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Banking

Here are the 6 best business checking accounts of 2021

CNBC Select rounded up the top business checking accounts, looking at fees, interest rates and tools for business owners, so you can decide which one is right for you.

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There are a million things to consider when you're running a small- or medium-sized business, and it's crucial to have a good handle on your finances.

Between generating invoices, paying out contractors, handling digital and non-digital payment methods and tracking inventory that's always in flux — today's business owner needs more than just a standard checking account.

To make your search easier, CNBC Select reviewed dozens of business checking accounts with both digital and in-person access. We considered a range of factors when ranking the best accounts, including invoicing support, payment flexibility, fees and interest rates. (Read more about our methodology below.)

CNBC Select's picks for the top six business checking accounts

Business checking FAQs

Best overall

Chase Business Complete Banking℠

On Chase's secure site
  • Special offer

    Earn $300 when you open a Chase Business Complete Checking account and perform qualifying activities

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $15, with options to waive

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $0

  • Minimum balance

    $0 (but $2,000 to earn bonus)

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    None

  • Free ATM network

    16,000 Chase ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursement

    None

  • Small business perks

    Multiple owners get individual debit cards, PINs and online access to the account; debit cards for employees for which the owner can control daily limits

  • Overdraft fee

    $34 fee for each item (maximum of 6 overdraft fees per day, for a total of $204), waived under certain conditions

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes, using the Chase Mobile app

See our methodology, terms apply. Chase Bank is a Member FDIC.

Pros

  • Same-day access to cash when your deposit is approved before 8 p.m. (except on Saturdays)
  • Easy ways to accept payments virtually with QuickAccept
  • Unlimited electronic deposits and up to $5,000 fee-free cash deposits per cycle
  • Send and receive money without visiting a branch via Chase QuickDeposit, wire transfers and Chase Online Bill Pay
  • Standard daily spending limit of $10,000 for Chase Business Debit Cards

Cons

  • Only 20 free in-person paper check deposits/withdrawals (after $0.40/each)

How to earn the $300 bonus:

  1. Deposit a minimum of $2,000 of new money within 20 business days of account opening.
  2. Maintain at least a $2,000 balance for 60 days from the date of deposit.
  3. Complete five qualifying transactions within 60 days of account opening.

(For new Chase business checking customers only, terms apply.)

How to avoid the monthly fee:

Meet one of these conditions during your monthly statement period.

  • $2,000 minimum daily balance
  • $2,000 in purchases on your Chase Ink® Business Card(s)
  • $2,000 in deposits from QuickAccept℠ and/or other eligible Chase Merchant Services transactions
  • Link a Chase Private Client Checking℠ account

How overdraft fees are waived:

  • If your account balance at the end of the business day is overdrawn by $5 or less
  • If the item that caused the overdraft was $5 or less, even if your account balance at the end of the business day is overdrawn
  • If you made a debit card transaction and your available balance was sufficient at the time it was authorized
  • If a merchant submitted the same check or ACH item submitted multiple times, resulting in a Returned Item Fee and an Insufficient Funds Fee
  • Insufficient Funds Fees do not apply to withdrawals made at an ATM

Best for sole proprietors and contractors

Novo Business Checking

On Novo Bank's secure site
  • Special offers

    Perks upon sign up can include $3,000 in Google Cloud credits, $150 toward Google Ads, 40% off the first six months of QuickBooks Online and up to $20,000 in fee-free credit card transactions when you link your account with Stripe

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $0

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $50

  • Minimum balance

    $0

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    None

  • Free ATM network

    No out-of-network ATM fees and reimburses fees charged by other ATM operators

  • ATM fee reimbursement

    Yes, worldwide

  • Small business perks

    Sync your account with Slack, Stripe, Shopify, Quickbooks, TransferWise, Xero, Zapier and other popular merchant tools.

  • Overdraft fee

    $27

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

See our methodology, terms apply. Novo is FDIC-insured through Middlesex Federal Savings.

