NorthOne Business Banking Review 2021: Mandatory Fees but Free Sub-Accounts

We love the unlimited free sub-accounts NorthOne offers―but we’re not sold on the unwaivable monthly fee.
NorthOne
NorthOne
2.5 out of 5 stars
2.5
  • Check
    Free transactions and deposits
  • Check
    Free sub-accounts
  • X
    Unwaivable monthly fee
  • X
    Mixed customer reviews

NorthOne is an online-only bank that offers business checking accounts. But you have tons of options for business checking―so what makes NorthOne’s small-business banking special?

That’s what we’re here to explain in our NorthOne review. (Spoiler: It’s the fees and the sub-accounts.) 

We’ll tell you about NorthOne’s business checking account, show you how NorthOne compares to other banks (including what it does better and what it does worse), and give you our take on this young bank.

NorthOne is best for unlimited sub-accounts (if you don’t mind the monthly fee)

Pros
Pro Bullet Free transactions and deposits
Pro Bullet Free sub-accounts
Pro Bullet Availability in all states
Cons
Con Bullet Unwaivable monthly fee
Con Bullet Mixed customer reviews
Con Bullet Checking account only

To be honest, NorthOne isn’t one of our very favorite online banks for small business, though it is an honorable mention.

See, NorthOne has some great things that earn it a spot on that list. It doesn’t charge many typical banking fees, for example, including transaction fees and overdraft fees. And NorthOne offers free sub-accounts for your business checking account―as many as you want.

Those sub-accounts (aka Envelopes) make NorthOne great for freelancers needing to set aside tax money, for entrepreneurs saving up for equipment, or for any business owners who simply want to set aside some funds without opening a new bank account. (More on how these sub-accounts work later.) 

But NorthOne also has some downsides that keep it from being a top pick.

NorthOne fast facts

Feature
NorthOne
Online banking
Icon Yes  Dark
Mobile banking
Icon Yes  Dark
In-person banking
Icon No  Dark
Bank branch locations
N/A
ATMs
300,000
24/7 support
Icon No  Dark
Customer service options
Phone, email, chat

The most obvious? NorthOne’s unwaivable monthly fee. Now, depending on how you use your account, NorthOne may still end up being a super affordable bank account. In fact, NorthOne argues that its typical customer would end up paying more at other online or traditional banks, thanks to things like wire fees and overdraft fees.

You can math things out for yourself based on your typical (or expected) business bank account usage. (We’ll just point out that some other online business bank accounts charge neither monthly fees nor overdraft fees.)

There’s also the matter of NorthOne’s customer reviews. We’ll cover them in more detail later, but for now, we’ll just say that other online banks get better ratings.

Still, NorthOne’s sub-accounts and lack of (most) fees still make it a bank fit for many businesses. So let’s go ahead and break down NorthOne’s checking account to see if you’ll like it.

NorthOne bank accounts

NorthOne has one type of business checking account and nothing else―no business savings accounts, credit cards, or anything else. That’s pretty normal for an online bank, but it means that NorthOne’s checking is under a lot of pressure to impress you.

And as we said above, if you’re used to banking at traditional banks (whether it’s a big bank like Wells Fargo or a smaller chain like TD Bank), you might think NorthOne’s account looks great. It doesn’t charge any transaction fee or ATM fee, for example. Neat, right?

NorthOne small-business checking accounts

Feature
north one bank logo

NorthOne Account

Min. opening deposit$50
Monthly fee$10
Monthly fee waivable?Icon No  Dark
Transaction fee$0
Cash deposit fee$4.95 (via Green Dot locations)
ATM fee$0
Overdraft fee$0
NSF fee$0
Domestic wire fee$15
International wire feeN/A (not offered)
Open an account

Data effective 7/14/21. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

But unlike other online banks, NorthOne does charge a monthly fee. And unlike traditional banks, NorthOne doesn’t let you waive that monthly fee―no matter your account balance. Bummer.

That said, NorthOne doesn’t charge most other typical banking fees. Like we said, you don’t need to pay transaction fees or ATM fees. And NorthOne even lets you avoid overdraft fees and NSF (non-sufficient funds) fees. (Some other online banks, like BlueVine, also steer clear of NSF fees and overdraft fees.)

And as another perk, NorthOne does allow you to deposit cash. (Not all online banks do.) You can make a cash deposit at any GreenDot location, which are found at all sorts of gas stations, drug stores, and grocery stores. You will have to pay a small ($4.95) Green Dot fee to deposit cash, but at least you don’t have to drive to a specific bank branch or anything.

Info
Business debit card

Your account will come with a NorthOne MasterCard debit card, which usually arrives within a week of your account opening. If you need it sooner, you can ask NorthOne to express mail your card for $35.

