The 16 best startup banks and banking platforms for high-growth companies in 2024

A review of the best banks for startups – and banking platforms.
Author
Ken Boyd
Updated:
April 14, 2024
Writer
Reviewed by
Mike Dombrowski
Head of Corporate Treasury
Updated:
April 14, 2024

Every startup founder must develop a banking relationship with a reliable platform that can grow with the business.

This post is a helpful resource for startup founders evaluating banking services and additional financial service tools that companies need as they scale. The best startup banks offer an integrated platform with low fees, no minimum balance, and responsive customer support.

Key highlights: 

  • Banks and financial institutions offer various banking services, each with its own fee structure and capabilities.
  • Startups that experience rapid growth may outgrow the platform, as they need capabilities like multi-entity support, AP automation, and other spend management tools offered by different platforms. 
  • While many startups use the Rho platform to manage their business banking needs, Rho is a fintech company, not a bank. Rho partners with FDIC-insured banks to offer banking products and services. Applying will not impact your personal credit score.

Finance teams run faster on Rho.

Eliminate annoying banking fees, earn yield on your cash, and operate more efficiently with Rho.

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What do startups need from banks and fintechs?

After securing a term sheet, startup founders need a secure banking platform to store the cash they raise and pay vendors and employees. Business owners also need a partner to meet more complex needs as the business scales while remaining financially stable.

For example, many startups use Rho’s business banking platform to manage their operating accounts, earn yield on cash, and automate key parts of their financial operations. 

Neobanks vs. traditional banks

Neobanks differ from traditional banks based on business structure, services offered, and the direct regulatory environment. 

What's a Neobank?

A neobank is a term some analysts use to describe financial technology companies – that are not banks (i.e. do not have a banking charter) – that partner with regulated banks to offer business banking services. 

Neobanks primarily offer digital and mobile banking products (with banking services provided by partner banks) but often extend beyond the capabilities of a traditional brick-and-mortar bank.

For example, the Rho business banking platform also offers expense management, AP automation, and accounting integrations that speed up the month-end close process – capabilities you wouldn’t expect from a bank. 

Some neobanks also partner with other entities to provide physical ATM or cash drop-off locations – capabilities some smaller businesses may find beneficial. 

Neobanks may offer various financial services, including banking, payment processing, lending, and investment management. These firms use technology to provide innovation, more convenience, and a better customer user experience.

Neobanks vs. traditional banks

Traditional banks serve customers through physical branches and online, but many are slow to adopt new technologies and far less innovative. Neobanks operate online and through mobile apps and embrace innovation to meet customer needs.

Neobanks continually update their platforms to offer new features based on market trends and customers' unique needs.

Banking is a heavily regulated industry, and traditional banks must comply with several regulatory requirements. Neobanks, however, face fewer regulatory hurdles, especially if they partner with a regulated bank to provide banking services.

Traditional banks have high operating costs for maintaining physical bank locations, ATMs, and legacy infrastructure. Banks may also charge higher fees and offer lower deposit interest rates to recover these costs.

Neobanks can offer financial services with lower fees and more competitive rates because they have a lower cost structure than traditional banks.

Did you know? Rho Business Savings Accounts are built on a network of over 400 FDIC-insured banks, allowing you to access up to $75M in FDIC deposit insurance per entity. These Treasury Management services are provided by American Deposit Management, LLC.

The 16 best startup banks and banking platforms for high-growth founders in 2024

1. Rho

Based in New York, Rho is a financial automation platform that helps finance teams maximize time for strategy. 

One benefit of Rho is its business banking platform services. You can manage your operating cash, enjoy 24/7  customer support, zero ACH fees, and connect to your accounting software.

At a glance

Startups and SMBs use Rho to boost their bottom line and operate more efficiently. Rho provides simple, powerful business banking services and award-winning customer support.

Best for: 

Rho is a great choice for startups that need a single integrated platform for business checking accounts, corporate cards, and AP automation. Startups use Rho to automate busy work, speed up accounting, and control spending — without platform fees.

APY: 

Qualifying clients earn up to 2.75% APY on Rho Business Savings Accounts. Treasury Management services are provided by American Deposit Management, LLC.

Monthly fee: 

None

Minimum opening deposit: 

None

Free cash deposits: 

Rho does not offer cash deposits.

Overdraft fees: 

None

Bonus: 

None for business banking

FDIC insured by: 

Webster Bank, N.A., Member FDIC (checking and credit cards), and American Deposit Management, LLC. (savings). 

Integrations: 

Rho integrates with QuickBooks Online, Oracle NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, and Sage Intacct.  Rho also supports flat-file CSV exporting, so you can automatically tailor transaction categorization to your business needs.

Pros

  • Low cost: Fee-free business banking accounts and no fees for ACH and domestic wire transfers
  • Responsive customer support: Support is available 24 hours daily, Monday through Friday, and 10-7 pm ET on weekends to assist with customer needs. 
  • A fully integrated platform: Rho offers expense management, corporate cards, AP automation, accounting, business banking services, and treasury management all in one platform. 

Cons

  • Straight cashback vs. points: Rho offers a simple cashback offer on corporate card use. Some companies prefer legacy corporate card solutions like American Express, Chase, or Capital One for the point rewards they offer, even if that impacts process speed. 

2. Bluevine®

Bluevine provides business banking products, loans, and credit cards to businesses.

At a glance

Bluevine offers a low-cost banking option and the ability to earn an APY rate on larger balances. Customers can make cash deposits for a fee.

Best for: 

Small business owners with minimal banking needs can benefit from Bluevine’s inexpensive banking platform. 

