Navy Federal Business Checking: 2021 Review

This credit union offers interest-earning business checking with limited fees and extended customer service access.
Randa KrissJun 1, 2021

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Navy Federal Credit Union's business checking accounts all earn interest, offer unlimited fee-free electronic transactions and have no monthly cap on cash deposits. But accounts are only available to Navy Federal members.

Navy Federal Credit Union Business Checking

Navy Federal Credit Union Business Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.01%

With $0 minimum balance

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Three business checking options, including one free account.
  • All accounts earn interest and offer unlimited fee-free electronic transactions.
  • Fee-free access to over 30,000 ATMs and 343 branch locations worldwide.
  • No monthly account limits on cash deposits.
  • No fees for incoming wire transfers.
  • Extended access to customer service representatives, as well as additional small-business resources.

Cons

  • Specific eligibility criteria to join the credit union.
  • Complex application process.
  • Basic and limited digital tools.
  • No waived incidental fees.

How does Navy Federal Credit Union compare?

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Monthly Fee

$15.00

Waived with $2,000 minimum balance

Monthly Fee

$10.00

Waived with $5,000 minimum balance

APY

N/A

APY

0.10%

With $5,000 minimum balance

Bonus

$300

Requirements to qualify

Bonus

N/A

Full Review

Navy Federal Credit Union offers three business checking accounts: Business Checking, Business Plus Checking and Business Premium Checking.

While this review includes information on all three accounts, the star rating indicated above is specific to Navy Federal's free Business Checking account.

Navy Federal business checking is best for small-business owners who:

  • Are current or retired members of the U.S. armed forces, the National Guard, Department of Defense employees or are family members of those groups.

  • Want a free, interest-earning business checking account — or don’t mind one with a modest monthly fee.

  • Prefer a credit union to a brick-and-mortar or online bank.

  • Appreciate an extensive customer service presence.

Navy Federal business checking at a glance

Business Checking

Business Plus Checking

Business Premium Checking

Monthly fee:

$0

$8

$20 (waived with average daily balance of $5,000+)

Minimum opening deposit requirement:

$100 for sole proprietorships, $105 for all other entity types

$100 for sole proprietorships, $105 for all other entity types

$100 for sole proprietorships, $105 for all other entity types

APY:

0.01%

0.01%

Up to 0.45% (tiered APY based on account balance)*

Transactions:

Unlimited fee-free electronic transactions.

Up to 30 fee-free non-electronic transactions per month, then 25 cents per item.

Unlimited fee-free electronic transactions.

Up to 50 fee-free non-electronic transactions per month, then 25 cents per item.

Unlimited fee-free electronic transactions.

Up to 100 fee-free non-electronic transactions per month, then 25 cents per item.

Bonus:

None

None

None

*You must maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500 to earn interest on this account.

How Navy Federal business checking works

Account options: Navy Federal Credit Union offers three business checking accounts: Business Checking, Business Plus Checking and Business Premium Checking. All three of these business accounts earn interest, include unlimited fee-free electronic transactions and place no cap on the amount of cash you can deposit for free per month (though individual ATMs may limit the number of bills you can deposit in a single transaction). Navy Federal business checking also offers a range of customer service options, as well as additional educational and financial resources for small-business owners.

Location availability: Navy Federal Credit Union has 343 branches worldwide — covering 30 U.S. states, plus Washington, D.C., and 11 countries. It’s important to note that business inquiries and transactions are available at full-service branch locations only. You can find a breakdown of services available by branch on the Navy Federal website.

Account eligibility: To be eligible for a Navy Federal business checking account, all business owners must be individual members of Navy Federal Credit Union with accounts in good standing. To qualify for membership at Navy Federal, you must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Active duty, retired or veteran service members of the U.S. armed forces (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard or Space Force).

  • Department of Defense employees or retirees, as well as U.S. government employees assigned to Department of Defense installations or Department of Defense contractors assigned to U.S. government installations.

  • Family or household members of either of these groups.

You can apply for Navy Federal Credit Union membership online, over the phone or by visiting a branch location.

How to apply: To open an account, visit a Navy Federal branch to complete and submit your application — or, start your application online and work with a business banking representative over the phone to complete your application.

