Novo Bank Review: Neat Integrations but Bad Reviews
Novo is one of quite a few new online banks that offer fee-free business banking. But when compared to traditional banks and other online banks for business, how does Novo stack up?
Well, as it turns out, Novo does some things really well (like working with other apps you use), and it does some things less well (like customer service). So while Novo has definite potential, we’re not sure you should sign up just yet.
In this review, we’ll explain all that in more detail and help you decide if Novo’s business banking will work for you.
Novo has great integrations (if you don’t mind the bad reviews)
As an online financial institution, Novo has a lot going for it. It offers no-fee checking, like many other online banks. It’s available in all 50 states, unlike any traditional bank or credit union.
But with more online banks for business popping up all the time, it takes more than that to stand out. Novo doesn’t offer interest-bearing checking (like BlueVine does) or a choice of savings account (like Small Business Bank does), nor does it have other banking services like treasury management or credit card processing.
Novo does have one standout feature though: It integrates with some of the most popular business services (like accounting software), plus it offers discounts on other business products. (We’ll dive deeper into these later.) That means Novo could save your business time and money on non-banking products. Not bad.
Novo fast facts
Refunds for any ATM
|Customer service options|
Still, we hesitate to fully recommend Novo, thanks to some really negative reviews from current and former customers. (More on these Novo Bank reviews later too.) With complaints of long wait times and bad customer service, it seems that Novo has quite a few problems to iron out.
So for now, we’d say to use Novo only if you really want those integrations and discounts―and even then, don’t expect the best banking experience of your life. And if you’re not sold on those integrations, we suggest you look at other online banks for business.
Still interested in Novo? Let’s chat about how a Novo bank account works.
Novo checking accounts
Novo offers just one business bank account: a simple checking account. So if you want business savings accounts, merchant services, or business loans, Novo won’t work for you.
But if you can get by with a basic bank account for your freelancing business, creative agency, or online store, a Novo business checking account might do just fine.
Novo doesn’t charge most typical bank fees. You won’t pay a monthly maintenance fee, no matter your account balance, and you won’t have to deal with transaction fees or ATM fees either. In fact, Novo will reimburse you for any ATM fees other banks charge you.
Novo small-business checking account
|Feature||Business Fundamentals Checking|
|Min. opening deposit||$50|
|Monthly fee wavivable?||N/A|
|Insufficient funds fee||$27|
|Open an account||Apply Now|
Data effective 9/9/20. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
That said, Novo does have some costs that other free business checking accounts don’t. Like its minimum opening deposit. Novo requires at least $50 to open a business checking account. That’s not bad, but it’s more than most other online banks require. (You don't have to keep a specific minimum balance after you open your Novo account.)
Likewise, Novo has a nonsufficient funds fee (commonly called an NSF fee), which not all banks charge. Yes, you’ll only get hit with that fee if you try to pay for something without having the money to do so in your Novo account―but it’s still a fee that many other online banks don’t have.
Fees aside, the Novo business checking account also has some limitations you should know about. You can’t make an outgoing wire transfer from your account―unusual for a bank. (You will be able to receive incoming wire transfers though.)
You also can’t deposit cash into your account (typical for an online bank, but something to be aware of).
Your business bank account will come with a Novo MasterCard debit card that you can use pretty much everywhere.
If none of that bothers you, great. Let’s talk about another reason why you might like Novo.
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.
Novo’s discounts and integrations
Novo understands that your bank account is just one of the many products your business needs to operate smoothly. So Novo works with other business-oriented companies to offer both discounts and integrations for your business.
When you sign up for a Novo bank account, you get access to quite a few discounted products and services in return.
For example, you can get these deals:
- $20,000 of free credit card processing from Stripe
- Cashback on travel through Booking.com
- Discounted GoDaddy domains, hosting, and more
- Six free months of Zendesk Suite
Plus you can get deals on Google Cloud, HubSpot, Quickbooks Online, and more.
The estimated value of these deals ranges from $50 to $100,000, so you could end up saving quite a bit.
But even if you don’t decide to take advantage of any of these discounts, you might like Novo’s integrations.
Novo supports several kinds of integrations that can help you keep track of your business finances.
Say you don’t want to manually balance your checking account (we don’t blame you). Novo syncs with some of the most popular small-business accounting software―including QuickBooks and Xero.
If you don’t like carrying around a physical wallet full of cards, you can add your Novo debit card to your Google Pay or Apple Pay wallet.
Novo also syncs with your Stripe processing account, and you can integrate it with Slack to get automated updates on your bank account.
So if you already use (or plan to use) some of those products, Novo’s integrations could make your life much more convenient. Plus, Novo plans to add even more integrations in the future.
Novo customer reviews
At this point, you know all about what Novo can do for your business―the good and the not-as-good. But before you decide to go with Novo, let’s talk about what Novo customers think of it.
Unfortunately, Novo has pretty negative reviews. It has a 1.8 (out of 5) on Trustpilot.1 And sure, that score comes from just 14 reviews―but all 14 are really, really negative.
Customers complain about customer service, saying it’s almost impossible to get ahold of someone in the first place and that you won’t get much help when you finally get in touch. At least one business owner said that they had trouble ever getting their debit card, and multiple people claim that Novo’s mobile check deposit doesn’t work properly.
Elsewhere on the web, we saw people complain that it takes way too long―weeks, even―to get approved for a Novo bank account.
Novo’s website says that it has been experiencing “increased demand,” which is causing delays for account signups.
Most troubling? Several reviewers said that Novo suddenly and unexpectedly closed their bank accounts. And at least one of those people had trouble getting Novo to transfer their account balance to another bank account.
Now, most banks for business have mixed-to-negative reviews. We get that. But we don’t usually see a bank with no positive reviews. So Novo’s poor ratings concern us. Of course, it only has a handful of reviews right now, so it may get more and better reviews in the future.
For now, though, Novo Bank reviews are bad enough that we encourage you to think very carefully before signing up for a business checking account.
Will Novo check my credit score when I apply for an account?
Nope, Novo doesn’t care about your credit score.
Is Novo a real bank?
Novo is actually a financial technology platform and not a bank. Your business account will technically be through Novo’s parent bank holding company, Middlesex Federal Savings―but you’ll apply and manage your account through Novo.
Does Novo have a minimum balance requirement?
No, Novo doesn’t require you to maintain a certain account balance. You’ll need $50 to open your business account, but you don’t have to worry about a minimum balance after that.
Can I use checks with my Novo account?
Yes, you can use checks with your Novo business bank account.
If you need to deposit checks from other people, Novo’s app has a mobile deposit feature.
And if you need to pay someone with a check, you can have Novo send it directly or you can order third-party checks.
Novo’s online business checking accounts offer a low-cost way to take care of your business banking, but they’re not the best accounts out there. Novo doesn’t offer all the features or account types that other banks do, and it doesn’t have great reviews either.
You may still want to bank with Novo if you like its integrations and discounts for other business products and services.
But for most business owners, Novo doesn’t offer the best business banking experience.
Want to explore some alternatives to Novo? Find the right bank for you on our list of the best banks for small business.
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.
- Trustpilot, “Bank Novo.” Accessed September 9, 2020.