Best Credit Unions for Business 2023

We dug into account options, banking fees, customer reviews, and more to find the best credit unions (and credit union alternatives).
Best CU alternative
BlueVine
Bluevine
$0 monthly fee
  • pro
    Online bank
  • pro
    $0 minimum opening deposit
  • pro
    Interest-bearing checking only
Best for military members
navy-federal-credit-union
Navy Federal Credit Union
Starting at
$0 monthly fee
  • pro
    Credit union
  • pro
    $0 minimum opening deposit
  • pro
    Checking and savings
Best for solopreneurs
found-logo
Found
$0 monthly fee
  • pro
    Online bank
  • pro
    $0 minimum opening deposit
  • pro
    Checking and savings
Best for savings
Lili
Lili
Starting at
$0 monthly fee
  • pro
    Online bank
  • pro
    $0 minimum opening deposit
  • pro
    Checking and savings
Best for western states
america-first-credit-union
America First Credit Union
Starting at
$0 monthly fee
  • pro
    Credit union
  • pro
    $0 minimum opening deposit
  • pro
    Checking and savings

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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Credit unions have some big advantages over traditional banks, like lower banking fees and higher-earning accounts ― not to mention the better customer reviews. But which credit union has the best accounts for your business?

After analyzing many credit unions, we think Bluevine (an online bank) is actually the best option for most business owners. It offers many of the same benefits as a credit union but without the ultra-limited membership.

If you really want a credit union, though, we’ll tell you about our top picks (and some more credit union alternatives) in our rankings below.

Best Credit Unions and Credit Union Alternatives for Business

Compare the Best Credit Unions and Credit Union Alternatives for Business

Bank
Lowest monthly fee
Min. opening deposit
Free transactions per cycle
Get an account
$0$0Unlimited
$0$030–100
$0$0Unlimited
$0$0Unlimited
$0$0Unlimited

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Credit Unions vs. Banks

You may want a credit union for your business because you’ve heard they’re better than banks. But before you commit to a credit union, let’s make sure you understand what sets them apart from banks.

Are Credit Unions Better Than Banks?

Credit unions are better than banks in some ways. Then tend to charge fewer and lower account fees (like monthly maintenance fees and transaction fees). And they often offer higher interest rates on bank accounts and lower interest rates on loans. Plus, credit unions usually try to provide better customer service, which leads to better customer reviews.

So what is the downside of a credit union? Availability. Credit unions limit membership, and they have fewer branches. Most credit unions simply aren’t available to most people. Banks, on the other hand, serve more areas and have open membership.

(For more details, check out our guide to credit unions vs. banks.)

Is Joining a Credit Union Worth It?

Joining a credit union is worth it if you know of one you can qualify for that has low fees and excellent customer reviews.

But with the rise of online banks for business, credit unions aren’t always the best solution. Many online banks offer no-fee accounts, have extra tools and perks, and earn very good customer reviews―making them a good alternative to credit unions.

How Do I Find a Good Credit Union?

Your best bet for finding a good credit union is to look locally. Focus your search on credit unions that operate nearby, and then look for low account fees and positive customer reviews.

Bluevine: Best credit union alternative for business

BlueVine
Bluevine
  • bullet
    $0 monthly maintenance fee for checking
  • pro
    Interest-bearing checking only
  • pro
    Online-only bank
  • pro
    Available in 50 states

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

OK, time to confess: Bluevine isn’t a credit union. But it’s a great alternative to credit unions that will work for most business owners ― better than most credit unions will, in fact.

Bluevine does things differently than traditional banks. It offers fee-free business checking; no monthly fees, no transaction fees, and no overdraft fees. It gives you free subaccounts to organize your money and free checks to make spending easier. Best of all? Bluevine lets you earn interest on your checking account balance ― an unmatched 2% interest rate on balances up to $250,000 right now.

You can see how Bluevine has some of the best features of credit unions, like better interest rates and less expensive banking. But it also has the best features of banks. Anyone can use Bluevine business banking ― no membership required.

What’s Safer ― a Bank or Credit Union?
bullet

Banks and credit unions both get insured. Banks get insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or FDIC, while credit unions rely on the National Credit Union Administration, or NCUA. That makes banks and credit unions pretty equivalent in terms of safety.

Likewise, as an online bank, Bluevine operates all across the country. It’s way more widely available than any credit union.

Now, we admit that Bluevine gets mixed customer reviews these days. Some people love it, but others complain about the customer service. Here’s the thing, though: That’s true of most credit unions we researched. While credit unions are supposed to offer unbeatable customer experiences, that doesn’t always happen.

So between Bluevine’s free checking, unbeatable interest rates, and widespread availability, it's a better option than a credit union for most business owners.

Pros
pro Interest-bearing checking
pro No traditional banking fees
pro Free checks
Cons
con No interest on balances over $250,000
con Mixed customer reviews
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Navy Federal Credit Union: Best for those with military ties

navy-federal-credit-union
Navy Federal Credit Union
  • bullet
    $0, $8, or $20 monthly fee for checking
  • pro
    Checking and savings
  • pro
    Traditional credit union
  • pro
    Available in 30 states and 9 countries and territories

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

If you or a family member served in the US military, you can enjoy Navy Federal Credit Union’s business banking options.

Navy Federal Credit Union is the best credit union we’ve found. It gets very, very good customer reviews. In fact, it has 4.6 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot after more than 13,000 reviews. Customers say it has great customer service that makes it easy to get help. And lucky for business owners, Navy Federal Credit Union offers both free and paid checking accounts, along with business credit cards and business loans.

The only problem? Navy Federal Credit Union only offers membership to servicemembers, DoD civilian personnel, and their families. Plus, while Navy Federal Credit Union does have branches in 30 states (and some outside the country), we’re talking two or three branches per state at most. In other words, NFCU isn’t going to work for most business owners.

If you qualify for Navy Federal Credit Union membership, though, we think you’ll like your free business checking with a side of great customer service.

Pros
pro No monthly fee on basic checking
pro Excellent customer reviews
pro 24/7 customer service
Cons
con Few free transactions
con Membership limited to military members and families

Found: Best for solopreneurs

found-logo
Found
  • bullet
    $0 or $14.99 monthly maintenance fee for Found+
  • pro
    Checking and high-yield savings
  • pro
    Online-only bank
  • pro
    Available in 50 states

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Are you an independent contractor, freelancer, or some other type of solopreneur? Enter Found. Found is another credit union alternative option we picked―one that has some of the best financial management tools we’ve seen.  

Found online banking is an excellent option for solopreneurs for several reasons. First, as a solopreneur, you likely handle all aspects of your business, including finances. Found offers a simple, intuitive platform that allows you to manage your finances easily, even if you have zero accounting experience.

They offer bookkeeping tools like expense tracking, integrations, categorization, and receipt scanning—although the latter two are only offered on the paid account. They also provide tax features like automatic saving, write-off recs, autogenerated paperwork, and in-app tax submissions. And if that weren't enough, they allow you to send unlimited invoices and accept payment from popular apps like Zelle and Venmo (for free).

One of the downsides to banking with Found is they don't allow for cash or check deposits. You also have to pay an unwaivable higher-than-average monthly fee to access their more advanced features, including their high-yield savings account. But if you work with virtual payments only and just need an online checking account with basic financial management tools—Found will be right for you.

Pros
pro Fee-free checking
pro Integrates with popular self employment apps
pro Built-in bookkeeping features
Cons
con No cash or check deposits
con High monthly fee for savings

Lili: Best for savings

Lili
Lili
  • bullet
    $0 or $9.00 monthly maintenance fee for Pro account
  • pro
    Checking and savings
  • pro
    Online-only bank
  • pro
    Available in 50 states

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Lili is another not-credit union that we think offers more than most credit unions. It’s an online bank with a higher-than-average APY on its high-yield savings account—1.5% to be exact. You do have to pay to access this feature though by subscribing to their decently priced Pro account. Lili tops Found in this regard by offering the same APY savings percentage but at a lower price tag. 

