Lili Bank Review: Flexible Banking for Freelancers & Entrepreneurs

Banking
Updated: 29th Sep 2021
Written by Jordan Blansit
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May 6, 2021
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Lili is a free mobile bank that launched in 2019 to empower freelancers with tools and services designed to improve their work, life, and balance.

Little did anyone know that the timing was impeccable. Soon after its launch, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and Freelancing became extremely popular.

While they are not an actual bank, their banking services are provided by Bank of Choice Financials Group Inc., which is a member of the FDIC that protects your account up to $250,000.

What Does Lili Bank Offer?

Lili provides freelancers, creators, and entrepreneurs a business checking account with no fees while offering reporting features for taxes and expense tracking as well as a debit card to use the funds paid to you for your work.

Essentially, everything that you as a freelancer (business owner) need to keep track of when it comes to daily business activities, Lili provides you with the tools to do it.

You can monitor all of this inside their mobile app once you have created an account with them online.

How the Lili Bank Account Works

Lili advertises their “3 min. You’re in!” motto and states, “all you need is your SSN and 3 minutes (yes, we timed it)”.

You do this by registering via your phone. Once registered, the approval process is almost instant. Once approved, Lili will mail you your new Visa debit card that you should receive within 10 business days.

However, you receive your number immediately in your app so you can make online purchases immediately. You also get instant access to all the benefits and features Lili offers.

Lili outlines four steps to setting up your account:

  1. Complete your application in just 3 minutes
  2. Download the Lili app from the Apple or Google app stores
  3. Pair your device
  4. Get your Visa Lili card.

It is important to note that creating an account with Lili will not affect your credit score.

Lili Bank Account benefits & Features

  • No Fees: Lili does not charge any fees for account balances, transfers, overdrafts, stop payments, nor inactive accounts. Please note there are fees for checks returns, express delivery, and card replacements and for using an out-of-network ATM.
  • ATM Access: With your Visa debit card, you have free access to more than 38,000 ATMs. No need to stress about finding an ATM. The Lili app has a built-in ATM locator to the free ATMs. There is a cash limit withdrawal of $500 per day and $3,000 per month.
  • Cash Deposits: Do you need to make a cash deposit? You can deposit cash at over 90,000 locations anywhere Green Dot is accepted. Although Lili does not charge a fee for this, Green Dot does charge a flat fee of $4.95 per deposit. The drawback with this method is that you are limited to only a $1,000 deposit in 24 hours and $9,000 per month.
  • Mobile Banking: Your Lili account acts just like any other mobile banking. This means if you have a client that wants to pay you via ACH, no problem! Provide them with your Lili bank details and enjoy ACH payments. You can have deposits of up to $25,000 per day or $50,000 in 30 days. Do you receive checks for payment? Again, no problem! With Lili banking, you can deposit your checks within the mobile app. Sign the check, take a couple of pictures, and the funds are transferred automatically. There is a maximum amount per check of $2,000 and a per month maximum of $6,000 when depositing checks. One stipulation is this: “to deposit a check, you must transfer in or receive at least $200 or more per calendar month, and the account must be at least 30 days old”, per Lili.
  • Visa Business Debit Card: Besides the normal use of a Visa Business Debit Card, the card can also be linked to several third-party payment apps such as CashApp, Venmo, PayPal, and Google, and Apple Pay. Linking them to your Google or Apple Pay lets you store your Visa Business Debit Card in the “wallet” app, so you no longer need to carry your card as long as you have your phone! There is a $3,000 per day and $15,000 per month usage limit on the Visa Business Debit Card.
  • Automatic Savings: You can also add other “buckets” to automatically take a percentage of your earnings for things such as savings and retirement. You will have access to these funds any time you need them, but this automatic tool definitely helps with savings.
  • Helpful Tax Tools: As a business owner, one of the hardest things to keep track of is our taxes. Lili has a built-in feature, similar to the savings “bucket” above, that allows you to allocate a percentage of the earnings for taxes and store it in a side “bucket”. You still have access to these funds at any time, but the purpose of this feature is to make sure you will have the funds available when you owe taxes, either quarterly or yearly! Many freelancers take it a step further. Each month, they withdraw that “bucket” and add it to an interest account in another bank.
  • Get Paid Early: Treating your Lili account like a normal account has its perks too. You can share your Lili account info with employers, or clients, that want to pay via ACH. However, with Lily, you normally have access to those funds deposited via ACH up to two days faster than traditional banks.

