Free business checking accounts don’t charge a monthly service fee. However, even these “free” checking accounts usually charge fees for additional services. We looked at the fee structures of the available free business checking accounts and chose Capital One, US Bank, and BBVA Compass.
Fit Small Business Uses: Bank of America
The company behind Fit Small Business has been banking with Bank of America for five years and plans to continue to use Bank of America for its business checking. They have over 16,000 ATMs across the country for your convenience, and their Business Fundamentals account is free with a $3,000 minimum balance (or upon meeting other criteria). New customers may qualify for a bonus of up to $350. Click here to learn more.
Best Free Small Business Checking Account: Capital One Spark Business Checking
Capital One Spark Business Checking is our pick as the best free business checking account. There’s no monthly fee to use this free account and it has lower fees for additional services when compared to US Bank and BBVA Compass, such as a lower monthly transaction fee and a lower cash deposit fee.
Best Free Business Checking Account
|Monthly Fee||# of ATM's||# of Branches|
(2,000 accept deposits)
(1,000 accept deposits)
*Last Updated: March, 2018
Free Small Business Checking Account Comparison Table: Capital One vs. US Bank vs. BBVA Compass
$0.50 for Each Additional Transaction
$1 In-Branch Withdrawal Fee
Cash Deposit Fees
0.2% for Each Additional Dollar Deposited
0.3% for Each Additional Dollar Deposited
0.3% for Each Additional Dollar Deposited
Wire Transfer Fees
$25 Outgoing Wire
$30 Outgoing Wire
$25 Outgoing Wire
Size of Network
(2,000 Accept Deposits),
(1,000 Accept Deposits),
Branches in CT, DC, DE, LA, MD, NJ, NY, TX, VA
Branches in 25 States Across the U.S.
Branches in AL, AZ, CA, CO, FL, NM, TX
Best Free Business Checking Account: Capital One Spark Business Checking
Capital One Spark Business Checking is our pick as the best overall free small business checking account because it doesn’t have a monthly fee. It also has the best fee structure for additional services when compared to US Bank and BBVA Compass.
For example, Capital One doesn’t charge a monthly transaction fee and has the lowest cash deposit fee on our list. Both US Bank and BBVA Compass, on the other hand, charge transaction fees for transactions above a certain monthly limit. Further, US Bank and BBVA Compass charge cash deposit fees for deposits above a monthly threshold.
Capital One also has the largest overall network when compared to US Bank and BBVA Compass. However, it boasts over 40,000 ATMs, only 2,000 of them accept deposits as well as issue withdrawals. This is more than BBVA Compass but far below US Bank’s network of fully-functional ATMs.
What’s more, Capital One only has 700 national branches across 9 states. This is more than BBVA Compass but again less than US Bank’s national branches.
If you’re looking for a free small business checking account with a large and flexible network, you might want to check out US Bank. The US Bank Silver Business Package offers the largest network on our list in terms of fully functional physical locations.
Further, some checking accounts such as with Chase Bank, while they charge a monthly fee, make it easy to waive that fee. If interested, check out our article on the best small business checking accounts with a fee.
Best Free Business Checking Account with a Large Network: US Bank Business Silver Package
US Bank Silver Business Package is our pick for the best free small business checking account with a large network. While it’s typical for free small business checking accounts to be predominantly online, US Bank offers a free business checking account with over 8,000 fully functional locations across 25 states.
This is in contrast to Capital One and BBVA Compass, both of which have a limited network in terms of functionality. For example, US Bank has over 5,000 ATMs that accept checking deposits which is more than twice the number of both Capital One and BBVA Compass.
What’s more, US Bank has over 3,000 national branches, giving it the largest network of physical locations on our list. Capital One and BBVA Compass only have 700 branches and 650 branches, respectively.
However, the US Bank Silver Business Package has the highest fee structure on our list. If you’re looking to reduce your fees, it might be smart to go with either Capital One or BBVA Compass, both of which have a similar fee structure.
Free Business Checking Account Option for Sole Proprietors: BBVA Compass ClearConnect for Business
BBVA Compass ClearConnect for Business is another good free small business checking account option. It has a network size that’s comparable to Capital One and a fee structure that’s nearly as good. This means that it’s a lower cost option when compared to US Bank and is a good alternative to Capital One if you’re closer to a BBVA Compass branch. It has a network size that’s comparable to Capital One and a fee structure that’s nearly as good. This means that it’s a lower cost option when compared to US Bank and is a good alternative to Capital One if you’re closer to a BBVA Compass branch.
However, BBVA Compass ClearConnect for Business is a free business checking account specifically for sole proprietors. This is because BBVA Compass only offers its free accounts to one-person businesses that are at the beginning stages of growth.
