Compare Banking
6 min read

Relay vs. Bank of America: What's a Better Fit For Your Business?

By Matas Pranckevicius

Content Manager, Relay

Choosing where to bank isn’t easy, especially if you're deciding between a traditional or digital banking experience. To help you make the best choice, below we're taking a look at two business banking options: Bank of America and Relay (that’s us).

We’ll compare the two banking platforms based on the banking experience, pricing, fees, integrations, perks, and more. By the end, you’ll understand which account will serve you best.

In this article:

What is Relay?

At Relay, we know how much cash flow clarity contributes to entrepreneurial success. And getting clear on your cash flow starts with business banking. That’s why we worked with small business owners, their accountants, bookkeepers and CPAs, to develop a banking platform that works for everyone—from the online business startup to the established brick-and-mortar operation.

Relay is built to help business owners stay on top of exactly how much they’re earning, spending and saving.

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

You can open up a free business checking account with no minimum opening deposit either online or on our mobile app. Once you’re approved, you get access to an account with no monthly service fees, no overdraft fees, and no minimum balance requirements. Each account comes with up to 20 unique checking accounts for bucketing funds, budgeting with multiple accounts, or practicing Profit First. Relay also integrates with QuickBooks OnlineXero and Gusto, and every transaction in Relay is accompanied by detailed data—all of which helps you speed up bookkeeping

You also get up to 50 debit cards with custom withdrawal and spending limits and no ATM fees at 32,000 AllPoint ATMs. For just $30 a month, you can upgrade to Relay Pro for same day ACH transfers and our automated accounts payable platform.

What does Bank of America business banking offer?

There are two business checking accounts offered by Bank of America: Fundamentals and Relationship. Both account options have a minimum opening deposit requirement of $100 and come with a monthly fee ($16 for Fundamentals and $29.95 for Relationship). The monthly fees can be waived if certain conditions are met.

Fundamentals gives you unlimited fee-free electronic transactions, 200 non-electronic transactions (including checks paid and items deposited at a teller), and up to $7,500 fee-free cash deposits each month. To avoid the $16 monthly fee, you must maintain a $5,000 average monthly balance, or spend at least $250 on qualified purchases using your debit card.

Relationship upgrades your account to 500 non-electronic transactions a month and up to $20,000 fee-free cash deposits monthly. Account holders can also open up a savings account with no monthly fee and interest rates ranging from 0.01% to 0.04% APY. The criteria for waiving the $29.95 monthly fee is a $20,000 combined monthly average balance across all of your accounts.

Beyond checking accounts, Bank of America offers savings accounts, credit cards, business loans and lines of credit.

Differences between Relay and Bank of America

For a quick summary, here's a comparison table for the key features business owners might look for in business baking.

Banking feature comparison chart

Feature

Relay

Bank of America***

Ideal fit for

Small businesses with 2 to 100 employees

Small businesses wanting the convenience of branch banking

Entity types that can apply

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, S corporations, C corporations

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, S corporations, C corporations

Free checking accounts

✅ 20 free checking accounts with unique account and routing numbers

🟡 Business checking accounts start at $16 per account, though fees can be waived

No monthly account fees

⛔️

No minimum balance requirements

Unlimited Transactions

⛔️

No overdraft fees

⛔️

Free ACH payments

🟡 Up to 20 free

Free check deposits and incoming payments

⛔️ Incoming wire transfer fees vary

Mobile check deposits

No fees on deposits

Currency exchange for international wires

Domestic wires

$5 (Free with Relay Pro)

Fees vary and are subject to change

International wires

$10 (Free with Relay Pro)

Fees vary and are subject to change

Same-day ACH

✅ (Relay Pro)

⛔️

Business savings accounts

✅ Automated savings that earn you 1% to 3% APY*

🟡 Interest rates ranging from 0.01% to 0.04% APY

Debit cards

✅ (Up to 50)

Business credit cards

⛔️

Cashback and rewards on card spend

⛔️

🟡 Varies

Percentage-based auto-transfer rules

⛔️

Accounts payable automation

✅ (Relay Pro)

⛔️

Collaboration permissions

✅ (7 unique user permission levels)

QuickBooks Online integration

Xero integration

Gusto integration

⛔️

FDIC insured

✅*

Bank from

Web, iOS, or Android

Web, iOS, or Android

Trustpilot rating

4.5 Stars (Source)

1.4 Stars (Source)

*FDIC insurance provided by Thread Bank and Evolve Bank and Trust.

