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.