Best Credit Union Business Account

Written by Merchant AlternativesSeptember 3, 2021
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Banks are great, but if you're looking for an alternative for your business bank account, you might be wondering what the best credit union for small business owners is.

We're glad you asked.

We thought we'd take a moment and answer some frequently asked questions about credit unions before we get into our list.

What Is A Credit Union?

Credit unions are similar to banks in that they have many of the same types of financial accounts.

But it is different in that it is a financial cooperative that is owned by its members.

Credit unions are set up as non-profit organizations and when you apply, you become a member-owner.

Members appoint a board, and they appoint managers who take care of everything that happens on a day-to-day basis.

What Are The Advantages Of Credit Unions?

Non-profits aren't interested in making more money; they're interested in making sure their members are happy.

That's the biggest advantage of credit unions over banks.

Some of the other perks of credit unions include:

  • Higher interest rates than banks.
  • Lower financing rates than banks.
  • A more personal touch in customer service.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Credit Unions?

There are always disadvantages, and while joining a credit union might sound awesome, you may find that:

  • You're not able to join unless you meet certain criteria.
  • You may lose out on the tech that many banks can provide.
  • You don't have access to as many financing options and credit cards due to limited resources.
  • It may be hard to access branches and even ATMs at times.

Why Do Credit Unions Have Membership Criteria?

Credit unions are community-based, so they're designed to be a good fit for a smaller number of people.

Credit unions are set up for specific groups.

For example, you'll notice that Navy Federal Credit Union appears on this list. They offer membership only to people who have served in the Armed Forces, or their family members.

All credit unions are different, and membership may be available only to people who:

  • Have a certain employer.
  • Live in a particular community or neighborhood.
  • Are a member of a certain union.
  • Have a family military history.

Why Should You Consider A Credit Union Business Account?

There are several reasons why you might want to consider choosing one of the credit unions on this list for your business accounts rather than a bank.

  • You'll get more personalized service with credit unions.
  • Financing applications may have a better chance of getting approved; particularly if your business is new.
  • You get higher interest rates and lower financing rates.

One more thing before we get into our picks for the best credit union for small businesses...

A lot of people are turned off by the fact that their deposits aren't FDIC insured when they choose to do business with credit unions instead of banks.

Don't be.

Most credit unions are backed by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which insures accounts for up to $250,000.

That's the same type of insurance protection that is offered when you use banks under the FDIC.

Our Top 10 Picks For The Best Credit Union For Small Business

Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union is based in Chicago, and they only have two physical locations.

But they also have a network of thousands of ATMs all over the United States.

This credit union might be a good fit for people who are sole-proprietors or independent contractors because they really don't have checking accounts for businesses.

Lots of people - especially those who don't have employees - have made it work and been pleased with the results.

Products and Services

  • A high rate checking account
  • High yield savings accounts
  • Mobile and online banking

Account Rates and Fees

Their checking account offers:

  • 0.45% APY
  • No monthly service fee
  • No minimum balance requirements

Their savings account offers:

  • 1.90% APY
  • No monthly fee if you choose to receive e-statements)
  • A low $5 minimum deposit

Membership Requirements

When joining Alliant Credit Union, you have to meet the following criteria:

  • Be able to provide a valid U.S. government-issued ID (driver's license, military ID or passport).
  • Be able to provide your social security number or individual tax identification number.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a current or retired employee with one of their partner businesses or organizations.
  • Have a partner or family member who is an Alliant member.
  • Live or work in one of the communities near their headquarters in Chicago.

If none of these apply to you, all hope is not lost. You can still open a business account with them.

You can also join their partner charity, Foster Care to Success (FC2S), and they'll even cover the $5 membership fee.

Pros:

  • You get a free, interest-bearing checking account with no minimum balances and no monthly service fees.
  • You get a high-yield savings account.
  • They offer three IRA account options.
  • You have access to unsecured personal loans up to as much as $50,000.
  • They offer commercial real estate lending.

Cons:

  • They don't offer business checking accounts.
  • They don't offer other types of business loans aside from real estate.
  • You won't be able to get a business savings account.

Website Link: https://merchantalternatives.com/go/alliant/

America First Credit Union

America First Credit Union is based in Utah.

If that's where you live, and you're considering banking with credit unions instead of a traditional bank, this should be the first option you explore.

There's a lot to love about AFCU, and many of its products are just right for small businesses.

Products and Services

  • SBA secured or unsecured business lines of credit.
  • SBA and non-SBA business auto loans.
  • Business loans for equipment and machinery.
  • Unsecured capital loans.
  • Commercial real estate loans.
  • Franchise and business acquisition loans.
  • Business credit cards.
  • 4 business checking account options.
  • 3 business savings account options, including a health savings account.
  • 5 business certificate account options.
  • Free online bill pay.

