January 6, 2022

How to Open a Free Business Checking Account

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Looking for a free business checking account you can open with $0? Find out how to open an account online in minutes and what documents you need.

No one likes banking fees. Luckily, small business owners have a lot more options for free business checking accounts.

A free account gives you all the features you need without eating into your profits. No more worrying about meeting balance requirements or getting ripped off by fees.

In this article, you'll learn:

  • How to open a free business checking account
  • What documents you need
  • Best free business accounts with no monthly service fees

How to Open a Free Business Checking Account

Below, review the documents required to open a business checking account. These requirements may vary slightly by bank, based on the structure of your business. But in general, you should have the following prepared.

Documents Needed to Open Business Checking Account

You will need to provide the following information:

  • Name, address, and date of birth
  • Driver's license or state ID
  • SSN or EIN
  • Business license (if your state requires)
  • Proof of address
  • Industry
  • Years in business
  • Approximate annual revenue

Generally, these are the eligibility requirements to open a business checking account:
  • Have a small business (even if it's new)
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a valid U.S. mailing address

Next, find out which additional documents you may need, depending on your specific type of business.

Opening a Business Account as a Sole Proprietor or Freelancer

If you're a sole proprietor or freelancer, you can open a business checking account with only your Social Security number. You don't need an EIN, which is a business tax ID from the IRS.

If you have registered your business as a DBA, you may be asked to provide the certificate.

Usually, sole proprietors can open a business checking account online. You don't need to visit a physical bank.

Can you open a business checking account as a new business?
Absolutely. Even if your business is new and you don't yet have revenue, you can still open a business checking account. Don't lie on the application. Just say the truth.

Opening a Business Account as an LLC

You can form an LLC as a single member or with multiple owners. If you have multiple owners, it's important to look for a bank that allows for joint accounts.

You will need to provide:

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • LLC agreement - a document outlining the ownership and member duties of the LLC
  • Articles of Organization - certificate establishing the LLC with your state
  • Business license

Some banks will let you open an account online as an LLC. Others may require that all owners meet with a banker in person to apply.

If you don't have an EIN yet, you can apply for free on the IRS website. The number is issued immediately.

Opening a Business Account as a Corporation

If your business is a corporation, you will need to provide:

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Corporate bylaws - the legal document outlining the rules and regulations of the corporation
  • Articles of Incorporation - certificate establishing the corporation with your state
  • Business license

Again, refer to the requirements of the bank you're considering. Some may require that all owners be present.

Opening a Business Account as a Partnership

If you have a partnership, you will need to provide:

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Business license
  • Partnership Agreement - the agreement between all individuals outlining the terms and conditions of the partnership
  • Certificate of Partnership - the legal document registering your partnership with your state

Again, some banks may require that all partners be present.

Submitting Your Application

If you're opening a business account online, you can submit your forms digitally. The application will have a section for you to upload files. Have the above forms ready first, so the process goes faster.

Usually, online banks have a fast approval process. You can even be approved in just minutes. Sometimes, the bank may ask for additional verification or information.

If you're opening a business bank account in person, make sure to have physical copies of your documents. You should also have a check ready to make a deposit to open the account.

Once your account is opened, all you have to do is link an external account and fund it. Then you can start making transfers, paying bills, etc.

Do you need a Tax ID to open a business bank account?
If you're a sole proprietor, you don't need a Tax ID, or EIN. You can open a business checking account with just your Social Security number. But LLCs, corporations, and partnerships need to have an EIN to open a business bank account.

Best Free Business Checking Accounts with No Monthly Service Fee

Now, we'll go over some of the best free business checking accounts.

These are truly free accounts with no monthly service fees or minimum balance requirements.

Novo: Best Free Business Checking Overall

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

What sets Novo apart is its integrations with popular business software, like QuickBooks, Slack, Xero, Shopify, and Stripe. Plus, it offers thousands of dollars of discounts on business services (for example, $20,000 in free possessing with Stripe).

Other features include:

  • Unlimited free transactions within the U.S.
  • Set aside up to 5 Reserves for taxes or business expenses
  • Request to have checks sent on your behalf for free
  • Refunds on all ATM fees worldwide
  • Add users and get multiple debit cards

Novo accepts online applications for sole proprietors, LLCs, partnerships, and corporations.

It does require $50 to open, but this is very reasonable. After that, there are no balance requirements.

Lili: Best Free Business Checking for Freelancers

Lili is a unique, mixed-use personal and business checking account designed for freelancers. You can apply with just your SSN.

Features include:

  • Sort transactions as a business or personal expense
  • Set a percentage of paychecks to a tax savings account
  • Generate yearly or quarterly expense reports
  • Get direct deposit payments up to 2 days earlier
  • No fees at MoneyPass 38,000+ ATMs
  • No overdraft fees
  • No foreign transaction fees

BlueVine: Best Free Business Checking with Interest

BlueVine's Business Checking offers 0.6% APY on balances up to $100,000. This is one of the highest interest rates in the market.

Other features include:

  • No fees at 38,000+ MoneyPass ATMs
  • Unlimited free transactions
  • Two free checkbooks
  • No insufficient funds fee

However, this account is so popular that it has temporarily paused new applications. You'll have to join the waitlist.

BlueVine only supports a single owner. It's not for multi-owner LLCs, corporations, or partnerships.

U.S. Bank: Best Physical Bank with Free Business Checking

If you'd rather use a physical bank where you can meet with a banker, look at U.S. Bank. It has over 3,000 physical branches across the U.S. But they're mostly in the Western states.

It's hard to find free business checking accounts at big banks. U.S. Bank offers a Silver Business Checking Package with no maintenance fees or account minimum.

Features include:

  • 125 transactions per month ($0.50/item after that)
  • 25 free cash deposits each month
  • 50% discount on first check order up to $50
  • No fee at non-U.S. Bank ATMs
  • Online mobile deposits and bill pay

If you're looking for a physical bank, popular banks like Chase and Wells Fargo have business accounts, but there is a minimum balance requirement to waive the service fee. However, it's reasonable, so you can see if it's something your business can handle. Or else, look at your local community banks and credit unions.

Here are some bank accounts with ways to waive the monthly service fee.

What to Look for in a Free Business Checking Account

It's important to find the right bank that fits your needs and will grow with your business. Consider these factors:

Account balance requirements
Free does not always mean free. Some banks require a certain account balance to avoid a service see. Sometimes, this is okay if the bank fits your needs and you're able to comfortably meet the requirement.

Other fees
Most banks will have a schedule of fees on their website. Make sure you understand all potential costs, like fees for overdrafts, wire transfers, paper checks, etc.

Physical location
A physical bank will allow you to bank in-person and develop a personal relationship. But if you can manage your business finances completely online, you have more free options with online-only accounts.

Cash deposits
Do you need to deposit cash for your business? If you're considering an online bank, see what the options are. Usually, this means using a money deposit service, which charges an extra fee. If your business deals with lots of cash, then a physical bank may be more ideal.

Number of owners
Some small free business checking accounts don't allow for joint owners. If you're a sole proprietor, that's fine. But if your business grows, you may outgrow the limitations of the account.

Other banking services
If you think you may need a loan later on, it's smart to choose a bank with small business financing. Having a relationship with your bank can help you get approved for a loan and get better rates.

Bottom Line

Nowadays, digital banks provide an affordable and easier way for small business owners to manage their money. You can keep a free checking account without having to worry about meeting any requirements.

But also be aware of the limitations of digital banks too (like inconvenient cash deposits). Before opening a new bank account, do some research and compare banks to see which is best for you.

Anna G is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Anna G 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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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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