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Novo Review 2024: Online-Only, Cashless Small-Business Checking

Novo offers a free business checking account designed for digital banking and integration with other business tools.
By Randa Kriss
Last updated on January 2, 2024
Edited byRyan Lane
Fact checked and reviewed

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Our Take

The bottom line:

With (almost) no fees and unlimited refunds for ATM charges, Novo business checking is a good option for small-business owners on the go. But Novo’s customer support is lacking, and you can’t deposit cash or send wire transfers.
Full review

Novo Business Checking

Checking
Deposits are FDIC Insured
Learn more

at Novo, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No monthly fees or minimum opening deposit.
  • Unlimited fee-free transactions.
  • Refunds on all ATM fees worldwide.
  • Integrates with top business tools, including Xero, Stripe and Shopify.

Cons

  • Can’t deposit cash.
  • Can’t send domestic or international wires.
  • No recurring payments available with bill pay.
  • No customer support by phone.

How does Novo compare?

Novo Business Checking

Deposits are FDIC Insured

Bluevine Business Checking

Deposits are FDIC Insured

Relay Business Checking

Deposits are FDIC Insured

at Novo

at Bluevine

at Relay

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

$0

APY

N/A

APY

2.00%

With $0 min. balance for APY

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Full Review

Novo is a financial technology company, not a bank, that partners with Middlesex Federal Savings to offer business deposit accounts that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. up to $250,000.
Novo delivers much of what you’d expect from an online business checking account — no monthly fees, unlimited transactions and easy integration with popular business software. It also has a few standout features: unlimited refunds for ATM charges in the U.S. and abroad, and built-in invoicing that can come in handy for freelancers and independent contractors.
Unfortunately, Novo’s online-only business model extends to its customer service, which is only available by email and via the Novo app. The lack of real-time customer service may prove frustrating if you have an issue with your account, such as fraudulent charges. And multiple Novo customer complaints to NerdWallet and the Better Business Bureau highlight that fact.
Other things to consider before opening a Novo account: You can’t make cash deposits or send wire transfers (though you can receive wires).

Novo business checking is best for business owners who:

  • Want a free business checking account with no minimum balance requirement.
  • Don’t need to make cash deposits.
  • Are freelancers and independent contractors in need of a built-in invoicing solution.
  • Don't need live customer support.
Novo only offers email or in-app support. Check out Axos Bank’s business checking account for 24/7 live customer support and fee-free cash deposits.

Novo business checking at a glance

Monthly fee:
$0
Minimum opening deposit requirement:
$0
APY:
None
Transactions:
Unlimited
Bonus:
None

How to open a Novo business checking account

You can apply for Novo business checking by creating an account and submitting an application through the Novo website. You need to be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have a U.S.-based business. Sole proprietors must be U.S. citizens.
  • Required information: You will need to provide information about yourself, your business and any additional business owners, as well as documents like your EIN and articles of incorporation. You’ll also need to provide a valid U.S. mailing address, Social Security number and mobile phone number.
  • Ineligible industries: Cryptocurrency, cannabis and unlawful online gambling businesses are among the industries Novo does not support.
Once submitted, Novo will review your application and deliver a decision within two to three business days. (Note: Novo may ask for additional information or documentation.) If approved, you can open your business account, fund it and connect it with business software tools you already use; Novo offers direct integrations with Xero, Stripe, Wise, Shopify and Zapier.
If you opted to receive a Novo business debit card when completing your application, your card will be delivered to your designated mailing address. As you add other users to your business bank account, they can get their own debit cards and transfer or withdraw funds.

Where Novo business checking stands out

No fees: Novo's business checking account has no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, no transaction fees and no incoming wire fees. In addition, there are no fees for incoming or outgoing ACH transfers, stop payments, insufficient funds, debit card replacements or paper statements.
Novo business checking also includes free mobile check deposit, free bill pay with physical checks (which are mailed out from the mobile app, but not provided in physical checkbooks) and free bank checks.
Free ATM access: Novo doesn’t partner with a massive ATM network like MoneyPass or AllPoint. Instead, Novo allows customers to use any ATM, anywhere in the world, without charging a fee. And those pesky third-party fees charged by other banks and ATM owners? Novo will automatically refund them. Very few other business accounts offer that perk.
Invoicing: A particularly useful tool for freelancers and contractors, Novo’s integrated invoicing feature allows you to create, send and manage an unlimited number of invoices directly within your checking account. You can accept payments by ACH transfer, Venmo and PayPal, or set up Stripe or Square to take credit and debit card payments.
Integrations with business tools: While some online business checking account competitors offer proprietary financial tools or add-ons, Novo lets you connect with tools many small-business owners already use.
Novo offers direct account integration with Xero, Stripe, Shopify, Wise and Zapier. You can also connect your Novo business checking account to Square, QuickBooks, PayPal and Wave, though Novo doesn’t currently offer direct integration with these tools. Additionally, you have the option to connect Novo to Venmo, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Discounts on software and services: Through the Novo perks program, you can access discounts on certain business software and services with your checking account. Novo partners with providers including Stripe, Gusto, Google, Zendesk and others to offer savings opportunities for account holders. For example, Novo account holders receive $5,000 in waived credit card processing fees with Stripe.

Where Novo business checking falls short

Can’t deposit cash: Novo business checking cannot accommodate traditional cash deposits. If you have cash that you’d like to deposit, you’ll have to purchase a money order and then use Novo’s mobile check deposit feature to deposit the check into your account.
Purchasing a money order at a post office or drug store may not be a deal-breaker if you make infrequent deposits, but businesses that deal primarily in cash should look for a business bank account that can accommodate frequent deposits. Many online business bank accounts — like Relay business checking — offer the ability to deposit cash through partner ATM networks or at participating retail locations.
No recurring payments with bill pay: Novo's business checking account does not offer recurring payments, a common feature included with online bill pay. You can save your payee’s information within your Novo account for future payments, but you can’t set payments to automatically send — meaning you’ll need to actively monitor your bills and initiate payments before their due dates.
Disappointing customer support: Novo’s lack of accessible, responsive customer support is referenced in multiple customer complaints lodged with the Better Business Bureau and sent directly to NerdWallet.
Novo’s support options are also lacking compared to competitors. There's no customer service phone number or option to talk to someone in real time — instead, you'll have to reach out via email or through the Novo app.
Business owners looking for greater customer support can consider Chase business banking — which has more than 4,700 branches nationwide and 24/7 phone support. Axos Bank also offers 24/7 live customer support, if you prefer an online option.

Learn more

at Novo, Deposits are FDIC Insured

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. Learn more about how we rate business checking accounts.

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