I have spent more hours than I care to admit looking for the best business checking platform. And while many of the tools that I’ve reviewed in this blog post have unique features that are right for certain business owners, the platform that I’ve been using for several years to manage the finances for my website is Novo. So today let’s do a review of the Novo business checking platform and talk about some of the newest features that make this the most simple and to-the-point business account in 2023.
Let’s jump right into it. So first of all, as I’ve said before, you do not need to be some huge, established corporation in order to have a separate business checking account. Keeping your personal finances separate from your business finances is incredibly important, whether you are selling millions of dollars worth of products and services here or you just have an idea and are looking for your first customer.
So if you are unsure whether or not you need a business checking platform or a separate business checking account, the fact that you were even asking yourself that question means that the answer is probably yes. Take that from someone who waited way too long to open a business checking account and missed out on thousands and thousands of dollars of write-offs and other tax advantages and savings because I wasn’t accurately tracking my business expenses.
Simple To Open And Use
So the core account with the Novo platform is going to be the business checking account that you can open in a matter of minutes for completely free and access both from your desktop as well as from their really well-designed mobile application. And that word “simple” is one that I will probably come back to several times in today’s blog post because, again, we’ve looked at a lot of different business platforms with much more complex tools that might be right for some business owners.
But for my needs, I just wanted a simple way to manage my income and expenses, track invoices, and pay different vendors, all while getting some other great benefits, all completely free. First and foremost, you’re going to have access to not only a physical Novo card but also virtual cards that can be accessed right from your smartphone. You can easily create and send personalized, professional-looking invoices in a matter of seconds. And I’ll say firsthand that I use this feature all the time and absolutely love it.
And a lot of other services charge a lot of money in order to send unlimited invoices. You simply input some basic information, including who is to pay that bill, and they are then sent an email with simple instructions on how to send those funds directly to your Novo account via an ACH transfer, a check payment, or a few other options. And as I said, you can send unlimited invoices for free.
Simple To Integrate With Different Platforms
Novo also integrates with platforms like Stripe, Square, and PayPal, just to name a few, but you can also integrate with accounting tools like QuickBooks, Zero, FreshBooks, and Wave, as well as a number of invoicing tools, budgeting platforms, payroll providers, and even platforms focused on productivity like Slack or marketing tools like HubSpot. That list of app integrations is pretty extensive and continues to get longer and longer, and it’s truly one of my favorite features of this platform.
I’m able to integrate with my QuickBooks online account so that all of my transactions and invoices are synchronized into my accounting software and visible to my accountant as well. And I can integrate with HubSpot to actively track sponsorship opportunities and manage all of the many emails that I receive. If you’ve never used a financial tool that communicates intelligently with other third-party platforms, let me be the first to tell you that this is a game changer.
Of course, the utility of something like this is going to depend on what you are actually using those tools for and which tools you are using, but even as someone who’s running a small business like my own, I use a handful of the tools that integrate with Novo. And the fact that they are able to communicate with my business checking account has saved me countless hours and headaches without me even realizing it.
Bucket Savings Tool (Reserves)
One of the other features that I love as an independent contractor is what Novo calls their “Novo Reserves,” which is essentially a bucket savings tool that allows you to set money aside for specific financial goals. In my case, I mostly use this feature to set money aside for taxes because, as an independent contractor, taxes are not automatically withheld from the income that I receive.
So I have a tax bucket, and every time that income comes into my accounts, I automatically take 30% of that and just stick it away in the tax reserves bucket so that when it comes time to make my quarterly tax payments for the local, state, and federal levels, that money is already set aside and I don’t get slapped with some huge tax bill that I wasn’t prepared for.
Currently, you can create up to five different reserve accounts, and while I personally use this for taxes, you could use this for all kinds of different budgets and purposes, and you can instantly move money in and out of these reserve buckets from your main Novo account.
Plus, it looks like they’re going to be adding automatic allocations for these reserves, which I am so excited about because instead of having to make manual transfers after income is received, Novo will automatically take a predetermined amount from your income that you have decided upon and set that aside into your Novo reserves, meaning one side feature is available in the future, you’ll be able to automate a significant portion of this platform.
They also recently announced a new feature called Novo Boost, which allows you to receive your money via Stripe 95% faster than a standard checking account, which usually takes two or more business days, all completely free. They also have a new express ACH feature that gives you the option to send same-day ACH transfers for a fee of 1.5% up to a maximum of $15.
Now, whether or not that is worth it is totally up to you and your situation, but of course, you always have the option to go with the standard delivery method, which is completely free, but if you need to send this payment faster for whatever reason, then at least you now have the option to do it the same day should you need to.
So the business checking account is fairly compelling with those free and easy transfers, no hidden fees across the board, FDSE insurance, countless integrations with other powerful business tools, and a full online checking experience with a sleek and easy-to-use modern mobile app and desktop platform. But being a Nova member also comes with a lot of different perks, and what I mean by that is that they’re actually going to offer you some significant discounts on a number of third-party business tools as well.
Just to name a few examples, you can get up to $20,000 in fee-free card processing with Stripe, which is a cash savings of $500, you can get a 30% discount for the first six months of your QuickBooks online package; and you can even get 30% off of your first-year subscription to HubSpot, which I personally took advantage of, and that saved me hundreds and hundreds of dollars. So I will mention here that Novo does not currently offer any interest rate on your deposits, however, the savings that I have seen from these various Novo perks have equated to significantly more than any amount of interest that I could have possibly earned from this or any other account.
Their App has Better UI And UX
Now, in terms of the app itself and the desktop platform, as I said earlier, it all comes back to that one word, “simple.” On the mobile side of things, the app has a few basic menus, most of which are fully customizable, and you can see the activity and trends of your income and expenses, easily move money and deposit checks, set up those different platform integrations that we talked about earlier, and manage your debit cards right from your smartphone.
The desktop is basically just a bigger version of the mobile app, which I’m actually a huge fan of, because you don’t specifically have to go to the desktop platform to access certain features, as is the case with some other platforms, and you really are able to do everything you could need to do for your business bank account from either the computer or from your smartphone.
Good Customer Support
So what is it specifically that made me stick with Novo despite the fact that I have actually opened a number of other business accounts, but decided to go with Novo for the long term? Well, obviously, it’s that simple and easy-to-understand design that I keep coming back to, and all of the wonderful features that we’ve talked about in this blog post. But it was their customer service that really made the difference for me. Customer service is so important to me, especially when it comes to fully online financial platforms, because you don’t have the ability to walk into a physical bank and actually talk to a real person.
So because of that, being able to talk to a real person on the phone who can actually help you is so crucial in an area where a lot of these modern financial technology companies completely fall short. Not only do you have these standard options, like phone and email support, which is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, but they also have a really great support menu within the application itself, where you can either get simple answers from the Novo bots or you can open a support ticket and talk to a human support agent who can help you with more specific inquiries.
I’ve only ever had to call them a few times for an address change and a business organization change, and both times I only had to wait maybe two minutes, and I was immediately connected with a customer service representative who helped answer my question and got those changes updated on my accounts within a matter of minutes.
And if you’ve ever had to deal with some of the other computer-based support systems, you all know that talking to a real human with these platforms is a true luxury. So please share your thoughts on the Novo business banking platform in the comments section below, as well as which of the many amazing features is your personal favorite.