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First Hawaiian Bank Business Checking Review, Plus Top Alternatives

Sally Lauckner

Editor-in-Chief at Fundera
Sally Lauckner is the editor-in-chief of the Fundera Ledger. Over the past decade she has held various editorial roles at SmartAsset—a Y Combinator-backed personal finance startup—the Huffington Post, AOL.com, and Glamour magazine. Her work has also appeared in Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan. Sally has a master's degree in journalism from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Columbia University.  Email: sally@fundera.com.

Latest posts by Sally Lauckner (see all)

Editorial Note: Fundera exists to help you make better business decisions. That’s why we make sure our editorial integrity isn’t influenced by our own business. The opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations in this article are those of our editorial team alone.

If you’re looking for simple, straightforward business bank accounts, First Hawaiian Bank can help you out there. It offers five business checking accounts, each with its own perks and features. This can help you find what works for you, whether you need a fee-free experience or want to earn interest on your balance.

A business banking experience with First Hawaiian might be best if you live or work near a branch. It has 57 branches throughout Hawaii, three in Guam and two in Saipan. Additionally, you can contact the bank’s customer service department online and over the phone.

Choosing the Best Business Checking for Your Small Business

With several options at your fingertips, you’re going to want to know you’re making the right decision for you and your business. To start, figure out what you need from a business checking account. Do you need to avoid a monthly fee? How many transactions do you need to make each month? Answering questions like that will help you find the right fit so that your new business checking account doesn’t stifle your business.

Fees

Watch out for fees when shopping for a business checking account. Monthly service fees are important to keep an eye on, as they can take a cut out of your budget each month. See whether accounts allow you to waive a monthly fee with a certain balance, like two of First Hawaiian accounts do.

Also be sure to ask about other fees that might be charged, for example overdraft fees or transaction fees.

Transaction Limits

Unlike personal checking accounts, business checking accounts put limits on the number of transactions you can make each month. Although you might want to rush toward the highest limit account, those accounts tend to have high monthly fees, too. Do a quick tally of what your typical transaction numbers look like each month. Then you can find an account that works best for your existing habits without overpaying. First Hawaiian classifies transactions, or items, as checks written, deposit tickets submitted, or checks deposited.

Balance Minimums

Additionally, accounts may require a minimum balance, perhaps to waive a fee or earn interest. Select First Hawaiian Bank accounts require a minimum or average daily balance to waive monthly fees.

first hawaiian bank business checking

First Hawaiian Bank Business Checking Accounts

The following accounts have their own perks and features. They all also include several other convenience services for businesses like overdraft protection, CheckStorage for cancelled checks, and your own Online Business Center to help manage your accounts. Online bill payment is also available for an extra monthly fee.

You will receive a First Hawaiian Business MasterCard with your account which you can use at any ATM in the world with the Cirrus or STAR logos.

All the following accounts require at least $100 to open.

Free Business Checking

Monthly fees and limits:

  • No monthly fee
  • 25 free items allowed

Best for:

  • Small businesses with low transaction amounts

First Hawaiian Bank designates its Free Business Checking account as best for small businesses or nonprofit organizations that don’t make many transactions per month. In fact, the limit is set pretty low, with only 25 items allowed per month. Each additional item will cost $0.50.

A definite plus to this account is its lack of a monthly service fee.

Regular Checking Account

Monthly fees and limits:

  • $8.50 monthly fee with CheckStorage, waivable with minimum balances
  • 100 free items allowed

Best for:

  • Account balances that can waive the monthly fee
  • Low to average transaction amount

The Regular Checking account opens up for more transactions, allowing 100 free items per month. Each additional item costs $0.25.

The account charges a monthly fee, which you can waive with either a $2,000 minimum balance or $4,000 average daily balance. The monthly fee is $8.50 if you have CheckStorage and $9.50 if not.

Business Bonus Checking

Monthly fees and limits:

  • $9.75 service fee with CheckStorage, waivable with minimum balance
  • 100 items allowed, $0.25 per additional item

Best for:

  • Sole proprietors and nonprofits
  • Account balances that can waive the monthly service charge

To earn some extra savings on your balance, the Business Bonus Checking account can help you out by earning interest on your balance. As for transactions, you’re still limited to 100 free per month.

The account charges a monthly fee of $9.75 if you have CheckStorage, or $10.75 without it. Regardless, you can still waive the fee if you maintain a $2,000 minimum of $4,000 average daily balance.

The Business Bonus Checking account is open to qualifying organizations, including sole proprietors and select nonprofit groups.

Non-Profit Regular Checking

Monthly fees and limits:

  • $5 service fee with CheckStorage, waivable with qualifying balances
  • Unlimited items allowed

Best for:

  • Nonprofit organizations who need the freedom of unlimited transactions

As its name suggests, the Non-Profit Regular Checking account is meant for nonprofit groups. Its perks will certainly help out nonprofit organizations, like its low monthly fee and its unlimited item allowance per statement period.