APY: 

Businesses can earn 2.0% APY on balances up to $250,000 by reaching one of two monthly activity goals as of this article’s publishing date. 

Customers must spend at least $500 monthly on a Bluevine debit or credit card to reach the goal. The other option is to receive $2,500 or more in customer payments in the bank account.

Monthly fee: 

None

Minimum opening deposit: 

None

Free cash deposits: 

Bluevine customers pay fees for cash deposits. Bluevine works with third-party firms and allows customers to deposit cash at 1,500+ ATMs and 91,000+ retail locations using the Bluevine debit card. Bluevine charges fees for cash deposits, and there are limits on the dollar amounts deposited.

Overdraft fees: 

No overdraft fees

Bonus: 

None

FDIC insured by: 

Deposits are insured through Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.

Integrations: 

QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop

Pros

  • No monthly fees or minimum account balance requirements
  • Opportunity to earn 2.0% APY on account balances if certain activity levels are met
  • Access to up to $3 million in FDIC insurance using the Insured Cash Sweep program
  • Offer ability to issue debit cards.

Cons

  • Cash deposits: Fees are charged for cash deposits, and the transaction amounts are limited
  • ATMs: Fees charged for use of out-of-network ATM.
  • Debit card limit: Bluevine customers only have access to up to 4 debit cards per account.

Bluevine vs. Rho

Bluevine offers a low-cost business checking account and attractive APY rates. Still, growing startups may quickly find the platform lacks certain capabilities, such as expense management and AP automation. Rho customers can access corporate credit cards with spend controls, automated expense management and accounts payable, business banking, and treasury management—all without platform fees. 

3. Wells Fargo®

Wells Fargo is one of the largest U.S. banks, offering banking services, lending, investments and wealth management, and investment banking.

At a glance

Wells Fargo provides many banking services that startups may eventually need, such as SBA loans and merchant accounts. However, the bank may charge higher fees on average due to an expensive legacy infrastructure of physical locations and other assets.

The bank’s checking account options include Initiate Business Checking, Navigate Business Checking, and Optimize Business Checking. The accounts differ based on the services provided to the customer.

Best for: 

Startup businesses that can generate enough activity to avoid monthly service fees may be a fit for Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo can be an option if a startup founder is interested in the bank’s lending or investment services.

APY: 

Navigate Business Checking pays an APY that varies based on account size. Other checking accounts do not pay an APY rate on balances.

Monthly fee: 

$10 to $75 monthly fee, depending on the type of account. The fee may be waived based on the minimum daily balance and other account activity.

Minimum opening deposit: 

$25

Free cash deposits: 

Cash deposits are free for some checking accounts up to a specific monthly amount. Fees are charged above the dollar limit, and the Optimize Business Checking account charges fees on all deposits.

Overdraft fees: 

$35

Bonus: 

None

FDIC insured by: 

The deposit was insured by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and is a Member FDIC.

Integrations: 

Xero and QuickBooks. However, Wells Fargo uses Web Connect to integrate with QuickBooks. This extra step slows down the integration process.

Several financial institutions offer non-accounting third-party integrations, including PayPal and Stripe.

Pros

  • Customer support availability: Phone support is available until 11 pm EST on weekdays, and customer support is available on weekends.
  • ATM fees: Customers do not pay ATM fees at Well Fargo’s 4,900 branch locations.
  • Upgrade checking accounts: Businesses can easily upgrade to a checking account with more features as they scale.

Cons

  • Checking account fees: While fees may be waived, Wells Fargo does not offer a free business checking account option.
  • Transaction limits: Fee-free transactions are limited each month. If customers need to complete more transactions, fees are charged.

Wells Fargo vs. Rho

Wells Fargo offers several banking services, but the platform can be very expensive. A startup may quickly exceed the bank’s caps on free business transactions and have to start paying fees. 

Rho provides a single platform with fully integrated business checking accounts, corporate cards, AP automation, and treasury services, with no platform fees. As a legacy bank, Wells Fargo does not offer the seamless integrations Rho provides.

4. Bank of America®

Bank of America offers several services for startups, including checking and savings, credit cards, bill pay, lenders specializing in startups, and investing tools.

At a glance

The two primary business accounts are Bank of America Business Advantage Fundamentals Banking and Business Advantage Relationship Banking. Electronic transactions are free, and each account has a higher limit for cash deposits than many competitors.

Best for: 

Startups that want a national bank with various services and businesses that can meet requirements to minimize fees are a good fit for Bank of America.

APY: 

None 

Monthly fee: 

$16 for Advantage Fundamentals Banking and $29.95 for Advantage Relationship Banking. The fee may be waived based on the average monthly account balance or by spending a specific dollar amount on qualifying purchases.

Minimum opening deposit: 

$100

Free cash deposits: 

Cash deposit allowances of up to $7,500 for the Advantage Fundamentals and up to $20,000 for the Advantage Relationship account.

Overdraft fee: 

$10

Bonus: 

Business banking customers can earn extra rewards on the bank’s business credit cards and discounted rates on business loans through the bank.

FDIC insured by: 

Deposits insured by Bank of America, N.A., member FDIC.

Integrations: 

QuickBooks

Pros

  • No fees for electronic transactions
  • Higher cash deposit limits
  • Business accounts can be opened using a completely online process

Cons

  • Fees charged for business checking accounts
  • A $100 minimum is required to open an account
  • Fees charged for out-of-network ATM transactions

Bank of America vs. Rho

Bank of America offers more robust automation than other legacy banks, but monthly and other transaction fees can quickly add up. Rho does not charge platform fees and offers a fully integrated financial services platform that is more user-friendly for startup firms.

