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Best Bank Accounts for Freelancers, Side Hustlers, & Self-Employed



Millions of Americans work as freelancers or juggle side hustles alongside their 9-to-5 jobs. Whether they use a formal business entity or not, and regardless of how they think of themselves, these people are small-business owners. 

If you’re looking for a bank account to manage your freelance or side hustle finances, it’s time to get familiar with the names on this list. 

Best Bank Accounts for Freelancers, Side Hustlers & Self-Employed

These are the best bank accounts for freelancers and people with side gigs right now. Each does at least one thing really well, and we believe that our best overall pick offers the best value for the greatest number of would-be users.

Best Overall: Lili (Lili Account)

Our Rating
4.3/5

Lili Account offers tools for freelancers & self-employed, including tax management, invoicing, expense categorization, and more.
For Freelancers
Tailored to freelancers and self-employed individuals
Tax Management
Tools for managing various revenue streams and expenses
Invoicing Made Easy
Features internal invoicing capabilities
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4.3/5
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Though it’s open to businesses of all sizes, the Lili Account is one of the few checking accounts that actually caters to people who work for themselves — whether they call themselves freelancers, side hustlers, microbusinesses, sole proprietors, or anything else.

It’s built around a powerful package of tools that simplify and streamline business, described in more detail at right.

And Lili works for managing personal finances as well. In fact, it could be the only bank account you need as a self-employed person.

  • No Minimums or Hidden Fees: Period.
  • Business Debit Card With Cash Back: Use your business debit card anywhere Visa is accepted and earn cash back on eligible purchases.
  • Tax Tools: Management for those with lots of revenue streams and expenses.
  • Invoicing: Internal invoicing capabilities for freelancers who don’t want to use an external app.
  • Expense Tracking: Instant categorization for eligible purchases.
  • Cash Deposits: Available at 90,000 US locations (fees may apply).
  • Savings Tool: Automated feature to set aside funds in an “emergency bucket” that earns up to 2.00% APY.
  • Early Pay: Option to receive payment two days earlier via direct deposit from qualifying payers.

Best Bank Account Bonus: Chase Business Complete Checking

Our Rating
3.5/5

Get $300 with Chase Business Complete Checking, ideal for freelancers and side hustlers, when you open an account and complete qualifying activities.
Account Opening Bonus
$300
Requirements
Qualifiying Activites
Good Through
July 22, 2024
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3.5/5
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If you’re a freelancer, side hustler, or an entrepreneur new to Chase, a remarkable opportunity awaits you with Chase Business Complete Banking. Specifically crafted for the needs of independent workers, Chase’s account caters to those who require flexibility and financial support for their growing businesses.


To qualify for this special $300 bonus, here’s what you need to do:
  • Open a new Chase Business Complete Checking account online or in-person by July 22, 2024.
  • Deposit $2,000 in new money within 30 days of offer enrollment and maintain that balance for 60 days.
  • Complete at least five qualifying transactions within 90 days, including electronic deposits and debit card purchases.

  • After fulfilling these activities, the bonus will be credited to your account within 15 business days.
  • Maintenance Fee: $15 each statement cycle unless you meet one of the waiver options below.
  • Waiver Option #1: Maintain a linked Chase Private Client account.
  • Waiver Option #2: Qualify for Chase Military Banking (open to active-duty, reserve, and veteran service members, including National Guard).
  • Waiver Option #3: Maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,000.
  • Waiver Option #4: Receive at least $2,000 in eligible deposits during the statement cycle.
  • Waiver Option #5: Spend at least $2,000 on Chase Ink Business credit cards during the corresponding statement cycle.
  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $0, but you must deposit at least $2,000 to qualify for the bonus.

Best Package of Integrated Financial Tools: Found

Our Rating
4.4/5

Found offers a comprehensive, freelancer-friendly financial suite with no hidden fees. It's a great choice for fast-growing businesses too.
Comprehensive Suite
Found for self-employed individuals
No Hidden Fees
No monthly maintenance fees
Financial Tools
Automatic expenses, tax set-asides, and more
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4.4/5
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If you need a more powerful banking and money management suite than the typical freelancer-friendly bank account provides, you need Found. It’s a super-comprehensive financial suite for self-employed people, whether they’re true one-person operations or they run self-sustaining businesses with dozens of contractors and contributors.

