Santander Business Banking Review: Bank Accounts for Northeast Businesses
Santander doesn’t have the best reviews or the best prices, but it does have lots of choices for analyzed checking.
Santander isn’t the most popular bank out there. In a list of the biggest banks in the US, Santander doesn’t even break the top 30.1 It’s available in only eight states. And Santander has only been around in its current form since 2013.2
So while you might have heard of Santander, you probably don’t know enough about it to know if it’s right for your business banking. Sure, good things sometimes come in small, pretty localized packages—but is Santander one of those things?
With any luck, our review will help you decide. We’ll tell you who we think could benefit from Santander, what bank accounts and other products Santander has to offer, and why you might opt for a different bank instead.
Santander is best for Northeast businesses wanting analyzed checking
First things first, let’s be clear: Santander is one of the more geographically limited banks out there. If you’re not one of eight New England states, you’re out of luck (in which case we recommend finding the best bank for business in your state instead).
Despite what Santander’s deceiving branch locator might seem to show, Santander does not have any Florida branches. All Santander has in the Sunshine State is one ATM in Miami—helpful if you’re on a business trip there, but definitely not the same as an actual branch.
But let’s assume you’re in one of those states, since you’re still reading this. Should you do your business banking with Santander?
For most businesses, we’re going to go with no. Santander has pretty poor customer reviews, its accounts aren’t that competitively priced, and most New England states have plenty of other banking options.
That being said, Santander does have some things going for it—like its analyzed checking accounts.
Analyzed checking is a type of deposit account that gives you earnings credits for high account balances. These accounts charge you for each transaction and deposit, but if you have a high enough balance, you can offset those fees completely.
Sure, you can get an analyzed checking account from another bank (they’re not exactly rare). But Santander has more options for analyzed checking than most other banks do: four different accounts give you earnings credit based on your balances. Plus, Santander isn’t embroiled in huge scandals, unlike other banks with robust analyzed checking options.
Now, analyzed checking isn’t right for many businesses, especially small ones that don’t keep large account balances.
But if you happen to have a business in New England and you plan to keep a lot of money in the bank, then one of Santander’s analyzed checking accounts might be right for you.
Let’s dive deeper into Santander’s bank accounts to find out.
Santander checking and savings accounts
You’ll find both business checking accounts and business savings accounts at Santander—though you get more choices for checking than savings.
Santander has quite a few checking accounts to choose from. Unlike most banks we’ve seen, Santander splits its accounts into two categories: small-business checking accounts and business banking checking accounts.
As far as we can tell, the two types don’t have different application criteria, but the small-business accounts are probably best for (surprise) smaller, younger businesses. Let’s start with those.
|Feature||Basic Business Checking||Business Checking||Business Interest Checking||Business Checking Plus|
|Min. opening deposit||$50||$50||$50||$50|
|Monthly fee waivable?||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Santander ATM fees||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Out-of-network ATM fees||$3 per withdrawal||$3 per withdrawal||$3 per withdrawal||$3 per withdrawal|
|Additional transactions||$0.60 each||$0.60 each||$0.60 each||$0.60 each|
|Free cash deposits||Up to $7,500||Up to $10,000||N/A||Up to $40,000|
|Cash deposit fee||$0.22–$0.27 per $100||$0.22–$0.27 per $100||$0.22–$0.27 per $100||$0.22–$0.27 per $100|
|Open an account||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now|
If you don’t plan to use your checking account a lot, Basic Business Checking provides an affordable option. Sure, you get only a few free transactions, but this account has the lowest monthly fee by far. Plus, you can waive that (already small) fee by keeping an average daily balance of just $1,500 in your account.
Business Checking has a higher monthly fee than Basic Business Checking, but it gives you way more free transactions and cash deposits. You can waive your monthly fee in one of several ways:
- Keeping an average balance of $5,000 in your Business Checking account
- Maintaining a $10,000 balance across your business deposit accounts
- Making three or more purchases with your business debit card
- Having a merchant services payment deposited into your account
- Paying $50 or more in account analysis fees
Business Interest Checking charges the same monthly fee as Business Checking, but it gives the opportunity to earn interest on your funds (though Santander won’t tell you how much interest until you sign up). To waive the monthly fee on this checking account, keep an average daily balance of $7,500 in your account or a $15,000 balance across your business deposit accounts.
Santander doesn’t let you open a business bank account online—you’ll have to talk with a banker. But given that Santander has what might be the slowest website this side of 2005, that’s probably for the best.
Business Checking Plus charges the highest monthly fee of Santander’s small-business checking accounts, but it gives you the most free transactions and cash deposits—so it might be worth it. You can, of course, waive the monthly fee. This is another account with several options for doing so:
- Maintaining a $40,000 average daily account balance
- Keeping at least $60,000 across your various business deposit accounts
- Getting a merchant services payment deposited into your checking account
- Paying $50 or more in analysis fees
But maybe these small-business checking accounts sound a little too small. In that case, you might be more interested in Santander’s business checking options.
|Feature||Business Banking Basic Checking||Business Banking Balance Checking||Business Banking Analyzed Checking||Business Banking Analyzed Checking Premier|
|Min. opening deposit||$50||$50||$50||$50|
|Monthly fee waivable?||✔||✔||✘||✘|
|Additional transactions||$2.50 each||$0.75 each||Varies||Varies|
|Free cash deposits||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Cash deposit fee||$0.15–$0.25 per $100||$0.15–$0.25 per $100||$0.15–$0.25 per $100||$0.15–$0.25 per $100|
|Open an account||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now|
Business Banking Basic Checking is the lowest-tier business checking account. That means it has the lowest monthly fee, but it also means it has the fewest freebies. You can waive the monthly fee by keeping a $5,000 average daily balance.
