Update: Nearside announced in November 2022 that it would no longer be opening new accounts. You should look at alternatives like Novo or Lili, or our list of the best business checking accounts here.
For decades, individuals have had easy access to fee-free checking accounts. But business owners haven’t been so lucky. Typically, business checking accounts come with unreasonably high monthly fees even though the account has no features beyond those on personal accounts.
Nearside Banking is one of the first banks to change that landscape. The company offers fee-free online checking to business owners. Just about anyone is eligible to use these accounts for their business, their rental properties, or a side hustle. Here’s what you need to know about it.
- Fee-free business checking.
- No need to have a specific business tax-id to set up an account.
- Must deposit cash and checks via Allpoint ATMs.
Min Balance Requirement
Up to 2.2%
$40 Bonus On Your First Deposit
What Is Nearside?
Nearside is a fee-free Business Checking account. Nearside is not a bank, but it offers banking services through LendingClub Bank which is a member of the FDIC. The company was founded to democratize business banking, starting with business checking accounts (a notoriously fee-ridden business).
As a recently launched business, Nearside is incentivizing new account holders with a 20% cashback on your first deposit (up to $40) and 2.2% cashback on all debit purchases made in 2022.
What Does It Offer?
Nearside offers a fee-free business checking account for business owners ranging from side hustlers to those with large payrolls. The account is especially useful for small business owners who don’t want to pay high monthly fees to separate their work finances from their home finances.
No Monthly Fees
Unlike most business checking accounts, Nearside charges no monthly fees, and it doesn’t have any account minimums. The fee-free account is ideal for side hustlers and business owners who don’t want to waste money on useless fees.
No Need To Be Incorporated
Sole-proprietors who use their Social Security Number to file their taxes can still set up the Nearside account to accept payments and manage their finances. Nearside even supports sole-proprietors who are using a “doing business as” DBA.
Transfer Money Via Plaid
Nearside uses a third-party integration to link the Nearside account to other accounts. Plaid should support transfers between accounts. During testing, we were unable to initiate transfers from an external account to the Nearside account.
Access To AllPoint ATMs
Business owners can withdraw and deposit cash using Allpoint ATMs. This network has over 50,000 ATMs nationwide, so account holders can feel confident that they can get cash when they need it.
Cashback Rewards Debit Card
The Nearside Debit Card offers cash back rewards on all debit card purchases. Users can regularly earn 1% on all debit purchases, but in 2022, users earn 2.2% cashback.
If you receive checks or cash as payment, you’ll need to deposit them at an Allpoint ATM. Business owners who are used to snapping a picture to deposit funds may balk at this extra step.
Are There Any Fees?
Nearside Bank has no major fees. It does not require a monthly minimum. It charges no monthly fees, and it doesn’t even charge for overdrafts. The only fees a user might incur include an ATM withdrawal fee on ATMs outside of the Allpoint network. Nearside charges the user $1.00 plus it passes on the out-of-network fee to the user.
It also charges a stop payment fee of $25 if you ever need to cancel a payment.
How Does Nearside Compare?
Overall, the fee structure of the Nearside Bank Account is incredible. Earning 2.2% cashback on debit purchases plus having no monthly fees is a huge win for business owners. It’s also useful that business owners can deposit and withdraw cash using the Allpoint network of ATMs.
However, during testing, the app seemed to have a few issues. During the testing period, we weren’t able to successfully transfer money from another account to the Nearside bank account. This could be due to an issue with Nearside’s money transferring partner, Plaid. Nonetheless, it made us nervous that the account could have similar glitches in the future.
Yes, via Refund
How Do I Open An Account?
Opening an account is relatively easy. You will need your name, your business name, a physical address based in the United States, and a Tax ID number (a Social Security Number works). You will also need some form of photo ID.
To open the account, download the Nearside App or navigate to the Nearside Website and choose Apply Now. You’ll create an account using an email address. Once your email address is verified, you can add additional personal details and upload a picture of your photo ID.
At that point, your account is open, and you can begin transferring funds. Nearside will mail a Mastercard Debit Card to you.
Is It Safe And Secure?
Nearside is an internet-only bank that uses mobile forward security. It relies on fintech giant Plaid to facilitate money transfers between accounts which adds an element of security to all transactions.
The account is FDIC insured, so any money lost due to theft or hacking will be recovered. Additionally, Nearside’s precautions include encryption and multi-factor authentication to keep user information safe. Each time a user logs in, they will need to enter the Username and Password and enter a one-time code that is texted to them.
However, Nearside is an online bank, and account holders could have their information stolen. Users need to be comfortable with this risk before using any online bank.
How Do I Contact Nearside?
For basic questions about the product, you can check out Nearside’s online FAQ portal. Account-holders can also ask basic questions to a “virtual assistant” through an in-app chat function. When those options fail, users will need to contact customer service.
The best way to reach this group is via phone at 1-888-516-2369.
Is It Worth It?
Overall, Nearside offers an excellent, low-fee account that is perfect for side hustlers and small business owners. The app has an excellent user interface and made a ton of sense. Added to incentives such as the 20% match on the first deposit (up to $40) and the 2.2% cashback on all debit purchases, it's easy to make a case for this account.
However, the drawback associated with initiating transfers from the account could be a major issue for some users. Calling customer service to resolve an issue isn’t the way many busy business owners prefer to spend their time. Over time, we suspect that this issue will be resolved, but it currently looms as a major detractor from the account.
The other issue at this point is the reliance upon Allpoint ATMs. Business owners who receive cash or checks will have to deposit them through the ATM to see the funds in their accounts. This can add another unnecessary task to a self-employed person’s already busy day.
Cash Back Debit
Up to 2.2%
Debit Card Replacement
None (online-only bank)
50,000 All-Point ATMs
Customer Service Number
Customer Service Hours
Daily 6am - 5pm PST
Mobile App Availability
iOS and Android
Web/Desktop Account Access
32551 (through LendingClub Bank)
Nearside Review: Fee-Free Business Banking
Fees and Charges
Tools and Resources
Products and Services
Ease of Use
Nearside is one of the first online accounts to offer fee-free business banking to side hustlers and business owners.
- 2.2% Cashback on all debit purchases through 2022 (after that 1% back)
- Don’t need a special tax-id number to open an account.
- No monthly fees
- Some issues associated with transferring money.
- Don’t earn interest on deposits.
- Must deposit cash and checks at Allpoint ATMs.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.
Editor: Claire Tak