This article is part of a larger series on Business Banking.
If you’re looking for affordable regional banking in Southern California, Farmers & Merchants Bank is a great option. It offers four types of business checking products: a basic, noninterest-drawing checking account with low transaction limits; an analyzed checking account with earnings credit; a noninterest-drawing account with higher transaction limits; and an interest-drawing account with 0.05% annual percentage yield (APY). It also offers specialty banking services for faith-based organizations and healthcare businesses.
How Farmers & Merchants Bank Stacks Up With Its Competitors
Transaction Limit Before Fees
Minimum Opening Deposit
Business Checking Non-Analyzed
Unlimited check-writing, deposits, and transactions
None at Farmers & Merchants Bank ATMs; $1.50 for nonnetwork use*
Basic Business Checking
75 fee-free transactions per month, then 55 cents per item after the limit
None at Comerica ATMs; $2 for nonnetwork use*
Business Complete Banking
20 free paper transactions per month; then 40 cents per item after the limit
None at Chase ATMs; $2.50 for nonnetwork use*
*Third-party operator fees may apply.
When Farmers & Merchants Bank Is a Good Fit
- You want unlimited check-writing, deposits, and transactions: All business checking accounts come with unlimited fee-free check-writing, deposits, and transactions.
- You run a healthcare business or faith-based organization: It offers specialty services, including customized lending, to clients running healthcare- or faith-related organizations.
- You want access to commercial lending products: It has commercial real estate (CRE) and construction lending, lines of credit, equipment loans, and business credit cards.
When Farmers & Merchants Bank Is Not a Good Fit
- You want nationwide access to in-person banking: Farmers & Merchants Bank operates exclusively in California. Meanwhile, Chase has 4,700 branches in 48 states. Check out our Chase business checking review to see which account fits your business best.
- You cannot maintain an average daily balance of $5,000: Farmers & Merchants Bank charges a monthly maintenance fee of $20, which can only be waived with a minimum balance of $5,000. We recommended the Burbank-based UMe Credit Union, which lets customers waive the $10 monthly service fee by signing up for e-statements. Read our UMe Credit Union business checking review for more information.
- You want to manage your business accounts with a team: Although Farmers & Merchants Bank lets customers add additional users to business accounts, it charges a $5 fee per user. The online-only banking solution Relay lets users invite additional team members and customize access levels and spending limits. Additionally, you can issue up to 50 employee debit cards, free of charge. Learn more through our Relay business checking review.
If your small business meets one or more of these scenarios, see our guide to the best small business checking accounts for additional recommendations.
Farmers & Merchants Bank Business Checking Overview
Farmers & Merchants Bank Business Checking Requirements
To open a business checking account with Farmers & Merchants Bank, you need to visit a branch location or submit a contact request online. You can ask to be contacted by phone or email. The contact request form will require the following information:
- First name
- Last name
- Phone number
- Email address
- ZIP code
Farmers & Merchants Bank accepts businesses that operate outside of California. However, non-California businesses must call Farmers & Merchants Bank at 866-437-0011 to inquire.
On application, you may be asked to provide relevant business documents. For a checklist of documents most business banks require, refer to our guide on how to open a small business checking account.
Farmers & Merchants Bank Business Checking Features
Business Debit Mastercard
The Farmers & Merchants Bank Business Debit Mastercard can be used to pay for purchases at any location where Mastercard is accepted. It also allows you to withdraw money at Farmers & Merchants Bank ATMs.
The bank offers digital banking on web browsers and mobile. Through digital banking, you can check balances, pay bills and taxes, transfer funds, approve transactions, and generate reports. Additionally, mobile banking comes with 15 free remote deposit capture transactions. You may add additional users to your account, but Farmers & Merchants Bank charges a $5 fee per additional user.
The mobile app (available on Android and iOS) is well received, with a rating of 4.4 on Google Play and 4.6 on the App Store. According to reviewers, the app is stable and easy to use. However, some criticize the bill pay feature for being difficult to navigate.
If you enroll in text banking, Farmers & Merchants Bank will let you view account balances, make transfers, and review recent transaction history by sending your provider the designated text codes via SMS. Although the service is free under Farmers & Merchants Bank, your wireless carrier may charge fees for texts.
You have the option to receive your monthly statements online rather than by mail. If you don’t enroll in e-statements, Farmers & Merchants Bank will charge you a $3 fee for each mailed paper statement.
Accounting Software Integrations
Farmers & Merchants Bank checking accounts integrate with Quicken and QuickBooks.
A sweep account is a cash pooling system that remits excess funds from your primary checking account into an interest-earning secondary account. To set up a sweep account, you must determine a target balance for your primary account. When your income increases your balance past the designated target balance, Farmers & Merchants Bank will transfer the excess funds automatically to your sweep account.
Zero Balance Accounts
A zero balance account is a cash pooling system that remits funds from your primary to maintain a balance of zero. The system disperses funds into a secondary account(s) for expenses, such as payroll, petty cash, or operating expenses.
Other Farmers & Merchants Bank Business Products
- Business market rate savings: A basic savings account that earns 0.05% APY and charges a monthly fee of $15, waivable with a minimum balance of $1,000. It has a withdrawal limit of 6 per quarter. The opening deposit requirement is $200.
- Business market rate money market: A money market account that earns 0.05% APY and charges a monthly fee of $15, waivable with a minimum balance of $4,000. It has no withdrawal limit. The opening deposit requirement is $200.
- Certificates of deposit (CDs): Timed deposits with terms between 7 days and 60 months. CDs have a minimum opening deposit of $1,000.
Farmers & Merchants Bank offers specialty lending for owner-occupied real estate, nonprofits, and houses of worship; CRE and construction loans, and commercial and industrial lending for short-term financing needs.
- Specialty lending group: With a team of lenders who specialize in owner-occupied real estate financing, tax-exempt bond financing, and nonprofit lending, Farmers & Merchants Bank can offer customized lending solutions for owner-occupied real estate, nonprofits, and houses of worship.
- CRE and construction loans: Farmers & Merchants Bank offers permanent loans, bridge loans, renovation loans, construction loans, and master loan agreements with no prepayment penalties and competitive rates and terms.
- Commercial and industrial lending: Offers lines of credit, equipment loans, and loans secured by inventory or receivables for businesses with short-term financing needs.
Business Credit Cards
Farmers & Merchants Bank offers low rates, flexible rewards, and cash back business Visa credit cards. All cards come with Zero Fraud Liability protection and free expense reporting tools. Cardholders may issue additional employee credit cards for free.
Farmers & Merchants Bank Business Checking User Reviews
Farmers & Merchants Bank has a rating of 4.3 stars on WalletHub (based on more than 15 reviews), 4.5 stars on DepositAccounts (based on fewer than 5 reviews), and 2.5 stars on Yelp (based on more than 30 reviews). However, none of these reviews discuss the bank’s business checking products.
The majority of positive reviews focus on the bank’s customer service arm. According to many, customer service is friendly and personalized, and the bank’s staff goes the extra mile to address customer concerns.
With unlimited check-writing, deposits, and transactions, Farmers & Merchants Bank’s business checking accounts are great for organizations looking for affordable and comprehensive products. However, although the bank accepts non-Californian businesses, fans of in-person banking might prefer providers with wider geographic coverage.