Found has no hidden fees and no monthly maintenance fees. Accordingly, it’s arguably the best-value solution for serious freelancers. And it boasts an unbeatable array of useful financial tools and features, described in more detail at right.

Found is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Piermont Bank, Member FDIC. The Found Mastercard debit card is issued by Piermont Bank pursuant to a license from Mastercard Inc. and may be used everywhere Mastercard debit cards are accepted.

  • Comprehensive Suite of Business Tools: Found works for self-employed individuals at every scale, from one-person operations to business owners with multiple contractors.
  • No Hidden Fees: No monthly maintenance fees, making it a valuable option for serious freelancers.

Financial Features:

  • Categorizable expenses (automatic after just a few taps to set up)
  • Customizable tax set-asides to ensure you automatically set aside the right amount for estimated and end-of-year taxes
  • Quick tax payments right in the app
  • Custom invoice generation and sending for free
  • Automatic expense tracking with built-in receipt capture and bookkeeping tools

Best for Interest on Checking Balances: BlueVine

Our Rating
4.5/5

Earn 2.00% APY with Bluevine Business Checking by meeting monthly goals while paying no fees, period.
Interest Earnings
2.00% APY With Qualifying Activities
No Fees
No minimum balance or monthly fees
Integration and Convenience
Connect with top platforms
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4.5/5
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Bluevine Business Checking is one of the few business checking accounts that pays interest on checking balances — currently 2.00% APY on balances up to and including $100,000 when you meet a monthly activity goal. Just do one of the following:

    • Spend $500 per month with your Bluevine Business Debit Mastercard®, OR
    • Receive $2,500 per month in customer payments into your Bluevine Business Checking account via ACH, wire transfer, mobile check deposit, or directly from merchant payment processing provider

Bluevine is one of the only freelancer-friendly business checking accounts with this benefit, making it a strong choice for anyone looking to earn a little extra on their walking-around money.

Bluevine has plenty of other features worth noting. They’re described in more detail at right.

Other Features:

  • No minimum balance requirements or monthly fees
  • Unlimited transaction allowance
  • Connect your account to QuickBooks Online, Wave, and Freshbooks — some of the top online accounting platforms around
  • Link with external revenue and expense management tools, including Expensify, PayPal, and Stripe
  • Add up to 2 subaccounts to your existing BlueVine Business Checking account
  • Enjoy mobile features like mobile check deposit and biometric security
  • Pay no fees at nearly 40,000 ATMs in the U.S.
  • Deposit cash at more than 90,000 Green Dot locations in the U.S.

Best for ATM Fee Reimbursements: NBKC Business Checking

Our Rating
4.1/5

NBKC Business Checking offers no fees, generous ATM refunds, and unlimited free transactions for freelancers at all scales.
No Fees
No balance, monthly, or transaction fees
ATM Benefits
$12 monthly ATM refunds worldwide
Cash Flow Support
Ideal for freelancers needing steady cash flow
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Our Rating
4.1/5
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The NBKC Business Checking Account has virtually no fees, which is better than most freelancer-friendly accounts can say.

Particularly notable is the offer of up to $12 in monthly refunds against ATM fees charged worldwide — not just in the United States. That’s on top of the 30,000-plus U.S. ATMs at which NBKC business customers pay no withdrawal fees at all.

If your side hustle or freelance enterprise requires a steady stream of cash to cover expenses, NBKC is your best bet. And you can take advantage of a slew of additional value-added features here as well, described in more detail at right.

