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Relay Review

Thursday, October 6th

2022 Business Bank Account Reviews

Relay Review 4.5 Star Rating

Relay

4.5 Star Rating
  • Up to 20 no-fee checking accounts
  • Up to 50 virtual or physical debit Mastercards
  • Payments via ACH, wire or check
  • Invite team members
  • Automate spending limits
  • Web, iOS, or Android apps

Relay is a financial technology company serving as the interface for Evolve Bank & Trust which carries out the banking transactions of its customers. With Relay, you can transparently see operating expenses, cash flow, and accounts payable. You can open up to 20 business checking accounts and issue 50 Mastercard debit cards to your staff. There are no account minimums, overdraft fees, or withdrawal fees from ATMs. Accountants and bookkeepers can join a partner program to sell Relay services to business clients and keep up to 20% of the revenue.

For what it's worth, Evolve Bank & Trust was established in 1925 and has over $500 million in assets, which is quite a bit less than the larger banks. Still, with their longevity, that amount in assets may be suitable for earning the trust of small businesses.

Fees

It costs no money to open a Relay Standard account. However, for the advanced features of Relay Pro, including QuickBooks or Xero integration and bill pay, you'll pay $30 per business per month.

With Relay Standard and Relay Pro, there are no fees. The only exception is if you're on Relay Standard where sending domestic wires is a fee of $5 and receiving international wires is a fee of $10. Everything else, including monthly checking, minimum balance, overdraft, bounced checks, cash withdrawals at ATMs, sending and receiving ACH transfers, sending and depositing checks, and receiving domestic and international wires are all free of any fees for both plans.

Relay makes revenue when you use the Relay debit card and Mastercard shares part of the merchant fee with Relay.

Plenty Of Fee-less ATMs

Relay boasts 32,000 ATMs in the AllPoint ATM network. You can withdraw cash from any AllPoint ATM for free and use any ATM globally without a fee as well. However, individual owners of global ATMs will likely charge a fee.

Interest-bearing Checking Not Available

All Relay checking accounts are non-interest-bearing with no plans on the horizon to add interest to checking accounts.

Payment Platform Compatibility

Relay supports businesses that transact using online payment systems such as PayPal, Stripe, Plaid, Square, Venmo, Melio, Gusto, and Shopify. With Melio and Gusto, Relay doesn't support paychecks in paper check form, only electronically. Zelle is not supported.

Bookkeeping and Payroll Integration

Relay integrates with Xero, QuickBooks, Plaid, and Gusto. Xero and QuickBooks are both online bookkeeping and accounting systems. Plaid helps businesses have open banking connectivity across a toolkit of financial services providers. Gusto enables payroll with detailed data, shortfall alerts, and secure team member access.

For bookkeepers and accountants, Relay has a partner program that pays money for every new client brought onto the Relay banking platform. Accountants and bookkeepers can earn up to 20% of the monthly revenue depending on how many new clients they bring on board. And, there are additional features made available to accountants and bookkeepers that aren't available to regular business owners.

Best Business Bank Accounts

Ease of Transfers to Personal Accounts

Transferring funds between Relay accounts is done in the desktop or mobile app by choosing the Accounts tab and clicking the Move Money button. From there you can select the accounts to transfer funds between and then confirm an amount, start date, and frequency for recurring transfers. It will automatically detect when you are transferring more funds than are available and warn you.

Import and Pay Bills

With Relay, you can automatically import bills from QuickBooks Online or Xero, then set up approval workflows, and pay via ACH, wire transfers, or check. The status of the bills in Xero or in QuickBooks Online will be updated automatically once you initiate the payments in Relay.

Up to 20 Different Accounts

Relay offers up to 20 checking accounts for both Standard and Pro members. There is the exception of sole proprietorships only being allowed to open up to 10 checking accounts, so be sure to either incorporate your business or read the fine print about what you're allowed to do as a sole proprietor on the Relay banking platform.

