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KeyBank Business Accounts Review

Sally Lauckner

Sally is the managing editor at Fundera. Previously, she was a senior editor at SmartAsset, a personal finance startup, and has held various editorial roles at the Huffington Post and AOL.com. She is passionate about financial literacy and educating small business owners.

The first thing every new entrepreneur needs to do for their company is get their money right. And in this case, we mean opening a bank account. There’s no shortage of small business checking accounts, of course, so it’s not super simple to find the right one for your company. But if you’re interested in KeyBank business accounts, there’s plenty to know about the three offerings they have—each of which is designed to suit businesses of different sizes and stripes.

There are a few great reasons to consider opening a KeyBank business account. Chief among them is proximity. If you live or work near any of the 1,100 KeyBank locations across the 15 states in which the bank operates, or if you simply want to enjoy the personal relationship of a smaller (yet still sizable) bank, you’re probably wondering which KeyBank business checking account might suit your needs.

Thankfully, each KeyBank business account provides tailored benefits and features that help small business owners pick out the right level of support depending on their company’s financials. Making a choice between KeyBank’s three products is straightforward, and applying for a business checking account with KeyBank is just as easy. Here’s what you need to know about KeyBank business checking, whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for more than a few years.

What to Know About KeyBank Business Accounts

The three KeyBank business accounts offer small business owners all of the conventional banking features that an entrepreneur might expect: wire transfers, free online banking, and low monthly fees—each of which are waived with certain minimum daily balances. You’ll have access to KeyBank’s network of more than 1,500 ATMs, as well as in-person support from your local branch.

The real difference-maker between KeyBank business checking options is the size of your account balance and your needs as a banking client. Each option provides a different level of service and support that’s designed with your needs in mind. The entry-level account is a great fit for companies with minimal banking needs, while the largest account comes with all of the bells and whistles your company needs if you carry a high balance and need loads of support for wire transfers.

1. KeyBank Basic Business Checking

KeyBank Basic Business Checking is the entry-level option among the three KeyBank business accounts currently available. This account is perfect for most small businesses that are just starting out or that may not need a ton of features beyond the basics.

KeyBank Basic Business Checking only requires an opening deposit of $25, which gets you access to free online banking, unlimited bill pay support, as well as deposits and withdrawals at any of KeyBank’s 1,200 branches. This account comes with a $5 monthly maintenance fee, which is waived if you maintain a $1,000 average balance per statement cycle.

KeyBank Business Checking is perfect for entrepreneurs who only need the foundational components of a bank account: the ability to store operating capital, deposit money, withdraw funds, and pay bills online without having to pay for the privilege. This account is also a great option if your company is just starting out and you don’t foresee having to use more than basic banking features.  

2. KeyBank Business Interest Checking

The KeyBank Business Interest Checking account is where things begin to get interesting. This interest-bearing account provides more than just the basics: You’ll get 100 transactions for free every billing cycle and unlimited bill pay support, and you can have your $15 monthly maintenance fee waived with either a $5,000 minimum daily balance in your business account or a combined $15,000 balance across business deposit accounts, commercial loans, and line of credit accounts.

KeyBank Business Interest Checking’s best feature is, of course, that it is interest-bearing. It’s not always easy to find interest-bearing business checking accounts, especially without sky-high minimum deposits and hefty average daily balance requirements. So if you want your business checking account to make you money on your balance, be sure to take a look at what KeyBank Business Interest Checking has to offer.

3. KeyBank Business Rewards Checking

KeyBank Business Rewards Checking is KeyBank’s top-of-the-line business banking product, replete with free features and customer support to help high-performing small businesses thrive. This account comes with unlimited incoming and three free outgoing domestic wire transfers, which is the only KeyBank business account to offer discounted wire transfers as part of a company’s checking account.

KeyBank Business Rewards Checking is otherwise similar to KeyBank Business Interest Checking and KeyBank Basic Business Checking as far as online banking and ATM access is concerned. This account comes with a $25 minimum opening deposit, however, and requires an average daily balance of $7,500, or $20,000 in combined balances with other KeyBank banking accounts. Plus, if you’re a sole proprietor with personal KeyBank accounts, you can use these toward your $20,000 balance figure.  

key bank business account

How to Choose Between KeyBank Business Checking Accounts

Now that you know more about the three KeyBank business accounts, it’s good to see how your company’s needs align with each account’s different features and requirements. Few small business owners change banks after they open their first checking account, so it’s important to decide if your bank can grow with you by offering the kinds of services you need later on.

Know Your Needs

You wouldn’t want to buy a bicycle if your company needs a tow truck. Similarly, you don’t want to have to waste money on a feature-packed business checking account if you’re not going to need more than a few basic banking functions. The allure of a business checking account with tons of transfers, money management tools, and payroll assistance is big. But you don’t usually need all of these features if you’re just starting out—and there’s no sense in paying for them, either.

