When setting up your small business, picking the right bank account is just as important as making sure you’ve got licenses and permits, and just as crucial as having a solid business plan to help your company grow. There are a ton of great business bank account options out there, though, which can make it difficult to be confident that you’re picking the right one. One tactic to help you pick the right business bank account is to open one at a bank you already use personally. If you use E-Trade Checking personally, you’re likely asking, “is there an E-Trade business bank account that I can open too?”
After all, having personal and business bank accounts at the same financial firm can help make your life easier. Plus, some banks even offer you perks for keeping your personal and professional money in the same place. Although E-Trade does not offer business bank account options that are separate from their regular checking accounts, business owners can, in fact, open a quasi E-Trade business checking account.
If you think this sounds a little confusing, don’t worry—this E-Trade business bank account review is here to help. We’ll explain the nuances associated with E-Trade business banking, what account options (including features and fees) are available to business owners, as well as offer top business checking account alternatives for you to consider.
Typically, when we talk about business banking with a financial institution that also offers personal bank accounts, like Chase or Bank of America, the business checking accounts that said institution offers are completely different from their personal banking options.
Continuing with Chase as an example, Chase’s business bank account offerings are distinctly separate from their personal ones. If you want to open a bank account with Chase as a business, you have to choose specifically from their business account options. What’s unusual, therefore, when it comes to an E-Trade business account, is that it’s no different from a personal E-Trade banking account.
Instead of offering bank accounts designated for small businesses, E-Trade allows business owners to apply for one of their two personal checking account options for use as an E-Trade business checking account. What differentiates then, an E-Trade business bank account from a personal E-Trade bank account is simply the application process and account eligibility, as opposed to the features and fees—which you see with the Chase or Bank of America business accounts.
This being said, it’s difficult to find information on the E-Trade website that relates to E-Trade business banking. However, if you scroll to the bottom of the main E-Trade checking account page, you will find a disclosure that references business entities and eligibility. As E-Trade representatives will tell you, you can find the application document for an E-Trade business bank account under their “Forms and Applications” section of the website.
In this E-Trade business bank account application, you’ll not only find the form you need to complete to apply for an E-Trade business checking account, but also relevant information regarding account eligibility. Your eligibility to apply for an E-Trade business checking account will depend on your business entity type.
If your business is a sole proprietorship or non-profit, you can apply for either of the two E-Trade checking accounts: E-Trade Checking or Max-Rate Checking. On the other hand, if you are a limited liability company, association or club, partnership, or corporation, you can only apply for the E-Trade Checking account. Although E-Trade offers a Premium Savings Account for personal use, businesses cannot apply for this type of account.
Additionally, besides these eligibility requirements, the other major differentiator for business owners looking to apply for an E-Trade business bank account is that in order to do so, you must complete the physical application form and mail it to E-Trade. As you’ll see in the PDF and the photo below, the application specifies the documentation that is required to complete it, based on your business entity type, and then gives direction on how to fill in your business’s information to complete the form.
If you were applying for an E-Trade checking account for personal use, on the other hand, you would be able to complete the whole of your application online or over the phone.
Now that we’ve explained that an E-Trade business bank account is essentially the same as a personal E-Trade bank account, let’s dive deeper into the two E-Trade checking account options and what features they can offer your business.
The first E-Trade checking account option for businesses is the aptly named E-Trade Checking account. As we mentioned, all business types are eligible to apply for this account. The E-Trade Checking account requires a $100 opening deposit and includes:
The second option for an E-Trade business checking account is Max-Rate Checking. Once again, only sole proprietorships and non-profit organizations can apply for this particular E-Trade account. This being said, the Max-Rate checking account includes:
One of the biggest differences, therefore, between these two checking accounts is that the Max-Rate account is an interest-earning account. Like the E-Trade Checking account, however, the Max-Rate account also requires a $100 opening deposit.
