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Relay Business Banking: 2024 Review

This free online business account is a good fit for companies that want to integrate their banking and cash management services.
By Kelsey Sheehy
Last updated on January 2, 2024
Edited byRyan Lane
Fact checked and reviewed

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Our Take

The bottom line:

This free online business account has a lot to offer, including automatic transfers to a high-yield savings account and direct integration with popular accounting software. The main drawback: A six to seven business day hold on deposited checks.
Full review

Relay Business Checking

Checking
Deposits are FDIC Insured
Monthly fee
$0
Bonus
$100 Requirements to qualify
Learn more

at Relay, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No monthly fees or minimum opening deposit.
  • Unlimited fee-free transactions; no overdraft fees.
  • Cash deposits via compatible AllPoint ATMs.
  • Automatic transfers to high-yield business savings earning up to 3.00% APY.
  • No foreign transaction fees when you use your Relay Visa® Debit abroad.
  • Free incoming wires and low outgoing wire transfer fees.

Cons

  • Phone support only available during business hours.
  • Deposited checks are held for up to 6-7 business days.
  • No bill pay feature in the free plan.

How does Relay compare?

Relay Business Checking

Deposits are FDIC Insured

Bluevine Business Checking

Deposits are FDIC Insured

at Relay

at Bluevine

Monthly fee

$0

Monthly fee

$0

APY

N/A

APY

2.00%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$100

Requirements to qualify

Bonus

N/A

Full Review

Relay is a financial technology company that offers FDIC-insured business banking accounts via Thread Bank. Relay previously partnered with Evolve Bank and Trust, and as a result, some of its features — including cash deposits and savings accounts — are only available as part of so-called “Relay 2.0.” This refers to accounts opened in 2023 or existing ones that have switched to Thread-supported services.
With no minimum balance requirements, transaction limits or overdraft fees, plus free incoming wire transfers and the ability to deposit cash at compatible AllPoint ATMs, Relay’s free checking 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 also offers a high-yield business savings account that is insured by the FDIC for up to $2.5 million via the Insured Cash Sweep program. Relay’s savings account has no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, but does have a tiered interest structure. You need a balance of at least $1 million to unlock the highest rate,
  • Less than $50,000: 1.00% APY.
  • Between $50,000 and $250,000: 1.50%.
  • Between $250,000 and $1,000,000: 2.00% APY.
  • $1 million or higher: 3.00% APY. 
Relay’s business savings account does not include checks, a debit card or ATM access. The only way to get money in or out is via internal transfer with a Relay Checking account. ACH transfers to a merchant or account at another bank are not allowed. All Relay business checking customers can open up to two savings accounts.
This review and the corresponding star rating focus on Relay’s free business checking account.

Relay business banking 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.
  • Want business checking and a high-yield business savings account.
Want a business checking account that earns interest itself? Consider Bluevine business banking. Like Relay, Bluevine is a financial technology company with FDIC-insured accounts that have no monthly fee and unlimited free transactions. But its accounts also earn
2
% on balances up to and including $250,000. (Terms apply.)

Relay Financial business banking at a glance

Relay Standard
Monthly fee:
$0.
Minimum opening deposit:
$0.
APY:
None.
Transactions:
Unlimited.
Cash deposits:
Fee-free cash deposits via compatible AllPoint ATMs. Up to $1,000 per transaction; max of $2,000 per day.
Bonus:
Receive a $100 bonus for depositing $10,000+ in your Relay account within 30 days of account opening.
.

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 can open and set up your business account and make your initial deposit via ACH or international wire transfer. You can deposit checks via mobile deposit after your account is funded.

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.
  • Email address.
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

Fee-free cash deposits: Relay business checking offers fee-free cash deposits via compatible AllPoint ATMs. Cash deposits are capped at $1,000 per transaction and up to $2,000 per day. This feature is only available to customers who opened a Relay account in 2023 and existing customers that have switched to Relay 2.0.
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.
Automatic transfers to Relay business savings accounts: Relay makes it easier to save for big business purchases or build your emergency fund. You can set rules within your business checking accounts to automatically transfer a set dollar amount or percentage to your Relay business savings account, which earns between 1.00% to 3.00% APY, depending on your balance.
Automatic transfer rules can also be used to move money from one Relay business checking account to another, if your business has multiple accounts with Relay.

Where Relay business checking falls short

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. If you want extended support from an online business account, consider American Express business checking, which offers 24/7 customer service.
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. For instance, Grasshopper business checking, another online account, says it aims to have check deposits available within one business day, and if it takes longer than that, the first $225 of the deposit will at least be accessible during that period.

Learn more

at Relay, 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.

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