Business Banking Balance Checking has the highest monthly fee, though you get some more freebies. If you want to waive that high service fee, you’ll need a $75,000 average daily balance in Santander analysis checking accounts. Plus, balances over $75,000 get you earnings credits that you can use to offset other account fees.
Santander has a few versions of Business Banking Analyzed Checking, including premier and interest-bearing variations. These accounts, like all analysis checking accounts, give you earnings credits based on your account balance. So while you don’t get any free transactions or deposits, you can offset your fees by keeping money in the bank.
Finally, Santander has some specialty business checking accounts, like these:
- Escrow Master/Sub Relationship
- Escrow Standalone Savings
(Don’t know what those are? Don’t worry. They’re required for some types of businesses, like lawyers and mortgage brokers. If you needed one, you’d know it.)
While Santander offers a wide variety of checking options, its business savings accounts are pretty limited. No standard savings or certificates of deposit (CDs) here—just two money market savings accounts.
|Feature||Business Money Market Savings||Commercial Money Market Savings|
|Min. opening deposit||$50||$50|
|Monthly maintenance fee||$10||$10|
|Monthly fee waivable?||✔||✔|
|APY||1.1% introductory rate||Unlisted|
|Free cash deposits per monthly cycle||Up to $5,000||Up to $5,000|
|Cash deposit fee||$0.22–$0.27 per $100||$0.15–$0.25 per $100|
|Open an account||Apply Now||Apply Now|
Both Business Money Market Savings and Commercial Money Market Savings let you waive your monthly service fee with a $1,000 minimum daily balance. You can also get the fee waived if you have a Santander small-business or business checking account.
While Santander advertises a respectable 1.1% APY (annual percentage yield) for your first six months, it doesn’t list the usual rates on these accounts. With a promotional rate like that, we expect its rates to be decent, though not nearly that high.
Santander Business First
While many banks have some kind of resources for small businesses, we have to say, we really dig Santander’s Business First hub.
This spin-off website has all kinds of helpful articles for entrepreneurs. You’ll find everything from marketing help (like “The Holiday Marketing Guide for Small Businesses”) to management guidance (like “3 Promotion Mistakes Your Small Business Can Avoid”) to lifestyle advice (like “How the Most Successful Entrepreneurs Manage Stress”).
Look, we’re not saying that Santander’s Business First website is a game changer or should single-handedly make you choose Santander. But we appreciate the deep dives on a wide breadth of small-business topics. So if you’re already checking Santander out, you might want to give this resource a look too.
Other small-business products and services from Santander
Santander has a few other things to offer business owners, though it doesn’t have quite the broad selection that some bigger banks do.
Santander has just a handful of business funding options. But with the versatility offered by lines of credit, term loans, and equipment financing, they should work well for many business owners.
|Loan||Loan min./max.||Lowest listed rate||Term||Get a loan|
|Business line of credit||Starting at $10,000||Unlisted||Revolving (with annual renewal on lines over $750,000)||Apply Now|
|Business term loan||Starting at $10,000||Unlisted||3–7 yrs.||Apply Now|
|Business owner-occupied commercial real estate mortgages||Starting at $25,000||Unlisted||Up to 25 yrs.||Apply Now|
|Business equipment financing||Starting at $50,000||Unlisted||3–10 yrs.||Apply Now|
To qualify for business loans through Santander, your business will need to be at least two years old. Santander doesn’t publish other application criteria. But since it’s a traditional bank, you’ll probably need a healthy annual revenue (think $250,000 or more) and a strong personal credit score (like 740 or higher).
In return, you’ll get long terms and—with any luck—low rates. Again, Santander doesn’t advertise its interest rates, so we can’t say for sure. But as a general rule, traditional banks offer very competitive rates to qualifying businesses.
Santander is an SBA-approved lender, so you can also get various types of SBA loans there.
- Merchant services
- Cash management (deposits, lockboxes, etc.)
- Currency exchange
- Global trade solutions
What customers say about Santander
Santander doesn’t have the best customer reviews. While it didn’t have the worst reviews we’ve seen, it was pretty close. Santander has a 1.5 (out of 5) on Trustpilot and a 2.9 (also out of 5) on Bank Branch Locator.3,4
To be fair, part of that could be because Santander has far fewer reviews than some other banks. While big banks like Wells Fargo have hundreds of reviews on those sites, Santander has less than 100. That means that each negative review counts more.
Of course, those bad scores could simply be because customers really don’t like banking with Santander. Most complaints seemed to be about poor customer service. A few people complained about sketchy overdraft fees, but we didn’t see trends of customers accusing Santander of fraud or anything (unlike some big banks).
Santander has an A+ with the Better Business Bureau.5 While we don’t want to put too much stock in BBB ratings, that grade does mean that Santander isn’t being sued by the US government or anything—more than we can say for some competitors.
We did see some reviews complaining that Santander makes it unreasonably difficult to open a bank account—and especially a business bank account. So if you’re hoping to start banking immediately, you should probably go elsewhere. (Perhaps an online bank for business?)
The few positive reviews we saw had kind words about Santander’s customer service, both at local branches and in its fraud department. So you do have a shot at having a positive banking experience with Santander.
So is a Santander deposit account right for your business?
It might be, if your business is in New England—and if you plan to have high enough account balances that analyzed checking makes sense for you. Otherwise, you might find other banks offer better value, have more financial services, and get better reviews.
Want to find an alternative to Santander? Check out 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.