- No minimum balance
- Live customer service (no robots)
- No hidden fees
- Bank-level security
- ATM fee reimbursement
- Simple transfers
- Simple application process
- FDIC insurance
- Ease of access (banking at your fingertips)
- Integration with other small business tools
No more waiting for the bank to open; with this Novo bank review, you’ll see just how Novo puts convenience at your fingertips.
The digital age is shifting the way we bank, and Novo is taking full advantage. With most inquiries (credit card apps, loan apps, etc.) requiring a physical presence, it’s no secret digital banking has become a refreshing alternative.
That is why Novo began: so consumers can have complete control of their money and bills.
Bank Novo is a good fit for entrepreneurs looking to manage their web business with little upfront obligation. If you’re in a freelance position, self-employed or small business owner, Bank Novo is an excellent option for a couple of reasons: low fees, ease of access worldwide, thousands of dollars in exclusive perks and reimbursement on those annoying ATM charges.
About Bank Novo
It all started with a vision. Bank Novo’s founder Michael Rangel was working on his Master’s degree when he saw an opportunity to change the way entrepreneurs and freelancers managed their money.
In the ever-changing world of banking, business owners must be able to manage their finances without jumping through multiple hoops. So, Rangel sought help from a friend, now co-founder of Bank Novo Tyler McIntyre, to launch his new business.
Bank Novo started as an invite-only platform, but a few years later became one of the most talked-about online platforms for business starters nationwide.
Rangel credits most of his success to his dedication to simplifying banking for small business owners.
He found the market of online banking neglectful of the needs of freelancers and entrepreneurs. With this in mind, Rangel developed an online bank on these three pillars to set his bank apart: targeting an underserved audience, delivering a new product, and creating a customer-geared business model.
Novo founders also believe the finance world is pretty slow to develop tools for consumers to manage their finances and small business in one place.
Bank Novo introduces a fresh way of ‘background banking,’ which Rangel and McIntyre believe will mark history as the new way of banking.
Pros and Cons
We know that no bank is perfect, so we’ve outlined some of the main pros and cons for you to consider below.
- Set up your account in minutes
- Thousands of dollars in exclusive perks (Stripe, Google Cloud, Booking, Gusto, Quickbooks)
- Send, track, and get paid for invoices all through the app
- Manage multiple budgets with Novo Reserve
- Transfer funds to Novo with no minimum deposit
- Instantly deposit checks for free
- Unlimited free transfers in the U.S.
- Various integration tools for small businesses
- EMV chip protected debit card
- Cards accepted worldwide
- Refunded ATM fees
- Checking accounts only
- Zero-interest paid on checking balance
- No cash deposits
- Insufficient funds (overdraft) fee
- Can’t service certain businesses related to gambling, cryptocurrency, cbd, or money service
- $50 initially required to open an account (although there’s no monthly minimum after the account is open)
- $27 insufficient funds fee
- $27 uncollected funds return fee
How to Apply for a Bank Novo Account
All you need to get started on your new Bank Novo account is a registered business email and a strong password. Once you’ve verified your email, phone number, and social security, you’re free to set up your new Bank Novo account.
You’ll start by entering some basic information about your business, including its DBA, website domain, and company address. Next, you’ll need to verify your identity by uploading an unexpired driver’s license or passport.
Once you’ve gathered and entered all required information, the review team handles your application while pending approval. Due to an increase in Bank Novo applications, the turnaround time is slightly longer than anticipated. As such, the bank advises users to be patient with the review team.
If your application is approved, you’re free to take advantage of all Bank Novo has to offer, including bank deposits, transfers, and budgeting.
Bank Novo Accounts
Bank Novo currently offers just one type of account for entrepreneurs, which is a business checking account. They don’t provide any personal checking accounts either, as all accounts with Bank Novo are associated with some U.S. business.
Business Checking Account (free)
Your new business checking account will include multiple incentives to continue banking with Novo, including:
- Personalized Mastercard with your business name printed on the back for all debit/credit card purchases– worldwide!
- Access to a wide range of ATMs with fees tallied at the end of the month and credited back to your account
- FDIC insurance up to $250,000 per user
- Email alerts for paid invoices and all transactions
- Free and easy transfers
- Accessible travel notices for going abroad
After paying the initial $50 opening fee, users are free to use their business checking account how they see fit; it even comes with a ton of free perks, including:
- $20,000 in fee-free processing with Stripe
- 6% cashback on all trips booked with your Novo debit card on Booking.com
- $3000 in Google Cloud credits
- Free Gusto package for three months
- 40% discount for six months on any Quickbooks service
- 30% discount on HubSpot
- Exclusive access and $50,000 in credit on Segment
- Six months free of Zendesk
- $100 in Google Ads credit
- $150 in Snapchat Ads credit
- 30% discount on all new GoDaddy purchases
- One month free of Homebase Plus
All of these incentives and perks make this digital-only bank a stellar choice for freelancers and entrepreneurs looking to manage their online business for little out-of-pocket cost.
Bank Novo is also a good choice for business owners because you get the secure insurance of a bank, combined with state-of-the-art tools for small businesses.
Further, a business checking account might be a good option for marketing affiliates looking to expand their reach by partnering with websites such as Shopify. This allows users to manage their sales, marketing, and budget all in one place.
