Small businesses usually live in a kind of different world from large businesses -- with a much lower frequency of bank transactions, it often does not make sense for them to pay the same kinds of financial charges as would be expected of a large corporation. Recognizing this, banks across the country have decided to offer free checking accounts to qualifying small businesses. Being aware of some of these opportunities -- and their specific qualifications -- is important for any business manager looking to save money on her banking needs.
Small businesses usually have different banking needs than larger corporations. This is because they conduct fewer transactions and finance more of their operations from personal resources rather than lines of credit. As a result, the effect of banking fees and minimum balances on small businesses can be more severe as they constitute a higher percentage of their gross income. Small businesses can usually get free checking accounts if they conduct relatively few monthly bank transactions and make relatively small cash deposits. Even for free small-business checking accounts, fees are usually applied to specialized transactions like wire transfers, cashier's checks and out-of-network ATM transactions.
U.S. Bank Free Small Business Checking
One example of a free small-business checking account is the Free Small Business Checking option available from U.S. Bank. U.S. Bank allows its small-business clients to make deposits without fees if they maintain fewer than 150 monthly bank transactions. Their free small-business checking account comes with no minimum balance. By contrast, U.S. Bank's normal business checking accounts come with a monthly maintenance fee or require minimum balances in excess of $2,000.
Capitol One Completely Free Small-Business Checking
Another bank that offers a free small-business checking account is Capitol One. Like its competitors, its free checking accounts are subject to monthly transaction limits. While these limits may vary by market according to Capitol One, it also advertises free checking accounts for businesses with up to 200 maximum monthly transactions. Transactions beyond this minimum are allowed for a fee of $.50 per transaction. In addition, Capitol One limits the cash deposits on its free business checking account to $5,000 per month.
BECU Small-Business Checking Account
Commercial banks are not the only financial institutions that offer free checking account options for small businesses. The Boeing Employees' Credit Union is an example of a credit union that also cuts a discount for its small-business clients. Unlike Capitol One and US Bank, BECU and other credit unions are entirely owned by their banking clients. Similar to for-profit banks, BECU's small-business checking accounts are subject to monthly transaction minimums. The number they allow is much lower at 50 debit transactions and 150 deposits per month, but the fees charged for transactions in excess of the minimum are also lower.
- "Federal Reserve Bulletin": Financial Services Used by Small Businesses: Evidence From the 2003 Survey of Small-Business Finances; Traci Mach, et al.; October 2006
- US Bank: Business Checking Comparison
- Capitol One: Completely Free Small-Business Checking
- BECU Small-Business Services Account Disclosure
- "The New York Times"; Interest Checking for Small Businesses?; Robb Mandelbaum; November 2010
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