Updated September 4, 2022

Relay Financial Review

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Relay Financial offers online banking services for businesses. Yes, it is free. But, is it the right platform for you? Find out.

Relay Promotions
No-Fee Business Checking

Overall Score

4.6

Checking

5.0

Customer Service

4.0

Mobile App

4.5

Fees

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

Pros and Cons

  • Up to 20 checking accounts
  • Up to 50 debit cards
  • $0 monthly fee
  • No cash deposits
  • No paper checks

Bottom Line

One of the best online business banking accounts for large teams

Relay Financial is an online banking and money management platform for small business owners. It was built with growth in mind.

Relay offers multiple accounts, custom user permissions, and unlimited transactions. It streamlines banking so you can focus on what really matters: your customers and your business.

Read on for the full breakdown of Relay Financial to see if it's right for you. Also, see how they stack up to similar competitors.

What is Relay Financial?

Relay Financial is a fintech company that provides banking services to businesses. They are partnered with Evolve Bank & Trust to provide FDIC insurance.

Relay is designed for growing businesses with large teams. You can open up to 20 individual checking accounts for free. And you can create specific permissions for team members and bookkeepers.

Users can set up automated recurring payments, issue debit cards to their team, track spending, and more. It also integrates with Quickbooks and other payroll and accounting software.

There is no monthly fee for Relay Standard. The optional Relay Pro plan has a $30 monthly fee and offers advanced payments automation.

If you're an accountant or bookkeeper, Relay could be a good option too. You can access all your clients' banking from one portal. You can use the free plan or a paid plan charged on a per-client basis.

Who Relay Business Banking is Best For

Even though Relay was created with teams in mind, it's open to all business owners from freelancers to corporations.

The Relay business checking account may be right for you if you:

  • Need many bank accounts for your business
  • Have a large team and want to share access
  • Don't need to deposit cash
  • Have more than one business

Relay also offers a platform for bookkeepers and accountants. You can access multiple clients' accounts with one login.

Relay is open to foreign business owners based outside of the US. But the business needs to have an operating presence in the US.[1]

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • $0 monthly fee
  • $0 opening deposit
  • Up to 20 checking accounts
  • Up to 50 debit cards
  • Different user permissions for employees, accountants, etc.
  • Bookkeeping and payroll integrations
  • Higher transaction limits than other banks

Cons:

  • No cash deposits
  • No paper checks
  • Doesn't support Zelle as of now
  • 6-7 days for check deposits to settle[2]
  • No savings accounts and no interest

Relay Free Financial Features

Relay offers lots of good features designed to make managing business finances smooth and easy. The free Relay Standard account comes with these features:

Multiple Checking Accounts
You have the option of opening up to 20 checking accounts. Each account has its own unique account number.

This lets you organize your business finances exactly the way you need. You can have separate accounts for payroll, taxes, billing suppliers, emergency savings, etc.

LLCs and corporations can open up to 20 business bank accounts. Sole proprietors and single-member LLCs can open up to 10.[3]

Mastercard Debit Cards
With a Relay account, you can order up to 50 virtual or physical Mastercard debit cards. This means there are no bottlenecks to your spending.

This lets you designate debit cards for a dedicated purpose (for example, marketing expenses). You can assign spending limits to each card to better control your expenses.

Payments
Paying your vendors is crucial for keeping your business running smoothly. With Relay, you can make payments easily via ACH bank transfer, wire transfer, or check. You can schedule one-time or recurring payments.

Member Accounts and Permissions
Relay users can provide their staff with select access to financial accounts. Not every member of your team needs the same level of access. You can choose which accounts team members get access to and what they can do.

This allows your team to make purchases, pay bills, or make deposits without sharing login information. You can delegate some of the financial duties so you don't need to do everything yourself.

The different permission levels are:
  • Administrator: full access
  • Manager: can make card payments, issue cards, and add team members
  • Bill Payer: can only pay bills
  • Cardholder: can only make card payments from their allowed account
  • Deposit-only: can only make mobile check deposits
  • Read-only: can only view transactions and download statements

App Integrations
Auto-sync your banking with accounting and payroll software you already use. Relay integrates with Xero, QuickBooks Online, Gusto, and Plaid. You can see your data in real-time so you can reconcile your accounts faster and error-free.

