July 23, 2021

Best Free Business Checking for Freelancers and Side Hustlers

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Which banks offer the best free business checking accounts for freelancers? Find the top interest rates and business perks for all 1099 employees.

For full-time freelancers and side hustlers, having a business bank account is essential.

Not to mention, it makes income-tracking and tax season a breeze.

In this article, discover the top 10 business checking accounts tailored to the unique needs of entrepreneurs.

Do I really need a business bank account as a freelancer?
If you file taxes using your Social Security number or are registered as a sole proprietorship, you aren't legally required to have a business bank account. However, it is recommended to simplify taxes and track your income and expenses.

10 Best Business Bank Accounts for Freelancers

As a self-employed worker or business owner, you don't have to settle for the standard run-of-the-mill checking accounts. Here are the best banks that offer free, business-tailored checking accounts.

1. Chase Business Complete Banking

Chase offers the best business banking option for freelancers among the traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

To sign up, you'll need two forms of government-issued ID, tax ID number (SSN or EIN), and DBA. You'll also need any documents related to your business incorporation (if you're an LLC or corporation).

Chase
Member FDIC

Chase Business Complete Banking℠ - $300 Bonus

Expires 10/21/2021
  • Earn $300 when you open a new Chase Business Complete Checking account. For new Chase business checking customers with qualifying activities.
  • More ways to waive fees. Multiple options to waive the Monthly Service Fee, including maintaining a minimum daily balance or purchases on your Chase Ink® Business credit card
  • Built-in card acceptance. Accept card payments anytime, anywhere in the U.S., and get transparent pricing with Chase QuickAccept℠.
  • Same-day deposits with QuickAccept℠. Free up the cash you need to keep your business moving forward with same-day deposits at no additional cost.
  • Alerts to help you stay on top of your account activity.
  • Easy account management through Chase Business online and the Chase Mobile® app.
  • Unlimited electronic deposits, ACH and Chase Quick Deposit℠.
  • Convenient access to 16,000 ATMs and more than 4,700 branches.

2. BlueVine

This challenger bank is so popular you have to join a waitlist to sign up. If you can wait, BlueVine offers potentially the best suite of benefits and features available as of this writing.

With BlueVine, you can earn 1.00% APY on all balances up to $100,000 (20x the national average).

There is no minimum initial deposit requirement, monthly fees, or fees for insufficient funds.

Features

  • 1.00% APY on balances up to $100,000
  • No monthly fee
  • Fee-free ATM withdrawals at MoneyPass locations
  • Two free checkbooks
  • Unlimited transactions and no minimum balance requirements

3. Lili Bank

We love the savings and budgeting features you get with Lili.

The downside is that you can only sign up if you do business and file taxes using your Social Security number. If you have an EIN, you'll have to do business elsewhere.

Features

  • Automatically set aside a percentage of income for taxes
  • No monthly fees or minimum balance
  • Free expense reports and financial tracking tools
  • Fee-free ATM withdrawals at MoneyPass locations
  • Free business debit card

Lili has a signature three-minute sign-up process, which you can access on their website.

What's the best bank account for artists?
If you do business under your own name and SSN, Lili will likely be a favorite for artists. If you use an EIN to file taxes or have a large cash flow, check out BlueVine or Radius Bank.

4. Novo Bank

If you need business services like QuickBooks, HubSpot, and Google Ads, Novo should be at the top of your list.

This challenger bank differentiates itself with a huge list of discounts and offers from the most popular business products and services. As an added plus, signing up for an account with Novo takes less than 10 minutes.

Features

  • No monthly fees
  • Set aside "Reserves" for taxes or big business expenses
  • Integration with business services and steep discounts ($20,000 in fee-free card processing with Stripe and $150 Google Ads credit, for example)
  • $27 overdraft and insufficient funds fees
  • ATM fee refunds

Novo

Powerfully Simple Business Banking

Read more: Novo Bank Review

5. Radius Bank Tailored Checking

BlueVine might meet its match with Radius's Tailored Business Checking account. This online-only bank is best for self-employed individuals and freelancers that can maintain a minimum balance of $5,000 to waive the $10 monthly fee.

But if you can, you'll earn 4x the industry average on your balance. Plus, you get unlimited transactions and face no penalties, upcharges or fees.

The minimum opening deposit is $100.