5. JP Morgan Chase®

Chase for Business offers bank accounts, small business loans, business credit cards, and other services. 

At a glance

JP Morgan Chase offers a wide range of financial services, but startups must be able to avoid fees, which can quickly add up. Customers can access more than 15,000 ATMs and more than 4,700 Chase branches.

Best for: 

Like Bank of America, startups that want a national bank with various services and businesses that can meet requirements to minimize fees are a good fit for JP Morgan Chase.

APY: 

None

Monthly fee: 

Chase checking accounts charge monthly maintenance fees, and the fees decline for customers who carry larger balances. Service fees range from $15 to $95 each month.

Minimum opening deposit: 

$2,000

Free cash deposits: 

The first $20,000 in cash deposits during the month are free. Amounts above $20,000 are charged a fee.

Overdraft fees: 

$34 fee when the account is overdrawn by more than $50.

Bonus: 

Bonuses are available based on a number of factors. The bonuses promoted change over time.

FDIC insured by: 

JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., Member FDIC

Integrations: 

QuickBooks Online

Pros

  • National bank brand: Chase is a well-known business brand and offers thousands of ATM and bank branch locations.
  • Building a relationship: When you bank with Chase, you can access other banking services as your business grows, such as a line of credit or other types of loans.

Cons

  • Fees: Chase customers may incur monthly service fees on checking accounts and fees at non-Chase ATMs. Ink Business Credit Cards may also charge fees.
  • Fee-free Transaction limits: Chase has a monthly limit on fee-free cash deposits ($5,000) and physical transactions (20). When the number of transactions exceeds the limits, customers incur fees.
  • No finance integrations: Chase does not offer many important finance tools that startup founders need to operate. Rho offers business banking, payables, expense management, and treasury within one platform.

JP Morgan Chase vs. Rho

JP Morgan fees can accumulate quickly. Startups may incur monthly account fees, transaction fees, and cash deposit fees, among others. Rho does not charge platform fees and provides an integrated financial platform.

6. Mercury

Mercury is a financial technology company that provides business banking services to VC-backed startups. The company offers Mercury business checking and savings accounts, corporate credit cards, treasury services, and venture debt.

At a glance

Best for: 

Mercury is a go-to starting banking solution for many VC-backed startups.

Customers with more than $250,000 in deposits who want a sweep account to increase FDIC insurance coverage may fit Mercury. Mercury is also a consideration for businesses that want access to venture funding.

However, as entrepreneurs scale, they may need additional capabilities like multi-entity support, AP automation, and other important features of financial operations. 

APY: 

None

Monthly fee: 

No monthly fees

Minimum opening deposit: 

No account minimums,

Free cash deposits: 

Mercury does not support cash deposits.

Overdraft fees: 

No overdraft fees

Bonus: 

None

FDIC insured by: 

Choice Financial Group and Evolve Bank & Trust, Members FDIC.  

Integrations: 

Mercury provides some limited integrations with QuickBooks and Xero and offers “NetSuite-friendly reports” – CSV exports of transactions for reconciliation purposes.

Pros

  • Mercury offers various business banking products and a user-friendly platform for VC-backed startups.
  • There are no account minimums, overdraft fees, monthly fees, or account opening fees to open a Mercury checking or savings account. 
  • The company offers corporate credit cards, treasury services, and venture debt. 

Cons

  • Mercury Treasury allows owners to invest excess cash for higher yields. However, it will take several business days to withdraw funds from Mercury Treasury.
  • Mercury clients must use email for customer support. Phone support is not offered, chat support is unavailable on weekends, and reviews indicate customers need help with customer support responsiveness. 

Mercury vs. Rho

Mercury is great for startup businesses that are just starting and want access to business banking services built into a technology platform with a good user experience. 

As startups scale, more streamlined approvals, a robust expense management solution, and structured workflows become necessary. This is where Rho shines - providing a comprehensive stack of financial tools that allow unimpeded growth without team members needing platform changes. 

Visit G2 to learn how Rho’s fee-free business banking and finance platform, business credit cards, and more compare with different startup solutions, including:

  • Legacy financial institutions: JPMorgan Chase Bank, US Bank, Wells Fargo
  • Newer financial technology companies: Mercury, Ramp, Brex, BlueVine, Novo

7. Brex®

Following an initial launch as a virtual reality company, Brex pivoted to become a corporate card provider (powered by Mastercard), challenging American Express. Since then, Brex has added more capabilities like cash management, travel booking, and AP.

At a glance

Brex may be an option for startup founders who want an inexpensive business checking account and don’t need to make a large number of cash deposits. Brex also provides corporate cards and expense management services.

Best for: 

Brex primarily caters to VC-backed startups, so Brex likely isn’t an excellent option for traditional business owners. In 2022, Brex decided to end support for traditional small businesses that aren’t venture-backed.

A Brex account also generally requires its customers to maintain a cash balance of at least $25,000 to maintain any credit limit.

APY: 

The business banking account does not pay an APY, but customers can invest in money market funds through Brex.

Monthly fee: 

None

Minimum opening deposit: 

None

Free cash deposits: 

None. Brex does not offer a debit card or ATM access.

Overdraft fees: 

None

Bonus: 

Bonus available based on minimum deposit requirements or Brex card spending requirements.

FDIC insured by: 

Brex’s business banking services are backed by Emigrant Bank and Fifth Third Bank, NA, both FDIC members.

