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.
Table of Contents
- Who is BlueVine?
- BlueVine Checking Accounts
- BlueVine Financing Options
- BlueVine Accounts Payable
- How To Open a BlueVine Account
- Who Is BlueVine Best For?
- Who Is BlueVine Not Suited For?
- Alternatives to BlueVine
- BlueVine Pros & Cons
- Final Verdict
Who is BlueVine?
BlueVine 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 Coastal Community Bank for their banking service and is FDIC-insured for up to $3 million, which is significantly higher than the usual $250,000. This means you can keep more money within one institution. BlueVine has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
They also offer financing options such as a line of credit and credit card.
BlueVine Checking Accounts
BlueVine offers two checking account options for small businesses: a standard checking account that comes with minimal fees and the ability to earn interest on your deposits, and a premium version that offers a higher APY and a reduced rate on the few fees BlueVine does charge.
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 2.00% APY interest on your balances of up to $250,000 (if you meet a monthly activity goal). 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 37,000 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 and a daily limit of $2,000 (there’s also a 30-day rolling limit of $7,500).
If you need to send money internationally, you can also do this with your BlueVine Business Checking account (except for businesses based in Nevada). Payments can be made to 32 countries and in 15 currencies, with funds received in as quick as 24 hours. There’s a flat fee of $25 per international payment and a minimum 1.5% charge for funds sent in non-U.S. currencies.
In addition to their standard Business Checking account, BlueVine also offers a Premier Business Checking account, with a higher rate of 4.25% APY as of publishing, on balances up to $3 million. It also includes priority customer support — meaning whenever you call BlueVine, you’re routed to a priority queue.
With Premier, you also get discounted fees on same-day ACH and domestic and international wire transfers.
However, you do have to pay a fee for all these extra features. BlueVine Premier has a $95 monthly fee — although you can avoid the fee by maintaining an average daily balance of at least $100,000 and spending at least $5,000 with BlueVine’s credit card.
BlueVine Financing Options
If you need to borrow funds for your business, you have two options through BlueVine: a revolving line of credit or a cash back credit card.
BlueVine Line of Credit
BlueVine’s line of credit lets you borrow up to $250,000 as revolving credit. This means that you can tap into the funds as needed and only pay interest on the amounts you withdraw (as of publishing, BlueVine’s rates start at 6.20% for a line of credit).
You can request funding from your BlueVine dashboard, and approval can be as quick as within 5 minutes (with funds deposited within a few hours). Repayment can be weekly or monthly, for a term of 6-12 months.
To qualify, you must have:
- Been in business for 24+ months
- A FICO score of at least 625
- At least $40,000 in monthly revenue
You’ll also need to supply basic information about you and your business, including bank statements for the last 3 months and proof that your business is in good standing. Note that businesses in Nevada, North Dakota, and South Dakota are ineligible.
BlueVine Credit Card
The Bluevine Business Cashback Mastercard offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on business purchases. It also comes with no annual fee; however, a 2.9% fee will be charged for each payment made by credit card through BlueVine.
Because the card is issued by Mastercard, it comes with various Mastercard perks, including theft protection, car rental insurance, and rebates at selected hotels, restaurants, and gas stations through the Mastercard Easy Savings program.
Other perks that come with the BlueVine Business Cashback Mastercard at the time of publishing include:
- 30% off QuickBooks Online
- Up to 20% off Intuit TurboTax
- $125 advertising credit with Microsoft Advertising
- Discounted 13-month subscription for McAfee Total Protection
- 2 free months of Adobe Creative Cloud
- 50% off a subscription to Zoho Social
- 30-day free trial of My Medical Champion telehealth
To get the card, you must already have an active BlueVine checking account — for existing customers, you’ll receive an offer through your BlueVine dashboard if you’re eligible or, if you’re a new customer just signing up, you can opt in to be notified once you’re eligible for the card. You must also have a 700+ personal credit score and your business must be operating or incorporated in the U.S.
Note that if you open a BlueVine credit card, you’re ineligible for a BlueVine line of credit, and vice versa.
BlueVine Accounts Payable
BlueVine also offers an accounts payable platform, which enables you to send payments via wire, ACH, or check. It’s essentially billpay and they offer the ability to electronically pay 40,000 companies (if your vendor isn’t one of the 40,000 then you can simply add your own).
You can also set up automated approval workflows and automatically route payments to team members. And the system can sync with QuickBooks Online, so you won’t lose track of your payments. You can also set up various permission levels, to control what different team members can do with their specific access:
- Authorized users can add and pay bills, plus approve payments.
