KeyBank Business Checking Review: A Traditional Bank for Cash-Heavy Businesses

We scored KeyBank on more than one-dozen important factors, from banking costs to user reviews. Our review tells you what we found.
Best for Cash-Heavy Businesses
Key Bank
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Checking from
$5.00/mo.
  • Check
    High free cash deposit amounts
  • Check
    Affordable bank account options
  • Check
    Other helpful services for businesses
  • X
    Locations in just 15 states

We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us. Read our editorial guidelines and advertising disclosure.

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, affordable bank accounts, and cool services for business owners!) and a few things we didn’t limited availability, low interest rates on savings, and less-than-impressive credit cards). 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.

Strengths
Pro Bullet High free cash deposit amounts on all checking
Pro Bullet Affordable bank account options
Pro Bullet Other services for business owners
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Branches in just 15 states
Con Bullet Low APY on most accounts
Con Bullet Lackluster credit cards

KeyBank review table of contents

KeyBank bank account options and pricing

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.

Checking accounts

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.

KeyBank small-business checking accounts

FeatureBasic Business CheckingBusiness Interest CheckingBusiness Reward Checking
Min. opening deposit$25.00$25.00$25.00
Monthly fee$5.00$15.00$25.00
Monthly fee waivable?Icon Check  DarkIcon Check  DarkIcon Check  Dark
APYN/A0.05%–0.1%N/A
Earns interest?Icon Close  DarkIcon Close  DarkIcon Check  Dark
Free transactions200100500
Additional transactions$0.40 each$0.40 each$0.40 each
Free cash depositsUp to $25,000/cycleUp to $25,000/cycleUp to $25,000/cycle
Cash deposit fee$0.18 per $100.00$0.18 per $100.00$0.18 per $100.00
Open an account

Data effective 12/16/19. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

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.

Info
Are you a sole proprietor?
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.

Savings accounts

KeyBank has three choices for savings accounts (one traditional and two money market), as well as a handful of certificates of deposit (CDs).

KeyBank small-business savings accounts

FeatureKey Business Saver AccountKey Business Silver Money Market Savings AccountKey Business Gold Money Market Savings Account
Min. opening deposit$50.00$50.00$25,000.00
Monthly maintenance fee$4.00$12.00$18.00
Monthly fee waivable?Icon Check  DarkIcon Check  DarkIcon Check  Dark
APY0.01%0.01%-0.2%0.05%-1.1%
Open an account

Data as of 11/16/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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.

Pricetag
KeyBank Relationships Rate
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.

KeyBank small-business CDs

FeatureKey Business Tiered CDKey Business CDKey Business Short Term CDKey Business Jumbo CD
Min. opening deposit$2,500$2,500$2,500$100,000
Monthly feeN/AN/AN/AN/A
APYUnlistedUnlistedUnlistedUnlisted
APY6 mos.–10 yrs.6 mos.–10 yrs.79 days–179 days79 days–120 mos.
Open an account

Data as of 11/16/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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 features

We mentioned already that KeyBank works great for cash deposits, but that’s worth digging into a bit more.

KeyBank gives you a high amount of free cash deposits ($25,000) with all of its business checking accounts—even the cheapest one. Given that other banks often limit you to $20,000 even on their top-tier accounts (and closer to $1,000 on basic accounts), KeyBank’s free cash deposits make it a real standout.

Throw in low fees for additional cash deposits, and you’ve got a bank that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. KeyBank charges just $0.18 per $100 of additional cash deposits. That’s the lowest cash deposit fee we’ve found (at banks that charge deposit fees). If you deposit much cash, those savings will add up quickly.

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.

In fact, let’s take a moment to look closer at why KeyBank fares so well against the competition.

KeyBank vs. competitor banks

KeyBank competes against both traditional, brick-and-mortar banks (the big banks you’ve probably heard of) and newer, online-only banks (that you may not know much about).

