Updated July 4, 2022

Lili Review

Read more about Lili
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Lili offers a business checking account and debit card for freelancers and independent contractors. Review the features to find out if Lili is worth it.

Lili Promotions
Free Checking Account for Sole Proprietors and Single-Member LLC

Overall Score

4.4

Savings

3.0

Minimum Deposit

5.0

Checking

5.0

Customer Service

4.0

Mobile App

4.5

Fees

5.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • No monthly fees
  • Expense tracking
  • Save for taxes
  • Best features only for Lili Pro
  • No checks
  • Fee to deposit cash

Bottom Line

Mixed-use bank account for single business owners to help manage expenses and taxes

Freelancers and independent contractors deal with fluctuating income, quarterly tax obligations, and other unique issues.

Luckily, Lili offers a banking solution designed specifically around the freelancer lifestyle.

Lili offers a comprehensive suite of banking features and tools to help manage finances and make taxes easier for freelancers and small business owners.

In this review, discover the features, fees, and benefits of Lili to see how it stacks up to the competition.

What is Lili?

Lili is a fintech company that offers mobile-only banking for freelancers, sole proprietors, and single-member LLCs. It's a mixed-use personal and business banking account.

For freelancers with simple businesses, it may be too much hassle to maintain a separate business account. You may like Lili if you just want to use one account for all your finances. It separates your business expenses and helps you prepare for taxes.

Lili offers a free business checking account and a paid premium option with more features. There are no minimum balance requirements.

Is Lili FDIC insured?
Lili is partnered with Choice Financial Group, which has been FDIC insured since 1934. You can rest assured your deposits are safe up to $250,000.

Who is Lili Best For

Lili is best for freelancers, gig workers, and small business owners who meet the following criteria:

  • Single person operation
  • Use an SSN for tax purposes (not an EIN)
  • Don't deal with cash
  • Want to keep track of tax liabilities in real time
  • Deposit $6,000 or less in checks per month
  • Don't need to transfer out more than $1,000 per month
  • Don't require online banking (Lili is app-based only)

Lili was founded in 2018 by Lilac Bar David and Liran Zelkha. It's partnered with Choice Financial Group to provide FDIC insurance.

How Does Lili Bank Work?

Lili is open to freelancers, sole proprietors, and single-member LLCs (with or without a DBA).

You can sign up for a checking account with Lili in just 3 minutes on the company's website - all you need is your SSN and email.

After applying, you should be notified within minutes that your account is approved. Once your account is set up, you can start connecting your Lili account to platforms like CashApp, PayPal, Shopify, Etsy, and more.

Managing and funding your Lili account is done entirely through their app. Before you receive your Lili Debit card (takes roughly 2 weeks), you can use a mobile version of the card on the app, as well.

Lili does not let you apply with an EIN (Employer Identification Number).

Below, review Lili's small business-friendly features.

Lili Tax Optimizer Tools

Taxes are a pain. One of the biggest draws of Lili is its tax tools to help make tax season less stressful for freelancers.

Here's what you can get with the free basic Lili account:

Tax Bucket
All accounts come with a Tax Bucket. You can say how much to transfer from each deposit. This lets you automatically set aside funds for your quarterly taxes, so they don't seem like such a burden each time.

Your funds in the Tax Bucket are protected from being accidentally spent. When it's time to pay taxes, simply move it back to your primary account.

Write-off Tracker
Lili lets you easily sort all your purchases as "life" or "work" using a dating-app-style swipe feature. This helps you keep track of your business expenses so you don't miss any deductions.

Expense Reports
Lili will automatically create yearly and quarterly expenses reports for you. No more calculating everything yourself.

It will also pre-fill your annual 1040 Schedule C form. You can share it with your accountant or file with the IRS.

Lili Banking Features

Early Payment
Set up direct deposit with your clients and get paid up to 2 days earlier. If you earn income from platforms like Upwork, Uber, Etsy, or Shopify, they are all eligible for early payments too.

Free ATM access
You can withdraw cash fee-free at over 38,000 MoneyPass ATMs in the U.S. MoneyPass ATMs are at convenient places like 7-Eleven and your local grocery stores.

Mobile Check Deposit
Snap a pic of your check with the app to digitally deposit it. But note that the basic Lili account has a limit of $2,000 max per check and $6,000 per month.[1]

To be eligible for check deposits, you need at least $200 in direct deposits each month from an employer, payroll provider, or gig economy payer.

Cash Deposits
You can deposit cash at over 90,000 Green Dot locations. You can find them in Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, 7-Eleven, etc. Just simply hand the cashier the cash and ask them to add it to your card. Your funds will be in your account in an hour.

Lili Visa Debit Card
Lili's debit card is accepted everywhere and has no overdraft fees and no foreign transaction fees. It can also be connected to Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Budgeting Tool
Lili also offers budget tracking tools, similar to a basic version of Mint.

What bank does Lili use?
The funds deposited into your Lili account are held and protected by Choice Financial Group. Choice Financial also issues all Lili Visa debit cards.

