Finding the Best Banks for Small Business in 2021
The top banks for small business don’t just feature strong business checking accounts. They also offer many different small business lending opportunities and have solid experience handing out business loans. We go over the top small business banking options on the market today.
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How We Determine the Best Banks for Small Business
SmartAsset researched the small business offerings of nearly 30 national, regional and online banks. In particular, our experts examined the number and types of small business loans, small business checking account options and fees, any bonus services (business credit cards, payroll/benefits services, merchant services and small business insurance) and the total number of branches.
Wells Fargo is the highest-rated bank for small business in our study. In fact, it’s one of the most active SBA lenders in the nation, both in terms of actual financing and in loan quantity. So this bank has an extensive history in small business lending, backing that experience up with strong checking account offers too.
Lines of credit, secured and unsecured loans and commercial real estate loans are all available through Wells Fargo. This will give a business of any size multiple lending routes to take, affording you ultimate control in how to handle your finances. Depending on the type of secured or unsecured loan you want, terms are available for as much as $100,000 and will last anywhere from one to six years.
In total, you’ll be able to choose between four different business checking accounts, each intended for gradually larger enterprises with higher transaction volumes: Initiate Business Checking, Navigate Business Checking and Optimize Business Checking. At $10, $25 and $75, respectively, these accounts have one of the largest ranges of monthly fees compared to the accounts at other banks on this list. But you can make these fees disappear just by maintaining a monthly balance of $500 for the Initiate Business Checking account $15,000 for the Navigate Business Checking account, while Optimize Business Checking account holders must adhere to a variable fee waiver minimum.
Wells Fargo has quite possibly the most comprehensive set of business and employee services. Not only will you have access to its proprietary point-of-sale program and other merchant services, but the bank can also handle your employee payroll, HR needs and business taxes.
Based on our research, KeyBank came out on top as the best bank for business checking accounts. Most checking accounts will allow you to deposit between $5,000 and $15,000 a month before you’re charged fees. However, this bank provides a $25,000 fee-free cap for all of its accounts across the board. Those who decide to open a Business Interest Checking account will get 100 free transactions as well, while the Rewards and Basic accounts afford you 500 and 200 free monthly transactions, respectively.
Each of these accounts charge you maintenance fees every month too, ranging from $5 to $25. At most, you’ll only need an average monthly account balance of $7,500 to rid your account of these excess fees, which is reasonable in comparison to the rest of this list.
All checking account holders receive a debit card to use as they please. But much like a credit card, these can actually earn you rewards through Keybank’s Relationship Rewards® program. You will earn rewards points every time you swipe your debit card, use online bill pay, make ATM and mobile deposits or complete a number of other account-related activities. These points can later be redeemed for cash back, travel credit, gift cards and more.
Chase has consistently proven to be one of the top banks for small businesses, and for good reason. It’s one of the top five most active SBA lenders in the U.S., on top of being a well-known and established bank. Although Chase doesn’t have branches in every state, you can bank online or on your phone from anywhere.
Chase provides a range of services to its business clients. First, you’ll have access to a variety of different checking accounts, with the Chase Business Complete Banking account being the best option for small businesses. The account does come with a $15 monthly maintenance fee, but this fee is waivable if you have more than a $2,000 daily balance, which is quite low when it comes to business checking accounts.
You can also waive the above fee in other ways, including making $2,000 in monthly purchases with your Chase Ink® Business Card, receiving $2,000 in deposits from eligible Chase Merchant Services transactions or linking a Chase Private Client Checking account. Chase’s other business checking accounts have higher minimums and are designed for bigger businesses with larger balances.
Chase’s offerings don’t stop at checking accounts, though. The bank also has a robust offering of business credit cards, such as the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. This card currently holds a place on SmartAsset’s list of the best small business credit cards. With Chase, you’ll also have access to fraud protections and merchant services to help you run your business smoothly.
Bank of America
Bank of America boasts a number of great banking options for small businesses. With BofA, you’ll have access to checking accounts, credit cards and business-specific financial education resources. The bank is known for providing industry-specific financing solutions for businesses in specific industries, such as healthcare or agriculture.
Bank of America has two business checking accounts: Business Advantage Fundamentals Banking and Business Advantage Relationship Banking. As you might guess, the Fundamentals account tends to be more useful for smaller businesses, whereas the Advantage account has higher minimums and is designed for bigger, more established businesses. Both accounts have monthly maintenance fees that can be waived after meeting certain minimum balance or spending requirements. The Advantage account has all the features of the Fundamentals account, plus some additional benefits, like seamless QuickBooks integration.
Bank of America has branches throughout most of the U.S., but you can also bank online or on your phone. As a result, it is truly a national bank. BofA also provides peripheral business perks, like tax preparation and point of sale (POS) services.
PNC Bank only operates branches in about half of the U.S., with most being located in the eastern and central parts of the country. However, the bank has great business offerings and has significant online and mobile features, making it a viable option even for those who don’t live near a branch. Businesses that choose to bank with PNC will have access to both checking and savings accounts, credit cards, merchant services and various types of loans.
PNC has four separate business checking options: Business Checking, Business Checking Plus, Analysis Business Checking and Treasury Enterprise Plan. Each account has a monthly fee, though each fee is waivable, aside from the Analysis Business Checking account.
