Running a legit business means you're going to need a bank account for that business, and how you go about doing that is up to you. Many banks charge fees to even have the account, have a minimum amount you must deposit to open the account, or penalties if you dip below a certain amount month-to-month.
Sometimes small, local banks can offer better options, but with a smaller bank you also have some potential drawbacks. For example, my bank didn't have an app for years, which I found very inconvenient, even though I'm overall very happy with my choice of bank for my personal account.
Of course, some banks are worse than others, so you definitely should do your own research before opening an account. After all, I am not a financial advisor or an accountant, etc., and I am not giving you financial advice here.
So, what if you could avoid those monthly banking fees, transaction fees, money transfer fees, and still have some of the perks of using a larger banking company?
Today I'm going to present a feature list for a new company called Azlo, which does just that.
In one of the many Facebook business groups I'm a member of, someone recently asked a question about which bank people recommended they use for their online business. The person posting the question was researching which company to go with, and wanted to know what the consensus was from others in the group. In that post, someone commented, saying they use & love Azlo for their business banking.
That stood out to me for 2 reasons:
- because most people were responding with names I've heard before like Capital One, Wells Fargo, and credit unions galore,
- and well, the name sounds a lot like the lion, Aslan, which is a main character from the Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe series! (in case you don't know, I love to read and I'm a huge book nerd.)
Then I got curious, so I looked them up and also asked that commenter some questions about how it was used, thinking it was something akin to Stripe.
So what is Azlo anyway, and how does one get fee-free banking??
Azlo's Features page says, "Better business banking."
More Than Just a Bank Account
Azlo is more than just a bank account. You get access to resources, tools and a community of entrepreneurs just like you. The Azlo Success Hub is a place where you can connect, learn, and share with others. Azlo members get access to live events, workshops, and resources to help you grow your business.
– Azlo's "About Us" page
Azlo describes their service as, "an innovative digital business account for a new generation of independent freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners."
Here are the basics:
Business Accounts include:
- Access to a national fee free network of ATMs
- Instant account activation
- Mobile check deposit
- Bank level encryption
- Live support
- FDIC insured account
Payments & Transfers:
- Unlimited domestic bank-to-bank (ACH) payments
- Easy account linking for one-step transfers to/from your other accounts
- Transaction categorization, tagging and scheduling
- Free instant payments between Azlo members
- Bill Payment – Electronic and Check (available soon)
- Fee-free real-time payments to Mexico (beginning Q1 2018)
- International payments to the rest of the world (available Q2 2018)
- Customizable, emailed digital invoices
- Free payment acceptance (bank-to-bank)
- Line items, attachments and audio recording (coming soon)
- Integrated bank-to-bank payment for the receiver (coming soon)
- Integration with credit card acceptance (coming soon)
Mobile App & Tools
- Secure iOS and Android apps
- Unlimited mobile check deposits
- Payments and invoices right from your phone
- Debit card block and PIN management
- Contact Sync (coming soon)
- ATM finder
It's free, so try it for yourself!
I'm not an affiliate or anything, so don't have a code to give you (sorry!) and I won't get any compensation if you do sign up. As far as I know, right now they don't even have an affiliate program. (If you find out I'm wrong about this, please let me know!)
As of the end of 2017 you can sign up to be an Azlo Founder, which means you'll be part of an exclusive group that will help Azlo grow and become better at what they do, while enjoying all the features for free, even if they eventually become paid-features. Here's what they say about being a Founder:
Now, I wouldn't tell you about something like this if I haven't done it or used it myself. So, I do actually have an Azlo account now, and I got my card in the mail just a couple days after signing up (which was actually a few days faster than I was told by the Azlo team to expect it = happy surprise!).
Here's what I've learned about it so far, through my (albeit limited) personal experience:
1 | Mobile Deposits
This is something that is not available with my other account. I've really wanted that feature, because I live in a very rural area and I don't exactly want to drive 20 miles into town just to deposit a check. I also don't really want to wait and take checks in groups once a week, etc..
2 | An online only account means no checks.
I double checked (pun intended), and Azlo has online/digital accounts ONLY. They do not issue checks or checkbooks, and also say that if you order checks with your Azlo account information, they will not work.
If that's important to you, then you'll need another banking option. I personally don't have much use for physical checks at this point, so the lack of that feature doesn't bother me.
3 | Azlo doesn't charge any fees themselves, but other payment processing companies do.
If you use Stripe, for example to process an online payment that goes into your Azlo bank account, Stripe will charge their own fee to process the payment & it will be removed from the total before being transferred into your Azlo account.
So because Azlo doesn't charge it's own fee, there are no duplicated fees for payment processing.
There are free & instant Azlo member-to-member payments, and they also offer unlimited bank-to-bank (ACH) payments. You can also send invoices with Azlo, which allows you to take the payment for free, bypassing the payment processing companies, like Stripe & PayPal. More features related to invoicing (& more) are coming soon.
4 | They have a blog with helpful info.
You can check that out yourself, here. There aren't many posts yet, but they do look helpful so far, so stay tuned.
I'll update this post as I learn more.
Bookmark this post so you can jump back to it, or save the link in your Trello Bookmarks Board, as I taught you in this post.
Here's Azlo's FAQ list, as well, for those of you who are thorough researchers & want quick access to it.