The Best Banks for Small Business

October 27, 2016, 12:00 PM UTC
Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts—ClassicStoc Getty Images

This article originally appeared in MONEY. It’s part of a larger package on the Best Banks of 2016.

Fees are up, and interest payouts are microscopic—but MONEY’s annual survey finds that you’ve got better options to help you beat the averages.

Low-fee checking accounts are critical for small firms. Startups in particular may have lower balances—the average small-business checking account holds $12,100, a recent JPMorgan Chase Institute report found—while cash-intensive businesses require unlimited monthly transactions.

For startups: Key Bank

WHY IT WINS: The monthly fee can be waived with a $7,500 balance and isn’t even levied for the first two months. The bank has a broad footprint, unlimited free transactions, and a generous cash deposits limits.

CAVEAT: Key Bank will ding you $2.50 every time you use another institution’s ATM.

BRANCHES: 1,200 branches across 15 states (Alaska, Colo., Conn., Idaho, Ind., Maine, Mass., Mich., N.Y., Ohio, Ore., Penn., Vt., Utah and Wash.)


Business Rewards Checking

— Maintenance fee: $25, waived with a $7,500 balance.
— Outside ATM fee: $2.50
— Number of free transactions: 500 per month.
— Cash transaction limit: $25,000 to $50,000.
— Interest: None.

For cash businesses: FirstRepublic

WHY IT WINS: For small businesses that handle a lot of cash, First Republic’s Business Interest Checking scores with unlimited transactions and cash deposits; it also features no outside ATM fees and even pays a (tiny) amount of interest.

CAVEAT: You’ll need a $15,000 balance to avoid the maintenance fee.

BRANCHES: 69 in six states (Calif., Conn., Fla., N.Y., Mass., Ore.)


Business Interest Checking

–Maintenance fee: $30, waived with a $15,000 balance.
–Outside ATM fee: $0
–Number of free transactions: Unlimited.
–Cash transaction limit: None.