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When It’s Worth Making The Switch: Best Banks for Small Business Checking Accounts

When It’s Worth Making The Switch: Best Banks for Small Business Checking Accounts

By | 07.20.19
When It’s Worth Making The Switch: Best Banks for Small Business Checking Accounts

As a small business owner, you have relationships with a lot of different vendors. But few are as important as the one you have with your bank. After all, if someone’s handling your money, it better be someone you can trust.

But according to a recent study, the relationship between small business and bank isn’t always great. In fact, a recent J.D. Power study found that only 37% of small business banking customers say their bank appreciates their business, and just 32% say their bank understands their business.

If you’re one of the small business owners who feels misunderstood or unappreciated by your current bank, consider switching to a new one. We’ll break down some reasons why you might want to switch, how to decide if it’s worth it, and which banks have been rated best for small business.

Reasons Why Small Businesses Switch Banks

You probably have your own reasons for loving or hating your bank. Here are some common reasons other small businesses choose to switch banks and how to decide if it’s worth making the switch.

1. Too Many Fees

It’s hard to feel good about a bank that seems to charge you a fee anytime you try to use your money or even ask a question about it. From service, transaction and deposit fees to overdraft charges, you may start to feel nickel and dimed by your bank. And that never feels good.

When it could be time to switch: If the fees of your current bank are adding up, research a few competitors and thoroughly audit the fees they charge for small business banking accounts. You might find what you thought were outrageous fees are actually the industry norm.

2. Terrible Customer Service

As a small business owner, you’re acutely aware of how important customer service is. So when you experience bad customer service with your bank, it’s enough to make you look for a new financial partner. Banking customer service isn’t just the everyday transactions with your teller or issues that come up with your account. It’s also the financial advice you receive to help your business succeed in the long run.

When it could be time to switch: It’s difficult to see what a bank’s customer service is like until you have a problem, but you can at least check out the options you have when something does come up. Try calling their customer service or using their online chat to see how long it takes to get a response from a real person. Or, visit your nearest branch and ask about the available services and see if they have any bankers familiar with your industry. If those sound like too much work, check out their online reviews from other customers like you.

3. Poor Mobile Experience

Have you ever been caught away from a computer needing to transfer funds or make a quick deposit to avoid an overdraft fee? If your bank doesn’t have a mobile app or a functional mobile site, this could be the most frustrating moment of your life.

When it could be time to switch: The best way to see the full mobile experience without opening an account is by going to a branch and having a banker demo their mobile site or app for you. While you’re there, you can also get a first-hand idea of what their customer service is like.

4. Limited Product Offerings

Every business is different, and every business evolves over time. Switching banks takes work, so make sure the bank you choose will grow with you. While you may need an online-only account now with just a few transactions, your business may grow to need in-person banking services with hundreds or even thousands of transactions. You may also reach a point where you maintain enough of a balance that you would benefit from an interest-bearing checking account.

When it could be time to switch: Thoroughly research all the checking account options a bank offers including transaction limits (or minimums), minimum balance requirements, linked savings options, and interest earnings.

5. New Business Checking Account Bonuses

Oh the lure of greener pastures. Banks want your business badly, and some are willing to pay for it. A new checking account bonus shouldn’t be the only reason you change banks, but if you’re already looking to do so, it can be something you factor in. New account bonuses for businesses tend to be in the $200–$2,500 range, and the requirements vary widely.

When it could be time to switch: Once again, this shouldn’t be the only reason you choose a bank for your business. But, if you’ve narrowed your choices to a couple of banks, do a quick search for “new business checking account bonuses”, and include the current month and year. This should bring up a list of sites that keep track of all the new checking account bonuses banks are offering that month. Make sure you see the actual offer on the bank’s website, and check out all the requirements before committing to a bank.

Best Banks for Small Business by Region

According to J.D. Power, here are the best banks for small business, broken down by region.

The Power Circle Ratings™ scale is as follows:

  • 5: Among the best
  • 4: Better than most
  • 3: About average
  • 2: The rest

Northeast Region

BankCustomer Satisfaction Index Ranking
(based on 1,000-point scale)
JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings™
for consumers
Capital One8175
Chase8165
Citizens Bank8074
Santander Bank8064
Northeast Average7973
Citibank7543
TD Bank7913
Bank of America7903
PNC Bank7903
M&T Bank7862
Wells Fargo7792
Key Bank7742

South Region

BankCustomer Satisfaction Index Ranking
(based on 1,000-point scale)
JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings™
for consumers
Citibank8575
Chase8364
BB&T8354
Regions Bank8294
South Average8133
Capital One8113
Wells Fargo8093
SunTrust Bank7972
Bank of America7952
PNC Bank7932

Midwest Region

BankCustomer Satisfaction Index Ranking
(based on 1,000-point scale)
JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings™
for consumers
Huntington8415
Citibank8344
Chase8284
PNC Bank8154
Fifth Third Bank8144
Midwest Average8063
Bank of America7902
U.S. Bank7862
Wells Fargo7862
BMO Harris Bank7742

 

West Region

BankCustomer Satisfaction Index Ranking
(based on 1,000-point scale)
JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings™
for consumers
Chase8255
Citibank8144
Bank of the West7554
U.S. Bank7914
Bank of America7773
Union Bank7692
Wells Fargo7662

 

Best Banks for Small Business by Feature

While an overall customer satisfaction rating is great, you may be looking for specific features from a new bank. A popular financial advice blog published its own list of 11 Best Banks for Small Business in 2019 and listed the top banks and what type of banking feature each one excelled at.

Here’s the list:

  1. Wells Fargo: Best for small business lending
  2. Chase: Best for small business credit cards
  3. Capital One: Best for high number of deposits and monthly transactions
  4. Bank of America: Best for low-cost checking accounts
  5. Azlo (from BBVA Compass): Best for digital, no-fee checking accounts
  6. Citibank: Best for a range of checking options
  7. Axos Bank: Best for interest-yielding checking and savings accounts
  8. Live Oak Bank: Best for government-guaranteed SBA loans
  9. Santander Bank: Best for businesses that import or export products
  10. TD Bank: Best for commercial real estate loans
  11. Consumers Credit Union: Best credit union option

Choosing a bank is an important decision for your business. Find one with reasonable fees, convenient locations, and excellent service so you can concentrate on what’s important: serving your own customers. This information should help you decide whether it’s time to move on.

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You’re the CEO, CFO,
and chief custodian...,

So a lot goes into running your business. Do it easier.

You’re the CEO, CFO,
and chief custodian...

So a lot goes into running your business. Do it easier.

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