Updated September 4, 2022

Novo Review

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Novo Bank provides digital banking services for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Explore Novo's features, business perks, and fees in this review.

Novo Promotions
Free Business Checking

Overall Score

3.3

Savings

0.0

Checking

4.0

Customer Service

4.0

Mobile App

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

Pros and Cons

  • No monthly fees
  • Unlimited ATM refunds
  • Lots of software integrations
  • No cash deposits
  • Can't send wires

Bottom Line

Fee-free online business checking with lots of good features

Novo Bank is a digital bank catering to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

They offer significant discounts for business services like Intuit QuickBooks and Stripe and almost no fees.

But can Novo meet the unique demands of today's small business owners? Read this review to learn more about Novo's features, fees, and integrations.

What Is Novo Bank?

Novo Bank is a digital-only banking service with no physical branches.

It's ideal for small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers for its minimal fees and easy self-service. Business owners can use Novo to pay employees, send invoices, send and receive business-related payments, and set aside funds for expenses like quarterly taxes.

They're partnered with Middlesex Savings Bank, which manages their accounts and debit cards. However, Novo is an independently operated technology company.

Who is best suited for Novo Bank?
Novo is ideal for freelancers and businesses that primarily exchange funds digitally. Brick-and-mortar businesses or those that handle a lot of cash would not be a good fit for Novo.

Pros and Cons of Novo Bank

Pros:

  • Integration with business apps
  • Supports multiple users and business debit cards
  • No monthly fee
  • Reimbursement for ATM fees worldwide
  • Create up to 5 Reserves
  • User-friendly app
  • Free incoming and outgoing ACH transfers
  • Free incoming wires
  • Perks and discounts with popular business software

For the full list of discounts available to Novo customers, click here.

Cons:

  • No physical branch locations
  • No cash deposits
  • $27 overdraft fee; no overdraft protection
  • Cannot set up recurring payments in bill pay
  • Cannot send wire transfers through Novo
  • Slow customer service

Who is Novo Best For

Novo could be right for you if you:

  • Are a freelancer or a small solo business owner
  • Mostly use ACH transfers and invoicing to send and receive payments
  • Want to integrate your business checking account with financial software you already use
  • Want a business checking with no monthly fees

Who is Novo Not For

Novo is not for you if:

  • You regularly pay employees or vendors with checks.
  • You get paid in cash, as Novo doesn't have physical locations where you can deposit cash.
  • Your business is a Series LLC, non-US registered, related to cannabis, adult, money services (and among others).

How Does Novo Bank Work?

Novo functions like a typical digital-only business checking account. You can transfer funds to and from an existing checking account, send and request payments, and monitor account activity online or through the app.

To apply (which takes only minutes), applicants must be at least 18 years old with a U.S.-based business. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid Social Security number, U.S. mailing address, and mobile phone number.

Customers receive a debit card, which can be used to make purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs. You can also add business partners to your account and request business debit cards for each partner on the account.

Is Novo Bank legit?
Yes. Deposits into your Novo account are FDIC insured up to $250,000. Novo's partner, Middlesex Savings Bank, has been in business since 1835.[1]

Features

Novo's only account offering is their small business checking account, which easily accommodates most basic business transactions.

Sending and receiving payments
Novo members can send invoices, make mobile check deposits, and send and receive ACH payments for business expenses. However, you can't send wire transfers or deposit cash. Customers can also pay for expenses using Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Software integrations
Novo's most stand-out feature is their app integrations. You can customize your banking dashboard to include the tools you need to run your business. This way, you can have your business life in all in one place, instead of going between multiple platforms.

Novo itself offers 15+ native integrations built directly with their partners. Plus, it lets you connect your account with thousands of other business apps.