Integrations: 

NetSuite and QuickBooks

Pros

  • Brex Card credit limits are based on the real-time and average 30-day cash balances in your linked bank accounts, offering flexibility and potentially higher credit limits to businesses with strong cash flows. 
  • Brex continually innovates to provide a more seamless automation experience for customers. In recent months, Brex product announcements include centralized billing for Brex Travel, and the ability to automatically add Uber receipts to Brex transactions.
  • Brex is committed to supporting the VC and startup communities. The company has invested in curating Bay Area, New York events and other startup hubs.

Cons

  • Brex Essential customers experience delays and slow response times due to limited customer support, according to third-party review comments. Customers must sign up for a Brex Premium or Brex Enterprise account to access more responsive, dedicated customer support.
  • Many of Brex’s advanced spend management features – like custom budgets and reporting – are being housed in a paid platform. Users needing these key features must pay additional fees to get the full benefits of using Brex.
  • Brex may decrease credit limits when the business bank account balance decreases. Some reviewers experienced unexpected credit limit reductions without Brex's clear explanation.

Brex vs. Rho

While Brex is a popular option among startups, particularly for VC-backed startups, thanks to its appealing perks and benefits, its usefulness tends to taper off as businesses grow. 

As startups start to scale, more streamlined approvals, robust expense management, and structured workflows become necessary. Rho is a more advantageous solution for startups than Brex, and Rho does not charge platform fees.

8. Axos

Axos Bank is a full-service online bank that offers business banking products. The company offers checking and savings accounts, CDs, merchant services, treasury, and commercial loans.

At a glance

Axos is a bank, not a technology company.  Axos offers two types of business accounts. Business Interest Checking pays an APY on deposits and charges a monthly fee. Basic Business Checking has no fees and does not pay interest on deposits.

Best for: 

Startups that process a large amount of cash transactions may be fit for Axos. The bank does a better job at facilitating cash deposits than many competitors.

APY: 

Business Interest Checking pays up to a 1.01% APY on deposits. Basic Business Checking does not pay an APY rate.

Monthly fee: 

Axos Basic Business Checking is free. Business Interest Checking has a $10 monthly fee that is waived if you maintain an average daily balance of at least $5,000.

Minimum opening deposit: 

No minimum opening deposit on the Basic Business Checking account. $100 minimum opening on the Business Interest Checking account.

Free cash deposits: 

Cash deposits are available via MoneyPass and AllPoint ATMs, and ATM fees are refunded automatically.

Overdraft fees: 

$25

Bonus: 

$400 bonus when you open a new Axos business account and maintain an average daily balance of at least $50,000.

FDIC insured by: 

Axos Bank, Member FDIC.

Integrations: 

QuickBooks. Note that Axos does not offer any other third-party integrations with invoicing software providers or online payment platforms.

Pros

  • No monthly fees or minimum deposits to open an account
  • Cash deposits via MoneyPass and AllPoint ATMs and ATM fees are refunded automatically
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • No third-party integrations
  • $25 fee for insufficient funds.

Axos vs. Rho

Startups that process a large dollar amount of cash transactions may find Axos to be useful. With proper planning, startup founders can minimize costs using Axos. Axos does not provide integrations with third-party software platforms other than QuickBooks.

Rho provides a full suite of banking and financial solutions, without the need to add third-party software providers. Rho does not charge platform fees, and provides a seamless user experience.

9. US Bank®

US Bank is the fifth largest bank in the U.S., and offers banking, wealth management, and commercial loan services. 

At a glance

US Bank provides the Silver Business Checking account for startups and small businesses. There are no monthly fees for the account. US Bank accepts cash deposits.

You can open the account online, making it a great option for business owners who want the convenience of an online business checking account but the customer support of a traditional bank.

Best for: 

Startups that can meet the requirements to earn the welcome bonus can benefit from a US Bank account. Businesses with a limited number of monthly transactions can avoid transaction fees. US Bank may also be a fit for startups that process a small amount of cash deposits.

APY: 

None

Monthly fee: 

None

Minimum opening deposit: 

$100

Free cash deposits: 

Up to $2,500 in free cash deposits per month

Overdraft fees: 

No fees if the account is overdrawn by $50 or less. Customers pay a $36 overdraft fee for larger overdraft dollar amounts.

Bonus: 

Earn up to a $800 bonus when you open a new, eligible U.S. Bank business checking account online and complete qualifying activities.

FDIC insured by: 

U.S. Bank National Association, Member FDIC.

Integrations: 

QuickBooks Online

Pros

  • No monthly service fees
  • Welcome bonus available for customers who open new accounts
  • No fees at US Bank ATMs and bank branches

Cons

  • Cash deposit limits have a low dollar amount
  • Fee-free transactions limited to 125 per month
  • Fees for outgoing domestic ACH transfers

US Bank vs. Rho

The Silver Business Checking account does not charge a monthly fee, and startup founders with a small number of monthly transactions can avoid processing fees. Startups that grow quickly will incur transaction fees with US Bank.

Rho offers a fully integrated platform to manage business checking accounts, corporate cards, and AP automation. Rho also provides ERP integrations with several accounting software providers, and Rho does not charge platform fees. 

10. Grasshopper Bank®

Grasshopper provides banking products to small businesses and startups, including VC-backed startups. The business also offers lending services.

At a glance

Grasshopper has a very specific focus on VC-based startups, and businesses can earn a competitive APY on deposits. Grasshopper business checking accounts can be low-cost if managed properly.

Best for: 

Grasshopper’s business checking account, Accelerator Checking, is available to venture-backed startups with Seed and Series A funding, with some restrictions by industry. 