In addition to their high APY savings, they've got some awesome features. What kind of features, you ask? A sub account to set money aside for self-employment taxes is one. Plus, you can get tools for invoicing, budgeting, and expense management. Basically, Lili gives you the kinds of extra features credit unions often do.

And while Lili’s free account offers plenty of value, you'll need to take into account whether accessing the best features is worth it to you by paying the monthly fee. But whether you pay for the top-tier features or not, Lili offers a great banking experience for all business types.

Pros
pro Tax, invoicing, and other tools
pro Great customer ratings
pro Free and upgraded plans
Cons
con Monthly fee for Pro account
con Spending limits

America First Credit Union: Best for Westerns States

america-first-credit-union
America First Credit Union
  • bullet
    $0, $8, or $50 monthly fee for checking
  • pro
    Checking and savings
  • pro
    Traditional credit union
  • pro
    Available in 6 states

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

If you live or operate your business in (certain parts of) Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, or Utah, America First Credit Union is likely the best credit union for you.

America First Credit Union offers four different business checking accounts, from a basic checking account with no monthly fee to an analyzed checking account that lets you offset fees with earnings credits. It also has a full spread of business savings accounts, credit cards, loans, merchant service, and more. As an added bonus, America First business accounts have lower-than-average fees.

Of course, America First Credit Union has the same problem as most credit unions: limited membership. America First operates in only six states. And only people living and working in certain parts of those states are eligible for America First credit accounts. These limits may explain why America First gets so few customer reviews, which makes it hard to know if users have good experiences.

Even with those caveats, though, America First Credit Union has competitive business accounts for business owners in western states.

Pros
pro Free and paid checking accounts
pro Low transaction and cash deposit fees
pro Full suite of business services and products
Cons
con Limited geographic coverage
con Few customer reviews
Get a better business bank account

Want affordable banking with great perks? With Bluevine, you can get a fee-free business checking account―and you can even earn up to $5,000 in interest.

Honorable Mentions

We think these five credit unions and banks offer the most value for business owners. But if you haven’t seen the right fit yet, we also recommend the five options below.

Honorable Mention Credit Unions and Alternatives for Business

Brand
Lowest monthly fee
Min. opening deposit
Free transactions
Get an account
$0$50Unlimited
$0$050–100 per cycle
$0$020 per day
$0$2530–250 per cycle
$6 (waivable)$100Unlisted

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Novo: Best for Software Integrations

Novo
Novo
  • bullet
    $0 monthly maintenance fee for checking
  • pro
    Checking only
  • pro
    Online-only bank
  • pro
    Available in 50 states

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Got some business software you love? You might also love Novo and its software integrations. Novo is an online bank that works with all kinds of popular business software, including small business accounting software like Xero, credit card processing like Stripe, communication software like Slack, and digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Understand, though, that Novo doesn’t accept cash deposits. At all. (Our other favorite online banks give you at least one option for getting cash into your account.) So if your business routinely handles cash, Novo probably won’t meet your banking needs.

Blue Federal Credit Union: Best for Colorado and Wyoming

Blue Federal Credit Union
  • bullet
    $0 or $5 monthly fee for checking (waivable with $1,500 account balance)
  • pro
    Checking and savings
  • pro
    Traditional credit union
  • pro
    Available in 2 states

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

If you happen to live in Colorado or Wyoming, your business can use Blue Federal Credit Union for checking, savings, and merchant services. Blue offers a mostly free checking account, with no monthly fees and 50 free deposits per month. It also has a free savings account. Or you can opt to upgrade to a paid checking account for more free deposits each month and interest on your account balance.

But as we said, Blue Federal Credit Union only serves business owners in Colorado and Wyoming, making it a pretty niche credit union. And while Blue does offer better interest rates than most banks, it doesn’t have the show-stopping rates some of our top picks do.

