for self-employed solopreneurs such as yourself. Welcome to being your own business owner!
Even if it many solopreneurs aren’t sure where to look for the best bank account for self-employed workers like themselves, there are more options out there than ever. Gone are the days where most business checking accounts catered only to companies with more than one employee—in fact, today’s online business checking landscape gives self-employed entrepreneurs a few banking options that cater exclusively to their demographic.
The best bank account for self-employed workers depends primarily on what you’re looking for from your bank. There are online-only banks for solopreneurs who want to take their banking digital as well as more conventional business accounts at brick-and-mortar banks that tailor their services to the self-employed. Here’s how to find the best bank account for self-employed workers that meets your specific needs as well as several important factors to consider.
Finding the best bank account for self-employed workers is largely based on what your needs are and the kind of services your solopreneur shop offers. A digital marketing agency may only need a bare-bones online checking account that offers unlimited transfers, while a one-woman tailoring shop may need the ability to make several cash deposits throughout any given month. No matter what you do as self-employed business owner, there are a handful of questions to ask yourself to find the right bank account for you.
Any successful criteria for picking the best bank account for self-employed workers has to factor in monthly bank fees. Some fee-free business checking accounts offer just enough features for self-employed solopreneurs to conduct their business banking without spending for items they don’t need. But for others, these accounts fail to offer the range of services that allow them to cover their financial bases.
If you don’t make many transfers every month, rarely make international wire transfers, or only make withdrawals and deposits infrequently, most introductory-level business checking accounts will provide you with the level of support you need—all without a monthly maintenance fee. Some accounts might include a fee, which is waived if you maintain a minimum monthly balance. If, however, you run a business that demands these features and more, you may want to consider opting for a business checking account that’s aimed at midsized businesses. Otherwise you’ll end up paying for individual transactions that add up to costing you more than the monthly fee you’d pay for a more premium account.
Few banks are created equal, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the small business banking world. Online banking features vary significantly between banks; so too does the quality of client support. Some conventional banks offer great personal support at their local branches, while other online-only banks strike a tradeoff between exemplary online assistance in exchange for not being physically accessible. Similarly, some brick-and-mortar banks offer a limited—or even frustrating!—online banking platform, whereas many online-only banks offer intuitive, feature-packed platforms that make banking easier than ever.
In this case, the best bank account for self-employed workers depends on what each individual wants out of their account. If in-person support is the primary need, then an online bank can’t compete with the local branch of a conventional bank. If, however, a feature-packed online platform is the primary need, a wholly digital bank might be the way to go.
Every company has different needs when depositing and transferring money—and most business banking accounts offer different options on how many free transactions their clients can make every month. Even more importantly, some of the best bank accounts for self-employed workers don’t offer cash deposits, which might work okay for some people but be a deal-breaker for others.
When choosing a bank account for your self-employed initiative, consider how most of your clients pay you. If you find that you’re getting more cash payments than checks or bank transfers, you’re going to want to look for business checking accounts that don’t set a low cap on the number of cash deposits you can make every month. Alternatively, if you’re getting paid primarily through wire transfers, you should shy away from accounts that put a cap on how many you’ll get for free.
You may want to consider how, when, and where you’re going to access your money when determining which bank account is right for you. If you tend to get paid in cash, you’re likely going to want to pick a business checking account that will let you deposit physical money at an ATM or local branch. If you get paid via checks or wire transfers, you may be less concerned with having an abundance of ATMs near you.
Every one of the best bank accounts for self-employed workers comes with ATM access, although online-only banks tend to rely on a third-party network of cash machines. Established brick-and-mortar banks, however, use their physical locations to help clients get cash. Consider how often you’ll need to deposit money into your account, as well as the drawbacks and benefits of banks that do not have their own dedicated ATMs.
There are several bank accounts for self-employed workers and solopreneurs that could be classified as “the best.” Each offer different perks and benefits, which means that the perfect account for one person may not be the best for another. Some businesses rely heavily on cash deposits, which means that an online bank may not work nearly as well for them as a bank with plenty of physical locations. On the flip side, some solopreneurs may want the flexibility of unlimited transfers that online banks provide, and aren’t fussed about not being able to deposit cash into their account. We’ve chosen the best bank account for self-employed workers based on the considerations we laid out above.
Although online banking makes financial matters easier to tackle for most entrepreneurs, there’s something to be said for starting a banking relationship with an established (and accessible) financial firm. This is particularly true if your company deals primarily in cash, which makes it all but impossible to work with a bank that doesn’t have a physical presence.
Chase Total Business Checking is the best bank account for self-employed workers who want to build a relationship with a physical bank as they start out on their business. The account has a low monthly service fee of $12 (if you opt for paperless statements; otherwise the fee is $15), which can be waived if your average daily balance reaches $1,500 or more. You can deposit up to $5,000 in cash every month without incurring fees, and can send and receive wire transfers at Chase’s typical rate. Plus, you’ll have access to Chase’s online and mobile banking platforms, which means that you’ll pair the convenience of having local branches with the flexibility of doing your business banking online.
Online banks like Simple and Ally made it easy for customers to open accounts, transfer cash, and still have access to ATMs across the country. Although there aren’t nearly as many online banks for businesses (and, sadly, Ally doesn’t offer a business checking account), the ones that do exist are pretty darn good. What online business bank accounts lack in physical branches, they more than make up for in features, speed, convenience, and customer service. If you conduct your business primarily online, or don’t often get cash payments, then an online business bank account might be for you.
In this category, Azlo is hands-down the best bank account for self-employed workers who are looking to set up a business account quickly (and without the hassle of going to a local bank branch in person). Setup is a snap—all you need to do is have your business and personal tax information at the ready, and you’ll be on your way toward applying for an account. And once you’re an Azlo member, you can take advantage of the bank’s mobile-first banking interface. Transferring money is a breeze, and so is integrating Azlo with third-party payment devices like Stripe or Square. So long as you don’t need to deposit cash or write physical checks to pay for goods, Azlo might be the perfect bank for you.
Every self-employed worker wants to see their business expand. The downside to a growing business? Outgrowing your checking account. What was once a great fit in the early days of your business may not stay that way forever, particularly as you take on more work and inherently have to manage your money differently. But if you begin your banking relationship with Chase, it’s easy to grow into a more feature-packed account, such as Chase Performance Checking.
This account is great for solopreneurs who have to move money around every month—especially if they deal mostly in cash. You’ll get 250 transactions free every month, unlimited electronic deposits and incoming wire transfers, $20,000 in free cash deposits, and two outgoing domestic wire transfers for free every payment cycle. You’ll also have the account’s $30 monthly fee waived if you maintain a $35,000 average daily balance.
No matter what kind of solopreneurial project you take on, it’s not hard to find the best bank account for self-employed workers like yourself. Sure, the qualifying factors involved in picking the right bank for your company will vary depending on your line of work, but each bank offers unique advantages that could help give your business a boost. All you need to do is know where to look, and what to look for.