ATM Access
Relay offers users fee-free access to over 32,000 Allpoint ATMs across the country. If you go out of network, Relay never charges ATM fees (even for ATMs abroad). But the owner of the ATM might.[4]

Mailed Paper Checks
Relay doesn't give you paper checks, but you can request for checks to be mailed on your behalf for free. Just note that it takes 8-10 business days for the check to arrive.

Mobile Banking
Relay's mobile app lets you bank wherever you are. You can deposit checks, schedule payments, issue debit cards, manage team access, and request for checks. It's available on iOS and Android.

Enriched Transaction Data
Relay provides information about vendors, including category, location, website, and more. This makes managing transactions through your banking dashboard easy.

Register Second Business
If you have more than one business, you can register an additional business bank account. Each business has its own Relay bank account, but you can access them both with the same login.

24/7 Customer Support
Relay users have 24-hour email support and an online support center. Phone support is available from 9am to 5pm ET, Monday to Friday.

Relay offers a premium account called Relay Pro. It costs $30 per month. The main difference is that it automates accounts payable.

Extra features include:

Automatic Bill Imports
You can set up automatic imports of your bills from Xero and QuickBooks Online.

Accounts Payable Automation
Relay Pro users can manage all of their bills from one dashboard. You can pay multiple bills in a single batch. You can also set up automated multi-step bill approval systems. This saves you time from having to manually okay each bill.

Free Transfers
Same-day ACH transfers and domestic and international wire transfers are all free with Relay Pro.[5]

Free outgoing wires
With Relay Pro, it's free to send both domestic and international wires.

Accountants and bookkeepers who sign up for Relay or Relay Pro accounts get extra benefits. They can use a client portal, flexible permissions for team members, and the Relay Partner Program. This program offers increasing revenue share and decreasing monthly fees as they add clients to Relay.

Fees to Look Out for

You won't have to worry too much about fees when banking with Relay. Many of their services are offered entirely free of charge. There is:[6]


  • No monthly service fees for up to 20 checking accounts
  • No overdraft fees
  • No fee for bounced checks
  • No incoming wire fees
  • Free unlimited transactions
  • Free ATM access at 32,000+ Allpoint ATMs

With the free Relay Standard account, the only fees you may encounter are:

  • $5 for outgoing domestic wires
  • $10 for outgoing international wires

If you opt for the Relay Pro plan, it costs a fixed $30 per month. The price is per business or per client for accountants and bookkeepers.

How does Relay Financial make money?
Relay Financial makes money from their paid Relay Pro plan, which is $30 per month. They also share merchant fees with Mastercard every time account holders use their Relay Debit Cards.[7]

How to Open a Relay Bank Account

Relay is open to sole proprietors, LLCs, general partnerships, and corporations. Here's how to get started with Relay:

1. Create an account
To open a Relay business bank account, you need to first register on the platform. It'll ask for your name, phone number, position, and work email.

2. Upload documents
Once you've registered, you can fill out your business information and upload documents. You will need to provide:

  • Photo of government issued ID
  • SSN or EIN
  • Personal address and phone number
  • US business address and phone number
  • DBA if you have filed for one
  • Articles of Organization (for LLCs)
  • Partnership Registration Form (for partnerships)
  • Articles of Incorporation (for corporations)
  • Company Bylaws if applicable

3. Record video authorization
Relay also requires a video authorization. You have to record and upload a video of yourself saying that you authorize account opening at Relay Financial. This helps to confirm your identity.

4. Wait for account review
Relay can take 1-2 business days to review your account. Once it's open, you can go ahead and fund it and get full access to the features.

Relay Financial does not support businesses related to cryptocurrency, cannabis, firearms, credit repair, privately owned ATMs, money services, and unlawful internet gambling.

Is Relay Safe?

