KeyBank Business Checking Review: A Traditional Bank for Cash-Heavy Businesses
KeyBank may not be widely available, but it has a lot to offer cash-based businesses.
Curious about KeyBank? So were we. That’s why we dug deep—to find out what makes KeyBank stand out, what kinds of businesses it’s best for, and why business owners should or shouldn’t use it.
We found a lot we liked (cheap cash deposits!) and a few things we didn’t (limited availability). In this review, we’ll explain all that and more. By the end, you should know if KeyBank will work well for your small business.
KeyBank is best for cash-heavy businesses (in 15 states)
Cash was king, but with the rise of mobile credit card readers and online banks, many businesses just don’t handle much cash anymore. But if you’re one of the businesses that still live and breathe cash, then KeyBank might be just what you need.
KeyBank gives you a high amount of free cash deposits with all of its business checking accounts—even the cheapest one. Throw in low fees for additional cash deposits, and you’ve got a bank that gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
Even if you’re not swimming in cash, KeyBank is still a competitive bank—it’s our favorite traditional bank, and it ranked well in our list of the best banks for small business. KeyBank has competitive fees, plenty of products to offer, and a better-than-average reputation.
The biggest problem? Limited availability. KeyBank has locations in just 15 states, smattered across parts of the West, Midwest, and New England.
If your business happens to be in one of those 15 states, then you should definitely take a close look at KeyBank. In fact, let’s get started by checking out KeyBank’s business bank accounts.
KeyBank checking and savings accounts
While you probably care mostly about a business checking account, KeyBank has more than that to offer you. You’ll find a few tiers of checking accounts, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit (CDs).
One thing to note before we go on: KeyBank requires you to open bank accounts at a branch—you can’t do it online. So if you see something you like, you’ll have to gather up your business documents and car keys so you can head to the bank and open a business bank account the old-fashioned way.
KeyBank offers three choices for business checking accounts. They all have low minimum opening deposits, competitive monthly service fees, and competitive cash deposit fees.
The real standout, though? Cash deposits. Each KeyBank business checking account lets you deposit $25,000 for free each monthly cycle. That’s way, way more than most banks give you on a basic or even mid-level checking account.
|Feature||Basic Business Checking||Business Interest Checking||Business Reward Checking|
|Min. opening deposit||$25||$25||$25|
|Monthly fee waivable?||✔||✔||✔|
|Additional transactions||$0.40 each||$0.40 each||$0.40 each|
|Free cash deposits||Up to $25,000/cycle||Up to $25,000/cycle||Up to $25,000/cycle|
|Cash deposit fee||$0.18 per $100||$0.18 per $100||$0.18 per $100|
|Open an account||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now|
Basic Business Checking is KeyBank’s cheapest business checking account. It doesn’t give you as many free transactions as the Reward Checking account, and it can’t earn interest like Interest Checking, but it’s a solid basic account.
You can waive the already low service fee by keeping an average account balance of $1,000 in your business checking account or with a $10,000 balance across your business deposit accounts.
Business Internet Checking, as you can probably guess, lets you earn interest on your account balance. The APY (annual percentage yield) on this account isn’t great (Axos Bank more than quintuples KeyBank’s best rate), and you get only 100 free transactions. Still, if you like KeyBank and want to earn interest, this checking account works.
You can waive the service fee on this interest-bearing checking account with a $5,000 daily balance in your account or a $15,000 balance across your business deposit and financing accounts.
If you operate as a sole proprietorship, KeyBank lets you use personal account balances to meet the minimum balance requirements on your business checking account.
KeyBank claims that Business Reward Checking is its most popular business checking account. In addition to giving you more free transactions than the other checking options, Reward Checking gets you discounts on things like merchant services and payroll processing—so there are some big advantages to paying the higher monthly fee.
If you’d rather avoid the monthly fee altogether, you can waive it by keeping an average balance of $7,500 average balance in your Reward Checking account, by having a $20,000 balance spread across your business deposit and financing accounts, or by using Key Merchant services.
KeyBank has three choices for savings accounts (one traditional and two money market), as well as a handful of certificates of deposit (CDs).
|Feature||Key Business Saver Account||Key Business Silver Money Market Savings Account||Key Business Gold Money Market Savings Account|
|Min. opening deposit||$50||$50||$25,000|
|Monthly maintenance fee||$4||$12||$18|
|Monthly fee waivable?||✔||✔||✔|
|Open an account||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now|
Business Saver Account has the lowest opening deposit and maintenance fee, but it also has the lowest interest rates by far. If you plan on keeping a very low balance in your savings account, you might choose the Saver Account—just don’t expect to earn much. Otherwise, we suggest upgrading a tier. You can waive the fee on this account with a $300 minimum account balance or a $600 average account balance.
A tier up is Business Silver, which offers higher (if still low) rates at a still-affordable cost. You can waive its monthly fee if you keep a $5,000 minimum daily balance, set up a monthly direct deposit of $25 or more into your account, or have a Business Reward Checking account.
You can earn better APY on your accounts with a KeyBank Relationship Rate. To qualify, you need to have a checking account, savings (or investment) account, and a credit card or loan with KeyBank.
