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Small Business Bank Accounts at the Top 5 US Banks

small business bank accounts at the top 5 US banks

Trying to decide where to open a bank account for your small business? You’ll want to look at both local and national banks to find the best one for you. It’s not possible for an internet article to cover all the local banks, so let’s take a look at the small business bank accounts at the top 5 US banks.

Once you know the offerings at the big national banks, you can quickly compare the accounts at couple of local banks. Then, you can make the best decision for your business.

Why is it Important to also Look at Local Banks when Comparing Small Business Bank Accounts at the Top 5 US Banks?

Banking is probably one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world. In the US, every bank must follow both federal and state laws. But each state’s law is a bit different, so it’s complicated for a bank to do business in many states. This is why even the biggest banks do not keep physical locations in every state.

Lately, though, banks are becoming more focused of internet banking. So, the banks can now acquire new customers in states where they don’t have a physical location.

For some small businesses—especially the ones that operate online only—internet banking can be all they need. But this isn’t true for all businesses. Many businesses still take cash payments, and that cash has to be taken to a bank branch to be deposited. So, if a national bank doesn’t have a physical branch near a cash-based business, then the bank won’t work for that business.

Still, it’s important to get a feel for what big banks consider to be standard terms, fees, and services. This is why we’re surveying the offerings of small business bank accounts at the top 5 US banks.

Once you compare the big banks’ offerings with your local banks’ offerings, you’ll be able to find the best small business bank account that fits your business’s unique needs.  

Which are the Top 5 Biggest Banks in the US?

According to the US Federal Reserve, the five biggest commercial banks in the US, as of March 31, 2021, are:

  1. JP Morgan Chase
  2. Bank of America
  3. Wells Fargo
  4. Citibank
  5. US Bank

The top four banks are also known as The Big Four. Looking at their consolidated assets, the fifth largest bank—US Bank—is only a third as large as the fourth largest bank, Citibank.

What Services Should Be Included in a Great Small Business Bank Account?

We believe a great small business bank account should have the following:

  • Checking account with low minimum deposit requirement
  • Savings account
  • Bill pay (preferably no fee)
  • Credit card with no annual fee
  • Free mobile deposit
  • Free Zelle
  • Wire transfer available

For a more detailed explanation on why we think each service is important, take a look at our article How to Pick the Best Small Business Bank Account.

Note that not every big bank offers every service we consider to be important.

We have a big comparison table near the end of this article on each of these services. But, let’s start with a little information about each of the five biggest banks in the US.


Chase (officially, JP Morgan Chase) is currently the biggest commercial bank in the US. It is also one of the oldest. In the beginning, the bank was called the Bank of Manhattan Company, and it was started by Aaron Burr in 1799. It grew by acquiring or merging with other big banks and went by many names until it became the JP Morgan Chase of today.

Chase is a very big bank offering a large range of services. Still, if you scroll down to the fine print at the bottom of its website, you’ll see that even the biggest bank in the US does not offer all their financial products in every state.

As to Chase’s small business accounts, it offers several types of business checking and saving accounts. The Chase Business Complete Checking is the checking account best for a starter small business. The Chase Business Total Savings is the business savings account most suited for a starter business. The two Chase small business accounts can be linked to reach the minimum balance required to waive bank fees.

Lastly, like other banks, Chase offers a slew of ancillary services to its small business customers. We don’t believe most of these services will save you money. However, Chase’s credit card processing services does offer good service at a fair price. And it automatically comes with the Chase Business Complete Checking account. So, if you ever need to take credit card payments, it’s nice to know that Chase’s small business account holders do get a fair deal.

Here are some additional Chase small business account fees information:

Bank of America

Bank of America is the second largest bank in the US. It traces its origins to the Bank of Italy, which opened in 1904 in San Francisco serving mostly Italian immigrants. Today, Bank of America operates in all 50 states, but does not have physical locations in every state.

Bank of America offers a variety of business checking and savings accounts for small businesses. We think the Business Advantage Fundamentals Banking is the checking account most suited for a small startup business. You can link it to a starter small business savings account called the Business Advantage Savings Account.

Bank of America seems to be moving its clients towards electronic money transfers. You can no longer write checks or use a debit card from the savings account, for instance. As well, many of its electronic transfers are free and unlimited. Bank of America small business accounts have one of the most generous Zelle transfers limits among the big banks.

Here are additional information to Bank of America’s small business account offerings:

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo was formed in 1852 in California by the same folks who started the American Express Company. For a while, it was a part of the Pony Express. Wells Fargo currently operates under Charter #1, which is the first charter for a national bank granted in the US. It inherited this charter when it bought Wachovia in 2008.

While Wells Fargo does provide various banking services nationwide, it does not have physical locations in every state. For instance, it sold its physical locations in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio to another bank in 2018.

Wells Fargo small business accounts include both checking and savings accounts. We recommend the Initiate Business Checking for a starter small business checking account. We recommend the Business Market Rate Savings for your small business savings account. Both types of Wells Fargo small business accounts have fairly low minimum balance requirements for waiving the bank service fees.

If you’re in a state that Wells Fargo doesn’t have a physical location, you can still open an account with them. You and Wells Fargo would work under California banking laws.

Here are the links to the Wells Fargo small business account fees:


Citibank started as The City Bank of New York in 1812. It grew quickly through a series of mergers and acquisitions. However, in the past decade or so, it seems to be downsizing, at least in physical banking locations. Currently, you can only find Citibank physical locations in six major US cities: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Miami.

You can still open a Citibank small business account, even if it doesn’t have a physical location near you. Just bank online. We think the CitiBusiness Streamlined Checking is the checking account most suited for a starter small business. It has a very high minimum balance requirement of $5,000 for waiving bank fees.

