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The 5 Best Banks for Small Businesses in 2020

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The 5 Best Banks for Small Businesses in 2020

If you’ve started your own company — or you’re considering the move — you’ve likely marveled at the logistics required to pull it off.

How do taxes work now? What about health insurance?

And when you become a business owner, your banking needs change. Since vetting banks probably isn’t how you want to spend your time when you’re self-employed, we did the leg work for you and found the five best banks for small business owners.

Wait, How Did We Pick the 5 Best Banks for Small Businesses?

There are several angles you could take to determine the best bank offers, depending on the business needs of your company. To choose the best banks for small businesses, we focused on three banking services:

Small business checking and savings account options: We looked at balance requirements, fees and transaction and deposit limits.

Small business lending: There are three main ways you can borrow money for your business. We compared what banks offered across these three categories.

  • If you’re a qualified small business owner, you can take out SBA loans, which are backed by the Small Business Administration and, as a result, come with lower interest rates.
  • You can also secure a business term loan, which operates in the same way as a personal loan.
  • You can secure a business line of credit, which can provide you with flexibility if you’re not sure how much money you need.

Credit cards: While we don’t advocate spending just to get credit rewards, there’s no reason to leave perks for your existing expenses on the table. We looked at the annual fees, interest rates and perks each bank offers with their small business credit cards.

Your needs may be more complicated, but they likely include these basic merchant services. So here’s how the best small business banks stack up.

5 Best Banks for Small Businesses

None of these companies paid Codetic to make the list. That said, we don’t know your business finances or your cash flow. The best bank for your small business is going to depend on your specific needs.

But here are our five favorites.

Wells Fargo: Best Overall Banking for Small Businesses

A Wells Fargo bank sign.
Tina Russell/Codetic

If your business can keep a reliable daily balance, Wells Fargo’s business accounts come cheap.

With over 5,500 brick-and-mortar locations and 13,000 ATMs across the country, the other appeal is convenience. Customer service is around the clock, and you can handle all your business banking needs in one location.

Checking and Savings

It will only cost you $25 to open a Simple Business Checking Account at Wells Fargo. The account comes with:

  • A $10 monthly service fee that’s waived if you maintain an average balance of $500 over the month.
  • 50 free transactions before you incur a transaction fee.
  • $3,000 in free cash deposits per month.

The Business Market Rate Savings Account also includes a $25 minimum opening deposit. The account comes with:

  • A $6 monthly fee that’s waived if your average balance is at least $500.
  • 20 free check deposits each month.
  • $5,000 worth of free cash deposits each month.

Small Business Lending

Wells Fargo also offers unsecured business loans for various business purposes.

  • Loan amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000.
  • Terms range from one year to five years.
  • Fixed interest rates starting at 8%.

If you need financing for a business vehicle or equipment, you can apply for an Equipment Express loan instead.

  • Loan amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000.
  • Terms are typically between two and six years.
  • Interest rates come in slightly lower — 6.75% for vehicle loans and 7.25% for equipment loans.

Businesses with annual sales over $2 million can be approved for secured loans for up to $500,000.

Credit Cards

Wells Fargo’s small business credit cards offer:

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • A sign-up cash back bonus between $500 and $1,000, depending on the card you apply for.
  • The Wells Fargo Business Platinum card offers 0% interest for the first nine months; after that, APRs range from prime rate of 5.5% plus 7.99% to 17.99%, which translates to 13.49% to 23.49%.

Chase: Best Credit Card Offerings

a man and woman withdraw money from chase bank ATMs automatic teller machines.
Sharon Steinmann/Codetic

As another “big four” bank, Chase Bank offers familiar perks: a reliable brand with enough resources to keep things convenient. Chase Bank has almost 5,000 branches and 16,000 ATMs across the country, and its customer service runs around the clock as well. But Chase’s credit card offerings are particularly worth noting.

Checking and Savings

The small business checking account, the Chase Total Business Checking, comes with:

  • A $15 monthly fee that’s waived with a minimum daily balance of $1,500.
  • 100 free transactions each month.
  • $5,000 of free cash deposits each month.

Chase’s Business Total Savings account charges $10 per month, which is waived if you maintain an average balance of $1,000.

Small Business Lending

Chase offers a variety of small business loans. Here are the details:

  • Loan amounts start at $10,000, with varying interest rates.
  • Terms range from 12 to 84 months.
  • Lines of credit up to $350,000 are also available through Chase’s SBA Express.

Credit Cards

You probably hear the name Chase and think of credit cards, so it’s no surprise that its offerings in this category are robust — in fact, they’re why Chase made the cut.

The Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash cards come with:

  • No annual fee.
  • A $500 cash back bonus if you spend $3,000 in your first three months.
  • A 12-month introductory period of 0% APR.
  • APRs ranging from 15.49% to 21.49% after the first 12 months. (The average business credit card APR is 15.37% as of June 2019, according to ValuePenguin.)

While the Ink Business Unlimited will give you 1.5% cash back on all purchases, the Ink Business Cash earns you 5% cash back on select categories.

If you’re willing to pay an annual fee of $95 for the Ink Business Preferred card, the perks go up from there.

