Looking for the Best Online Business Accounts for a Small Company?

If you’re starting a business you need a business account to help you hold your company funds separately to your personal spending account. Online accounts can be a great way to manage your business balance flexibly, on the go, and often across currencies.

Let’s take a look at some of the best options out there for your startup, SME or sole proprietorship.

Online business accounts vs traditional accounts

The first question to consider is whether it’s worth getting an online business account at all? After all, you can head down to a traditional bank in your local area and open an account there instead.

Online accounts often have a number of advantages compared to accounts with regular banks. Because online companies have lower overheads, their fees tend to be lower. You can be sure that the online and mobile banking options will be intuitive and easy to access. And many digital business account providers also offer extra perks like multi-currency options, API access and integration with payment platforms and accounting software. All in all, that can save you time as well as money.

Online business accounts aren’t for everyone, though. If you prefer face to face customer service or regularly need to deposit cash payments you may be better off heading down a traditional route. Think about how you’ll use your account - and check out the fees, features and benefits of online accounts below - to help you decide which is right for you.

Which are the best online business accounts?

A range of online business account providers have emerged over the past few years, offering lots of different account plans. Some are specialists in specific services like multi-currency business payments. Some integrate with a broad range of e-commerce platforms for easier transactions, some have niche markets like tech startups or freelancers. The good news is that with this broad spectrum of providers and accounts, the right one is out there for you somewhere.

The truth is that there is no single best online business account. It depends on how you’ll use your account day to day, what services you value, and what type of business you run. Do some research and compare providers to find the best fit.

Online business account providers

Kick off your research with this overview of features and fees from some of the key online business account providers operating in the US. Then read on for more about the accounts available, and who they may suit.

1. Wise

Wise for business is a multi-currency online account which lets you hold dozens of currencies, and pay invoices in more than 70. You’ll also get account details like an IBAN, account number and routing number for receiving payments, and can withdraw payments from platforms like Stripe into your account for ease. 

Currency conversion with Wise uses the real mid-market exchange rate with no markups. There’s just a low per transaction fee which can work out much cheaper than a traditional bank account, or some other online alternatives. You’ll also find there is no monthly fee or minimum balance to worry about, making this a flexible low cost option when you’re starting to grow your business across borders.

Features:

  • Hold and manage 55+ currencies, and integrate with accounting software for convenience
  • No monthly fee or minimum balance to worry about
  • Bank level security and encryption to keep your money safe
  • 19x cheaper than PayPal according to independent research
  • 50% of payments are instant or arrive within an hour

Best for: businesses looking to grow internationally, which need to send and receive low cost foreign currency payments to a broad range of countries

2. Revolut

Revolut customers can open a free account which comes with limited features, or upgrade to Grow, Scale or Enterprise plans. Grow comes with a 39.99 USD fee, some free international transfers and up to 30 team members. Scale account holders have increased limits for currency exchange and international transfer, as well as 100 free team members - and Enterprise accounts are tailored to business needs.

Depending on your account plan you’ll get free services up to predetermined limits, with low fixed fees after you exceed these. That means you can choose to move to a higher tier of account when your business starts growing, right up to tailored enterprise level products.

Features:

  • Hold and transact in 28 currencies and get physical and virtual ATM cards
  • Local account details for GBP and USD
  • Fixed number of free transactions according to your plan type - select the plan which suits your business size
  • Currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate up to your account limit - there’s then a 0.4% fee

Best for: businesses requiring USD and GBP receiving accounts, with predictable transaction patterns to allow them to select an appropriate account tier

3. Airwallex

Airwallex lets you receive payments from online platforms, or by invoicing clients, in a range of currencies - open receiving accounts in different currencies in just a few minutes once your account is approved.

Integrate your Airwallex account with eBay, Shopify or PayPal to get paid from several sources into the same holding account. You can then convert your balance to USD for a small fee added into the exchange rate, before withdrawing it - or hold and spend your foreign currency balance directly from the account.

Features:

  • Integrate with online stores and platforms to receive payments conveniently
  • Bulk payment facilities to save admin time
  • Payments in 31 currencies to 150+ countries
  • Currency exchange has a fee of 0.5% - 1% added onto the exchange rate
  • Get account details for USD, AUD, GBP and EUR

Best for: businesses requiring USD, AUD, GBP or EUR receiving accounts, which are prepared to pay a small markup on exchange rates for currency conversion

4. Payoneer

Payoneer has solutions for freelancers, ecommerce sellers, small businesses and enterprise customers. As a specialist in business transactions, Payoneer is integrated with a range of freelance and marketplace platforms, so you can get paid through several routes, all into the same account. You’ll also be able to charge clients in multiple currencies and then either manage your money in Payoneer or withdraw to a regular account.

Check out the fees before you sign up - there are markups on currency conversion and fees for some payments and withdrawals.

Features:

  • Sell and do business globally and bill in your client’s local currency with receiving accounts in several foreign currencies
  • Integrate with platforms like Shopify, Fiverr and AirBnB to get paid easily
  • Make payments to contractors, employees and suppliers, or pay your VAT direct from your account
  • Fees apply to receive payments and make withdrawals to your USD bank account - there are also costs wrapped into exchange rates used for currency conversion

Best for: businesses looking to combine income from several platforms into one account, and then manage their money directly from Payoneer rather than making withdrawals

5. Mercury

Mercury is set up as a banking option for tech startups, with features including API access and virtual cards - and access to resources which are aimed at helping startups scale up. You can hold your balance in USD, and send and receive international wire payments all over the world as you need to. 

Mercury is still growing and setting up additional products - look out for Mercury Treasury which is in closed beta at the time of writing and will allow customers to earn from their idle business cash.

Features:

  • Send payments by wire, ACH or check, get company analytics and tactical integrations with financial and accounting tools
  • Accounts come with team management tools, virtual cards and API access
  • No minimum balance - but holding 250,000 USD or more does unlock extra perks to help you build your business
  • Resource centre to help startups grow and access investment
  • Not available for sole proprietors or trusts

Best for: tech startups looking to grow

As a business owner you need simple solutions to help you cut costs and save time. Online business accounts can help you do just that. Check out these options as a starting point, and do some digging to find the perfect account product for your business.

By Ileana Ionescu Updated September 17th, 2021