Bank Novo Review: Business Checking Done Right

Banking
Updated: 6th Mar 2021
Written by Marisa Powell
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Banking
March 6, 2021
Written by Marisa Powell

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Startups, freelancers, and small-business owners understand the crazy long hours and constant uncertainty associated with their line of work.

Compatible banking for freelancers, startups, and small business owners needs to be affordable, flexible, and full of perks that help them save money in the short term and long run.

Read on to learn why Bank Novo completely redefines fee-free banking and provides a more connected business bank account for small business owners, wherever they work, whatever they do, and whenever they need to manage their finances.

Bank Novo Overview

Feature(s):Details:
ATM Access:Unlimited
Account(s):Business Checking Account
Minimum Opening Deposit:$50
Monthly Fee(s):$0
Year Founded:2016

What Is Novo Bank?

Bank Novo is a New York-based digital business banking platform that is available from anywhere at any time.

Bank Novo Small Business Checking Account Review

Bank Novo defines itself as an independent technology company rather than a bank.

Instead of being owned or operated by a bank, Novo fosters and leverages strong partnerships to bring their customers a simple, beneficial banking experience.

Novo’s goal is to bring small business banking into the modern age. They do this by centering the user experience carefully around the needs of certain kinds of small businesses.

How Does Bank Novo Checking Work?

Bank Novo offers online-only fee-free banking. Offering only one kind of account, a free business checking account, users can manage their finances online while taking advantage of the low fees, opportunities to make and save money through the platform’s perks, and conveniently manage their finances from anywhere at any time with the help of Novo’s many integrations.

Novo is completely digital, so users won’t be able to visit a brick-and-mortar Novo Bank location.

However, with reimbursement for ATM fees, users can make the most of their finances wherever they are.

Novo’s partner bank is Middlesex Federal Services, a full-service community bank headquartered in Massachusetts that has been in operation for over 100 years.

Users can send money domestically and internationally, deposit checks right from the Novo app, spend their money using the Novo debit card, and more.

Novo secures deposits up to the standard FDIC insurance amount, $250,000 per depositor, and this insurance is provided through Middlesex.

Significantly, Novo does not offer businesses the option to start a savings account or make securities investments.

However, Novo does allow customers to plan and budget with Novo Reserves.

Soon, customers will be able to create multiple reserves to save money for emergencies or set aside money for taxes.

Novo Business Checking Features:

Fee-Free Banking

Unlike many competitors, Novo offers a fee-free banking experience.

With no monthly fees, minimum balance requirements, transaction fees, and incoming wire fees, as well as reimbursements for ATM fees, Bank Novo really delivers when it comes to keeping money in the pockets (and Novo checking accounts) of small businesses, startups, and freelancers.

Robust Integrations

The immense library of integrations Novo users can take advantage of is one of its greatest strengths.

Novo users can connect their account to hundreds of business tools and thousands of apps.

The following is a list of the most popular Novo plug-in integrations.

  • Intuit QuickBooks: Novo’s integration with Intuit QuickBooks automatically updates business transactions directly into QuickBooks, making it quick and simple to manage finances and keep your accounting software up to date. This integration is available online on both the Novo and QuickBooks sites or by mobile app.
  • Slack: Novo’s integration with Slack automatically sends information between the two platforms. Team members, accountants, and stakeholders can all be kept in the loop in real-time, as transactions and updates are all captured in corresponding Slack channels. This integration brings a degree of cross-team collaboration to the Novo experience.
  • Xero: Novo users can take advantage of the seamless Xero integration, which allows them to connect their Xero accounts and automatically have their transactions reflected and reconciled in their Xero account, providing an easier view of cash flow, expedited accounting, and increased data accuracy. Xero prides itself on supporting small businesses, so this integration is particularly compatible with Novo’s mission.
  • TransferWise: TransferWise makes it easier for businesses to send and receive money abroad. This integration offers Novo customers an easier, cheaper way to make international payments while breaking down borders. Money can be sent in multiple currencies, and users will always get the mid-market exchange rate.
  • Stripe: Novo was the first business checking account to join Stripe’s partner program. Ahead of the curve, Novo realized that this integration could help make account information more transparent and centralize users’ small business finances. Now, as a verified partner, Stripe provides a comprehensive e-commerce experience, allowing businesses to receive online payment through Stripe and easily connecting to thousands of other relevant applications and platforms. Users will also receive $20,000 in fee-free processing when signing up for Stripe.
  • Shopify: By integrating Novo to Shopify, small business owners can simplify managing their business’s finances, tracking revenue in real-time and providing snapshots and insights regarding monthly sales data right from the Novo app. With so many small business owners listing services and products on Shopify, this integration is incredibly relevant.
  • Zapier: Novo is easily integrated with Zapier, an online automation tool that connects different apps, allowing users to connect their Novo account to any service they would use through Zapier, including payment alerts, organization workflows, and beyond. With an integration like this, the sky’s the limit.

Free ATM Access

Novo offers free ATM access with a twist. Users can use any ATM with their Novo debit card, including internationally.

However, Bank Novo will reimburse at the end of each month directly back to the checking account.

Although cardholders will pay an ATM fee upfront, the ease with which they will see their money returned to their account makes this feature a clear advantage.

With this kind of reimbursement, there is no need to save receipts to put in for reimbursements at the end of each month.

Bank Novo will take care of it, leaving users free to focus on their lives and their businesses.

Online and Mobile Banking

Bank Novo makes it easy to manage online finances from anywhere. As it is an online-only bank, this feature is Novo’s bread and butter.

As long as users can access the internet, they can manage their finances, providing incredible flexibility and ease of use.

Flexible Card Payments

Novo Bank cards can safely and securely be used with Apple Pay and Google Play.