Account Rates and Fees

With their business checking accounts:

  • One of the accounts is free, with no monthly fee.
  • One is an interest-bearing account.
  • One is perfect for non-profit organizations.

With their real estate loans:

  • You can get a 30-year fixed loan at an interest rate of 2.875%.
  • If you choose 10-year fixed, that goes down to 2%.
  • Their refinance rates are almost as low.

With their savings accounts for businesses:

  • You only need to maintain a minimum balance of $1.
  • There is no monthly fee.
  • They also offer a money market savings account with APYs as high as 0.15%.

Membership Requirements

Becoming a member of America First Credit Union is largely dependent upon where you live or work.

They're only in a few states (Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, Arizona, and Nevada), but they offer close to 30,000 ATMs across the United States.

Pros:

  • They have multiple options for business checking and savings accounts.
  • They have multiple loans available for small businesses.
  • It's very easy to access your money and account on the go.

Cons:

  • Membership eligibility is a lot more limited compared to other credit unions.
  • If you need a business checking account with more features, you'll end up paying fees (up to $50 per month).

Website Link: https://merchantalternatives.com/go/america-first/

Blue Federal Credit Union

Blue Federal Credit Union has branches located in Wyoming and Colorado. But don't let that limit your consideration.

They're a part of the CO-OP Shared Branch Network of credit unions.

That means you can still do in-person banking at more than 5,800 locations across the United States.

Products and Services

  • Basic Business Checking
  • Business Plus Checking
  • Business savings accounts
  • Term shares (similar to Certificates of Deposit)
  • Commercial real estate loans

Account Rates and Fees

Their basic business checking:

  • Is a free account.
  • Includes 50 deposits each month.

The Business Plus Checking:

  • Includes 100 fee free deposits a month.
  • Requires $100 to open.
  • Has a monthly fee of $5, which can be waived.
  • Offers 0.25% APY with a balance of at least $1,500.

Membership Requirements

Anyone can join Blue Federal Credit Union.

All they need is $10. That's $5 for the cost of membership and $5 as a donation to the Blue Foundation.

You can also join if:

  • You have a family member who is also a member of the credit union.
  • You work for an employer who is a part of their employer network.
  • You or a family member meet certain military criteria.

Pros:

  • They have a business checking account that pays APY.
  • They offer a business rewards credit card that has no annual fee.
  • They have shared ATMs and branch locations all over the country.

Cons:

  • We wish they had Blue branches outside of Colorado and Wyoming.
  • They don't offer business insurance options like some other credit unions do.
  • Your account balance needs to be a little high before you start earning APY.

Website Link: https://merchantalternatives.com/go/blue-federal/

Boeing Employees Credit Union

Boeing Employees Credit Union has been around since 1935.

It was started by Boeing employees (just like it says in the name), but since that time, it's expanded its membership.

They offer great banking options for business owners who would rather work with credit unions.

Products and Services

  • 2 different business checking accounts
  • Savings accounts for small business owners
  • Money Market savings accounts
  • Fixed-rate CDs
  • Investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • 2 no-fee business credit cards
  • Term loans
  • Auto loans
  • Lines of credit
  • Commercial real estate loans

Account Rates and Fees

Of their 2 business checking accounts:

  • One of them is completely free with no monthly fee.
  • One of them is interest bearing.

Both checking accounts offer:

  • Free electronic credits and debits.
  • Free online banking.
  • Free bill pay.
  • Free e-statements.
  • Remote check deposits.

Their saving account is also fee-free, and their business credit card gives you 1.5% cashback on your purchases.

Membership Requirements

Boeing Employees Credit Union has several ways for people to qualify for membership. You can become a member if you:

  • Live in Washington State or in one of several counties in Idaho or Oregon.
  • Work for BECU, Boeing or a credit union.
  • Are associated with KEXP, UW, WSU, or the NW credit union foundation.
  • Are a business owner who operates in Washington State or in one of several counties in Idaho or Oregon.

Pros:

  • They offer business term loans up to $250,000.
  • They have business auto loans with APRs as low as 3.39% for new vehicles.
  • They have secured and unsecured business lines of credit.
  • They have online and mobile banking.
  • Small business owners will enjoy their payroll and merchant services.

Cons:

  • They offer low rates for checking and savings balances that are over $500.
  • Their CD rates are pretty low compared with other credit unions.
  • It's hard to join if you don't live in Washington State.