Furthermore, whereas the E-Trade Checking account has no minimums or monthly fees, the Max-Rate account will cost you $15 per month if you do not meet a minimum account balance. You can waive this fee one of four ways:
In addition to the $100 opening deposit for each of these E-Trade business bank account offerings, there will be a few other instances in which you’ll incur fees. First, as we mentioned, if you have the Max-Rate checking account and cannot meet any of the fee waiver scenarios, you’ll pay a $15 per month account fee. Moreover, for either account, fees can include:
Even though the E-Trade small business account options are essentially the same as personal checking accounts, you still might be considering applying for one for your business. Here is what we consider the main benefits of an E-Trade business checking account:
You gain the greatest benefits from choosing E-Trade for your business banking if you already have accounts with E-Trade. E-Trade not only offers bank accounts, of course but also brokerage and retirement accounts, as well as managed portfolios. This being said, if you already have an account with an E-Trade and apply for an E-Trade business account, you’ll be able to separate your business and personal finances, but still keep them within one financial institution. Additionally, if you’re interested in the Max-Rate checking account, you’ll have more ways to waive the monthly fee if you already have other accounts with E-Trade.
If you want to be able to manage your business bank account in various ways from multiple locations, there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to do so with an E-Trade business checking account. With either of their checking options, E-Trade gives you access to their 30 branch locations and if you have the Max-Rate account, reimburses any ATM fees you incur. Furthermore, you have the ability to access your bank account 24/7, wherever you go, on your computer or mobile device.
Although it can’t be said that E-Trade business bank accounts have no fees, it’s certainly true that the fees are limited. As we broke down above, most of the fees associated with E-Trade accounts are the result of an action and not associated with maintaining and using your account. Therefore, if you’re mainly going to be using your business bank account to house your funds, you won’t face many fees using E-Trade. Additionally, even though the Max-Rate account has a monthly fee, it’s not only relatively low, only $15, but E-Trade also gives you four different ways to waive it.
Despite these benefits of using E-Trade for your business banking, there are also downsides to consider as well. Here are a few worth noting:
Perhaps the biggest drawback of an E-Trade business bank account is that these accounts are not specifically designed for businesses. As we explained above, if you utilize either of E-Trade’s checking account options, you’re essentially using a personal checking account for your business. Because these accounts are not business-specific, you’re missing out on the features and benefits you’ll see with other business bank accounts on the market.
For example, some business bank accounts, like Chase Performance Checking, include a specified amount of free outgoing wires per month, as well as a sign-up bonus. On the other hand, there are online-based banks, like Bluevine and Novo, that were not only created for businesses but are essentially fee-free.
Furthermore, many other small business checking account providers offer additional services for businesses like savings accounts, merchant services, and business credit cards. Overall, there are a variety of business-specific bank accounts out there that can provide you the same functionality at the same cost as E-Trade, plus more.
Along the same lines, since these E-Trade checking accounts are first and foremost, personal checking accounts, there are several limitations associated with them for businesses. First, as we explained earlier, only specific entity types can apply to each respective checking account.
Additionally, not all entity types are eligible for an ATM debit card, which severely limits the capabilities associated with your E-Trade business bank account. Moreover, if you want to apply for an E-Trade business account, you have to submit your application by mail—which takes time and costs money.
If you want fast access to a business bank account, E-Trade is not going to be your best option. Plus, not only do you have to mail your application, but the application document itself is difficult to find on the E-Trade website and E-Trade does not offer much additional information online concerning business banking.
All of this considered, there are many E-Trade business checking account alternatives also worth exploring. Whether you’re looking for a business banking solution that’s wholly online or you prefer to stick with a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, there are plenty of options at your disposal.
For an alternative interest-earning business bank account, you might consider Bluevine business checking.
With the Bluevine business checking account, you have the ability to earn 1.5% interest on account balances up to and including $100,000. Terms apply. That said, the Bluevine bank account is completely fee-free, can be opened quickly and easily online, and includes unlimited transactions.
In addition, it has no minimum opening deposit requirement, no NSF fees, and gives you the ability to withdraw cash fee-free at over 38,000 MoneyPass ATMs around the U.S. Moreover, unlike many other online-based business checking accounts, you also have the option to deposit cash through Bluevine’s partnership with Green Dot—you can deposit cash at over 90,000 Green Dot locations around the country.