- Contributors can set up payments and approve, but don’t have access to view account balances and details.
- Accountants can sync to QuickBooks Online, download statements, and pay bills.
BlueVine offers reasonable fees for making payments to vendors and employees. Payment fees are as follows:
- Standard ACH: Free
- Same-day ACH: $10
- Wire transfer: $15
- Check: $1.50
- Credit card payments: 2.9%
- International payments: $25 plus 1.5% of the payment amount
Note that several of these fees are reduced if you have a Premier account.
✨ Related: Best Business Savings Accounts
How To Open a BlueVine Account
To access any of BlueVine’s products, you’ll first need to sign up for a BlueVine Business Checking account.
To do this, you’ll need to supply some basic information about yourself and your business, including its annual revenue, entity type, and industry. From there, the required documents vary, depending on your entity type (sole proprietorship, corporation, or partnership).
If there is anyone who owns more than 25% of your business, you’ll also have to provide their personal information.
Who Is BlueVine Best For?
BlueVine’s products are suited to small business owners who don’t require access to an in-person bank and are comfortable with totally online banking and bill paying.
They’re also a great option for earning interest — something that few business checking accounts offer. And if you can manage the $95 monthly fee, the Premier account could have you earning even more interest while paying lower service fees. (Just be sure to do the math first and ensure what you’re saving in fees and earning in interest outweighs the monthly fee.)
To be able to access BlueVine’s lending products, you’ll need a credit score of at least 625 and your business needs to have been in operation for at least two years. While you can still open a BlueVine Business Checking Account without meeting these criteria, you won’t be able to borrow any money from BlueVine until you’re more established.
Who Is BlueVine Not Suited For?
Since it’s online only, BlueVine isn’t suited to anyone who prefers access to in-person banking services. Its lending products are not available to start-ups or entrepreneurs with low credit scores, so if your business is just getting off the ground and you need funding, you’ll need to borrow elsewhere.
Businesses that operate in pornography, firearms, controlled substances such as cannabis, political campaigns, or bulk exchange of cryptocurrency are not allowed to open a BlueVine Business Checking account.
As well, businesses based in Nevada, North Dakota, and South Dakota are only eligible for some of BlueVine’s products and features.
Alternatives to BlueVine
BlueVine is a strong banking option for small businesses, thanks to few fees and even the ability to earn interest with your checking account. However, depending on your business needs, there may be better alternatives out there.
Here’s how BlueVine compares to some of the best business checking accounts.
Lending Club Tailored Checking for Business
Like BlueVine, Lending Club is one of the few financial institutions that offers interest on its checking account. However, its APY is only 1.5%, versus BlueVine’s 2.00% APY (or 4.25% if you go for the Premier account). Also, Lending Club’s interest rate only goes up to balances of $100,000, whereas BlueVine pays interest on balances up to $250,000.
Lending Club also offers 1% cash back on purchases made with its debit card — BlueVine offers 1.5% cash back, but only with its credit card.
There is a monthly fee with Lending Club, but it’s only $10, and this can be waived if you keep a minimum of $500 in the account.
Lili Business Checking Accounts
Lili is another online financial company that’s geared toward small businesses. It offers four tiers of business checking accounts, each with no or very low fees — a Basic account has no monthly service fees and Lili Premium only charges $55 per month.
Each tier offers additional features, such as cash back rewards on your Visa debit card, free overdraft, and bookkeeping tools. Like BlueVine, you also get unlimited transactions and pay no fees at MoneyPass ATM locations. Lili also shines for its on checking accounts of up to $100,000.
However, where Lili falls short of BlueVine is that you can’t send wire transfers or write checks with a Lili account. There are also low daily ($1,000) and monthly ($9,000) cash deposit maximums that may make it difficult if your business is bringing in more than that in cash — although BlueVine also has comparable limits of $2,000 daily and $7,500 monthly with Green Dot.
BlueVine Pros & Cons
BlueVine has some great offerings, such as the ability to earn interest, get cash back on credit card purchases, and get approved for funds quickly from either a credit card or line of credit. However, there are a few cons to consider alongside the pros.
- 2.00% APY on balances up to $250,000
- No minimum balance, no minimum deposit
- Very few fees
- Unlimited transactions
- Quick access to financing
- $4.95 to deposit cash via Green Dot
- No physical locations
- No merchant processing services
- Low daily and monthly maximums for cash deposits
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 $250,000 — 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.