This article is part of a larger series on Business Banking.
Both Novo and Bluevine offer free, digital-only business checking accounts that are excellent for multiple types of small businesses. The biggest difference between the two is that Bluevine’s checking account is interest-bearing. This factor gives Bluevine a slight edge over Novo.
However, if you aren’t interested in an interest-bearing checking account, or your company withdraws money from an ATM frequently, Novo is a strong choice as the company refunds all ATM fees at the end of the month. Neither company charges for cash deposits, but there are external fees. With Novo, you’ll have to purchase money orders to deposit cash. Bluevine cash deposits can be made through Green Dot retail locations for $4.95 per deposit.
Here’s a summary of both Novo and Bluevine and what each is best for:
- Novo*: Best for businesses that want a free, digital-only checking account with heavy ATM usage with all ATM fees refunded monthly
- Bluevine*: Best for businesses that want a free, digital-only, interest-bearing checking account or a business that also needs a line of credit product
*Providers are financial technology (fintech) platforms backed by and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)-insured through a supporting bank partnership (Middlesex Federal Savings for Novo and Coastal Community Bank for Bluevine).
Novo vs Bluevine Quick Comparison
*Providers are fintech platforms backed by and FDIC-insured through a supporting bank partnership (Middlesex Federal Savings for Novo and Coastal Community Bank for Bluevine).
When to Use Novo
You should choose Novo business checking over Bluevine in the following scenarios:
- Your business frequently withdraws cash from ATMs because Novo will refund all ATM fees at the end of the month.
- You aren’t interested in an interest-bearing checking account or getting lending products from your business checking account provider.
- You want free cash deposits but aren’t concerned about needing a physical location to deposit them and can receive the cash as a money order. Otherwise, you’ll have to purchase the money orders to deposit cash.
When to Use Bluevine
You should choose Bluevine business checking over Novo in the following scenarios:
- Your company wants to earn interest on its checking account and meets one of the two requirements set aside by Bluevine to earn interest.
- You need a line of credit because Bluevine is our choice for the best small business line of credit.
- You can limit ATM withdrawals to the MoneyPass network, where they’re free, and you can limit cash deposits due to the fees involved.
When to Use an Alternative
- If you need to deposit cash regularly into your account or need a full-service bank, you might consider a bank with a physical location, such as Bank of America, Chase, or U.S. Bank.
- Your company wants to keep reserves in a savings or a certificate of deposit (CD) account. You may want to consider Live Oak Bank, which offers savings, CDs, and other lending products like commercial real estate, Small Business Administration (SBA), and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans.
Novo vs Bluevine: Business Checking Accounts
Both Novo and Bluevine only offer one type of checking account. Both are digital-only accounts that are entirely fee-free for day-to-day transactions. All Bluevine outgoing wires and Novo international outgoing wires have small fees included.
Neither company charges for cash deposits, but both have fees involved. With Novo, you’ll have to purchase money orders to deposit cash. Money orders can be purchased from banks or the US Postal Service (USPS) locations. With Bluevine, you have to deposit cash through Green Dot retail locations, which charge $4.95 per deposit.
Otherwise, both accounts are free, have no minimum required balances, and have no charges for transactions.
Novo vs Bluevine Account Overview
Companies that want a free, digital-only checking account with heavy ATM usage
Companies that want a free, digital-only, interest-bearing checking account
Interest on Balances
2.0% APY on balances up to $100,000 once qualifications are met
Bank Network & ATMs
Novo refunds all ATM fees at the end of the month
Free at MoneyPass locations nationally, $2.50 plus for non-network ATM use.
Up to five Novo Reserves
Up to five subaccounts
Open an Account
Novo has no minimum opening deposit or minimum balance requirement. Bluevine also has no minimum deposit or balance requirement.
The biggest advantage Bluevine has is its interest-bearing account. You can earn 2.0% APY on balances up to $100,000 if you meet one of two qualifying criteria:
- Spend $500 or more a month with Bluevine Business Debit Mastercard issued by Coastal Community Bank
- Receive $2,500 per month in customer payments into your account via ACH, wire transfer, mobile check deposit, or directly from a merchant payment processing provider
Meanwhile, Novo’s biggest advantage is refunded ATM fees at the end of each month, meaning you aren’t tied to any specific ATM network. Bluevine has partnered with MoneyPass for free ATM withdrawals, but Bluevine charges $2.50 for non-network ATM use in addition to charges from the ATM provider.
Both providers offer secondary accounts along with your checking account. Bluevine offers up to five sub-accounts, while Novo Reserves allows you to use up to five reserve accounts. Both allow you to set aside funds that might be earmarked for taxes, profit, payroll, and other expenses.
Novo vs Bluevine Account Costs
There are no monthly fees or transaction fees for either Novo or Bluevine business checking. Neither company directly charges for cash deposits, but there are secondary fees involved. You’ll have to purchase a money order to deposit cash through Novo. With Bluevine, you have to make deposits through Green Dot retail locations, which charge $4.95 per deposit.
Novo vs Bluevine Account Sample Scenario
* The USPS charges up to $1.95 for money orders up to $1,000. Individual bank fees for money orders may vary.
If you’re a company that has a large number of cash deposits per month, you should choose a provider that offers free cash deposits. You might consider a small business checking account provider with a physical location.
When choosing between Novo and Bluevine, you must calculate the interest earned each month and subtract fees for cash deposits and out-of-network ATM usage. If you’re making more interest than you’re spending in fees, Bluevine makes sense. If your fees are higher than the interest earned, you should choose Novo.
Both Novo and Bluevine offer outstanding free, digital-only small business checking accounts. If you want your business checking account to earn interest, Bluevine is the best option as long as your usage meets Bluevine’s qualifications. However, if you withdraw money from ATMs frequently, Novo might be your best option. You should calculate the interest you might earn from a Bluevine account and subtract potential fees to determine if it’s right for your business.