The Best Banks for Side Hustlers

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Freelance work is more popular than ever. In December, a report from Upwork noted that freelancers contributed roughly $1.3 billion to the U.S. economy, more than a $100 million increase from the year before. It also found that 59 million Americans, about one-third of the entire U.S. workforce, did some freelancing in the past year. 

As more and more people continue to look into freelance work, either as a full-time career or extra income on the sides, they’re also looking for alternatives to the more run-of-the-mill banks as a means to handle this very specific type of income. 

While established banks are creating new and different account options geared toward freelancers and small business owners, so are companies that aren’t technically banks. So, whether you’re freelancing as a side hustle or working to start a small business, there are more options now than ever. Here’s a look at some of the best options out there. 

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Novo Best Business Checking

Geared toward freelancers, Novo’s Best Business Checking is designed to be a fully-integrated tool. Novo’s platform will sync up PayPal, Quickbooks, Zoho, Venmo, and most other major platforms for maximum convenience.   

There’s no minimum balance or monthly service fees, and it does have a check-writing option. Unfortunately, none of the accounts are interest-bearing, there are no savings options and while ATM fees are refunded, Novo doesn’t have any in-network. 

Axos Bank Basic Business Checking

Already known as a business-friendly bank, Axos Bank’s Basic Business Check is aimed at freelancers with moderate banking activity. There are no monthly fees but the bank does require $1,000 to open an account. 

While there’s no interest available, there is an option to upgrade to Business Interest Checking. Small business owners are also eligible for a special savings account. However, there are no physical locations, which means no in-person banking and no means to deposit cash. 

Check Out: The Pros and Cons of Going to an Online-Only Bank, According to Experts

LendingClub Bank’s Tailored Checking

A LendingClub account has some appealing features, but it requires a relatively high balance in order to unlock them. However, with a $5,000 minimum balance, you’ll earn interest as well as one percent cash-back on all business-related purchases, and LendingClub waive the $10 monthly service fee. 

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The big draws are how easy it is to generate digital invoices and other reports. However, it is limited access, as you’ll need a website or social media account in order to be approved for this type of account. 


A mobile-only operation, Lili is FDIC insured and offers two tiers of service: free and $4.99 per month. Both let you open and keep an account with a $0 balance. The paid option, Lili Plus, offers more advanced tracking options, overdraft protection, and higher limits on ATM use.

The downsides are there are still limits on deposits and transfers and Lilli doesn’t offer joint accounts nor offers online banking beyond mobile. It’s likely more suited to part-time freelancers. 

Also See: Venmo Is Riddled with Scams – Is Zelle Any Safer?

Wells Fargo Initiate Business Checking

The big draw of the Wells Fargo Initiate Business Checking is the bank’s significant footprint. With over 8,000 branches across the U.S., no matter where you’re located, chances are there’s a branch close by. 

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Along with the FDIC insurance that comes with a bank this size, Wells Fargo also offers round-the-clock fraud monitoring, Zero Liability protection and integrated mobile banking. There is a monthly service fee, but several ways around it. The cons include various transaction limits that may read as confusing and fairly high fees for out-of-network ATMs. 

Kabbage Checking

Recently launched by American Express as the company’s first-ever business-focused account, Kabbage Checking sets itself apart by offering high-interest checking accounts, specifically 1.10% APY on balances up to $100,000. 

Additionally, there are no balance minimums or monthly fees, along with access to almost 20,000 in-network ATMs. There aren’t fees for out-of-network ATMs, though there’s no reimbursement for fees charged by the ATM itself. Kabbage Checking is also online-only, so there’s no option for in-person banking if that’s what you prefer. 

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