The other three account options (Checking, Checking Plus and Treasury Enterprise Plan) are designed for small, medium and large businesses, respectively. The bank grants a number of free transactions to each account every month, as well as a certain amount in free cash deposits. The Analysis Business Checking account, on the other hand, is designed with a focus around bookkeeping and simplifying business banking.
PNC’s offerings extend beyond just checking accounts. If you work with PNC, you’ll be able to take advantage of a range of small business loan and financing options. Some loans require no collateral, while others are meant for specific purposes, like real estate or equipment. You’ll also have the opportunity to open business credit cards, use the bank for merchant services and earn APYs on a variety of business savings products.
Regions Bank is an Alabama-based bank that provides both personal and business banking services. Its suite of business bank accounts includes five different checking accounts: Simple Checking, Advantage Business Checking, Business Interest Checking, Business Checking and Not-for-Profit Checking. While every one of these accounts besides Not-for-Profit Checking comes with a monthly fee, you'll have fairly easy ways of waiving these charges. And for each account, all you need $100 to join up.
If you're looking to earn more interest on some of your balances, Regions also provides four types of business savings accounts. These range from the Business Savings account to the Business Premium Money Market account and multiple types of business CDs. While rates at Regions Bank are fairly low, they often pay out better than if your money remained in your checking account.
Outside of its banking products, Regions provides its business clients with a plethora of other services. These include business credit cards, secured and unsecured loans, lines of credit, equipment loans, cash management tools, merchant services, payroll and benefit services and more. This makes Regions one of the most robust small business banks on this list.
During the last quarter of 2020, Regions Bank was one of the largest SBA loan lenders in the U.S. In fact, the bank ranks in the top 10 in terms of both loan volume and loan dollar amount.
Regardless of the type of business checking account you open with SunTrust Bank, you will receive a $0 introductory maintenance fee. Those with a Simple Business Checking account get this bonus for 12 billing cycles, while Primary Business Checking and Business Advantage Plus Checking account holders receive two months without fees. All of these accounts still place as some of the cheapest on the business market following the intro offer, jumping to $5, $15 and $25, respectively.
Term loans with SunTrust can last up to 20 years, which is one of the longest terms on this list. This should severely lessen the strain a large loan could place on your business’ finances. As far as loan flexibility goes, this bank offers financing for vehicles, computers, office furniture and equipment for everything from a construction firm to a dental practice.
The SunTrust Business Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the strongest business credit cards you’ll come across. New cardholders receive a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) for 12 months on purchases, along with no annual fee. The card also includes cash back rewards, with 5% cash back on the first $2,000 spent a month on office supplies and fuel qualifying purchases (replaced by 3% cash back on the same categories after your first year) and 1% cash back on everything else.
Capital One’s business banking options are generally more comprehensive than some of its competitors. For starters, the bank offers what it calls Spark Business Banking, which is the platform through which its business bank accounts are run through. With Spark Business Banking, you’ll also have access to personalized guidance and advice. With Capital One, you can take advantage of a range of business products, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, lines of credits and other lending options. The bank even boasts a variety of credit cards and merchant services to keep your business going.
When it comes to business checking accounts, customers can choose between either the Spark Business Basic Checking account or the Spark Business Unlimited Checking account. Each account comes with unlimited transactions, a waivable monthly service fee and online and mobile banking features. However, the Spark Business Unlimited Checking account is designed for larger businesses, while the Spark Business Basic Checking account might be better for small businesses. Specialized checking accounts are also available for specific needs, such as escrow.
Capital One offers a business savings option called the Business Advantage Savings account. You’ll also be able to apply for business credit cards through Capital One. Some of these cards have the potential to earn you and your business a ton of extremely valuable rewards if used correctly. In fact, one Capital One business card makes an appearance on SmartAsset’s list of top small business credit cards.
If you’re looking for a small business loan, U.S. Bank should be one of your top considerations. You can choose from many different styles of loans with this bank, but start-ups should focus on what this bank calls “quick loans.” U.S. Bank usually requires prospective clients to have been in business for at least two years for approval.
There are three types of quick loans: one for equipment, one for expansion and one for vehicles. These options generally start at $5,000, topping out at $250,000 with flexible terms of up to 84 months. Also, if you need a vehicle loan, it won’t require a down payment, further minimizing the financial stress such a loan could put on your business.
The Silver Business Package that U.S. Bank offers could be another major boon for start-ups. It comes with a cheap cost, including no monthly fees, 25 free cash deposits and 125 free transactions a month. You will also receive a debit card, remote check deposit and online/mobile banking, giving account holders just about everything they’ll likely need.
Who better to make our list than one of the SBA’s top business loan lenders over the last decade, BBVA. Note that BBVA is now an affiliate of PNC Bank, so its offerings are now part of PNC's suite of business services. BBVA has an impressive array of different loans available for small business clients, like secured, unsecured and SBA Express-eligible lines of credit; short- and mid-term loans; and commercial real estate loans.
Traditional and convenience lines of credit can be as large as $100,000 if that’s what you need, though the SBA Express LOC caps at about a third of that at $35,000. Express lines of credit will be in your account within 24 hours of your application’s approval. This offers a nearly unmatched level of speed that could come in handy in times of trouble.
BBVA also employs stated income programs for up to $100,000 term loans. These loans are given to you totally based on your word, hence the “stated income” title. In other words, you won’t have to supply the bank with tax returns, pay stubs or any other financial documentation when applying for a stated income loan. This level of freedom is virtually never seen.