APY: 

Businesses can earn up to 1.51% APY on a balance of up to $25,000. Customers with balances of $25,000 to $250,000 can earn a 2.25% APY.

Monthly fee: 

No monthly fees

Minimum opening deposit: 

$100

Free cash deposits: 

Cash deposits are not available

Overdraft fees: 

None

Bonus

Businesses can earn APY rates on checking accounts that are much higher than rates offered by most FDIC-insured banks.

FDIC insured by: 

Balances are insured up to $250,000 by Grasshopper Bank, an FDIC member.

Integrations: 

QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop

Pros

  • Cashback: Earn unlimited 1% cash back on qualified debit card purchases
  • High APY: Earn up to 2.25% APY on account balances
  • No fees: No monthly fees and overdraft charges

Cons

  • Cash deposits: No ability to make cash deposits
  • Customer support: Grasshopper does not offer weekend customer support
  • Additional finance automation tools: Grasshopper does not provide integrated tools to automate payables, spend, or treasury management.

Grasshopper vs. Rho

Grasshopper provides business banking, loans, and other services that focus on the startup market. As businesses grow and become more complex, startup founders need additional tools to manage AP automation, accounting and spend. Rho’s integration platform offers these services.

11. LiveOak Bank®

LiveOak Bank offers checking and savings accounts, CDs, and several types of business loans. LiveOak provides three different types of business checking accounts:

Business Essential

Includes a $10 monthly fee, and the fee is waived with a minimum $1,000 average daily balance. Charges a $25 overdraft fee.

Business Plus

Ideal for businesses requiring ACH, online wire services or more robust features. Includes a $25 monthly fee, and the fee is waived with a minimum $25,000 average daily balance. Charges a $25 overdraft fee.

Business Plus Analysis

Ideal for businesses with high daily balances in need of statement aggregation and broader capabilities. Includes a $100 monthly fee, and earnings credit can offset fees. Customers must contact a salesperson for information on avoiding the $100 monthly fee. No overdraft fees.

At a glance

LiveOak offers several types of bank accounts, which gives the startup founder a choice based on company needs. Businesses can also earn a high APY rate on savings account balances.

Best for: 

Startups that need a low-cost checking account and startups that can invest excess cash in LiveOak’s savings account.

APY: 

Earn 4.00% APY on all savings account balances. No APY earned on checking accounts.

Minimum opening deposit: 

None, but startups should consider the average daily balance requirements listed above.

Free cash deposits: 

Cash deposits are not available.

Bonus: 

The savings account APY is much higher than APYs offered by most banks.

FDIC insured by: 

LiveOak Bank, a subsidiary of LiveOak Bancshares, Inc. (NYSE: LOB), is an FDIC-insured bank.

Integrations: 

QuickBooks Online

Pros

  • Higher APY offered than most competitors for saving account balances
  • No minimum savings account balance is required to earn a high APY
  • Monthly fees can be waived based on average account balances or offset by earnings

Cons

  • Debit cards cannot be accessed at ATMs
  • Customer support is not available on weekends

LiveOak Bank vs. Rho

LiveOak Bank offers a low-cost checking account for startups that can maintain the required average daily balance (or offset fees with earnings in the Plus Analysis account). LiveOak is particularly attractive for startups who can earn higher yields using the savings account.

Startups that want full integration to automate business checking, corporate cards, and AP automation should choose Rho. In addition, Rho does not charge platform fees.

12. Meow

Meow is a business banking platform that allows businesses to invest in money market funds. This includes Maximum Checking with up to $125 million in FDIC insurance through partner banks and their sweep networks and U.S. Treasury Bills held in custody at BNY Mellon Pershing.

At a glance

Meow promotes the high APY rate on the Maximum Checking account and the ability to invest in money market funds. It does not offer many of the other financial services startups may need to operate efficiently.

Best for: 

Meow offers a fairly low-cost business checking account. Startup founders can earn a very competitive APY rate if their business meets deposit minimums.

APY: 

Earn up to 5.02% APY by meeting deposit minimums.

Monthly fee: 

$10

Minimum opening deposit: 

None

Free cash deposits: 

None

Overdraft fees: 

None

Bonus: 

None

FDIC insured by: 

Grasshopper Bank, N.A., and Third Coast Bank SSB; Members FDIC

Integrations: 

Meow integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, NetSuite, and Sage.

Pros

  • Security: Internal auditing process that controls data access and confidentiality.
  • Configurable: Easy process to configure users and approvers.
  • Withdrawals: Cash withdrawals are processed quickly.

Cons

  • Self-serve management: You must make investment decisions on your own.
  • Founder and venture capital focus: Meow is focused on the startup/ venture capital market and does not offer a suite of integrated products to manage cash and spend.
  • Money market funds vs. T-Bills: Unlike Rho Prime Treasury, which invests corporate cash directly in U.S. Treasuries held in your name, Meow invests in money market funds. 

Meow vs. Rho

Aside from being focused primarily on the venture capital and startup market, Meow’s treasury solutions are self-serve, which means you must make investment decisions on your own. If you aren’t comfortable doing that or feel you lack the experience, Meow is likely not a good choice.

Rho offers a seamless platform to manage all cash and spending for companies of any size, as well as treasury solutions that put your cash to work for you based on a policy you select.  

13. NorthOne

NorthOne provides a business banking platform that is integrated with bill payment and bookkeeping tools. NorthOne also offers lending services.

At a glance

NorthOne customers have two checking account options and must pay a monthly fee to get a higher level of service. NorthOne also provides several ERP integrations for accounting platforms.

