Compare Banking
6 min read

11 Best Novo Bank Alternatives

By Lindsey Stefanka

Founder & Content Strategist, Mind My Content

When it comes to managing your cash flow, your business bank can be the difference between financial clarity and financial clutter. 🗄 Which end do you want to be on?

If you’re a small business owner looking for a bank account with robust financial features and minimal monthly maintenance fees, this guide is for you! We’ve put together 11 of the most popular business bank options to fit your needs, including neobanks, traditional banks and dedicated expense management platforms.

Here are the best Novo alternatives for SMBs:

And here are the best Novo alternatives grouped by category:

Ready to dive into each of the best Novo bank alternatives? First, let’s go over what exactly Novo is.

What is Novo?

Novo is a financial technology company built for small businesses that are looking for better cash flow and budgeting transparency. It’s key to note that Novo is not technically a bank itself, but rather a neobank that partners with Middlesex Federal Savings to deliver banking services. Novo promises better business finances on the go by connecting to integrations, sending invoices and paying vendors.

Freelancers, startup founders and small business owners can open a free business checking account securely and easily online. You do not need to maintain a minimum balance to hold an account, though a $50 deposit is required to get started. 

Novo offers an invoice creation feature, making it a great option for service-based SMBs. Additional perks include refunds on all ATM fees, plus discounts on Quickbooks Online, Hubspot and Zendesk.

Why you need a Novo alternative

While Novo is a great banking option for small, service-based businesses, many owners find themselves outgrowing their services. Whether you’re transitioning from a sole proprietorship to a business partnership, or you’re scaling rapidly, you may find yourself looking for a Novo bank alternative.

While Novo’s invoicing feature is a nice perk, alternative neobank options may be able to offer better cash flow management for SMBs that need to take their cash flow more seriously. Features like multiple bank accounts allow business owners to use the envelope budgeting method to separate finances. Let’s compare some of the top Novo bank alternatives. 👇

Neobank alternatives to Novo

A neobank, or digital bank, is a bank without branches that operates completely online. Unlike traditional banks, neobanks offer a robust suite of online banking services to help you better manage and take control of your finances. They also provide low-cost or free accounts, while traditional banks often have associated fees. 

The best neobanks offer minimum fees, digital convenience, and multiple accounts for easy budgeting and cash flow categorization. 

Relay

Best Novo Banking Alternative | Relay

Relay is an online banking and money management platform for SMBs that want to stay on top of their money. We know that small businesses continue to be underserved by the banking industry, which is why we’ve built banking that truly helps small businesses get unparalleled clarity into their income and expenses.

Relay makes it easy to understand precisely what you’re earning, spending and saving so you can make the smartest decisions for your business. Collect income in one place, use up to 20 checking accounts to organize and allocate income, separate cash reserves, and make more intelligent cash flow decisions with Relay. 

Compare Relay vs Novo here.

Features: 

  • 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 processors like PayPal, Stripe, Square and more

  • Direct integrations with QuickBooks Online and Xero

Pros: 👍

  • Truly built for SMBs with 1 - 100 employees

  • FDIC Insured

  • Up to 50 physical or virtual debit Mastercards

  • Free withdrawals from Allpoint ATMs — 50,000+ across the U.S.

  • Free domestic and international wires with Relay Pro

  • Quickbooks, Xero and Gusto integrations

  • Can easily request payee information and W-9s

  • Accounts payable automation with Relay Pro

Cons: 👎

  • No savings accounts ❌

  • No venture funding ❌

Mercury

Neobank Similar to Novo — Mercury Image

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

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, making it the best option for tech-focused startups.

See the big differences between Mercury vs. Relay here.

Features:

  • Serves tech and venture-backed startups

  • No monthly service fees

  • No minimum balance requirements

  • No overdraft fees

  • Free ACH payments

  • No fees on deposits

  • Free checking accounts: 15

Pros: 👍

  • FDIC Insured

  • 1 savings account per business with 0.001% interest

  • Venture debt program

  • Free domestic and international wires

  • Quickbooks and Xero integrations

Cons: 👎

  • Only 1 debit card per user 

  • Limited payee management features

  • Hyperfocused on tech startups vs. general SMBs

  • No accounts payable automation ❌

  • No Gusto integration ❌

Brex

Brex As Alternative To Novo Bank

Brex is an all-in-one financial management platform that promises to help founders, finance teams, and employees to spend smart and grow fast. Brex offers banking services, charge cards, capital, and spend management all in one place.

Though Brex previously served businesses of all sizes, including SMBs, it recently announced that starting August 15, 2022, the company will no longer serve thousands of small business customers. This is part of a renewed focus on high-growth tech startups. 

Compare Relay vs Brex here.

