Lili Bank Account: 2022 Review

This free bank account offers mobile tax-planning tools to help freelancers and contractors manage their expenses.
Jun 30, 2022

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Lili offers a completely mobile business account with no monthly fees or minimum opening deposit, and a host of digital tools that allow you to manage expenses, track tax write-offs, save for taxes and accept payments from customers within a single account.

Originally designed specifically for freelancers and independent contractors, Lili is now available to single-member LLCs and sole proprietors who operate under a "doing business as" or DBA.

Lili banking is best for small-business owners who:

  • Want a free bank account with no minimum balance requirements.

  • Deposit less than $6,000 in checks on a monthly basis; send less than $1,000 to external bank accounts on a monthly basis.

  • Want integrated tools to help them sort their expenses and save for taxes.

  • Are OK with a mobile-only banking experience.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • No fees, minimum balance requirements, or minimum opening deposit.

  • Unlimited fee-free transactions.

  • Fee-free ATM access through the MoneyPass network; ability to deposit cash through Green Dot network.

  • Integrated tools for managing expenses and planning for taxes.

  • Offers early payment feature with direct deposit, allowing you to receive funds up to two days sooner than you might with a traditional bank account.

Cons

  • Low monthly limits for mobile check deposits and external bank transfers.

  • Out-of-network ATM fees: $2.50 for U.S. ATMs, $5 for international ATMs.

  • Cash deposits at Green Dot locations incur a fee of up to $4.95 per deposit.

  • No checkbooks; can’t send or receive wire transfers.

  • Limited business-related features, e.g., doesn’t offer joint accounts, multiple business debit cards, third-party integrations.

Lili bank account at a glance

Monthly fee:

$0

Minimum opening deposit requirement:

$0

APY:

None

Transactions:

Unlimited fee-free transactions

Bonus:

None

Lili Business Checking
NerdWallet rating 

at Lili, Deposits are FDIC Insured

How the Lili bank account works

Lili is a financial technology company that offers a fully mobile business checking account. Lili's banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and deposits on all accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

You can choose from two Lili business accounts: Lili Basic (free) and Lili Pro ($4.99 per month). The upgraded Pro version has higher ACH and mobile deposit limits, additional business management tools and offers cash-back rewards on purchases made with your Lili Visa business debit card.

How to open a Lili business account

You can open a Lili bank account online or via the mobile app but, once opened, your account will be available solely through Lili's iOS or Android app. To apply, you'll submit the following information:

  • Name, mobile phone number, date of birth, Social Security number.

  • Physical mailing address (no P.O. boxes allowed).

  • Industry.

  • Business entity type (Lili is available to freelancers, sole proprietors with or without a DBA, and single-member LLCs).

After you submit your application, you should receive approval and account access almost instantly. If you apply for an account online, Lili will send a verification code via text message or email to pair your account to the mobile app. Business owners operating as single-member LLCs or sole proprietors with a DBA will need to upload additional documents before they can start using their account.

Regardless of how you sign up for Lili banking, you will use the mobile app to fund your account and manage your expenses. You can fund your account using direct deposit, ACH transfers or mobile check deposit, and by linking external bank accounts or platforms like Venmo and PayPal.

Although it can take up to two weeks for your Lili Visa business debit card to be delivered, you’ll be able to use a digital version of your card through the Lili app. You’ll also be able to track the progress of your physical card on the main screen of the mobile app. Once you receive your card in the mail, you’ll need to activate it within the app before you can use it.

Where the Lili bank account stands out

No fees: The Lili bank account has no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, no minimum opening deposit and unlimited fee-free transactions. With this account, you have access to free ACH transfers, free mobile check deposits, as well as free expense management tools.

In addition, Lili doesn’t charge for overdrafts, returned items or stop payments, incidental fees that are charged by both online and brick-and-mortar competitors. And, Lili does not charge a foreign exchange rate adjustment fee, meaning there’s no additional charge to make debit card purchases outside of the U.S.

ATM access and cash deposits: With your Lili business debit card, you can withdraw cash fee-free at over 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs. The Lili app offers a locator that allows you to find the closest ATM.

Although you can’t deposit cash at an ATM using your card, you can deposit cash at over 90,000 participating Green Dot locations through its At The Register service. Lili does not charge any fees for cash deposits, but the Green Dot retailer will charge a fee of up to $4.95 per deposit. In addition, you are limited to deposits of $1,000 in a 24-hour period and a maximum of $9,000 per month.

Integrated tools for expenses and taxes: Within the Lili app, you have access to tools that allow you to manage your expenses and plan for taxes. You can categorize your expenses simply by swiping, left for “life” or personal and right for “work” or business. Expense categories are pre-selected based on the merchant, but you can tap the transaction to edit the category if needed.

Lili also gives you the ability to add receipts to transactions, download annual and quarterly expense reports, and track spending insights in real time.

Additionally, Lili allows you to automatically set aside a predefined percentage of funds every time you get paid using the Tax Bucket feature. You can use the tax estimation tool to determine how much you should save. You can also manually add money to your Tax Bucket or remove money at any time.

And if you want to save for emergencies, you can open an Emergency Bucket, where you can set aside a fixed daily amount for an emergency fund.

Where the Lili bank account falls short

Low monthly limits for deposits and transfers: With the Lili Basic account, you are limited to a maximum of $6,000 in mobile check deposits per month and a maximum of six checks per month. You won’t be able to access check deposits until your account has been open for 30 days, and you must receive or transfer at least $200 or more per month to be able to deposit checks.

In addition, for transferring money to a linked external account, you are limited to $500 per day, with a maximum of $1,000 per month. The Lili Pro account offers higher limits — $1,000 per day, up to $5,000 per month for transfers to linked accounts and up to $50,000 per month for mobile check deposit — but you can find free business checking accounts with less restrictive limits.

Novo business checking, for example, allows you to deposit up to $40,000 in mobile check deposits per month and only limits external ACH transfers to $5,000 per payment.

Mobile only: Other than the initial application, Lili does not offer any web access to the bank account, which may be a drawback if you prefer to use a laptop or desktop to manage your finances. It’s also worth noting that according to a survey conducted by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, although 27% of small-business owners have shifted toward digital banking since the onset of COVID-19, 6% have shifted toward branch banking, which may make a mobile-only account a barrier to entry.

Limited business-related features: While the Lili bank account is designed for freelancers and contractors, it lacks business-related features that competitors offer. Lili does not offer checkbooks, cannot send or receive wires, cannot accommodate joint accounts and does not allow multiple business debit cards.

Additionally, this account doesn’t include integrations with third-party business tools like accounting software, e-commerce platforms or point-of-sale systems.

Compare Lili to business checking account alternatives

Lili Business Checking
NerdWallet rating 

at Lili, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Oxygen Business Account
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Novo Business Checking
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at Novo, Deposits are FDIC Insured

NorthOne Business Bank Account
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at NorthOne

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

$10

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$0

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$0

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$50

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$50

APY

None

APY

None

APY

None

APY

None

Transactions

Unlimited fee-free transactions

Transactions

Unlimited fee-free transactions

Transactions

Unlimited fee-free transactions

Transactions

Unlimited fee-free transactions

Bonus

None

Bonus

None

Bonus

None

Bonus

None.

Open account online

Yes, in-app and web-based application available

Open account online

Yes, in-app application only

Open account online

Yes, web-based application only

Open account online

Yes, in-app and web-based application available

Branch access 

No

Branch access

No

Branch access

No

Branch access

No