Best for: 

NorthOne is an adequate tool for freelancers, contractors, and solo business owners who need business banking, bill payment capabilities, and a QuickBooks accounting integration.

APY: 

None

Monthly fee: 

A NorthOne Standard account does not charge a monthly fee. The NorthOne Plus account includes a $20 monthly fee and provides priority support and a dedicated relationship manager.

Minimum opening deposit: 

$50

Free cash deposits: 

Customers can deposit cash at the POS system at most Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid, and 7/11 locations. There are limits on the number and dollar amount of cash deposits made per day.

Overdraft fees: 

None 

Bonus:

None 

FDIC insured by: 

Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A., Member FDIC. Customer deposits insured up to $250,000.

Integrations

Accounting integrations with QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, Sage, and FreshBooks.

Pros

  • Cash deposits: Ability to deposit cash at a number of retail locations 
  • Integrations: Bank account software is integrated with a bill payment solution and with several accounting software providers
  • Customer support: Access customer support by phone, email, or live chat

Cons

  • Fees: NorthOne Plus account includes a $20 monthly fee
  • ATMs: Customers may incur ATM fees when using an out-of-network ATM
  • Limited integrations: NorthOne does not offer a fully integrated financial stack, including treasury services and other important tools

NorthOne vs. Rho

NorthOne provides business banking, bill payment services, and some accounting integrations. Startup founders need a more comprehensive financial platform as the business grows, including treasury management and other tools. 

Rho offers a fully integrated financial solution with no platform fees.

14. Novo

Novo provides checking accounts, debit cards, and invoice processing for business finances.

At a glance

Novo provides a low-cost business checking account, but users cannot send domestic or international wire transfers, and customer support is not available by phone.

Best for: 

Novo is a low-cost business banking option for freelancers, contractors, and solo business owners with limited financial needs. Customer support is very poor compared with other banks, which were reviewed based on third-party reviews, including NerdWallet.

In addition, customers cannot send wire transfers.

APY:

None 

Monthly fee: 

None

Minimum opening deposit: 

None

Free cash deposits: 

None

Overdraft fees: 

None

Bonus: 

None

FDIC insured by: 

Deposits are insured for up to $250,000 through Middlesex Federal Savings, member FDIC.

Integrations: 

QuickBooks and Xero

Pros

  • No monthly fees, overdraft fees, or minimum account balances
  • All ATM fees are refunded to the customer
  • Accounting integrations with QuickBooks and Xero

Cons

  • No ability to deposit cash
  • Customers cannot send domestic or international wire transfers
  • No customer support by phone

Novo vs. Rho

Novo offers freelancers and solo business owners a low-cost business banking option, and ATM fees are refunded to customers. However, Novo’s financial service tools are very limited. Customers cannot send wires, and customer support is not available by phone.

Rho offers a fully integrated platform with customer support by phone, and Rho does not charge platform fees.

15. Relay

Relay provides business checking and savings accounts, AP processing, and receipt management for businesses.

At a glance

Relay Pro is a basic business checking account solution that does not charge a monthly fee. Relay Pro offers additional features, including same-day ACH and free outgoing wire transfers for a $30 monthly fee. 

Best for

Relay provides an inexpensive checking account, and the ability to earn attractive yields in a saving account. The software also integrates with QuickBooks. However, Relay’s 6-7 business day hold on deposited checks is much longer than most competitors, and long holds impact cash flow.

APY: 

Saving account balances pay a 1.00% APY to 3.00% APY rate, depending on the total savings balance. 

Monthly fee: 

The Relay bank account does not charge a fee. A Relay Pro account includes a $30 monthly fee.

Minimum opening deposit: 

None

Free cash deposits: 

Customers can deposit cash using AllPoint ATMs.

Overdraft fees: 

None

Bonus: 

Saving account balances pay a high APY rate compared to traditional banks.

FDIC insured by: 

Thread Bank, member FDIC, provides up to $250,000 in insurance.

Integrations: 

QuickBooks Online and Xero

Pros

  • No monthly fees or minimum deposit required to open an account
  • Fee-free transactions with no overdraft fees
  • Cash deposit through AllPoint ATMs

Cons

  • No weekend customer support availability
  • Deposited checks are held for up to 6-7 business days
  • The Bill payment feature is not available in the Relay plan. The Relay Pro includes bill payment automation.

Relay vs. Rho

Relay provides business checking and savings accounts that can meet a startup founder’s needs. As a startup grows, the business will need corporate credit cards, treasury management, and other services in a single platform. Rho offers all of these services with no platform fees.

16. Arc Technologies

Arc provides startup cash management essentials, including payment management, treasury services, and financing. Arc can manage a company’s operating account and provide cash reserve account services. Investments are made through BNY Mellon Pershing.

At a glance

Arc offers checking, savings, and investment accounts. The checking account is a low-cost option, and customer support is effective.

Best for: 

Arc customers can invest in money market funds and treasury bills. Users can set up auto-balancing rules to automatically move funds between operating and treasury accounts. 

Customers can also diversify deposit balances across Arc’s banking partners and receive up to $5.5 million in FDIC coverage and $500,000 in SIPC insurance.

APY: 

The Arc Operating account (business checking) does not earn an APY rate. Customers can earn 4.00% APY with the Arc Reserve (savings) account.

Monthly fee: 

$0

Minimum opening deposit: 

None

Free cash deposits: 

None

Overdraft fees: 

None

Bonus: 

None

FDIC insured by: 

Evolve Bank and Trust, an FDIC-insured financial institution

Integrations: 

Arc provides an integration with QuickBooks. 

