Business Bank Account: Is "Free" Worth It?

June 14, 2024
2
minutes to read
by
Jelina Rosin
Table of Contents

It's crucial to understand what these accounts really offer and what fine print might be involved. Let's dig in

'Free' business bank accounts are hugely popular among small business owners looking to cut costs. While they promise no monthly fees, it's crucial to understand what these accounts really offer and what fine print might be involved.

What 'free' often means in relation to business bank accounts

A 'free' business bank account typically means there are no monthly maintenance fees.

However, there can still be other costs. For example, transaction limits might apply, and fees could be charged for exceeding those limits. Certain services, such as wire transfers or overdraft protection, might incur additional charges. Always read the terms and conditions carefully to understand any hidden fees or special charges that might pop up.

Some banks waive fees if you meet certain conditions, such as maintaining a minimum balance or making a specific number of deposits. Introductory offers, like free for the first year, are common. Be aware that such perks might turn into regular charges once the promotional period ends.

Types of 'free' business accounts

Several kinds of 'free' business bank accounts cater to different needs.

Online-only accounts are great for businesses that primarily handle digital transactions. These accounts save on overhead costs and often offer competitive terms.

Traditional bank accounts, although less common in the 'free' category, do exist. These might offer additional services like in-person support and cash handling, but might come with more stringent conditions to qualify for the 'free' status.

There are also specialised accounts for specific types of businesses, such as high-yield checking accounts for those who maintain larger balances or accounts designed for gig workers and freelancers. Each type has its own set of terms and benefits, so compare carefully to find what fits best for your business needs.

Pros and cons of 'free' business bank accounts

Free business bank accounts offer various benefits, including cost savings and accessibility, but they can also come with embedded limitations like transaction limits and potential hidden charges.

At Thriday you can have up to 10 accounts within the one platform for $0 monthly fee ongoing. You only pay for Thriday when you unlock the automated cash flow, accounting and tax features.

The Pros of 'free' business bank accounts

Free business bank accounts can be an excellent choice for startups and small businesses with a low barrier to entry. Many banks offer no monthly fees, generous interest rates, and unlimited fee-free transactions. These features make it easier for small businesses to manage their funds without worrying about monthly charges.

Another benefit is the convenience of electronic transactions and mobile banking. Accounts like the one from Thriday offer 24/7 online and mobile banking. This allows business owners to handle their banking needs on the go. Additionally, some free accounts have advantages such as higher interest rates.

The cons of 'free' business bank accounts

Despite the advantages, free business bank accounts are not without their downsides. One common issue is transaction limits, which may restrict the number of free transactions per month. Surpassing these limits often results in fees, which can add up over time. For example, while Bluevine's account doesn't have a monthly fee, there are still terms that apply.

Hidden fees can also be present in free accounts. These may include fees for cash deposits, wire transfers, or transactions at ATMs outside the bank’s network. Limited customer service options are another drawback. Some free account providers may not offer the same level of support you’d expect from traditional business banking services. This can be a critical factor for businesses that require robust customer service to handle issues swiftly and efficiently.

Choosing the right business bank account

Choosing the right business bank account is essential for managing your company's finances efficiently. Different types of accounts serve various needs, including business transaction accounts and business savings accounts. Each account type offers unique benefits.

Business transaction accounts are suitable for everyday business operations. These typically come with features such as visa business debit cards or Mastercard options. It's crucial to understand the monthly fees and any associated service fees.

Business savings accounts, on the other hand, are designed to hold excess cash reserves and earn interest. They may offer lower fees compared to transaction accounts but could have restrictions on withdrawals and eftpos transactions overseas.

When evaluating business bank accounts, consider the following:

  • Monthly fees and additional charges
  • Visa business debit card or Business debit Mastercard® options
  • Availability of Mastercard for international transactions
  • Eligibility requirements

Some banks also provide specialised services like credit approval and a financial services guide. These can enhance the account's value by offering more insights into financial management.

We believe banking is one of the most important features for a small business. Your transaction data powers and informs every important business decision you make. Thriday is only able to provide the level of automation we can because of the built-in bank accounts and the fidelity of the banking data we have in the platform.

Banking has really been a walled garden until now, it's your data and you should be able to make the best and most efficient use of it.

Conclusion

Choosing the right business bank account is essential for managing business income and expenses efficiently.

For a sole trader, a dedicated business account differentiates personal and business finances. This simplifies the process at tax time.

Trusts benefit from separate accounts to manage funds properly and uphold legal requirements.

Target market determination helps businesses identify accounts tailored to their specific needs. Whether it's high transaction volumes or international transfers, there are tailored solutions available.

Businesses should consult their accountant for guidance on selecting an account that improves reporting. Streamlined financial records are crucial for smooth operations.

Choosing an account with minimal fees ensures that more profit stays within the business. Additionally, some accounts offer tools and features that simplify managing both day-to-day transactions and larger financial decisions.

Effective account management protects against potential financial pitfalls and helps in building a robust credit rating, enhancing the company’s financial health in the long term.

Thriday customer
Thriday customer

Frequently asked questions

When considering a business bank account in Australia, it is crucial to evaluate factors such as fees, transaction limits, and additional features. Understanding these elements can help businesses select the most suitable banking solution.

How do I choose the best bank for my business account in Australia?

Evaluate banks based on their reputation, customer service, and the accessibility of their branches. Consider banks that have a strong track record with business clients and offer industry-specific banking solutions.

What features should I consider when comparing business bank accounts?

Look for features such as low or no monthly fees, high transaction limits, and integrated payment solutions. Ensure the bank provides robust online and mobile banking platforms to manage your finances efficiently.

Are there any Australian banks offering free business bank accounts?

Some banks do offer business accounts with no monthly fees. For instance, Thriday provides a business account without hidden charges, which is ideal for startups and small businesses.

What are the requirements for opening a business bank account in Australia?

To open a business bank account in Australia, you typically need an Australian Business Number (ABN) and official identification documents, such as a driver’s license or passport. Some banks may also require additional documents, like a business plan or partnership agreement.

How does the application process for a business bank account work?

The application process usually involves filling out an online or in-branch application form and submitting necessary documents. Depending on the bank, approval can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

What are the benefits of having a dedicated business bank account?

A dedicated business bank account helps separate personal and business finances, making it easier to manage cash flow and track expenses. It can also enhance the business's credibility with clients and suppliers, and simplify tax preparation and audits.

DISCLAIMER: Team Thrive Pty Ltd ABN 15 637 676 496 (Thriday) is an authorised representative (No.1297601) of Regional Australia Bank ABN 21 087 650 360 AFSL 241167 (Regional Australia Bank). Regional Australia Bank is the issuer of the transaction account and debit card available through Thriday. Any information provided by Thriday is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether Thriday is appropriate for you. Team Thrive No 2 Pty Ltd ABN 26 677 263 606 (Thriday Accounting) is a Registered Tax Agent (No.26262416).

Why waste time on financial admin when Thriday can do it for you?

JOIN FOR FREE
Already have an account? Login here
Thriday Debit Card

SEE HOW THRIDAY HELPS
SMALL BUSINESSES

Live demo this Thursday at 12:30pm.
SAVE YOUR SPOT
Close