Lili Pro Features

The standard Lili banking account is free. But you also have the option to upgrade to a Lili Pro account for $4.99 a month. You can try it free for the first 30 days.[2]

This premium account offers several extra benefits:

Savings Account with APY
Lili Pro comes with an Emergency Bucket. This lets you put away funds for unforeseeable events or large future purchases. And the best part is that it pays a very competitive 1% APY on emergency savings.

You can save without thinking by setting a fixed daily amount. This can be as little as just $1/day.

Unlimited Invoices
Lili Pro's built-in invoicing platform lets you create and send unlimited invoices. You can customize invoices, issue corrections, and send reminders to clients.

Customers can pay you via bank transfer, PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, and checks. If you use the Stripe integration, you can even accept debit and credit card payments.

Fee-Free Overdraft up to $200
If you accidentally overdraw your account, Lili helps you out by covering you up to $200. Next time you make a deposit, you'll automatically pay it back.

This is only for debit card purchases. You can be eligible for this feature based on how long you've had your account and your spending history.

Cashback Rewards
Earn rewards for shopping at dozens of participating merchants (see the full list here). Lili partners with many popular companies for business services, travel, and dining.

Advance Expense Tracking
Have an expense that's both for personal and business? Lili Pro lets you split it so you can say exactly how much of it is for business. This lets you accurately keep track of business expenses down to the penny, so you can get all your deductions.

Accounting Integration
You can integrate your Lili bank account with Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and other platforms using Plaid.

Higher Transaction Limits
For mobile check deposits, you can deposit $5,000 max per check and up to $50,000 per month. You also have higher ACH transfer limits to a linked account ($5,000 per month vs $2,000 for the basic account).[1]

Lili Pros and Cons

Lili is easy to use and effective at helping freelancers manage their business and personal finance. However, there are a few features lacking that would be nice to have.

Pros

  • Categorize and track business expenses
  • Automatically set aside funds for taxes
  • Fee-free ATM access to 38,000+ MoneyPass ATMs
  • Supports cash deposits
  • Seamless pairing with common payment apps like PayPal
  • No monthly fees and no balance minimums
  • Visa Business Debit Card with digital wallet compatibility
  • Generous referrals for inviting friends to Lili

Cons

  • No physical checks
  • No wire transfers
  • $4.95 to deposit cash
  • APY on savings is only for Lili Pro members
  • Invoicing is only for Lili Pro members
  • Up to 5 business days to clear check deposits
  • Not for those with EIN
  • Mobile-only access
  • Low monthly limits for deposits
  • Does not allow more than one business debit card
  • No joint accounts

How Much Does Lili Cost?

For the features they offer, Lili is extremely affordable. They have:

  • No monthly service fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • No stop payment fees
  • No minimum balance to open or maintain an account
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No inactivity or dormant fee

The only fees you may encounter are:[3]

  • $2.50 domestic out-of-network ATMs
  • $5.00 for international ATMs
  • $5 card replacement (after first free one)
  • $25 deposited check return
  • $4.99 per month for optional Lili Pro

Lili uses the MoneyPass ATM network with over 38,000 locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

The Lili app also offers a handy ATM Finder tool, which will tell you the nearest ATM locations near you and whether they are fee-free or not.

How does Lili bank make money?
Lili makes money from its Lili Pro account that costs $4.99/mo. It also makes money from card processing fees (these are not charged to you).

What is the Lili App like?

Account management is done entirely through the Lili app. Lili does not support online banking via a web platform and has no physical branch locations.

Using the app, you can perform many business banking activities, such as:

  • Deposit checks using mobile deposit
  • Transfer up to $1,000 to external bank accounts per month[4]
  • Set aside funds for tax purposes
  • Categorize expenses
  • Generate expense reports and download them into CSV, PDF, or Excel format
  • Freeze / unfreeze your debit card
  • Find nearest fee-free ATM locations

Download: App Store, Google Play

How to Contact Lili Customer Service

Lili offers an extensive list of FAQ answers, blog articles, and even a "Freelancers Handbook" on their website.

But if you want to get help from a real live human being, customers can call 855-545-4380 to speak with a representative or email support@lili.co.

You can reach Lili customer service from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 7 pm EST.

Where is Lili located?
Lili is a digital-only bank with no physical branch locations. Lili's corporate headquarters are located in New York City, New York.

Is Lili Bank Good?

There aren't a lot of business bank accounts designed specifically for freelancers. Lili is unique because it lets you manage your business and personal finance in one single account.

The basic free bank account already comes with a ton of features. In addition to banking basics, it lets you easily track business and personal expenses and save for taxes.

It's best for freelancers who work almost entirely online. Lili doesn't offer checks and there's a fee for cash deposits. So it's not ideal if you need those regularly.

Customers have overall positive things to say about this banking service. Lili boasts a 4.7-star rating on the Apple App Store and 4.4-star rating on the Google Play Store.

Lili puts a lot of effort into providing value to their customers. And it shows. Their informative blog articles provide tips on how to improve your business, based on specific industries, such as writing, driving & delivery, and fitness.

