Compare Banking
6 min read

Relay vs Chase: What Banking is Best for Your Business?

By Matas Pranckevicius

Content Manager, Relay

Business banking has evolved dramatically over the past decade. With the emergence of digital banking, small business owners no longer need to go to their local branch to get their business finances in order. Now, they can sign up and do all of their banking from the comfort of their own home. But how does this experience stack up against traditional banking?

To help guide you to a choice, we’ve broken down the differences between Chase—one of the most popular traditional financial institutions among business owners—and Relay (that’s us). We’ll give you a full rundown of the fees, features, and functionality that will help guide you to a decision with confidence.

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 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 managing cash using the Profit First method. Relay also integrates with QuickBooks Online, Xero 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 are Chase’s business banking options?

Chase bank offers three small business banking options with different businesses in mind. When signing up for an account, you can choose between the following account options:

  1. Chase Business Complete Banking: The essentials of banking with a $15 monthly fee that’s waived if you meet a $2,000 daily minimum account balance. You get unlimited debit card purchases and ATM transactions with a $5,000 limit on cash deposits.

  2. Chase Performance Business Checking: For a $30 monthly fee (which can be waived at a “$35,000 combined average beginning day balance”), your cash deposit limit is increased to $20,000 and you get unlimited electronic deposits and incoming wire transfers.

  3. Chase Platinum Business Checking: The monthly fee is increased to $95 but waived at a $100,000 combined average beginning day balance. The cash deposit limit is increased to $25,000 and cash management support is unlocked.

Chase describes the Complete Banking account as the best for small businesses, so that will be our focus here.

Beyond checking accounts, Chase offers savings accounts with interest rates ranging from 0.01% to 0.02% APY. Their savings accounts have bonuses for business checking account holders, including waived monthly fees and higher generated interest. If you’re looking to open both a checking and savings account, this is something to consider.

Differences between Relay and Chase

For a quick summary, we created a comparison table for the key features business owners look for in a business bank account. Then read on for a more in-depth breakdown of how Relay and Chase compare.

Features comparison chart

Feature

Relay

Chase***

Ideal fit for

Small businesses with 2 to 100 employees

Small businesses wanting a full suite of services from a single provider

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 individual checking accounts with unique account and routing numbers

⛔️ Starts at $15 per account

No monthly account fees

⛔️

No minimum balance requirements

Unlimited Transactions

⛔️

No overdraft fees

🟡 No fees if overdraw is less than $50, or overdrawn for less than 24 hours

Free ACH payments

⛔️

Free check deposits and incoming payments

Mobile check deposits

No fees on deposits

Currency exchange for international wires

Domestic wires

✅ $5 (Free with Relay Pro)

✅ $25

International wires

✅ $10 (Free with Relay Pro)

- $40 if sent in USD,

- $5 for amounts in foreign currency equalling less than $5,000 USD

- Free for amounts in foreign currency equalling greater than $5,000 USD

Same-day ACH

✅ (Relay Pro)

✅ (Fee of 1% of the payment amount up to $25)

Savings accounts

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

🟡 Available, offering 0.01% to 0.02% APY

Debit cards

✅ (Up to 50)

🟡 (One per owner)

Business credit cards

⛔️

Cashback and rewards on card spend

⛔️

⛔️

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)

1.3 Stars (Source)

*The interest rates and annual percentage yield on your account are accurate as of 05/16/23 and are variable and subject to change based on the target range of the Federal Funds rate. APY will vary between 1-3% depending on the balances held. Earn 1% APY on savings balances of less than $50,000, 1.5% APY on savings between $50,000 and $250,000, 2% APY on savings balances between $250,000 and $1,000,000 and 3% APY on savings balances of more than $1,000,000. There are no minimum balances or minimum deposits required to earn interest on your account.

**FDIC insurance provided by Thread Bank.

*** Please note the information on Chase'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.

Multiple checking accounts

With a Chase checking account, you get exactly one checking account. If you want to open up more, that account is going to have the exact same terms and conditions as the first. So if you want to have separate accounts for different purposes, you’d need to meet the minimum balance requirement for each. Otherwise, you’re paying a monthly maintenance fee for every additional account.

Relay makes setting up multiple accounts easier and more affordable. We understand that using multiple bank accounts for budgeting is a great way to enable cash flow clarity, so you get up to 20 checking accounts per Relay account. This lets you create individual accounts for operating expeneses, payroll, tax budgeting, and more right out of the box and at no extra cost. 

