This article is part of a larger series on Business Banking.
Novo and Lili are two of the best business banking providers for small businesses and freelancers. Both integrate with popular business software, such as QuickBooks, PayPal, and Shopify, and charge very few fees for day-to-day banking operations. However, Novo takes affordability a step further by reimbursing all ATM fees, allowing customers to make ATM transactions at any network of their choice, fee-free.
Meanwhile, Lili’s biggest selling point over Novo is its Tax Optimizer, which lets users set aside income for taxes automatically. It also autofills tax forms with banking and expense information to streamline the tax filing process.
Here’s a summary of what each provider is best for:
- Novo*: Best for businesses that need a free, digital-only checking account and with heavy ATM usage
- Lili*: Best for tax preparation assistance
*Providers are financial technology (fintech) platforms backed and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)-insured by a supporting bank partnership (Middlesex Federal Savings for Novo and Choice Financial Group for Lili)
Novo vs Lili Quick Comparison
When To Use Each
When To Use an Alternative
- You rely on cash deposits: Novo users can only deposit cash by purchasing and depositing money orders through the app. Lili users can deposit cash through Green Dot retail locations, where deposits cost $4.95 per item. Businesses that want a hassle-free cash deposit experience should choose Capital One, which allows up to $5,000 fee-free cash deposits per month.
- You want physical bank branches: As digital-exclusive banking solutions, neither Novo nor Lili has brick-and-mortar banking stores. Businesses needing in-person banking should look into Chase, which has 4,700 branches across the country.
- You need additional lending products: Neither Novo nor Lili offers lending products. First Internet Bank, which made our list of best small business checking accounts thanks to its extensive selection of digital banking products, offers lines of credit, term loans, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, and real estate financing.
- You need support for wire transfers: Novo has partnered with Wise to provide affordable international wire transfer services. However, neither Novo nor Lili supports domestic wire transfers. Under Relay, all incoming wire transfers are free. Sending domestic wire transfers costs $5 while sending international wire transfers costs $10.
Novo vs Lili Business Checking Account
Novo only offers one type of checking account. Lili has a free account called Lili Basic and a premium account called Lili Pro. The Lili Pro Plan charges a monthly fee of $4.99 and offers features, such as cashback rewards on debit card purchases, high-yield savings accounts, fee-free overdrafts, and advanced expense tracking for tax optimization.
Novo users can only deposit cash by purchasing a money order from a bank or a United States Postal Service (USPS) location. Lili users can deposit cash at Green Dot retail locations for a fee of $4.95 per deposit.
Neither account has a minimum balance requirement or minimum deposit requirement.
Novo vs Lili Account Overview
Best for businesses that want a free, digital-only checking account and with heavy ATM usage
Best for businesses that want tax preparation assistance
Interest on Balances
Bank Network & ATMs
All fees refunded at the end of the month
Free at MoneyPass locations; $2.50 for nonnetwork
Accounting Software Integrations
Integrates with QuickBooks and Xero
Built-In Expense Tracking, QuickBooks, and FreshBooks
Business Software Integrations
Stripe, Square, PayPal, Wise and Shopify
CashApp, PayPal, Venmo, Uber, Lyft, and Shopify
Up to 10 reserve accounts
Buckets for tax and emergencies
Open an Account
Novo and Lili offer similar sets of strengths. Both are digital-only banks that aim to streamline business banking operations by integrating with popular business software.
However, where Novo holds an edge over Lili is ATM reimbursements. Novo reimburses all ATM fees at the end of every month, allowing users to make ATM transactions at any network of their choosing. Lili users are limited to MoneyPass networks. Otherwise, withdrawals at out-of-network machines would cost $2.50 per transaction plus operator fees.
Where Lili stands out is its tax planning capacities. Lili’s Tax Optimizer lets users select a percentage of their income that the platform will set aside for taxes automatically. Lili can also prefill the 1040 Schedule C form, thereby reducing the manual effort involved in filing taxes.
Both accounts come with invoicing software that let users create, send, and organize official business invoices on the go. However, Lili’s invoicing software is only available to Lili Pro customers.
Novo users can create up to 10 reserve accounts, which they can earmark for expense categories such as taxes, payroll, and inventory. Lili, on the other hand, offers dedicated buckets for emergencies and taxes.
Novo vs Lili Account Costs
Criteria to Waive Monthly Fee
Cash Deposit Fee
$2.20 for money orders
$4.95 at Green Dot retail locations
Both Novo and Lili aim to reduce the fees that come with day-to-day banking transactions. Neither charges a monthly fee nor sets a limit for monthly transactions.
Although Lili itself doesn’t charge fees for cash deposits, customers can only deposit cash through Green Dot retail locations. At Green Dot, cash deposits cost $4.95 per transaction. Novo customers need to purchase money orders, which cost $2.20, to deposit cash.
Novo vs Lili Account Sample Scenario
Possible Cash Deposit Fees
10 cash deposits x $2.20 = $22
10 cash deposits x $4.95 = $49.50
Out-of-Network ATM fees
5 transactions x ($2.50 + $3.08**) = $27.90
Possible Total Fee
* Money order fees for dollar amounts between $500.01 to $1,000 cost $2.20, per the USPS website. **The average ATM surcharge from the ATM owner in 2021 was $3.08, per Bankrate’s 2021 checking account and ATM fee study.
Although Novo users would have to pay $2.20 in money order fees when depositing cash through USPS money orders, they will still save more in fees compared to Lili users, who would have to pay $4.95 in fees to deposit cash through Green Dot retail locations.
Novo users also save a significant amount in ATM fees thanks to Novo’s reimbursement policy. Lili users not only have to pay a $2.50 nonnetwork fee but also operator fees.
When opening a business bank account, it’s important to take all options into consideration. Though Novo and Lili may appear similar at a glance, their biggest strengths cater to two different niche needs. Business owners who want a digital-exclusive bank that will help them save money on ATM fees would be better suited to Novo. Meanwhile, business owners who want additional help with tax planning and expense tracking may be better suited to Lili.