Cathay Bank is a great traditional bank for businesses with low monthly transaction volumes. It has two business checking products, Business Interest Checking and Advanced Business Checking, which offer waivable and low monthly fees, a free debit card, and online and mobile banking access. In addition, it provides free Bill Pay and Treasury Management services, keeping costs down for small business owners.
- Branches limited to nine states (California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Texas, and Washington)
- Steep minimum opening deposits
- Low free transaction limits
- Free debit card
- Online and mobile banking
- Transfer funds, pay bills, and deposit checks via mobile app
- Early Check Reporting service
- Variety of loan products
How Cathay Bank Stacks Up With Its Competitors
When Cathay Bank Is a Good Fit
- You have a low monthly transaction volume: Business Interest Checking provides up to 50 free checks paid and 25 deposit items per month.
- You have existing Cathay Bank business money market and business savings accounts: Cathay Bank allows you to waive the monthly fee if you reach the required combined balances of your business checking, money market, and business savings accounts. You need to meet $10,000 for Business Interest Checking and $25,000 for Advanced Business Checking.
- You do international business in Asia: Cathay Bank has a full-service branch in Hong Kong and representative offices in Shanghai, Beijing, and Taipei, making it easy to process business transactions in these locations.
When To Use a Cathay Bank Alternative
- You want a bank with wider geographic coverage: While Cathay Bank offers in-person banking, it’s limited to nine states (California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington). The best bank for geographic availability is Chase, which operates in all mainland states. See our Chase business checking review to determine which account best suits you.
- You want to earn interest on a fee-free account: Cathay Bank charges a $10 monthly fee for business interest checking. Meanwhile, Bluevine’s basic account charges no monthly fee and earns 2.0% APY on balances of $250,000 and less. However, you are required to meet specific activity requirements to qualify for APY. Learn more through our review of Bluevine business checking.
- You want to extend your Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) insurance: All Cathay Bank deposit accounts are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000. However, if you want to protect larger deposits, consider the fintech solution Mercury, which provides FDIC insurance of up to $5 million through sweep networks and money market funds. Our Mercury business checking review can provide more information.
Cathay Bank Business Checking Overview
Cathay Bank Business Checking Requirements
To open a Cathay Bank business checking account, you are required to visit a branch. You must be 18 years of age and a resident of the following states: California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington. Cathay Bank will ask you to provide the following:
- Contact information
- United States home address
- Social Security number or tax identification number (TIN)
- Government-issued ID (driver’s license, state ID, or US passport)
You may be asked to complete additional Cathay Bank business checking requirements depending on your business structure. Before opening an account, see our guide on how to open a business bank account, which includes a free downloadable checklist of required documents.
Cathay Bank Business Checking Features
Cathay Bank’s Business Checking account offers interest, a debit card, free Business Bill Pay and Treasury Management services, and online and mobile banking access.
With a Business Interest Checking account, sole proprietors and nonprofits can earn a variable and compounded interest rate that is credited monthly. You can check with your local branch for updated rates.
Online & Mobile Banking
Cathay Bank allows you to view your detailed transaction history, schedule bill payments, and perform wire transfers digitally. You can also deposit checks via its mobile banking app.
The app received mixed feedback from users. It has a rating of 4.3 on the App Store (based on more than 1,500 reviews) and 3.9 on Google Play (based on 200-plus reviews). Many users found the app’s interface clean and easy to navigate. However, a few customers had issues with the mobile check deposit function. Some also disliked that basic tasks, such as recovering passwords and changing personal information, could not be done online.
Early Check Reporting
The bank’s Early Check Reporting service informs you of the check details per check that will be paid through your checking account in the morning. This helps business owners anticipate the required funds and manage how they’re used.
