Navy Federal business account review: The ultimate guide

Wise
05.29.19
8 minute read

Navy Federal is a credit union based in Virginia. It’s now the largest credit union in the world and provides many of the same services as conventional banks. Membership is open to all serving and retired service personnel, as well as some civilian contractors. Family members are also eligible. Navy Federal serves its eight million members through a network of over 330 branches, including a number overseas and on military bases. In 2019, Navy Federal’s assets totaled over $100 billion.

Navy Federal offers its members a range of business services. These include checking and savings accounts, loans, and credit cards. It also has more specialized services such as payroll management and products to help with automation. Navy Federal business account requirements may vary, depending on eligibility criteria and where you’re located. It’s important to check the current situation when considering starting an account.¹ ²

In this article, we’ll tell you about the business accounts offered by Navy Federal, as well as how to apply for one. We’ll also include details of the features and fees that may apply. On top of that, we’ll also cover an alternative option, the TravelWise borderless business account, so you can see whether it may be a better choice for your needs.

Navy Federal business checking accounts

Business owners and entrepreneurs are likely to want a dedicated business account to handle their everyday cash flow and company finance needs. Taking out a Navy Federal small business checking account will help you keep your personal finances separate from your business income and expenses. This makes accounting and record-keeping a whole lot easier. Navy Federal offers several different checking accounts, so you can easily find the one that may fit your needs best.

The accounts you can choose from are:

  • Business Checking
  • Business Plus Checking
  • Premium Business Checking

We’ll give you more information on these checking accounts, including the features they offer and the fees and charges you need to know about, in just a moment.

Other specialty Navy Federal accounts

Navy Federal also offers some specialized accounts for businesses and organizations with specific needs, plus the ability to purchase savings certificates. The range of savings accounts includes:³

  • Money Market Savings — pays you dividends every day, with a minimum balance requirement of $2,500 to trigger this
  • Jumbo Money Market Savings — pays a higher dividend on balances above $100,000; retirement account with no set term
  • Certificates — minimum purchase of $100; maturity between three months and seven years

How to choose the best account for your business

How to choose the best account for your business

When you’re deciding which business checking account is best for your needs, you’ll want to compare the options available to see which one suits you most. The first thing to do is to check your eligibility. Since Navy Federal membership is open only to serving and veteran service personnel, plus certain civilian contractors, it’s important to make sure you’re in an accepted category.

Navy Federal offers several business checking options, so spend a little time comparing the fees and limits that each one applies. Different businesses will have different requirements, so what’s great for one may not be as good for another. As an example, the number of transactions included free each month will vary. Since beyond that, you’ll pay a fee per transaction, it’s best to pick the right account in the first place.

Monthly maintenance fees, which Navy Federal calls “monthly service fees,” may be waived if you meet certain requirements. Check to see whether keeping a certain monthly credit balance may trigger this waiver. If so, and if you feel your business is likely to achieve it, this could save you a useful sum each month. You may also get some transaction fees waived if you choose to handle them electronically rather than on paper.

Since this credit union offers a range of business accounts, it’s important to look at each one closely before you pick one. Compare the fees and features that each account offers, and see whether any specialized features could help your business. Navy Federal accounts pay a small dividend each month — in some cases, this could increase if you keep a higher balance. You may also need to choose particular accounts if you need the flexibility of a large number of signers.

International transactions can be a big extra source of costs. It’s easy to overlook this, but if you often do business with partners outside the US, the bills can add up. With most conventional banks, there are two reasons for these extra costs. First, banks usually add a markup to the exchange rate, instead of using the mid-market rate. Second, there’s often a fee to pay on top of this. If your company does a lot of business outside the US, this can really hit you in the pocketbook.

Because of this, you may want to check out some modern alternatives, such as the Wise business borderless account. This alternative to a standard bank will let you manage your funds in multiple currencies, and there’s just one low fee to pay. You’ll get the mid-market exchange rate, so you won’t need to worry about markup. There’s no minimum balance or monthly maintenance fee. You’ll even get local bank details for the US, the UK, the euro area, Australia, and New Zealand.

Wise offers you an easy, low-cost way of sending money abroad. To help you decide whether it’s for you, here’s a table showing how Wise compares to the Navy Federal small business account.