Bank
Monthly maintenance fee (checking)
Bank type
Availability
Get a bank account
Key Bank

KeyBank

From $5.00/mo.

Traditional

15 states

Bank of America

Bank of America

From $16.00/mo.

Traditional

37 states

BlueVine

BlueVine

$0.00/mo.

Online

All states

Kabbage

Kabbage

$0.00/mo.

Online

All states

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo

From $10.00/mo.

Traditional

36 states

Data as of 11/16/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

As you can see, KeyBank charges lower monthly fees than some of the bigger traditional banks. Likewise, those low cash deposit fees we talked about set KeyBank apart, as banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo both charge more for cash deposits (and give you lower free cash deposit amounts to begin with).

But compared to online banks, KeyBank ends up costing more. Most online banks charge no monthly fee and no transaction fees (though you may end up paying third-party cash deposit fees). On the other hand, though, KeyBank makes cash deposits easy and painless. For online banks, you’ll have to figure out their preferred method of depositing cash (usually via a third-party service like GreenDot).

One other thing you may have noticed about the table above: KeyBank is available in far fewer states than other banks―both online and traditional. And that’s one of KeyBank’s big drawbacks.

KeyBank drawbacks

We like KeyBank a lot (at least, for a traditional bank), but it does have some downsides we want you to know about.

The biggest problem? Limited availability. KeyBank has locations in just 15 states, scattered across parts of the West, Midwest, and New England.

KeyBank availability

That does mean KeyBank simply won’t work for tons of businesses. And even if you do business in one of those states, you may want to think about what you’ll do if your business expands, for example, or if you travel a lot.

Other issues include the low APY on savings accounts (maxing out at 0.05%) and the unimpressive credit card offerings.

But as you may notice, these aren’t exactly big dealbreakers for day-to-day banking. You can always get a credit card or savings account from another bank, after all.

So maybe it’s fairer to call these “places where KeyBank doesn’t excel” than true drawbacks. And fortunately, KeyBank offers some more cool things for business owners that make up for these potential downsides―things like Key4Women.

Location
No KeyBank in your state?
That’s a bummer, but we’ve got other options for you. Check out our pick for the best bank in your state to find an alternative.

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.

Small-business financing

KeyBank offers a few financing products for small-business owners. Unfortunately, it doesn’t publish too many details about them.

Compare KeyBank’s small-business lending

Loan
Loan min./max.
Term
Get a loan

Term loans

Starting at $10,000/$500,000

12–84 mos.

Lines of credit

$10,000/$500,000

12 mo. renewable

Equipment financing

Unlisted

Unlisted

Real estate borrowing

$10,000/$1 million

Up to 20 yrs.

SBA loans

Up to $12 million

Unlisted

Data as of 11/16/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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.

Software

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.

Key@Work

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.

Miscellaneous

  • 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 1.7 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.

The takeaway

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.

Related content

Methodology

We used KeyBank’s website, customer reviews, and other sources to gather information and KeyBank and score it on important factors. These factors included its banking fees, banking network size, and customer service options. With the resulting score, we compared KeyBank to other banks and then wrote our review.

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.

Sources

  1. Trustpilot, “KeyBank.” Accessed November 16, 2021.
  2. Bank Branch Locator, “KeyBank.” Accessed November 16, 2021.
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.
Recent Articles
Feature image of a Latino businessman running numbers on his tablet
Axos Bank Review: Online Banking for Businesses Big and Small
With everything from basic checking accounts to multi-million dollar loans, Axos can help your business...
How to Open a Business Bank Account
Need a place to stash your cash? Just follow our guide to opening a small-business...
BlueVine vs. Novo Banking
BlueVine vs. Novo Banking 2022
We compare banking costs, access, and more at BlueVine and Novo. Best business checking account...
two businessmen shake hands
Novo Banking Review: Neat Integrations but Bad Reviews
Novo plays nicely with other business apps and services―but that might not be enough to...