Pros

  • Customer support: Live support with a dedicated on-call relationship manager
  • Recurring vendor payments: Recurring payments can be scheduled in the operating account

Cons

  • Mobile functionality: Arc does not offer a mobile app
  • Operating accounts: Operating accounts do not earn interest
  • Automated cash balancing:  The standard treasury account does not offer automated cash balancing

Arc Technologies vs. Rho

Arc does not currently offer a mobile app, which may slow down user productivity. Arc’s standard treasury account does not offer automated cash balancing.

Rho offers a fast and reliable platform for treasury management, and the solution is integrated with AP, expense management, and commercial banking. Also, Rho provides a mobile app and does not charge platform fees.

What to look for in a startup business bank

Founders of new businesses need banking services, including bank accounts, access to loans, and the ability to invest excess cash to earn higher yields.

Owners also need a suite of financial tools to manage cash, payables, and other activities. Responsive customer support is also important. Here are some features and benefits business owners should evaluate:

Built-in extras

These extra services help the startup to automate more tasks, increase productivity, and reduce the risk of errors:

Accounts payable (AP) automation

AP automation software digitizes and automates the end-to-end accounts payable process, allowing businesses to capture, code, match, and approve accounts payable data using fewer manual tasks. 

Cash management

Cash management is the process of monitoring and forecasting cash inflows and outflows. The goal is to generate sufficient cash inflows to pay all required cash outflows and maintain adequate financial health. The software automates cash flow monitoring and forecasting.

Make the payment process as seamless as possible. Send invoices to customers electronically and give customers the option to pay invoices online.

Treasury management

Treasury management involves managing cash flows, optimizing investment returns on available cash, and planning liquidity to fund business operations. 

Treasury management and business banking are interconnected. Bank accounts are used by treasury teams to move funds in and out of treasury investment accounts. 

Additional banking products

These additional tools help startup businesses with spend management and other tasks:

Corporate credit cards

A corporate credit card helps companies manage their business expenses and budgets. It’s often used for expenses like travel, digital ads, client entertainment, cloud computing, SaaS software subscriptions, and more. 

Did you know? The Rho corporate credit card offers up to 1.25% cashback on all purchases, and Rho has zero platform fees.      

Spend management

Spend management encompasses organization-wide spending, accounting for invoice (accounts payable) and non-invoice (T&E) spend.  Software automates these spend management tasks:

  • Pay for goods and services
  • Track and control costs
  • Account for purchases during bookkeeping events like month-end close. 
  • Uphold product and service quality
  • Maintain strong vendor and supplier relationships

Rho can automate payables, expenses, banking, and treasury with ease in one platform.

Insurance and deposit protection

Many businesses reevaluated their FDIC deposit insurance risks after the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) crisis in March of 2023. Business owners need to understand how much FDIC insurance protection they have clearly, the cost of business banking, and how quickly they can access cash balances.

Companies need a platform to monitor total balances in each bank account and move funds if the balance exceeds the threshold for FDIC insurance coverage.

SaaS startup Superfiliate is disrupting affiliate marketing in e-commerce. Discover why their co-founder transitioned from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) to Rho.

Integrations with other tools

A Gartner 2023 survey reports that setting a finance technology strategy is a top priority for CFOs. Startup founders need a fully integrated platform so that every cash transaction can be tracked and reviewed in real time.

Transfers between bank and investment accounts are fully automated, and month-end reconciliations are performed electronically. The platform also integrates with the customer’s ERP.

Banking factors for founders to consider

Startup founders wear many hats and must manage the business, deal with investors, and continually innovate to succeed. 

The banking service provider you choose may not seem like a critical decision. However, as the business grows and becomes more complex, your financial services platform can facilitate company growth — or slow it down.

Here are some banking factors to consider:

1. The scaling dilemma

Regarding banking, startup founders have dozens of options, including legacy financial institutions like Chase or Bank of America.

Business banking fintechs offer the same basic services as legacy banks, including checking, wire transfers, lines of credit, and investment options. Scaling the business creates complexity, and you need an innovative platform that can meet your needs.

Here are three reasons why you should consider a more sophisticated online platform.

Monitoring and controlling costs

As you grow, your chart of accounts becomes more complicated. You may add new product lines, additional company divisions, or purchase a competitor. Founders need a platform that can manage a complex general ledger and a system that supports multi-level spending approvals. 

Reimbursing employees

It’s important to reimburse employees quickly and provide a smooth process for submitting expenses. A manual system leads to misplaced receipts, lost invoices, unread emails, and approval delays. Implement an automated system to review and approve expenses in less time.

Paying your vendors

Vendors need an automated process to submit invoices, check on an invoice’s status, and receive payment promptly. With automation, you can easily store a vendor’s preferred payment method, banking details, and other important data.

Use a financial services platform to manage complexity as you grow your business.

2. Technical debt

Technical debt is the cost of reworking a task when an easier but limited tool is used to complete it. Alternatively, a business could choose a better approach and avoid the time and expense required to rework a task.

Many startups use point solutions for financial services. If the point solution isn’t integrated to other software in your financial stack, you’ll invest more time and money to complete a particular task. 

Say, for example, that your corporate card provider isn’t integrated with your bank’s software. At the end of the month, the AP staff must manually compare card transactions to the credit card statement. This process is time-consuming and generates manual errors.

A better solution is to use a corporate card provider that uploads the credit card statement into your bank’s software. Reconciliations are automated, saving your team hours of time.

