Best Online Bank in 2023

Gone are the days of spending time on the phone or in line at the bank. Online business banks are becoming increasingly popular as small business owners look for convenient, fee-free options to manage their small business banking.

In this Best Online Banks review, we showcase the leading online bank for small businesses in 2023, breaking down the benefits and disadvantages of each one so that you can choose the best banking partner for your small business.

Recommended: Lili is our top online bank for freelancers and individual business owners.

Online Banking Makes Sense

Small business banking is changing very quickly. Most small business owners can admit they rarely visit their local bank branch, if ever. Meanwhile, traditional brick-and-mortar business banks charge monthly maintenance fees, transaction fees, and many other fees simply for conducting business with them. Today, fintech companies can partner with FDIC-insured banks to create low-cost banking solutions that are accessible to everyone. 

By removing the overhead associated with local branches and in-person tellers, online banks can focus their efforts on providing free business bank accounts, robust mobile apps, and exceptional customer service. If you’re a business owner that already conducts most of your business transactions online, whether via websites or mobile apps, choosing an online bank could save you thousands of dollars long-term.

Best Online Banks for Small Business

     

Lili

four point nine out of five star rating

4.9/5

BEST FOR MOBILE BUSINESS BANKING

  • User-friendly website and mobile app
  • Fee-free business checking available
  • Small business tools included with account
Apply Now

Relay

four point nine out of five star rating

4.9/5

BEST FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No minimum opening deposit requirement
  • Lots of premium features included with their fee-free checking accounts
Apply Now

Novo

four point four out of five star rating

4.4/5

  • No monthly fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Integrates with other small business tools
  • Refunds all ATM fees
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NorthOne

four out of five star rating 

4/5

  • Low monthly maintenance fee
  • No minimum account balance
  • Integrates with popular ecommerce and accounting tools
Apply Now

1. Lili: Best Online Bank for Freelancers and Single-Owner Businesses

Lili is easily one of the best online banks for freelancers, single-member LLCs, and sole proprietors due to the wealth of tools they provide to help business owners take control of their finances. A fintech company partnered with Choice Financial Group, Lili was named one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2022 by Fast Company thanks to their intuitive mobile app that gives anyone access to powerful business banking solutions. From within their mobile app and website, Lili customers can categorize business transactions, access prefilled tax forms, and more to keep track of business income and expenses. This online bank also integrates with top third-party platforms like Stripe, Amazon, and Etsy to accept payments and keep track of tax liability. Another great feature we love from Lili is their Tax Optimizer which uses your categorized bank transactions to find tax savings you may not be aware of. 

With Lili, your checking account comes with an optional automated savings account to help you stash away money to pay taxes later. Like most savings accounts, your Lili “tax bucket” and “emergency bucket” earn interest, adding even more to your balance. You can also earn cashback on select purchases using your business debit card. For an additional $5 monthly fee, Lili Pro gives you even more value with free overdrafts up to $200, in-app invoicing, and higher account limits.

Features Included With Lili Free Business Checking Account:

  • No minimum balance
  • No opening deposits
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • Free in-network ATM withdrawals
  • Automatic savings features
  • Expedited payments (up to two days faster)
  • Lili Tax Optimizer tools

Additional Features Included With Lili Pro ($5/Month):

  • BalanceUp Overdraft up to $200
  • Interest-earning savings bucket with 1.5% annual percentage yield (APY)
  • Pre-filled Schedule C tax forms
  • Create and send unlimited invoices
  • Cashback rewards on debit card purchases
  • Advanced expense management
  • Higher transaction limits

Schedule of Fees Summary

  • Direct Deposit: Capped at $25,000 per day, or $50,000 per month
  • Monthly Cash Deposit Capability: $9,000 per month
  • ACH Inbound Pro: Capped at $1,000 per day, or $5,000 per month
  • ACH Inbound Standard: Capped at $500 per day, or $2,000 per month

PROS

  • Free business checking options
  • No hidden fees
  • No overdraft or returned payment fees
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • Cashback rewards on debit purchases
  • Fast and easy application
  • Award-winning mobile apps
  • Powerful business budgeting and tax tools
  • High limits on incoming and outgoing transactions
  • Automatic savings with interest earning accounts

CONS

  • Small funding limits between linked accounts
  • Only available to single-member LLCs and sole proprietors
  • Only available to US businesses
  • Cash deposits only available at GreenDot locations
  • No wire transfers
  • No checks

Lili’s pricing and features make it the best online bank for single owner businesses.

Apply Online

*Lili is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group, member FDIC.

2. Relay: Best Online Bank for Small Business

Relay is at the top of our list of best online banks for many reasons. Partnering with Evolve Bank & Trust, Relay is a fintech company that prides itself on offering a wide range of tools and features designed for existing businesses. If your business has employees, Relay makes it easy to manage payroll, issue up to 50 employee debit cards, and even maintain up to 20 individual sub-accounts with optional spending limits. In addition to these features, the simple yet powerful Relay mobile app allows for remote check deposits, categorizing transactions, setting up transfers, and more. Customers can link with other banks via Plaid to initiate incoming and outgoing transfers. Relay also integrates with popular accounting apps like Quickbooks and Xero to make tax time even easier.