Pros

  • Seamless tech integrations make it easy for the solo entrepreneur who does it all
  • Money-saving partnerships with popular invoicing, marketing and communications tools
  • Syncs easily to Google Pay and Apple Pay
  • Unlimited fee-free monthly transactions
  • No monthly fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Unlimited ATM reimbursements

Cons

  • Online only (not great if you prefer in-person banking)
  • No easy way to deposit cash

Best for small businesses

BlueVine Business Checking

On BlueVine's secure site
  • Special offer

    N/A

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $0

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $0

  • Minimum balance

    $0

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    1.0% interest on your balance up to $100,000

  • Free ATM network

    No fees at over 38,000 ATM locations nationwide

  • ATM fee reimbursement

    No

  • Small business perks

    Two free checkbooks

  • Overdraft fee

    $0

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

See our methodology, terms apply. BlueVine is FDIC-insured through The Bancorp Bank.

Pros

  • Earn 1.0% APY in balances up to $100,000
  • No monthly fees, monthly or daily balance minimums, ACH payment fees, incoming wire fees or overdraft fees
  • Ability to instantly lock and unlock your BlueVine Business Debit Mastercard® for added security
  • Connect to business tools like PayPal, Stripe and Expensify
  • Unlimited transactions

Cons

  • Online only (not great if you prefer in-person banking)
  • No ATM refunds for out-of-network transactions

Best for medium-to-large businesses

Spark Business Unlimited Checking®

On Capital One's secure site
  • Special offer

    N/A

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $35, waived if your prior 30- or 90-day account balance averages $25,000 or more

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $250

  • Minimum balance

    N/A

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    None

  • Free ATM network

    40,000+ fee-free Capital One and Allpoint® ATMs to choose from (including in select Target®, Walgreens® and CVS Pharmacy® locations)

  • ATM fee reimbursement

    No

  • Small business perks

    Account holders have the ability to sign up for Capital One® ProDeposit, a paid service ($50 per month) allowing unlimited mobile check scanning (up to $250,000 per 20 business days) with added security features

  • Overdraft fee

    $35, but free overdraft protection with a linked small business deposit account

  • Mobile check deposit

    Free smartphone mobile deposits

See our methodology, terms apply. Capital One is a Member FDIC.

Pros

  • Unlimited business transactions included each month (good for larger businesses with high transaction volume)
  • Next-day funds availability
  • All incoming domestic wires are free
  • Free business debit cards
  • Free cash deposits

Cons

  • High minimum account balance requirement to waive monthly fee (designed for businesses with less than $10 million in annual revenue)

How to avoid the monthly fee:

  • Maintain an average 30- or 90-day account balance of $25,000 or more

Best for digital freelancers

Azlo Business Checking

On Azlo's secure site
  • Special offer

    N/A

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $0 for Azlo Starter, $10 for Azlo Pro

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $0

  • Minimum balance

    $0

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    None

  • Free ATM network

    55,000 ATM locations with no ATM fees

  • ATM fee reimbursement

    No

  • Small business perks

    Free built-in automated business tools to help with invoicing and payments (no need to sync with third-party apps and services); free envelop budgeting tool to help with money management

  • Overdraft fee

    $0

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

See our methodology, terms apply. Azlo is FDIC-insured through BBVA USA.

Pros

  • Built-in automated tools and guides for growing your business
  • No fees or monthly minimum balance requirement
  • Azlo won’t charge fees for using ATMs, even if they’re out of network
  • Move money between linked accounts with Azlo Instant Transfers
  • No bank hours or holidays (transfers available 24/7)

Cons

  • Must upgrade to $10 Pro version for instant money transfers
  • Not great for cash-based businesses (no easy way to deposit cash)
  • No paper checks
  • Other ATM operators may charge fees (no reimbursement, even though Azlo never charges fees)

Best for making cash deposits

Bank of America Business Advantage Checking

On Bank of America's secure site
  • Special offer

    $450 bonus with a new small business checking account, credit card and Bill Pay

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $29.95/month, with options to waive

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $100

  • Minimum balance

    $15,000 to waive the monthly fee (or $3,000 for the lower-tier Bank of America Business Fundamentals account)

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    None

  • Free ATM network

    16,900 Bank of America ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursement

    No

  • Small business perks

    Ability to sync with Payroll Services by Intuit®

  • Overdraft fee

    Accounts are automatically set to decline transactions when there are insufficient funds, free overdraft protection when linked to an eligible Bank of America account.

