7 Best Bank Accounts for Freelancers and Side Hustlers

When I started my blog, it didn’t earn any money whatsoever. I used my Social Security Number for all my accounts and just treated my (negligible) business transactions like my personal ones.

It didn’t end up costing me any money, but it was a pain in the butt to separate. If I had the options available now, it would’ve been easier to do it right from the start.

Traditional business checking accounts can be expensive. They’re used to businesses with a lot of cash and need a lot of services. However, the best bank accounts for freelancers and side hustlers are much leaner nowadays. And banking companies have finally learned that catering to freelancers and entrepreneurs is big business.

This means there are a lot of options for folks like you – and here are some of our favorite bank accounts for freelancers and side hustlers:

BankBest ForLearn More
Best for in-person bankingLearn more
Best for earning interestLearn more
axos bank logoBest for welcome offerLearn more
Lili Logo 2024Best for early cash accessLearn more
Best for simplifying taxesLearn more
Best for budgetingLearn more
Novo Bank Logo 2022Best for integrationsLearn more

Our Picks

If you don’t want to read through all the options, here are our picks based on your situation:

If you like the comfort of a national bank, Chase Business Complete Checking® is a nice option. No matter how big your business gets, you'll never outgrow Chase, and you can also do all your personal banking there. It does have a $15 monthly fee, but the requirements to have it waived are reasonable. Plus, it offers a cash bonus for new accounts.

If you are a new business owner, freelancer, or side hustler and are nervous about paying self-employment taxes, check out Found. It has a feature that automatically sets aside your estimated quarterly taxes. There are also no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements.

If you sell physical products in person or online, consider Novo. It has a lot of integrations with services such as Square, Stripe, Etsy, Shopify, and more. It also has no monthly service fees an no minimum balance requirements.

If you carry a large balance, BlueVine may be a good option because it pays interest. Very few other business checking accounts offer interest on your balances. It also has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements.

Best Bank Accounts for Freelancers & Side Hustlers

Freelancing has become a bona fide career option in the last several years. In fact, it’s not uncommon to make big money as a freelancer.

The best bank accounts for freelancers have several features in common. First, they offer affordable fees. Second, they make it easy to conduct business online. Plus, they offer other features that help freelancers run an organized business more efficiently.

Check out these small business bank accounts and see which one is right for you.

1. Chase Business Complete Banking

  • Welcome bonus: Up to $300
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $15 (waivable)
  • Minimum balance requirements: None
  • ATM fees: Unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements

The Chase Business Complete Banking account can be a great option if you’re looking for in-person banking capabilities. This account also comes with a mobile app, giving you plenty of flexibility for your business banking needs. 

There are unlimited debit card and Chase ATM transactions. Cash deposits are limited to $5,000 per month.

You can also earn a $300 welcome bonus by meeting a few requirements. After you open a new business checking account, you'll need to fund the account with at least $2,000 within 30 days and maintain that balance for 60 days. You must also complete five qualifying transactions within 90 days of account opening — debit card purchases are included as a qualifying transaction.

You can get the $15 per month fee waived if you meet one of the following qualifications:

  • $2,000 minimum daily balance
  • $2,000 in monthly Chase Ink Business Card purchases
  • $2,000 in monthly eligible deposits
  • You link to a Chase Private Client account

Bonus: Chase will waive the fee requirements on this account entirely if you’re a military member.

Other Features

Chase is the nation's largest bank, so it comes with a lot of options that smaller banks don't have. From credit cards to full brokerage accounts, you won't outgrow Chase.

They offer Chase QuickAccept, which allows you to accept credit cards and the funds arrive in your bank account on the same day.

Check out our full review of Chase Business Complete Banking.

