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Relay Business Banking: 2023 Review
This free online business account is a good fit for companies that want to integrate their banking and cash management services.
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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.
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 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, which launched in June 2023. All Relay business checking customers can open up to two savings accounts, which earn up to 3.00% APY, depending on your balance.
Relay’s business 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,
Up to $50,000: 1.00% APY.
$50,000 to $249,999: 1.50%.
$250,000 to $999,999: 2.00% APY.
$1 million or higher: 3.00% APY.
Relay’s savings account does not include checks, a debit card or ATM access. The only way to get money in or out of your Relay savings account is via internal transfer with a Relay Checking account. ACH transfers to a merchant or account at another bank are not allowed.
Relay business banking is best for small-business owners who:
Need multiple bank accounts for their business.
Want business checking and a high-yield business savings account.
Use QuickBooks Online or Xero and want to integrate their banking and cash management services.
Relay Financial business banking at a glance
Minimum opening deposit:
Fee-free cash deposits via compatible AllPoint ATMs. Up to $1,000 per transaction; max of $2,000 per day.
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. 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.
You also need to upload certain business documents with your application. Click on your business entity type to see which documents are required.
Employer identification number or Social Security number.
DBA certificate, if applicable.
EIN and EIN verification letter.
Partnership registration form.
EIN and EIN verification letter.
Company bylaws (depending on state filed in).
Articles of incorporation.
EIN and EIN verification letter.
Articles of organizations or certificate of formation.
Operating agreement (for multi-member LLCs filed in California, Delaware, Maine, Missouri and New York).
Where Relay business checking stands out
Fee-free cash deposits: Relay business checking now 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 new feature is 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.
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.
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.