Transaction Limits

Direct deposits, wires, or ACH transfers from an outside financial institution are limited to $1,000,000 per day. There are no limits on ACH transfers from Relay or linked bank accounts, deposits using an external debit or credit card from an outside source, Remote Deposit Capture (RDC), or internal transfers.

Withdrawals are subject to limits. ACH transfers (credit) to an external bank account initiated by Relay or linked bank accounts are limited to $100,000 per day. Wires are limited to $200,000 per day. Bill pay checks are limited to $40,000 per day. Internal transfers are limited to $1,000,000 per day.

Should your business wish to have limits on debit card transactions by individual cardholders (up to 50), Relay allows you to select a card and then choose limits on daily transactions or daily withdrawals. You'll only be able to set the spending limits of the card.

Customer Support Experiences

Relay is "not rated" by the Better Business Bureau. On other client feedback platforms, they have a great reputation for saving people time and energy and personalized customer service. People also like the separate checking accounts feature, ease of use, transparent messaging, easy sign-up, and automation.

For the folks who didn't like Relay, they had problems with frozen accounts due to forms not being uploaded or false positives with suspicious activity, no phone support, long times for checks to clear, and trouble opening accounts.

Business Banking with Plenty of Positive Feedback

The company does respond to the majority of negative reviews with offers to assist further when it looks like there are more steps to be taken. With the large ratio of positive to negative reviews, and the innovative structure of banking that includes onramps for business owners and accountants alike who are juggling finances of multiple businesses, we give Relay a hearty recommendation.

The 10 Best Business Bank Accounts

Where Should You Open a Business Bank Account?

The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors. How mature is your business in terms of growth and revenue? How do your customers pay you? How do you pay your vendors? Do you expect to earn interest on the money you hold in your checking account? Can you afford to pay fees on transactions?

Access to cashflow is a big part of running your business. Without cashflow, you can't operate. So being able to deposit or withdraw money quickly, with the least amount of hassle, will partly determine whether you're successful in your entrepreneurial endeavors. For example, if you can't make payroll happen in the timeframe your employees expect, they will complain or even quit. Or, if you can't pay your bills on time, you'll be assessed fees and fines that put a dent in your bottom line.

The Best Business Bank Accounts Compare Business Bank Accounts Compare Business Bank Account Reviews What are the best Business Bank Accounts Best Business Bank Account Reviews

Business Bank Account FAQ

A business bank account has more features than a typical personal banking account. For example, business accounts might have overdraft protection. They also might have fewer fees and interest-bearing options to help your money grow while stored in the account. A growing number of business checking accounts have integrations with popular eCommerce, payment, and accounting systems.
That depends on the bank. Larger banks with greater longevity typically have minimum daily balance requirements. Smaller banks that are trying to gain a foothold in the banking industry will entice new customers by offering a zero minimum balance requirement. While you'll never be able to completely avoid minimum daily balance requirements at all banks, the trend with newer banks is towards eliminating them in favor of the banking customer.
You can usually find an interactive, searchable map of ATMs near you on each bank's website. Most banks have an association with networks of ATM providers. MoneyPass®, AllPoint, and Green Dot Network® are examples of such networks. By pooling ATM resources in those networks, banks avoid having to build and operate their own ATMs, thus saving themselves and their customers on fees they would otherwise have to charge and pay, respectively. Some banks cover fees even for non-network ATMs.
There are banks that require up to $1,000 as an initial deposit to open a bank account. There are other banks that have lower initial deposit amounts. There are a few that offer a zero initial deposit to open an account and no monthly fees. Yet others offer zero initial deposit but charge a monthly maintenance or subscription fee.
Software and services like QuickBooks, Shopify, PayPal, Stripe, Square, Venmo, and others have proliferated since the beginning of eCommerce in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In the past 10 years, banks have increased their support for third-party financial software. Today it is more likely than not that you can connect your bank account to QuickBooks to import and reconcile bank statements and to direct funds from PayPal, Venmo, and Stripe directly to your checking or savings account. Newer and more innovative banks are beginning to provide integration with cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.
If your bank does not provide the ability to add users to your account, you're stuck sending a copy of your bank statement to your accountant. Or you can share your login credentials with your accountant, which is not recommended. Another option that some banks provide is adding team members. Unfortunately, most of the time those team members have the same ability to move funds that you do, so you're advised to keep a sharp eye on your balances. A few banks have introduced features that allow you to restrict users to specific roles and abilities, or to limit how much money they can handle.
A debit card looks like a credit card and is used similarly to a credit card at a point of sale terminal at a store or via an online eCommerce checkout form. But instead of borrowing money, it allows you to spend money directly from your business bank account. It's important to be careful with a debit card because you don't want to withdraw more money than you have in the account. You also don't want to use a debit card to spend money faster than you bring money in.
ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. Banks belong to networks of money transfer computer systems built for the purpose of coordinating electronic payments and automating money transfers. Typically the money going through the ACH system is handled in batches, which is why it can take between 1-7 days for money to arrive in the destination account. Whenever you transfer money from your bank account to another vendor (say, your accountant or a supplier), you're sending it through the Automated Clearing House system.
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

