- Free online signup
- No monthly fees
- No minimum balance
- Early paycheck
- Cashback and exclusive discounts
- Instant transfers
If you’re looking for a digital business bank account, you’re in luck as there’s plenty of choice on the market. Today, we’re having a look at NorthOne, an independent digital bank from New York that’s looking to shake up things a bit.
But is NorthOne the ideal choice for your business needs? Let’s see what this relative newcomer to the online banking scene has to offer. We cover it all from accessibility to functionality, availability to the positives of picking this particular platform. Read on to find out more and discover if NorthOne might be the right fit for you.
But first, here’s our short verdict:
Small businesses and freelancers that need an inexpensive no-frills bank account with the ability to connect to select accounting, e-commerce, and payments integrations have a solid choice in NorthOne. And, the best thing is, you can have an account in minutes.
NorthOne is marketed as a ‘better bank account for your business,’ and that’s sort of what the platform delivers. The fintech company was founded in 2016 by Eytan Bensoussan and Justin Adler but launched only in 2019.
NorthOne is trying to fill a gap in the market for high-quality, digital and app-based banking for businesses. Convenience, practicality, and additional business-focused features are the key when it comes to making this business banking service stand out from the crowd.
The company partnered with The Bancorp Bank to offer banking services and FDIC deposit protection as NorthOne doesn’t have a banking license.
Why is NorthOne so special?
NorthOne is one of the latest contenders to grapple with online banking for customers in the US. They provide FDIC-insured business bank accounts entirely through your smartphone.
The platform is designed for modern businesses with modern needs. You do everything else through your smartphone, so why not your bank account too?
NorthOne provides all you’d expect from an online bank account. Debit cards with secure payments, ATM withdrawals, deposits, and even mobile checks are included as standard for only $10 per month.
While these are all staples for every kind of online banking, NorthOne has diversified its services specifically for small businesses, freelancers, and startups. That means allowing for multiple company cards, team banking, and more from one convenient location.
It also offers businesses a way to halve their bookkeeping costs by streamlining the process and connecting with a whole host of common small business platforms such as QuickBooks and Wave.
Pros and cons
- Easy to open an account
- Almost no fees
- Unlimited envelopes
- Unlimited app integrations
- FDIC insured
- Create and send unlimited invoices
For freelancers and small businesses in the US, NorthOne is certainly a promising-looking option. Integration with popular accounting and reporting tools is a highly valuable resource when tax season rolls around, especially for businesses without the means or size for dedicated accounting.
For only $10 per month, you get all other services for free. If that’s not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.
- $50 minimum first deposit
- No international wires
- No savings interest rate
For very small businesses and freelancers, this platform may not have as many benefits as it would for a slightly larger company – where transaction tracking and regular reports are needed to stay on top of more substantial budgets.
That slight bias towards larger small businesses and teams is reflected in the features that NorthOne offers. Cashflow insights, agile banking, team-based budgeting, multiple cards, and more are valuable to small businesses and startups.
Still, they may not be essential for a single freelancer, where it may be more cost-effective to pay per transaction than for the account itself. But $10 per month isn’t that much anyway.
It’s also worth noting that the company has had a few negative reviews online regarding the quality of its customer service. As well as cases of accounts being closed or becoming inaccessible with money in them.
Though these do not appear to be in the majority by any means, it’s worth looking at customer feedback before committing to any specific online banking service.
- $10 monthly maintenance fee
- $15 per domestic wire payment
- No in-network ATM fees
- First deposit of $50+
- $4.95 per Green Dot cash deposit
Where is NorthOne available?
Currently, NorthOne is specifically available in the United States – something stated up-front on their platform. The business cards that are used for the platform are Mastercard, issued by The Bancorp Bank.
While NorthOne currently has a Toronto office – and was even initially Canada-based – there’s no information yet about the service becoming available to Canadian small businesses, freelancers, or startups.
This is likely due to the more rigorous regulations and requirements of setting up any fintech company in Canada.
How to open a NorthOne account?
As with any modern online bank account, NorthOne is designed to complete your full sign-up process through your smartphone screen. You can download the NorthOne app via Google Play or App Store, and from there, you’ll be walked through an easy and practical sign-up process. You can also do it through their website.
As with any digital bank, you’ll need to provide a few details. As a business banking app, that means details about your business or freelancing information:
- A valid ID
- Mobile phone number
- Social Security Number
- Employment Insurance Number
- Both home and business address
- and all the other basics for thorough identification
Once you’ve pressed the submit button, NorthOne then goes on to review your details and approve your account. Their advertised time from submission to approval is three minutes, though this, of course, can vary according to a range of different factors.
Once your account is live, all you need to do is get yourself set up as you usually would. You can deposit money via any of the approved methods such as ACH, wire, mobile check, or even cash deposit at Green Dot locations nationwide.
The latter one is also the most expensive at $4.95 per cash deposit.
