Editor’s note: This is a recurring post with regularly updated account details.
Nonprofit businesses have their own unique financial challenges, so the last thing they need is problematic banking. Nonprofit checking accounts offer easy access, low-cost banking with features tailored to help organizations manage finances. It’s even better when the nonprofit bank commits to community development and is dedicated to helping nonprofits like yours succeed.
The best banks for nonprofits are:
- U.S. Bank: Best overall for full-service nonprofit banking
- PNC Bank: Best for nonprofits with balances of at least $500
- TIAA Bank: Best for earning annual percentage yield (APY) on any balance
- Wells Fargo: Best for small nonprofits
- BlueVine: Best for earning an ongoing APY with no banking fees
Choosing the Right Bank
The best banks for nonprofits range from traditional banks, online-only banks, community banks, and local credit unions. Opening the right bank comes down to what your organization needs most. Traditional banks rank consistently among the best banks for small businesses, offering multiple locations and full-service banking. These banks are designed to handle large volume transactions and cash deposits, so it’s a natural fit for cash-handling nonprofits.
Digital banks, on the other hand, offer simple banking with app integration and fewer fees, making it a cost-effective option for nonprofits with low transactions and no cash transactions. These banks can minimize their fees because there are no physical locations. Alternatively, credit unions and small banks are based in the community, so you’ll likely find it easier to get much-needed funding here than with a traditional or digital bank.
U.S. Bank: Overall Best Bank for Nonprofits
1800 free transactions per year
Must talk to a representative to open an account
No monthly maintenance fees
Branch locations limited in some areas
300 free cash deposits every year
Why we like it: U.S. Bank’s nonprofit checking account is tailored for nonprofit organizations of most sizes, offering up to 1,800 free transactions a year (150 per month). Your account can flex with your business needs, giving you space to have more transactions in one month or season and less in another. Even better, you won’t have monthly maintenance fees or minimum balances to contend with, which makes this one of the best business checking accounts available.
This account also offers 300 free cash deposits annually, so you’ll have the same freedom to process cash at a lower cost. Plus, with more than 3,000 branch locations, you can bank in person, and large cash donations won’t become an issue. However, branches are limited to primarily the midwestern and western states.
Community commitment is important to many nonprofits, and U.S. Bank does its fair share. It donated $60 million in 2019, including grants and sponsorships, and its employees volunteered 334,000 hours to local communities. This commitment is a plus considering how important it is for large banks to contribute to surrounding communities.
PNC Bank: Best for Nonprofits With $500 or More
Easy-to-waive monthly fee
Charges a monthly fee
150 free transactions each month
Opening deposit of $100
Designed specifically for not-for-profit businesses
Only 2,300 locations nationwide
Why we like it: PNC Bank is great for nonprofits, offering its own version of a nonprofit checking tailored specifically for not-for-profit businesses and more than 2,300 locations nationwide. You’ll need an average minimum balance of $500 to avoid the monthly fee. However, PNC waives those fees for the first three months. With an opening deposit of at least $100, you can access standard business features, including business debit cards and bill pay services, for free.
Similar to U.S. Bank’s nonprofit checking account, PNC’s account offers 150 transactions each month, then you’ll pay an additional 50 cents per transaction. But you’ll also be able to deposit up to $5,000 every month with no fee, which is consistent with most business checking accounts. After that, you’ll pay 25 cents for every $100 deposited. If your monthly volume usually runs low, you won’t need to worry about monthly transaction charges.
PNC also has a mission to help communities with its PNC Foundation, a $500 million initiative to help prepare children for school. It also offers sponsorships that are on par with larger banks, so you can rest assured that you’re banking with a company that’s giving back.
