6 Best Banks for Small Business in California

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There are more than 400 banks and credit unions operating in California. That’s enough to make small-business owners’ heads spin when trying to find a bank that meets their needs.

We took some of the work off your plate by evaluating dozens of financial institutions to find the best banks for small business in California.

Here’s how we determined which banks were best:

First, we evaluated banks on their business checking accounts. We looked for financial institutions with free business checking accounts, but also considered those with low monthly fees that were easy to avoid.

Then we factored in ease of access, via branches or online options, as well as the banks' other business offerings, such as small-business loans, credit cards and add-ons like payroll or merchant services. NerdWallet's list of contenders included national and regional banks, online banks and credit unions.

Best brick-and-mortar banks for small business in California

Bank of the West Any Deposit Checking for Business
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Business checking with an overdraft buffer, so you don’t get dinged for dipping slightly into the red.

Chase Business Complete Banking℠
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at Chase, Member FDIC

Unlimited electronic transactions and payment processing built into the mobile app.

Union Bank® Bank Freely™ Business Checking

Free business checking with no transaction limits and generous cash deposit allowance.

Wells Fargo Initiate Business Checking℠ Account
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Easy branch access with more than 900 brick-and-mortar locations in California.

Best online business accounts in California

nbkc Business Account
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at nbkc bank, Member FDIC

Business checking with no monthly fee, overdraft fees or transaction fees.

Bluevine Business Checking
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at Bluevine, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Free business checking that earns 2.00% APY on balances up to and including $100,000. Terms apply.

Bank of the West

Bank of the West’s base checking account — Any Deposit Checking for Business — has a monthly service fee of $10, which is waived for the first two months. After that, simply make one deposit per month to avoid the fee. Bank of the West has more than 200 brick-and-mortar locations in California.

Here are some of the highlights:

Business checking:

  • Any Deposit Checking for Business requires an opening deposit of at least $100.

  • Deposit up to $2,500 cash for no additional charge.

  • Up to 50 fee-free transactions per month. All withdrawals, transfers, debit card transactions, paid checks and deposited items count toward that limit. Additional transactions are 50 cents per item.

  • Account includes a $5 overdraft buffer. A $35 overdraft fee is assessed if you exceed that amount.

  • Two other checking accounts offered: Classic Business Checking ($25 monthly charge) and Choice Business Checking ($40 monthly charge). Both offer higher transaction and cash deposit allowances, and the monthly fees can also be waived under certain conditions.

Additional services:

  • Two business credit cards with no annual fee.

  • Business savings and money market accounts.

  • Small-business loans, including lines of credit, term loans and equipment loans.

  • Point-of-sale services through Poynt starting at $10 per month.


Craving branch access? Chase has 967 branches in California. The national bank also has 24/7 live customer service for business customers.

Here are some of the highlights:

Business checking:

  • Three business checking accounts: Chase Business Complete Banking℠, Chase Performance Business Checking® and Chase Platinum Business Checking℠.

  • Chase Business Complete is $15 per month, but there are multiple ways to avoid the fee.

  • Unlimited electronic deposits included with Business Complete Banking and Performance Business Checking. In-person and paper transactions are limited to 20 per month (Business Complete) and 250 per month (Performance Business).

  • Chase Business Complete includes Chase QuickAccept℠, which lets you accept card payments anytime.

  • Apply online or in person.

  • 24/7 live customer service.

Additional services:

  • Chase suite of business rewards credit cards.

  • Small-business loans, including SBA loans, lines of credit and equipment financing.

  • Payment services for e-commerce and retail businesses.

Union Bank

Union Bank’s free checking account includes unlimited, fee-free transactions in person and online, a rare feature for any business checking account, much less a free one. While Union Bank has free online and mobile banking, it also has nearly 300 branches in California.

Here are some of the highlights:

Business checking:

  • Bank Freely™ Business Checking has no monthly service fee, opening deposit or minimum balance requirement. Simply keep a balance — any balance — to maintain your account.

  • Unlimited fee-free transactions.

  • Up to $10,000 in cash deposits per statement. Excess deposits are $2.50 for every $1,000.

  • No ATM fees at Union Bank and out-of-network ATMs. Surcharges assessed by other ATM owners will be refunded, up to two per statement.

  • No charge for incoming wire transfers.

  • Checking transactions can be downloaded to Quicken and QuickBooks.

» MORE: See NerdWallet's picks for the best free business checking accounts.

Additional services:

  • Business rewards credit card that earns 5x points on regular business expenses like office supplies and utility bills (up to $25,000 annually).

  • Small-business loans, including term loans, commercial real estate loans and SBA loans.

  • Designated business lending program for minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has an expansive presence in California, with more than 900 brick-and-mortar locations.

Here are some of the highlights:

Business checking:

  • Initiate Business Checking is $10 per month, which is waived if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $500 or an average ledger balance of $1,000.

  • Up to $5,000 in fee-free cash deposits each month.

  • Fee-free transactions capped at 100 per month. Wells Fargo counts all withdrawals, debits and deposits, including mobile deposits, toward your transaction limit. Debit card purchases and payments do not count toward the limit.

  • Two additional business checking accounts available for a higher monthly fee. Both have more generous transaction and cash deposit limits.

  • You can open an account online, in person or over the phone.

Additional services:

  • Small-business loans, including SBA loans, equipment financing loans and commercial real estate loans.

  • Retirement accounts, including profit sharing, 401(k) and IRA plans available.

  • Point-of-sale systems and payroll service through third-party vendors.


NBKC’s online business checking account is a rare find with virtually no fees, unlimited transactions and free cash deposits (a rare feature for online bank accounts).

Here are some of the highlights:

Business checking:

  • Free online business checking with no monthly fees, overdraft fees or transaction fees.

  • Free, unlimited cash deposits at participating MoneyPass ATMs.

  • NBKC automatically refunds up to $12 per month in out-of-network ATM fees.

  • Account can be opened and managed entirely online.

Additional services:

  • Small-business loans, including term loans, construction loans, inventory and equipment financing, and SBA loans.


Bluevine’s free business checking account earns 2.00% on balances up to and including $100,000 (terms apply). With many other banks, you need a balance of at least $10,000 to start earning interest, often at a lower rate than what Bluevine offers.

Here are some of the highlights:

Business checking:

  • No monthly fee, no minimum deposit or overdraft fee.

  • Unlimited fee-free transactions.

  • Earn 2.00% interest on balances up to and including $100,000 (terms apply).

  • No ATM fees at MoneyPass ATMs.

  • Checking account integrates with PayPal and Swipe and can sync with QuickBooks or Wave.

Additional services:

  • Business lines of credit.