Updated January 25, 2024

Best Banks for Startups

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Just started a business? You'll need a simple banking solution to help your business grow. Find out the best banks for your startup.

Choosing the right bank can be challenging for a startup.

You want a bank with few fees and requirements to keep costs down so you can also focus on what matters: growing your business.

Luckily, there are banks that offer specialized features for startups. Read on to find out which banking solution fits your needs.

Which bank is best for startups?
Here are the top banks for new small businesses:

  1. Lili: Best for New Single-Person Businesses
  2. Chase: Best for Local Businesses
  3. Relay: Best for Startups With Bigger Teams
  4. Novo: Best for Digital Tools
  5. Mercury: Best for Tech Startups

Lili: Best for New Single-Person Businesses

If you're starting a business as a freelancer, sole proprietor, or even a single-person LLC, Lili is the easiest to start with.

First, you can sign up in just minutes with no credit check. And there's no minimum deposit or a minimum balance.

The free Lili Basic account will meet your basic business banking needs, such as managing transactions, connecting to digital tools, and even an Emergency Bucket.

Lili is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC.

Lili unique benefits:
What's really cool about Lili is that if you upgrade to a paid plan, it can be used as a mixed personal and business account. This is convenient for new business owners because you don't need to manage 2 separate accounts.

You can categorize your expenses as personal or business. You can use Bill Pay to pay your vendors faster and optimize your cash flow. This keeps your finances organized even within one account.

Plus, the app keeps track of business tax write-offs for you, so you can maximize your tax savings.

What's more: it'll also automatically save a portion of your earnings into a Tax Bucket. This way, you'll be ready for those quarterly tax payments. No scrambling to find the funds.

Lili pros & cons:

  • No monthly fee for basic account
  • No credit check
  • Supports cash deposits
  • Integrates with Shopify, Quickbooks, Etsy, and more
  • The best features are only with paid plans
  • No physical checks
  • $4.95 to deposit cash[1]

Lili is best for simple, online businesses. If you're starting a local business, it's probably best to go with a brick-and-mortar bank, like Chase below.

Chase: Best for Local Businesses

Chase offers one of the best business bank accounts for small business owners. Especially if you plan to take credit card payments from customers (which is pretty much essential nowadays!).

Plus, being a large traditional bank, it has lots of branches and ATMs for in-person banking. And you'll get traditional banking features like paper checks and cash deposits.

Chase unique benefits:
What makes Chase unique is its Chase Business Complete Banking account with payment processing integrated into the checking account.

Usually, you need to open a merchant services account to process credit card payments. But Chase has it built in, so you don't need a separate merchant account. You can just handle it all through one Chase app.

With Chase QuickAccept, all you need to do is use the mobile card reader to accept payments or type in the transaction details on the app. And you can get the funds from sales deposited directly into your business checking account the same day.

Getting funds quickly keeps your cash flow moving, so you can pay bills and make purchases without holdups.

Chase pros & cons:

  • Built-in payment processing
  • 4,800+ physical branches
  • Wide variety of business services
  • Promos available
  • Requirements to waive monthly fees
  • Many other banking fees

What are the usual requirements for opening a business bank account?

  • Personal information (name, address, contact details)
  • SSN or Employer identification number (EIN)
  • Driver's license or state ID
  • Business license (if your state requires)
  • Assumed Name Certificate if operating as a DBA
  • Articles of Organization (for LLCs)
  • Articles of Incorporation (for Corporations)
  • Partnership or Joint Venture Agreement (for Partnerships)

Relay: Best For Startups With Bigger Teams

If your startup is growing and it's getting complicated to handle all business finances in only one account, Relay's got you covered.

With Relay, you can open up to 20 individual checking accounts for your business, each with its own unique account number. Plus, you're allowed to issue up to 50 debit cards.

The basic Relay account has no monthly fee, no minimum opening deposit, and no overdraft fees.

Relay is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and FDIC insurance are provided by Evolve Bank & Trust and Thread Bank; Members FDIC.

Relay unique benefits:
Having so many checking accounts really lets you customize how you manage your funds.

This means you can divide your payroll, taxes, supplies, marketing, and other startup costs into separate accounts, making it super easy to track your funds and stay organized.

And with up to 50 debit cards, you can assign different uses for each card depending on your needs (for example, a card just for business meals).

You can also give access to your team members to different accounts. There are plenty of permissions settings to make sure everyone has the right level of access.

Relay pros & cons:

  • Up to 20 checking accounts and 50 debit cards
  • No monthly fees
  • Higher transaction limits than other banks
  • Accounting app integrations
  • Doesn't support Zelle as of now
  • No paper checks

Relay integrates with some accounting software, but it's limited. If you want a fully-integrated business banking account, the next one can't be beat.

