This article is part of a larger series on Business Banking.
If you need a fee-free online banking solution that can help you keep track of transactions, organize business expenses, and distribute financial responsibilities, Relay Financial is an excellent choice. Its basic checking account, Relay Standard, lets you open up to 20 subaccounts, create up to 50 debit cards, and assign money management permissions to team members and advisors. Upgrading to the premium service Relay Pro gives you access to fee-free wire transfers and streamlined accounts payable.
Relay is a financial technology (fintech) company, not a bank. It provides banking services and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) insurance through partnerships with Evolve Bank & Trust and Thread Bank.
How Relay Stacks Up With Its Competitors
Minimum Balance Requirement
None at Allpoint ATM networks
Novo Business Checking
Refunds all ATM fees
Bluevine Business Checking
2.00% for qualified balances of $250,000 or less
None at MoneyPass networks; $2.50 for nonnetwork use*
*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).
†Third-party operator fees may also apply.
When Relay Is a Good Fit
- You want a bank that can help you budget: Relay lets users create multiple subaccounts under a single checking account. Creating separate accounts for different expense types, such as taxes, payroll, and operating expenses, helps you keep track of how much money you have for different expenses. You can also transfer funds between subaccounts fee-free. This is why Relay is one of our top-recommended online banks and leading Brex business account alternatives.
- You want to delegate money management responsibilities to employees and advisors: Through Relay’s account permissions feature, you can give employees access to specific checking accounts and debit cards. You can customize access levels and set spending limits to prevent the misappropriation of funds. The ability to assign employee permissions is why Relay is in our roundup of the best checking accounts for limited liability companies (LLCs).
- You send and receive wire transfers regularly: Relay’s wire transfer fees are some of the most affordable in the market, which is one of the reasons we placed it in our list of the top small business checking accounts. Incoming wire transfers (domestic and international) are free, while outgoing wire transfers cost $5 (domestic) and $10 (international). If you upgrade to Relay Pro, all wire transfers are free.
When Relay Is Not a Good Fit
- You want to earn interest on checking deposits: Neither of Relay’s checking accounts bears interest. If high yield is a priority, consider Bluevine, which offers qualified accounts an APY of 2.00% on balances of $250,000 and less. Refer to our review of Bluevine business checking to learn more about how to qualify for Bluevine’s APY.
- You are a freelancer or solopreneur: Relay was designed for business owners working in teams. If you run your business on your own, a platform like Found would suit your needs more. It offers a number of features that help freelancers save time and money on business paperwork. These include built-in invoicing and bookkeeping tools. Our comparison of Found vs Relay can help you determine which account is better for you.
- You need a bank that can help you with digital tax preparation: While Relay offers a number of useful business tools, it lacks tax preparation assistance. Lili’s paid plans offer tools that help you automatically save for taxes, fill out tax forms, and track write-offs. Read our Lili vs Relay comparison for more information.
If your business falls under one of these categories, check out our list of the best small business checking accounts for additional alternatives.
Relay Business Checking Overview
Relay Business Checking Requirements
You can open a business bank account with Relay through the Relay website. Upon account opening, you will be asked to provide the following information:
- Phone number
- Chosen password
All beneficial owners, including any stakeholder whose business share exceeds 25%, or employees with significant responsibility in managing legal entity customers, such as CEO, chief operating officer (COO), chief financial officer (CFO), and company treasurer, will need to provide the following:
- Any valid government ID photo
- Social Security number (for United States citizens) or passport number (for non-US citizens)
- Personal address
- Position or title
- Personal and business phone numbers
- Email address
Document requirements for Relay Business Checking differ depending on the type of business entity you run. Click on the tabs below to see the requirements per business type.
After meeting Relay’s business checking account requirements, all beneficial owners must verify their identities through video authorization. To complete the process, each beneficial owner will need to record a front-facing video of themselves saying, “I authorize account opening at Relay Financial.”
You can then make an initial deposit via ACH or wire transfer. Once an account has been funded, you can add money through mobile check deposits.
Before opening an account, check out our guide on how to open a business bank account. It includes a downloadable checklist of documents banks typically require.
Relay Business Checking Features
Relay’s integrated accounting and banking tools streamline financial management at a relatively low cost. Here are some of its key features.
Multiple Checking Accounts
With Relay, you can create up to 20 individual subaccounts under a single account name. Each account is FDIC-insured and comes with its own account number. Because Relay lets users instantly transfer money between checking accounts, you can use Relay’s multiaccount system to create dedicated checking accounts for every major business expense, such as taxes, payroll, and operating costs.
Customizable Debit Cards
Once you open an account, Relay will automatically mail a physical debit card to your business address. Afterward, you may issue up to 50 virtual or physical Visa debit cards. Relay will activate virtual cards instantly and ship virtual cards to your business address (or preferred US address) within eight to 10 days of issuing. Users must tie each debit card to a specific checking account.
Any location that accepts credit cards will accept your Relay debit card. You can use your card to make fee-free withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs, or fee-free cash deposits at Allpoint+ ATMs.
Team Member Account Permissions
You can give team members access to specific subaccounts and debit cards. As the main user, you can monitor card activity and set daily spending and ATM withdrawal limits.
Because you have complete authority over all account permissions, team members with debit cards can contribute to financial tasks, such as paying bills or handling bookkeeping, without having too much control over your business funds.
Accounting Software Integrations
Relay accounts integrate seamlessly with QuickBooks Online and Xero. Instead of manually inputting financial information, businesses can use Relay to import transaction data directly into their chosen accounting software. As such, small business owners can update their bank feeds with ease, painting a clearer picture of business cash flow.
Detailed Transaction History
Each entry on your transaction history will include thorough transaction details, including how much you paid, which company received your money, which debit card you paid with, and which checking account the transaction pulled funds from.
You can perform the following banking tasks on Relay’s mobile app:
- View accounts and transactions
- Issue and activate debit cards
- Edit checking account names
- Set and edit debit card transaction limits
- Deposit checks via mobile check deposit
- Send payments
- Transfer funds
The app has a rating of 4.5 on Google Play1 (based on more than 200 reviews) and 4.6 on the App Store2 (based on 400-plus reviews). According to positive reviews, the app is intuitive and easy to use. However, a few users reported experiencing glitches semi-frequently.
Other Relay Business Products
Relay Pro costs $30 per business per month and offers the following benefits:
- Fee-free domestic and international wire transfers
- Same-day ACH
- Batch bill payment
- Automatic bill import from QuickBooks Online and Xero
- Ability to set multilevel approval rules for bill payments
Relay Business Checking Reviews from Users
Relay business checking reviews are mostly positive. The platform has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 on Trustpilot3. Many users said that they found the ability to create multiple accounts, its key feature, useful for organizing expenses. They also found the platform intuitive and easy to navigate. The majority praised Relay for offering helpful and responsive customer service and said that the customer service team usually responds to concerns within 24 hours or sooner.
A commonly raised complaint is that Relay requests too much personal information from its applicants. Others claimed that the provider locks or closes accounts without providing any reasoning. Additionally, several users complained that Relay takes too long to clear check deposits, bounces checks without due explanation, and offers limited customization options for team member permissions.
Having integrated bookkeeping and banking solutions makes Relay a great choice for businesses wanting to simplify cash management processes. Additionally, the ability to create multiple subaccounts and debit cards makes Relay a good fit for small business owners looking to distribute financial responsibilities to their team members. However, if you need access to additional banking products, such as savings accounts and lending products, you may have to look elsewhere.
User review references: