A growing number of online banking platforms are dedicated to small businesses. They tend to offer business checking at low or no fees and have a heavy emphasis on mobile banking for speed and efficiency.
BlueVine takes that basic concept and adds even more features, including paper checks, the ability to earn high interest on your checking account balance, accepting cash deposits, and even small business financing. BlueVine should be near the top of your list if you’re a small business owner looking for a new banking relationship.
What Is BlueVine Capital?
BlueVine has rapidly developed into one of the most advanced online business banking platforms in the entire industry. Though they offer only one type of bank account — BlueVine Business Checking — it pays high interest on account balances of $1,000 or more, making it a checking account and high-yield savings account in one.
BlueVine Capital Inc. is based in Redwood City, Calif., and was launched in 2013 by CEO Eyal Lifshitz. BlueVine is primarily an online small business checking account provider. But they distinguish themselves from their competitors by also being a source of several types of business financing.
Lifshitz began the bank to fill the gap left by traditional banks and help small businesses succeed. He was inspired by his father’s and grandfather’s frustrations in managing finances for their own small businesses. So he set out to create products and services that would bring peace of mind to underserved small business owners.
- Today the company has more than 125,000 customers and has provided small business financing in excess of $6.5 billion.
- BlueVine provides an online business checking account. And in another departure from the crowd of online small business checking providers, BlueVine’s checking account pays interest and comes with paper checks.
- Like most online business checking account banks, BlueVine does not offer specific deposit accounts, like certificates of deposit (CDs) or money market or savings accounts.
- BlueVine is available in all 50 states for small business owners engaged in just about any type of industry. The only exceptions are adult entertainment, gambling, illegal substances, and weapons, and firearms.
- The bank has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, the highest on a scale of A+ to F and has been accredited by the agency since 2014.
|Accounts||Savings, Checking, Money Market, CDs|
|Access||Web Based, iPhone App, Android App, Blackberry App|
|Amount of Branches||0|
|Customer Service||By phone and email, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM EST|
- Number of In-network ATMs: 38,000
- Availability: All 50 states
- Paper checks: Very few online checking accounts — let alone business checking accounts — offer paper checks. BlueVine not only offers paper checks but gives you the first 200 free of charge.
- Cash deposits: Another common limitation of online checking accounts is the inability to accept cash deposits. BlueVine makes this feature available through more than 90,000 Green Dot locations across the country. If your business earns at least some income in cash payments, BlueVine can accommodate those deposits.
- Interest bearing: BlueVine Business Checking pays interest of 1.00% (as of November 4, 2020) when your balance is at least $1,000. That makes this like a high-interest savings account.
- Invoicing capabilities: You can invoice clients and customers through BlueVine. And it’s done directly through the bank. The process does not involve the use of a third-party provider.
- Business financing: We’ll cover this in greater detail later in this review, but BlueVine does provide financing to help grow your business and better manage your cash flow.
How Does BlueVine Work?
The account offers online and mobile banking. And with mobile banking, you can also take advantage of mobile check deposits.
The account can be used to receive payments through either wire transfers or ACH. And you can send payments and pay bills by wire, ACH, or check. You can also schedule one-time and recurring payments, as well as transfer funds between your other accounts.
BlueVine Business Banking comes with a debit MasterCard that can be used fee-free at more than 38,000 MoneyPass ATM locations across the country. And as noted earlier, you can make cash deposits at more than 90,000 Green Dot locations across the country.
One of the big advantages of BlueVine Business Banking is that you can access live customer support 12 hours a day, Monday through Friday. There is no minimum daily balance requirement. And the account comes with unlimited transactions. With most business checking accounts, you get a certain number of transactions provided free, with a charge applied to all excess transactions.
The account is currently compatible with accounting software platforms such as QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks desktop 2009 or later, Xero and Freshbooks. And the company expects to roll out new payment capabilities and more sophisticated cash management functions.
FDIC insurance of up to $250,000 is available through Bancorp Bank, which also provides checking account services and the debit MasterCard.
BlueVine Business Checking also comes with BlueVine Payments. This is designed to improve your cash flow by allowing you to choose how you’d like to make payments. You can pay bills by credit card or from your bank account balance by wire, ACH, or check.
BlueVine Payments has a directory of more than 40,000 companies you can quickly send an electronic payment to. And you can easily add new vendors or payees in a few simple steps. The feature accommodates both one-time and recurring payments.
Also, you can pay by credit card to preserve your cash. Payments made by credit card incur a fee of 2.9% of the amount paid.
The number of dedicated online business checking account providers is growing each year. In addition to BlueVine, you may want to check out Bank Novo, Azlo, and Radius Bank Tailored Checking. Each offers one or more unique features that may be a good fit for your small business.