Lili Bank Pricing and Fees

CategoryFees
Monthly Service Fee:$0
Minimum Balance Required:$0
Minimum Initial Deposit:$0
Overdraft Fees:$0
Foreign Exchange Rate Adjustment: 0.0%
ACH Bank Transfer Fee:$0
ATM Fee (In Network):$0
ATM Fee (Out of Network):$2.50
ATM Fee (Outside U.S.):$5

Lili Bank Account Security

Lili Bank is backed by Choice Financial Group who is an FDIC member. Therefore, your account is insured up to $250,000.

Their website also has a valid SSL to protect your personal information. Furthermore, Lili said it uses industry-leading encryption as well as fingerprint and face recognition.

You can also “Freeze Card” within your app in case you ever lose your card.

Pros and Cons of the Lili Bank Account

Pros:

  • Quick and easy to create an account.
  • Almost no fees as stated above. In fact, most fees are charged by a third party rather than Lili, such as the $4.95 cash deposit fee that Green Dot charges.
  • Secure and backed by the FDIC for up to $250,000.
  • Mobile security includes fingerprint and facial recognition access.
  • Lili offers a referral system in which you can earn $50 per referral that joins using your code and spends a minimum of $250 with their card within the first 45 days. You can earn this on up to 10 referrals.
  • Early payment on ACH deposits.
  • Tools to help plan for savings and taxes, such as creating “buckets” to automatically set aside a certain percentage of income.
  • A Visa Business Debit Card that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.
  • Financial insights so you can easily see where and how much you spend on certain categories (e.g., food).
  • Free cash withdrawals at more than 38,000 locations can easily be found using the ATM locator in the mobile app.
  • Mobile Check Deposit is simple. Sign the check, take a couple of pictures, and submit!

Cons:

  • You have to use the app. There is no desktop function.
  • There are relatively low limits on check deposits, with the maximum amount per check of $2,000 and a per month maximum of $6,000.
  • You do not earn any interests when storing money in your Lili account.
  • You cannot signup using an EIN. You must use your SSN.
  • There are fees to use the ATMs when out-of-network, and there are no reimbursements for these like some banks offer.
  • You cannot accept wire transfers for payments.
  • You cannot have joint accounts.
  • There are limitations with integrating third-party apps such as QuickBooks.

How Does Lili Bank Compare to Other Neobanks?

#1. Novo Business Checking vs. Lili Bank

Novo is a leader in business banking when it comes to Freelancers and is used by many on Shopify, Slack, and other social platforms due to their integration capabilities.

They allow an individual or business account to be created. Although you will need $50 to open an account, they are essentially zero fees after that. Novo banking even reimburses you for any ATM charges you may incur.

>> More: Novo Bank Review

#2. Lili Bank vs. BlueVine Business Checking

BlueVine is the epitome of small business banking. They offer free business checking accounts while allowing you to earn 1% on the funds kept in the account.

BlueVine Business Checking is owned by the same BlueVine Small Business loans company where their services are provided by The Bancorp Bank.

>> More: BlueVine Business Checking Review

#3. Oxygen Business Account vs. Lili Bank

Oxygen dubs itself a modern digital banking platform built for the 21st century economy that offers flexible banking solutions for individuals and Business accounts.

Through partnerships, they offer services such as LLC creations. They are also a zero-fee mobile bank that offers a cash-back rewards program for using your Visa card.

>> More: Oxygen Bank Review

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lili a Real Bank?

Although Lili provides banking services, they are not a real bank. They are backed by Bank of Choice Financial Group Inc., which is the service enabler behind the banking functions of their mobile app.

Does Lili Have Any Fees?

Lili does not charge any fees themselves. However, there are fees when you deposit at the 90,000+ Green Dot locations, but this fee is charged by Green Dot. You will also incur ATM fees if you use an out-of-network ATM.

Is Lili Bank FDIC Insured?

Lili Bank is backed by Bank of Choice Financial Group Inc. who is a member of FDIC. This means your funds are insured up to $250,000.

Bottom Line: Lili Bank Account Review

If you are a Freelancer, content creator, or just an entrepreneur in general, you will be hard-pressed to find a mobile bank that is better than Lili Bank.

They have realized huge growth, partly because of Covid, due to the simplicity of opening an account and the added tools such as the tax and savings buckets, all while not charging any fees!

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Jordan Blansit
Jordan Blansit
Jordan is a freelance writer with an inexplicable predilection for investing and personal finance. When she’s not click-clacketing from the comfort of her living room, you can find her (or not) craftily avoiding human contact in the California redwoods or Oregon Siskiyous with her black cat, Bean.