The bottom line: Santander’s business checking options fall short of its competitors', but the bank’s mid-level option is worth a look if you can avoid the monthly fee and operate a business in the Northeast.
Santander Bank Basic Business Checking
Waived with $1,500 minimum balance
Pros & Cons
Competitive cash deposit allowance.
Discounts and bonus offers on merchant services.
Low monthly maintenance fee with multiple ways to waive it on some accounts.
Low transaction limits.
Limited free ATM access.
Additional fees for ACH payments.
Available in only nine states.
How does Santander Bank compare?
Santander Bank has a large global presence, but in the United States its footprint is limited to Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
If your business is in one of those states, Santander offers three main small-business checking accounts: Basic Business Checking, Business Checking and Business Checking Plus.
While this review includes information on all three accounts, the star rating indicated above is specific to Santander Basic Business Checking account.
Santander business checking is best for small business owners who:
Operate a business in the Northeast.
Have a low transaction volume.
Can meet the requirements to waive the monthly fee.
Santander business checking at a glance
Basic Business Checking
Business Checking Plus
$7.50 (waived with an average daily balance of $1,500).
$15 (multiple ways to waive).
$50 (multiple ways to waive).
Minimum opening deposit requirement:
50 free transactions per month; 60 cents for each additional transaction.
300 free transactions per month; 60 cents for each additional transaction.
750 free transactions per month; 60 cents for each additional transaction.
How Santander business checking works
Account options: Santander’s business checking lineup includes three main accounts — Basic Business Checking, Business Checking and Business Checking Plus — along with a handful of specialty accounts, including an analyzed checking account and an IOLTA (Interest on Lawyer’s Trust Account) option for law firms.
All three accounts include basic features such as online and mobile banking and a business debit card. And each carries limits on fee-free cash deposits and transactions.
Basic Business Checking: Up to $7,500 and up to 50 transactions.
Business Checking: Up to $10,000 and up to 300 transactions.
Business Checking Plus: Up to $40,000 and up to 750 transactions.
Additional transactions are 60 cents each. Cash deposits beyond the limit are 27 cents per $100.
Location availability: Santander has more than 14,000 branches worldwide with its corporate headquarters in Spain. Roughly 570 of those branches are in the United States across nine states — Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. But it's worth noting the bank operates just one branch in the entire state of Florida.
How to apply: You need to visit a Santander branch location to open a business checking account.
Required information: Be prepared to provide your personal information — name, address, date of birth and Social Security number — along with relevant business information such as the address and tax ID.
Required documentation: Bring legal documents showing your tax identification number and when your business was established. You may also need to supply a utility bill or lease for your business location.
Where Santander business checking stands out
Easy-to-avoid monthly maintenance fee on Business Checking: Make just three purchases per month with your Santander Business Debit Mastercard to avoid the $15 fee on Santander’s mid-tier Business Checking account. That’s arguably more feasible than maintaining an average daily balance of $1,500, which is the requirement for Santander’s entry-level Basic Business Checking account.
Healthy cash deposit allowance: Santander Basic Business Checking customers can deposit up to $7,500 in cash per month. Business Checking customers get up to $10,000 at no charge. While not overly generous, those limits best many of Santander’s competitors. TD Bank, for example, caps fee-free cash deposits at $5,000 for its entry-level and mid-tier business checking accounts.
Discounted merchant services: Business owners in need of payment or payroll solutions can take advantage of discounts and bonus offers tied to Santander’s merchant services offerings. As of this writing, you’ll receive a $200 bonus if you open a merchant services account with your business checking account. And you can get up to two months of free payroll processing through ADP if you sign up through your Santander account.
Where Santander business checking falls short
Stingy transaction limits: Transaction limits are a common component of business checking accounts. But Santander Bank’s Basic Business Checking account caps free transactions at just 50 “basic transactions” per month. That’s low even for a free or low-fee account. Those basic transactions include checks paid, ACH items and any deposits (by teller, ATM, mobile app, etc.).
Bank of America, Citizens Bank and TD Bank all offer up to 200 fee-free transactions with their entry-level accounts, for example. Bank of America goes one step further, offering customers unlimited electronic transactions, so their 200 limit applies only to things like physical checks and other deposits.
You can upgrade to the Business Checking account ($15 per month) and get 300 free basic transactions, but the cost doesn’t add significant value compared with Santander’s competitors. You can also avoid transaction limits altogether by opting for an online business checking account, such as the NBKC business account.
Limited free ATM access: Santander operates more than 2,000 ATMs, primarily in the Northeast, which business checking customers can use free of charge. But some competitors offer their customers access to tens of thousands of free ATMs nationwide. KeyBank, for example, is part of the AllPoint ATM network, and its customers can use more than 40,000 ATMs across the country free of charge. Santander customers pay $3 per withdrawal at out-of-network ATMs, which could prove costly (and inconvenient) to business owners.
Additional fees for ACH: You’ll have to pay a setup fee and monthly maintenance fee to send and receive Automated Clearing House payments via your Santander business checking account. This service is included with many business checking accounts at no additional charge.
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.