Chase Business Complete Banking Pros

Chase Business Complete Banking Cons

  • Convenient online banking app
  • In-person banking available
  • Large number of branches and ATMs
  • $15 monthly fee if you can’t meet the requirements to have it waived
  • Limited cash deposits

Learn more about Chase Business Complete Banking

2. BlueVine

  • Welcome bonus: None
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $0
  • Minimum balance requirements: None
  • ATM fees: $0 at MoneyPass Network, otherwise $2.50

BlueVine’s biggest attraction is that it doesn’t charge any fees – including NSF fees. And if that doesn’t grab you, how about earning 2.00% APY interest on your balance? 

You can earn 2.00% APY on balances up to $250,000. To qualify you need to either spend at least $500 on your debit card per month or receive at least $2,500 in customer deposits each month. Those are pretty easy requirements for such a valuable perk.

This account also comes with check writing abilities and you get two free books of checks per year. However, there is a $1.50 fee on each check you write. There is also a small fee to make cash deposits as you'll have to make them at GreenDot locations, which charge $4.95 per deposit.

ACH transfers are free, both incoming and outgoing. However, the account is not compatible with Zelle. Incoming wire transfers are free, but outgoing wires cost $15.

Other Features

BlueVine is a financial tech company that is backed by Coastal Community Bank and FDIC insured.  

If you do a lot of wire transfers there is an upgraded account that charges 50% less for wire transfers and gives you the first 20 paper checks for free each month. That account charges a $95 monthly fee which can be waived by having an average daily balance of $100,000 and spending $5,000 per month on your debit card.

BlueVine Pros

BlueVine Cons

  • Earns interest
  • No monthly fees
  • Check writing privileges
  • Line of credit availability
  • No sub-accounts or envelopes 
  • Fees for cash deposits

Here’s our full review of BlueVine.

Learn more about BlueVine

Need a way to win new clients, organize projects, get paid, and manage your finances in one place?

If so, you may want to check out Bonsai – one of the easiest to use all-in-one product suite for freelancers and small businesses.

Bonsai offers a complete financial management solution. It includes accounting, taxes, invoices, payments and banking.

Besides financial optimization, Bonsai also offers integrated client and project management: contracts & e-signing, proposals, scheduling, CRM, client portal, client forms & questionnaires, and hundreds of free legally vetted customizable templates. So you can manage all aspects of your business in one place.

>> Learn more about Bonsai

3. Axos Bank Basic Business Checking

axos bank logo
  • Welcome bonus: Up to $700
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None
  • Minimum balance requirements: None
  • ATM fees: Unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements

The Axos Bank Basic Business Checking is a great account for freelancers and solopreneurs. It has no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum balance requirements, and unlimited transactions.

It also has free incoming domestic wires, which can save you a lot of money if you have clients that pay you with a wire transfer.

There is also a welcome bonus of up to $400 if you open a Basic Business Checking account. Use code NEW400 to be eligible for the bonus. However, there is some fine print. You'll need to complete 10 point-of-sale transactions per month using your debit card and have bill pay set up on the account. You'll also need to keep the account open for 150 days and meet minimum balance requirements.

If you maintain an average daily balance of $25,000, you'll get a total of $300 in bonus cash. If you maintain an average daily balance of $50,000, you'll receive a total of $400 in bonus cash.

If you also open a personal bank account you can earn another $300 as a welcome bonus. Open both accounts simultaneously and use the promo code AXOS700 to be eligible for the bonus. You'll need to meet the same requirements as above for the business bank account and additional requirements for the personal account.

In the personal account, you'll need to have monthly direct deposits of at least $5,000, and maintain an average daily balance of at least $7,000 for the first seven months. You'll also need to keep the account open for at least 210 days.

Other Features

Axos Basic Business Checking is QuickBooks compatible and offers free Bill Pay. Customer service is available by phone Monday through Friday. 

You get a free Visa debit card with your account. ACH payments are also accepted. Axos has a comprehensive mobile app you can use to make deposits, check balances, and more. 