Each of these features sound important, and you want to position your business for success as best you can. But resist the temptation to get roped into an account that offers you more than need. Or, worse yet, more than you can afford. Most of these premium accounts require high balances in order to waive monthly fees. If you find yourself having to pay for your checking account every month, make sure you’re signed up for the right kind of banking product.

Determine Your Balance

Entry-level business checking accounts are usually fairly similar: They offer simple banking features in exchange for low fees and small daily average balances. Things get more interesting once you go beyond basic banking options, though. If you’re starting out with a higher-than-average balance, you’ll want to make sure you’re picking the right business account to maximize the perks you’ll get for opening a bank account.

If you open a basic account with an initial deposit (or an anticipated balance) that is much higher than the minimum, odds are that you’re not getting the full value of your banking relationship. The daily average balance requirements that come with checking accounts can indicate which level of service you should expect. Don’t be afraid to apply for an account with a higher average daily balance requirement, since those can avail you to more free features.

Think Ahead

If you understand what your small business might need from its banking partner in the future, you can make decisions now that will help you once your company outgrows an introductory-level checking account. Assess your business model early on: Will you need tons of wire transfers as your company grows? Do you expect to have a high enough daily balance to make an interest-bearing account a viable option for you?

If so, it’s important to consider what your current bank offers clients with more established (and more financially complex) businesses. You’ll want to find a bank that offers you the right kind of accounts that will make it easier for you to manage company finances not just today but in the future, too.

key bank business account

Alternatives to KeyBank Business Checking

There are plenty of reasons why KeyBank business accounts might not serve your business. Perhaps you don’t need to have access to brick-and mortar locations, aren’t close to a KeyBank branch, or just want to compare KeyBank to other smaller and regional banks. There are lots of viable alternatives to KeyBank business banking depending on your needs—here are a few of the best business checking alternatives to consider.

1. For Digitally Driven Businesses: Azlo Business Checking

Online-only business checking is a relatively new offering, as most banks required entrepreneurs to show up in person before their applications could be finalized. That’s not always the case, now, thanks to Azlo. Azlo offers much of the same introductory-level features that you’d find at a conventional brick-and-mortar bank but without local branches or one-on-one, in-person banking support.

If you love the features of KeyBank’s Basic Business Checking and aren’t wedded to the idea of having a physical bank for your business checking needs, then Azlo Business Checking might be the right option for you. Just be sure that you won’t need to issue physical checks or make cash deposits in the future, as these aren’t supported by Azlo yet.

2. For Entrepreneurs Who Want Easy Branch Access: Chase Performance Business Checking

Chase is a great alternative to KeyBank in terms of accessibility. The bank operates in roughly the same number of states but has more than four times the number of branches, and thousands more ATMs. If you cherish accessibility and want to know that you’re never far from an ATM, then Chase is among the best banks available.

Chase Performance Business Checking offers a banking experience for customers who have a little more money in their account than KeyBank’s top-tier checking account. For an extra $5 per month in service fees (which is waived with a $35,000 average daily balance), account holders get 250 fee-free transactions, which includes all incoming wires, online or in-person deposits, and debits.

3. For Business Owners Who Want to Bank Small: Credit Unions

One of KeyBank’s most appealing factors is its size. It’s not too large to be a completely faceless organization, but not too small to make banking outside of your local branch a pain. But if KeyBank’s business accounts aren’t for you, there are other small banking solutions that might also be a great fit for your company. Chief among them are credit unions.

Credit unions are different from conventional banks. They’re set up as member-owned financial cooperatives, which means that you have a stake in the credit union’s future simply by having an account. Credit unions provide loans at competitive rates, as well as banking solutions for businesses and individuals. Although most credit unions tend to have only a handful of locations, and may not offer all of the same perks as a large bank, they do provide their members with a personal banking experience that can’t be beat.

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Whether you’re looking specifically at KeyBank business account options or merely want to find a bank that offers the same features at a similar-sized organization, there are plenty of factors to consider. Chief among these are your company’s needs. With so many different checking accounts out there, it’s important to shop around for the one that fits your business today, and in the future, too.

Each of KeyBank’s business checking accounts comes with attractive features and perks, and their competitors’ accounts do as well. So be sure to measure your needs before signing up for any account, and pick a bank that will grow alongside you as your company takes off.

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.

Sally Lauckner

Sally is the managing editor at Fundera. Previously, she was a senior editor at SmartAsset, a personal finance startup, and has held various editorial roles at the Huffington Post and AOL.com. She is passionate about financial literacy and educating small business owners.

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