DCU: Best for Massachusetts and New Hampshire

DCU
  • bullet
    $0 monthly fee for checking
  • pro
    Checking and savings
  • pro
    Traditional credit union
  • pro
    Available in 2 states

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Business owners in Massachusetts and New Hampshire can use DCU, or Digital Federal Credit Union. Like other options on this list, DCU offers a free checking account for businesses. As an added perk, it offers interest on that account. Sure, it’s just 0.10% interest rate (very low compared to Bluevine), but it’s better than nothing.

DCU just has one business checking account option, though. So if that doesn’t seem like quite the right account for you, you’ll need to look elsewhere for different checking options. (DCU does offer a few different business savings options, though.)

Excite Credit Union: Best for Bay Area

excite-credit-union
Excite Credit Union
  • bullet
    $0 monthly fee for checking
  • pro
    Checking and savings
  • pro
    Traditional credit union
  • pro
    Available in 2 states

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Excite Credit Union offers business checking, certificates of deposit, term loans, merchant services, and more to California business owners―or at least ones in the Bay Area. (Weirdly, it also serves three counties in North Carolina.) Excite offers three tiers of business checking, meaning it can work for brand-new businesses and established companies with more complex banking needs.

Aside from its very limited availability, Excite also charges higher account fees than most other credit unions and alternatives on this list. They’re no higher than most banks, but Excite may not be the cheapest option for your small business.

First Tech Federal Credit Union: Best for Northwest States

first-tech-fed
First Tech Federal Credit Union
  • bullet
    $6 or $15 monthly fee for checking (waivable if daily balance is met)
  • pro
    Checking and savings
  • pro
    Traditional credit union
  • pro
    Available in 8 states

Data as of 3/1/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

First Tech Federal Credit Union operates in the Northwest, offering basic business checking, interest-bearing checking, and several savings account options. Both its checking accounts have monthly fees, but they get waived if you keep a certain account balance. Two of its savings accounts have no monthly fees and very low minimum opening deposits.

The majority of First Tech branches operate in northern California, Oregon and Washington, but you can find them in Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, and Texas too. (Most of those states have just one branch though.)

The Takeaway

Bluevine offers the best banking for most business owners looking for a credit union, even though it’s not actually a credit union. It offers credit-union-like perks, such as low fees and great interest rates.

  • Navy Federal Credit Union is the best credit union for business owners who qualify through their (or a family member’s) military membership.
  • Lili is another great credit union alternative with excellent tools for freelancers.
  • Small Business Bank offers better savings accounts than even credit unions.
  • America First Credit Union offers solid business accounts to business owners in western states.

Not all credit unions offer business credit cards. To find the right card for your business, check out our rankings of the best small business credit cards.

Related Reading

Methodology

We analyzed several dozen credit unions and banks across the United States. We looked for financial institutions that offer business accounts with low fees, high interest rates, and decent customer reviews. We scored contenders on those factors and more, then used those scores to get our final rankings.

Credit Union FAQ

Joining a credit union shouldn’t hurt your credit. Most credit unions (and banks) don’t do a hard pull on your credit when you apply. Instead of checking your credit score, banks and credit usually check your ChexSystems report.

Most credit unions use your FICO score (usually the FICO 8) as their credit score model.

Credit unions can build your personal credit if you take out loans or credit cards and repay them as scheduled. Understand, though, that getting new credit can hurt your credit score at first, as can using too much of your available credit. Building credit takes time.

Navy Federal Credit Union is the most popular credit union in the United States, with the most members and the most assets.

Credit unions like Alliant Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union and Penfed Credit Union are some of the easiest to join. They allow anyone to join with just a small donation or initial deposit.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Chloe Goodshore
Written by
Chloe Goodshore
Chloe covers business financing and loans for Business.org. She has worked with many small businesses over the past 10 years, from video game stores to law firms. Those years watching frustrated business owners try to sift through their many options gave her a passion for breaking down complex business topics. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.
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