Axos Basic Business Checking Pros

Axos Basic Business Checking Cons

  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No monthly fees
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Free incoming domestic wire transfers
  • Large balance requirements to get the welcome bonus

Learn more about Axos

4. Lili

  • Welcome bonus: None
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $0 – $55 depending on plan
  • Minimum balance requirements: None
  • ATM fees: No fees at MoneyPass locations

Lili offers business bank accounts that can be accessed via desktop or mobile app. And while Lili once catered to freelancers and entrepreneurs, they now support many small business types, including LLCs, multi-member LLCs, and S Corps. They have four plans, each with different services and fees. This allows the account to grow as your business grows. 

You can start for free on the Basic plan and then upgrade when it makes sense. We all know how important it is to separate your finances, but we don’t have to pay for it while we haven’t earned anything!

Here are the details on each of the Lili accounts:

Lili Basic – $0 monthly fee

  • $0 opening deposit requirement
  • $0 minimum balance requirement
  • Free Visa business debit card
  • Fee-free in-network ATMs
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Receive unlimited & fee-free domestic wires

Lili Pro – $15 per month

Lili Pro has everything in Basic plus the following

  • $0 minimum balance requirement
  • $0 opening deposit requirement
  • Cash back rewards from select merchants on your debit card
  • Categorize expenses in the app
  • Attach receipts to transactions 
  • Generate monthly reports
  • Savings account with 4.15% APY interest
  • Tax “bucket” to set aside money for taxes automatically
  • Fee-free overdraft coverage up to $200

Lili Smart – $35 per month

Lili Smart has everything from the Pro plan plus the following:

  • Automatically categorizes transactions
  • On-demand financial reports
  • Create, send, and track invoices
  • Pre-filled business tax forms

Lili Premium – $55 per month

This is the top-of-the-line plan at Lili, and it includes everything from the Smart Plan but adds on priority support.

Lili’s main transaction limit “con” is that you can only receive $1,000 per day or $5,000 per month in ACH transfers from a linked account. So if you frequently transfer money into your business checking you may hit that limit. 

Other Features

Lili isn’t a bank, but all Lili accounts are FDIC-insured through Choice Financial Group (FDIC #9423). Note that Lili doesn’t offer joint accounts as of this writing. 

Lili does have an extensive list of FAQs on the website, as well as a customer service center that is available Monday through Friday. 

You can deposit money to your Lili account via PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, Direct Deposit, ACH transfer, incoming wire transfer, or mobile check deposit. 

One nice feature of Lili is called Early Payment. It allows customers to access funds from incoming ACH transfers up to two days before the transfer arrives in their account.

Lili Pros

Lili Cons

  • No monthly fees on the Basic Plan
  • No overdraft or returned check fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Tax “bucket” to help you set aside money for taxes on Pro Plan and above
  • Expense categorization on Pro Plan and above
  • get early access to incoming ACH transfers
  • No check writing
  • Limited external bank transfer limits

Here’s our full review of Lili.

Learn more about Lili

Lili is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Sunrise Banks N.A., Member FDIC. The Lili Visa® Debit Cards is issued by Sunrise Banks N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.

5. Found

  • Welcome bonus: None
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $0
  • Minimum balance requirements: None

Found was designed for the self-employed, freelancers, and side hustlers. It has a lot of features designed to make your life as easy as possible. Sign up is fast and easy, they do not require a license or DBA as part of the sign up process.

The beauty of Found is that you can get a customized debit card for free and they will categorize all your expenses and integrate it with their tax tools. You get unlimited ACH transfers, unlimited transactions, get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit, and easy integration with Stripe, Quickbooks, Venmo, Cash App, PayPal, and other apps.

There is also a very nice tax feature where Found can help you calculate your quarterly estimated tax payments and automatically set aside that money inside your account. It goes into a “tax account” (that you have full access to) so you aren’t caught short when it’s time to send in the payment.

In addition to those features, you can auto-generate your Form Schedule C as well as generate Profit & Loss statements and expense reports easily. If you need to send invoices, you can send those for free, too.

All of that is available to all users for free. They also offer a Found+ service that costs $19.99 per month or $149.99 if you pay annually. This is what is included with Found Plus:

Other features

Found offers a paid version, Found Plus, for $19.99 monthly or $149.99 if you pay annually.

