If you’re a startup, seeking the ultimate financial sidekick, look no further. We’re here to cut corners, spotlighting the ins and outs of startup-friendly vs. traditional banks distinction and pinpointing the key financial services startups need. Plus, we’ve handpicked the nine best banks for startups, each with its own unique set of fees, features, and offerings. 

Set aside traditional banks with their one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, imagine a startup banking experience that’s as dynamic and innovative as your venture. Banks that don’t just manage transactions but add fuel to your business growth, offering agile, tech-savvy solutions. Banks that feel the startup pulse, ensuring exceptional customer services, advanced digital banking, and a wealth of resources like networking and tailored advisory. 

If you are overwhelmed by choices, we’ve got you covered. Our carefully curated list will guide you to a banking partner that’s not just a provider but a catalyst for your startup’s growth and success. Let’s dive deeper to align your banking choices with your ambitious business goals, steering your venture to promising financial opportunities.

How are startup-friendly banks different from regular banks?

In the banking sector, traditional banks stand as a steadfast ship, while startup-friendly banks are agile speedboats. While the first offers a standard pack of banking solutions with set terms tailored for clients with a solid track record, the latter provides unique, fast-paced financial services for startups. Now let’s take a closer look at what makes startup-friendly banks a perfect fit for small businesses: 

  • Tailored flexibility: benefit from lower fees, adaptable FX rates, accounts with multi-user access, and a variety of subscription options to maximize your banking experience.
  • Rapid banking: enjoy swift services and prompt decision-making, minimal paperwork, and reduced bureaucracy. 
  • Tech-forward banking: with advanced digital platforms and mobile apps, these banks speak the language of tech-savvy startups, ensuring banking is as innovative as the businesses they serve.
  • Specialized tools: integrated accounting software is just the start, making financial management and reporting easier for busy founders.
  • Beyond banking: they also serve as hubs for networking and advisory, connecting entrepreneurs with relevant VCs and ensuring strategic resources for growth.

In a nutshell, startup-friendly banks are designed to support dynamic, tech-oriented founders in contrast to traditional entities that might not align with all the specific financial services startups need. This naturally leads to a logical question: What specific services do traditional banks typically miss? Let’s discover this point.  

Popular financial services for startups

Startup banking usually goes beyond traditional banking, offering a suite of tools and resources pivotal for early-stage business growth. To illustrate, here’s a financial toolkit showcasing the cutting-edge financial services that drive today’s most innovative and fast-growing companies: 

  • Venture debt financing: it complements the equity you raise; it’s fuel for startups aiming to scale rapidly without further dilution of their ownership. Pivotal for founders who want to keep the reins of control firmly in their hands. 
  • International transactions management: for startups operating globally, handling international transactions can be tricky. From managing multiple currencies and strict international compliance rules to keeping up with fluctuating exchange rates—all these seem a lot. So that’s where savvy banks step in, offering sleek solutions like multi-currency accounts, attractive exchange rates, and smooth international wire transfers, making global business easier and more budget-friendly for entrepreneurs. 
  • Payment processing solutions: tailored for startups to get flexible, scalable options to handle transactions efficiently. When startups expand, they often see a surge in transaction volume—from customer and vendor payments to employee payroll. These small yet frequent transactions can pile up, leading to increased business fees that strain a startup’s limited resources. Thus, banks that offer crystal-clear fee structures and sweet deals on bulk transactions can be a game-changer as they help these rising stars keep their costs down and financial stress in check. 
  • Customized credit solutions: corporate cards tailored for small businesses spending patterns, packed with specialized rewards programs. 
  • Cash management tools: they help to optimize cash flow and liquidity, keeping the business engine running smoothly. 
  • Financial advisory services: a roadmap for strategic planning, financial modeling, and risk management. Banking experts tuned into startup’s needs and hurdles can share crucial financial wisdom on tax planning, budgeting, and cash flow management. Such insider information helps founders make sharp financial moves and dodge costly mistakes. 
  • Fintech integration: automated, data-driven insights for better financial decision-making, smarter financial tracking, forecasting, and budgeting. 

These services catapult startups to greater heights of innovation, scalability, and financial stability, helping them outrun competition and establish a solid foothold in the market. Now that we’ve covered the crucial financial services for startups, let’s zoom in on our top bank picks, each ideally suited for small businesses. 

Best banks for startups with features, prices, and fees

To navigate the noise, we’ve curated a top-notch list of nine standout banks with all the essential details to help you weigh all the options and make that savvy, game-changing choice for your startup’s financial future.

