This article is part of a larger series on Business Banking.
The best bank accounts for self-employed professionals provide you with an excellent checking product and outstanding business support whether you have just started freelancing or have been for years. You should consider a no- or low-fee account that has the features that best align with your business as every freelancer has different needs from its bank, including support for cash deposits, mobile check deposits, invoicing, tax preparation, and potentially full-service banking products.
Here are the seven best bank accounts for self-employed professionals:
- Bluevine*: Best bank account overall for self-employed with a high interest yield checking
- Lili*: Best for new freelancers needing digital tax preparation assistance
- Novo*: Best digital-only bank for frequent ATM withdrawals and cash deposits
- First Internet Bank: Best for freelancers wanting a full-service digital-only bank
- Axos Bank: Best for interest-earning checking and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements
- Found*: Best for freelancers looking for detailed expense tracking
- Bank of America: Best for self-employed individuals seeking a traditional bank
*Providers are financial technology (fintech) platforms backed by and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)-insured through a supporting bank partnership (Coastal Community Bank for Bluevine, Choice Financial Group, Inc. for Lili, Middlesex Federal Savings for Novo, and Piermont Bank for Found)
Best Bank Accounts for Self-employed Professionals at a Glance
Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
Cash Deposit Fee
Minimum Opening Deposit
1.5% on qualifying balances up to $100,000
$4.95/deposit (Green Dot locations)
Free at MoneyPass ATM locations nationwide
Business Checking Basic
$4.95/deposit (Green Dot locations)
Free at MoneyPass locations; $2.50 for nonnetwork
None; cash is deposited through money orders
Refunds all ATM fees
Small Business Checking
0.50% on balances of $10,000 or more
Cash deposits not accepted
None; reimburses up to $10/month in ATM fees
Business Interest Checking
100 free, then 50 cents each
1.01% less than $50,000; lower % above $50,000
Accepted through MoneyPass and Allpoint ATMs
Refunds all domestic ATM fees
Cash deposits not accepted
None; third-party ATM fees may apply
200 free, then 45 cents each
Free up to $7,500/month;
30 cents/$100/statement cycle
Free at Bank of America ATMs nationwide; $2.50 for nonnetwork
Bluevine: Best Bank Account Overall for Self-employed With High Interest Yield Checking
Bluevine Business Checking Overview
*Bluevine is a business fintech platform backed by FDIC-insured Coastal Community Bank.
When To Use Bluevine Business Checking
Bluevine is the best bank account for freelancers thanks to its interest-earning business checking account, lack of monthly fees, and great software integrations. You can earn 1.5% APY on balances up to $100,000 if you spend $500 a month with the debit card or receive $2,500 in customer payments in a month.
If you’re looking for a digital-only bank with no monthly fees, minimum balance requirements, and monthly transaction limits, Bluevine is an excellent choice. If you need business financing as your business grows, it offers the best business line of credit on the market.
It provides two free checkbook orders annually and great software integrations with accounting and payment software. Wire transfers are relatively inexpensive, with outgoing wires costing $15.
One of the few drawbacks to Bluevine is the cost of cash deposits. You must make cash deposits at Green Dot retail locations, which cost $4.95 per transaction. Bluevine also charges $2.50 for out-of-network ATM withdrawals, in addition to third-party fees.
If your business deposits and withdraws cash regularly, you may consider a bank with a physical location, like Bank of America.
Lili: Best for New Freelancers Needing Digital Tax Preparation Assistance
Lili Business Checking Basic Overview
*Lili is a business fintech platform backed by FDIC-insured Choice Financial Group, Inc.
When To Choose Lili
Lili works well for new freelancers because it offers an outstanding business checking product along with a robust tax optimizer inside the app. The tax optimizer lets you track potential write-offs, set aside money in a tax bucket, scan receipts, complete your schedule C automatically, and produce quarterly and annual expense reports. It’s a very powerful tool included in the Lili app.
You get two checking options: Lili Basic, which is free, and Lili Pro, which is $4.99 a month. Both accounts provide you with a debit card, the option to get paid faster with direct deposit two days early, built-in expense tracking, and no hidden fees.
The basic business checking account has no monthly fees, transaction limits, and minimum balances requirements. Meanwhile, the perks of Lili Pro include 1% cash back rewards on all purchases, fee-free overdrafts up to $200, a savings account with a 1.5% APY, and the ability to create and send unlimited invoices.