Additional Features:

  • No withdrawal fees at 30,000-plus U.S. ATMs
  • Seamless mobile and desktop check deposit
  • Use mobile bill pay to cover expenses on the go
  • Take advantage of NBKC’s courtesy overdraft sweep (see its account disclosures for details)
  • Enjoy unlimited free transactions
  • Pay no monthly maintenance fee
  • No minimum balance or deposit requirements

Best for Payment and P2P Money Transfer App Integration: Novo

Our Rating
4.6/5

Novo offers no fees, easy integrations with third-party productivity tools, and exclusive perks for freelancers.
No Fees
No monthly fees or minimum balance
Integrations
Zelle, Freshbooks, Zoho, QuickBooks
Quick
10-min application
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Our Rating
4.6/5
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Novo is another freelancer-friendly bank account sponsored by Middlesex Federal Savings, F.A. It has no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. But its best value comes thanks to an unusual breadth of integrations with complementary money management and small-business productivity tools, like Zelle and Stripe.

Novo boasts some additional features worth noting as well. They’re described in more detail at right.

Integrations:

  • Zelle for P2P transfers
  • Freshbooks, Zoho, and QuickBooks for accounting
  • Internal invoicing with Stripe and PayPal integration, allowing clients and customers to pay you with a few clicks or taps on your invoice

Additional Features:

  • 10-minute application process
  • Thousands of dollars in exclusive perks
  • $50 minimum opening deposit
  • Virtually no fees other than overdraft and returned item fees

Best for Earning Checking Account Rewards: LendingClub Bank Tailored Checking

Our Rating
3.9/5

LendingClub Bank Tailored Checking offers 1% cash back on eligible purchases, interest on balances over $5,000, and no monthly fee with a qualifying account balance.
Cash Back
1% on eligible purchases
Interest Earning
On balances over $5,000
Fees and Limits
$10 monthly fee waived with $5,000 balance
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Our Rating
3.9/5
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LendingClub Bank Tailored Checking is a rewards checking account that earns up to 1% cash back on eligible signature-based debit card purchases when you keep an average balance of $5,000 or more.

There’s a rewards-free period of 30 days after account opening, so you won’t earn anything during the first month. But moving forward, there’s no limit on what you can earn.

See the sidebar at right for more details.

Fees and Limits:

  • No transaction limits or fees
  • Waive $10 monthly fee with a minimum daily balance of $5,000

ATM and App Features:

  • Unlimited ATM fee rebates
  • Check deposits and debit card lock via the LendingClub Bank app

Best for High-Yield Savings: Small Business Bank Business High Yield Savings

Our Rating
4.1/5

Small Business Bank's Business High Yield Savings offers 1.76% to 4.70% APY on eligible balances with no monthly fees.
Earn Big
1.76% to 4.70% APY
Deposit with Ease
Free mobile check deposit
No Hidden Costs
No monthly fees – keep what you earn
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4.1/5
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Small Business Bank is an aptly named financial institution that caters to freelancers, microbusinesses, and growing small businesses. Its Business High Yield Savings account is aptly named as well — it offers an impressive yield on all balances with no maximums or fees. That makes it a great choice for successful freelancers and side hustlers looking to grow into something more.

The Business High Yield Savings account’s tiered yields range from 1.76% APY for balances under $25,000 to 4.70% APY for balances of $500,000 and above.

See right for more details.

Additional Features:

  • Free mobile check deposit
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Rapid online approval
  • Link to a free checking account with a Mastercard debit card

Best for Savings Subaccounts: NorthOne Business Banking

Our Rating
4.4/5

LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR MONEY CRASHERS READERS: Get $20 off when you open and fund a new NorthOne account!
Savings Subaccounts
Manage money for specific purposes
Monthly Fee
$10 for unlimited transactions
ATM Access
Over 300,000 in-network ATMs
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4.4/5
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NorthOne Business Banking is one of the few freelancer-friendly bank accounts that offers savings subaccounts. These accounts-within-accounts make it easy to manage piles of money earmarked for specific purposes, like estimated taxes, payroll, or new equipment purchases.

NorthOne Business Banking does have a $10 monthly fee. But it’s worth the cost thanks to the limited-time bonus offer and a slew of additional features, described in more detail at right.