How to Add Funds to Your Bank Novo Account
There are several ways to add funds to your Bank Novo account, including:
- ACH transfers by linking Novo to your U.S. bank account
- Linking Novo to your digital wallet like Venmo
- Electronic bank transfers sent through your institution
- Mobile check deposits in the app
Bank Novo currently doesn’t offer ATM cash deposits.
Linking to an External Bank
Bank Novo makes it pretty easy to link your U.S. bank account to your Bank Novo account.
Users click the ‘Link Account’ button on the Novo dashboard and then search for your bank in the search bar, which will bring you to a login page. Simply enter your bank login information to link automatically. After that, you’ll get a message in the Novo app confirming the link was successful.
After linking, users have the freedom to move money into their Novo account from their domestic bank account. Users also can set up their direct deposit with Nova and receive payment directly in the app.
Additionally, Novo offers ACH transfers to external parties, given you have the payee’s account and routing number. These transfers typically take 2-3 business days to complete and will need to be initiated manually, as Novo doesn’t currently offer recurring payments.
Linking to Third Parties
Users also have the option to link their Bank Novo account to a third-party wallet such as PayPal or Venmo. You’ll need to start this process through the third-party app you’re using and then link to Novo.
By linking your Novo account to a third-party wallet, users can move money through their digital wallet into their Novo bank for easy access.
Novo Bank currently offers mobile deposits via check.
To do this, users will need to navigate to their Novo app (the webpage doesn’t currently support check deposits) and select ‘Move Money.’
Next, select ‘Deposit a Check,’ and from here, users can deposit their paper check into their account seamlessly. Checks require an additional three business days for processing and clearance.
The check deposit limit per day is $20,000, and the check deposit limit per month is $40,000. Still, Novo is happy to increase this limit to cater to your individual business needs.
The app is pretty straightforward and gives you a good overview of where your money is going.
When the app first launches, you arrive at the dashboard, where users will see in bolded numbers at the top a quick view of their available balance. Beneath this feature is a smaller bolded text showing you how much money is there overall (if you have transactions pending).
Below this feature is a running total of the current month’s money in and money out. This part is perfect if you want to know how much money was spent this month on supplies, inventory, payroll, etc.
The Bank Novo app also makes the dashboard completely customizable. So, freelancers can add widgets to their dashboard that is the most personable to their business.
Another great feature the app has is daily inspirational quotes to keep you motivated.
Users have also praised the app’s ‘activity’ tab, which gives users a comprehensive breakdown of all your account transactions, including income and spending records.
Next to this tab is the ‘move money’ tab, allowing users to move money throughout their accounts. This feature includes making payments, transferring funds to Novo, depositing checks, tracking invoices, and setting money aside to reserve.
The ‘account’ tab allows users to review their debit card preferences as well as peek at their account and routing number.
And the last tab offered in the Novo app is the ‘support’ tab so users can contact a live team of professionals to assist with their needs.
Budgeting with Novo
There’s a pretty neat tool Novo offers called Novo Reserves which allows users to set money aside in the app for different things. This tool is great for budgeting and setting goals for your business.
This feature isn’t a separate account from your business checking account; it simply allocates those funds to a new place within your Novo account.
Once you set up reserves in the app, you’ll be able to keep track of three different balances all from your dash: your allocated balance (for budgeting), your spendable balance (money not being reserved), and your available balance; which is a grand total of both your allocated and spendable balance.
Novo charges $27 if you overdraft your account, but they make it relatively simple to see when your balance runs low. They include account balance alerts and what they call their smaller-items-first policy.
By implementing the smaller-items-first policy, Novo tailors your expenses to pay for the smallest items first. This way, users won’t be charged multiple overdrafts fees.
Although Novo tries its best to prevent users from incurring overdraft charges, the bank will still add the fee if there is an overdraft on your account.
Is My Money Safe?
Bank Novo is a proud extension of Middlesex Federal Savings, F.A. to secure all user deposits up to $250,000. What does this mean? If Bank Novo ever becomes compromised in any way, your funds are held in an FDIC-insured bank and can be removed at any time if you choose.
Your debit card is also FDIC-insured, so users don’t need to worry if their money is secure.
Out of over 700 reviewers, this digital-only bank has received an average 4.2 out of a 5-star rating on Trustpilot. Most users praise Novo for its low-cost startup, live customer service, and ATM fee reimbursement.
Customers enjoy Novo over other online banks because the minimum fee to open an account is only $50. In contrast, other banks require a much higher minimum to open a checking account.
And although users praise the simplicity of the app and the platform, the consensus wishes there were more options to open more accounts. With Novo being an extension of an already established bank, they only offer one type of account, and that’s their business checking account.
Novo also falls short of offering other things that some online banks currently offer, including a savings account, loans, and money wires.
It’s always wise to look at the competition before choosing a digital bank. Here are three other options to compare.
Axos, a once brick-and-mortar financial institution, launched its exclusive online banking platform in 2000 to better serve the nation switching to digital banks. They offer many resources and tools to their users: like multiple types of checking accounts, savings, and C.D.s.
Axos is another FDIC-insured platform taking their digital bank to the next level by offering their customers mortgage, personal, and auto loans.
If you’re freelancing or looking to start an online business, you’ll need a business checking account to keep all of your finances in order.
We think Bank Novo is a good choice for those looking to do one of the two because there’s little cost to get started; we know how important it is for new business owners to cut out-of-pocket costs.
And with all the incentives to keep your account open, including the small business tools catered just for you, it’s no surprise Bank Novo is one of the top-selected mobile banks on the market.