Features:

  • Serves tech and venture-backed startups

  • No monthly account fees

  • No minimum balance requirements

  • No overdraft fees

  • Free ACH payments

  • No fees on deposits

  • Free checking accounts: 8

Pros: 👍

  • FDIC Insured

  • Offers startup funding

  • Free domestic and international wires

  • Cashback and rewards on credit card spend

Cons: 👎

  • Hyperfocused on tech startups vs. general SMBs

  • Doesn’t serve sole proprietorships ❌

  • Doesn’t offer savings accounts ❌

  • No cash withdrawals at ATMs ❌

See 9 Brex alternatives for SMBs

Bluevine

Bluevine — Alternative  Neobank to Novo

Bluevine is an all-in-one digital banking experience known for its high-yield checking accounts. With Bluevine, you can get 1.5% APY on balances up to and including $100,000. It’s a good option for businesses with a significant amount of cash in the bank, though there are requirements you’ll have to meet to earn that interest on your checking account:

  • Use Bluevine’s Business Debit Mastercard on at least $500 of purchases each month.

  • Receive a total of $2,500 or more per month from customers.

While the interest percentage can be enticing, Bluevine’s biggest downfall is the amount of hidden fees for cash deposits, outgoing domestic wires and more.  

Compare Relay vs Bluevine here.

Features:

  • No monthly account fees

  • No minimum opening balance 

  • No overdraft fees

  • Free ACH payments

  • No fees on deposits

  • Free checking accounts: 1 + 5 subaccounts

Pros: 👍

  • FDIC Insured

  • 1.5% APY

  • Free incoming wires

  • 2 free checkbooks every year

  • Deposit cash at 90,000 GreenDot locations

Cons: 👎

  • Does not support international wires ❌

  • $15 outgoing domestic wire fee

  • $2.50 out-of-network ATM fee

  • 2.9% bill pay with credit card transaction fee

  • $4.95 cash deposit fee 

Lili

Novo Bank Alternative — Lili

Lili offers business banking built for entrepreneurs, freelancers, contractors, sole proprietors and single-member LLCs. Along with basic banking features, Lili offers ​​tax optimizer tools, like a write-off tracker and tax buckets, as well as accounting software. Lili also promises zero account, overdraft, foreign transaction and ATM fees. 

The big difference is that Lili has low monthly limits for check deposits and external transfers, making it most useful for one-person businesses. 

Features:

  • No monthly account fees

  • No minimum balance fees

  • Tax saving tools

  • Expense categorization

  • Free checking accounts: 1

Pros: 👍

  • FDIC Insured

  • Free cash withdrawals

  • Overdraft up to $200

  • Cashback at participating merchants

  • Deposit cash at 90,000 GreenDot locations

Cons: 👎

  • Does not currently allow domestic or international wires ❌

  • Limited to $1,000/month in external transfers

  • Only 1 Visa debit card per business

  • $4.95 cash deposit fee at ATM

  • Limit of $6,000 in monthly check deposits

  • No accounting integration with Xero

Expense management alternatives to Novo

Expense management solutions can help your business manage employee spending, reimbursements, travel requests and more. The right expense management solution and accounting software can streamline and reduce the time spent on managing your expenses, allowing you to return to the work you love.

Ramp

Ramp as Best Novo Alternative for Spend Management

Ramp is an expense management platform that helps you automate financial busywork. Ramp offers visibility into your business finances with real-time reporting, trends, insights, analysis, and forecasting features. 

With streamlined workflows, like bill payments, onboarding and travel, Ramp promises to save you time and help you focus on scaling your business. 

Features:

  • No annual account fees

  • No overdraft fees

  • Free ACH payments

  • 1.5% back on every purchase

  • Merchant and category controls

  • Unlimited AI invoice transcripts

  • 24/7 customer support

Pros: 👍

  • Free domestic and international wires

  • Quickbooks, Xero and Gusto integrations

  • Unlimited virtual and physical cards

  • Apple and Google Pay

Cons: 👎

  • Minimum cash reserve balance of $75,000

  • Only available to registered, incorporated businesses 

  • Not available to sole proprietors ❌

  • No mobile app ❌

  • No business checking account ❌

Divvy

Divvy Spend Management — Similar to Novo

Divvy provides streamlined expense reporting so you can execute month-end. Divvy also allows you to understand and categorize business spending in real-time with expense tracking, business credit reconciliation and automated expense reports. 

Divvy can provide automatic receipt matching and rule-based auto-categorization. Capture expense information, review, approve and sync transactions all in one place. 

Features:

  • Serves businesses with 1-500 employees

  • No annual account fees

  • No overdraft fees

  • Mobile app

  • Time and expense tracking

  • Activity dashboard

Pros: 👍

  • FDIC insured

  • Free domestic wires

  • Unlimited physical and virtual cards

  • Up to 7X points on certain transactions

  • Duplicate payment alert

Cons: 👎

  • 0.2%-0.9% foreign transaction fee

  • 2.99% or $38 late fee

  • No business checking account ❌

Airbase

Airbase as Alternative to Novo

Airbase replaces manual workflows with a single automated spend management platform. It’s designed to give visibility and control, so that company purchasing is safe, easy and efficient.