TIAA Bank: Best for Earning APY on Any Balance
Earn an ongoing APY
Minimum balance of $5,000 to waive monthly fee
You can bank completely online
Opening deposit of $1,500
Offers overdraft protection
No physical branch locations
Why we like it: You may need a minimum balance of $5,000 to avoid monthly fees with TIAA Bank’s nonprofit account, but you’ll earn an APY that’s higher than most business savings accounts. Plus, you’ll earn that APY on any balance, but you’ll need a $1,500 minimum deposit to open your account. TIAA Bank has no physical locations, so it’s a great option for nonprofits that aren’t afraid to bank remotely.
However, for all its good points, this account only gives you 10 free bill payments each month, and it’ll cost you 50 cents for each payment thereafter. Businesses that can’t maintain the $5,000 minimum balance will have to pay $14.95 per month, which can add up quickly. If your nonprofit can afford the minimum balance, however, this account is still a solid pick.
This Florida-based online bank’s initiative is to serve the local community through banking products like home loans for underserved communities. But TIAA Bank also contributed more than $10 million to charitable organizations across the state through its nonprofit charity. Even if you’re not based in Florida, it may still be another great reason to bank here.
Wells Fargo: Best Traditional Bank for Small Nonprofits
Designed for small nonprofits
Charges a monthly fee
Easy-to-waive monthly fee
Only offers 50 free monthly transactions
Access to over 3,000 ATMs
Why we like it: For those who favor traditional banks, the Wells Fargo Simple Business Checking offers low-cost banking for nonprofits on the smaller side. You’ll get your first 50 transactions for free each month and be able to make up to $3,000 in cash deposits without a fee. However, Wells Fargo’s strength is its accessibility. With more locations than any other bank in the United States, it’s easy for any organization to open and maintain an account.
This account doesn’t earn any interest, but businesses get free bill pay and access to a network of over 3,000 ATMs. However, you’ll need to keep a $500 minimum balance to avoid the $10 monthly fee. Other than that, the fees are fairly standard for a basic checking account, making it a good fit for any small business, including nonprofits.
Along with employee volunteer work, Wells Fargo provides local and national grant programs. For example, it’s redirecting $175 million to COVID-19 community relief efforts, which has allowed Wells Fargo to offer funding to nearly 1,000 nonprofits across more than 800 communities. Although you can expect similar involvement from other national banks, Wells Fargo makes a statement with its contributions.
BlueVine: Best for Free Checking With a High APY
Earn an ongoing APY
No physical branch locations
Integrates with leading accounting software and business payment tools
Unlimited transactions and no banking fees
Why we like it: The newest company in the business banking sector, BlueVine, offers a great online account for nonprofits. This nonprofit checking account has unlimited transactions, no minimum balance, and no nonsufficient-funds (NSF) or incoming wire fees. Plus, you’ll earn a high APY on balances of at least $1,000, which is generous by any standard. Although there aren’t any physical locations, you can access more than 38,000 ATMs, and you’ll get your first two checkbooks for free.
What makes this bank worth its weight is its business products. BlueVine’s checking may be new, but it has supported business growth through loans, lines of credit, and invoice factoring for years. This bank is one of the best in the industry for business lending, so banking here can make it even easier to secure resources in the future.
When to Use a Local Bank or Credit Union
The benefit of choosing a local bank or credit union over a traditional or digital bank is the relationship. Many nonprofits find that it’s easier to go to local credit unions and community banks for sponsorships, grants, and donations. Banking small is also a great way for you to support your local community. So, if a solid banking relationship is more important to you than nationwide locations, a local bank or credit union may be the best option.
How We Evaluated Nonprofit Checking Accounts
We understand that nonprofit organizations appreciate easy banking with as little cost as possible. To choose the accounts on this list, we prioritized banking fees, accessibility, and banking features like bill pay and lending. Ethical banking is essential to many nonprofits, so we also took into account any community charity work and funding as a plus.
Like with any small business, nonprofits have several options to choose from for their banking needs. Whether you choose a traditional bank or a digital bank, the best banks for nonprofits offer low-cost banking, features that help you pay bills with ease, and support communities in need.