Are you currently an Azlo customer or a small business owner who is looking for the best banking solution? I, like so many small business owners, was heartbroken when we learned the news that Azlo, my free online business banking platform, was going to be shutting its doors on March 31st 2021. That left myself and countless others in a scramble to try to find a new online banking solution for their business. I quickly went on the hunt – researching and chatting with TONS of different banks to see if I could find another diamond in the rough. After lots of comparison shopping and over-analysis (my personal speciality), I found NOVO to be the absolute best banking platform that is the most similar replacement to Azlo…and it just might even be BETTER!
But before I share my full comparison, let’s first talk about why having a business bank account is so dang important, no matter where you are on your business owning journey.
Do You Really Need a Business Bank Account?
Yes! When it comes to banking, I 100% believe that you have to have a separate business bank account. Even if you are a side hustler or just starting out, I want you to go get a business bank account, like today! It is really, really important that it is actually a business “type” account (not just a second personal bank account) because transacting business transactions through a personal account goes against banking regulations (and personally, I’m not looking for my bank account to get shut down for misuse!). That said, many people avoid using a business bank account because they do have a tendency to come with extra fees and minimums…but NOVO has solved that problem!
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about features.
What To look for in an Online Bank for a small Business
First thing’s first…what does it cost?
Lots of banks have a per-account fee, or they have minimums you must keep in the bank account. Many business owners first turn to the bank that they use for personal banking as their first stop for business banking, but the larger personal banks often also are the ones that are most likely to have lots of hidden fees and minimums. Some even have limits to the number of transactions you can make through your business accounts, with fees assessed for going over or under the limits. What business owner has time to monitor their bank account that closely to ensure they don’t incur extra fees? Not me, and I’m pretty sure you don’t either.
Ease of use.
What is the user interface like? Does it easily integrate with other apps like Quickbooks Online, Gusto, and Shopify? Is it easy to deposit checks directly from your phone?
Great Customer Service.
I also want to make sure that they have good customer service. When dealing with an online bank there typically are no branches you can pop in and visit – so it is important you are able to reach customer service easily via phone or email.
Best Free Online Business Bank Solution
When I got the news in January 2021 that Azlo was closing my search for the absolute best bank led me to NOVO. Bank NOVO seemed to really tick all of those boxes of the things that I was looking for….and then some!
- It is free. Completely, 100% Free.
- It is simple. It took me maybe five minutes to set up an account as it was really streamlined and easy to do and all online.
- Easily deposit checks online
- I didn’t have to pick up the phone. I had a few questions about the bank that were answered lightning fast via email (over the weekend no less!)
- They have a feature where you can set aside money into a separate “Reserve”… This is HUGE for those of us who like to set aside our tax money or other business savings so that we don’t inadvertently spend it! More on that below.
Similar to Azlo, you’re not going to have branches that you would go to, but you can do everything that you need to from your banking app, right?
Azlo – NOVO Comparison
Top Features NOVO Offers
There were a couple of things that really got my attention about bank NOVO and dubbed it the best bank for me.
1. NOVO Reserve
NOVO has an envelope function similar to Azlo and that is something that I was so excited to see (it was the only other business banking I could find that offered this!). In NOVO, it’s called a Reserve account and it’s actually a fairly new functionality. Right now, they are just rolling it out in beta, but I’ve been told everybody who comes over from Azlo is getting access to that ability. I typically use a Reserve account for taxes but some people use it for saving for their business. This is similar to having a business saving account allowing you to put some money aside – out of sight out of mind!
It is really useful to be able to divide that money out and not spend it within the same account without having to open up an entirely separate account. I just love the Reserve functionality, I’ve already set mine up for taxes. That’s how excited I am about that. I’ve heard they are also hoping to roll out MULTIPLE Reserve accounts before long, which would make any of you Profit First fans happy! Buh-bye multiple bank accounts!
2. Their customer support.
I love to see good customer support. I emailed a number of different banks to try to get the additional information and have a conversation with them. Bank NOVO was the one that reached out fastest. We literally went back and forth several times over the course of a couple of days and I got responses immediately. As someone who is looking to be able to recommend a bank, I love to see a strong customer support presence. I can safely say NOVO is top notch in that department.
I am already signed up for NOVO and loving it, so much so that I’ve become a partner of theirs to help spread the word! I only recommend products that I use myself and love!
Just head over to Jamie Trull.com/NOVO. I hope to see you over at the best bank!
Looking for more?
Join in on the conversation in my FREE online community: Financial Literacy for Women Business Owners. Don’t let the name fool you – ALL are welcome to join. https://www.facebook.com/groups/financialliteracyforwomen
Learn about more of my favorite things for small business owners here https://jamietrull.com/jamie-s-favorite-things