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10 Nearside Alternatives For Your Business Banking

By Matas Pranckevicius

Content Manager, Relay

Opening a business bank account is a crucial step for business owners. It helps you keep your business and personal finances separate, gives you better visibility into cash flow, and gives you a clean list of transactions when it’s time to file taxes. If you’re looking for a no-fee checking account, you may have considered Nearside. But is it the best banking solution for your business?

At Relay, we work closely with CPAs and small business owners to build banking that truly keeps your business on the money and gives you visibility into cash flow. So in this article, we’re taking a closer look at Nearside and breaking down the 10 best banking alternatives to consider. We'll cover a wide range of banking providers — from modern neobanks to traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

Read on for more information, or jump to any of the Nearside alternatives listed for our breakdown.

10 best nearside alternatives:

What is Nearside?

With the development of financial technology, banking options have expanded with digital banks (also known as neobanks). Nearside isn’t technically its own bank, but instead is a digital banking platform that offers accounts through LendingClub. As this is the case, it has no physical locations and all banking is done online or in an app.

Where digital banks have an upper hand on traditional banks are the features built into their platforms. Being digital-first, FinTech (financial technology) companies have developed apps and online banking platforms with cash flow trackers, expense categorization and budgeting tools to make managing your business’s finances easier.

Another perk of digital banks is that they easily integrate with some of the software and tools you’re already using. For example, Nearside works with bookkeeping software like Quickbooks or Xero, payment processors like Stripe or Square, and online storefronts like Etsy or Amazon.

A Nearside business checking account has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. In 2022, account holders also get 2.2% cashback rewards on all debit card purchases. But there are no online check deposits so both cash and check need to be deposited at ATMs with a fee of $1.00 if it’s out of network. 

Beyond the bank account, it’s worth noting Nearside can help you form an LLC (limited liability company). An LLC gives you liability protection which simply means your personal assets are protected if your business defaults on its debts or enters bankruptcy.

Why you need a Nearside alternative

Nearside offers a business checking account that’s easy to get started with, but is lacking some of the common features among other banks on this list. It works best for smaller operations or online-only ecommerce shops that want to separate their personal and business finances.

The inability to direct deposit checks using the mobile app can be a big drawback if you accept them as payments. You’ll also be missing out on the expense tracking and cash flow tools that help you set and stick to a business budget. With a Nearside business checking account, you risk needing to change bank accounts down the line because it doesn’t have the functionality you need.

Important considerations when choosing a bank

Choosing a business bank account shouldn’t be based solely on the now, but rather on what your long-term goals are. The right bank account won’t just have the features that meet those future needs but can help you get there more effectively.

Consider your biggest money management pain points. If a bank could do absolutely anything for you what would it be? From financial insights to automated budgeting, there’s an account that might meet those needs and more.

When considering different bank accounts, ask the following questions:

  • How do I want to access my banking? Business owners can’t drop everything to do their banking. Look for options with mobile apps so you can send and process payments on the go. And double check if it’s only iOS or Android.

  • Will it help me manage my money? Budgeting tools like automated savings and spending limits make money management effortless.

  • How will it fit in with my accounting process? Digital banks often integrate with accounting software, but also offer tools for tackling invoicing, bill payment, and more.

  • How do fees add up? Accounts without monthly maintenance fees often charge fees for specific activities. You’ll want to understand how they can add up based on your activity like ATM usage, wire transfers, or ACH payments.

Here’s a bigger breakdown of what to consider before choosing a bank.

The top alternatives to Nearside

Relay

Relay Logo - Banking Alternatives

Relay is a business banking and money management platform that helps you get crystal clear about how much you’re earning, spending and saving. We built Relay in collaboration with accountants, bookkeepers and CPAs — the experts who truly understand business finances, what business owners need to manage cash flow, and how to stay on the money.

As a result, Relay is equipped with tools that help you budget and keep track of spending. This includes up to 20 individual checking accounts that enable multiple bank account budgeting, percent-based money transfers between your accounts, and up to 50 physical or virtual business debit cards to help categorize your spending.

To make financial reporting and day-to-day cash management easy, Relay gives you detailed data about each transaction and integrates deeply with tools like QuickBooks OnlineXero and Gusto.

You can apply for a Relay account online and bank with no monthly account fees, minimum balance requirements, or overdraft fees. You can also upgrade to Relay Pro, which costs $30 a month and unlocks features like same-day ACH and accounts payable integration.