When looking for a business bank account, you will want as many convenience options as you can find. You want a bank that works for you and improves your financial success, not one that makes you feel like you are working for the bank and that they keep taking your money.

We've broken down this review of business banking into several key criteria to compare between options. Not every bank has every option available, but these are among the most common we've found:

  • Fees. What fees will you be charged for using ATMs, depositing or withdrawing cash, sending wire transfers either domestically or internationally, or from bank to bank? Fees are too often overlooked by consumers of banking services but those fees can quickly add up. It's important to read all the fine print and make calculations as to how much money, on average, you need to have in your account to avoid fees.
  • ATMs. For some businesses, having easy access to no-fee ATMs is critical, especially if you're buying goods or paying employees or vendors regularly in paper money. Being able to deposit cash is another task some businesses cannot do without.
  • Integration with accounting or accountants. Banks that provide connections to popular accounting software or payment systems have an edge over banks that don't. The same goes for banks that allow you to add team members such as accountants, bookkeepers, or other similar roles to your bank accounts. Delegating financial tasks can create a measurable difference in productivity.
  • Ease of transfers to personal accounts. Transferring money between financial institutions, to other businesses, or even to yourself should not be a chore. And it should happen as fast as possible. Some banks take up to a week or more to complete funds transfers. The best banks complete them either instantly or within 1-3 business days.
  • Bill pay. If you don't pay your bills, you can't stay in business. Having to remember to pay them on a specific schedule can be tedious and is prone to error. Instead of putting payment schedules on a calendar, expect your bank to make it easy to pay your bills online on a recurring basis. That way you can focus on what your business was made for: serving customers.
  • Ability to have multiple accounts under one. Savvy financial planners advise individuals and businesses to set aside cash reserves for taxes, bills, payroll, expenses, and other purposes that are easy to forget but essential to financial success. There is a growing number of banks who recognize the value of this and provide subaccounts or "envelopes" for storing money for a rainy day.
  • Minimum deposit required. Startups are usually low on money at the beginning. They can't afford to have too much money exit their cash flow. So having to deposit a minimum amount to start a business checking account can be a problem. Fortunately, there are banks that don't require a minimum deposit to start an account.
  • FDIC insured. To avoid another Great Depression-era financial disaster, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) ensures that if there's ever a massive failure of the banking system, you'll be able to obtain at least $250,000 of what was lost. Every bank we reviewed is FDIC insured. Very few banks are not, if any.
  • Limits to the number of monthly transactions. Let's say your business has a really successful quarter, but as a result the number and amounts of banking transactions begins to exceed your bank's imposed limits. Do you really want to be blocked or pay a lot of money to your bank for the privilege of being their customer? In our review, we included banks with low or no monthly transaction limits or costs.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the most popular providers of business bank accounts available today. We hope this information helps you choose a bank that will make it easy and affordable to manage your money!

The Best Reviews of Business Bank Accounts