Here's a few of the platforms Novo integrates with:

  • Wise for international payments
  • Slack to communicate with team members
  • Xero for automated accounting services
  • Square and Stripe to receive credit and debit payments
  • Shopify, Etsy, and Amazon for eCommerce tracking
  • QuickBooks to automatically import transactions

ATM fee refunds
Novo doesn't have its own ATM network. But it will refund all ATM fees at the end of the month, so you can use any ATM you want. It even refunds international ATM fees.

Reserves
Novo lets you add up to 5 reserves. These are funds set aside for things you may be saving up towards (like for taxes or equipment purchase). The money in your Reserves will not count in your "spendable balance," but they are still available to you at any time.

Send checks from app
If you need to send a paper check, you can request it in the Novo app. Novo will make and mail the check on your behalf, at no extra cost. Just note that it takes 7-10 business days for a check to be delivered.

Check out the Novo App on Apple (4.8 stars) and Google Play (4.6 stars).

Built-in invoicing
Novo lets you send unlimited custom invoices right from the app. You can manage your invoices, save customer info, and even send reminders.

Customers can pay through ACH transfer. If you use the Stripe integration, they can also pay with a credit card.

Novo Boost (new)
If you use Stripe for credit card processing, you get funds from sales deposited into your Novo account in just hours.

Usually, you'd have to wait 1-2 business days for funds to appear. Having almost instant deposits really helps small businesses with cash flow. This lets you keep payments going and reinvest back into your business.

Does Novo use Zelle?
Not currently. However, Novo is planning to integrate with Zelle in the future, according to their website. It does work with PayPal and Venmo. Or you can send and receive payments with unlimited ACH transfers.

Fees to Watch Out For

Novo has (almost) no fees. There are no monthly fees, transaction fees, or ACH fees, and users pay nothing to replace a lost or stolen debit card.

They also offer free business checking with no minimum balance requirements after the $50 initial deposit.

The only fees Novo charges are:

  • $27 overdraft fee
  • $27 uncollected funds returned fee

In short, if you don't overdraw your account or receive bad checks, you will never incur any fees from Novo.

Many banks offer free checking accounts for small business. Review your options in our free business checking guide.

How to Apply to Novo

Novo accepts applications from sole proprietors, LLCs, partnerships, and corporations. You need to provide the following information:[2]

  • Social Security number
  • Driver's license or passport
  • US address
  • Proof of address (lease agreement, utility bill, phone bill, credit card statement, or bank statement)
  • US phone number (virtual number not allowed)

EINs are required if your business hires employers. If you're a sole proprietor or single-member LLC, it's optional.

In addition, you will need to provide these documents depending on your state requirements for your type of business:

  • DBA if you have filed for one
  • Articles of Organization and Operating Agreement (for LLCs)
  • Articles of Incorporation (for corporations)
  • Certificate of Partnership (for partnerships)

Novo does not check your credit history when reviewing your application.

Novo will not work with these types of businesses: adult entertainment, cannabis, gambling, cryptocurrencies, crowdfunding, and money services.

Reasons Not to Use Novo

Overall, Novo is an excellent choice for tech-savvy small business owners. But there are some limitations. However, Novo does its best to offer workaround solutions.

Cannot send wires
You can't send wire transfers directly from the Novo account. If you need to make a domestic transfer, you can do so via ACH transfer. For international transfers, you can use the Wise integration to send money.

No cash deposits
As of now, Novo doesn't support a way to deposit cash. The only way to do so is to purchase a money order and then deposit that with mobile check deposit. (MoneyGram money orders aren't supported.)

No recurring payments
Recurring payments let you put those bills on autopilot. But Novo doesn't currently support it. However, they do save your payees, so you can quickly pay with one click. But you still have to remember to pay.

No paper checks
You can't get paper checks, but Novo will send a check for you for free. It takes up to 10 business days for your payee to get it, though. So you can't give someone a paper check right away.

Customer Reviews

Novo is currently rated 4 stars (out of 5) by Trustpilot.
The majority of reviews are either 5 stars or 1 star, with few in between. This suggests that most customers really like Novo, while a handful had very specific problems.

