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

NorthOne’s fees keep it from being one of our favorite online banks.
NorthOne
  • 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. (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 isn’t one of the best online banks (but it has handy sub-accounts)

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

Here’s the thing: NorthOne would have been a great bank ten years ago. Back then, it would have stood out thanks to its nationwide availability and its unlimited transactions and deposits for customers. 

But in 2020, you’ve got quite a few online banks for small business to choose from―and suddenly NorthOne doesn’t look quite as good.

See, all those other online banks have nationwide availability, and most of them offer unlimited transactions and unlimited deposits. So now the thing that makes NorthOne stand out is that it charges an unwaivable monthly fee. Yeah. (Oh, and it has some concerning reviews that we’ll discuss below.)

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

We don’t want to be too hard on NorthOne. It’s still a decent bank with some handy features―like free sub-accounts for your business checking account (we’ll talk about these more later). We’re not going to warn you away from NorthOne or anything.

It’s just that, when it comes down to it, NorthOne is more expensive than most online banks and less convenient than many brick-and-mortar banks. Unless you really want those free sub-accounts, we suspect you’ll prefer a different bank.

But hey, it’s your business and your money. You know your banking needs better than we do. 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, cash deposit fee, or ATM fee. Neat, right?

NorthOne small-business checking accounts

FeatureBusiness Fundamentals Checking
Min. opening deposit$50
Monthly fee$10
Monthly fee waivable?Icon No  Dark
Free transactionsUnlimited
Free cash depositsUnlimited
ATM feeN/A
Overdraft fee$5
NSF fee$25
Domestic wire fee$10
International wire fee$25
Open an account

Data effective 9/22/20. 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.

NorthOne charges other bank fees too, like overdraft fees and NSF fees. Sure, you can avoid those fees by watching your spending. But other online banks, like BlueVine, don’t charge these fees. 

Heck, NorthOne even charges dormant account fees ($5 per month on accounts that haven’t been used for one year) and abandoned account fees ($50 for accounts that haven’t been used in five years). We don’t usually see those fees at other banks.

On the plus said, NorthOne does allow you to deposit cash. (Not all online banks do.) You can make a free deposit at any MoneyPass ATM. That’s great, but depending on where your business is, it might not be as convenient as banking with your local credit union or a traditional bank. (We checked, and our closest MoneyPass ATM is more than 30 minutes away.)

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. 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. 

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. But NorthOne’s sub-account feature makes 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

Plus, 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 2.6 out of 5.1 It does better on the Google Play store (3.8 out of 52) and the Apple Store (4.75 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

NorthOne’s unwaivable fees keep it from being one of our favorite online banks for business. After all, other online banks offer cheaper (free) business checking. Plus, NorthOne’s mixed customer reviews make us a little nervous.

Even so, some business owners will like NorthOne’s free sub-accounts and integrations, and they’ll appreciate that it’s cheaper than a traditional bank. 

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

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.