Mercury Banking for Startups: 2022 Review

Mercury is a free, online-first banking platform designed for startups and tech-focused businesses.
Aug 25, 2022

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Mercury is an online banking platform that includes both a business checking account and a business savings account with no monthly fees. Designed with startups in mind, Mercury offers scalable digital tools — plus, every account provides read-write application programming interface access to truly customize your banking.

Unlike some online competitors, however, Mercury cannot accept cash deposits. Mercury also is not available for sole proprietors.

Mercury banking is best for small-business owners who:

  • Want a free business banking platform with no transaction fees.

  • Prefer to manage the entirety of their finances online.

  • Don’t need to deposit cash using an ATM or branch location.

  • Would like to be able to customize their banking using digital tools and integrations.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • No monthly fees, transaction fees or minimum opening deposit.

  • Free domestic and international wire transfers.

  • Access to over 55,000 fee-free ATMs to withdraw cash through the Allpoint network.

  • Advanced digital tools including API access to automate and customize your banking.

Cons

  • Not available to sole proprietors.

  • Can’t accommodate cash deposits.

  • Low savings account rate.

Mercury banking at a glance

Monthly fee:

$0 (includes checking and savings account)

Minimum opening deposit requirement:

$0 (includes checking and savings account)

APY:

0.001% for savings account (as of this writing)

Transactions:

Unlimited fee-free transactions; savings account is held to the federal maximum of six total account transfers per month.

Bonus:

None

Mercury Business Bank Account
NerdWallet rating 

at Mercury, Deposits are FDIC Insured

How Mercury banking works

Account options: As Mercury is not a bank, its banking services are provided by Evolve Bank & Trust, and accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The standard Mercury banking platform includes both a business checking account and a business savings account. Account holders can also access Mercury Treasury, an automated cash management account that allows you to put extra funds into U.S. government securities and money market funds to earn yield.

Account eligibility: You must have a U.S. company with a federal employer identification number to be eligible for a Mercury account. Mercury cannot open accounts for sole proprietors or trusts, or businesses in the money services, adult entertainment, marijuana or internet gambling industries.

How to apply: Visit the Mercury website to create an online account and complete and submit your application.

  • Required information: Basic details about you and your business, including your Social Security number, are required. You’ll also need to provide this information for any co-founders, as well as owners with 25% or more ownership or officers who have control over your finances (e.g., a chief financial officer).

  • Required documentation: You'll need to provide government-issued ID for you and any co-founders, as well as owners with 25% or more ownership or officers who have control over your finances; the business formation document (varies based on your entity type); and an employer identification number verification from the IRS.

Next steps: Once you’ve been approved, you can fund your account, send payments and manage your transactions and spending. You’ll be able to download the Mercury mobile app, add users to your account and integrate with third-party business tools.

Additionally, you’ll receive your business debit card within eight to 10 days after your account has been approved — however, you can also generate virtual cards from your Mercury online account.

It’s important to note that to be able to deposit checks, you’ll need to show a history of funding and transactions within your account. Mercury enables this feature on a case-by-case basis, and once enabled, you can use the mobile app to deposit checks through the Add Funds flow.

Where Mercury banking stands out

No fees: The Mercury online banking platform — including both a business checking account and a business savings account — has no monthly fees, no transaction fees, no minimum opening deposit requirement and no minimum balance requirement. In addition, Mercury offers fee-free access to withdraw cash through the Allpoint network and does not charge for out-of-network ATM use, though you may face fees from the ATM provider.

Mercury also offers free wire transfers (domestic and international), has no overdraft fees and does not charge to send or receive checks.

Digital tools: With Mercury, you have access to built-in digital tools that allow you to send and receive online payments, track transactions and cash-flow analytics and monitor spending. Mercury offers the ability to create virtual debit cards, as well as manage your debit card — edit spending limits, freeze your card, add it to your mobile wallet — through its app.

Additionally, Mercury gives you the ability to add as many team members as you want to your account, with two options for user access. You can add users as admins, allowing them to move money, receive a debit card and change permissions, as well as add users as bookkeepers, allowing them to only access your transaction history and statements.

Moreover, Mercury allows you to integrate your account with third-party business tools, such as QuickBooks and Xero.

API access: Mercury includes read-write API access with all accounts — in other words, developer access to its banking software — a particularly noteworthy feature for startups and other tech-focused businesses.

With this API access, you can customize and automate your Mercury account by designing internal dashboards, making bulk payments, creating transfer rules, reconciling transactions and more.

Where Mercury banking falls short

Not available to sole proprietors: Mercury cannot open accounts for sole proprietors, which according to the Small Business Administration, make up 86.4% of non-employer businesses, 14.1% of small-employer businesses and 1.2% of large-employer businesses.

Therefore, although Mercury may be designed for startups, this restriction excludes a large portion of small businesses in the U.S.

» Need a bank account for your sole prop? Check out our roundup of the best business bank accounts for self-employed entrepreneurs.

No cash deposits: The Mercury banking platform cannot accommodate traditional cash deposits — a difference between Mercury and some online competitors. Although some businesses may be able to find alternative solutions if they need to deposit cash occasionally, it may be problematic for others that deal more frequently in cash.

Compare Mercury banking alternatives

Mercury Business Bank Account
NerdWallet rating 

at Mercury, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Novo Business Checking
NerdWallet rating 

at Novo, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Brex Cash
NerdWallet rating 

at Brex

Bluevine Business Checking
NerdWallet rating 

at Bluevine, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

$0

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$0

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$50

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$0

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$0

APY

0.001% for savings account (as of this writing)

APY

None

APY

-Uninvested cash: no yield -Cash invested in money market funds: 0.03% seven-day yield rate (as of this writing)

APY

1.50% on balances up to $100,000

Transactions

Unlimited fee-free transactions; savings account is held to the federal maximum of six total account transfers per month.

Transactions

Unlimited fee-free transactions

Transactions

Unlimited fee-free transactions

Transactions

Unlimited fee-free transactions

Bonus

None

Bonus

None

Bonus

Get 30,000 points when you spend $3,500 in 30 days on your Brex Card, or get 50,000 bonus points when you spend $9,000 in 30 days on your Brex Card. You can also earn 20,000 points when you link payroll to Brex Cash.

Bonus

None

Open account online

Yes

Open account online

Yes

Open account online

Yes

Open account online

Yes

Branch access

No

Branch access

No

Branch access

No

Branch access 

No