When you use multiple software solutions, costs, and transaction fees can rise quickly. Find a single financial solution to control costs and simplify business operations.

3. Customer support

A banking platform requires an experienced, responsive customer support team that solves problems quickly. Customer support teams that cannot be reached by phone are not effective. 

G2 and other software review sites have dozens of complaints from users who can only reach customer support by chat or email. Financial platform challenges are complex, and resolving a problem quickly requires a phone call.

Creating your banking stack

Dutzendes of banking platforms are available for startups. To evaluate vendors, consider what financial tools you need, the platform’s cost, and the software company’s ability to implement the solution promptly. 

Here are just a few questions you should consider as you evaluate different offerings: 

  • How does the platform work, and does it meet my requirements? 
  • Does the platform’s workflow mesh well with my organization, or will some change management be required? 
  • What level of customizability does the platform offer for my organization? 
  • What positive (or negative) downstream effects could the platform have on my company’s other finance processes, like month-end close?
  • Does the platform integrate with my ERP?
  • What features does the platform offer? 
  • What are the drawbacks of the platform? 
  • How much does the software cost? 
  • Is there a mobile app for employees on the go?
  • Will my employees love the experience? 

How are rising interest rates affecting startup banking?

Rising interest rates have an impact on startup banking. The impact depends on the startup’s stage, the financial health of the business, and financing needs. Consider each of these factors:

Borrowing costs

Higher interest rates increase the cost of borrowing for both lines of credit and longer-term loans. If your startup has a variable-rate loan, your interest expenses will increase as rates go up. When a business pays more interest expense, profitability declines, and cash flow is impacted.

Ability to finance debt

When interest rates rise, so do monthly payments on newly originated loans. Higher payments increase the risk of loan default, and startups may have more difficulty securing financing. Startups with a limited credit history or poor financial health will have the most difficulty.

Using alternative funding sources

When banks are more selective and underwrite fewer loans, startups may consider alternative funding sources. Startup founders may pursue venture capital, angel investors, crowdfunding, or peer-to-peer lending.

Alternative funding sources may offer more flexible terms than a traditional bank loan.

Reevaluating investment decisions

When the cost of borrowing increases, startup founders in capital-intensive industries may reassess plans to expand the business, due to the higher cost of funds, major purchases and product development initiatives may be delayed.

On the other hand, startups with excess cash or profits benefit from earning higher interest rates on savings and investment balances.

Dealing with inflation pressures

If higher interest rates are accompanied by inflation, startups will face increased labor, materials, and professional services costs. Higher costs lower profit margins, and startup founders may not be able to increase prices to offset the impact of inflation.

Responding to market volatility

Higher interest rates can generate volatility in the financial markets, including the stock and bond markets. Startup founders and employees often experience fluctuations in the value of their equity holdings during market volatility.

For all these reasons, startup founders should monitor changes in interest rates and consider the business impacts if rates increase. The best business managers monitor changes in economic conditions and make adjustments.

FAQs to help you choose the best startup banks

What are the best banks and fintechs for tech startups?

This article points out that some banking options offer low-cost banking services and platforms, and others offer a limited number of integrations. Fees vary widely depending on the services offered.

Rho is the best platform for startups that need business banking and is an integrated platform with AP automation, corporate cards, and treasury services. Rho does not charge platform fees. 

Is Silicon Valley Bank still good for startups?

The Washington Post explains that Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is now owned by First Citizens Bank, which bought the deposits and branches out of bankruptcy after the March 2023 SVB collapse. Eighty-one percent of customers still have accounts at SVB.

Most SVB customers now have multiple bank accounts and do not rely completely on SVB’s management team. Many startup founders are spreading deposits between various banks to protect company assets. 

Should a startup split deposits between different banks?

Yes. Many financial institutions now have systems that transfer bank balances to other FDIC-insured banks when the total balance in one bank is higher than the $250,000 FDIC insurance limit.

Companies that spread deposits between multiple accounts are less risky if one bank has financial trouble.

When should a founder open a bank account?

A founder should open a bank account when the startup is legally organized as a business entity. The sooner a founder opens a bank account, the faster they can build a banking relationship and a business credit history.

Wrap-up: which startup banking platform is right for you?

Many startup founders need additional capabilities, such as multi-entity support, AP automation, and other important financial operations features. The best startup banks and fintechs offer great service at a low cost.

Rho's scalable platform offers an end-to-end solution encompassing corporate cards, expense management, AP automation, business banking, and treasury management under one roof. 

This means startup businesses do not have to juggle multiple services as they grow, saving time and streamlining operations. 

Schedule time with a Rho expert today to learn more about Rho!

Competitive data was collected as of April 2nd, 2024, and is subject to change or update.

Banking services provided and cards issued by Webster Bank, N.A., Member FDIC. All Rights reserved. © 2019-2024 Under Technologies, Inc. DBA Rho Technologies. Rho is a trademark of Under Technologies, Inc. Rho is not a bank. Rho partners with FDIC-insured banks to offer banking products and services.

Investment management and advisory services provided by RBB Treasury LLC dba Rho Prime Treasury, an SEC-registered investment adviser. RBB Treasury LLC facilitates investments in securities: investments are not deposits and are not FDIC Insured • Investments are not bank guaranteed, and may lose value. Investment products involve risk, and past performance does not guarantee future results.

¹Deposit accounts at Rho are FDIC insured by Webster Bank, N.A., Member FDIC (checking and credit cards), and American Deposit Management, LLC. (savings).

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Rho is not a bank. Banking services and cards issued by Webster Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.