If you’re ready to get serious about your small business, you’ll want to set up a business bank account so you can start managing your finances. That’s a big step in the right direction.
But when you’re actually searching for a bank to work with, you’ll quickly realize that finding the right bank for your small business is easier said than done.
It takes more than just knocking on the door of the bank nearest your business.
In order to find a good fit, you’ll inevitably put some time and effort into shopping around for the best bank for small business—this is a pretty major decision, after all.
But if you’re a busy small business owner without much time and effort to spend on researching the best bank for small business, we’re here to do some of the heavy lifting for you.
Here’s your definitive guide on how and where to find the best bank for small business.
If you don’t have time to dive deep into the details of each of the best banks for small business owners, then here’s your short-list:
There’s no exact recipe you can follow when you’re searching for the best bank for your small business. 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 bank for small business, there are a few issues that every small business owner has in mind:
Keeping these criteria in mind, we think Wells Fargo, Chase, Capital One, and Bank of America deserve a spot on the list of best banks for small business.
Read on to learn why.
When you’re searching for the best bank for small business, Wells Fargo should be on your list.
Wells Fargo has nearly $2 trillion in assets, making it the third-largest bank based on total deposits. And while it’s often ranked the “Most Respected Company in the World,” Wells Fargo doesn’t just think big picture: they’re also very focused on small businesses.
Here’s how Wells Fargo stacks up as a best bank for small business.
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 that can offer you the financing you need.
If you want a bank that has a wide variety of small business loans, Wells Fargo is a great choice. Unlike most traditional banks, Wells Fargo offers more than just medium-term loans and lines of credit. You can also secure short-term loans, SBA loans, and equipment financing with Wells Fargo—making its lending program one of the most flexible options for small business owners.
If your business banks with Wells Fargo, you can secure anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 in financing at a starting rate of 7.5%. 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.
Why Wells Fargo Stands Out
In terms of lending capacity, here’s why we think Wells Fargo stands out:
It’s the most active SBA lender in the United States.
If you have any reason to believe that you’ll want an SBA loan for your business, you should consider banking with Wells Fargo. Just take a look at the numbers:
In 2016, Wells Fargo issued 6,587 loans from the 7(a) loan program—lending a total of $1,363,161,100 to small businesses.
Wells Fargo has a well-established SBA lending program already set up. So if you find yourself wanting an SBA loan down the line, you’ll be happy you have your Wells Fargo bank account in place.
Wells Fargo offers four different business checking accounts: 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 checking 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’s Business Choice Checking account technically charges a $14 monthly fee. With so many no-fee business checking accounts available, this monthly fee might make you want to look elsewhere.
But wait—this monthly fee is so easy to waive. You just have to make at least 10 debit card purchases a month or meet one of Wells Fargo’s many qualifications, like maintaining $7,500 in an average ledger balance or having $10,000 in combined Wells Fargo accounts.
The first 200 transactions each month are free. After that, you’ll be charged 50 cents per item.
The Business Choice Checking account is a particularly good fit for small businesses that deal in cash.
You can make cash deposits 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.
Need some other reasons to choose Wells Fargo for your small business banking needs?
Check out some of Wells Fargo’s extra banking features:
As you hunt for the best bank for small business, keep Wells Fargo in mind. It’s a particularly small business-friendly bank across the board.
Wells Fargo is 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. Plus, you won’t find a more active SBA lender around.
With $2.6 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 small business.
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 going the more traditional route when it comes to small business loans: term loans and lines of credit.
With a Chase line of credit, you can get as little as $10,000 and as much as $500,000 for your small business.
If you want an SBA loan, you’ll have solid chance at scoring one if you bank with Chase. Chase is the 4th-most active SBA lender in the U.S., lending $551,564,600 in 7(a) loans for small businesses in 2016.
But when it comes down to it, Chase’s SBA lending program doesn’t hold a candle to Wells Fargo’s.
With its 3 small business checking accounts—the 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.
Here’s what to expect with the Total Business Checking account:
You’ll have a monthly service fee of $10 when you enroll in Paperless Statements (or $12 for paper statements). But don’t worry, that fee can be waived if you maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance in your account.
You’re allowed 200 free transactions per month and you can deposit $7,500 in cash each month without a fee.
Why Chase Stands Out
Here’s what sets Chase apart from the rest of the best banks for small business:
Chase business checking has the lowest minimum balance for getting your monthly fee waived.
If you’re just starting out or you run a pretty small operation, odds are you won’t keep too much in your bank account.
With a Chase business checking account, you only need to have $1,500 in your account to have no monthly fee. Most other banks will require a monthly minimum balance of at least $5,000 to waive the fee, so Chase might be the better option for startups and very small businesses.
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 features you should consider:
What makes Chase one of the best banks for small business?