You can open a money market account or a savings account for your business as well. We recommend the CitiBusiness Savings Account. You only have to keep a minimum balance of $500 to get a waiver for the bank fees. One thing of note, like Bank of America, you can’t write checks from your savings account. You’ll have to use electronic transfers instead.

Here are the Citibank small business account fees information:

US Bank

US Bank’s physical branches are mainly in the Western and Midwestern states. Like the other big banks, it grew through mergers and acquisitions. It traces its origins to the First National Bank of Cincinnati, which started in 1863.

US Bank small business accounts’ starter checking account is called the Silver Business Checking. This account has no monthly maintenance fees, so you won’t have to worry about keeping a minimum balance. However, depending on how you run your business, you might run up against the monthly free transaction limits. So, think carefully before you open a US Bank checking account.

US Bank offers a starter savings account called the Basic Business Savings. It does require a minimum balance to avoid bank fees, but they do not disclose what that balance might be.

Just like Chase, US Bank’s Silver Business Checking account comes with credit card processing. This is because US Bank owns one of the biggest credit card processors in the US called Elavon. However, Elavon is not known for good customer service or fair processing rates. Fortunately, you are free to sign up with other credit card processors, so you’re not stuck with Elavon.

US Bank small business account holders used to have to pay a transaction fee for taking payments through Zelle. However, to adjust for COVID-19, they’ve waived the fee, so Zelle is now a free service. It’s uncertain if this change is permanent. Look here for additional information about Zelle.

Detailed US Bank small business account fees information are difficult to find on the internet. It does not seem to publish this information publicly.

Comparison Chart of Small Business Bank Accounts at the Top 5 US Banks

Below is our at-a-glance comparison table of the small business bank accounts at the top 5 US banks. We compare only the categories of services we consider to be essential for running a small business.

Note that the table lists simplified information. For example, while we list one way to avoid bank fees, other methods might exist. We encourage you to look into the bank’s fees schedule to understand all the fees and ways to avoid them.

ChaseBank of AmericaWells FargoCitibankUS Bank
Checking AccountChase Business Complete CheckingBusiness Advantage Fundamentals BankingInitiate Business Checking  CitiBusiness Streamlined CheckingSilver Business Checking
Savings AccountChase Business Total SavingsBusiness Advantage SavingsBusiness Market Rate SavingsCitiBusiness SavingsBasic Business Savings
Minimum Balance to Avoid Fees$2,000 min daily; can combine with Savings$5,000 combined with all linked accounts but Savings must maintain $2,500 minimum$500 daily or $1,000 monthly average for checking; $300 for checking$5,000 for checking and $500 for savingsNo minimum for checking; minimum required for savings but amount not disclosed
Transaction FeesUp to 20 teller and paper checks/month free and $0.40/trans after; ACH, Chase ATM, debit, mobile deposit, internal transfers unlimited freeUp to 200 teller and checks per month free and $0.45/trans thereafter; ACH, B of A ATM, debit, mobile deposit, online deposit unlimited freeUp to 100 free for all types and $0.50/trans thereafterUp to 250 free for all types of transactions and $0.45/trans thereafterUp to 125 free for all types of transactions and $0.50/trans thereafter
Cash Deposit FeesFirst $5,000 free; additional amounts depend on method of depositFirst $7,500 free; $0.30 per $100 thereafterFirst $5,000 free; $0.30 per $100 thereafterFirst $10,000 free; additional amounts depend on method of deposit25 free and does not seem to have transaction limit
No Annual Fee Credit CardAvailableAvailableAvailableNot availableAvailable
Mobile DepositAvailable and freeAvailable and freeAvailable; currently no deposit limits or fees but limits and fees may apply in the futureIncluded in the 250 free transactions limitIncluded in the 125 free transactions limit
Bill PayFree from one designated accountFree for online and mobileFree for online and mobileFree for online and mobileIncluded in the 125 free transactions limit
ZelleFree. Per transaction, daily, and monthly limits apply.Free. Very generous per transaction, daily, and monthly limits applyFree. Transaction limits for receiving and sendingFree. Daily and monthly transaction limits applyFree for now. Sending limits apply.
Wire TransferFree between Chase customers; otherwise fees vary between $15-$50Varies. Outbound between $30-$45 depending on domestic or internationalVaries. Between $15-$45 depending on domestic or internationalVaries. Between $15-$65 depending on domestic or international, online or in personVaries. Between $14-$70 depending on domestic or international, sending or receiving
Other Notable ServicesCredit card processing services comes with account   Credit card processing services comes with account
Comparison Table of Small Business Bank Accounts at the Top 5 US Banks

Notes: All rates and fees valid as of August 2021. Rates and fees may vary based on your location. The rates and fees listed are based on a Texas location.

The Business of Banking is Changing as Consumer Habits Change, so Expect Small Bank Account Offerings to Change Too

More and more, both businesses and consumers are moving towards online money transfers over cash and checks. And the trend’s sped up by the COVID-19 crisis. Small business bank accounts at the top 5 US banks are changing too, to accommodate this trend.

The large banks have opened up more free ways for businesses to transfer money online, whether through ACH, Zelle, or electronic bill pay. They’re also subtly discouraging the use of cash and paper checks by lowering the number of free transfers per month.

If your business fits this electronic transfers trend, opening bank accounts with these big banks might make sense. However, if your business is more cash focused, you might want to take a closer look at local bank offerings. Once you make a comparison based on your actual or expected business needs, you’ve found the best small business bank account for your business.

Interested in starting and running a small business? Here’s the beginning of our step-by-step guide: What to do right after getting that great business idea.

Questions? Comments?