You can offer more benefits to your employees through the Bank@Work Program. They can open exclusive accounts, such as:
- Bank@Work Convenience Checking
- No minimum opening deposit with up to 60 days to fund the account
- Maintain a $100 minimum daily balance or post an automated clearing house (ACH) credit at least once a month to waive the $10 monthly fee
- Waived cashier’s check fees
- Included gold debit card
- First check order is free
- Bank@Work Convenient Savings
- No minimum opening deposit with up to 60 days to fund the account
- Maintain a $500 minimum daily balance or do a $25 monthly auto-transfer or more from another Cathay account to waive the $3 monthly fee
- Interest rate and APY is given an additional 0.10% from the standard Statement Savings rate
- Bank@Work Family Convenience Checking
- Convenience Checking account holders can open up to five Family Convenience Checking accounts
- $100 minimum deposit is required
- Convenience Checking account holder must be the primary owner on any related Family Convenience Checking accounts
- Monthly fee is waived on any Family Convenience account as long as the primary Convenience Checking account stays open
- Merchant services: Talech point-of-sale (POS) solutions
- Treasury management services: ACH credit, wire transfers, loan sweep, zero balance accounts, outbound data services, early check reporting, payee positive pay for checks, and ACH positive pay
- Payroll services: Deluxe payroll
- Business registration services: MyCorporation
- Invoicing and digital payment services: Autobooks
Other Checking Product
Cathay Bank offers a Commercial Analysis Checking account for companies with high-volume transactions.
Other Cathay Bank Business Banking Products
- Analyzed Checking: If your business has a relatively monthly transaction volume, you can upgrade to Commercial Analysis Checking for a monthly fee of $18. This account lets you offset fees with earnings credit.
- Business Savings: For a minimum deposit of $500, you can open a savings account and earn a variable and tiered interest rate. The $5 monthly fee can be waived if you meet the $500 minimum daily balance requirement.
- Money Market: With a minimum $10,000 deposit, you can open a business money market account. It lets you earn a variable and tiered interest rate that’s higher than other savings accounts. The $12 monthly fee can be waived if you meet the required $10,000 minimum daily balance.
- Certificate of Deposit (CD): You can open a Business CD for a minimum $2,500 opening deposit. It has a higher APY than a regular savings account. There’s no monthly fee charged and maturity terms range from seven days to five years. Jumbo CD rates starting at $100,000 and above are also available. Visit Cathay Bank’s CD rate page for more information on APY rates.
- Credit Cards: Cathay Bank offers a Mastercard Business Platinum credit card with a low APR, suitable for business clients carrying month-to-month balances. Those who prefer to earn 1% cash back rewards per $1 spent on daily purchases can apply for a Mastercard Business Platinum Rewards credit card.
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Programs: Cathay Bank is an SBA Preferred Lender (PLP Lender), providing SBA 7(a) loan and SBA 504 loan programs. You can benefit from the low down payment, longer repayment terms, and minimum collateral requirements.
- Business Banking: The bank offers a variety of business loans with flexible lending amounts, fewer loan requirements, and a quick application process. You can choose among Smart Loans for working capital lines of credit, Professional Loans to grow your practice, and Smart Micro Loans to cover your business cash flow needs.
- Specialty Lending: Cathay Bank provides tailored financial solutions and strategic support specializing in high tech, energy, and asset-based lending.
- Commercial Real Estate (CRE) and construction: For business owners looking for real estate financing, the bank offers construction financing and Mini-permanent financing with short-term and long-term maturities.
- Commercial and industrial: You can apply for revolving lines of credit, equipment term loans, and real estate term loans with long-term maturities.
Cathay Bank Business Checking Reviews From Users
There are very few user-published Cathay Bank business checking reviews. While the bank has a rating of 2.2 on WalletHub (based on more than 20 reviews), the users of this platform did not provide written feedback.
There are Yelp pages for the bank’s Seattle and Los Angeles branches. The Seattle branch earned a Yelp rating of 2.3 (based on fewer than 10 reviews), while the Los Angeles branch earned a Yelp rating of 1.9 (based on 40-plus reviews). Note that these ratings reflect the perceived quality of individual branches rather than the institution as a whole.
The majority of negative reviews came from customers who previously owned HSBC accounts and were forced to transition following Cathay Bank’s recent acquisition of HSBC. Many of these customers found the process inconvenient and complained of non-operational digital banking and poor customer service.
Cathay Bank is an ideal fit for businesses with low monthly transaction activity since they won’t incur additional costs. The monthly fees are low and waivable if you meet the required balances. If you prioritize earning APY, you can open a Business Interest Checking account, where your interest is compounded and credited every month. As your business volume picks up, you can apply for the higher-tier account, Advanced Business Checking. Cathay Bank also offers flexible lending options for additional financing needs, making it a convenient choice for business banking.