WestAmerica Bank is a great choice for California-based organizations looking for affordable entry-level business checking accounts. Three of its five business checking accounts are suitable for small businesses:
- Select Checking is designed for sole proprietors with low transactions who want low monthly service charges
- Regular Checking suits businesses and government entities with simple account needs and making around 100 transactions per month
- Interest Checking is best for sole proprietors, nonprofits, and government entities that want an interest-bearing account
It also offers two analyzed accounts for businesses that want to offset fees with earnings credit. Other products include business savings, business credit cards, and business lending.
- Branches limited to California
- Branch visit required for account opening
- $200 minimum opening deposit
- Free business debit card
- Online and mobile banking
- Bill Pay (optional)
- Robust business services, includes merchant services, payroll services, and overdraft services
- Wide range of bank products—business savings, business credit cards, business certificates of deposit (CDs), and business lending
How WestAmerica Bank Stacks Up With Its Competitors
When WestAmerica Bank Is a Good Fit
- Your business has few monthly transactions: With WestAmerica Bank’s Select Checking, you get 10 free deposits and 25 free check transactions per statement cycle. Exceeding that, you’re charged $1.50 per deposit and 40 cents per check.
- You want discounts on banking services: WestAmerica Bank’s analyzed Business Star account offers many benefits for businesses with multiple checking and savings accounts. These include introductory credit for the first order of checks, up to three free cashier’s checks per month, and a free personal-size deposit box or discounted larger box.
- You have higher balances and more complex cash management needs: WestAmerica Bank offers an Account Analysis account where fees can be offset by earnings credit, allowing you to save more. In addition, the bank provides cash management services, merchant services, tax services, payroll services, and overdraft services, leading to a more efficient business operation.
When To Choose WestAmerica Bank Alternatives
- Your business is located outside WestAmerica Bank’s service area: WestAmerica Bank has around 80 branches in the Northern and Central California counties. You may opt for Chase with its wider geographic footprint, which covers 48 states. Check out our Chase business checking review to learn which of the three accounts fits your business needs.
- You want to earn a high APY without maintaining any balances: While WestAmerica Bank offers an Interest Checking account, it requires maintaining a $3,000 daily balance or $6,000 average daily balance (ADB) in your account to waive the monthly fee. Bluevine is a great alternative since it provides a free business checking account with a high 2.0% APY for qualifying balances up to $250,000. Our review of Bluevine business checking can help you decide if it fits the bill.
- You’re looking for higher free transaction limits: WestAmerica Bank’s free transaction limits are lower compared to other banks. You can consider Umpqua Bank, which offers 200 to 500 fee-free transactions for its business checking accounts. Read our Umpqua Bank business checking review to find which of the accounts can satisfy your business needs.
Check out more providers in our list of the best small business checking accounts.
WestAmerica Bank Business Checking Overview
WestAmerica Bank Business Checking Requirements
To open a WestAmerica Bank business checking account, you must visit a physical branch. The bank will ask for the following:
- Date of birth
- Tax identification number (TIN)
- Identifying documents for all account owners and authorized signers
You may need to submit additional WestAmerica Bank business checking requirements depending on your business structure. Possible document requirements include
- Trust agreements
- Court orders
- Partnership agreements
- Certificates of limited partnership
- Articles of incorporation
- Fictitious business name statements
Before opening an account, see our guide on how to open a business bank account, which includes a free downloadable checklist of documents banks typically require.
WestAmerica Bank Business Checking Features
Business Debit Card
Your checking account comes with a free business debit card. You can use it for free at all WestAmerica Bank ATMs. Out-of-network inquiries cost $2 each, while out-of-network withdrawals cost $2.50. Third-party operator fees may apply.
Online and Mobile Banking
WestAmerica Bank offers two online banking platforms, StarConnect Plus and Onsite Banker Plus.
StarConnect Plus is a free basic online banking platform for businesses with simple banking needs. It helps you take charge of your business finances by allowing you to
- Manage accounts: You can view balances, perform fund transfers, enroll in e-statements, request stop payments, order new checks and cleared check copies, and send a secure email to a customer service representative.
- Track spending and reconcile accounts: You can check your transaction history, create reports, and download transactions directly to QuickBooks or Quicken for automatic account reconciliation.
- Pay bills: You may enroll in an optional bill pay service to save on postage stamps. Bill Pay costs $9.95 each month for up to 20 payments, with every additional payment costing 40 cents.
StarConnect Plus also offers Purchase Rewards, where purchases using your ATM/Debit card can be converted to cashback. At the end of the following month, the cashback is deposited into your account.
To register for StarConnect Plus, you need to complete a form, which will include your business information and accounts. Once the agreement is signed, submit the form to your branch.