1. Mercury

➡️ Mercury, a fintech company with services provided by Choice Financial Group and Evolve Bank & Trust, is a perfect fit for tech startups. With over $163M raised from a16z, Coatue, CRV, etc., more than 100K clients, and over $50B in transactions in 2022 alone, this digital banking platform offers not only a range of convenient services and user-friendly interface but also cost-effective banking solutions. Plus, its standout brand reputation makes it appealing to fresh startups. 

Base location: Digital only 

Online interface: Great

Loans or lines of credit: Yes

Free cash deposit limit: Cash deposits not accepted

Insurance: FDIC-insured business checking accounts up to $5M

Fees: No monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees, or overdraft fees

APY: Ability to invest idle cash into mutual funds

Integrations: Zapier, Quickbooks, Stripe

Best for: 

Tech startups, digital entrepreneurs, and those who value programmable banking and advanced integrations 

  • Industries: SaaS, Web3, E-commerce, Life Science, VC funds
  • Stages: Pre-Seed, Seed, Series A and beyond

Perks: 

  • Tiered cashback program for all users;
  • $200 bonus when depositing $10K or more.
Before writing a startup deck or pitching investors, you should identify the nucleus of your story and how it could be a $1b+ company. This should be a two-sentence story that you then build the rest of your pitch around. And you should truly believe in your story.
Immad Akhund—CEO and co-founder of Mercury

2. Novo

➡️ Novo is a fintech platform for small business owners. It functions as an independent tech company that is neither owned nor operated by any of the traditional banks. Instead, it partners with Middlesex Federal Savings. While Novo handles the tech side of things, their partner, a full-service community bank, ensures the actual startup banking.  

Base location: Digital only

Online interface: Great 

Loans or lines of credit: Yes

Free cash deposit limit: No fee

Insurance: Deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250K

Fees: No monthly fees

APY: N/A

Integrations: Stripe, Shopify, Quickbooks

Best for: Due to its high number of discounts, integrations, and almost non-existent fees, we believe Novo is the best small startup banking platform for e-commerce businesses

Perks: 

  • $5K fee-free card processing with Stripe;
  • 100% discount on the first three months of any Gusto package;
  • 40% discount on the first six months of any QuickBooks Online package; 
  • 30% discount with HubSpot;
  • $500 in free Google Ads credit when spending $500;
  • Up to $150K Microsoft Azure credits over four years.

3. Chase

➡️ Chase stands as a banking powerhouse with the best business bank account options for startups. Given the vast physical presence with over 5K branches, 17K ATMs, and a robust online interface, it offers both in-person and digital banking experiences, catering to the dynamic financial needs of small businesses. 

Base location: NYC and a digital platform

Online interface: Good

Loans or lines of credit: Yes

Free cash deposit limit: 5K per month; over 4,7K branches and 16K ATMs

Insurance: Deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250K

Fees: Monthly fee from $15 to $95, depending on account (waivable)

APY: Business savings account interest rates are on the lower end

Best for: In-person startup banking 

Perks: $300 when opening a business checking account online. For new Chase business checking customers with qualifying activities.

4. Revolut

➡️ Revolut serves as a financial backbone for businesses of all sizes. With a wide range of currencies, industries, and countries, it can support your global journey effectively. Revolut leverages APIs and integrations to support startup business bank accounts. They also provide analytics and expense-tracking tools to keep you informed. Plus, there are subscription plans to help you optimize your fees. 

Base location: Digital only

Online interface: Great

Loans or lines of credit: Yes

Free cash deposit limit: No fee

Insurance: €100K

Fees: No account fees, minimum deposit requirements, or wire transfer fees

APY: High yield options with yields over 4.25%

Integrations: Quickbooks, Sage, Xero

Best for: Venture-backed tech startups

Perks: 

  • $5,000 in AWS credits (new customers only, dependent on Activate eligibility);
  • 100% off the first 3 months of QuickBooks;
  • 25% off the first 12 months of Slack;
  • 25% off the first 12 months of Monday.

5. Wise

➡️ Wise (previously known as Transferwise) makes global startup banking easier with its Wise Business account—a hassle-free, lost-cost option with no need for a minimum balance or monthly fees. Ideal for businesses aiming to go global or expand their reach—you can hold and manage over 40 currencies. Plus, they make it easy to get local account details in nine currencies for receiving payments internationally. 