Website Link:  https://merchantalternatives.com/go/becu/

Consumers Credit Union

Consumers Credit Union might be one of the best credit unions on our list in terms of eligibility requirements.

They're based in Illinois, but they do business with people all over the country.

Products and Services

  • Four business checking accounts (one for non-profits and one for higher-volume companies)
  • Three business savings accounts
  • A Visa business credit card
  • Commercial mortgages
  • Equipment financing
  • Business lines of credit
  • Business construction and development loans

Account Rates and Fees

Their business checking accounts:

  • Either has no fees or you can waive the fee.
  • Include online banking.
  • Include bill pay.
  • Include electronic statements.

Their Money Market savings account:

  • Earns higher interest rates.
  • Requires $500 to open.

Their business savings account:

  • Has no monthly fee.
  • Has no minimum balance required.

Also, their Business Visa Platinum credit card has no fees.

Membership Requirements

Consumers Credit Union allows virtually anyone to join.

All you need is to be a member of the Consumers Cooperative Association, which means paying a one-time $5 fee and opening a membership share savings account with a $5 minimum deposit.

But if you're a small business owner, and you don't want to have your personal account with them, you'll need to live in Wisconsin or Illinois to have an account with Consumers Credit Union.

Pros:

  • They offer Merchant Services, which include a POS system or software for online-only businesses.
  • The Free Rewards checking earns a higher APY.
  • They have a large ATM network that is completely free as well as access to shared branches with other credit unions.
  • They are really easy to join.

Cons:

  • You have to apply in person to open your business account.
  • Their savings account interest rate is pretty low.
  • They charge a $30 overdraft fee for courtesy pay, and this can be charge many times.

Website Link:  https://merchantalternatives.com/go/consumers/

Digital Federal Credit Union

Digital Federal Credit Union has some very unique features, and that is why it's earned its spot on our list of the best credit unions for small businesses.

They're based in Massachusetts, but they regularly have members outside the state.

Products and Services

  • Business loans
  • Business lines of credit
  • Business checking accounts
  • Business savings accounts
  • Business credit cards
  • Money Market accounts
  • IRA options
  • Commercial mortgages, including construction mortgages

Account Rates and Fees

Their free business checking account:

  • Requires no minimum balance.
  • Has no maintenance fee.
  • Includes free mobile and online banking.

Their Premier business checking account:

  • Is interest-bearing.
  • Includes free mobile and online banking.

Their business credit cards also have no fees and their loan fees are great.

Membership Requirements

Their membership criteria are pretty simple, though you'll have to contact them to determine if you:

  • Work for a DFCU eligible company.
  • Belong to a DFCU eligible organization.
  • Attend school, worship, live or work in a DFCU eligible community.

You can also join if you are related to someone who already has a membership there.

Pros:

  • No minimum account balances are required for your business account.
  • There are no monthly maintenance fees to worry about.
  • You can earn some pretty neat perks for "relationship benefits" with DFCU.

Cons:

  • Even though their membership criteria are simple, it's still pretty stringent.
  • Branch locations are limited to New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Website Link: https://merchantalternatives.com/go/digital-federal/

Financial Resources Federal Credit Union

Financial Resources Federal Credit Union has been the top SBA lender in New Jersey since 2013.

This just shows how reliable they are for small business banking.

Products and Services

  • Two business checking accounts
  • Three business savings accounts
  • Real estate loans
  • Equipment loans
  • Term loans
  • Lines of credit

Account Rates and Fees

All of their checking accounts offer:

  • A free debit card
  • Free out-of-network ATM use
  • Free online banking with bill pay
  • Free mobile banking
  • Free e-statements
  • Courtesy Pay overdraft protection
  • Buyback of old debit cards and checks
  • Unlimited transactions
  • A cost only $25 to open the account

Their Free Business Checking includes:

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly fees

Their Business Checking Plus account includes:

  • A minimum balance requirement of $5,000 (with a $6 service charge if this is not maintained)
  • Competitive dividends are paid on all balances.

Membership Requirements

To open a business account with FRFCU you must:

  • Be related to someone who is an existing member.
  • Be employed by an eligible company.
  • Live, work, worship, or attend school in the Greater New Brunswick area or in Flemington Borough, New Jersey.
  • Be a member of the American Consumer Council (ACC).

Pros:

  • They have flexible account terms.
  • Expect expedited approval for SBA-backed small business loans because they are a preferred lender.

Cons:

  • Their basic checking account doesn't offer APY
  • It may be difficult to join because of their membership criteria.

Website Link: https://merchantalternatives.com/go/financial-resources/

First Tech Federal Credit Union

First Tech Federal Credit Union prides itself on being business-friendly.

