This article is part of a larger series on Business Banking.
Mercury is an excellent choice if you run a tech company or startup and are looking for an online business checking account. Outside of fees charged for currency exchanges, Mercury’s checking and savings accounts are completely free with no minimum deposit or balance requirements.
Most businesses incorporated in the United States are eligible for a Mercury account, with the exception of sole proprietorships or trusts. The company also doesn’t allow cash deposits, and the checking and savings accounts are noninterest drawing.
Overall, Mercury’s free yet powerful online banking tools make it one of our top choices for best banks for startups.
How Mercury Stacks Up With Its Competitors
Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
Cash Deposit Fee
Minimum Opening Deposit
N/A; bank doesn’t accept cash deposits
Free access to Allpoint ATM network
1.5% on balances up to $100,000
$4.95/deposit; accepted at Green Dot locations
No fees at 38,000+ MoneyPass ATMs nationwide
None; cash is deposited through money orders
Refunds all ATM fees
*Providers are financial technology (fintech) platforms backed and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)-insured through a supporting bank partnership (Evolve Bank & Trust for Mercury, Coastal Community Bank for BlueVine, and Middlesex Federal Savings for Novo).
When Mercury Is a Good Fit
- Business owners that are comfortable with an online-only bank and don’t need their business bank to have a physical location.
- Companies that don’t need to deposit cash directly into their business account.
- Businesses looking for a fee-free business banking experience.
- Companies looking for a great mobile and desktop application where they can manage user access, virtual and physical debit cards, and financial transactions on the go.
- Businesses uninterested in lending products and only looking for a free business checking account.
- Because the account is easy to set up and manage from the app and online, Mercury is a great choice for startup businesses looking for a simple business checking account.
When Mercury Isn’t a Good Fit
While Mercury offers a great online banking product, it might not be the best fit for your business. You might choose an alternative to Mercury in the following scenarios:
- If you need to deposit cash regularly into your account as Mercury doesn’t allow you to deposit cash. If you’re depositing cash constantly, you might consider a bank with a physical location, such as Bank of America, Chase, or U.S. Bank.
- Businesses that make frequent withdrawals from ATMs outside the Allpoint network. Novo is a good digital banking alternative because it refunds all ATM fees at the end of each month.
- If you want your business checking to earn interest as Mercury’s is a noninterest drawing account. BlueVine is a good alternative that offers higher interest rates on eligible deposits.
- If you need other services from your bank, like various business lending products, Live Oak Bank is a good alternative.
Mercury Business Checking Overview
Required Opening Deposit
Required Balance Minimum
Transaction Limit Before Fees
Automated Clearing House (ACH) Fees
Wire Transfer Fees
Currency Exchange Fees
No charge for out-of-network ATMs, although operator fees apply—free access to Allpoint ATM network (55,000 locations worldwide)
N/A—Bank doesn’t accept cash deposits
Mercury Business Checking Requirements
To apply for a Mercury checking account, you must have a company that’s incorporated in the US with a federal employer identification number (EIN). You’ll also need your company’s official formation documents and a picture of your government ID.
As long as your company is incorporated in the US, you can apply for a Mercury account even if you aren’t physically located in the US, unless you’re located in the following countries: Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.
Mercury Business Checking Features
Mercury’s free checking account comes with several features that can benefit your startup or tech-based business.
Mercury Physical and Virtual Debit Cards
You can issue and manage debit cards easily and quickly with Mercury. Virtual cards can be created when your account is opened, while physical cards arrive in the mail in a few days. You can replace lost or stolen cards through the dashboard.
Free ATM Usage in the Allpoint Network
You can withdraw money from one of 55,000 Allpoint network ATMs free of charge. Mercury won’t charge you if you use an out-of-network ATM, but you’ll have to pay ATM operator fees.
Checking and Savings Accounts
While you cannot open just a savings account through Mercury, you get a savings account when you open a checking account. Neither accounts are interest drawing. However, an interest-drawing product, Mercury Treasury, is in closed beta.
Mercury Software Integrations
Mercury’s accounts are fully integrated with QuickBooks and Xero. You can sync your transactions automatically between your account and your software.
In addition, you can integrate with other software services such as Shopify, Stripe, Zapier, Amazon, and PayPal.
Mercury Custom Software Access
You can assign users to one of three levels of access within the app: admin, bookkeeper, and custom access.
Users with admin access will receive a debit card and can move money, add team members, and change permissions. The bookkeeper permission allows for access to transaction history and statements but doesn’t allow the user to initiate transactions or change user permissions. Those with custom access can be given access by admins to move money, either with admin permission or not. They wouldn’t be able to access security settings or manage team members.
Mercury uses SSO access to allow you to manage multiple business entities with one sign-on. The company also uses time-based, one-time passwords for two-factor authentication.
Mercury Term Loan Product
If your business has a Mercury account and has raised venture capital within the last year, you may be eligible for a venture debt product. It’s a term loan with an interest-only period of up to 18 months, followed by a repayment period of 48 months.
Transfer Funds, Deposit Checks & Send Payments Electronically
Mercury allows you to send domestic and international wires, along with ACH payments. You can also send digital checks for free directly from your dashboard.
You cannot send physical checks, but you can deposit them into your Mercury account. There are check limits based on business verification and transaction history, but those can be adjusted.
Mercury doesn’t allow you to deposit cash or money orders into your account.
For businesses that use Mercury, the company has a perks page advertising deals those companies are running. This is an excellent way to advertise your business through Mercury, potentially drawing new customers to your business.
Mercury Small Business Checking Pros & Cons
|No minimum deposit to open an account and no minimum balance required||Accounts not available to sole proprietorships|
|Physical and virtual debit cards are available and easy to manage||Lacks paper check-writing and cash deposit abilities|
|Access multiple business entries with a single sign-on (SSO)||Accounts are noninterest drawing|
If you’re looking for a free, online-only banking experience that offers both checking and savings accounts and a great online platform to manage your accounts, Mercury is an excellent choice.
The Mercury app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. On the App Store, Mercury’s app has a 4.7 rating out of 5 with more than 500 ratings. On Google, it has 3.9 stars out of 5 with more than 60 ratings.
Reviewers raved about the app’s design and function, along with Mercury’s customer service through the app. Drawbacks included issues with the onboarding process through the app, while others asked for improvements with user experience functions.
Alternatives to Mercury Business Checking
While Mercury offers a great free banking product geared toward incorporated startups and tech-based businesses, it might not be the best choice for your business needs. If you need to deposit cash regularly, need a variety of business lending products, require physical checks to be issued, or just want to step into a physical location, you may want to consider an alternative bank.
Here are three alternative options to consider:
- Chase: Best for companies that make regular cash deposits or want a full-service bank with physical locations for other business banking services.
- BlueVine: Best for an online banking experience or for businesses who don’t need to deposit cash but want an account that earns interest for qualified deposits.
- Live Oak Bank: Best for interest-drawing savings or certificates of deposits (CDs) or companies looking for Small Business Administration (SBA) or other commercial loans for their business.
If your tech-based business or startup is incorporated in the US and you’re looking for a free, digital-only banking product, Mercury is an excellent choice. The ability to manage multiple business accounts, getting a free savings account with your checking account, and the lack of a minimum deposit or balance requirement make it a strong choice. However, if you want your checking account to draw interest or you require physical locations or a wide variety of other banking and lending products, then you might consider an alternative for your business banking needs.