Base location: Digital only 

Online interface: Great

Loans or lines of credit: No

Free cash deposit limit: Cash deposits at $150K per year

Insurance: FDIC insured up to $250K per account

Fees: you can send money from 0.43% across currencies, $31 per account registration, Account Funding Transactions of 2%

APY: N/A

Integrations: open API, Amazon, Quickbooks, Sage, Xero

Best for: Businesses that deal with a lot of different currencies and often make currency exchanges; those that plan to go globally

Perks: Partner and affiliate programs offered

6. US Bank

➡️ US Bank is the best bank for startup businesses that require a more traditional approach and a wider range of banking services. This monetary titan not only won the title of the most essential bank amid the COVID-19 pandemic but has also positioned itself well for a digital-driven future by launching the US Bank Smart Assistant and opening branches in 26 states.

Base location: Minneapolis, USA

Online interface: Fair

Loans or lines of credit: Yes

Free cash deposit limit: $2,5K per month

Insurance: FDIC insured up to $250K

Fees: $0 fee for Silver Business Checking account

APY: 4.50% bonus interest rate with a new Platinum Business Money Market account

Best for: More traditional or established startups

7. Silicon Valley Bank 

➡️ SVB is definitely one of the best banks for tech startups. Despite its collapse in March 2023 with further acquisition by First Citizens Bank, it’s still operating and providing almost all the services it had before except for Eurodollar Sweep products and Cayman DDA/MMA accounts.

Base location: Santa Clara, USA

Online interface: Fair

Loans or lines of credit: Yes

Insurance: FDIC insured up to $250K per account

Fees: Free unlimited wires, mobile deposits, and bill payments for three years. No monthly maintenance and transaction fees

APY: Up to 5.10% annual percentage yield (APY) on qualifying balances

Integrations: QuickBooks, Expensify, Xero, and more

Best for: Technology and innovation-focused startups, especially those seeking venture capital

  • Industries: Hardware & Infrastructure, Software & Internet, Life sciences & Healthcare, Energy & Resource innovation, Private equity & Venture capital, Premium wine

Perks: Variety of partner credits and discounts

8. Relay

➡️ Relay is an innovative fintech company with bank accounts for startups combining advanced digital banking tools, seamless integration with accounting software, and exceptional deposit protection. It’s an ideal choice for businesses seeking to manage their finances efficiently and securely. 

Base location: Digital only

Online interface: Great

Loans or lines of credit: No

Free cash deposit limit: No option to deposit cash

Insurance: FDIC insured up to $2.5M through Thread Bank

Fees: $30 per month for Relay Pro, no overdraft fees, no minimum balance

APY: Automated business savings that earn you 1% to 3% APY on idle cash

Integrations: Quickbooks Online, Xero, Expensify, Gusto, Plaid, Venmo

Best for: All small businesses. Yet, it should be noted that its accountancy and payment-processing integrations make it particularly effective for both e-commerce and accounting businesses

Perks: Relay Partner Program: Can earn revenue share and discounts by adding clients

9. Lili

➡️ Lili, a fintech company, provides startup banking services under the management of Choice Financial Group. This platform serves as a one-stop solution for entrepreneurs to streamline their business operations—banking, invoicing, accounting, and tax preparation all in a single, user-friendly hub. 

Base location: Fintech, partner bank Choice Financial Group

Online interface: Great

Loans or lines of credit: Limited

Free cash deposit limit: $4.95 per deposit

Insurance: FDIC insured

Fees: Free checking account with no overdraft fees, ATM fees, minimum balance or requirements, and foreign transaction fees

APY: 4.15% APY on your savings account

Best for: Microbusinesses, freelancers, and solopreneurs due to its low fees and banking limitations

Perks: Cash rewards with a Pro account

Next steps 

If you’ve reached this point while still pondering over the best bank for your startup, don’t worry, we’ll help you sort this out. Here are some valuable tips that will ease your burden of choice: 

  • Prioritize banks that align with your startup’s unique needs—those offering flexible financing, better APY opportunities, higher cash deposit limits, etc.
  • Consider the scalability of their services as your business evolves, especially in terms of global expansion. Remember, banks might not be everywhere you are and may not use the currencies you need. 
  • Don’t neglect the importance of networking and advisory support.
  • Weigh the fees and suggested perks carefully. 

Cutting the corners, the best bank for your startup is not just a financial safeguard but also a partner in your entrepreneurial journey. 

Still have doubts or seek expert advice, reach out to our team. We do more than just help you pick the right bank; we’re an all-in-one source for fundraising support, pitch deck design services, and growth assistance, turning ambitions into achievements.

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Ruslana

CONTENT WRITER

Hello! I'm Ruslana, a Content Writer at Waveup. Based on my background in marketing research and business analytics, and my current collaboration with the savvy team at Waveup, I'm excited to share my insights and learnings with you.