Lili Business Checking: A Business Account That’s Worth the Upgrade
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The bottom line:
Standout features include early payments and tax-planning tools, but more perks await if you’re willing to upgrade (and pay).
Pros & Cons
No monthly fees or transaction fees.
No fees at MoneyPass ATMs.
Cash deposits via Green Dot network (fees and limits apply).
Integrated tools for managing expenses and planning for taxes.
Early payment feature allows you to receive funds up to two days sooner than with a traditional bank account.
Fee for using out-of-network ATMs.
Cash deposits limited to $1,000 per day, $9,000 per month. Service fee of up to $4.95 per deposit.
No checkbooks; can’t send or receive wire transfers.
Limited business-related features: no joint accounts, limited to one business debit card.
How does Lili compare?
Lili Business Checking
Deposits are FDIC Insured
Bluevine Business Checking
Deposits are FDIC Insured
Grasshopper Business Checking Account
With $0 min. balance for APY
With $0 min. balance for APY
Lili launched in 2018 as a business checking account for freelancers but has since expanded its reach — and its business account offerings — to serve a wider variety of small-business owners.
Recent updates to Lili’s online business checking accounts include higher deposit and transfer limits on Lili’s free business checking account and desktop access for all business account holders (Lili was previously available only via mobile app). And you can now open an account in your business name rather than your personal name — an important function for limited liability companies, or LLCs, and other business entity types.
While Lili is now available to LLCs, S corporations and businesses that operate as general or limited liability partnerships, it still lacks some basic business features. Lili doesn’t support joint accounts, for example, and you can’t write checks or send or receive wire transfers from your Lili account.
Lili business checking accounts
You can choose from two Lili business accounts: Lili Basic (free) and Lili Pro ($9 per month). While this review discusses both accounts, the corresponding star rating focuses on Lili Basic.
Lili Basic: Lili’s free business checking account has no 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. There is also an early payment feature that allows you to receive certain ACH payments up to two days early.
Lili Pro: The upgraded Pro version has additional business management tools and offers cash-back rewards on select purchases made with your Lili Visa business debit card. Lili Pro also includes BalanceUp, which covers up to $200 in debit overdrafts for no charge (terms apply), and a business savings account that earns a 1.50% annual percentage yield, or APY, as of this writing.
Note: 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.
Lili business checking is best for small-business owners who:
Want integrated tools to help them sort their expenses and save for taxes.
Make minimal cash deposits.
Need only one business debit card.
Don’t need access to a physical branch.
Lili business checking at a glance
Minimum opening deposit requirement
Lili Pro Checking: None.
Lili Savings*: 1.50% APY.
*Lili Savings is available only to Pro account holders.
How to open a Lili business checking account
Originally designed specifically for freelancers and independent contractors, Lili is now available to the following entity types:
Partnerships (general and limited liability).
Lili does not support B corporations, C corporations and nonprofits. It also doesn’t support certain types of businesses, including trusts, crowdfunding and cryptocurrency operations, and those in the gambling or cannabis industries.
You can open a Lili bank account online or via the mobile app in minutes. 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.
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.
What you need to open an account
To apply for a Lili account, you'll need to provide the following information and documentation:
Personal information: Name, mobile phone number, date of birth, home address and Social Security number. This information is required for anyone who owns 25% or more of the company.
Business information: Industry and business entity type, physical mailing address (no P.O. boxes allowed), state your business is registered in and employer identification number, or EIN (if applicable).
Business owners may also need to provide an IRS EIN letter and other documentation, such as articles of organization or partnership agreement, depending on the business type.
Where Lili business checking stands out
No fees (mostly): The Lili bank account has no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, no minimum opening deposit and no transaction fees (aside from cash deposits). Lili also doesn’t charge for returned items or stop payments, incidental fees that are charged by 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 the U.S.
Lili isn’t fully fee-free, though. There is a charge for using out-of-network ATMs: $2.50 at domestic non-MoneyPass ATMs and $5 at international ATMs.
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 preselected 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.
Fast access to ACH payments: Getting your money faster is always a bonus. And Lili account holders can get select funds up to two days earlier than they would with a traditional bank. Lili’s early payment feature applies to direct deposits, ACH transfers and transfers from Cash App (when linked to your Lili account).
Free overdraft protection: Lili Pro users can qualify for up to $200 in free overdraft protection through Lili’s BalanceUp program (terms apply). To qualify, you need at least $500 in qualifying monthly deposits. Overdraft coverage applies only to debit card purchases, and you need to resolve any negative balance within 30 days.
Where Lili business checking falls short
Limited business-related features: Lili business accounts have a lot of useful tools but still lack some basic business-related features that competitors offer. Lili cannot accommodate joint accounts and does not allow multiple business debit cards. And you can’t use your Lili account to pay by check or to send or receive wire transfers.
If wire transfers are essential to your business, consider the Mercury Business Bank Account, which offers free domestic and international wire transfers. You can also add multiple users to your Mercury business account and can issue (and manage) multiple virtual debit cards — two features not available with Lili business accounts.
Limited weekend support: Lili offers customer support via phone and email during the week (9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time), but if you have an issue over the weekend, your only option is email support. If accessible customer support is a high priority, consider Axos Basic Business Checking, which offers 24/7 customer support.
Deposit fees and limits: While Lili customers can deposit cash at participating Green Dot locations, deposits are capped at $1,000 per day and $9,000 per month, and each deposit carries a $4.95 fee. That may be tolerable for the occasional deposit but is hard to stomach with frequency. If your business makes regular cash deposits, consider an nbkc Business Account or LendingClub Tailored Checking, which offer unlimited cash deposits, for no fee, via compatible ATMs.
Mobile check deposits via the Lili app also come with some restrictions. You can deposit only two checks per day (15 per month) and a maximum of $5,000 per day ($50,000 per month). While these limits aren’t unusual, they are worth comparing if you process a decent volume of checks.
Bluevine Business Checking has no cap on the number of checks you can deposit per day, but accounts are capped to $20,000 in mobile check deposits per month. Axos business checking is more generous: Account holders can deposit up to 20 checks per day (60 per month), up to a maximum of $25,000 per business day ($200,000 per month).
at Lili, Deposits are FDIC Insured