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

See our methodology, terms apply. Bank of America is a Member FDIC.

Pros

  • Cash deposits up to $20,000 per statement cycle are free (then 30 cents per $100)
  • Unlimited free ACH, debit card, electronic debits and check deposits through Remote Deposit Online

Cons

  • Maximum of 500 check deposits/other debits per statement cycle, then 45 cents per item (will be waived for Mobile Check Deposits or ATM deposits for billing cycles beginning after January 30, 2021; may vary by state)

How to earn the bonus:

  1. Earn $100: Deposit $1,000 or more within the first 60 days of opening a new eligible Bank of America® small business checking account.
  2. Earn $50: Pay at least two bills through Bill Pay within the first 60 days of opening your account.
  3. Earn $300: Apply and get approved for an eligible Bank of America small business credit card.

How to avoid the monthly fee:

Meet one of the following requirements each statement cycle.

  • Spend $2,500 in net purchases on a small business credit card
  • Maintain an average monthly balance of $15,000 or more
  • Maintain a combined average monthly balance of $35,000 or more in your linked Bank of America business accounts
  • Enroll in Preferred Rewards for Business 

Business checking FAQs

Who should get a business checking account?

You may be surprised to learn that nearly anyone with a side hustle or small business can qualify for a business checking account — not just large corporations. Opening a business checking account is a simple way to separate your personal finances from your business finances, whether you're a sole proprietor conducting business under your social security number or you have an LLC with its own tax ID.

Anyone who has a business, small or large, can benefit from a business checking account. It helps you track your revenue and expenses so that you can understand the business's financial performance before transferring the money to your personal account for spending.

Be prepared, however, as business checking accounts typically charge more fees than personal accounts, and often the minimum balance requirements to waive monthly fees are higher, since banks presume businesses bring in more money than an individual and that there will be a higher volume of transactions/administration costs.

That said, there are a growing number of smaller, online-only business checking accounts popping up that make opening a business checking account much more affordable, with no minimum balance requirements or transactions fees.

Online vs. brick-and-mortar business checking accounts

When deciding whether to open an online business checking account or go with a brick-and-mortar bank, consider first how you manage your business on a daily basis.

Plenty of businesses are now mostly digital, meaning that all of the invoicing, payments, accounting and payroll happens electronically.

On the other hand, there are businesses that still primarily use cash often enough that they need to bank with a local branch where they can drop off money at the end of every business day.

Online business checking accounts are undoubtedly convenient and come with helpful invoicing features, such as the ability to perform mobile check deposits, sync with QuickBooks and/or connect to Stripe to accept credit card payments. But it might be worth trading the convenience of these options for the ability to easily withdraw and/or deposit physical cash in large quantities.

However, online-only banks have lower fees and usually have lower minimum balance requirements (some as low as $0), so if banking in-person is not part of your daily work flow, it might be time to consider a new alternative.

Our methodology

To determine which business checking accounts offer the most convenience, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of U.S. business checking accounts offered nationwide by online banks as well as those with physical branches. We narrowed down our rankings by considering no-fee checking accounts or accounts with easy ways to waive the monthly maintenance fees.

We compared each checking account on a range of features, including:

  • Fees
  • Minimum balance requirement
  • Mobile banking ease
  • Small business tools and support
  • Large ATM network
  • Account accessibility
  • Customer reviews, when available

All of the accounts included on this list are either members of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or FDIC-insured through partner institutions. This insurance protects and reimburses you up to your balance and the legal limit in the event your bank or credit union fails.

The rates and fee structures for checking accounts are subject to change without notice and they often fluctuate in accordance with the prime rate.

Your earnings depend on any associated fees and the balance you have in your checking account. To open an account, some banks and institutions may require a deposit of new money, meaning you can't transfer money you already had in an account at that bank.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.