The most helpful feature you'll get for this extra fee is the ability to create an unlimited number of custom categories for your transactions. You can also create rules that will make categorizing transactions even faster.

You'll also be able to pay your quarterly taxes right from the app, which is handy.

Found Plus users also have access to a savings account that earns 1.50% APY on balances up to $20,000.

Found Pros

Found Cons

  • No monthly fees
  • Easy integrations with popular tools
  • Built-in tax calculator
  • $20 per month for the Plus features seems high for features you can get with any decent accounting software.

Here's our full Found review.

Learn more about Found

Found is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Piermont Bank, Member FDIC. The Found Mastercard ®️ debit card is issued by Piermont Bank pursuant to a license from Mastercard Inc. and may be used everywhere Mastercard debit cards are accepted. Direct deposit funds may be available for use for up to two days before the scheduled payment date. Early availability is not guaranteed.

6. NorthOne

  • Welcome bonus: $20 bonus to new customers
  • Transactions: transaction limits apply, but they are generous
  • Monthly Maintenance fee: $10
  • Minimum balance requirements: $0 ($50 deposit required to open)
  • ATM fees: $0

NorthOne helps you open a business deposit account in under three minutes. The $20 welcome bonus is structured as a waiver of the NorthOne Deposit Account monthly fee (which is $10 per month) for two months. You don't have to jump through any hoops to get it.

It also has an envelopes feature that lets you section off parts of your balance for specific purposes, and you can set it to automatically set aside a designated percentage of any incoming deposits.

For example, you could automatically set aside 25% of all incoming money into a tax envelope. Or, if you want to budget for new equipment, you could set up an envelope and put money aside for that purpose as you go.

NorthOne doesn’t offer branch locations, and if you need to deposit cash, you'll need to use a GreenDot location.

There is a $10 monthly fee, but there are no additional fees for ACH payments, overdrafts, or card replacements. Wire transfer fees are low at $15 each. You can pay invoices directly from your NorthOne account. 

Other Features

NorthOne has 7-day-a-week customer service by phone as well. Although NorthOne isn’t technically a bank, it is backed and FDIC-insured by Bancorp Bank. 

NorthOne does not allow check writing with this account, and it costs $20 to receive domestic wire transfers.

NorthOne Pros

  • Unlimited sub-account envelopes
  • Unlimited integrations
  • Expansive fee-free ATM network
  • Convenient mobile banking tools

NorthOne Cons

  • $10 monthly fee
  • No check writing

Here's our full review of NorthOne.

Learn more about NorthOne

7. Novo Business Checking

Novo Bank Logo 2022
  • Welcome bonus: None
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None
  • Minimum balance requirements: None ($50 to open)
  • ATM fees: Reimbursed up to $7 per month

Novo is a fintech company that is geared toward freelancers and small business owners. The company’s Business Checking has several features that might be good for your business checking needs. Novo has focused on making integrations with your favorite business tools easy.

It integrates with a bunch of tools you likely use everyday, including Gusto, Stripe, Square, Shopify, ebay, Etsy, Quickbooks, Xero, Wise, Slack, and Zapier.

You can also create and manage unlimited invoices. You can even customize your invoices to match your branding. And you can write checks on the account, which is not something that every account offers these days.

Other Features

Novo deposit accounts are FDIC insured through Middlesex Federal Savings. You can deposit checks via mail or mobile deposit. You also get free incoming wire transfers.  

Novo will write and mail checks on your behalf (for free) if you request that service. Or you can order your own checks and checkbook through a third-party check printing service. 

Novo Best Business Checking Pros

  • No minimum balance requirement 
  • No monthly service fees
  • Generous ATM and deposit limits
  • Check writing privileges
  • Ample integrations

Novo Best Business Checking Cons

  • No savings accounts
  • No in-network ATMs and only $7 a month in fees are reimbursed

Here's our full review of Novo Business Checking.