Unfortunately, Lili doesn’t allow you to send or receive wire transfers, and you cannot order checks or send them from the app. Like Bluevine, you can deposit cash, but it must be done through Green Dot retail locations for $4.95 a transaction.
What gives Lili a slight edge over a similar competitor, Found, is the ability to deposit cash and a little more robust tax preparation integration.
Novo: Best Digital-only Bank for Frequent ATM Withdrawals & Cash Deposits
Novo Business Checking Overview
*Novo is a business fintech platform backed by FDIC-insured Middlesex Federal Savings.
When To Use Novo
For self-employed individuals who frequently withdraw money from ATMs for their business or need to make frequent cash deposits, Novo is an excellent option. It refunds all ATM fees at the end of each month, and the cost of cash deposits generally is lower than Bluevine and Lili.
Novo is another business checking option with no monthly fees, minimum balance requirements, and transaction limits. It also offers excellent integrations with accounting and business payment software and allows for free unlimited invoicing through the app.
Cash deposits are also possible, and Novo doesn’t charge for them. However, to make a cash deposit, you must purchase a money order and deposit it through the app. Many locations sell money orders, including US Postal Service (USPS) locations, for up to $1.95 for money orders of up to $1,000.
You cannot purchase checks, but you can send checks directly from the app for free. Novo doesn’t have lending products, and you cannot send wires—but you can send domestic ACH transfers for free.
If you’re looking for a digital-only bank, Novo may be the best account for freelancers who regularly handle cash as part of their business.
First Internet Bank: Best for Freelancers Who Want a Full-service Digital-only Bank
First Internet Bank Business Checking Overview
When To Use First Internet Bank
If you’re a self-employed individual looking for the convenience of a digital-only bank combined with the offerings of a full-service traditional bank, First Internet Bank is a great choice. Not only does it have an interest-bearing business checking account, but it also provides savings and CD accounts that earn interest. If your business grows, it has commercial checking, treasury management, and merchant services.
You can earn 0.50% APY with an average daily balance of at least $10,000 in your business checking account. Savings and CD rates are even higher.
What sets First Internet Bank aside from other digital-only banks is its offering of lending products. It has SBA lending, commercial real estate loans, commercial lending, and public finance loans. SBA microloans are one of the top forms of startup financing, which can help your freelance business grow.
First Internet Bank has software integrations with QuickBooks, shared account access, and no-fee bill payment.
Drawbacks include more limited software integrations than the fintech options on this list. Also, cash deposits aren’t accepted, so freelance businesses needing to deposit cash should consider an alternative, such as Axos Bank.
Axos Bank: Best for Interest-earning Checking & Unlimited ATM Fee Reimbursements
Axos Bank Business Interest Checking Terms & Features
When To Use Axos Bank
While Axos Bank offers a monthly fee-free basic business checking account, its business interest checking is a great choice for a tiered interest-earning account with unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. You earn 1.01% APY on balances less than $50,000, 0.20% APY on balances from $50,000 to $249,999.99, and 0.10% on balances from $250,000 to $4,999,999.99. Balances of $5 million or more may still earn interest, but you have to contact the bank for more information.
One of the first perks you can get with Axos Bank is a welcome bonus. If your LLC was incorporated after June 1, 2020, you can earn a $200 bonus (use promo code NEWBIZ200). If your business doesn’t qualify for the new business bonus, you can still receive a $100 bonus at signup (promo code NEWAXOSBIZ).
Axos Bank is another digital-only provider that allows you to deposit cash. It lets you make cash deposits at all Allpoint and MoneyPass ATMs and will refund all domestic ATM fees.
With its Remote Deposit Anywhere feature, you can deposit up to 60 items monthly. It also offers business savings, money market, CDs, SBA lending, and mobile and online banking. You also get a workplace banking option to offer low-fee accounts to your employees. It’s another great option for a digital-only, full-service bank.
Found: Best for Freelancers Looking for Detailed Expense Tracking
Found Bank Business Checking Terms & Features
*Found is a business fintech platform backed by FDIC-insured Piermont Bank.
When To Use Found
Found is very similar to another digital-only banking option on this list, Lili, and they’re likely competing for the same freelance customers. The one area where Found seems to have a slight advantage over Lili is in more detailed expense tracking. If that’s important to your freelance business, Found is the better option.