  • Savings Subaccounts: Use separate accounts to manage money for specific purposes like taxes, payroll, or equipment
  • Unlimited Use: No limits on payments, transfers, deposits, or debit card transactions
  • ATM Access: More than 300,000 in-network ATMs
  • Mobile Features: Includes mobile check deposit and bill pay

Best for Free Checks: Axos Bank Basic Business Checking

Our Rating
4.3/5

Axos Bank offers free first order of checks, no monthly fee, free debit card, mobile check deposits, and a $400 new account bonus.
Bonus Offer
Up to $400
Good Through
June 30, 2024
Promo Code
NEW400
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Our Rating
4.3/5
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Plenty of business bank accounts offer check-writing privileges, but only Axos Bank Basic Business Checking delivers your first order of business checks for free. That’s up to 50 payments made the old-fashioned way — perfect if you have vendors or contractors who prefer to get paid with paper.

There’s more. See the right sidebar for more on Axos Bank Basic Business Checking’s notable additional features.

    • Free First Order: Receive your first order of business checks for free.
    • Unlimited Transactions: Enjoy unlimited free transactions with no restrictions.
    • No Monthly Fee: Benefit from no monthly maintenance fee.
    • Free Debit Card: Get a free debit card when you open your account.
    • Mobile Features: Utilize mobile check deposits and bill payments.
    • Bonus Offer: New account bonus worth up to $400 with promo code NEW400 (apply by June 30, 2024).

    Methodology: How We Select the Best Bank Accounts for Freelancers and Side Hustlers

    We use several important factors to assess the best bank accounts for people with side gigs and freelance jobs. Each relates in some way to the overall cost of the account, its ease of use, its flexibility, or its ability to create value for the account holder.

    Monthly Maintenance Fee

    The monthly maintenance fee isn’t necessarily the most important or costly bank account fee. Overdraft fees can add up quickly if you’re not careful, for example. 

    But the monthly maintenance charge is the fee that first comes to mind for most would-be account holders, and it’s often the most difficult to avoid. So, all else being equal, we prefer freelancer-friendly banks with no monthly maintenance fees or low maintenance fees that can be waived with a minimum balance or other qualifying activities.

    Other Account Fees

    Other common bank account fees include overdraft and nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees, paper statement fees, ATM withdrawal fees, and wire transfer fees. Few bank accounts are truly fee-free, but we give preference to those that are, then look to accounts with fewer and lower fees than average.

    Transaction Limits

    It’s rare for consumer checking accounts to limit transaction volumes, but many business bank accounts do just that. These limits can be quite low for businesses with lots of expenses — sometimes just 50 or 100 transactions per month.

    Freelancers usually aren’t as prolific as small or midsize businesses when it comes to payments. But side hustlers with complex gigs, like successful dropshipping businesses, can quickly run over their monthly transaction allotments. That’s why we prefer banks and accounts that waive transaction limits or set them so high that they don’t trouble most freelancers and side hustlers.

    Minimum Balance and Deposit Requirements

    Many business bank accounts impose high minimum balance or initial deposit requirements that price out sole proprietors. In some cases, these minimums don’t prevent you from opening an account but you’ll need to meet them to avoid maintenance fees or other charges.


    We prefer banks that dispense with minimum balance and deposit requirements entirely. Failing that, we look to banks with reasonable minimums or alternative options for avoiding fees tied to those minimums, such as recurring direct deposits.

    Account Yield (Interest Rate)

    Most business checking accounts pay minimal interest, if any. Business savings accounts are more likely to pay interest, but you shouldn’t expect your return to keep pace with inflation. Still, any yield is better than no yield at all, and we evaluate banks and accounts accordingly. 

    Mobile Features and Functionality

    Many freelancers and side hustlers do business primarily on their mobile phones. If you have a successful dogwalking or handyman business, for example, you’re likely to be out of the office more than you’re in it. You no doubt use your phone to interact with clients, make purchases, keep notes, and so on.

    So why should you have to bank on the laptop or desktop computer you rarely use? You shouldn’t — which is why we prefer banks with comprehensive, fully functional mobile apps or account dashboards.

    Budgeting and Savings Features

    You don’t have to commingle your business and personal finances to appreciate the importance of keeping a budget and spending within your means. In fact, if you’re serious about growing your side hustle, you have a powerful incentive to track every expense and spend less than you earn. 

    That’s where internal budgeting tools and automated savings capabilities come in. More and more freelancer-friendly banks offer these tools at no additional cost, including many of the selections on this list.