They are based in California and offer a lot of great account features for business owners.

Products and Services

  • Business loans
  • Small business checking accounts
  • Savings accounts for small businesses
  • Business credit cards
  • Real estate loans
  • Personal loans

Account Rates and Fees

Their business checking accounts:

  • Have three different account options.
  • Have low fees or the fees can easily be waived.
  • Have a $0 minimum balance requirement.

They offer three different savings accounts with as little as $0 required to open them or as a minimum balance requirement.

Also, their real estate loans do not have prepayment penalties and they come with low, fixed interest rates.

Membership Requirements

In order to become a member of FTFCU, you must:

  • Be related to someone who is already a member.
  • Work for a sponsored company.
  • Work for the State of Oregon.
  • Work or live in Lane County, Oregon.
  • Be a member of the Financial Fitness Association or the Computer History Museum.

Pros:

  • Easily transfer money within and outside of your First Tech accounts.
  • Low or easily waived fees on both business checking and savings accounts.
  • More than 40 physical branches and 30,000 ATMs
  • They have five credit card options.

Cons:

  • Not as many options are offered for business loans as other credit unions.
  • They have strict membership criteria.

Website Link: https://merchantalternatives.com/go/first-tech/

Navy Federal Credit Union

A lot of people say you just can't beat Navy Federal Credit Union's benefits.

This is actually the biggest among all the credit unions in the United States, and if you're eligible, you may just want to move all your bank accounts there.

Navy Federal Credit Union has lots of amazing products and services for small business owners too.

Products and Services

  • Three business checking accounts
  • Three business savings accounts
  • Two credit card options
  • Retirement and business insurance
  • Merchant processing systems
  • Six types of business loans
  • Many helpful business management tools

Account Rates and Fees

No matter which business checking account you choose:

  • Your fees will be minimal; you may even not pay a fee at all.
  • You'll have unlimited electronic deposits.

Their Business Premium Checking account:

  • Includes 100 fee-free transactions.
  • Charges a $20 service fee per month (which can be waived if your average balance is $5,000 or more).
  • Offers 0.35% - 0.45% APY

Their savings accounts include:

  • Money Market accounts that have very competitive rates. The minimum balance to earn dividends is $2,500 (regular) and $100,000 (jumbo).
  • A business certificate of deposit account with a minimum purchase of $100, 3-month to 7-year terms, and a varied APY.

Membership Requirements

To be a member you must:

  • Have a family member who is already a member.
  • Be a former or current member of the Armed Forces or National Guard.
  • Be or have an immediate family member who is employed by or contracts with the DoD.

Pros:

  • Lots of helpful solutions for business bank accounts.
  • There are branches in 30 states.
  • They have online and mobile banking available for business owners.

Cons:

  • There are limits on monthly nonelectronic transactions.
  • Their mobile app is somewhat limited as far as what services are available.
  • Their membership requirements are strict.

Website Link: https://merchantalternatives.com/go/navy-federal/

Self-Help Credit Union

Self-Help Credit Union is one of the best credit unions for small business banking because their mission statement is, "creating and protecting ownership and economic opportunity for all."

They traditionally work with underserved customers, such as people of color, women and low-income families.

They also have some great financial products for nonprofits and small businesses.

Products and Services

  • Loans for small businesses
  • SBA 504 loans
  • New Markets Tax Credit loans
  • Special financing for green businesses
  • Recovery loans
  • Business savings accounts

Account Rates and Fees

Their business savings account:

  • Has no monthly fee.
  • Only requires $5 to open it.

You can also get a business Money Market account or term certificates for businesses that offer APYs up to 2.48% for a 60-month account.

Membership Requirements

You can easily become a member of Self-Help Credit Union by:

  • Living, working, worshipping, or attending school in an eligible county in North Carolina.
  • Have a family member who is a member.
  • Work for an approved employer.
  • Become a member of the Center for Community Self-Help for a $5 fee.

Pros:

  • They offer online and mobile banking.
  • They have a lot of great loan options, which can really help with business finances.
  • They're one of the best credit unions for SBA loans.

Cons:

  • They don't offer checking accounts for businesses.
  • Their rates aren't as competitive as other credit unions.

Website Link: https://merchantalternatives.com/go/self-help/

Which Small Business Credit Union Caught Your Eye?

We hope we've helped you to be able to compare some of the most popular options.

It's wise to consider having your business accounts at one of the above credit unions.

Whether you're looking for small business loans, or you want to have your business and personal finances all under one roof, this list should help you get started.

Enjoy!

Written by 

Merchant Alternatives