Create sub-accounts or Envelopes as they’re called, define rules, and get your integrations going to save much-needed money and time. Once you complete the setup, the whole of NorthOne is available to you to use as much as you’d like without limitations.
Mastercard’s debit cards are an excellent benefit for startups and small businesses, allowing you to make transactions in thousands of locations across America – and even during travel – without the need to jump through hoops.
Likewise, the ability to make quick and easy payments and quickly create team banking accounts can be a massive benefit to the average business looking to streamline and simplify often time-consuming and complicated processes when implemented with traditional banking.
Once the card arrives, you’ll have to activate the debit card by calling NorthOne’s automated system at 1 (866) 331-3085 and following the activation instructions.
The NorthOne Mastercard can be locked and unlocked from the app if you suspect that you’ve lost it. And, of course, you can make payments and transactions in-store or online everywhere where Mastercard is accepted.
With your NorthOne account, you also have come unlimited sub-accounts or Envelopes. You can set them up easily and make a budget for taxes, payroll, rent, upcoming big purchases, etc. there are limitless possibilities.
To budget on autopilot, you can set up custom rules by percentage or amount. Both determine the sum of money that’ll be funneled to Envelopes.
The percentage set up will transfer money based on a portion of your incoming payments, and the amount set up can be adjusted for daily, weekly, or monthly transfers.
All in all, Envelopes are a good system to organize your account.
Every capable digital bank account will offer numerous software integrations, and NorthOne is arguably offering the most.
You can integrate:
- Accounting tools: QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Wave
- E-commerce platforms: Shopify and Etsy
- Payment processing platforms: PayPal, Venmo, Square, and Stripe
- Expense tracking platform Expensify
With accounting integrations, you’ll automate your bookkeeping and won’t have to manually match transactions. By integrating payment processors or e-commerce platforms, you’ll deposit your earnings on autopilot and even see order numbers and invoices.
If you’re already using Expensify, you can continue using it to link transactions to receipts by simply taking photos of receipts.
Who owns NorthOne?
NorthOne was founded in 2016 by Eytan Bensoussan and Justin Adler. Its headquarters are in New York, with offices in Portland, San Francisco, and Toronto.
The company raised more than $23 million from 4 rounds of funding. The last round, in March 2020, brought in €21 million.
NorthOne has 8 investors, including Battery Ventures, Conconi Growth Partners, Tom Williams, Heron Rock Fund, Hedgewood, Ferst Capital Partner – FCP, Peter Graham, and others.
How is NorthOne regulated?
NorthOne isn’t a bank but a fintech company specializing in combined banking experiences. Consequently, they have partnered with The Bancorp Bank to provide banking services and issue the NorthOne business Mastercard.
As the banking provider, The Bancorp Bank is the official bank of record, so other services may not display NorthOne.
Is my money safe with NorthOne?
Although NorthOne isn’t a bank, their partner that provides actual banking services, The Bancorp Bank, is a bank and is a member of the FDIC deposit insurance scheme.
What does all this mean for you and your money? It means that your deposits are insured up to $250,000, and you would get compensated up to that amount if NorthOne were to go insolvent or even bankrupt.
NorthOne has a 3.7-star rating out of 5 on Trustpilot from 60ish reviews, with 60% of reviewers giving it an excellent mark and 30% a bad one. With a score of 3.7 stars, NorthOne is worse than Novo (4.1), Brex (4.7), and Mercury (4.4), but better than lili (2.3).
There are some negative reviews online that are related to the quality of its customer service. As well as cases of accounts being closed or becoming inaccessible with money in them.
Both of these issues are nothing new for digital banks as they struggle to hire more people for customer service as they expand in customer numbers. Challenger banks also have to comply with anti-terrorism and money laundering laws that mandate them to verify the identity of every customer and scrutinize their transactions leading to some accounts being frozen or even closed and money held for an inappropriate amount of time.
There are several, typical ways to contact NorthOne support; by email at email@example.com, phone on 1 (833) 222-1802, and via live chat through the app or website.
Brex is a popular choice for many small businesses that offers increased flexibility and services that other business accounts and credit lines can’t. Brex is marketed as an ‘All-in-one finance for your business’ with free and premium accounts and no fees.
Novo Bank is a no-frills business bank account that offers access to various banking tools to help you run your business. There are no monthly fees with endless software integrations, similar to NorthOne.
lili is a business account for freelancers and small businesses. It has zero account fees, no fees for foreign transactions or overdrafts, and no initial deposit requirement. You can take advantage of simple and straightforward tools like a tax bucket, expense management, and expense reports.
The bottom line
If you’re a small business, a startup, or a freelancer based in the United States and you need high-level reporting on your income and expenses, NorthOne is a viable option for you.
With many great features to reduce time and improve the banking process, a lot is going for this platform and it will only set you back $10 per month. Everything else is free of charge and makes NoerthOne a viable option.