A common theme with negative reviews is poor customer service. Many customers complain of long wait times and the lack of communication channels outside of email.

However, many reviewers spoke positively about Novo and contradicted the complaints of other reviewers, stating their issues were quickly resolved.

Representative 5-Star Review:
"5+++ great business banking, very secure. Great features in the app, like pay employees, attach receipts or invoices to your payments or withdrawals.

You can even organize each purchase in categories like: utilities, business supplies, and many, many, many more options."
— Meg C. via Google Play Store

Representative 1-Star Review:
"This bank is garbage. Please do not waste your time here. It takes forever to get anything done. There is no phone number in case you need help, everything is done by email correspondence.

Their fraud dept is a waste of time - our card # was stolen and used online and they determined that the charges were valid and refused to refund us. Your money is not safe here."
— Larissa F. via Trustpilot

How to Contact Customer Support

Novo's support office is open from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST. To contact Novo, customers can email support@novo.co. There is also a contact number listed on the back of your debit card, which is not publicly available.

Alternatives to Novo Bank

Novo vs Chase Business
Chase Bank and Novo Bank both offer a business-focused banking experience.

If your business often gets paid in cash and requires easy branch access, Chase may be the better choice.

Novo Bank is better for independent contractors and freelancers with irregular income. There are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. Plus, DIY entrepreneurs can benefit from Novo's many tech integrations.

Novo vs. Other Online Banks

After the closure of popular business bank Azlo, there are three top competitors to Novo: Bluevine, Lili, and Relay.

All three are online banks with free business checking accounts. But each one has their strong points and downsides.

Novo vs. Bluevine
This may be Novo's fiercest competition. With Bluevine, you can earn up to 1.50% APY.

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

Bluevine gives you 2 free checkbooks per year. Plus, you have the option to make cash deposits at Green Dot (though there's a fee). This makes it a good option for even small traditional businesses.

Another plus is the 5 free sub-accounts. Each account has its own unique account number. This makes it easy to pay or receive payments from dedicated accounts. In comparison, Novo's Reserves are not sub-accounts.

Novo vs. Lili
Lili is business checking account especially designed for sole proprietors and single-member LLCs. You can only apply with your SSN. It only allows for one owner and one debit card.

Freelancers and sole proprietors can use Lili as a mixed-use account. You can sort transactions as a business expense or personal expense. And you can also automatically set a portion of your income to a tax savings account.

Another cool feature is that you can get your direct deposit payments up to 2 days earlier. It also accepts cash deposits at Green Dot.

Lili also offers a Lili Pro account for $4.99 per month. You get 1% APY on emergency savings, cashback at participating merchants, invoicing, and fee-free overdraft up to $200.

Novo vs. Relay
If you have lots of team members, Relay will meet your needs better. Relay lets you open up to 20 individual business checking accounts and issue up to 50 debit cards. And there's no monthly fee.

This makes it easy to have dedicated debit cards for different areas of spending. You can set spending limits for each team member.

You can also schedule recurring payments and send domestic and international wire transfers. These are actions Novo doesn't support as of yet.

Bottom Line: Should You Use Novo?

As one 4-star reviewer wrote on Trustpilot, "Well, it's a bank." Your money will be insured and largely safe from fees of any kind. You can perform the basic functions required of business owners and even get pretty steep discounts on popular business services.

If you are a modest, online, service-based business already looking to use tools like QuickBooks, HubSpot, Stripe, and Google Ads — Novo could save you some serious coin.

For other situations, consider shopping around for a banking solution that earns interest and includes features like paper checks, wire transfers, and Zelle compatibility.

References

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
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
Axos Bank
Member FDIC

Rewards Checking - Up to 1.25% APY

  • Up to 1.25% APY
  • Zero monthly maintenance fees
  • Zero overdraft or NSF fees
  • Zero minimum monthly balance reqs
  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • Online debit card management
  • Simple, 3-step process for direct deposit
  • Only $50 to open an account

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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