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Imagine this. You've been told to go through the complex and time-consuming process of opening a business bank account, only to find yourself drowning in paperwork and red tape. Meanwhile, your business banking tasks continue to pile up, causing frustration and confusion.
I remember the steps I had to go through when setting up my first business bank account. I had to visit my bank branch in person and fill out a small pile of paperwork, and the online banking system I had access to was archaic, with a mobile app that was clunky and cumbersome to use.
That was years ago before I knew of a better option.
Luckily, I found a new way to get through these steps in minutes without leaving my computer.
Mercury offers a digital-first banking platform specifically designed for startups, simplifying the business banking process.
With streamlined applications, no monthly fees, and user-friendly features, it's a viable option for businesses primarily dealing in electronic funds.
- A digital-first platform for easy online access.
- There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.
- Quick and simplified online application process.
- Accessible to both U.S. citizens and foreign investors.
- Automated transaction features available.
- High-security measures, including two-factor authentication, encryption, and transaction monitoring.
- Partnership with FDIC member banks, ensuring accounts are insured up to $5 million.
- Support for business checking and savings accounts.
- Limitations on transaction amounts for new accounts.
- No support for cashier’s checks; online ordered checks take 7-10 days.
- Absence of in-person customer support; response times for online support can take up to 24 hours.
- Not suitable for businesses that deal heavily in cash or require frequent check-writing.
But before we get into that, why is it even an issue to begin with?
Why does it even matter that you have a business bank account? Can’t you just pour all your business’s earnings into your own personal bank account?
The Importance of a Separate Business Account
When you start a new business entity, having a separate business account is crucial, where all of your company's income and expenses flow separately from your personal bank account. Failing to do so can leave you open to tax and liability issues.
This is one thing many business owners found the hard way, so it’s NOT a good idea to skip this step.
But the question is—where should you open your business account?
Most people might assume they should keep working with the bank where their personal accounts are held, and this could work if you're already dealing with a good bank… but not all banks are created equal.
I learned the hard way that a good personal bank is not always the best fit for running a business. Many don't even have the best track record for being easy or cost-effective to work with.
What Is Mercury?
For the past few years, I've been hearing about this banking platform called Mercury, which is a digital-first banking platform built for startups.
Mercury's online banking platform simplifies and streamlines your business banking process, allowing you to focus on what truly matters—growing your business. They don’t have any physical branches, but that's the point!
What’s more, whether you're a U.S. citizen or a foreign investor, you can easily set up a business bank account with Mercury without any monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. They’ve made it simple for anyone to open a bank account with an online application process in as little as 10 minutes.
All that, combined with its incredible accessibility, makes it a game-changer for small business owners.
Although Mercury is still relatively new—with over 100,000 customers as of this writing—it has received substantial positive feedback with few complaints from customers who enjoy what it offers.
What Does Mercury Bank Offer?
Like many savings banks, Mercury offers business checking and savings accounts. However, the similarities end here—they don't offer personal accounts, loans, or mortgages.
However, Mercury said it hopes to expand its services to include traditional credit options soon, so that’s a plus.
But one reason for these odd limitations is that Mercury classifies itself as a tech company, not a bank.
Instead, it offers banking services through its partners, Choice Financial Group and Evolve Bank & Trust®. Both of these are U.S.-based FDIC member banks. This allows Mercury to insure accounts for up to $5 million, which is WAY more than the $250,000 of traditional banks.
Also, customers manage their accounts fully online. Don’t expect to drive to your nearest physical branch—Mercury eliminates a lot of overhead by allowing customers to interact with an online-only portal.
To help secure transactions, Mercury employs a host of security measures to safeguard your money, including two-factor authentication, encryption, and transaction monitoring.
Automation is also possible with the online service. For example, do you want to disburse funds to a separate account? You can set up automation rules to execute at scheduled intervals or when you need to. This is particularly useful if you fill up separate accounts (like in Profit First) or earmark funds for a special project or expense.
The nature of Mercury Bank makes it highly suited to businesses that don't deal heavily in cash or frequent check-writing, such as tech startups. But if you’re running a business that dabbles in physical cash flow or regularly collects cash from customers, you might need to look elsewhere; Mercury’s not there yet.
The Drawbacks of Mercury Bank
Sure, Mercury Bank offers convenience to many business owners (or introverts) who just want a bank that works, without having to talk to people. But it also helps to be aware of its limitations.
For example, Mercury has a glaring limit on transaction amounts, especially for new accounts. For example, a brand-new account is limited to $25k to $100k per transaction, depending on the transfer type.
Mercury also doesn’t support checks, nor can you get cashier's checks. If you need to send a check to somebody, you can use your account’s online dashboard and order a check from Mercury’s checking processor. This cumbersome method may take anywhere from a week to 10 days.
Third, you can’t deposit cash into your Mercury account. To deposit funds, you'll need to convert them into electronic funds before they can be deposited into your Mercury account. Similarly, you'll need a debit card to withdraw from Mercury and withdraw cash from an ATM.
Now, this will be a non-issue if you're an online e-commerce company or any business that doesn't need to deal with cash. However, if you run a convenience store, restaurant, retail outlet, or any other type of business that regularly accepts cold, hard cash as payment, then you may want to look elsewhere for your banking needs.
Finally, its all-online nature may not work for those who want real-time in-person support. Should you want one, response times for chat and email tickets can take up to 24 hours, so it’s not a feasible option if you need immediate assistance.
If you’re a small business owner and you feel pretty comfortable with your existing bank, you don’t have to use Mercury Bank if you don't want to.
But as a bonus, if you click the REtipster affiliate link below and deposit $10,000 within 90 days of opening up your account, Mercury will even give you $200 for free.
If you’re considering that, you can check out the video I made about how to set up a new account.
This promo may not be around forever, but it’s a nice little incentive to try it when possible.