The monthly fee is $5 for those who are on CheckStorage; otherwise it’s $6. There is no monthly fee if you keep a $1,000 minimum or $2,000 average daily balance.

Non-Profit Bonus Checking

Monthly fees and limits:

  • $7.50 service fee with CheckStorage, waivable with qualifying balances
  • Unlimited free items allowed

Best for:

  • Account balances that can waive the monthly fee
  • Non-profit organizations who want to earn interest

The Non-Profit Bonus Checking account is again meant for nonprofit businesses but comes with the added bonus of interest earned on your account balance. It also provides unlimited free items per statement cycle and a lower monthly fee than the standard Bonus Checking account. The monthly fee here is $7.50 with CheckStorage or $8.50 without it. You can waive the monthly fee by keeping at least $2,000 in the account or a $4,000 average daily balance.

first hawaiian bank business checking

Top Alternatives to First Hawaiian Bank Business Checking Accounts

Even with its five account options, First Hawaiian Bank might not have the right business checking account for you. Luckily, there are more options out there.

Azlo Business Checking: Best No-Fee Option

One great alternative is Azlo Business Checking. Azlo is entirely digital, so you won’t have physical access to branches or ATMs. Still, Azlo offers a great deal, especially for business owners who are tired of the traditional business checking account limitations.

The Azlo Business Checking account doesn’t charge a monthly fee, nor does it require a minimum opening deposit or balance. You’re also allowed an unlimited number of transactions per month, which in turn means you can avoid any excessive transaction fees.

Some drawbacks related to Azlo’s lack of physical presence are the inability to make cash deposits and send wires. You can still withdraw cash from Allpoint ATMs and send free electronic transfers.

Chase Total Business Checking: Best for Nationwide Access

If you do want more widespread physical access to your accounts, then banking with a big name like Chase will solve that problem. This means you can make cash deposits into a Chase Total Business Checking, up to $5,000 per statement cycle. As for transactions, you’re limited to 100 per month, which isn’t a whole lot, especially if you’re a busy, growing business.

Chase does offer a limited-time bonus offer of $200 when you open a Chase Total Business Checking Account and meet a couple requirements.

Like with its personal accounts, Chase is also heavy on the fees here, charging for monthly service, excessive transactions and cash deposits and incoming and outgoing wires.

Axos Business Interest Checking: Best Interest-Earning Option

The Business Interest Checking account from Axos Bank helps you boost your savings a bit by earning interest on all balances. The interest rate isn’t very high, but it’s better than nothing.

The account allows for 50 free items per month and 60 free items per month when using Remote Deposit anywhere.

There is a $10 monthly fee that can be waived with a $5,000 minimum average daily balance.

Novo: Best for Mobile Users

Novo is another entirely digital offering for business banking. However, it’s solely limited to an iOS app right now. You can apply for the account on the web, but you can’t yet access existing accounts there.

Although you need at least $50 to open the account, there are no other minimum requirements, nor any monthly fees to worry about. As an online venture, Novo makes most features free and convenient like incoming/outgoing ACH payments, incoming wire payments, and check deposits. Novo also provides processing and mailing services for checks and paper statements. The downside of being branchless is that it cannot accept cash deposits, nor is there a partner ATM service for fee-free withdrawals.  

Who Are First Hawaiian Bank Business Checking Accounts Right For?

With a range of account types, the First Hawaiian Bank Business Checking accounts can serve a range of business owners. The Free Business Checking account works best for small businesses and nonprofit groups that need to avoid a pesky monthly fee to keep their money on track. It’s also meant for groups with low transaction amounts.

For more transaction wiggle room, consider the Regular Checking and Business Bonus Checking accounts. They both allow 100 free items per month. The Business Bonus Checking account also earns interest on your balance as an added perk.

If you’re a nonprofit organization, you can open different versions of those two accounts that are more tailored. The Non-Profit Regular and Bonus Checking accounts allow for unlimited items per statement period and charge lower fees, which can really come in handy for nonprofits.

You can apply for a business checking account online or at a branch. If you apply online, a bank representative will contact you within five business days to continue the application process.

Sally Lauckner

Editor-in-Chief at Fundera
Sally Lauckner is the editor-in-chief of the Fundera Ledger. Over the past decade she has held various editorial roles at SmartAsset—a Y Combinator-backed personal finance startup—the Huffington Post, AOL.com, and Glamour magazine. Her work has also appeared in Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan. Sally has a master's degree in journalism from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Columbia University.  Email: sally@fundera.com.

Latest posts by Sally Lauckner (see all)

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