Like many dedicated online small business checking accounts, BlueVine does not charge a monthly service fee. And that’s not all — BlueVine is light on fees across the board.
For example, there are no fees for incoming wires or even for non-sufficient funds items or overdrafts. About the only major fee they charge — and it isn’t that high — is $15 for outgoing wire transfers.
However, one fee to be aware of is the use of the Green Dot network for cash transactions. Green Dot charges $4.95 for each cash deposit.
And you can, of course, withdraw cash fee-free by using the extensive in-network ATM system.
BlueVine offers a single account, the BlueVine Business Checking Account. There are currently no options for savings accounts, money market, or CDs.
But one area where BlueVine stands out is in offering small business financing, which is available through several programs.
BlueVine Financing Options
BlueVine Invoice Factoring
Factoring is a common business practice in which a business owner receives an advance payment on their outstanding invoices. It gives the business owner access to the money from their outstanding invoices immediately, rather than waiting until payment is received. This provides the advantage of improving the cash flow of the business.
BlueVine invoice factoring provides up to 85% of the invoice balance outstanding. The remaining balance (minus the BlueVine fee for the service) is paid to you when the invoice amount is paid.
You can apply online for this option in less than 10 minutes and receive a decision in as little as 24 hours. Once you’re approved, you can automatically sync your accounting software invoices or upload invoices to your dashboard.
You’ll be approved for a specific credit amount. If that line is $20,000, for example (the lowest amount), you can receive an invoice factoring for up to that limit at any given time. Based on your business revenue, you can get an invoice factoring line as high as $5 million. Rates start as low as 0.25% per week.
To qualify for invoice factoring, you need to have been in business for a minimum of three months, have a minimum FICO score of 530 and at least $10,000 in monthly revenue, and operate as a business-to-business (B2B) provider.
Line of Credit
BlueVine also offers lines of credit to businesses in 48 states (not either of the Dakotas). Similar to a home equity line of credit, you can access the funds from your credit line as needed. As you repay the outstanding balance, your available credit increases. Funds withdrawn from the line are paid back with fixed monthly or weekly payments over six or 12 months.
Credit lines are available in amounts from $6,000 to $250,000, with an interest rate as low as 4.8% per month. What’s more, you can get approval in as little as five minutes. And consistent with BlueVine’s low fee structure, there are no prepayment fees, monthly maintenance fees, account closure fees, or fees to either open or maintain your credit line.
To qualify for the business line of credit, you must have been in business for at least three years and have a minimum FICO score of 650 and a minimum of $40,000 in monthly revenue.
BlueVine Pros & Cons
No/low-fee small business checking account
— BlueVine’s only fees are a $15 outgoing wire fee and $4.95 for cash deposits — that’s it.
No minimum balance requirement
— You can open an account with no money at all.
— Earn 1% APY when your account balance is at least $1,000.
A checking account that actually comes with paper checks
— To reduce costs, most online checking accounts don’t offer paper checks. BlueVine Business Banking does.
— Some online business checking accounts offer a limited number of free transactions, after which you’re charged a fee for each additional transaction. But there are no limits on how many transactions you can run through your BlueVine Business Checking account.
Small business financing
— You can improve your cash flow or grow your business using either invoice factoring, a term loan or business line of credit.
Invoice within the banking platform
— Unlike many business checking accounts that use third parties for invoicing, you can invoice directly through BlueVine Business Banking.
The ability to deposit cash
— It’s an almost universal limitation among online checking accounts that you can’t deposit cash. But BlueVine lets you deposit cash at more than 90,000 participating locations.
Extensive ATM network
— Use your Debit MasterCard to withdraw cash at tens of thousands of fee-free ATMs across the country.
No savings options
— As with many online business checking accounts, BlueVine does not offer savings or money market accounts or CDs. But the interest you earn from higher checking account balances offsets this limitation.
High fees for depositing cash
— The fee of $4.95 per deposit through the Green Dot network can be costly on a percentage basis on cash deposits of a few hundred dollars or less.
No physical branches
— But then that’s the basic idea behind online banking.
No customer service on weekends
— This can be a decided disadvantage if your business runs seven days per week.
Final Thoughts on BlueVine
As you might guess from the fact that the Pros heavily outnumber the Cons with this bank, BlueVine rates as one of the best choices for a small business banking relationship.
Not only do they offer free checking with unlimited transactions, but they also pay one of the highest interest rates around on balances in excess of $1,000. That will eliminate the need to maintain a separate savings or money market account at another institution.
The checking account comes with other valuable business features, including paper checks, the ability to accept cash deposits, and invoicing within the banking platform.
But one of the strongest features of BlueVine is their financing options. You can use invoice factoring and/or the line of credit to even out your cash flow and even grow your business.
That’s a lot of benefits packed into a free online small business checking account. If you have a small business, you owe it to yourself to check out BlueVine.