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Open a Free Business Checking Account Online with a Low Deposit

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When you start a small business, one of the first things you need to do is open a separate checking account to keep track of your funds. Not only is this a key part of helping your business’ professional appearance, it will help you stay organized when performing bookkeeping and other administrative tasks.

“When you start a business, it’s also important for both legal and tax reasons to separate your personal accounts from your business accounts,” said Ken Tumin, founder of DepositAccounts, a LendingTree company. “A business checking account is necessary to keep things separate. The business checking account allows you to send and receive payments in the name of your business,” Tumin said.

Although there are many business checking accounts available to customers across the country, it’s important you find one that doesn’t come with a high minimum opening deposit and offers low or no minimum balance requirements and fees and, ideally, interest on your balance. Typically, the accounts with the lowest fees and requirements come from credit unions, because many already have established relationships with certain employers and organizations. Keep reading to explore five of the best options available nationwide for business checking accounts.

The best low-cost business checking account options

Northfield Bank Business Interest Checking
Min. Amount to Earn APY APY
$0.01 0.50%

 

Minimum opening deposit: Northfield Bank has a suggested minimum opening of $50.

Maintenance fee: $8 monthly fee for balances below $5,000

ATM fees: $1 per transaction on any non-Northfield ATM

Perks: Users are allowed up to 1,000 free monthly transactions. Northfield will buy back any unused checks or debit cards from another bank.

With headquarters in Woodbridge, N.J., physical branches are limited to areas around New York City and eastern Pennsylvania, where you may open a Business Interest Checking account in person. Others should call 833-301-NFBK to learn more. Online banking is free and you’ll earn interest on this account without a high minimum balance. There is a monthly fee if you keep less than $5,000 in the account. If you deposit too much each month — $10,000 or more — you may be converted to another checking account.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union Free Business Checking with Interest
Min. Amount to Earn APY APY
$0.01 0.40%

 

Minimum opening deposit: None

Maintenance fee: None

ATM fees: None, but the owner of a non-Bethpage ATM may charge a fee.

Perks: No minimum balance, monthly service charge, transaction limit or deposit fees and the ability to earn interest make the free business checking account an attractive option.

One of the largest credit unions in the Northeast, Bethpage membership is open to anyone who deposits $5 in a savings account. Nationwide online banking is free, but if you prefer to do business at a physical branch, those are only offered on Long Island, with a single branch in New York City. Bethpage has a checklist of what you’ll need to open a checking account, depending on your business entity.

Premier America Credit Union Platinum Business Checking
Min. Amount to Earn APY APY
$100 0.20%

 

Minimum opening deposit: $100; however, businesses will have to deposit $250 into a Business Savings Account in order to join Premier America.

Maintenance fee: $15 minimum/average balance fee

ATM fees: $1.75 per transaction at non Premier America Credit Union ATMs, though the fee may be waived

Perks: You can write up to 250 checks per months without a charge — the fee is 30 cents each thereafter.

Premier America Credit Union has branches in California and Texas. However, if you live, work, worship or attend school outside of Los Angeles or nearby Ventura County, or aren’t in proximity to its two Houston branches, membership is open to anyone who joins the Thousand Oaks Alliance for the Arts. Business owners interested in opening an interest-bearing Platinum Business Checking account must go one step further and set up a Business Savings Account.

INOVA Federal Credit Union Business Dividend Checking
Min. Amount to Earn APY APY
$0.01 0.25%

 

Minimum opening deposit: $10

Maintenance fee: $10 monthly service for accounts without a $5,000 minimum daily balance

ATM fees: $2 per transaction at non-network ATMs

Perks: INOVA offers unlimited monthly transactions and will buy back your unused checks and debit card from another bank.

INOVA Federal Credit Union is open to businesses that pay the $10 membership fee and make an initial membership share deposit of $5. Businesses will also need to provide documentation depending on their entity type — you can find a Business Identification Checklist here. INOVA has a branch in California and several in Indiana, where it has its headquarters, but online banking is available nationwide. You may also be able to find certain services at one of 5,000 compatible branches INOVA calls service centers.

Achieva Credit Union Performance Interest Checking
Min. Amount to Earn APY APY
$0.01 0.15%

 

Minimum opening deposit: None

Maintenance fee: $15 when balance is below $5,000

ATM fees: $2.50 per transaction at non-Achieva ATMs

Perks: Members may get discounts on phone and other services, $25 for referring a friend and access to certified financial planners.

Membership is open to those who live or work in several Florida counties: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas or Sarasota. Family members of current members may also join, but membership is open to anyone who makes at least a $10 donation to the Achieva Foundation. Businesses must also pay a one-time lifetime membership fee of $15. The Performance business checking account offers up to 300 free deposited items, but there will be a fee of 35 cents per item after that. No matter where your business is located, nationwide online banking is available. Achieva also promises easy connection with business software QuickBooks.

Important small business checking account features

As with a personal checking account, there are certain things you’ll want to look for when opening a business checking account.

“Beware of monthly service fees,” Tumin said. “Choose an account with no monthly service fees or one in which you can have it easily waived with a minimum balance or with specific banking activities.”

Additionally, make sure the business account will allow for the number of your anticipated transactions, as you might be hit with high fees if your monthly number of transactions exceeds a certain level, Tumin added.

“In addition to the number of transactions, make sure it allows for your anticipated cash deposits. If the dollar amount of your cash deposits exceeds a certain level, more high fees could result,” he said.

Last, keep in mind that business bank accounts often do not have the same fraud protection measures as consumer bank accounts.

“It can be much more difficult to be reimbursed by the bank when funds are stolen from your business account than from your consumer account,” Tumin said.

Common documents for setting up a business checking account online

According to Tumin, the documents and information you’ll need to submit to open a business checking account will vary based on the bank and type of business for which you’ll be using the account. Two typical documents for several types of businesses include the Certificate of Formation from your state and the Operating/Partnership Agreement. The bank will also request your business’ IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN). And the bank will want the account signers to provide government IDs and Social Security numbers, which is common among financial institutions.

The bottom line

When you open a business checking account online, make sure you understand all the fees and requirements that come with it, if any apply. As you now know, you can often get the most bang for your buck by opening your business account with a credit union. Although most require you to make a donation or pay a small membership fee to join another organization, it’s typically worth it in the long run to reap the benefits of a low-cost account.

The rates and fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.

Alicia Hahn Alicia Hahn
 

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