And of course, we haven’t talked about NorthOne’s coolest feature yet.

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Sub-accounts from NorthOne

We mentioned earlier that NorthOne has cool sub-accounts, which it calls Envelopes. But what does that actually mean?

Simple. It means that when you have a NorthOne checking account, you can create free accounts that have specific purposes. You just have to go in the NorthOne mobile app to create one. It only takes a few seconds to set up, and then you’re on your way to better budgeting.

For example:

  • If you’re a freelancer and want to set aside money for your self-employment taxes, you can create a sub-account just for taxes. 
  • If you’re a small-business and want to save up for your holiday party, you can make a sub-account for that.

No matter what you want your sub-account for, you can transfer money into it whenever you want. Or you can automate things by creating rules. For example, you can automatically transfer a certain amount into your sub-account each week, or you can make it so that a percentage of each deposit goes into your sub-account. Whatever works for you.

Sure, you could get a similar result by signing up for multiple free bank accounts. And some other online banks (like Lili) offer a free sub-account or two.

But NorthOne gives you all the free sub-accounts you want, right from your banking dashboard―making it easy and convenient to set aside money.

Money
Business savings

NorthOne sub-accounts are convenient. But to get more from the money you set aside, you might want to look into a high-yield savings account for business instead.

NorthOne bank account integrations

Before we move on, we want to talk about one other NorthOne feature: its integrations.

NorthOne integrates with some of the most popular small-business account software:

  • Expensify
  • Freshbooks
  • Quickbooks
  • Wave
  • Xero

Plus, NorthOne works with some ecommerce and payment processing software:

  • Amazon
  • PayPal
  • Shopify
  • Stripe

And NorthOne is working to make more integrations available. So if you use Square, Etsy, or other platforms, you should get support soon.

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What customers say about NorthOne

We’ve told you quite a bit about NorthOne and how it compares to other banks. But what do small-business owners like you think of NorthOne?

Their reviews are a bit mixed. On Trustpilot, NorthOne has a 3.5 out of 5.1 It does better on the Google Play store (3.6 out of 52) and the Apple Store (4.6 out of 53). While those aren’t the worst reviews, the bad reviews are pretty concerning.

Negative reviews

As an online-only bank, you’d expect NorthOne to have a great app. Well, quite a few business owners say it doesn’t. Some people called NorthOne's banking platform confusing and buggy, while plenty of people say it doesn’t work. At all. 

We also saw plenty of complaints about customer service. People say it’s very difficult to get ahold of someone, and that you could end up waiting days.

Speaking of waiting, people also say your mobile check deposits take a long, long time (days, even) to show up in your NorthOne account.

Plus, we saw a surprising number of people who reported getting locked out of their accounts (either because the NorthOne app wouldn’t work or because NorthOne suddenly locked their account). And since they had a hard time getting support, that meant that several people were locked out and getting charged overdraft fees each day without any ability to fix it. (Yikes.) 

Finally, some business owners who had their accounts closed report that NorthOne has yet to give them back their money. In some cases, they just want their $50 opening deposit back. But in other cases, people say NorthOne owes them thousands of dollars.

Positive reviews

It’s not all bad though. NorthOne has lots of good reviews too. They’re vaguer though.

Quite a few people really like the NorthOne app, and plenty more praise the convenience of online banking. Some customers also like NorthOne’s pricing structure and its sub-accounts.

And we saw one nice report of someone getting free banking for three months because of the pandemic.

Your experience

Based on NorthOne’s reviews, you’re pretty likely to have a good experience with NorthOne. It has more good reviews than bad reviews.

But keep in mind that the bad reviews are very bad. So if something goes wrong, you should expect it to go really wrong. Like lose access to your business bank account for days or weeks wrong.

It’s a relatively small risk, sure. Still, if that’s not a risk you feel like taking, then NorthOne might not be the bank for you.

The takeaway

We found some things we really like about NorthOne’s business banking, like the few banking fees and unlimited free sub-accounts. It’s cheaper than most traditional banks and offers a bit more flexibility than some other online banks.

Even so, we have some reservations about NorthOne. The unwaivable monthly fee gives us pause, and NorthOne’s mixed customer reviews make us a little nervous.

So NorthOne could be a great bank for your business―but we suggest doing some math first and familiarizing yourself with reviews before you commit.

Not ready to get a NorthOne account? Find a better option with our rankings of the best banks for small-business checking.

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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, “NorthOne.” Accessed September 22, 2020.
  2. Google Play, “NorthOne - Business Banking.” Accessed September 22, 2020.
  3. App Store, “NorthOne - Business Banking.” Accessed September 22, 2020.
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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