Downsides

Reading through hundreds of reviews of Lili, complaints are few and far between. But here are some downsides to consider to see if Lili is right for you.

Check deposit requirement
You need a $200 monthly direct deposit minimum to use the mobile check deposit feature. It's definitely an inconvenient hurdle to make customers jump through to use a basic banking feature in 2022.

Low transaction limits
For the free checking account, you can only deposit $6,000 of checks a month. And you can only transfer out $1,000 a month to an external bank account.

No checks
Lili does not offer checkbooks. If you need checks to pay rent (or other things), then you probably still need another bank account that let you write checks.

$4.95 for cash deposits
This will add up fast if you deal a lot in cash.

No wire transfers
Lili currently does not support sending or receiving wire transfers.

Lili vs. the Competition

Here's how Lili compares against two other popular free business checking accounts.

Lili vs. Novo
Novo offers seamless integrations with hundreds of popular business software. You can manage all your business life on the Novo platform instead of running around on different platforms.

Even though Novo does not pay interest, it offers discounts on many popular business services. For example, you can get Google Ads credit, free months of Gusto, and a discount on Intuit QuickBooks.

All users can create up to 5 Reserves. These are like savings accounts you can use for taxes, future purchases, etc. This is more than you get with Lili.

Novo customers can also add users and receive multiple debit cards. You can't do this with Lili, since it's meant for freelancers and single-member business owners.

Lastly, Lili makes budget tracking and setting aside money for taxes super easy within the mobile app. With Novo, you have to use third-party services for budgeting, expense reports, etc.

Read our full rundown of Novo Bank here.

Lili vs. Bluevine
Bluevine is known for its high APY on its business checking account. You can earn 1.5% on balances up to $100,000 with monthly eligibility requirements; 0% APY on balances over $100,000. Lili only offers APY on savings if you have the paid Pro account.

A benefit with Bluevine is that you get 2 free checkbooks every year. This makes it good for small businesses that pay vendors and employees in person.

You also get 5 free sub-accounts with their own unique account numbers - for a total of 6 business checking accounts. All the accounts earn APY too (on up to $100k in combined balance).

Lili Bank FAQs

Get instant answers to three of the most common questions prospective customers have before opening an account with Lili.

Can I overdraft my Lili card?
It is possible to overdraw your Lili account, as Lili does not block payments from going through if you don't have enough money in your account to cover them.

Fortunately, Lili charges no fees for overdrafts whatsoever. You must pay the overdrawn amount by transferring funds from your linked tax bucket or external account within 3 business days.[5]

If you have Lili Pro, the BalanceUp feature covers overdrafts up to $200 for free. You just pay it back with your next deposit.

How do I put money on my Lili card?
Lili customers will likely enjoy receiving direct deposit funds up to two days early compared to traditional banking institutions.

You can also link your Lili account to popular payment applications like PayPal, Venmo, and CashApp.

Mobile check deposit is also an option, with an individual check limit of $2,000.

Last option: You can deposit up to $1,000 per day in cash using GreenDot locations (there is a $4.95 fee per deposit by GreenDot).[6]

What is Lili's spending limit?
With your Lili account, you can spend up to $3,000 per day and up to $15,000 per month. You can also withdraw up to $500 cash per day and up to $3,000 per month.[7]

Bottom Line: Is Lili Worth It?

Lili is completely free, so it is certainly worth the price! It's well worth considering if you don't want to manage separate business and personal accounts.

Even though there's no savings account with the free version, the option to set aside money for taxes is a great feature. And the budget tracking and expense report tools will make taxes easier for many freelancers.

Lili Pro gives you even more benefits for a very reasonable monthly fee.

The volume of advice, tips, and tricks on mitigating taxes and maximizing profits for specific freelancing industries also showcase an above-and-beyond attitude at Lili.

References

  1. ^ Lili. What are my funding limits?, Retrieved 7/17/22
  2. ^ Lili. What is the monthly fee for Lili Pro?, Retrieved 7/17/222
  3. ^ Lili. Schedule of Fees. Retrieved 7/5/22
  4. ^ Lili. How can I transfer money from my account?, Retrieved 7/17/22
  5. ^ Lili. Terms and Conditions. Retrieved 7/5/22
  6. ^ Lili. How do I deposit cash into my Lili account?, Retrieved 7/17/22
  7. ^ Lili. Visa Debit Card "What are my spending and withdrawal limits?", Retrieved 7/17/22
Lili

Free Checking Account for Sole Proprietors and Single-Member LLC

  • $0 monthly service fees
  • $0 minimum opening deposit
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No foreign exchange fee
  • Get direct deposits up to 2 days earlier
Banking services provided by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC
Novo

Free Business Checking

  • $0 monthly service fee
  • $50 deposit to unlock all features
  • Unlimited ATM fee rebates
Banking services provided by Middlesex Federal Savings F.A., Member FDIC
Bluevine

Business Checking - Up to 1.5% APY

  • 1.5% APY on your balance up to $100,000 for customers that meet monthly eligibility requirements
  • $0 minimum opening deposit
  • $0 monthly service fee
Banking services provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC

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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