This article is part of a larger series on Business Banking.
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.
How Cathay Bank Stacks Up With Its Competitors
Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
Cash Deposit Fee
Minimum Opening Deposit
$2 for non-Cathay ATMs, surcharge free for withdrawals at Pulse Select/ MoneyPass ATMs
Up to $10,000 per month free, then 17 cents per $100
None at Citibank ATMs and 60,000+ ATMs in the US, including MoneyPass ATMs
Up to $5,000 monthly free; then 25 cents per $100, per statement cycle
$3 per transaction at any non-PNC Bank ATM; two reimbursements for non-PNC Bank ATM per statement period
*This information is not listed on the provider’s website, and we have been unable to obtain the information directly from the bank. This often means that the requirement varies by branch and/or location.
When Cathay Bank Is a Good Fit
- Sole proprietors or nonprofits with a low monthly transaction activity: Business Interest Checking provides up to 50 free checks paid and 25 deposit items per month.
- Businesses with a moderate transaction volume: Advanced Business Checking allows 150 free checks paid and 50 deposit items each month.
- Businesses with existing 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.
- Companies doing international business in selected Asian countries: 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 Cathay Bank Is Not a Good Fit
- Businesses located outside the bank’s service area: While Cathay Bank offers in-person banking, it’s limited to nine states (CA, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NV, NY, TX, and WA). You can consider Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America for a wider service area footprint.
- Businesses needing fee-free unlimited transactions: Cathay Bank’s free transaction limits are very low compared to other banks. You can opt for Capital One and Silicon Valley Bank, which offer free unlimited transactions for their business checking accounts.
- Businesses wanting a free business checking account: If your needs can be satisfied by fully online banks and fintechs, Axos Bank, Lili, Novo, and Bluevine are great options for fee-free accounts.
Cathay Bank Business Checking Overview
Cathay Bank Business Checking Requirements
You can visit a branch to open a business checking account. You must be 18 years of age and a resident of the following states: CA, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NV, NY, TX, and WA. You’ll be requested to provide your:
- Contact information
- US home address
- Social Security number (SSN) or tax identification number (TIN)
- Government-issued ID (Driver’s License, State ID, or US Passport)
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. Reviews for the Cathay Bank app are good on both the App Store (4.2 out of 5) and Google Play (3.9 out of 5 stars). Users rated it high for ease of use and its detailed features, but some encountered issues while doing mobile check deposits, contributing to the low ratings.
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 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 account/s
- 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 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 Banking Products
- 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. Check the current Business CDs rates here.
- 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 & 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 & 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 Pros & Cons
|Low monthly fees and free Business Bill Pay||High deposit transaction cost in excess of 25 or 50 deposits|
|Bank@Work Program for employees||No free wires|
|Several flexible loan offerings||No cash back rewards for debit card|
Cathay Bank is a great choice given its low monthly fees and free Business Bill Pay, allowing small business owners to save more. It also provides a Bank@Work Program for more employee benefits, allowing them to open exclusive savings and checking accounts with waivable and low monthly fees. Further, the bank supports business owners with its variety of flexible loan options.
However, the bank charges a high $1 fee beyond 25 deposit transactions for Business Interest Checking and 50 deposit items for Advanced Business Checking. These transaction limits are very low compared to other banks, making it costly if you have a greater transaction volume. Further, the bank does not offer free wires and cash back rewards for debit card purchases.
Alternatives to Cathay Bank Business Checking
If you’re seeking more branch access, accounts with low opening deposit amounts and high free transaction limits, and cash back earnings from using your debit card for purchases, then you will have to look at Cathay Bank alternatives.
Here are three options to consider:
- Chase is best for business owners preferring in-person banking in a wider service area.
- Citibank is best for business owners wanting a negligible account opening deposit amount ($1) and a high free transaction limit.
- Grasshopper Bank is best for businesses that want to gain cash back from debit card purchases.
Check out more providers in our list of the best small business checking accounts.
Cathay Bank is a perfect 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.