A standard business checking account with Relay Bank is completely free, without monthly maintenance fees, minimum balances, overdraft fees, or ATM fees. In fact, the only fees associated with a Relay standard checking account are for wire transfers, which are still low cost compared to most other business banks. For $30 per month, business owners can upgrade to Relay Pro for same-day ACH transfer, auto-import and reconciliation with Quickbooks and Xero, and free wire transfers.

Included With Every Relay Business Checking Account:

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum account balance
  • No overdraft fees
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • 24/7 customer support service
  • Up to 20 employee checking accounts
  • Up to 50 virtual or physical debit cards
  • Fast, free ACH transactions
  • Third-party integrations, including Xero, Quickbooks, and Plaid
  • iOS, Android, and Web app availability
  • Remote check deposits

Additional Features Included With Relay Pro ($30/Month):

  • Same day ACH delivery
  • Free outgoing domestic wire transfers
  • Free outgoing international wire transfers
  • Auto import bills from Quickbooks & Xero
  • Automated bill approvals system
  • Easy vendor payments
  • One-click reconciliation with Quickbooks & Xero

Schedule of Fees Summary

  • Incoming ACH Transfers: Limited to $1 million/day
  • Incoming Wire Transfers: Limited to $1 million/day
  • Outgoing ACH Transfers: Limited to $100,000/day
  • Outgoing Wires: Limited to $200,000/day
  • Bill Pay Checks: Limited to $40,000/day
  • Internal Transfers: Limited to $1 million/day
  • Outgoing Domestic Wire Transfers: $5
  • Outgoing International Wire Transfers: $10

PROS

  • No monthly fees
  • No overdraft or bounced check fees
  • No account minimums
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • Up to 20 individual/employee accounts
  • Up to 50 virtual and physical debit cards
  • Payment processing features
  • Integrates with 3rd party business tools
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000
  • 4.5 stars on Trustpilot
  • Free Relay Demo offered with live Q&A
  • Relay Partner Program for affiliate and referral earnings
  • Collect payments from PayPal, Stripe, Square, and more
  • Accountant access to client accounts
  • Very high limits on wires, direct deposits, and ACH transfers
  • Available to foreign owners of US businesses

CONS

  • Phone support only available during weekday business hours
  • Accounts do not earn interest
  • High monthly fee for premium Relay Pro features

Relay’s excellent pricing and helpful features make it our top choice for businesses with employees or more than one owner.

Apply Online

*Relay is a financial technology company, not a business bank. Relay deposits are insured for up to $250,000 per user through Evolve Bank & Trust, member FDIC.

3. Novo: Online Bank for Ecommerce Business

One of the early adopters in the fintech sector is Novo. Started in 2016, Novo is a favorite among small business owners that run online stores thanks to its easy integrations with ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Amazon, and eBay. Using their intuitive mobile app or online banking platform, Novo can connect to all of your merchant and payment apps to import sales, categorize transactions and fees for tax purposes, and accept ACH deposits on your behalf. Your Novo online bank account also comes with a wealth of exclusive perks and discounts on tools like Stripe, QuickBooks, Gusto, and other platforms needed to run your business.

Signing up for Novo can be done completely online and within minutes. For single-member LLCs or sole proprietorships, you may be able to verify your identity instantly without the need for additional emails or paperwork. If your business has more than one owner, you may need to provide ownership and identification documents for each owner. Once your account is opened, Relay provides free virtual cards, integrated invoicing, and even free payment processing directly to your checking account. 

Included With Every Novo Online Bank Account:

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Free ACH transfers
  • Free mailed checks
  • Free incoming wires
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Free ATM fees via refunds
  • Thousands of dollars in exclusive perks
  • One virtual card for immediate and secure spending
  • Integrations with popular eCommerce and payment processing platforms

Schedule of Fees Summary

  • Minimum Deposit to Open Business Checking Account: $0
  • Minimum Amount Required: $50
  • Insufficient Funds Charge: $27
  • Uncollected Funds Returned Fee: $27
  • No account, transaction, or deposit fees

PROS

  • No monthly fees
  • No account minimum or opening deposit
  • User-friendly mobile apps
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Refunded ATM fees
  • Popular third-party integrations
  • $20,000 in fee-free card processing with Stripe
  • Cashback debit card offers
  • Valuable credits for ad platforms and business tools

CONS

  • Only available to US residents
  • $50 required to open account
  • High overdraft and returned check fees
  • Certain industries such as gambling and cryptocurrency businesses excluded

Novo's prolific integrations make it a recommended banking service for ecommerce businesses. 

*Novo is a fintech, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Middlesex Federal Savings F.A., member FDIC.

