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Best Banks for Nonprofits

These banks have products and services that can help your organization manage its cash and focus on its mission.

Kerkez / Getty Images

Nonprofits have a variety of missions, but they all need a bank account to help manage their money.

Some banks offer accounts specifically geared toward the unique needs of nonprofits. However, some of the best business checking accounts can be a good fit, too. To find the right bank account for your organization, we looked at both types of accounts and identified the ones with the best benefits, lowest fees and highest customer satisfaction ratings. 

Best banks for nonprofits

This list focuses primarily on entry-level business checking accounts. However, it also includes banks with track records of assisting nonprofits with bigger financial needs, such as loans to rent office space, hire new employees and capitalize on opportunities to advance their missions.

Bank AccountJ.D. Power Satisfaction RatingAPY*Min. deposit to openMonthly feeBranch Access
U.S. BankNonprofit Checking Account7130.005%$100$0Yes
First Citizens BankCORE (Nonprofit) Business Checking707unspecified$100$0Yes
Capital OneBasic Checking723N/A$0$15**Yes
ChaseBusiness Complete Banking711N/A$0$15**Yes
LendingClubTailored CheckingN/A0.10% – 1.50%$100$10**No
BluevineBusiness CheckingN/A2.00%$0$0No
Regions BankLifeGreen Not-for-Profit Checking Account685N/A$0$100Yes
PNC Bank Non-Profit Checking667N/A$100$5**Yes
*APYs shown are as of Dec. 21, 2023. CNET’s editorial team updates this information regularly. APYs may have changed since they were last updated and may vary by region for some products.
**Monthly maintenance fee can be waived by meeting certain criteria.

US Bank

APY
0.005%
Min. deposit to open
$100
Overview
  • Account: Nonprofit Checking Account
  • J.D. Power Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study Rating: 713 (28 points above the industry average)

 

U.S. Bank’s Nonprofit Checking Account stands out for the number of transactions you can process for no additional charge -- up to 1,800 per year. Plus, the bank has over 2,000 branches in 26 states, so you have plenty of options for in-person assistance.

There are no account fees or minimum monthly balance requirements to worry about, and all you need to open an account is $100. One downside: While you can earn interest with this account, it’s not much. The current rate is a paltry 0.005% annual percentage yield, or APY.

First Citizens Bank

APY
unspecified
Min. deposit to open
$100
Overview
  • Account: CORE (Nonprofit) Business Checking
  • J.D. Power Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study Rating: 707 (22 points above the industry average)

First Citizens Bank has more than 550 branches in 23 states. You must be located close to one to open a CORE (Nonprofit) Business Checking account because the bank requires an in-person appointment to do so.

Once you open an account, you’ll get up to 100 free transactions per month. The bank pays interest on business checking accounts, although its website doesn’t specify current rates. There are no monthly maintenance fees or account minimums beyond an opening deposit of $100.

Capital One Bank

Read Capital One Bank Review
APY
N/A
Min. deposit to open
$0
Overview
  • Account: Basic Checking
  • J.D. Power Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study Rating: 723 (38 points above the industry average and first among all national banks)

 

Capital One doesn’t offer a dedicated nonprofit account, but its Basic Checking business account can be a great fit for some nonprofit organizations. There are no transaction maximums or fees associated with digital payments and deposits.

However, if you deal with a lot of cash, this bank only allows free cash deposits up to $5,000 per month -- you’ll be charged $1 for every $1,000 after that. There’s also a $15 monthly maintenance fee, but you can get it waived by maintaining an average balance of at least $2,000.

APY
N/A
Min. deposit to open
$0
Overview
  • Account: Business Complete Banking
  • J.D. Power Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study Rating: 711 (26 points above the industry average)

 

Chase may not have a business account with a nonprofit label, but it has plenty of experience helping nonprofit organizations. The biggest bank in the country, Chase has over 800 nonprofit clients in the U.S. It provided $1.3 billion in financing and donated 191,000 hours to nonprofits in 2021. 

Chase’s introductory business checking option has a $15 monthly fee, which is waived if you maintain a minimum balance of $2,000. In addition, Chase is offering $300 for opening a Business Complete Banking account by Jan. 18, 2024, and completing qualifying activities.

APY
0.10% – 1.50%
Min. deposit to open
$100
Overview
  • Account: Tailored Checking
  • J.D. Power Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study Rating: N/A

 

While you can’t visit a LendingClub branch, this online-only bank offers some big perks for its Tailored Checking business customers: 1.50% APY on balances below $100,000 (balances above $100,000 earn 0.10% APY) and 1.00% cash back on debit card purchases.

If your organization deals with cash frequently, this bank may not be the right fit, since you can only deposit cash at certain ATMs in the MoneyPass network.

Blue Vine

APY
2.00%
Min. deposit to open
$0
Overview
  • Account: Business Checking
  • J.D. Power Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study Rating: N/A

 

Bluevine is the only other online-only bank to make it on our list, thanks to its ability to check all the boxes for a business checking account: no fees, no minimums, no transaction limits and an impressive 2.00% interest rate.

However, if your organization deals with a fair amount of cash, you should probably look elsewhere. Cash deposits are only available at GreenDot locations, and you’ll incur a $4.95 fee per transaction.

Regions Bank

APY
N/A
Min. deposit to open
$0
Overview
  • Account: LifeGreen Not-for-Profit Checking Account
  • J.D. Power Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study Rating: 685 (industry average)

 

Regions Bank’s LifeGreen Not-for-Profit Checking Account is a good pick for organizations with a relatively small number of monthly transactions. The bank allows up to 75 fee-free transactions per statement period before a $0.50 charge per transaction kicks in.