Learn more about Novo

How to Choose the Best Bank Account for Freelancers

When looking for the best freelancer bank accounts, you'll want to understand your business needs and what you want to get out of your business bank account.

Transaction Limits

A big difference between personal bank accounts and business bank accounts is that some business bank accounts have transaction limits — and sometimes these can be very low, such as 100 transactions per month. You'll be charged a fee for every transaction over the limit.

I had a big surprise when I opened the first statement from my own business checking account. I had exceeded the transaction limit by quite a bit and was charged 15 cents per transaction. I quickly switched to an upgraded account with unlimited transactions; even though it charged a monthly fee, it was less than I had paid in per-transaction fees.

So, you'll want to make sure that your bank account doesn't have limits or that they are generous enough that you can stay well under the limit. A few cents per transaction doesn't sound like a lot, but it adds up quickly.

Some business bank accounts also have limits on cash deposits. If your business gets paid in cash, you'll want to ensure you can stay under the limits. Otherwise, you'll likely pay a fee for every $1,000 your cash deposits exceed the limit.

Features

Business bank accounts offer many features that personal bank accounts don't. Common features you can find in business banking are:

  • the ability to categorize transactions
  • the ability to pull profit and loss reports
  • the ability to send invoices
  • payroll services
  • merchant services (the ability to take credit cards)

All of these services can be bought separately. For example, bookkeeping software, such as Quickbooks, can categorize transactions, pull reports, and send and track invoices. But if you are just starting out, you might not need full-blown accounting software yet, so it could be handy (or cheaper) to have those features in your checking account.

Think about how exactly you will run your business and what features you'll need.

Costs

Keeping your costs in line is an important part of having a freelance business. It's important to understand exactly what monthly fees you'll be charged.

For example, most banks charge for wire transfers, but you can find some that allow for domestic incoming and outgoing transfers. If you know you will get paid via wire, make sure you know what fees you'll be charged and prioritize banks with lower or no wire fees.

What You Need to Open a Business Bank Account

Opening a business bank account differs slightly from opening a personal checking account.

If you are a sole proprietor, you'll likely need your EIN or SSN and any documents showing a business name or DBA (doing business as) documents, and any licenses you need in your state. If you are incorporated, you'll also need your business formation documents and any ownership agreements.

The bank may also request additional information, such as your industry or annual expected revenue.

Exactly what you'll need will vary by state and the individual bank policies. It's a good idea to call the bank ahead of time to see what they require so that you can be prepared.

Why You Need a Business Bank Account

You need a business bank account to keep your personal and business finances separate. This will be important come tax time. You only need to pay taxes on the profit of your business, so you can deduct any business expenses you have from any income you receive.

You'll want to run all of your revenue and expenses through your business bank account; then you can easily show exactly what was a business transaction and what wasn't.

For example, let's say you crochet stuffed animals and sell them at the local farmers' market, and one weekend, you sell $1,000 worth of stuffed animals. How much of that income is taxable? Well, if you spent $500 on materials, $100 on a table at the market, and $50 on a sign for your table, you can deduct that from the $1,000 in income, which would make your profit $350.

If you deposit the $1,000 in revenue into your business bank account and use it to buy materials and pay other expenses, then it's very easy to show that for this weekend, you didn't make $1,000. You can show, in fact, that you earned $350, which greatly reduces the taxes owed.

There are also other protections that a business bank account can provide. If you incorporate, a business bank account helps protect your personal finances from legal action. If your business gets sued, it's more difficult for the person suing you to come after your personal money. They would only be able to go after your business assets, not your personal assets.

Related: Best Business Savings Accounts

Summary

As a freelancer or side hustler, you’ve got plenty of choices for great bank accounts. And you no longer have to pay high fees to get a great business checking account.

Peruse your options and take advantage of the best bank account for your business. 

If you’re a freelancer or side hustler, what is your favorite business bank? 

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools, everything I use) is Empower Personal Dashboard, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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