For the best interest rates, you’ll want to go with Business Gold—assuming you can pony up the cash for that hefty opening deposit. To waive the monthly fee, keep a $25,000 minimum daily balance and maintain a Business Reward Checking account.
(For a savings account with higher rates and a lower opening deposit, check out Small Business Bank.)
If you’re comfortable setting your money aside for a while, you can go with one of KeyBank’s certificates of deposit instead.
|Feature||Key Business Tiered CD||Key Business CD||Key Business Short Term CD||Key Business Jumbo CD|
|Min. opening deposit||$2,500||$2,500||$2,500||$100,000|
|APY||6 mos.–10 yrs.||6 mos.–10 yrs.||7 days–179 days||7 days–120 mos.|
|Open an account||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now|
KeyBank doesn’t publicize the interest rates on its CDs. Usually, though, CDs have the highest rates of all the types of business savings accounts. Your actual rate will depend on the amount of money you deposit and the term length you choose.
That’s it for bank accounts at KeyBank—but that’s not all it has to offer.
KeyBank and women-owned businesses
It’s no secret that women-owned businesses face some unique challenges (just take a look at the stats for women getting turned down for business loans). KeyBank understands those challenges, and it wants to help.
Enter Key4Women, KeyBank’s program to support women entrepreneurs. KeyBank invites women small-business owners and leaders to join. So what does free membership get you?
Networking, for starters. Key4Women participates in networking events, and you can also connect on LinkedIn and other social media.
Key4Women also gives you knowledge and tools to help make your business successful. Members can connect with a Key4Women-certified advisor to get personalized financial guidance and services. Plus, Key4Women publishes articles and holds webinars on various small-business topics. It even encourages women to certify their business with the U.S. Small Business Administration so they can compete for federal contracts.
So if you’re a women entrepreneur who decides to bank at KeyBank, make sure you sign up for Key4Women. Yeah, it won’t single-handedly solve all the problems you face. But it’s just one more reason KeyBank stands out in a crowded field.
Other small-business products and services from KeyBank
You’ve seen the bank accounts, and you know what makes KeyBank stand out. But before you go, let’s explore what else KeyBank has up its sleeves.
KeyBank offers a few financing products for small-business owners. Unfortunately, it doesn’t publish too many details about them.
|Loan||Loan min./max.||Term||Get a loan|
|Term loans||Starting at $10,000||Unlisted||Apply Now|
|Lines of credit||Unlisted||Unlisted||Apply Now|
|Equipment financing||Unlisted||Unlisted||Apply Now|
|Real estate borrowing||Starting at $10,000||Up to 20 yrs.||Apply Now|
|SBA loans||Up to $12 million||Unlisted||Apply Now|
As a general rule, you can expect traditional lenders like KeyBank to offer competitive interest rates. Their loans will likely be harder to qualify for than alternative lenders, though—you’ll probably need to make at least $200,000 in revenue, have a personal credit score in the high 700s, and have been in business for at least two years.
(You can learn more about how banks stack up against online lenders in our comparison of traditional lenders vs. alternative lenders.)
Small-business credit cards
KeyBank has two business credit card options—both Mastercards with no annual fee.
First up, you’ve got the KeyBank Business Card. This basic business card doesn’t come with any rewards. The KeyBank Business Rewards Card, on the other hand, gives you points that you can redeem for cash, travel, products, or even charitable donations.
Both cards have intro promotional APR for the first six months. After that, the Business Card’s APR range is slightly lower than the APR range on the Business Rewards Card.
In a somewhat unusual move for a bank, KeyBank also offers a variety of software for small businesses. It has things for marketing analytics, employee management, taxes, inventory management, and more.
KeyBank believes that employees who budget better perform better. It offers a free financial wellness program you can implement in your business. Key@Work includes educational workshops, one-on-one financial reviews, and banking discounts.
- Merchant services and POS (point-of-sale) systems
- Payroll services
- HR support
- Health savings accounts (HSAs)
- Gift cards and loyalty rewards programs
What customers say about KeyBank
KeyBank has a 2.5 out of 5 on Trustpilot and a 3.1 out of 5 on Bank Branch Locator.1,2 While that might not look great, those scores aren’t bad for a traditional bank. (We’ve seen much worse.)
Most of the reviews vaguely praise good customer service or complain about bad customer service. We didn’t see anything specific to business customers, nor did we see any trends of customers complaining about company-wide problems.
That being said, KeyBank did settle a lawsuit earlier this year. It was accused of getting credit reports “without a permissible purpose” after customers had paid off their debt.3 That’s not great—but it also pales in comparison to the tons of lawsuits faced by companies like Wells Fargo and Chase bank. So we suggest you keep an eye on your credit report to see who’s pulling it, but we suspect your overall risk with KeyBank is pretty low.
While KeyBank’s geographic limits and low APY mean it’s not right for every small business, this bank offers great deals for businesses that deal with lots of cash.
Plus, its affordable bank accounts and its variety of other services make it a solid choice for any business that prefers traditional banking.
Not sure what kind of bank account you need for your business funds? Check out our guide to the types of business bank accounts.
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.