Its other slight edge is out-of-network ATM withdrawals. It doesn’t charge for any ATM withdrawals, while Lili charges $2.50 for out-of-network ATM withdrawals. All out-of-network ATM withdrawals would be subject to third-party fees.
However, Found doesn’t list its ATM network on its website. Lili is a part of the MoneyPass network, which allows free ATM usage at more than 38,000 locations. Additionally, Found doesn’t allow you to make cash deposits and deposit checks in the app, whereas Lili does.
Both offer fee-free business checking options without transaction limits, have robust tax tracking and preparation software, allow you to complete and send our schedule C directly from the app, and let you pay your tax bill directly from the app. Neither allows you to send wire transfers.
Found is a good option for freelancers. If detailed expense tracking and out-of-network ATM withdrawals are essential, and you don’t need to deposit cash or checks, Found is probably the right choice. Otherwise, Lili would get the edge.
Bank of America: Best for Self-employed Individuals Seeking a Traditional Bank
Bank of America FundamentalsTM Business Checking Overview
When To Choose Bank of America’s Business Checking Account
If you’re a freelancer who would like the convenience of going to a physical banking location, Bank of America is a great choice. The bank offers two different business checking accounts with waivable monthly fees and great ongoing rewards: Business Advantage FundamentalsTM and Business Advantage Relationship Banking.
Its Business Advantage Fundamentals is one of the best low-tier business checking accounts on the market, with waivable fees and plenty of free transactions.
The $16 monthly fee of Business Advantage FundamentalsTM can be waived in one of three ways:
- Maintain a $5,000 combined average monthly balance
- Spend at least $250 in new net purchases on a business debit card
- Become a member of Preferred Rewards for Business.
With the company’s preferred rewards for business, you can earn 25%–75% bonus rewards on credit cards and get a 5%–20% higher interest rate on business advantage savings accounts.
Bank of America is also known for its outstanding customer service and online experience. In the recently-released Keynova Group 2022 Small Business Banker Scorecard report, Bank of America ranked first for digital customer experience capabilities catered to small businesses.
As your freelance business grows, it can scale its services along with your business needs. Those offerings include merchant services, lending products, investments, and other small business resources.
With more than 4,000 branch locations in 37 states and over 17,000 ATM locations, Bank of America can cater to most self-employed professionals wanting physical access to the bank. And for those who only need online access, accounts are available nationwide.
How We Evaluated the Best Bank Accounts for Self-employed Professionals
When we evaluated the best bank accounts for self-employed professionals, we considered:
- Whether accounts were available to sole proprietors, self-employed individuals, or freelancers
- Monthly fees, if any, and how easily they’re waived
- Required opening deposit and balance minimums
- Transaction limits before fees
- ACH and wire transfer fees
- ATM fees and availability
- Cash deposit fees and availability
- Interest yield, if applicable
- Other checking account perks
- Software integrations
- Other business services provided
- Lending products provided
- Customer service and customer reviews
What You Need To Open a Business Bank Account
Each provider on this list may require different documents to open a business bank account. Generally, you’ll need:
- Employer identification number (EIN) or Social Security number, if you’re a sole proprietor
- Fictitious business name certificate or doing-business-as (DBA) certificate
- Business formation documents
- Organization documents, including your ownership agreements
- Business licenses
- Government-issued photo ID, such as a passport or driver’s license
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a business bank account if I’m self-employed?
Yes, having a business bank account is essential even if you’re self-employed because it allows you to separate your business and personal finances. This makes tax preparation and business financial planning much easier and helps you avoid any potential issues with the IRS.
How many bank accounts can you have at once?
There’s no limit to the number of business bank accounts you can have at any one time. However, keeping accounts open and not using them opens you up to potentially having a dormant business bank account.
Can freelancers open a business bank account?
Not only are freelancers allowed to open a business bank account, but freelancers should open a business bank account. Doing so allows you to earn the benefits of some of the best small business checking accounts and keep your personal and business finances separate.
The best bank accounts for self-employed professionals should provide an account with low or no fees, excellent software integration, and other features necessary to your freelance business. Some freelance businesses operate entirely in the digital space while others deposit and withdraw cash regularly. Consider what features you need from your business bank account and choose the provider that best fits those needs.