I’ve talked to hundreds of freelancers who think they don’t need a business bank account. You have pass-through income, so there’s no need to separate your business and personal income, right?

Wrong. That’s a major no-no.

Even freelancers need a separate bank account. Let’s call it a freelancer bank account, for argument’s sake. Essentially, it’s a business bank account for entrepreneurs or freelancers — anyone working for themselves.

Come tax time or record-keeping time, you’ll be glad you didn’t mix your business and personal income. 

I’ve uncovered the top eight freelancer bank account options to help you choose the one that suits your needs.

Who Needs a Freelancer Bank Account?

I’ll make this simple, everyone that works for themselves needs a freelancer bank account. It’s that simple.

Could you operate using your personal bank account?

It’s possible.

But things will get messy, trust me. Unless you like burning the candle at both ends when you’re creating monthly reports or getting ready for tax time, you want a separate bank account. 

It allows you to access all of your income and expenses in one place, which you’ll need to figure out how your business is doing or what taxes you owe. The last thing you want is an IRS auditor breathing down your neck, asking for proof of expenses you wrote off. 

You may not be able to find it because you keep your personal and business bank accounts together. Or worse — not be able to prove that it was actually a business expense.

Before you open a freelancer bank account, it’s essential to know what to look for, though.

What to Look For in a Freelancer Bank Account

I know there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of bank account options out there. It’s tempting to run to your local bank and open an account, but hold off until you understand these factors.

Low opening balance requirements

Some banks don’t have a required opening balance, and others have a high balance. Can you meet the requirements? If not, there’s no discussion. You can’t open a bank account there.

Low minimum balance requirements

Focus on the minimum daily or monthly minimum balance required too. If you don’t keep the required balance, most banks charge a monthly maintenance fee. This is another business expense you don’t need, especially when hundreds of accounts come without minimum balance requirements or fees.

Convenient ATM network

Each bank has an ATM network they belong to. Before you join, find out the ATM locations. If they aren’t convenient, look elsewhere. If you’re tempted to use out-of-network ATMs, you’ll pay unnecessary fees to both your bank and the bank that owns the ATM.

Free checks

You’ll likely have business expenses that you don’t want to pay for with your Visa ATM card. Having checks is a nice perk, but one you shouldn’t pay for. Many banks offer free checks, even if it’s only a small amount. If you barely write them, it won’t matter.

Free savings account

Why not take advantage of a free savings account, too? A business savings account can be a great way to set aside the money you need for taxes or business expenses. Taking it out of your “spend” account can decrease the temptation of recklessly spending your money.

Why Do Freelancers Need Business Bank Accounts?

Having a business bank account isn’t a law, but saying freelancers need a separate bank account is true.

You need one to stay organized. How will you know where you spend your money or how much you make if it’s mixed with your personal bank account? 

Still not convinced? Here are three great reasons.

1. Proving to the IRS you have a legit business

The last thing you want is the IRS breathing down your neck, asking if the money you brought in was from a business or a hobby. You can’t take any business deductions if it’s a hobby, which means more tax liabilities.

2. Easier bookkeeping

At some point, you’ll need to figure out your finances. How much money are you making? How much are you spending? If you have your business and personal expenses mixed together, it can be a nightmare trying to differentiate between the two.

3. Tax time will be a lot easier

Freelancers can take many deductions, but you need proof of the expenses to take them. Having your business expenses in a separate account makes life a lot easier when your accountant asks for proof of your car expenses, health insurance payments, or money spent to buy equipment.

Top 8 Business Bank Accounts for Freelancers

Now that you know the reasons to have a freelancer bank account, I’ve compiled the top business bank accounts for freelancers below.

1. Novo

Novo is a free business bank account for freelancers. I love the invoicing feature it includes. If you don’t already have a system you like, you may enjoy the simplicity of Novo’s invoicing system tied right to your bank account. 

Other benefits include:

  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No monthly fees
  • Reimburses all ATM fees
  • Free transfers and mailed checks
  • FDIC insured
  • Great customer service

2. Axos Basic Business Checking

If you only need a business bank account for a few transactions a month, the Axos Basic Business Checking account may fit the bill. You have easy access to your money from anywhere, and the fees are minimal, allowing you to keep more of your profits. 

Axos Bank offers:

  • No monthly minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly fee
  • Unlimited reimbursement of ATM fees
  • Quickbooks compatibility
  • Up to 200 free transactions a month
  • Free Visa debit card

3. Lili

Lili was created for freelancers. There’s no minimum balance required, and they don’t charge any account fees. 

