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Which Bank Is Best for Startups?: 13 Banks To Consider

November 28, 2023
Sarah Ahmad

After incorporating a U.S. entity, the next step is likely to open a U.S. business bank account. Having a bank account for your startup makes it possible to collect payments, pay employees, and easily expense items for your business.

But one problem common to startup founders or CEOs is finding the best bank for their business. There are 4,127 FDIC-insured commercial banks in the U.S., too many choices for a startup with limited resources to be sure they’re making the most cost-effective choice.

At Stable, we work with startups at all stages. After working with numerous startups and analyzing their banking needs, we’ve narrowed down a list of the 13 best banks for startups.

Why do startups have special considerations for banking?

Unlike larger, established companies, startups often have unique financial needs. They operate with limited financial resources, have higher risks, and require more flexibility in their banking solutions. This creates a unique set of considerations when it comes to banking.

Cash flow management

The early stages of a startup can be financially challenging, with unpredictable revenue streams and potentially high expenses. This makes cash flow management a top priority for startups, directly impacting their ability to survive and grow. A bank that offers flexible solutions for managing cash flow, such as low- or no-minimum balance requirements and overdraft protection, can be a valuable asset for startups.

Access to capital

Many startups rely on external funding (venture capital, angel investors, or small business loans) to fuel their growth and development. Banks that offer tailored loan products or connections to investors can provide much-needed financial support for startups.

Transactional volume

As startup businesses grow and scale, they may experience a high volume of transactions, such as customer payments, employee payroll, and vendor payments, often in smaller transactions but in greater quantities. This can lead to higher business fees, eating into their already limited resources. Banks that offer clear fee structures or bulk transaction discounts can help startups manage their costs and minimize any financial strain.

International transactions

Startups that operate on a global scale may face additional challenges with international transactions. Dealing with multiple currencies, complex international compliance regulations, and currency exchange rates can be overwhelming. Banks that provide efficient and affordable foreign transaction services, such as multi-currency accounts, competitive exchange rates, or international wire transfers, can make these processes easier and more cost-effective for startups.

Advisory services

Often overlooked but highly valuable for startups are the advisory services banks offer. Banking experts who understand startups’ unique needs and challenges can provide valuable insights and advice on financial matters such as tax planning, budgeting, and cash management. This can help startups make informed financial decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

However, consider the expertise and experience of the bank’s advisory team first before relying on their advice. Take the case of small business tax forms — certain forms, such as Form 941, require a bank account to complete. A knowledgeable bank partner can guide you through these processes, saving you time, money, and headaches.

Growth and scalability

Your startup may grow from a small team to a full-fledged company with multiple employees and international operations in 2–3 years. This rapid growth can significantly impact your banking needs, requiring a bank that can scale and adapt its services to meet these evolving business needs.

Consider your startup’s location as well, as certain cities may offer better opportunities for growth and scalability. Cities such as Silicon Valley, New York City, Austin, and Seattle are some of the best cities for startups in terms of access to capital, talent pool, and business-friendly environment.

13 banks for startups to check out

For most startups, the requirements are quite simple — an easy-to-use online banking portal, excellent customer service, and minimal hidden fees. If your business collects physical checks or you prefer in-person banking services, you’ll need to factor those in, too. After compiling data from 450+ startups, we’ve narrowed down the most popular startup bank accounts:

1. Mercury Bank

Mercury is a business banking startup designed for founders, offering free wire transfers, APIs, and integrations with popular tools like Zapier, Quickbooks, and Stripe. They have a tech-forward, user-friendly platform and strong brand recognition within the founder community — which is probably why so many newly formed startups are choosing Mercury.

There are no hidden fees and minimum deposit requirements, but remember that this bank is completely digital and may not be suitable if you need to deposit cash or prefer in-person banking services.

Best features for startup businesses

  • FDIC-insured business checking accounts up to $5 million
  • No monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees, or overdraft fees
  • Free international and domestic wire transfers
  • API access for easier integration with financial tools and platforms
  • Mobile app for easy banking on-the-go including checking account balances, making payments, and digitizing receipts for bookkeeping.

2. Brex Cash

Brex is a well-known financial platform that offers a corporate credit card and online banking services for startups through their platform, Brex Cash. They are a tech-forward and digital-only platform (similar to Mercury) with no account fees, minimum deposit requirements, or wire transfer fees. Their onboarding process is quick, and they work with founders from all around the world.

