Lili Banking Review 2022

We scored Lili against dozens of other banks for business to see if it really offers the ideal checking account for freelancers.
Best freelancer tools
Lili logo
Lili Banking
3 out of 5 stars
3.0
Starting at
$0.00
/mo
  • pro
    Free checking account plan
  • pro
    Tax, invoicing, and other freelancer tools
  • pro
    Positive customer reviews
  • con
    Sole proprietors and single-member LLCs only

Data as of 4/12/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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.

Freelancers don’t need all the bells and whistles of expensive business bank accounts. So Lili, with its small-business checking account designed just for freelancers, might sound very interesting. But does Lili actually have anything special for your freelancing business?

Yes, actually. Lili offers an affordable, well-liked business bank account that comes with helpful features like tax buckets. You can even get invoicing and saving with a (cheap) paid plan. But only sole proprietors and single-member LLCs can use Lili―and you’ll need to be okay with its restrictive spending limits and lackluster customer support access.

Let’s see if Lili will work for you.

Pros
pro Free checking account plan
pro Tax, invoicing, and other freelancer tools
pro Positive customer reviews
Cons
con Restrictive spending limits
con Sole proprietors and single-member LLCs only
con Limited customer support access

Our top-rated banking solution for self-employment: Lili

Starting at $0/month, Lili offers a checking account with time-saving tax optimization and accounting features specifically built for entrepreneurs.


Table of contents

Lili products and pricing

Unlike traditional banks that offer lots of different bank account options, Lili keeps things pretty simple. You can use its free business checking account (Lili Standard), or you can upgrade to a paid account (Lili Pro) to get more perks and features.

Either way, you have to operate a sole proprietor or a single-member LLCs to use Lili. Anything bigger, and you’ll need to take your banking elsewhere. (One of our other favorite free business checking accounts, maybe?)

Compare Lili products and pricing

Plan
Maintenance fee
Min. opening deposit
Transaction fees
Open an account
Lili Standard$0.00/mo.$0.00$0.00
Lili Pro$4.99/mo.$0.00$0.00

Data as of 4/12/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Both accounts get you a Lili debit card. (Lili doesn’t offer a credit card.) And if you need to withdraw cash from your Lili bank account, Lili has a network of 38,000 fee-free ATMs.

Making a cash deposit is only a little harder. Because Lili is an online-only bank, you’ll take care of most things through mobile banking rather than going to a branch. But since your phone can’t deposit cash, you’ll have to head to a Green Dot location (they’re all over the place) and pay a small cash deposit fee ($4.95).

That’s all pretty generic business bank account stuff, though. What about Lili’s features for freelancers?

Well, both account give you these:

  • Tax buckets (Sub-accounts to set aside money for taxes)
  • Basic expense management (including receipt scanning)
  • Basic spending analysis
  • Direct deposits up to two days early

The tax buckets alone can be a lifesaver for freelancers. Lili lets you choose a percentage of your income to get automatically transferred into your tax bucket, so you’ll never get caught short-handed by quarterly estimated payments again.

But Lili Pro gives you even more tools for your freelancing business:

  • Advanced tax tools (like a pre-filled 1040 Schedule C and expense reports)
  • Advanced expense management (to maximize business deductions)
  • Invoice creation
  • Savings bucket with 1% APY (annual percentage yield)
  • Cashback rewards on your debit card from some merchants
  • Up to $200 overdrafts with no fees

Yes, Lili Pro does cost around $5 per month. But you might find it saves you enough money on other software (like bookkeeping and invoice software) or makes you enough money through cashback and savings to pay for itself.

So if you already have and like bookkeeping and invoice-creation software, you might be totally fine with the free Lili digital bank account. Lili Pro gives you a lot of bang for your buck, though.

Desktop access
Info

Lili has a well-reviewed mobile app, but it doesn’t offer any kind of desktop access. You’ll have to do your banking on a phone or a tablet.

Lili features

You’ve probably already noticed some of the things we like best about Lili.

The tax tools, for instance. We love any bank account that makes it easy and painless to save money for self-employment taxes, and Lili just does that. And with the Lili pro account adding even more tax tools for categorizing personal and business expenses and simplifying your tax forms, Lili really helps with one of the worst parts of freelancing.

Likewise, the invoicing tools look great. Lili pro lets you make and send as many invoices as you want. It doesn’t take extra software, either―you create invoices right from Lili’s mobile banking app.

Throw in things like the very competitive interest rate on savings accounts and a cashback rewards debit card, and you can see why we call Lili one of the best checking accounts for freelancers.

And we’re not the only ones who like Lili. Small-business owners have pretty positive things to say about Lili. It earns a 4.5 on the Google Play store, 4.7 on the Apple App Store, and 4.0 on Trustpilot (all out of 5).1, 2, 3 Positive Lili reviews rave about the tax tools, expense management, and affordability.

In other words, we see plenty to like about Lili. But is it that much better than other banking options there?

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Lili vs. the competition

Let’s look at how Lili banking compares to other business banks out there―including both online banks and traditional banks.

