Compare Banking
5 min read

Brex vs. Mercury: A Comparison of Business Bank Accounts

By Ziwei Chen

Content Marketing Specialist, Relay

When it comes to tech startup banking, two fintech companies may come to mind: Brex and Mercury. Both digital banks hail from Silicon Valley and were built with Silicon Valley tech startups in mind. So if that’s you, you may be wondering — which free business bank is the better option? Tech startups have unique banking needs and many are looking for Brex alternatives, so in this guide, we compare Brex vs Mercury head-to-head to see how their business checking accounts stack up. 

IN THIS ARTICLE 

Let’s dive in with a brief overview of each banking platform. 👇

🏦 What is Brex?

Brex is an FDIC-insured all-in-one financial management platform for enterprise companies and venture-backed startups. Founded in 2017, Brex offers business checking accounts (called Brex Cash), business credit cards, employee expense management automation and reporting for scaling businesses. 

On June 16, 2022, Brex announced that they would stop serving tens of thousands of small business clients by August 15, 2022 and focus instead on enterprise and venture-backed startups. This has left many affected businesses scrambling to look for a Brex alternative. 

If your business still falls under their new qualification criteria, then Brex’s charge cards and cashback rewards continue to make it a good option for businesses looking to build credit and earn on spending.

Switch from Brex to Relay Today

If you have been impacted by Brex’s decision to end support for small businesses, Relay can help!

Get Started with Relay

🏦 What is Mercury?

Mercury is an FDIC-insured online banking solution for “hockey sticks” or high-growth, digital-first technology startups. In addition to a suite of basic banking features, they also give founders access to a venture debt product that facilitates fundraising for seed, series A and DTC rounds through their investor network.

As a banking services platform for startups, Mercury also offers resources such as a curated investor list, a networking program that connects founders with investors and tech perks like Amazon Web Service, Hubspot and QuickBooks Online discounts. 

For larger businesses that hold more than $250,000 in their accounts, you gain access to Mercury’s Tea Room which gives you exclusive access to a range of additional benefits, free domestic and international wires and free tea.

⚖️ Brex vs. Mercury: What’s the difference?

The main difference between Brex and Mercury is that Brex serves larger enterprise businesses and venture-backed startups whereas Mercury is positioned as the bank for startups, both big and small. 

📊 Brex vs. Mercury comparison

Here’s a feature-by-feature look into the differences and similarities between Brex and Mercury:

Feature

Brex

Mercury

No monthly account fees

No minimum balance requirements

No overdraft fees

Free ACH payments

Free check payments

No fees on deposits

Cash withdrawals at ATMs

Free at over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs

Currency exchange for international wires

Domestic wire transfers

Free

Free

International wire transfers 

Free

Free USD international wires

Free checking accounts

8

15

Savings accounts

1 saving account per business with 0.001% interest

Debit Cards

1 physical card per user, unlimited virtual cards

Credit cards

Cashback and rewards on card spend

QuickBooks Online integration

Xero integration

Gusto integration

Startup Funding 

Investment account

Get 1.394% return on cash with Mercury Treasury — available for companies with account balances over $250K

Financial modeling tools

Bank from

Web, iOS, or Android

Web, iOS, or Android 

Trustpilot rating

3.8 (Source)

3.9 (Source)

Not the right fit? Then consider Relay, rated 4.5 on Trustpilot. Compare Brex vs Relay or Mercury vs Relay here.

"Banking service with a soul"

"Beautifully executed great service all around. Awesome, user-oriented approach." — Alex | March 14, 2022

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🔎 Qualifying for a free business bank account

Brex and Mercury differ in how businesses qualify for an account. 

To qualify for an account with Brex, a business must be incorporated and must meet certain size threshold requirements. To be eligible for an account, a startup must be venture-backed or prove that they are funded. Brex’s thresholds are not publicly available, but the company announced that many small businesses that used to qualify no longer do.

In comparison, Mercury’s requirements are not as strict. To bank with Mercury, you must be a U.S. company with a federal employer identification number — however, sole proprietors are not eligible to open a Mercury account. 

💰 Small business checking accounts 

While both Brex and Mercury offer free banking with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balances, they differ in the amount of free checking accounts offered. With a Brex Cash account, you get up to 8 checking accounts per business, each with unique account and routing numbers. Mercury is the same but offers more checking accounts at 15. If you set up recurring payments or transfers of any kind, unique account numbers are key in automating the movement of money in and out of your individual checking accounts, giving you more control when managing cash flow. 

💵 Business credit card and rewards

When it comes to cashback and rewards, Brex offers a robust rewards program for card spend which includes multiple earning categories, discounts on business apps and supplies, cashback and travel points. To get the best rewards, businesses will need to prove card exclusivity, otherwise, cash back rewards are greatly diminished. While they offer great incentives, their travel rewards are limited when compared to other cards such as American Express’ Platinum or Gold cards. 

Mercury, on the other hand, only offers a debit card but they do have rewards in the form of “Partner Perks” — a bundle of tech discounts exclusive to their customers. These include discounts on popular tools like QuickBooks Online, Loom, Oracle, Gusto and so much more. 

🌱 Startup community 

While both Brex and Mercury serve tech startups, Brex is built for larger, funded startups while Mercury is suited for early stage startups — and this shows in the way that Mercury has built their community. 

Mercury has a curated database of active seed and pre-seed investors, a venture-debt program and Mercury Raise, a program that works to connect startups with investor or other founders. Their Series Tea podcast serves to highlight entrepreneurs and investors and further fostering a sense of community amongst entrepreneurs. 

Verdict: Which is the best bank for your business?

Choosing between Brex vs. Mercury will largely depend on the size of your business and whether you’re an enterprise business or an early stage startup. If you’re an enterprise business or a funded startup, then Brex offers a more mature suite of banking features, whereas if you’re a smaller startup looking for low fees and a strong community, then Mercury may be the better fit. 

And if you're neither — or if you can't find 100% of the features you want? Then consider an online banking and money management platform like Relay that puts you in complete control of your cash flow. We serve businesses of all sizes, but we’re built specifically for small, grassroots employer businesses and early stage, bootstrapped startups. Relay makes managing cash flow clear as day so you can understand precisely what you’re earning, spending and saving and make the smartest decisions for your business.

Relay — Banking that puts you in complete control of your cash flow

Relay is fee-free, FDIC-insured, all-in-one banking and money management platform built for America’s grassroots, small businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of the US economy, representing 90% of all companies in the country, yet they continue to be underserved by many traditional banks and neobanks. 

At Relay, we believe small businesses deserve the same top tier financial support and tooling afforded to enterprise companies and venture-backed startups. That’s why we’re committed to helping small business owners reach unparalleled levels of financial clarity so they can build healthy, lasting businesses.

Relay goes above and beyond the everyday banking basics with:

  • No account fees, overdraft fees or minimum balances

  • Up to 20 individual checking accounts

  • 50 virtual or physical Mastercard® debit cards

  • Payments and deposits via ACH, wire and check

  • Deposits from payment processing providers like PayPal, Stripe, Square and more

  • Direct integrations with accounting software like QuickBooks Online and Xero

If you’re a business owner who recently had your Brex account closed because you no longer meet the company's requirements, sign up for Relay. Take advantage of our dedicated onboarding help and receive $150 to fund your account

[Note: Offer is now closed as of September 30, 2022]

Switch from Brex to Relay Today

If you have been impacted by Brex’s decision to end support for small businesses, Relay can help!

Get Started with Relay