Best features for startup businesses

  • Corporate credit card and online banking services in one platform
  • High yield options with yields over 4%
  • Mobile banking app for easy money access and management
  • Multi-currency support and international payments
  • Integrations with popular tools like Quickbooks, Sage, and Xero to automate workflows

3. Silicon Valley Bank

Silicon Valley Bank (now a division of First Citizens Bank since its collapse in March 2023) specializes in helping founders and growing tech companies. They offer a free checking account with unlimited wires (at zero monthly fees) and integrations with QuickBooks, Expensify, Xero, and more. 

With locations across the U.S., they make in-person banking easy. It is ideal for startups processing physical checks. (Stable can also assist with depositing physical checks, so you don’t have to make trips to the bank.)

Best features for startup businesses

  • Free unlimited wires, mobile deposits, and bill payments for three years. No monthly maintenance and transaction fees.
  • Up to 5.10% annual percentage yield (APY) on qualifying balances
  • 2X unlimited rewards with SVB Innovators Cards
  • Startup banking experts are available to guide you through complex business challenges and opportunities

4. First Republic Bank

First Republic Bank (now part of JPMorgan Chase after its own 2023 collapse) is known for having stellar, white-glove customer service. You have one banker for life that you can go to for any questions or requests. Their online banking portal makes it easy to manage your funds from anywhere. 

Here at Stable, we use First Republic Bank and are happy customers. They truly understand startups and how to create a magical customer experience — when walking into a physical branch to meet your banker, they’ll remember you by name and even provide cookies or an umbrella on rainy days. Many accelerators have partnership deals with First Republic that enable free banking forever, including free wire transfers.

Best features for startup businesses

  • Options for interest-bearing checking accounts
  • No fees on incoming wire transfers
  • White-glove customer service
  • Robust online and mobile banking services with no hidden fees or minimum balance requirements

5. Chase

Chase Bank is a big name in the banking industry, and for good reason. They have a wide range of products and services specifically designed to meet the needs of over 5 million small businesses in the U.S., including online account management, mobile banking, merchant services, and credit card solutions. You can choose from three different business checking accounts:

  • Chase Business Complete Banking with a monthly service fee of $15 or $0 if you maintain $2,000 of minimum daily balance
  • Chase Performance Business Checking at a $30 monthly fee (waivable with a minimum daily balance of $35K)
  • Chase Platinum Business Checking with a $95 monthly fee (can be waived by maintaining an average daily balance of $100K)

Best features for startup businesses

  • $300 bonus for new customers who open a Business Complete Checking account
  • QuickAccept feature for easy processing of credit and debit card payments
  • Access to over 4,700 branches and 16,000 ATMs for easy withdrawals across the country
  • Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card that offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee

6. Bank of America

Bank of America is another major player in the financial industry, with over 68 million customers. They offer checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, loans, and lines of credit. Their Business Advantage Checking accounts (Fundamentals and Relationship) come with a monthly fee of $16 and $29.95, respectively, but can be waived by maintaining a minimum $5,000 or a $15,000 average monthly balance.

Best features for startup businesses

  • Customizable digital tools like Mobile Check Deposit, Cash Flow Monitor, and Zelle
  • Access to Small Business Specialists who can provide tailored advice and solutions for your business
  • Secure banking with advanced fraud detection and $0 Liability Guarantee for unauthorized transactions
  • Opportunities for lower interest rates on loans and lines of credit through the Preferred Rewards for Business program

7. Bluevine

Startups often struggle to get approved for traditional business loans from banks and financial institutions, but Bluevine offers a different approach. This fintech company provides working capital financing to small and medium-sized businesses, including startups. 

You can apply for a line of credit, term loan, or invoice factoring through their simple online application process and receive funding in as little as 24 hours. Bluevine deposits are FDIC-insured up to $3 million and are accessible through a mobile app or online account.

Best features for startup businesses

  • No minimum balance, monthly, or overdraft fees
  • 2.0% interest on balances of $250,000 if you meet a monthly activity goal
  • Multiple sub-accounts (up to five) with designated account numbers
  • Advanced security measures, including 2FA, data encryption, and text alerts for suspicious activity

8. Axos Bank

Enjoy effortless business banking with Axos Bank, a digital bank that provides customer-centric services with competitive rates, low fees, and cutting-edge technology. They offer two main business checking accounts: Basic Business Checking and Business Interest Checking. 