Features:

  • Free business checking which includes no minimum balance requirement or overdraft bank fees

  • Integrates with popular accounting platforms (including QuickBooks Online, Gusto, and Xero)

  • Connect with money management apps (like FreshBooks or Expensify)

  • Get up to 20 individual checking accounts to enable multi-account budgeting

  • Manage team spending with up to 50 business debit cards (both virtual and physical)

Pros:

  • FDIC-insured via Thread Bank

  • Manage your money with automatic account transfers

  • Access to 50,000+ Allpoint ATMs

  • Expense categorization happens as you spend

  • Domestic and international wires are included free (with Relay Pro)

  • Fully automated accounts payable processing (with Relay Pro)

Cons:

  • Relay doesn’t currently offer savings account options

Novo

Novo Logo - Banking Alternatives

If you’re looking for a basic platform to get started on, check out Novo. Their accounts are affordable and easy to set up, although some growing businesses might find it doesn’t suit their needs long-term.

Freelancers will appreciate the invoicing feature which lets them manage their accounts receivable. By integrating with your accounting software, much of your monthly accounting process is automated. This is included in their free checking account with no maintenance fees and refunds of all ATM fees. 

If you have to make cash deposits or wire transfers, however, Novo may be restrictive as it lacks those features, and you may find yourself looking at opening another bank account in the future.

Features:

  • Free checking account and no set minimum balance

  • Integrations with Shopify, Stripe, Quickbooks, and Xero

  • Partner perks and discounts

  • All ATM fees are refunded

  • Automated budgeting with scheduled transfers to reserves

Pros:

  • Backed with FDIC-insurance

  • Online application

  • Online invoicing and bill pay

  • Send paper checks at no extra cost

Cons:

  • Lacks domestic or international wire transfers

  • Must deposit cash by using money orders

  • Must use apps and integrations to get similar functionality to competitors

Bluevine

Bluevine Logo - Banking Alternatives

Most businesses know Bluevine as a lender. While they’ve offered loans and lines of credit in the past, they started offering banking accounts at the end of 2019. Their single checking account option can generate you interest, so long as you meet certain criteria.

A Bluevine business checking account has no monthly fees and no minimum balances, but generating revenue requires meeting a certain transaction volume. To receive an estimated 2.0% APY on a balance (up to $100,000), you must process at least $2,500 in customer payments per month and make a minimum purchase (of $500) using your business debit card.

Bluevine’s checking account has no monthly fees, but there are specific transaction fees that can add up. For example, cash-heavy businesses will be hampered by the fees for cash deposits and out-of-network ATM usage. Some business owners will find themselves not generating enough interest to cover the fees or missing out on interest altogether.

Features:

  • Free account with no set minimum balance

  • The ability to create 5 sub-accounts

  • Options for both lines of credit and loans

  • Unlimited transactions

  • Set up access for team members or an accountant

  • No fees for ACH or overdrafts

Pros:

  • Backed with FDIC-insurance

  • Potential of earning 2.0% on up to $50,000

  • Annually get 2 free checkbooks

  • Incoming wire transfers are free

  • Free use of any MoneyPass network ATMs

Cons:

  • The requirements to qualify for interest can be cumbersome

  • $2.50 out-of-network ATM fees

  • $4.95 fee on all cash deposits

  • No integrations with payroll or payment processors

  • $15 fee for outgoing wire transfers

NorthOne

NorthOne Logo - Banking Alternatives

Businesses looking to get a handle on budgeting should choose a bank that makes it easy. Whether it’s planning for that next big purchase, separating money for taxes, or squirreling away funds for a rainy day, budgeting helps you get it done.

NorthOne promises to streamline this process with its envelopes feature. An account can automatically transfer a flat amount or a percentage of your balance into a “digital envelope” so you’re constantly building towards your goals.

While the automation perks are nice, NorthOne's $10 monthly maintenance fee can deter new businesses. And while you save on ACH transfers, wire transfers come with a $15 fee for both incoming and outgoing transactions. This can add up fast for select businesses.