On top of these benefits, the Bluevine business checking account includes two free checkbooks, mobile check deposit, and it also gives you the ability to pay vendors and bills using ACH transfer, wire payments, or checks.
Axos Bank, formerly known as Bank of Internet, offers business checking and savings accounts that applicants can open entirely online. As one of the two checking account options, Axos Business Interest Checking gives you 100 free items and up to 1.01% APY every month on your balance. A $100 initial deposit is required to open an account. Additionally, as long as you maintain an average daily balance of $5,000, you’ll avoid the $10 monthly fee.
Furthermore, Axos allows account holders to use paper checks with their accounts, which is a rarity for online banks. You’ll also receive unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements as well—meaning that the only thing you’re lacking with Axos is the convenience of having a nearby physical branch.
If you’re running a new business or don’t want to pay a monthly account fee for features you won’t use, Chase Business Complete Banking might be the account for you. Like E-Trade, the Chase Business Complete Banking account is offered by an established financial institution and gives you the option to house your personal and business finances in the same place.
With Chase Business Complete Banking, you’ll get a low monthly fee that can be waived multiple ways—including by maintaining the minimum daily balance. It also offers unlimited electronic deposits, as well as $5,000 in monthly cash deposits at no cost. In addition, you can also use the Chase app to transfer money, deposit checks, and monitor your account from wherever you are.
So far, our recommendations for an E-Trade business bank account alternative have focused on business checking accounts. However, considering E-Trade offers a personal savings account that is not available for businesses, it’s worth looking into some business savings account alternatives as well.
Even if business savings accounts are not top of your priority list, they can be a great way to earn interest on your business finances and may be something to explore as your operation grows. This being said, here are a few business savings account options to consider:
Capital One provides one of the best business savings accounts on the market. You don’t need an opening deposit to get started, there’s no monthly fee, and you’ll get some of the most competitive interest rates on the market.
The Spark Business Savings account is entirely online, so as long as you are able to make it to a branch to submit your application, you can do everything else related to the account from your computer or mobile device. There are a few drawbacks, however: Namely, you can only make six fee-free withdrawals every month. But for an account used to earn on your business funds, the pros certainly outweigh the cons.
The Spark Business Savings account isn’t the only business savings account offered by a traditional bank. In addition to their business checking accounts, Chase also offers savings options, like the Chase Business Total Savings account. Like the Spark Business Savings account, Chase Total Savings is a great way to start a business savings account with a small amount of money and at a low cost.
You only need $25 to open this account and the monthly service fee is $10 but can be waived if you link a Chase Business Complete Banking account. Plus, this savings account offers 15 fee-free deposits and six fee-free withdrawals every month. Moreover, the Chase Business Total Savings is a great option if you already work with Chase on any of their business credit cards.
Although E-Trade doesn’t offer bank accounts designated only for businesses, you can apply for their checking accounts as a business. It’s important to remember, however, that there are restrictions for these E-Trade business checking accounts based on your entity type—plus, you cannot open a business bank account online—you have to fill out a paper application and submit it by mail. At the end of the day, the best checking account for your business will depend on your specific needs—what you want from your checking account and what kind of fees you’re willing to pay.
Luckily, there are numerous options available to you, from established institutions like E-Trade to newer online-only banks like Bluevine or Axos. There’s nothing to say that you won’t find success choosing E-Trade as your business banking partner, however, with all of the bank account offerings created specifically for businesses, it’s worth exploring all of your options before making a final decision.
Sally Lauckner is the editor-in-chief of the Fundera Ledger and the editorial director at Fundera.
Sally has over a decade of experience in print and online journalism. Previously she was the senior editor at SmartAsset—a Y Combinator-backed fintech startup that provides personal finance advice. There she edited articles and data reports on topics including taxes, mortgages, banking, credit cards, investing, insurance, and retirement planning. She has also held various editorial roles at AOL.com, Huffington Post, and Glamour magazine. Her work has also appeared in Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan magazines.