The Basic Business Checking account has no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement and comes with unlimited item processing. The Business Interest Checking account has a $10 monthly fee (which you can waive by maintaining a minimum daily balance of $5,000), a $100 minimum opening deposit, and unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements.

Best features for startup businesses

  • $400 welcome bonus
  • Unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements to help you avoid out-of-network fees
  • 1.01% APY with the Business Interest Checking account
  • Dedicated relationship manager for personalized assistance with your banking needs

9. Novo

Novo is a financial technology company that offers a business banking platform designed for small businesses, startups, and freelancers. Their mission is to simplify banking and help entrepreneurs save time and money. They offer a free business checking account with no minimum balance requirements, no monthly fees, and free ACH transfers — plus, all your deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Best features for startup businesses

  • Automatic categorization of transactions for easy expense tracking and budgeting
  • Virtual debit card for online purchases and instant access to funds
  • Easy integration with popular business tools like Stripe, Shopify, and Quickbooks
  • Free invoices and bill pay services to manage your cash flow efficiently

10. Relay

Monthly maintenance fees, tedious paperwork, and trips to the bank can be a headache for startup founders who are already juggling multiple responsibilities. Relay understands the unique needs of startups and offers a business banking platform that is fast, flexible, and affordable. 

You can open a free business checking account with no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees in just minutes without filling out any paperwork. You also get access to a free debit card and unlimited transactions with no transaction fees.

Best features for startup businesses

  • Automated business savings that earn you 1% to 3% APY on idle cash
  • Up to 20 checking accounts for different business needs, all accessible through a single login
  • Integrations with popular business tools like Quickbooks, Gusto, and Xero for easy bookkeeping and payroll processing

11. U.S. Bank

One of the largest traditional banks in the U.S., U.S. Bank offers a variety of business banking options for startups to choose from. Depending on your transaction volume and needs, you can choose from their Silver, Gold, or Platinum Business Checking accounts, all of which come with online and mobile banking access, bill pay, and account alerts. They also offer business credit cards with rewards, cashback, and travel benefits.

Best features for startup businesses

  • Flexible credit options, including loans, lines of credit, and SBA-backed loans to help you finance your startup
  • Earn a 4.50% bonus interest rate with a new Platinum Business Money Market account
  • Payroll services to help you manage your employee payments, taxes, and benefits

12. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is a renowned banking solution for sole proprietors and businesses, known for its excellent small business credit card, small business loans, and various business checking accounts. Their Navigate Business Checking Account specifically caters to startups, offering up to 250 transactions and $20,000 in cash deposits per fee period at no charge. It’s ideal for new and growing businesses with consistent banking needs.

Best features for startup businesses

  • Diverse checking account options, including Initiate Business Checking, Navigate Business Checking, and Optimize Business Checking
  • Business credit card perks such as cashback on all purchases and travel rewards
  • Nationwide access through their 4,900 U.S. branches and over 12,000 ATMs

13. Lili

Last on our list of the best business bank accounts for startups is Lili, a mobile banking platform explicitly designed for freelancers, gig workers, and small business owners. 

They offer a free checking account with no overdraft fees, ATM fees, minimum balance or requirements, and foreign transaction fees. Their all-in-one app lets you manage your expenses, get real-time transaction notifications, and track your business taxes seamlessly. You also get access to a Visa business debit card that earns you cashback on purchases at participating merchants.

Best features for startup businesses

  • No banking fees whatsoever, allowing you to keep more of your hard-earned money
  • Multi-user access for easy collaboration with your business partners and team members
  • Financial insights and expense categorization to help you make smarter business decisions
  • 4.15% APY on your savings account

Create centralized financial and communication operations with Stable

Choosing the right bank for your startup ensures smooth financial operations and sets a strong foundation for future growth. With the right business banking partner, you can streamline your expenses and budgeting, simplify your payroll processes, and access financing options and expert resources to help you achieve your long-term business goals.

Stable provides permanent virtual addresses and mailboxes, so you never have to worry about mail or changing addresses again. We’ll digitize all mail that you receive here, and you’ll be able to scan, forward, shred — and even deposit checks — from anywhere in the world.

Get started with Stable for a virtual business address + mailbox in less than three minutes! 

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