Novo: Best for Digital Tools

Use a lot of business software? It can be overwhelming to keep up with each one. If so, Novo Business Banking may be the perfect solution you didn't even know you were looking for.

You can integrate your account with all the business software you use. This way, you get a personalized, centralized dashboard with all the apps you need in one place. No more juggling a ton of different platforms.

Accounts are free to open, with no minimum balance required.

Novo is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and FDIC insurance are provided by Middlesex Federal Savings, F.A., Member FDIC.

Novo unique benefits:
Novo has dozens of app integrations for business tools like Quickbooks, Gusto, Stripe, Amazon, Zapier, Wise, and more. On top of that, you can connect thousands more with your account.

It also has a neat budgeting feature called Novo Reserves.[2] Think of it as digital cash envelopes you can save money in and dip into when you need it. This lets you budget for different things like utilities, taxes, miscellaneous costs, etc.

You don't have to worry about invoices either. You can create and send unlimited invoices for free. The app lets you customize your invoices, create recurring invoices, edit, cancel, and more.

Another benefit is that Novo refunds up to $7 per month ATM fees at the end of each month. This is helpful if you need to withdraw cash.

Novo pros & cons:

  • Thousands of app connections
  • Up to 20 Reserves
  • Free invoicing
  • ATM fee refunds up to $7 per month
  • No cash deposits
  • No savings APY

Mercury: Best for Tech Startups

Mercury is a fintech company offering banking services specifically geared towards tech startups.

Its business checking account is as close to free as you can get. There's no monthly fee, overdraft fees, wire transfer fees, or ATM fees. The only fee is a 1% currency exchange fee.[3]

But what really sets Mercury apart is their funding program. We'll get into that in a bit.

Mercury unique benefits:
Mercury's personalized support is perfect for startups. They have a team of dedicated experts who'll provide 1:1 support.

What makes Mercury truly unique is their fundraising program, called Mercury Raise.[4] It connects startups at every stage to investors from various industries. Entrepreneurs can not only build their network, but also raise funds for their capital.

Since fall 2020, Mercury Raise has helped over 630+ startups raise $1.7 billion in funding.

You also get read-and-write API access, so you can build your own custom banking experience.

Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and Evolve Bank & Trust, Members FDIC.

Mercury pros & cons:

  • Almost no fees
  • Deals on business software
  • Potential to find investors with Mercury Raise
  • Not open to sole proprietors
  • No cash deposits

How To Choose The Best Bank For Startups

Here are the factors you should consider when choosing a bank for your startup:

  • Monthly fees
    Some banks offer a free business checking account, and some require a minimum balance requirement in order to waive monthly fees. Make sure you understand the terms and that you're able to meet the requirements.

  • Startup-friendly services
    Banks for startups often have features that cater more toward the modern entrepreneur, such as integrations, API access, tax tools, and even funding assistance. Look for an account with the features you need.

  • Software integration
    If you use software like Quickbooks, Gusto, Stripe (and others), look for an account that lets you integrate with the apps you use.

    This actually matters a lot, because it could make your life much easier. It also helps you save on costs you spend on manual tasks.

  • Security
    It's important to look into security features, especially when you open an online business account. Make sure they're FDIC-insured or partners with FDIC member banks. It's crucial that your funds are protected.

Mercury offers up to $5 million in FDIC insurance through partner banks and sweep networks.[5] That's 20x more insurance than a traditional bank.


We understand that it's best to keep costs down when starting a business. So we looked for banks that offer free business checking accounts (or with very reasonable ways to avoid monthly fees).

We also looked into digital tools that help with the usual challenges of startup owners. For example, a small business owner might find accounting daunting. There are available business tools that can assist them with that.

Then we highlighted standout features for each bank and weighed their pros and cons. This way, you can compare and figure out what suits your business most.

Lastly, all the accounts on our list have FDIC insurance to give you peace of mind that your business funds are safe.

What the Experts Say

CreditDonkey asked a panel of industry experts to answer readers' most pressing questions. Here's what they said:

Bottom Line

Your bank can impact your startup's growth more than you think. It's not just a place to hold your money. The right bank will also offer the right tools and services to help manage and grow your business.

Ultimately, it all boils down to which bank offers services that are tailor-fit to your business needs. So it's important to identify what your needs are and have that in mind when choosing your bank.


  1. ^ Lili. How do I deposit cash into my Lili account?, Retrieved 8/24/23
  2. ^ Novo. What are Novo Reserves?, Retrieved 8/24/23
  3. ^ Mercury. Pricing, Retrieved 8/24/23
  4. ^ Mercury Raise , Retrieved 8/24/23
  5. ^ Mercury Vault, Retrieved 8/24/23

Write to Rio Ishihara at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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