Ratings Methodology for Business Checking Accounts

NerdWallet’s ratings for business checking accounts consider the weighted averages of the following categories:

  • Checking account fundamentals.
  • Banking experience and access.
  • Overdraft fees and policies.
Within each category, we score accounts for several factors (detailed below).

Accounts can also gain points for perks that go above and beyond the norm, such as cash back on debit card purchases or automatic refunds of third-party ATM fees.

On the flip side, we deduct points when accounts lack standard banking features, such as mobile deposit or wire transfers, or when the account isn’t available to a specific business entity type (sole proprietors or LLCs, for example).

Checking account fundamentals (61.8%)

  • Monthly fees.
  • Fee-free transactions.
  • Free access to U.S. ATMs.
  • Monthly cash deposit allowance.
  • Minimum opening deposit.
  • Availability of physical checks.
  • Earns interest and/or has a signup bonus.

  • The best business checking accounts make it easy for business owners to run their businesses. That means no monthly fee (or one that can easily be waived), no minimum opening deposit, an extensive fee-free ATM network and few, if any, caps on monthly deposits and transactions. In addition, accounts get extra points for perks such as interest or a sign-up bonus.

    Banking experience (30.9%)

  • App store rating and customer service availability.
  • Ease of website use.
  • Account availability.
  • Multiple options to open an account.
  • Minimum opening deposit.
  • Availability of physical checks.
  • Access to a branch network.

  • Businesses need support beyond banking hours. Business accounts that earn high marks for banking experience offer multiple channels for live customer support beyond 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. They are also widely accessible; provide numerous options for opening an account (online, over the phone or in person); make it easy to find important information on fees, rates, terms, etc.; and receive better than 4.5 stars for iOS and Android app store ratings..

    Overdraft fees and policies (7.3%)

  • Overdraft or nonsufficient funds fee (or lack of fee).
  • Daily limit on overdraft or NSF fees.
  • Grace period policy/no-fee overdraft coverage up to a fixed amount.

  • Business accounts earn high marks for their overdraft policy if they charge no overdraft fee or offer a grace period for businesses to cover small overdrafts. Most online business checking accounts don’t charge overdraft fees because customers are not allowed to overdraw their accounts. But many brick-and-mortar banks still charge high fees, sometimes up to six per day, which can quickly eat into a business’s cash flow.

    Data collection and review process

    NerdWallet evaluates more than 30 business bank accounts from national, regional and online banks. Collectively, these accounts represent the largest banks by assets, internet search traffic and other factors, along with notable or emerging players in the industry.

    We consider more than 20 data points for each account, scoring them on fees, perks and accessibility, among other factors. This information is gathered from each financial institution's website and company representatives. In addition, data is collected regularly and reviewed by our editorial team for consistency and accuracy.

    Final star ratings are presented on a scale of one to five stars, where a one-star score represents "poor" and a five-star score represents "excellent."

    The reviews team

    The writers and editors behind our business checking reviews are small-business specialists who have had their work featured by The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, MarketWatch and many other publications. In addition, each writer and editor follows NerdWallet’s strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

    Our small-business editorial team also covers business loans, business credit cards, business insurance and business software.