America First is a great credit union for businesses looking for cost-effective business checking solutions. It offers the following types of small business checking accounts:
- Basic Business Checking: A $0-per-month business checking account with 250 free transactions.
- Premier Business Checking: An $8-per-month analyzed business checking account that charges only 15 cents per written check or deposit and 5 cents per deposited item.
- High-Yield Business Checking: An interest-earning business checking account offering APY rates from 0.10% to 0.30% for a monthly fee of $50.
All accounts come with access to digital banking, free online bill pay, and a complimentary Business Visa Debit Card. Other America First products include non-profit checking, business savings, credit cards, and lending products.
- Branches only in six states
- Inflexible membership requirements
- $50 monthly fee for interest-earning account
- Free customizable Business Visa Debit Card
- Digital banking with free online bill pay
- Speech Access telephone banking
- Integration with QuickBooks and Zelle
- Savings accounts, money market accounts, health savings accounts (HSAs), certificates of deposit (CDs), credit cards, and lending products
- Business registration services through MyCorporation
How America First Stacks Up With Its Competitors
When America First Is a Good Fit
- You want to bank without a monthly fee: There is no monthly fee for Basic Business Checking.
- You have a low to moderate monthly transaction volume: The Basic Business Checking account was designed for businesses with low transaction volumes and provides 250 fee-free transactions per monthly statement cycle.
- You are a new business owner: America First offers business registration assistance through MyCorporation document filing services. It can help you with the business paperwork required in forming a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation, registering a doing-business-as (DBA) name, applying for an employer identification number (EIN), and formulating LLC operating agreements.
When To Use An Alternative
- You prefer in-person banking but operate outside America First’s jurisdiction: Although America First has many brick-and-mortar branches, it only operates in the states of Utah, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. Businesses needing in-person banking access should look into Chase, which has more than 4,700 branches across the United States. Our review of Chase business checking can help you determine which Chase account suits your business best.
- You do not qualify for membership with America First: Only those from select communities and organizations qualify for membership at America First (see our America First Business Checking Requirements section for more details). If you want to enjoy affordable banking without low barriers to entry, consider U.S. Bank, which offers a free business checking account with an opening deposit requirement of $100. Read our U.S. Bank business checking review for more information.
- You want to earn interest on checking balances: America First Basic Business Checking does not earn interest. The best provider for interest-earning checking is Bluevine, which offers 2.0% APY on qualifying balances of $250,000 or less. Our review of Bluevine business checking contains the list of requirements you need to meet to qualify for the APY.
America First Business Checking Overview
America First Basic Business Checking Requirements
Applicants wanting to open a business bank account need to apply for membership with America First Credit Union. Only individuals who meet the following criteria qualify:
- Those who live, work (or regularly conduct business in), worship, volunteer, or attend school in select areas* in Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico, or Nevada.
- Owners, employees, or suppliers involved in the Utah food industry
- Members and employees of America First’s select employer groups (SEG) or affiliated associations
- Immediate family members or household members of existing or eligible America First members
- Spouses of members who died within the field of membership
- Employees of America First Federal Credit Union or its subsidiary corporations
*Visit America First’s page on membership requirements for more information.
The application form will ask all signers and anyone who owns 25% or more of the business for the following:
- Phone number
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Identification information
- Existing account number (if applicable)
Applicants must also prepare certain business documents. Click on your entity type below to learn more.
For easier reference, consider downloading the business banking requirements checklist that we’ve provided in our guide on how to open a business bank account.
America First Basic Business Checking Features
Business Visa Debit Card
The America First Basic Business Checking account comes with a free Business Visa Debit Card that is accepted in more than 23 million locations worldwide. It can function as a debit, ATM, or credit card. Businesses needing extra funds have the option to apply for limit increases on their card.
America First customers can access their checking accounts through America First’s website, iOS app, and Android app. Digital Banking lets customers transfer money, pay bills, apply for loans, check FICO scores, track spending, review debts, manage budgets, and calculate net worth.
The app mainly received positive feedback. It earned a 4.8-star rating on the App Store1 (based on more than 54,000 reviews) and a 4.7-star rating on Google Play2 (based on 35,000-plus reviews). According to satisfied users, the app loads quickly and has a clean, easy-to-navigate interface. Other reviewers appreciated the added security of two-factor authentication. However, there were a few complaints about the lag in balance updates.
SpeechAccess Telephone Banking
SpeechAccess lets you conduct the following banking tasks via phone call:
- Make a balance inquiry
- Track check-clearing progress
- Check card history
- Inquire about last payroll deposit, last deposit, or last withdrawal
- Transfer funds between accounts
- Make a credit card or loan payment
Other America First Business Products
The interest-earning Non-Profit Business Checking offers 250 fee-free transactions per month and charges no monthly fee. After the limit, transactions cost 15 cents per item. The account earns interest at a rate of 0.10%.