Compare Lili vs. competitor business banks

Lender
Monthly maintenance fee
Transaction fees
Max. APY
Open an account
Starting at $0.00/mo.$0.001% savings APY
Starting at $0.00/mo.Up to $0.50/item0.81% checking APY
Starting at $16.00/mo.$0.45 (after first 200 transactions)N/A
$0.00/mo.$0.001.2% checking APY
$0.00/mo.$0.000.05% savings APY

Data as of 4/12/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

As you can see, Lili costs less than traditional banks like Bank of America, which often don’t have any kind of free business bank account. And even Bank of America’s cheapest business checking account costs more than three times as much as the Lili Pro account. That’s fairly typical, honestly, and part of the reason we think most freelancers should stick to online and mobile banking.

Other online banks, like Axos Bank, BlueVine, and NBKC, offer banking with no monthly fee.

So Lili mostly stands out because of those freelancer tools we’ve talked about. BlueVine offers two free sub-accounts, like Lili’s buckets, but it doesn’t have the automated transfers Lili does. And you can get invoicing through NBKC, but it’s an additional $10 per month.

That said, banks like BlueVine let you earn interest on your checking account balance―not just your savings bucket like Lili does. So if you don’t need the tax tools and invoicing, you may find BlueVine business banking offers more value for your small business than Lili.

Still, no other bank competes with Lili bank’s freelancer tools.

Lili drawbacks

We’ve pointed out plenty we like about Lili. But now we need to tell you about some of the not-so-good stuff.

Limited use

As we’ve mentioned, most businesses can’t use Lili even if they want to. Lili only accepts sole proprietors and single-member LLCs.

That’s a bummer for other small-business owners who want a simple, solid business bank account.

But it could also become a bummer for you if you ever decide to expand your business and bring on a partner. Simply put, Lili won’t scale with your business. You’ll have to find a new bank for your small business.

Of course, that’s not a problem for many freelancers―but it’s something you should be aware of.

Spending limits

Pretty much all banks limit how much you can spend in a day (or a month), but Lili sets those limits lower than most.

With a Lili Standard checking account, you can only make $3,000 in debit card purchases a day and withdraw $500 from an ATM. Likewise, you can only send $500 in ACH transfers per day.

The Lili Pro account raises your card purchases to $5,000 and ACH transfers to $5,000. You still only get $500 in ATM purchases.

Maybe those numbers work for you. But we can see how Lili would limit spending and transfers too much for some freelancers (like if you want to transfer income into a personal bank account).

Limited customer support

Finally, Lili doesn’t have top-notch customer support.

As we told you earlier, Lili has very good reviews overall. But a lot of negative Lili reviews focus on how hard it is to get in touch with customer support―and how unhelpful customer support is even when you do.

And yeah, Lili has very short customer support hours: Monday through Friday from 9am to 7pm EST. Even worse, you can only get support through email. So we found reviews of business owners sending email after email, wondering if they’d ever get a response.

Ideally, Lili would have longer support hours and more ways to get in touch (like a phone number). For now, though, you have to settle for mediocre access to customer support.

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 interest on account balances over $1,000.

The takeaway

Lili offers some of the best tools for freelancers we’ve found in a business bank. All users get a tax bucket and expense management tools. Paid users can get even more tax tools, invoicing creation, and other great features. And since Lili earns very positive reviews from users, we think you’ll like all Lili has to offer.

But Lili does have its downsides, like limited availability, low spending limits, and less-than-ideal customer support.

If you can live with those issues, though, Lili offers freelancers features they won’t find anywhere else.

Not sure Lili’s checking account is right for you? Check out the best alternatives on our list of the best online business bank accounts.

Related content

Don’t qualify for a business loan? Get a personal loan instead.

Lili FAQ

Is Lili banking legit? Is Lili mobile banking legit?

Yes, Lili banking and Lili mobile banking are legit.

Lili may be a relatively new company, but it’s backed by the Choice Financial bank.

And Lili has lots of very customer reviews from small-business owners. It earns a 4.7 from Google Play and a 4.5 from the App Store, with thousands of reviews on each.1, 2  

How does Lili bank make money?

Lili mostly makes money from debit card processing fees. Lili has also introduced a paid checking account, Lili Pro, as an alternative to its free checking account.

What bank does Lili use?

Lili banking is backed by Choice Financial Group Inc., Member FDIC.

So technically speaking, your Lili bank account is with Choice Financial Group and you’re using Lili’s software to access it. But on a day-to-day basis, you shouldn’t really interact with Choice Financial―just Lili.

Can I use my Lili card before it arrives?

Yes, you can use your Lili debit card before it arrives. Just open the Lili mobile banking app and you’ll have the option to view your digital card. It will include your Lili card number, expiration date, and CVV code―everything you need to use your debit card online.

Is Lili considered a business account?

Yes, Lili checking accounts are business bank accounts―not personal bank accounts. You have to be a sole proprietor or single-member LLC to use Lili banking.

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. Google Play, “Lili Banking for Your Business.” Accessed April 12, 2022.
  2. App Store, “Lili - Mobile Banking.” Accessed April 12, 2022.
  3. Trustpilot, “Lili.” Accessed April 12, 2022.
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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