*The star rating for this review corresponds to Mercury’s business checking account, not the overall platform.
Mercury is a go-to business banking option for startups thanks, in part, to its scalable digital tools, business cash management services and venture debt funding. While Mercury isn’t a bank — it’s a financial technology company — it offers business checking and savings accounts through Evolve Bank & Trust and Choice Financial Group. Deposit accounts at Mercury are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for up to $5 million through those partner banks, which use Insured Cash Sweep networks to distribute funds across multiple financial institutions to maximize insurance protection. Mercury’s free business checking and savings accounts have no monthly fees, minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees. Neither account earns interest, but account holders with balances of more than $500,000 can apply for 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 a higher yield (up to 5.42% as of this writing).
Note: Mercury Treasury is an investment account and does not qualify for FDIC insurance. Instead, funds are insured up to $500,000 by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
Mercury business banking delivers benefits well beyond the standard fare for online business accounts. Customers get free wire transfers, unlimited virtual debit cards, discounts on popular business tools and access to Mercury’s read-write application programming interface to truly customize your banking. But Mercury also has similar pitfalls to some other online options. Namely, it falls short on customer service, relying primarily on email and lacking weekend support availability, and does not accept cash deposits.
Mercury banking is best for:
Companies that have more than $250,000 in deposits and want a sweep account to increase FDIC insurance coverage.
Businesses that frequently send or receive wire transfers.
Startups that want access to venture funding.
Mercury’s business checking and savings accounts do not earn interest, but several competitors do.
Bluevine Business Checking, for example, earns
2.00% APY on balances up to $250,000 (terms apply) and uses sweep networks to provide up to $3 million in FDIC insurance coverage.
Mercury banking at a glance
Minimum opening deposit requirement:
Mercury business checking and savings: None.
Mercury Treasury: Up to 5.42% APY.
How to open a Mercury business account
You can apply for a Mercury business account online, provided you run a U.S. company with a federal employer identification number. Don’t live in the United States? You can still open a Mercury account as long as you have existing or planned operations in the U.S., though there are some restrictions on founders living in certain countries. Trusts and businesses that deal with money services, adult entertainment, internet gambling or cannabis cannot open a Mercury bank account.
What you need to open an account
You need to provide the following information and documentation to open a Mercury business bank account:
Personal details: Date of birth, email, home address, Social Security number and government-issued photo ID (passport or U.S. driver’s license) for the applicant, anyone with 25% or more ownership and any officers who have control over your finances (e.g., a chief financial officer).
Business information: Business name, entity type, physical address and phone number. You also need to indicate your annual revenue, industry and EIN or tax ID.
Required documentation: Business formation documents (varies based on your entity type) and an employer identification number verification from the IRS.
Mercury’s business account application will also ask for details on your target customer, the types of transactions your business makes and links to any professional articles or announcements about your business.
Once approved, you can fund and open your business 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 initial check deposit limits are based upon business verification and your transaction history. Mercury may adjust this limit. Once enabled, you can deposit checks through the Add Funds flow; e-checks are not currently accepted.
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 has no overdraft fees, does not charge to send or receive checks and offers free domestic and international wire transfers (a 1% currency exchange fee applies to transfers not in U.S. dollars).
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
No cash deposits: Online business checking account providers have come a long way on cash deposits, with most offering the option through a third party. Mercury is not one of those accounts. If your business deposits cash regularly, consider Relay business checking, which offers fee-free cash deposits at compatible AllPoint ATMs. Low savings rate: Mercury comes with a built-in business savings account, but it doesn’t earn interest. Mercury Treasury accounts offer a stronger return, with yields of up to 5.42% annually, as of this writing, but you need at least $500,000 in your account to qualify and more than $20 million to get that highest return. Live Oak business banking offers a more accessible alternative, with a high-yield business savings account that earns
4.00% APY, with no minimum balance requirement, and users sweep networks to offer up to $10 million in FDIC insurance coverage.
Limited phone support: Mercury’s online-first approach extends to its customer service. The fintech company funnels most of its customer support through email and doesn't publish a customer service phone number on its website. But Mercury does offer live phone support Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT — just call the number on the back of your Mercury debit card. Want around-the-clock support? Consider Axos business checking, an online bank that offers live customer service, 24/7.