Features:

  • No minimum balance

  • Use Envelopes for budgeting

  • 7 days a week of available online support

  • Integrations with Shopify, Stripe, Quickbooks, and Xero

Pros:

  • Backed with FDIC insurance

  • Deposit checks online and cash deposits at GreenDot ATMs with no fees

  • Accounts come with multiple Mastercard business debit cards

  • Free ACH transfers

Cons:

  • $15 wire transfer fee for both incoming and outcoming transfers

  • Monthly fee adds up if you’re not using all the features

  • Missing cash flow tools to for identifying trends in revenue and spend

  • Each additional account has the same monthly fee

Brex

Brex Logo - Banking Alternatives

If you’re a startup or enterprise in the tech space, you may be eligible for a Brex account. 

In 2022, Brex made the switch to focus on offering banking solutions to early-stage and rapidly growing tech businesses to refine their product. This switch means having fewer eligible users, but a more targeted product for those who are eligible. Fast-growing tech businesses will appreciate the integrations with their other software, global payments, and multi-currency management as they expand into international markets.

If you’re not eligible for an account, there’s likely a better platform for you on this list.

Features:

  • Free checking account and no set minimum balance

  • No fees for overdraft or deposits

  • ACH transfers are free

  • Business can have up to 8 (free) checking accounts

  • Interactive spending reports with expense breakdowns

  • Team member access anywhere in the world

Pros:

  • FDIC insured

  • Direct integrations with other financial tools

  • The ability for custom automated actions

  • Support that is 24/7

  • A tool that calculates and forecasts runway

Cons:

  • Only very specific businesses will be eligible

  • Focused toward online banking

  • Soloprenuers and sole proprietors are not eligible for accounts

  • No tools for bill payment or invoicing

Lili

Lili - Business Banking Alternatives

New business owners often get blindsided by their first tax filing experience. Lili understands this and built a platform that helps you prepare for tax season all year.

A Lili checking account categorizes transactions to help you stay on top of purchases, and a receipt scanner makes document collection a breeze. At year-end, all the work you’ve put into your account gets turned into a pre-filled Schedule C, the tax form sole proprietors provide with their personal taxes.

Unfortunately, Lili only offers accounts to businesses filing taxes as sole proprietors. Even then, sole proprietors with complicated transaction history will need to thoroughly review the provided Schedule C. The automatic transaction categorization will struggle with shops like Amazon where it can be a different tax deductible category depending on what’s purchased.

Features:

  • Free checking account and no set minimum balance

  • No foreign transactions, ATM, or overdraft fees

  • Expense categorizing and tax saving tools

Pros:

  • Backed with FDIC insurance

  • Built in receipt scanner

  • Cashback at select merchants

  • Free use of GreenDot ATMs

  • Automated savings deposits and 1.5% APY

  • Receive a pre-filled Schedule C at year-end

Cons:

  • Only available to businesses filing as sole proprietorships

  • No international or domestic wire transfers

  • $4.95 fee for cash deposits

  • Accounts come with just a single Visa debit card

  • $6,000 limit on check deposits

  • $1,000 limit on money transfers to external accounts

Mercury

Mercury Logo - Business Banking Alternatives

Attracting investors and getting venture capital can be a big boon for your business. If your short-term goals include outside investment, Mercury may be for you.

As part of their business checking accounts, users get access to their network of investors with established firms like Tribe Capital and the Founders Club. If you’re worried about navigating the process, a support team is there for each step of the journey.

If you aren’t looking for outside investment, a Mercury account doesn’t offer as much as its competitors. There’s no integration with accounting software and the platform is missing the expense categorization and report generation to make up for it. You’ll have a free business account, but miss out on the quality-of-life features that could make it something more.

Features:

  • Free checking account and no set minimum balance

  • No fees for overdrafts, deposits, or ACH payments

  • Up to 15 free checking accounts

  • Special rewards and discounts with partners

Pros:

  • Backed with FDIC insurance

  • Multiple integration options including Quickbooks and Xero

  • Savings accounts with 0.001% interest

  • Venture funding through their network

  • Cash back credit cards are available

  • Free wire transfers

Cons:

  • Perks are restricted to those with high account balances

  • Only one business debit card per user

  • Functionality is focused on startups with rapid growth

  • Features like cash flow management are through API integrations

  • Lacks additional accounts tools like accounts payable or invoicing

Axos Bank

Axos - Business Banking Alternatives

One of the first names in digital banking is Axos Bank. They’ve been operating since 2000 and have a long list of users and customer reviews to show for it. For you, this means a lot of customer experience to decide if they’re the right fit.

