Relay Business Banking: 2023 Review
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The bottom line:
This free online business account has a lot to offer, including unlimited transactions, no overdraft fees and direct integration with popular accounting software. But it lacks some basic banking functions (cash deposits) and implements a long hold time for deposited checks.
Pros & Cons
- No monthly fees or minimum balance requirement.
- No overdraft fees, unlimited transactions and free incoming wire transfers.
- Business owners can have up to 20 business checking accounts and 50 Mastercard® debit cards (virtual or physical).
- Ability to set transaction and withdrawal limits on employee debit cards.
- Cannot deposit cash or order checks.
- Limited phone support (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday). Email support available seven days a week.
- Long hold time for deposited checks (up to 6-7 business days).
How does Relay compare?
Deposits are FDIC Insured
LendingClub Tailored Checking
Bluevine Business Checking
Deposits are FDIC Insured
Waived with $500 minimum balance
With $0 min. balance for APY
With $0 min. balance for APY
Relay is a fully digital business banking solution offering free business checking. With no minimum balance requirements, transaction limits or overdraft fees, plus free incoming wire transfers and the ability to open multiple accounts, Relay is one of NerdWallet’s picks for best business checking accounts.
Relay’s premium account, Relay Pro, includes same-day ACH availability and free outgoing wire transfers, plus accounts payable features such as the ability to automatically import bills from QuickBooks Online and Xero. Relay Pro is $30 per month.
Relay does not have any physical branch locations, all banking is done via the Relay website or mobile app. Relay partners with Thread Bank to offer deposit accounts. Each account is federally insured up to $250,000 through Thread Bank.
Relay business checking is best for small-business owners who:
Need multiple bank accounts for their business.
Use QuickBooks Online or Xero and want to integrate their banking and cash management services.
Run e-commerce businesses or other companies that do not deal with cash.
Relay Financial business banking at a glance
Minimum opening deposit:
How to open a Relay business checking account
You can open a Relay business account online or via the Relay mobile app (Android or iOS). First, you’ll create an account, then provide the necessary information and documents (more on that below).
Once your account is established, you make your initial deposit via ACH or international wire transfer. You can deposit checks via mobile deposit after your account is funded. Relay does not currently support cash deposits.
What you need to open an account
To open a Relay business account, you need to provide the following information for all beneficial owners. That includes anyone with at least a 25% stake in the business, as well as certain executives, such as the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief operating officer and/or the company’s treasurer.
Government-issued photo identification.
Passport or Social Security number.
Personal address and phone number.
Business address and phone number.
You also need to upload certain business documents with your application. Click on your business entity type to see which documents are required.
Where Relay business checking stands out
No-fee business checking: Relay is a free online business banking platform. Users don’t pay a monthly fee, transaction fees or overdraft fees. There is also no fee for incoming wire transfers. While businesses can upgrade to Relay Pro ($30 per month) for additional bookkeeping features, most businesses will find the free version meets their banking needs.
Supports multiple accounts, cards: Business owners can open up to 20 checking accounts and issue up to 50 virtual or physical debit cards. You also can invite team members, assign roles and permissions, and set spending limits. This makes Relay ideal for a midsized business or a rapidly growing startup.
Built-in bookkeeping functions: Relay is designed to be a bank account and cash management service. It offers direct integration with QuickBooks Online and Xero, so you can seamlessly sync transaction data with your accounting software. Relay Pro offers additional bookkeeping features, including the ability to set approval workflows for bill payment and automatically import unpaid bills from QuickBooks or Xero. You can also connect your Relay account to PayPal, Stripe, Square and Venmo.
Where Relay business checking falls short
No cash deposits: Relay’s business account does not support cash deposits. Business owners can only fund their accounts via ACH or wire transfer, or mobile check deposit using the Relay app. While this isn’t a deal breaker for all businesses, those that deal with cash on a regular basis will want to look elsewhere. Several of Relay’s competitors, including Bluevine, LendingClub and NBKC, offer cash deposits with their online business accounts.
Limited customer service hours: Relay only offers telephone support Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. A lot of banking happens outside of those traditional business hours, though. Relay does offer email support if you have a problem after hours or on the weekend. While the company says its goal is to reply the same day, if not within a few hours, that may not cut it in an emergency.
Long hold time for deposited checks: Funds deposited via check (through Relay’s mobile app) are held for six to seven business days before being available in your account. That long hold can be incredibly disruptive to a business's cash flow and is one of the main complaints noted in Relay’s customer reviews. Other business accounts are much quicker to deposit funds. Checks deposited with Bluevine, another online business account, are available within one to four business days, for example.
at Relay, Deposits are FDIC Insured
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.