Like any banking partner, Relay takes security seriously. Both in regard to your money and your data.

Relay offers its banking services in partnership with Evolve Bank & Trust, which is a member of the FDIC. This allows them to provide users with FDIC-insured accounts for up to $250,000.

Their Mastercard partnership allows them to provide a zero-liability policy on the Relay Debit Card. You won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges.

And if someone does get hold of your debit card, you can freeze it instantly. You only need a single click from your Relay account.

Relay also employs two-factor authentication. They use popular authenticator apps to prevent unwanted access to your accounts.

Relay Financial Alternatives

Relay Financial isn't the only banking platform offering services targeted toward business owners. Let's take a look at how it stands up to some of its most popular competitors.

Relay Financial vs Mercury
Mercury offers a business bank account specifically created for tech startups and online-only businesses. You get a checking account and savings account bundle. There's no monthly fee or minimum balance requirements.[8]

Mercury also lets you add unlimited team members with different permission levels. You can also open multiple accounts and issue debit cards for your team.

Mercury requires an EIN to apply. It's not open to sole proprietors, whereas Relay is.

The unique thing about Mercury is their Raise program to connect startups to top investors. It has a quarterly fundraising round that lets you get your startup in front of 500+ investors. It's a great way to potentially accelerate your seed funding.

Relay Financial vs Bluevine
Bluevine is popular for its free business checking account with interest. You have the potential to earn up to 1.50% APY.

If you write paper checks and occasionally deposit cash, Bluevine is the better choice. You get 2 free checkbooks per year. And you can deposit cash at 90,000+ Green Dot locations (though there's a fee).

Both business bank accounts allow for multiple users. But, Bluevine only offers five subaccounts, as opposed to the 20 offered by Relay.

What sets Bluevine apart from Relay is their smalll business loans. You can borrow a revolving line of credit up to $250,000.[9] This means your credit restarts as you continue payments.

What to Look Out for When Choosing a Bank

Picking the right banking service for your business--big or small--is a decision that you shouldn't make lightly.

At best, your bank is a partner. One who understands your needs as well as or better than you do. Who makes your life easier by providing useful tools to keep your business running smoothly.

The worst-case scenario is that you find yourself tied to a bank that's uninvolved and uninterested. And, it sees you as just another number on the balance sheet. Managing your finances becomes a chore. That slows you down and keeps you from making your business all that it could be.

However, that's only the worst-case scenario. With a little research and critical thinking, you can surely make a good choice.

Bottom Line

Relay Financial is a trustworthy, flexible option for small business banking. Especially for businesses that would benefit from a large number of checking accounts or debit cards for staff. You can set custom permissions for each team member.

However, there are some downsides like no cash deposits or interest. Relay also doesn't offer the widest range of integrations. Compare your options to see if another business bank account may be better for you instead.

References

  1. ^ Relay Financial. Countries of Residence not Supported with Relay, Retrieved 8/10/2022
  2. ^ Relay Financial. How to Remotely Deposit Checks on Mobile, Retrieved 8/10/2022
  3. ^ Relay Financial. Adding and Editing Checking Accounts, Retrieved 8/10/2022
  4. ^ Relay Financial. Withdrawing Cash: ATMs, Retrieved 8/10/2022
  5. ^ Relay Financial. How to Make a Same-Day ACH Payment, Retrieved 8/10/2022
  6. ^ Relay. Plans & Pricing, Retrieved 5/16/2022
  7. ^ Relay Financial. FAQ: How does Relay make money?, Retrieved 8/10/2022
  8. ^ Mercury. Pricing, Retrieved 8/10/2022
  9. ^ Bluevine. Line of Credit, Retrieved 5/16/2022
Relay

No-Fee Business Checking

  • $0 monthly service fee
  • $0 minimum opening deposit
  • Open up to 20 individual business checking accounts
  • Issue up to 50 Mastercard┬« debit cards to your team
Banking services provided by Evolve Bank & Trust; 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

Jeremy Harshman is a creative assistant at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Jeremy Harshman at jeremy.harshman@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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