4. NorthOne: Online Bank for Payment Processing

NorthOne is a great bank for professionals who accept and send payments to vendors, contractors, and others. This fintech company is partnered with The Bancorp Bank, which has one of the country’s largest payment networks thanks to other partners like Chime. With NorthOne, you can instantly send and receive money to external accounts that are in-network and make transfers up to two days faster to out-of-network external accounts. This makes NorthOne a great online bank for service-based businesses and contractors.

When it comes to mobile banking, NorthOne mobile apps are highly rated and very easy to use. Small business owners can set up “envelopes” to budget for employee spending, tax payments, and unexpected expenses. This is also one of the only online banks to allow cash deposits via ATM and select store locations nationwide. Unfortunately, NorthOne doesn’t offer free checking accounts. Their standard account has a monthly maintenance fee of $10 per month with no minimum balances to maintain.

Included With NorthOne Checking Accounts:

  • Free ACH transfers
  • $15 domestic wire transfers
  • Online and mobile banking
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Free business budgeting & tax tools

Schedule of Fees Summary

  • Outgoing Domestic Wire: $15 per transaction
  • Incoming Domestic Wire: $15 per transaction
  • Monthly Maintenance Fee: $10 per month
  • Optional Expedited Card Mailing Fee: $25 per card (standard delivery is no charge)
  • Cash Withdrawals: limited to five per day, $2,000 per transaction, $2,000 per day
  • ACH Payments: Limitless number of transactions, up to $10,000 per day, up to $300,000 per calendar month 
  • Wire Transfer (Domestic): Up to $10,000 per wire, per day, maximum of $300,000 per calendar month

PROS

  • Online applications
  • Email, phone, and live chat support
  • Highly-rated mobile apps
  • Integrates with popular business tools & accounting platforms
  • Business budgeting and employee spend management
  • Partner and affiliate programs
  • Can make cash deposits from anywhere
  • Free ATM withdrawals at MoneyPass ATMs
  • Activate and freeze debit cards from your phone

CONS

  • Available to US residents only
  • No "free" business checking accounts
  • Costly domestic wire transfers ($15 each)

NorthOne has a large range of accounting and payment processing integrations for a very small monthly fee. 

*NorthOne is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, member FDIC.

Our Approach

We selected the best online banks for small business based on the following factors:

  • Total cost: Does this bank charge monthly maintenance fees, transaction fees, overdraft fees, etc.? Is there a minimum account balance or opening deposit?
  • Number of useful features: This will depend on your business's specificities and industry.
  • Bank requirements: How strict are the requirements of each business checking account? Is each bank account available to foreign owners of US companies?
  • Other perks: The best business bank accounts offer discounts on accounting and tax software, as well as expedited payments through popular ecommerce platforms.
  • Security: What precautions are taken to ensure safe transactions? Is each small business bank account FDIC insured?

Best Online Banks FAQs

What is the online best banking service?

We consider Lili to be the best online bank for small businesses due to their highly-ranked mobile app and large assortment of free tools to help you manage your business finances. Business owners can open a Lili account completely online in just a few minutes. Lili also connects with external accounts, payment processors, and online marketplace platforms like Amazon and Shopify to give a complete financial overview in one app.

Do I need an online bank account?

You do not necessarily need an online bank checking account, but it can be very beneficial. An online checking account can offer both a checking and savings account, both of which come with several financial and accounting benefits.

Where checking accounts are generally used for businesses' day-to-day transactions, savings accounts are used — as the name suggests — to save funds, which can then be used as a "safety net" — either in the case of an emergency or as a retirement fund.

Opening a bank account online can also go a long way in making you seem like a more credible and legitimate business.

Are LLCs required to have a separate online bank account?

LLCs are not “technically” required to have a separate online business checking and savings account, but this is highly recommended by the IRS.

This is because doing so can ensure that you do not accidentally pierce your corporate veil — since you will be treating yourself and your business as two separate financial entities in law. 

What is the National Credit Union Administration?

If you are working with online banks — or any other traditional financial institution — you won't need to bother with NCUA insurance because you will be covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Both standard amounts are equal and are currently at $250,000.

Do I need both savings and checking accounts?

You do not necessarily "need" both checking and savings accounts, and many premium online banks and money management services may not offer both, but they can be very beneficial.

This is because having both can be a great way of allocating different funds towards different business projects — and goals — and diversifying both your income and risk.

Are online banks safe?

This will depend on the bank in question, but — generally speaking — online banks are just as safe as traditional, brick-and-mortar ones.

Having said that, not all online banks and money management platforms come with the same security measures, and so you should look into these proactively before applying with your preferred choice. For example, consider whether your prospective bank offers Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance.

What are money market accounts?

Money market accounts — also known as market deposit accounts — are interest-bearing accounts at a bank or credit union.

Even though money market accounts are generally subject to more restrictions than a traditional savings account, they do offer a higher interest rate on savings. They also provide some of the benefits and features of both a business checking and a business savings account.

Small Business Banking Review

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