Capital One: Best for Low Fees

You can likely guess that the “credit cards” category landed Capital One on the list, but the checking and savings account options are worth a nod as well. If your main priority is credit cards, Chase may beat Capital One out, but if you’re looking for comprehensive service (read: better savings and checking options), read on.

Checking and Savings

Both the Capital One Spark Business Checking and Spark Business Savings accounts* come with:

  • No monthly service charge.
  • Free deposits, withdrawals and transfers are free.
  • No minimum balance, and the Spark Business Savings account comes with a 12-month promotional APY.

*Update: Capital One has temporarily stopped accepting new Spark Business Checking and Spark Business Savings accounts.

Small Business Lending

Capital One offers equipment loans, business installment loans and lines of credit that start at $10,000. Loan term lengths vary, but they typically do not extend beyond five years.

Credit Cards

The Spark Cash Select offers:

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • A $200 cash bonus if you spend $3,000 in your first three months.
  • 0% APR for the first nine months; 15.24% to 23.24% APR after that.
  • No annual fee.

The Spark Cash card comes with:

  • 2% cash back.
  • 19.24% variable APR.
  • $95 annual fee.

Axos: Best High-Yield Savings Account

The checking and savings offerings fall short of Capital One’s and Wells Fargo’s, and there are no credit cards. But if you’ve been in business for a few years, are looking for more substantial lending and don’t have a considerable sum of transactions each month, it’s worth a look.

Your money will earn a high APY, but you’ll have to earn your fee waiver.

Checking and Savings

The Axos Basic Business Checking account requires a $1,000 minimum opening deposit and comes with:

  • No monthly maintenance fees.
  • 200 free payments and deposits each month; after that, you’ll pay 30 cents per transaction.

If that minimum opening deposit is a deterrent, you may consider the Business Interest Checking account instead. The account only requires a $100 minimum deposit and comes with:

  • 0.8% APY — considerably higher than most accounts.
  • A $10 monthly maintenance fee that’s waived if you maintain an average daily balance of $5,000.
  • 50 free payments and deposits each month; after that, you’ll pay 50 cents per transaction.

The Axos Business Savings account requires a $1,000 initial deposit. The account comes with:

  • 0.8% APY.
  • $5 monthly fee if your average daily balance is below $2,500.

Small Business Lending

Axos also offers lines of credit and commercial loans. Both require your business to have been in operation for at least two years.

  • Lines of credit and commercial loans start at $250,000.
  • Line of credit terms are one year.
  • Commercial loans offer three-, five- or six-year terms.

Credit Cards

Axos does not offer credit cards.

Navy Federal Credit Union: Best Credit Union

You’re a small business owner now. Maybe you don’t want to do business with a multibillion-dollar corporation. If that’s your speed, a credit union like Navy Federal might be right for you. These member-owned nonprofits can provide a comfort and familiarity that the big four can’t offer.

Full disclosure: The perks are not going to match the big four. Membership is also not available to everyone: Only veterans, active-duty military, employees of qualified government agencies and immediate family of Navy Federal members can apply.

Checking and Savings

Navy Federal’s Business Checking account comes with:

  • No monthly service fee.
  • Unlimited free electronic transactions for free.
  • 30 free non-electronic transactions; after that, you’ll be charged 25 cents per transaction.
  • If you’re willing to pay an $8 monthly service fee, the free non-electronic transaction limits goes to 50.

Navy Federal also offers money market accounts that begin paying dividends at $2,500.

Small Business Lending

Navy Federal offers the following small business lending options:

  • Secured and unsecured business loans starting at $25,000; term loans must be secured.
  • You can apply online for any loan up to $50,000.
  • Lines of credit starting at $10,000.

Credit Cards

Navy Federal offers credit cards from Visa and Mastercard. The details:

  • No fees.
  • Interest rates start at prime plus 5.9% — right now, that’s 11.4%, but it will fluctuate.
  • You’ll earn one rewards point for every dollar you spend.

Honorable Mention: Azlo

Azlo does not offer credit cards or lending, but its no-fee structure could be attractive for small businesses with a point of sale to manage. Unfortunately, it can’t offer free cash deposits because it doesn’t have brick-and-mortar locations.

Azlo’s free business checking account has no monthly fees, no monthly transaction limits and no minimum balance requirements.

It also allows you to send invoices directly from your account for easy bill pay, and you can integrate Square to sync up directly with your account as well.

It may not have all the bells and whistles of a big national bank, but it is FDIC insured and its online-only structure could mean convenient mobile banking for you.

How to Choose the Best Bank for Your Small Business

Two women meet with a banker.
Getty Images

Ultimately, there may be some other factors that determine the best business bank account for you and your… business.

Do you want to use the same bank for your personal account, for example? Are you willing to step outside of the free checking options to earn more perks? Are you holding out for a debit card you can put your dog’s face on?

No matter what’s on your checklist, the options listed here should give you an idea of where to look next. If Wells Fargo and Chase were catching your eye, for instance, it might be worth comparing offerings from other big banks like Bank of America and Citibank as well.

If you like the idea of Navy Federal, search for credit unions in your area to compare.

The right bank for your business and personal finances is out there. You’ve just got to hunt it down.

Jake Bateman is a writer and editor in Florida.

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