There are no monthly fees to worry about, and the minimum opening deposit is only $100. However, the account doesn’t pay any interest, which is a significant drawback compared to other accounts on this list.

APY
N/A
Min. deposit to open
$100
Overview
  • Account: Non-Profit Checking
  • J.D. Power Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study Rating: 667 (18 points below industry average)

 

PNC Bank scored below the national average in J.D. Power’s Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study. However, we still think it’s worth a look, primarily because its Non-Profit Checking account allows up to 150 monthly transactions at no extra charge. The bank’s branch network includes more than 2,300 locations across the country, although it doesn’t have a presence in the Mountain West or Pacific Northwest.

It’s easy to work around the $5 monthly fee. You just need to maintain a minimum balance of $500 to qualify for a waiver. Plus, there’s no fee for the first three months after your account is open. And as your organization grows, the bank offers dedicated asset management and investment guidance geared toward nonprofits.

How to choose a business checking account for your nonprofit

When selecting a bank account for your nonprofit, there are several factors to consider. Here are the big ones.

Minimum balance requirements

Make sure you can meet the monthly balance requirements for any account you’re considering for your nonprofit. You might incur monthly maintenance fees or other penalties if you can’t. If you’re just starting out and can’t maintain the required minimum balance, an account with a low minimum balance requirement (or none at all) may be a better option.

Transaction limits

Most banks offer business customers -- including nonprofit organizations -- a certain number of free transactions per year or per month. This includes deposits, withdrawals and debits. After you exceed this limit, the bank charges you a fee -- typically between $0.30 and $0.50 -- for each additional transaction. It’s important to consider how often you’ll be moving money in and out of the account to avoid fees.

Customer service options

Will you be collecting cash donations on a regular basis? If so, you’ll want a bank with convenient branch and ATM locations. If you want easy digital account management, you’ll want a bank with a robust and user-friendly app or mobile banking platform. Check out customer reviews to learn what others have thought about their experience working with the bank.

APY

Interest earnings are essentially free money. When you’re looking for an account for your nonprofit, make sure you compare APYs to find a place where your money can grow faster.

Nonprofit-specific perks

While you might be just starting out with a standard business checking account, you’ll need more financial services if things go well for your organization. See if the bank offers special discounts on loans for nonprofits or personalized guidance on other ways to manage and grow your money.

Benefits of opening a business bank account as a nonprofit

Opening a bank account for your nonprofit allows you to do several essential things, including:

  • Collecting donations: Many business checking accounts enable you to accept credit card payments, so you can raise funds directly from your website.
  • Paying employees and vendors: Business accounts provide convenient ways to pay your staff and partners with payroll services, ACH transfers and other options like Zelle.
  • Staying organized: Even though some nonprofits may be exempt from taxes, you still must keep thorough financial records and submit annual reports to the IRS. By keeping a separate bank account from your personal account, you can monitor your transactions more easily.
  • Charting a course for growth: Opening a bank account for your nonprofit establishes a relationship with your bank or credit union. As you seek ways to advance your mission, your bank may be a source of financing and advice.

Should you use a local bank for a nonprofit?

While our list of the best banks for nonprofits includes national banks and credit unions, don’t overlook the small financial institutions in your area. There are quite a few local options that can be solid choices for your banking needs. For example, if your business is in the northwest, consider Washington-based Verity Credit Union, where nonprofit customers get exclusive rates on CDs and money market accounts. And if you deal with cash often, having a local branch where you can bring deposits may be more convenient than dealing with ATMs.

Additionally, if you’re focused on improving your community, local institutions may share your mission. However, you’ll want to make sure a local bank can also meet your needs when it comes to product offerings, online banking and other features.

What do you need to open a bank account for a nonprofit?

Some banks may allow you to open a nonprofit bank account online, while others may require an in-person appointment. Regardless of how you open the account, you’ll need to get some paperwork together, including:

  • Articles of incorporation in the state where you filed to start the organization
  • Bylaws for your organization
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) (if you don’t have one yet, you can apply for one from the IRS)
  • Government-issued ID for all officers who will have access to managing the account

FAQs

What is the FinCEN rule?

FinCEN stands for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. FinCEN is a division of the US Treasury, and its mission is to prevent criminals from using the financial industry to launder money. All banks and credit unions must follow FinCEN requirements, which include making efforts to know and understand their customers to avoid bad actors using the financial system for criminal activity. This includes filing IRS form 8300 if you receive cash transactions over $10,000 (daily aggregate) within 15 days of the transaction, under the Bank Secrecy Act.

Do banks report cash deposits to the IRS for nonprofit bank accounts?

Yes. If a cash deposit exceeds $10,000, a bank must file a report with the IRS. This applies to all types of businesses, including nonprofits and for-profit companies.

Can you use a personal bank account for a nonprofit organization?

You can, but it’s not a good idea. While you might be able to get by using your personal bank account for managing your nonprofit, the paper trail can get messy. You’ll need to separate tax-exempt activities (like traveling for the nonprofit) from your personal expenses (like paying for dinner out on Friday night). To reduce the risk of a messy audit, you’re better off opening a separate bank account for your nonprofit organization.

David McMillin writes about credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. Based in Chicago, he writes with one objective in mind: Help readers figure out how to save more and stress less. He is also a musician, which means he has spent a lot of time worrying about money. He applies the lessons he's learned from that financial balancing act to offer practical advice for personal spending decisions.