    Accounting and Tax Features

    Some freelancer-friendly bank accounts have built-in or external accounting and tax management features as well. When external, these features typically take the form of seamless integrations with well-known third-party products like Xero or QuickBooks. All else being equal, we’re fans of banks that go the extra mile to simplify things at tax time. 


    FAQs

    You have questions about bank accounts for freelancers and side hustlers. We have answers.

    Should You Have a Separate Bank Account If You’re a Freelancer?

    It’s not strictly necessary to have a separate bank account if you’re a freelancer. Many freelancers receive income and pay expenses out of their personal bank accounts. 

    This is especially common for part-time freelancers who don’t have formally incorporated business entities and don’t spend a lot of time on freelance work. At some point, it’s just not worth it to maintain separate business and personal accounts.

    On the other hand, if you freelance full-time or have a formally incorporated business, a separate business account could make sense. As this list shows, freelancer-friendly bank accounts are free or cheap and can make managing a side business much easier.

    Do You Need a Separate Bank Account for Your Side Hustle?

    You don’t need a separate bank account for your side hustle either. If your side hustle is a casual, part-time effort, a separate account might not be worth the trouble. You can still take advantage of the tax benefits (and obligations) of self-employment without one.

    Many side hustles grow into full-time business enterprises, of course. If you have ambitions to quit your 9-to-5 and work on growing your business around the clock, you’ll want to separate your business and personal finances sooner than later — and consider formally incorporating the business while you’re at it.

    Do You Need to Incorporate Your Freelance Business or Side Hustle?

    Most of the banks on this list don’t require business account holders to formally incorporate. You can open a business bank account for your freelance or side hustle finances without setting up an LLC or partnership.

    Even if you’re not formally incorporated, you can benefit from tax deductions and credits available to business owners and self-employed individuals. You don’t need a business bank account to reap these rewards either, but you might find one useful as your enterprise’s income and expenses grow. Having a dedicated account for your business inflows and outflows will make your life easier come tax time and ensure no potentially valuable deductions (or wayward income streams) fall through the cracks.

    Do Freelancers Automatically Qualify for Business Bank Accounts?

    It depends on the bank. 

    Most of the banks on this list are outwardly freelancer-friendly. Either they offer accounts specifically designed for freelancers or they’re lenient about who qualifies for a business account to the point that pretty much anyone with an active side hustle makes the cut.

    But you shouldn’t expect this everywhere. Some banks reserve business bank accounts for formally incorporated enterprises with substantial revenue and expenses. Even if you freelance full-time, you might not qualify unless you’re willing to create a legal business structure.


    How to Choose the Best Bank Account for Your Freelance Business or Side Hustle 

    Choosing a bank account to handle your freelance or side hustle finances isn’t all that different from choosing a personal bank account. As you review your options, consider factors like:

    • Account fees. No one likes paying bank account fees. Unless there’s a compelling reason to choose otherwise, you’ll probably want an account that either doesn’t charge a monthly maintenance fee at all or makes it easy to waive with a minimum balance or recurring deposit. Watch out for “minor” fees like ATM withdrawal fees and overdraft fees too.
    • Transaction limits. Many business bank accounts limit the number of transactions you can make in a given month or statement period. If you make lots of little withdrawals or payments, this could be a real problem.
    • Minimum balance requirements. If you’re a part-time freelancer or side hustler, you probably won’t have an impressive bank account balance, at least to start. And your balance might fluctuate from week to week and month to month, depending on how much you earn. That means you’ll look to bank accounts with low or no minimum balance requirements.
    • Account yield. Business bank accounts aren’t known for high yields. However, if you want to set aside business funds that you don’t need right away, it pays to look for a rewards checking account or high-yield savings account that accepts freelancers and side hustles.
    • Additional features and capabilities. Do you want a mobile-friendly banking experience that lets you manage your finances on the go? Do you earn a significant amount of your income through money transfer apps like Venmo and PayPal? Do you want a built-in budgeting or accounting framework that simplifies your business finances and keeps them separate from your personal money? These questions — and others along these lines — could help you zero in on the best bank account for your freelance business or side hustle.

    Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.
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