Many users believe that Apple and Google pay are safer than traditional card payments.

Debit Card Accepted Worldwide

The Bank Novo debit card is accepted worldwide. Users just have to provide notice that they are traveling so that their international spending does not raise any red flags.

Send Payments

Users can send payments directly from Novo and send ACHs and paper checks for free and without fees.

The TransferWise integration makes it easy and affordable to send money internationally.

Users sending money within the United States can take advantage of Bank Novo’s unlimited free transactions within the country.

Instant Check Deposits

Novo allows for unlimited free check deposits. Users simply take a photo of their check, upload it through the Novo app, and see their funds in their account within seconds.

Transfer Money Seamlessly

One of Bank Novo’s strengths is the ease with which users can complete wireless transactions and transfers.

By linking their bank accounts to Novo, users can have an even faster, more seamless experience.

Send and Track Invoices

Novo makes it easy to get paid by sending invoices directly to customers, allowing for tracking, and allowing payment via integrations like Stripe and Square.

Easy Sign-Up Process

Small businesses, freelancers, and startups can sign up for Novo within minutes by completing a simple application form.

Perks

Novo Bank’s invaluable partnerships with tons of different companies and websites will save customers thousands in perks.

For example, Novo users are immediately eligible for $3,000 in Google Cloud credits and 6% cashback on all trips through Booking.com when purchased with a Novo debit card.

The perks are updated regularly, providing users with a literal wealth of resources.

Novo Bank Pros and Cons

Pro:

  • Specialized for small businesses, helping them get the help they need from a bank that understands the landscape of the small business/startup/freelance world
  • Novo Bank can easily be connected to and integrated with countless business resources
  • Reimbursement for all ATM fees allows people to freely spend without worrying about racking up unnecessary fees
  • No minimum monthly requirement, no monthly fees, and no hidden fees
  • Strong customer service team
  • Apply in 10 Minutes (Quick & Easy Application)
  • Easy Transfer Between Financial Accounts

Cons:

  • Only one kind of account offered
  • No cash deposits, making it less suitable for businesses operating mostly in cash
  • No recurring payments. This can is a major benefit of certain banks, but when banking with Novo, small businesses won’t have the ease of having their recurring bills paid automatically

Does Novo Bank Have Any Fees?

To open an account with Bank Novo, customers must make a one-time $50 deposit.

After that, there is no minimum monthly requirement, no monthly fees, and no hidden fees, helping small businesses keep as much of their revenue as possible while still optimizing their banking experience.

Who Should Use Bank Novo?

As a starting point, businesses can use Bank Novo. It is not the right banking service for people looking to manage their personal finances.

Beyond that, small businesses, freelancers, and startups who are looking to navigate the business world while maximizing profits would benefit from opening an account with Novo.

With no minimum balance requirements, Novo Bank is also a good option for businesses that are just getting off the ground or businesses whose liquid assets fluctuate regularly.

Small businesses that operate mostly in cash or those who want to put aside money for the future in a savings account or through strategic investments would likely find the Novo banking experience limiting, as Novo does not offer cash deposits and only offers one kind of business checking account.

Alternatives to Novo Bank

#1. BlueVine

BlueVine has a few key similarities to Novo, particularly the fee-free banking experience.

Rather than offer ATM reimbursements, BlueVine partners with a network of ATMs, making certain ATM withdrawals free but ultimately offering only a limited universe of free ATMs.

BlueVine customers can schedule recurring payments and earn interest on their account balance up to $100,000, two things that Novo cannot do.

#2. Azlo

Azlo only offers business checking accounts, much like Novo. Connected to a network of over 55,000 ATMs, customers around the country can likely find a compatible ATM but will receive ATM fees if they do not withdraw from one in-network.

Azlo also limits monthly deposit amounts and does not allow customers to write checks from their account.

The future of Azlo is up in the air, as it is closing soon and is no longer offering accounts to new customers. Existing customer accounts will close on March 31, 2021.

#3. NorthOne Business Banking

NorthOne is a good option for small business owners. Offering unlimited transactions and accessibility from the computer or mobile app, NorthOne is a great example of an effective digital bank.

Bank Novo FAQs

Is Novo Bank Legit?

Founded in 2016, Novo Bank is redefining the way Small Business Owners and Operators manage their finances.

Catering towards Startup founders, small businesses, and freelancers, Novo Bank is a one-stop-shop for your business banking needs.

Does Novo Bank Pay Interest?

Novo Bank does not pay interest on its business checking account, and it does not offer a savings account.

However, Bank Novo does provide a variety of perks that add up to over $5,000 in additional savings.

Novo has partnered with Stripe, Booking.com, Google Cloud, Gusto, Intuit Quickbooks, HubSpot, GoDaddy, Zendesk, and other leading brands to bring you their products at a steep discount.

Is Novo Bank FDIC Insured?

Yes! Your business banking deposits are FDIC-insured.

Does Bank Novo Check Your Credit Score?

Do not be afraid of your credit score. Novo Bank does not check applicants credit score. That said, it is in your best interest to have a good credit score.

Aside from running a business, a good credit score will help you in other aspects of your financial life.

Bottom Line: Novo Bank Review

Novo Bank is a good option for small businesses looking to make the most of the different technologies that exist to make managing finances, spending money, and running a business a bit easier.

While there are certain limitations to the platform, businesses focused mostly on e-commerce with limited cash transactions will enjoy the perks and fee-free functionality.

Marisa Powell
Marisa Powell
Marisa Powell is a Labor Organizer and Representative for physicians around the country. She is passionate about workers and helping make workplaces the best and safest they can be. After graduating from New York Law School and passing the bar, she relocated to Tacoma, WA, where she spends her days fighting for and with workers, writing for small businesses, and hanging out with her cat, Salem.