If you decide Axos Bank is for you, they have two options to pick from. If you can meet their $5,000 minimum balance, consider their Basic Business Checking Account. It generates 1.01% APY on the first $50,000, but has a $10 monthly service fee if you fall below the minimum balance. Alternatively, the Basic Business Checking account has no monthly fee and no minimum balance.

For businesses looking to acquire credit, Axos Bank also offers loans, lines of credit, and equipment financing. Getting into their network with a bank account can expedite the process making credit more accessible. But you’ll be missing out on integrations with other accounting tech and in-platform budgeting tools.

Features:

  • Free checking account and no set minimum balance

  • No initial deposit required

  • Reimbursement of two domestic wire transfers a month

  • 24/7 customer support

  • Additional support with payroll and SBA loans

Pros:

  • Backed with FDIC insurance

  • No fees on cash deposits through MoneyPass and AllPoint ATMs

  • Domestic ATM fees are reimbursed

Cons:

  • You only earn 1.01% interest on the first $50,000 of your balance

  • No integrations with the popular tools, including QuickBooks or Xero

  • No cash flow management tools to monitor spending

  • Only credit offered are SBA loans

Chase

Chase for Business - Banking Alternatives

In traditional banking, Chase is one of the biggest names among business owners. Their 3 different checking accounts meet the unique needs of businesses small and large.

Each of the three accounts has a monthly maintenance fee. However, meeting their minimum balance and transaction volume amounts will waive the fee. This makes it more enticing for established, high-volume businesses that have some cash reserves at the ready.

There are over 4,700 Chase branches across the US. These are spots where you can go in, sit with a professional, and get the support you need including access to credit cards, loans, and lines of credit. But in choosing a traditional bank, you’ll be sacrificing self-service tools. There are no budgeting or cash flow tools meaning most of your cash flow analysis is manual.

Features:

  • Workflow tools like payment processing and Online Bill Play

  • Over 4,700 branches and 16,000 ATMs

  • Banking on the go via Chase Mobile Banking app

  • Tools for monitoring cash flow

  • No monthly fees if you meet certain conditions

Pros:

  • Backed with FDIC insurance

  • Sometimes offer sign up bonuses

  • Offers loans, lines of credit, and credit cards

  • Lots of locations for in-person banking

  • No minimum opening deposit

Cons:

  • Account fees start at $15 if not waived

  • Overdraft fees can be costly

  • Limits on fee-free cash deposits and physical transactions

  • Won’t integrate with common business software and tools

Bank of America

Bank of America Logo - Business Banking Alternatives

Another traditional bank commonly used by business owners is Bank of America. Unlike most traditional banks, they have made big steps in improving their online experience to empower better banking without the branch.

Business owners can pick from two checking accounts: Fundamentals or Relationship. Either way, you’ll be paying a monthly maintenance fee of $16 or $29.95 respectively. If you meet the specific minimum balance requirement for either, the fee is waived.

While meeting the balance requirements makes the Bank of America options more enticing, there are still fees for activities like incoming wire transfers and stopping scheduled payments. If those fees don’t impact you, a Bank of America account gives you Cash Flow Monitor and a virtual assistant called Erica to better understand your finances.

Features:

  • Fraud protection

  • Send money easily with Zelle

  • Stay on top of revenue and expenses with Cash Flow Monitor

  • Access to small business specialists and a virtual assistant

Pros:

  • Backed with FDIC insurance

  • Offers loans, lines of credit, and credit cards

  • Options for in-person banking

  • Options for digital debit cards

Cons:

  • $16 monthly maintenance fee if you can’t meet certain conditions

  • Additional fees for transactions like out-of-network ATMs and overdrawing on your account

  • Must pay a fee to add extra users or accounts

  • Lacking integrations with common business software and tools

Ready to make a move?

While Nearside’s no monthly fees and no minimum balance checking account is easy to get set up on, it’s an account lacking some of the features that can help you scale your business. A lack of cash flow management or budgeting tools maye limits your ability to manage spend and hit your financial goals.

Business checking built for business owners

No account fees or minimum balances; 20 checking accounts; 50 virtual and physical debit cards. Open account 100% online.

Learn more

For an account with no monthly fees and no minimum balance that provides valuable insights to scale your operations, consider Relay. You can open up an account for free today