When I opened my business, I did what most people do – I went to a bank and set up a checking account.
Back in 2005, my choices were limited to the banks that were in my neighborhood. Fortunately, my friend was a relationship banker at M&T Bank and he helped me open a business checking account.
My experience with M&T Bank has been great over the last 15+ years. They were even able to hold my hand through the process of applying for and eventually getting forgiveness of a Paycheck Protection Program loan. I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone who asks, especially if you can take advantage of M&T Bank’s new account promotions!
In the years since I opened an account, there has been a slew of “neo” banks offering business services. These are simply online banks that look to disrupt the existing business banking system. Some have shut down, such as Azlo, but one of the banks that remains very strong is BlueVine.
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Who is BlueVine?
BlueVine, formerly known as BlueVine Capital, is based out of Redwood City, CA, and was founded by Eyal Lifshitz, Moti Shatner, and Nir Klar. Lifshitz was a venture capitalist who used to work at Greylock Partners and started BlueVine in 2013.
BlueVine offers online business banking services and their primary product is a business checking account – BlueVine Business Checking. BlueVine uses The Bancorp Bank for their banking service (FDIC insured up to $250,000) and BlueVine has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
They also offer a variety of financing options such as invoice factoring, loans, and lines of credit.
BlueVine Business Checking
The BlueVine Business Checking account is their flagship product and it’s everything you would expect from a business checking account plus it even pays interest.
There are no monthly fees, you get unlimited transactions, live support, and 1.50% APY interest on your balances of up to $100,000. There is no minimum deposit, no minimum balance, no monthly service fees, and no insufficient funds fees.
You also get ATM access through the MoneyPass network, which has over 38,000 locations. Plus, two free checkbooks.
One common problem with online banks is cash – many online banks don’t offer the ability to deposit cash. BlueVine has gotten around this by partnering with Green Dot. You can deposit cash by going to one of their 90,000+ locations – this does come with a $4.95 fee.
BlueVine Payments is a feature of the business checking account and it gives you a way to send payments via wire, ACH, or check. It’s essentially billpay and they offer the ability to electronically pay 40,000 companies – which can reduce a bit of friction.
Like all other billpay offerings, if your vendor isn’t one of the 40,000 then you can simply add your own. This is a common feature but one that could be overlooked.
BlueVine Financing Offerings
BlueVine touts two financing options – invoice factoring and a line of credit. (both are paused as they work on PPP applications)
Invoice Factoring is when you get a loan based on your accounts receivable (invoices). These lines of credit are available for up to $5 million and the rate, which is based on a variety of factors, starts as low as LIBOR. You get the choice of which invoices you which to borrow against and BlueVine will give you up to 90% of the value of the invoice (the remaining 10% minus their fees is paid when the invoice is paid).
To qualify for Invoice Factoring, you’ll need to have been a business for 3+ months, have a FICO score of at least 530, have at least $10,000 in monthly revenue, and be a B2B.
The Line of Credit is simply a line of credit, much like a home equity line of credit, of up to $250,000 ($,5000 minimum). Whatever you withdraw from the line of credit must be paid back in monthly or weekly payments over 6-12 months. To qualify, you must have been in business for 3+ months, have a FICO score of at least 650, have at least $40,000 in monthly revenue.
These financing options can be approved very quickly, which is not something you’d expect from a brick and mortar bank!
BlueVine Pros & Cons
- 1% interest on balances up to $100,000
- No minimum balance, no minimum deposit
- Very few fees ($4.95 to deposit cash)
- Unlimited transactions
- Quick access to financing
- $4.95 to deposit cash via Green Dot
- No physical locations
- No merchant processing services
If I were opening a business checking account today, I’d give BlueVine serious consideration because it offers everything I could possibly need out of a business checking account plus it offers you interest on your cash balances up to $100,000 – something that is extremely uncommon in business checking.
The only limitation is if you want all your business services consolidated with one bank and you need merchant services. With the rise of payment services like Square, this might be a non-issue for many business that need POS capability. With unlimited transactions, BlueVine can easily support that.