Other benefits include:

  • No overdraft fees
  • Visa business debit card with 32,000 fee-free ATM locations
  • Receive real-time notices of transactions
  • FDIC insured
  • Includes a free savings account with 1% APY
  • Earn cash back rewards with the business Visa debit card

4. Huntington Bank Business Checking 100

If you’re just starting out or don’t have many business checking transactions per month, the Huntington Bank Business Checking 100 can be a great option. You get 100 free transactions a month, so make sure you won’t exceed that amount before choosing it. 

Other benefits include:

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • 24-hour grace period to deposit funds to avoid an overdraft
  • No fee for online bill pay or online banking
  • Great digital tools like Cash Flow Forecast to help with your business finances
  • Free email or text alerts
  • Free Huntington Debit Mastercard

5. NBKC Business Bank Account

I love the NBKC Business Bank account because it’s 100% free. It’s a simple, straightforward bank account that makes it easy to keep your business income separate from your personal income without all the fees. 

Here’s what they offer:

  • No minimum balance to open or maintain
  • Free business Mastercard
  • No hidden fees
  • No overdraft, deposit, or statement fees
  • Free online bill pay and online banking

6. Chase Business Complete Banking

The Chase Business Complete Banking is good for freelancers who prefer a brick-and-mortar bank option. All of the options mentioned above are online, with little to no ability to bank in person. If seeing a teller is important to you, the Chase Business Complete Checking may be a good choice. Although there’s a monthly service fee, there are ways to waive it. 

The Chase Business Complete Banking account offers:

  • No monthly service fee with $2,000 minimum daily balance or $2,000 in purchases using Chase QuickAccept
  • Built-in credit card acceptance
  • Same day deposits from QuickAccept payments
  • Free online bill pay
  • Over 4,700 branches

7. Oxygen

Oxygen is a fintech company backed by The Bancorp Bank, providing small businesses and freelancers with affordable banking services. In addition to the standard bank account services, Oxygen offers LLC creation if you decide to change your business structure. 

Oxygen also offers:

  • Cashback on everyday purchases, including gas and shipping
  • No monthly minimum balance requirements
  • No monthly fees
  • Create virtual single-use credit cards for maximum security spending online
  • Access to Oxygen Business Savings accounts for business-specific expenses, including taxes

8. Small Business Bank

Small Business Bank offers the fastest approval/setup out of any freelancer bank account. If you need an account in a hurry, Small Business Bank is a great option. You may not find the most up-to-date features in its app, but since it’s free and fast, it can be a great starter bank account for freelancers. 

Small Business Bank also offers:

  • No monthly minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly fees
  • Free mobile deposit
  • Free Small Business Bank debit Mastercard
  • Extended customer service hours

Other Resources for Freelancer Bank Accounts

  • Your current bank – If you like your local personal bank, ask about their business bank account options. Make sure you look at the monthly fees and balance requirements. Don’t commit to something that’s not right for you. But if you need it for convenience or know you’ll use it more consistently if it’s local, consider it as an option.
  • Local credit unions – Most credit unions offer low-cost business bank accounts. If you belong to a credit union already, ask about their options. If you don’t belong to one, check for eligibility with any of the organizations or groups you belong to.

The Bottom Line on Best Freelancer Bank Accounts

I hope you can use this article as the starting point for opening a freelancer bank account. It’s typically free and much more convenient to handle your business income and taxes. Most business bank accounts have an online option (or operate solely online), have FDIC insurance, and provide many favorable features that make it even easier to run your business.


Is a business bank account required for freelancers?

You don’t have to have a freelancer bank account, but it makes a lot more sense. It’s much easier to stay organized, especially at tax time. It also helps you look more legitimate, especially to the IRS if they are suspicious of whether your business is a hobby or not.

Which bank account is best for freelancers?

Just like consumers, every freelancer has different needs and capabilities. Decide what you need out of your business banking account and compare your options. Not every account is right for all freelancers.

Is it illegal to use your personal account for your business?

It’s not illegal to use your personal account for b. Still, it can complicate things if there is a legal issue down the road. A separate bank account is best for your own sake, especially since there are so many free business bank account options.

Is it legal to transfer money from a business bank account to a personal account?

Yes, it’s common to transfer money from your business account to your personal account. Just like you’d receive a paycheck from an employer, the money you transfer to your personal account is considered income. However, just make sure that you keep tabs on the amount and keep your business and personal money separate, or it could cause trouble at tax time.