Since the fees and networks are nearly comparable, BBVA Compass ClearConnect for Business is a suitable option if you’re a sole proprietor who’s located closer to a BBVA location than to a Capital One location. Further, since it has lower fees than US Bank, it’s also a good option if you’re located closer to a BBVA location than to a US Bank location.
If you’re not a sole proprietor you’ll want to explore Capital One or US Bank instead.
In-Depth Review: Capital One vs. US Bank vs. BBVA Compass
Size of Network
A bank’s network represents the total number of its available ATMs and branches. It’s important to note that some banks have restrictions on the capabilities of their networks. For example, some banks have ATMs that allow for withdrawals but not deposits.
Further, some banks have a lot of ATMs but only a few branches. It’s important that when you assess the size of a bank’s network that you check its capabilities and flexibility in addition to the number of overall locations. Whether it’s making cash deposits or applying for financing – make sure your bank’s network will work for your business.
It’s more common for business checking accounts to charge a monthly fee rather than not. These monthly fees are typically between $10 – $30 and are waived if certain monthly criteria are met. However, there are still situations where banks offer free small business checking accounts without any monthly fees. The three accounts on our list don’t have a monthly fee and are considered “free.”
However, keep in mind that basically all small business checking accounts charge fees for additional services. These services include such things as transactions, cash deposits, wire transfers, ATM fees, and more.
Even for free small business checking accounts, it’s common for banks to charge a transaction fee for excess checking account transactions. The industry average is 200 free transactions per month, after which a per-transaction fee around $0.45 – $0.50 is charged for each additional transaction.
However, these averages are most commonly found on small business checking accounts that have a monthly service fee. Free business checking accounts will typically offer between 75 – 150 free transactions a month and a $0.50 transaction fee for each additional transaction.
Transactions include, but aren’t limited to:
- Checks paid
- Checks deposited
- Cash deposited
- ACH transfer
- Online bill pay transactions
- Debit card transactions
If a business owner exceeds the number of free transactions in a month, he or she should expect to pay a small fee for each additional transaction. There are some free small business checking accounts, however, such as with Capital One, that don’t charge transaction fees.
Cash Deposit Fees
In addition to transaction fees, it’s typical for a free small business checking account to charge a cash deposit fee. A cash deposit fee is usually a charge assessed on the total monthly cash deposited by a small business owner. Similar to transaction fees, banks offer a certain amount of free cash deposits before charging a per-dollar fee.
The industry standard for cash deposit fees on a free business checking accounts is cash deposit fees is typically:
- $5,000 / month free cash deposits
- 0.3% per-dollar fee for each additional dollar deposited
Wire Transfer Fees
A wire transfer is an electronic funds transfer from one business’s checking account to another business’s checking account. Banks typically charge a wire transfer fee between $15 – $30 per domestic transaction and between $15 – $40 per international transaction. These fees are charged for both incoming wires as well as outgoing wires.
The size of a bank’s network of ATMs is often a deciding factor when choosing a free business checking account. This is because banks typically charge an ATM fee when you use an out-of-network ATM. The more in-network ATMs a bank has the lower the chances of being charged an ATM fee.
It’s common to see ATM fees between $2.00 – $3.00 for out-of-network transactions and also fairly common to find banks that don’t charge an ATM fee at all. However, regardless of whether or not a bank charges an out-of-network ATM fee, independent ATM providers might also charge a fee of their own, typically around $2.00 – $3.00.
Free business checking accounts typically operate online and have only a few physical locations. This reduction in overhead allows the banks to reduce their costs and offer free business checking accounts to their customers.
It’s therefore important to check the availability of a free business checking account. All free accounts are available online nationally, but many of them only have physical locations in a few states.
Other Key Features
In addition to fees and network size, there are always additional features that sets one free small business checking account from another. These key features include:
- Accounting integrations
- Mobile apps
- Customer service
Free small business checking accounts are a good option for small and growing businesses. However, while there are no monthly fees, free small business checking accounts typically charge fees for additional services, such as transfer fees and cash deposit fees. That’s why it’s important to look at the fee structure of each free small business checking account before deciding on an option. If you’re ready to get started, read our guide on how to open a business bank account.
Running a business can be tough – picking a free business checking account shouldn’t be. That’s why we did the research and found Capital One to be the best free small business checking account. The Capital One Spark Business Checking doesn’t have a monthly fee, and unlike the other two options on our list, it doesn’t charge a monthly transaction fee. Additionally, it has the lowest cash deposit fee on our list. If you’re looking for a free option you’ll want to check out Capital One first.