  • Required information: Basic information about you and your business, including your employer identification number, legal business name, the nature of your business and estimated annual revenue.

    • You will also have to complete a Beneficial Owner form and provide basic details (including a Social Security number or passport number) for any business owner with 25% or more ownership in your business, as well as controlling officers (for example, chief executive officer, chief financial officer, managing member). Sole proprietorships aren't required to complete this form.

  • Required documentation: Business formation document (varies based on entity type), IRS EIN letter and fictitious name/assumed name certificate if your business is using a DBA, or doing business as.

    • Navy Federal may also ask for a driver’s license or another identifying document for each beneficial owner listed on the Beneficial Owner form.

    Next steps: Once your account has been approved, Navy Federal’s Business Solutions team will contact you with a welcome package with additional information. You will receive a free business debit card, free starter checks and access to digital banking, which includes mobile check deposit and online bill pay.

    Where Navy Federal business checking stands out

    Low monthly fees: With the three Navy Federal business checking accounts, monthly fees range from $0 to $20 per month. Not only does Navy Federal offer a truly free business checking account, but the Business Plus Checking and Business Premium Checking accounts have low fees compared with many competitors.

    For example, Wells Fargo charges $10 per month for its base-level Initiate Business Checking account and $25 per month for the next-level Navigate Business Checking account. Similarly, Wings Financial Credit Union charges $10 per month for its base-level business checking account, $15 per month for the next-level and $20 per month for the final account.

    Although Navy Federal doesn't offer a way to waive the $8 per month fee for the Business Plus Checking account, the $20 per month fee for Business Premium Checking can be waived with an average daily balance of $5,000 or more.

    Ability to earn interest: Each of the Navy Federal business checking accounts is interest-earning — allowing you to earn on your funds regardless of the account that you choose.

    Although the Business Checking and Business Plus Checking accounts earn a very low APY that’s on par with that of many of its brick-and-mortar competitors, the Business Premium Checking account offers a rate that’s higher than some online and brick-and-mortar competitors, as well as some business savings accounts.

    Transactions: Navy Federal business checking offers unlimited fee-free electronic transactions, no monthly account limits on cash deposits (other than the bill limits of individual ATMs for a single transaction), no fees for incoming wire transfers and no fees for transactions at Navy Federal or CO-OP Network ATMs.

    Additionally, each account includes a free business debit card, free starter checks and a number of fee-free nonelectronic transactions per month. With nonelectronic transactions, however, Navy Federal will count up to 12 checks for deposit at a branch location as one transaction.

    Customer service: A benefit that’s typically associated with credit unions versus traditional banks, Navy Federal Credit Union membership includes 24/7 access to customer service by phone. In addition, you also have the ability to log in to online banking and contact customer service via secure messaging, using live chat through the Navy Federal website, as well as in person at a branch location.

    Moreover, business members can contact a business-specific phone line from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. You also have access to additional resources like Navy Federal’s education center, partner tools and other financial products including credit cards and business loans.

    Where Navy Federal business checking falls short

    Eligibility: To be eligible for a Navy Federal business checking account, all business owners must be members of Navy Federal Credit Union, meaning they must be current or former members of the military, Department of Defense employees or their family members.

    Although credit union business accounts might be ideal options for those who can qualify, these are very specific criteria that must be met to open an account.

    Application process: Compared with both online and brick-and-mortar competitors that offer streamlined applications to open business checking accounts, Navy Federal has a more complex and intensive application process.

    As opposed to an account like Bank of America business checking, which allows you to complete the entire application online, then send your documentation to the bank via email or fax, Navy Federal requires that you download and complete the Beneficial Owner form, fill out the online pre-application and compile your documentation before calling a business representative on the phone to work with them to complete your application.

    Basic digital tools: Each of the Navy Federal business checking accounts includes access to digital banking with mobile check deposit, online bill pay, account transfers and debit card management. Unlike some business checking accounts, however, Navy Federal doesn't offer more advanced digital tools, such as cash flow management, budgeting, invoicing or similar tools.

RATING METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet's business checking reviews look at multiple factors, including monthly fee, APY, ATM access, transaction limits, cash deposit allowance, customer service, additional features and incidental fees, such as overdraft, NSF and stop payment charges.