A full suite of services

Beyond bank accounts, Chase offers business loans, lines of credit, credit cards, and merchant services. Combining services is what lets you claim perks from Chase. For example, the checking account’s monthly maintenance fee is waived if you have a certain amount of transactions going through your Chase Ink Business Card or if you process enough card payments using Chase QuickAccept.

At Relay, we focus on working with the infrastructure you already have. Your experience isn’t affected by making a switch elsewhere in your business, nor do we lock bonuses behind using certain products. You get the same quality banking services at a clear price (which is $0 for most things).

Monthly maintenance fees

A Chase business banking account starts at $15 per month but can be waived if you meet certain requirements. To have the monthly fee waived, you must fall under one of the following categories:

  • Maintain a $2,000 minimum daily balance. This means you can’t fall under $2,000 for a single day in a month.

  • Spend at least $2,000 on a Chase Ink credit card throughout the month. This might be challenging for businesses that don’t want or need a credit card.

  • Accept at least $2,000 in deposits from a Chase payment processor. For businesses already set up on another payment solution like Square, Stripe, or Shopify, this will require a change in infrastructure.

  • Link a Chase Private Client Checking account. However, this account comes with its own eligibility criteria that might be difficult to meet.

  • Provide qualifying proof of military status.

Busy business owners shouldn’t have to keep track of these small, easy-to-misss details just to save on a monthly fee.

At Relay, our accounts have no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance. You get to enjoy a fee-free bank account regardless of your cash flow for any given month. No unexpected fees or obsessing over account conditions.

Powered up payroll

Relay’s banking platform connects directly with Gusto to enhance the payroll experience. Setting up team access to your Relay account is easy, as you can import all employee data directly from Gusto.

To ensure no direct deposit transactions bounce, our platform notifies you if you’re short of the current payroll amount. This allows you to move money around ahead of paying employees to avoid the hassle of budgeting and processing your payroll a second time. Once the payment is processed, the transaction in Relay is given a detailed breakdown of wages, taxes, and garnishments.

Chase does not offer payroll integrations with any providers. You’d have to log into a separate account for any details on payroll payments or to confirm your balance will cover all wages, salaries, and payroll taxes.

For businesses working with contractors and freelancers, Relay also makes the 1099 process easy. Any freelancer can input their own W-9 forms and payee information so you have one less thing to worry about when filing 1099 forms.

Accounts payable automation

Nobody loves the bill-paying process. It’s tedious. That’s why a Relay Pro subscription comes with an automated accounts payable solution. Any bills recorded in either QuickBooks or Xero are imported directly into your Relay account for review and payment. 

You have full flexibility to create workflow rules that suit your organization — whether it’s automatically approving bills under a specific limit or delegating approval to another member of the team. To then cover your bill, you can choose between any of the payment options Relay offers like ACH payments, wire transfers, and checks.

While Chase offers bill payment solutions, it lacks the ability to import bills from your accounting software or mark them as paid afterward. This makes paying bills a multi-step process of reviewing the invoice in your accounting software, making the payment in your banking platform, and then going back to your accounting software to mark the invoice as paid.

Customer support

Some business owners opt for traditional banks because they think that in-person means better customer support. But Relay doesn’t have hours of operation. While we’re available by phone between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM ET, we provide support via email outside of regular hours, and we also have online chat support, which is accessible by a web browser or our mobile banking app. You’re never left waiting for a local branch to open to get in contact with our banking experts.

Choosing between Relay and Chase: What’s best for your business?

The best business checking account for you depends on what you value most from a bank. A Chase checking account works best for businesses looking for a full suite of services from a single institution. If you’re looking to open up a checking account, credit card, savings account, and adopt a new payment processor, Chase can be your one-stop shop. Each account offers perks that make it an enticing all-in-one package, but know you’ll be locked into that ecosystem.

When choosing Relay, you not only get a platform that works with the tech that you already have, but will work with anything you want to change to in the future. You’re not locked into any additional services you don’t want and can freely shop elsewhere for payment processing, business loans, credit cards, and more. Our in-platform tools help budget for the future, manage team spending with up to 50 business debit cards, and completely automate the accounts payable process. Plus you still get ATM access at 32,000+ AllPoint ATMs.

Get started today or see how we measure up against other providers like Bank of America.