The side gig economy is fairly exploding, but being a freelancer isn’t always easy. For those who aren’t prepared, some things can be hard to navigate… like banking. The idea of being a freelancer is to earn on your own terms, with the ability to travel and manage finances on the go, without losing all your money to fees. Not every bank fits the bill, but these options are spot-on.
If you want to get the most out of your money (and we know you do), it matters where you keep and use it. From online-only banks to financial services and brick and mortar institutions, we’ve got you covered. See where freelance money thrives with less stress, fewer hassles, and lower fees with this list.
Mix and Match or Find the Perfect Bank for Your Financial Needs.
This one isn’t a bank, but it is commonly used by freelancers, so we thought we needed to get it out of the way right off the bat. PayPal needs to be connected to a bank account itself, but it’s a handy online tool for managing your money. Clients can pay using a debit or credit card as well as their own PayPal account. Freelancers can get a business debit card and use deposited funds immediately. As an added bonus, you can earn cashback on purchases and get discounts at places where PayPal holds a discount agreement. It’s easy to set up and even easier to use.
PayPal also has an easy to use invoice system, but instead of monthly fees, you’ll pay per transaction. Be sure to account for this in billing if you prefer the client pays the 2.9% fee.
For those who are dedicated to the idea of a brick and mortar institution, Chase has what you need with more than 5,000 locations across the nation. They do institute a $15 business account fee or a $12 personal account fee, but both can be dismissed by maintaining the minimum amount requirements or receiving direct deposits on a regular basis. Their system is great for mobile users and they even have discounts for people who use a payroll system to pay other freelancers.
Axos Bank was once known as Bank of Internet USA. Their location is (you guessed it) decentralized; they’re only available online. However, unlike some internet banks, Axos offers much more than simple checking and savings accounts. More importantly, they even offer returns on the basics… to the tune of 0.8% APY for business checking accounts.
Since freelancers don’t get the financial benefits that employees get in the form of employer-matched 401k’s, Axos offer Traditional and Roth IRA’s with no fees. While they don’t have physical branches where you can use your ATM card for free, they do offer ATM fee reimbursements for some ATMs.
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for all your banking needs (including budgeting) Simple is where it’s at. This is one online institution that believes you shouldn’t have to pay to access your cash; in fact, Simple’s business model is fee-free and they don’t even charge you if you have to replace your debit card.
The one catch? Simple doesn’t offer business accounts, but they do offer a 2.02% APY, which is far more than you’re going to get just about anywhere else. (No, we don’t know how they can do it but other banks can’t.) Everything is handled through their mobile banking app so you don’t have to worry about dealing with issues on your phone that you don’t have to deal with on your computer.
Deciding Which Bank is Right for You
Maybe you already have a hometown bank or you’re still trying to decide whether to build your business credit. Hey, look — nothing says you can’t have more than one account! In fact, it just might be better to have one mobile account to collect interest rates and a second personal account to set aside business funds without worrying that you’re dipping into operational costs for personal use.
Ultimately, which you choose is up to you, your lifestyle, and your individual needs. Just be sure to compare fees, returns, availability (24/7 is our recommendation) and tools before you decide. And if you happen to find one that you think needs to be added to the list, be sure to let us know!