Your small business will absolutely benefit from Chase’s well-established lending program and many low-cost business checking accounts.
But we think Chase really shines in the small business credit card arena. Chase offers some of the most substantial cash back and rewards points earnings on business credit cards. And if you already have a Chase business bank account set up, applying to and using one of their business credit cards should be a seamless process.
Capital One is another major bank that you should consider for your small business.
While Capital One has substantial consumer and commercial banking programs, they’re equally devoted to the small business owner with their Spark Business program.
Here’s why you should check out Capital One on your hunt for the best bank for small business.
Capital One wants to be a partner for your small business—not just a 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.
Why Capital One Stands Out
Capital One doesn’t run as big a production as the other major banks do. And when it comes to small business lending, this could work in your advantage.
Capital One prioritizes your banking relationship. If you have an established Capital One business account, Capital One already knows what your small business’s finances look like. So when you apply for a Capital One loan, 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 Spark Business has a straightforward checking account system. You have two options to choose from: the Spark Business Basic Checking and the Spark Business Unlimited Checking.
Let’s run through the most basic option.
With Spark Business Basic Checking, you’ll get unlimited business transactions each month. You can deposit up to $5,000 in cash each month with no extra fee. After $5,000 in deposits, you’ll be charged $1 for every $1,000 deposited.
The Spark Business Basic Checking account comes with a $15 monthly service fee, but it’s pretty easy to waive. If you maintain the minimum 30- or 90-day average monthly balance of $2,000, you won’t have to pay the monthly fee. Or, if you have two other Capital One products open (like a Spark Business Credit Card, a loan or line of credit, or a merchant service account), you won’t have to worry about the monthly fee.
It’s hard to find a business checking account that has unlimited transactions and a high number of free cash deposits.
If you run a business that has a high number of monthly transactions and cash deposits, banking with Capital One is a smart choice.
When you sign up for a business account with Capital One, you’ll find that the Spark Business program has a lot to offer.
Here are some of the features you can take advantage of:
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 different banking needs across different industries.
And 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.
All in all, Spark Business IQ is a great resource for small business owners who could use some advice along the way.
In its 200 year history, Bank of America has supported over 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.
You won’t have to worry about a lack of small business lending capacity with Bank of America: it 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. If you want to qualify for a small business loan from Bank of America, you should absolutely consider setting up a business checking account with Bank of America.
Why Bank of America Stands Out
Maybe you’ve applied for a small business loan… Just to find out that your industry is on a lending blacklist.
If you’re in the healthcare or agriculture industry, for instance, you might have an especially hard time finding financing for your business.
Well, here’s where it can pay off to have a business account with Bank of America: it has tailored financing solutions for businesses in the healthcare or agricultural industry.
Bank of America has two solid business checking account options for small business owners: the Business Fundamentals account and the Business Advantage account.
Here’s what you need to know about the Business Fundamentals account.
The Fundamentals account costs you $18 per month. There are a few different ways you can waive this fee, however: charge at least $250 per month on a business debit or credit card, maintain an average monthly balance above $5,000, have a combined average of linked Bank of America accounts of $15,000, or keep a minimum daily balance of $3,000.
Do just one of those things—and you’ve got yourself a free business checking account.
As for cash deposits, you’ll have free deposits up to $10,000 per month. After $10,000, you’ll have a 0.2% fee. And once you’ve hit $25,000, there’s a fee of 0.3% on each deposit.
While you’re on the hunt for the best bank for small business, you might only be concerned with monthly fees on checking accounts.
But you should also pay attention to large fees charged on physical cash deposits. Out of the four best banks for small business that we’ve looked at, Bank of America charges the lowest fees on cash deposits.
If your small business mainly deals in cash, you’ll definitely want to consider a Bank of America business account.
When you sign up for a small business account with Bank of America, here’s what else you’ll get:
As far as the best bank for small business goes, Bank of America is a tried-and-true banking option. It offers solid lending programs and intuitive checking accounts.
And if you want to be absolutely sure that you’ll waive the checking account monthly fee and have free banking, Bank of America is probably your best bank for small business. It offers the most ways to waive the monthly fee—it’s a simple as that.
When it comes to the best bank for small business, 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’re well on your way to finding a long-term solution for your small business!
I've been using Capital One and I'm not impressed. There are limits on mobile deposits, ATMs are often down, linked accounts often don't work so you get overdraft fees, etc. If you like to spend time on the phone repeating your problems over and over this is the bank for you.
Great article. Very informational for what I need for my new business venture
disagree. line of credit charges interest rate by day. not a good way to get loans.
Interesting article.. I wonder if how going to one of these large banks compares to a community bank for loan / credit card type products
Agreed. It's really useful to see the pros and cons of all these different business bank accounts... I usually don't think about it this way.
This is super thorough -- nice job, Georgia.