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Mercury Bank Review: Business Accounts for Startups, Tech Companies

Mercury is a free, online-first banking platform designed for startups and tech-focused businesses.
By Randa Kriss
Last updated on February 5, 2024
Edited byRyan Lane
Fact checked and reviewed

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Our Take

The bottom line:

Mercury is a no-fee option aimed at startups and tech-focused businesses. And while its API access stands out among online-first banking platforms, so does its lack of cash deposits.
Full review

Mercury Business Bank Account

Checking
Deposits are FDIC Insured
Monthly fee
$0
Learn more

at Mercury, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No monthly fees or minimum opening deposit.
  • Unlimited fee-free transactions; no overdraft fees.
  • Free domestic and international wire transfers.
  • Advanced digital tools including API access to automate and customize your banking.

Cons

  • Can’t deposit cash.
  • Mercury is not part of a fee-free ATM network.

How does Mercury compare?

Mercury Business Bank Account

Deposits are FDIC Insured

Novo Business Checking

Deposits are FDIC Insured

Bluevine Business Checking

Deposits are FDIC Insured

at Mercury

at Novo

at Bluevine

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

$0

APY

N/A

APY

N/A

APY

2.00%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Full Review

Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. That tech background is one reason why Mercury is often a go-to business bank for startups, as it combines services like venture debt funding with innovative features like a read-write application programming interface that lets you truly customize your banking.
Mercury's business checking and savings accounts are provided through Evolve Bank & Trust and Choice Financial Group. Deposits 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.
The star rating for this review corresponds to just Mercury’s free business checking account, not the overall platform.
That account has no monthly fees, minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees. It also delivers benefits well beyond the standard fare for many online business accounts, as customers get free wire transfers, unlimited virtual debit cards and discounts on popular business tools.
But Mercury has similar pitfalls to some other online options, too: It does not accept cash deposits and relies primarily on email for customer support. And while some online-only options turn their lack of overhead into financial benefits for their customers — like offering a strong APY or cash back on debit purchases — Mercury does not.

Mercury is best for business owners who:

  • Have more than $250,000 in deposits and want a sweep account to increase FDIC insurance coverage.
  • Frequently send or receive wire transfers.
  • Want access to venture funding.
Mercury’s business checking account doesn't earn interest, but several competitor options 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. You will have to pay $15 per domestic wire with Bluevine, though.

Mercury banking at a glance

Monthly fee:
$0
Minimum opening deposit requirement:
$0
APY:
Mercury business checking and savings: None.
Mercury Treasury: Up to 5.42% APY.
Transactions:
Unlimited.
Bonus:
None

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

Mercury business savings and treasury accounts

Mercury offers a dedicated business savings account. However, it doesn't earn interest — one of the biggest benefits of parking your money in such an account.
Account holders with balances of more than $500,000 can apply for Mercury Treasury instead to get interest on their idle funds. Mercury Treasure is an automated business 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 5.46% as of this writing).
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).

Where Mercury banking stands out

Limited 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 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 or free withdrawals: Cash-based businesses will likely want to consider options besides Mercury. At this point, most online business checking accounts support cash deposits. Mercury is not one of them.
And while Mercury doesn't charge ATM fees itself, it's also not part of a network that offers fee-free access to ATMs. Mercury previously offered such access via the Allpoint network, but a spokesperson for the company confirmed that is no longer the case. That means you'll potentially get hit with third-party fees each time you wish to withdraw cash from your account.
If your business deals in cash regularly, consider Relay business checking, which offers fee-free cash deposits and withdrawals 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 5.47% 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.

Learn more

at Mercury, Deposits are FDIC Insured

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