America First Business Visa Credit Cards can earn either cash back or rewards. Points can be redeemed for cash, travel, merchandise, and items at the America First online store. Business credit cards come with Visa Business Reporting, a tool that tracks and analyzes card spending. Chip-enabled (EMV) and Card Guard protect America First credit cards from fraud and theft.
America First’s business savings offerings include Business Share Savings, Business Money Market Savings, Dedicated Savings, Health Savings (HSA), and Business Certificates:
- Business Share Savings: America First members automatically receive a Business Share Savings account after applying. It has no monthly fees, has no fees or limits for withdrawals and deposits, and earns interest at a rate of 0.05% on balances that meet the minimum requirement of $1.
- Business Money Market Savings: This account has a tiered APY system that lets businesses access higher interest rates as their balances increase. The highest APY rate available is 4.00% (for balances of $250,000 and above), while the lowest is 1.5% (for balances from 1 cent to $9,999.99). The account has no fees or limits for withdrawals and deposits.
- Dedicated Savings: To help businesses save for future expenses, the America First Dedicated Savings account automatically deducts shares from a main account on a monthly basis, then earns interest on the deducted funds over a set period of time. The minimum a main account can contribute is $10, while the maximum is $10,000. Accounts can hold a maximum of $100,000.
- Health Savings: Through America First’s HSA offerings, employers can give their employees fee-free health savings accounts with low premiums and high deductibles. Employers can make pretax contributions to their employees’ HSAs through checks or automated clearing house (ACH).
America First offers regular business, bump business, flexible business, and ladder business certificates. The minimum opening deposit for any America First business certificate is $500:
- Regular Business: America First’s most basic business certificate offers terms as short as three months to as long as five years. The highest rate available is 5.20%, while the lowest is 4.00%.
- Bump Business: Unlike regular business certificates, which have fixed rates, bump business certificates give account holders the option to move their funds to higher rates when rates increase. APY rates range from 3.85% to 5.05%.
- Flexible Business: This gives businesses penalty-free access to their certificate balances during the first five calendar days of each quarter. Currently, only 12-month flexible certificates are available.
- Ladder Business: This sets up CD ladders that ladder the maturity rates of certificate accounts automatically, giving businesses access to premium rates while keeping funds accessible. Learn more by reading our guide to maximizing CD ladders.
The lending products America First offers include lines of credit, vehicle loans, equipment and machinery loans, unsecured capital loans, business acquisition loans, and commercial real estate loans:
- Lines of credit: Businesses can connect their America First checking accounts with lines of credit to access funds for necessary business expenses, including inventory, late invoice payments, and repairs. Monthly payments can be as low as $25 or 3.5% of the balance.
- Vehicle loans: Businesses can access low-rate loans with terms of up to 72 months to purchase new company vehicles. Fees may apply if loans exceed $50,000.
- Equipment and machinery loans: These can pay for industrial equipment, medical equipment, or additional business equipment. Loan terms can last as long as seven years. America First charges low down payments and has no pre-payment or annual fees.
- Unsecured capital loans: Businesses can access funds without providing collateral using America First’s unsecured capital loans. Loans have a maximum amount of $15,000 and a maximum term length of 60 months.
- Business acquisition loans: America First offers competitive rates for business owners looking to purchase franchises or independent businesses. Details are available upon request.
- Commercial real estate (CRE): Businesses needing to buy, build, or improve business properties can connect with America First to access commercial real estate loans, which charge as little as 10% down payment and can have term lengths as long as 25 years. Financing for acquisition and construction are both available.
Through a partnership with MyCorporation’s document filing services, America First helps new business owners meet legal business document requirements. You can ask for assistance with the following activities:
- Forming an LLC or corporation
- Legitimizing your DBA name
- Applying for an EIN
- Formulating LLC operating agreements
America First Business Checking Reviews From Users
Those who left an America First business checking review had mostly negative comments. The credit union earned a rating of 2 stars on DepositAccounts3 (based on more than 30 reviews) and 2.7 stars on WalletHub4 (based on more than 250 reviews). According to one user, the credit union had a tendency of disabling cards without warning, which prevented customers from making payments. Another said that they found America First’s automatic payment system unreliable.
Most comments focused on the quality of customer service. Reviewers complained of rude service from staff members and long wait times for phone help lines, and multiple customers criticized America First for failing to provide assistance during cases of fraud.
America First offers great business checking products for new businesses. Its basic checking account makes banking affordable by providing a generous monthly transaction allowance while charging no monthly fee and low excess transaction fees. Additionally, its business registration services help streamline the process of securing essential business paperwork. However, the credit union’s inflexible membership requirements make it inaccessible to organizations operating outside its service area.
User review references: