Posted: 02 April 2012
Part of starting Bitiotic required getting a "business" checking account. As far as I can tell these are just like personal checking accounts, but there is a business name on them, and the banks think its an excuse to charge fees. I can understand why banks charge a fee for services like counting piles of currency every day or dealing with piles of checks every day, but for an online app seller where the app market aggregates all sales into a single monthly transaction, there isn't much I need from a business checking account.
I spent some time searching around for a reasonable bank for my limited needs. Here are my notes on the banks (and credit unions) I found. Note that having a physical bank near me (i.e., in the California Bay Area) is a plus for me, but not required. Also, I generally ignored the "transactions per month" limits, as anything more than 10 or 20 transactions should be sufficient for my uses.
These are in no particular order. Details are from March 2012. There are a lot more limits and caveats on many of these accounts that I'm not listing, so do not assume something listed here will match your requirements or expectations.
- Stanford Federal Credit Union: $2.5k minimum, all electronic, Palo Alto
- California Bank and Trust: $2.5k minimum, $8/mo "PC banking" fee
- America First Credit Union: $9.95/mo if Bill Pay isn't used
- Crescent Credit Union: Have to live in one of 5 towns in MA.
- Comerica Bank: $6.95/mo for Web BillPay
- Union Bank: Daily $3k, Monthly $6k minimums to avoid $10/mo fee
- San Mateo Credit Union: $4k minimum, 10 free payments/mo w/BillPay, $7.50/mo buried on fee schedule
- First Internet Bank: $10/mo fee + $10.95/mo online bill pay fee, PLUS $0.20/transaction. Wow.
- Bank of the West: $2k/day+$4k/mo minimum balance,
- Provident Credit Union: $7.5k/day minimum, (earns interest), requires savings acct, local branch,
- ETrade: $1k minimum, no limits, (upgrade to $5k minimum to earn interest)
- PNC Financial Services Group: Free, no limits, $5k/mo incoming limit (With $5k balance, can setup interest-bearing account), based in Pittsburg(?), require in-person step to open account
- First National Bank of Northern California: $1.5k minimum, online $10/mo, BillPay $9.95/mo,
- US Bank: $2.5k deposit limit/mo
- Citibank: $5k minimum
- TransPacific National Bank: $1.5k minimum/day OR $3k minimum/mo,
- Wells Fargo: $3k minimum/day, $6k minimum/mo, $5k deposit limit/mo
- Merriwest Credit Union: No minimums, no fees (!), San Jose/Mt.View
- Bank of America: A mess of footnotes and "rules will change May 18, 2012".
- HSBC: No fees, no minimum, ("Business Direct", beware the "FDIC fee" only explained in person)
- Capital One: No minimum, no fees. Requires going to Texas or Louisiana!
- Chase: $7.5k minimum/mo, "Check Safekeeping" $15/mo (?)