Features

  • Unlimited 1% cash back on debit purchases
  • 0.10% APY on balances over $5,000
  • No monthly fee on balances over $5,000
  • No transaction limits
  • Integrates with Mint, QuickBooks, or Quicken

6. Axos Bank

Known for their high APY on personal accounts, Axos Bank also offers a variety of different business accounts.

They have a basic business checking account, which has no monthly service fees but does not accrue interest. It also comes with a free debit card, 50 free checks, and no minimum balance requirements.

However, Axos stands out for their interest-accruing Business Interest Account.

Axos Bank
Member FDIC

Business Interest Checking

  • Earn 0.81% APY
  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly maintenance fee with average daily balance of at least $5,000
  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements

7. NBKC Bank

NBKC (National Bank of Kansas City) offers digital banking services to freelancers and small business owners nationwide.

They support a competitive list of features, especially for a brick-and-mortar bank.

Features

  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No monthly service fees, overdraft fees, or insufficient fund charges
  • Free business debit Mastercard
  • Create invoices and track their status with autobooks
  • Fast 5-minute sign-up process

8. NorthOne

NorthOne caters specifically to freelancers and startups and offers some of the best budgeting tools we've seen.

While you will incur a monthly fee, the unlimited transactions and free ATM access make NorthOne far cheaper than virtually all traditional business bank accounts.

Features

  • $10 monthly fee
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Create custom "envelopes" for taxes, payroll, rent, etc., to automatically budget for necessary expenses
  • Free mobile check deposit for checks up to $75,000
  • Integrate with business apps like QuickBooks, Shopify, and PayPal
  • Advanced security with Face ID or Touch ID technology

Which banks offer free business checking accounts?
For a good deal on business checking, look to newer "challenger" banks like Novo, Lili, and BlueVine. Smaller, fintech banks like these hope to compete with big traditional banks by offering better tailored services and special promos. However, several traditional banks also offer free business accounts if you meet their qualification criteria.

9. Small Business Bank

If you're looking to link a savings and checking account, Small Business Bank offers a free account customized to your unique business type.

Features

  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Specific accounts for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners
  • 0.20% APY on linked business savings accounts on balances up to $25,000
  • $5 minimum opening deposit
  • Mobile check deposit

While their website is currently pretty bare-bones, you can read some success stories of happy members to get an idea of whether it's right for you.

10. Coming Soon: Wave Money

Wave is not yet available, but you can still reserve your spot today. Once launched, Wave will certainly offer a list of features freelancers and side hustlers will enjoy.

Features

  • Built-in budgeting tools similar to Mint
  • No monthly service fee
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • No account minimums
  • Zero transaction fees or wire fees

To reserve a spot with Wave, simply enter your email address and fill out a short, 4-question form to provide information about your business

Freelancer vs. Side Hustler vs. Entrepreneur

Freelancers, side hustlers, and entrepreneurs share some similarities, such as the desire to control how much money they make and how much they work. But there are some key differences.

  • Freelancer: Someone who works (usually alone) on individual projects to create an income stream. Income is dependent on the number of projects that person works. Examples include freelance writers, designers, and business consultants.

  • Side-Hustler: More open to interpretation. Side hustlers have a full-time job, but make money on the side by freelancing, getting a second job (such as bartending), or finding a source of passive income (such as renting property).

  • Entrepreneur: Also called a business owner, entrepreneurs invest money into creating businesses that provide passive income, hire employees, and create an entity bigger than themselves.

The Bottom Line

Opening a business bank account can be helpful even if you're a freelancer just starting out. It simplifies tax season and helps protect you in the unfortunate event of an IRS audit.

Fortunately, freelancers and small business owners have more options today beyond the banking giants like Bank of America, which charge fees for virtually every business banking transaction.

Review your options to assess which business banking account is right for you.

Write to Justin Barnard 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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Chase
Member FDIC

Chase Total Checking® - $225 Bonus

  • New Chase customers enjoy a $225 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit
  • Access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches
  • Chase Mobile® app - Manage your accounts, deposit checks, transfer money and more -- all from your device.
  • Open your account online now
  • Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. For branch locations, visit locator.chase.com.

Best Free Checking Accounts for Small Businesses

Tips for Business
Hidden fees can pile up. Don't let your checking account be part of the problem. Find out which small business friendly bank account is good for you.
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