Airbase helps your pay vendors, manage card spending, reimburse employees and more. With standardized practices, you can eliminate reconciliations, create an audit trail, and form a single source of truth for all company spending.

Features:

  • Serves businesses with 1-5,000 employees

  • No annual account fees for certain accounts

  • Mobile app

  • Software-controlled physical and virtual cards

  • Payment via ACH, check, vendor credits and virtual cards

  • Domestic and international payment support 

Pros: 👍

  • Pre-funded cards with up to 2% cash back

  • Duplicate spend alerts and fraud detection

  • Quickbooks, Xero and Gusto integrations

  • 1099 Preparation

Cons: 👎

  • Auto-lock is only available for certain accounts

  • Account fees vary for certain accounts

  • Caters mostly to mid-market and enterprise-level

  • Mainly focused on reducing spend

  • No business checking account ❌

Expensify

Expensify as Alternative to Novo

Expensify is a tool that automates expense management and receipt tracking. It promises to streamline your entire pre-accounting process and sync seamlessly with Xero and QuickBooks Online. With Expensify, you can track expenses, submit expense reports, pay bills, generate invoices, collect payments, track mileage and plan trips with 4% back on Expensify Card purchases.

Features:

  • Serves SMBs and enterprise businesses

  • Access controls

  • Activity tracking

  • Corporate card reconciliation

  • Accounting, HR and travel integrations

  • Basic analytical tools for expenses

  • Real-time alerts

Pros: 👍

  • Quickbooks, Xero and Gusto integrations

  • One-Click receipt scanning

  • Advanced tax tracking

  • Automated reminders

  • Duplicate expense detection

Cons: 👎

  • Only a pre-accounting app

  • Too comprehensive for sole proprietors

  • Lack of user support

  • No multiple approval workflows on lower-tier pricing plans ❌

  • No business checking account ❌

Traditional bank alternatives to Novo

Traditional banks have physical branches. While some traditional banks offer basic mobile banking services, they still require you to visit a physical site for many services like opening and closing an account. Of the most popular big banks, there are two traditional options that many business owners gravitate towards for their banking needs: Chase and Bank of America. 

Chase

Alternative to Novo from Traditional Bank Category — Chase

Chase business checking solutions are designed to help you manage cash flow, save time, and get the support you need when you need it. It offers three business account tiers to fit your needs and a $300 sign-on bonus.

With Chase, you can seamlessly manage your cash flow, deposits, incoming wires, and payroll through Chase Business Online and the Chase Mobile® app.

Features:

  • Chase Business Online and Online Bill Pay 

  • Chase Mobile® Banking 

  • Free Chase debit card with chip technology

  • Associate Debit and Employee Deposit Cards

  • Chase business savings account

  • Access to 16,000 ATMs and more than 4,700 branches

Pros: 👍

  • FDIC insured

  • No minimum opening deposit.

  • Unlimited electronic deposits.

  • Chance to earn $300 sign-up bonus.

  • Access to over 16,000 Chase ATMs and 4,700 branches across the U.S.

  • Corporate credit card processing

Cons: 👎

  • $15 monthly fee or $0 with $2,000 of minimum daily balance

  • Minimum balance requirements can hinder envelope budgeting strategies

  • Fee-free cash deposits limited to $5,000 per month

  • Fee-free physical transactions limited to 20 per month

  • High overdraft fees

Bank of America

Novo Alternative — Bank of America

Bank of America business bank accounts are designed to move your business forward with financial tools, services and dedicated support, all in one place. Bank of America offers two primary business checking accounts: Business Advantage Fundamentals Banking and Business Advantage Relationship Banking. Both of which require monthly maintenance fees.

In addition to these core options, Bank of America offers digital tools like cash flow monitoring, digital debit cards, profile linking between personal and business accounts and more. 

Features:

  • Efficiency tools like Cash Flow Monitor®

  • Mobile Check Deposit

  • Zelle® for your business

  • Access to dedicated small business specialists

  • Fraud protection and security

  • Savings account for an additional cost

  • Payroll Services Cash Back

Pros: 👍

  • FDIC insured

  • Digital debit cards

  • Free domestic wires

  • Profile linking

  • 25%-75% Rewards Bonus

Cons: 👎

  • $16 monthly fee or $0 with a $5,000 combined average monthly balance

  • Minimum balance requirements can hinder envelope budgeting strategies

  • High incidental fees

  • Charges to use non-Bank of America ATMs

  • $100 minimum deposit requirement

  • Up to $7,500 free cash deposits, then 30 cents per $100 deposit

Relay makes managing your finances easy 

If you’re ready to make the switch to a business bank with unmatched cash flow clarity, consider Relay. We’ve built a business banking platform that truly helps SMBs. Spend, save and plan more efficiently with unparalleled clarity into operating expenses, cash flow and accounts payable. Make the switch today.