Onsite Banker Plus
Onsite Banker Plus is a solution for businesses with a higher number of transactions and more complex cash management needs. It is customizable to fit your business needs and offers:
- Account reconciliation and cash flow reports
- Balance and transaction viewing
- Fund transfers, wire transfers, and automated clearing house (ACH) origination with enhanced security using StarID security tokens
- Stop payments, positive pay, and e-statements
- File importing to your accounting system
WestAmerica Bank also offers a StarConnect Plus mobile banking app, available on iOS, Android, and Kindle. The app allows you to conduct fund transfers, bill payments, and check deposits. You can also monitor transactions and set up activity alerts to notify you when large funds are withdrawn, funds are running low, and weekly balances are updated.
The iOS and Android versions of the app received good reviews. Its App Store rating is 4.7 (based on 3,700-plus reviews) while its Google Play rating is 4.5 (based on more than 900 reviews). However, its Amazon rating is only 3.1 (based on fewer than 10 reviews).
The majority of iOS and Android users said that the app was easy to use. However, a few complained of frequent glitches when using the mobile check deposit function. There are no recent Amazon reviews.
Waive Point-of-Sale (POS) Fees
With a Select Business Checking account, you pay no fees for POS purchases.
Other WestAmerica Bank Business Products
WestAmerica Bank also offers analyzed checking accounts, attorney accounts, savings products, credit cards, lending products, and business services.
There are analyzed business checking account options for businesses with increased cash management needs:
- Account Analysis: Businesses with multiple cash management needs can open an Account Analysis account where fees, including the $19 monthly fee, can be offset by an earnings credit the higher the balances go. Transactions are charged per item, specifically 20 cents per check and debit, 15 cents per check deposited, $1.40 per deposit ticket, and $1.30 per $1,000 cash deposit.
- Business Star: Suited for businesses with several checking and savings accounts linked to their primary account, Business Star offers several benefits. It provides an introductory credit for the first check order, three free cashier’s checks per month, and a free personal-sized deposit box or discounted larger-sized deposit box. The $19 monthly fee can be waived by maintaining an $8,000 ADB in an eligible checking account or $25,000 in up to five combined eligible checking and savings accounts.
WestAmerica Bank offers a pooled trust account established under the State Bar of California’s Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. The minimum opening deposit is $200, and there’s no monthly service fee. This account draws interest paid to the State Bar of California’s Legal Services Trust Fund Program (LSTFP).
WestAmerica Bank has a regular savings account and a money market savings account:
- Regular Savings: A traditional savings account, Regular Savings is suited to all businesses. The minimum opening deposit is $100, and you can waive the $5 monthly service fee by maintaining an ADB of $500. Only three free transfers/withdrawals are allowed each month. Beyond that, $5 is charged. It earns interest on all collected balances, which is paid every quarter.
- Money Market Savings: A minimum $1,000 deposit is required to open a Money Market Savings. It has tiered interest rates, which increase the higher your balances go. The $10 monthly service fee can be waived by maintaining a daily balance of $2,500. This account has six fee-free transfers/withdrawals. If you exceed this limit, a $15 fee is imposed.
WestAmerica Bank offers Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)-insured business CDs with terms ranging from seven days to five years.
WestAmerica Bank provides four business credit cards suitable for different needs:
- Business Cash Preferred Card: It provides up to 3% cash back on eligible net business purchases.
- Business Card: It offers an extended low introductory rate allowing you to save on interest.
- Smart Business Rewards Card: You can earn twice the rewards in your top two spend categories each month with this card.
- Business Real Rewards Card: You can generate 1.5 points every month for every $1 spent on eligible net purchases, equating to 1.5% cash back.
WestAmerica Bank offers several loans, such as operating lines of credit (revolving and nonrevolving, secured and unsecured), accounts receivable financing, property improvement and equipment loans, letters of credit, real estate loans, term loans, and professional loans and credit lines.
WestAmerica Bank has cash management services, lockbox, positive pay and ACH positive pay, merchant services, tax services with RemitOne, payroll services through Paychex, and overdraft services.
WestAmerica Bank Business Checking Reviews From Users
User-published WestAmerica Bank business checking reviews are mostly negative. On WalletHub, the bank has a rating of 2.6 (based on more than 10 reviews). According to dissatisfied customers, the bank charges too many service fees. Others found the bank’s staff inefficient and poorly trained.
WestAmerica Bank is an excellent option if your business is based in the Northern and Central California counties. It charges low waivable fees and provides Select Checking– a starter account with no monthly service fee. However, the transaction limits of its business checking accounts tend to be low compared to other regional and community banks. Furthermore, it doesn’t give out fee-free transactions for its higher-tier accounts though it offers some services for free or at a discount if you open a Business Star account.