*** Please note the information on Bank of America's business banking services is gathered from its website and promotional materials. While we have conducted checks to ensure accuracy, the information is subject to change.

Additional banking services

For business owners looking for credit, Bank of America offers loans, lines of credit, and credit cards. Each service has perks if you’re part of the Preferred Rewards For Business network. For example, you can get additional cashback on credit card purchases, additional interest on savings accounts, and reduced interest rates for loans and financing.

These additional services and discounts make Bank of America a solution for business owners wanting a one-stop shop. But if you’re willing to shop around, you’ll likely find competitive rates at other providers without having perks locked behind bundling.

Multiple account budgeting

One way small business owners stay on top of their finances is multiple bank account budgeting. This involves having separate bank accounts for specific purposes like operating expenses, payroll, and taxes.

If you want to set up multiple accounts with Bank of America, you need to worry about account fees. If you’re part of the Preferred Rewards For Business network, it’s easier to avoid the monthly account fees since balances are totaled across all accounts. But if you miss out on the requirements to waive the fee, you risk having to pay a minimum $16 per month fee on each account. These fees add up quickly if you're using more than one account.

Relay makes multiple-account budgeting easy by giving you up to 20 checking accounts with no monthly maintenance fees. That means less time checking balances hoping to avoid fees, and more time tracking your financial goals.

Accounts payable automation

Both Relay and Bank of America offer accounts payable solutions. But how do they compare?

Besides basic in-account bill pay, Bank of America offers a separate platform from their online banking called Complete AP. Suppliers must submit their invoices directly to Complete AP, where you get alerts for approval. Once an invoice is approved, you have the option to pay by virtual card, ACH, and check with suppliers having the option to select their preferred payment method.

At Relay, we offer an accounts payable upgrade called Relay Pro. With Relay Pro, all invoices are automatically imported directly from your accounting software into your banking platform. Here, you can delegate the approval process to specific team members and create custom workflow rules based on the payment amount. Unlike Complete AP, this is all managed in one place, making it easy to manage your accounts payable online or on-the-go.

Customer support and ATM access

For some, the branch experience is a major selling point of traditional banks. Bank of America has over 4,200 branch locations and 16,000 ATMs in 37 states and Washington, D.C., but no branches or ATMs in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. While you can still open up an account if you’re in those states, you’ll miss out on the branch experience.

While Relay doesn’t have physical branches, we offer extensive online customer support. Our phone lines are open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM ET, and you can also reach our team outside of regular hours by email or online chat. You also get access to over 32,000 AllPoint ATMs for cash withdrawals.

Incidental and transaction fees

Relative to the competition, Bank of America has more incidental and transaction fees. While their Relationship accounts waive many of the fees, the more affordable Fundamentals account charges for many basic services like check images, copies of statements, and stopping payments. For newer businesses trying to take control of their cash flow, the fees can add up.

Relay is transparent with its fees. There are no fees for checks, ACH payments, or overdrafts, and we don’t lock basic services like check images and statements behind a paywall. With no hidden fees, you’ll know exactly what something will cost you before you take action.

Reliable wire transfer rates

Bank of America does list its fees for domestic and international wire transfers both incoming and outgoing. Their website states that they may change the fees for wire transfers at any time, and that additional fees and markups on currency conversions can occur. This lack of transparency means Fundamental account holders will have no idea how much sending or receiving a wire transfer will cost them until it's being made (Relationship accounts can qualify to waive standard fees).

At Relay, you don’t pay for incoming wire transfers. We only charge a flat fee of $5 to send a wire transfer domestically and $10 to send one internationally. If you’re on a Relay Pro account, all wire transfer fees are waived.

Choosing between Relay and Bank of America: What’s best for your business?

Whether you’re a new startup or have been in business for a while, choosing the right business bank account has the potential to improve your money management experience.

For some, the in-person banking experience paired with a full suite of financial services is the best fit. But for others, an online banking platform with lower fees and tools to help with budgeting and bill payments holds the key to saving time, effort, and money. What’s best for you ultimately depends on your business and your financial goals.

If you’re ready to open up a Relay account, you can get started today at no cost. Or see how we measure up against other banking options like Chase.