Navy Federal⁴ Wise⁵
Monthly service fee Between $0 and $20, depending on the account type None
Minimum monthly balance to avoid service fee $5,000 for Premium Business Checking No monthly fee
Transaction charges Free for electronic transactions, but non-electronic transactions above a set limit will attract a fee. The limit depends on which account you have. International outgoing wire — $25. Receiving funds in US, Australian, or New Zealand dollars, euros, or pounds sterling — free.Fixed fee to withdraw and send money in the same currency. Wise uses local payment networks for the majority of their international payments. This means there are no expensive international wire fees. Sending USD1000 to a euro account within the eurozone would cost 6,86 at the time of writing this article.

What do I need to open a business account with Navy Federal?

To open a Navy Federal business checking account, you’ll need to have Business Membership of the credit union. This means that you’ll first need to be an individual member, with an account in good standing. You’ll also have to deposit $100 in the business account at the time of opening.

You can find an application form on the Navy Federal website, and you’ll need to complete that before going any further. Then, to open a business account you can call Navy Federal on 1-877-418-1462 or drop into a local branch. Make sure you check the documentation you’ll need to provide for your business, as this will vary depending on whether you run a sole proprietorship, an LLC, a corporation, etc. If you’re a sole proprietor, you’ll need your Business License and Tax Identification Number. If it’s relevant to your business, you’ll also need to provide a Fictitious Name Certificate or Certificate of Assumed Name.⁶

Navy Federal business account fees

With some Navy Federal checking accounts, you’ll need to pay a maintenance fee each month. This will get you a limited number of non-electronic transactions as part of the package, with no further charge. Beyond those limits, you’ll need to pay a fee for each additional transaction. The maintenance fee may be waived if you maintain a certain average monthly balance on your account.

Fee or limit type Navy Federal business account costs⁴
Included monthly transactions Unlimited electronic; 30 to 100 non-electronic, depending on the account type
Currency deposit fee None, at Navy Federal and CO-OP ATMs only
Monthly maintenance fee $0 to $20, depending on the account type
Minimum average monthly balance for waiving maintenance fee $5,000 for Premium Business Checking

Breakdown of Navy Federal business accounts

We’re now going to give a bit more detail about each Navy Federal small business checking account on offer, to help you compare the options available to you.⁴ ⁷

Business Checking

This account is designed for smaller businesses with simpler needs and offers a 0.05% dividend rate — though remember that this figure may change after you open your account. A nice feature is that there’s no monthly maintenance fee. You also get unlimited electronic transactions, as with the other checking accounts in the credit union’s range, but there’s a tight limit on non-electronic transactions before fees kick in. You’re also restricted to just two signers.

Fee or limit type Navy Federal business account costs
Included monthly transactions Unlimited electronic; 30 non-electronic, 25 cents per transaction over this limit
Currency deposit fee None, at Navy Federal and CO-OP ATMs only
Monthly maintenance fee No fee
Minimum average daily balance for waiving maintenance fee Not applicable

Business Plus Checking

Aimed at slightly bigger companies, Navy Federal’s Business Plus Checking account gives you a higher transaction limit, plus unlimited signers. As with the Business Checking account, the dividend rate was 0.05% when we checked. There’s a monthly maintenance fee to pay unless you maintain a specific average balance.

Fee or limit type Navy Federal Business Plus Checking
Included monthly transactions Unlimited electronic; 50 non-electronic, 25 cents per transaction over this limit
Currency deposit fee None, at Navy Federal and CO-OP ATMs only
Monthly maintenance fee $8
Minimum average daily balance for waiving maintenance fee Not applicable

Premium Business Checking

This account is designed for businesses with larger needs, as well as those who want to earn a higher dividend on their credit balances over $1,500. When we checked, the figure was between 0.35% and 0.45%, depending on your balance. Again, though, remember that this can sometimes change. This account also allows you unlimited signers, but the monthly maintenance fee is higher than for Business Checking Plus.

Fee or limit type Navy Federal Premium Business Checking
Included monthly transactions Unlimited electronic; 100 non-electronic, 25 cents per transaction over this limit
Currency deposit fee None, at Navy Federal and CO-OP ATMs only
Monthly maintenance fee $20
Minimum average daily balance for waiving maintenance fee $5,000

It’ll really help you if you remember to look at a wide range of options for your business banking needs. Keeping your options open and comparing them on fees and features may lead you to an account that you hadn’t originally thought of, but which is perfect for your business.

Wise multi-currency account for business

An alternative to consider — Wise multi-currency account for business

One alternative to a traditional bank account is the Wise borderless business account. This is made for business owners and offers a range of features to make your life easier. You can hold funds in over 40 currencies all over the world, and when you send and receive money you’ll get to use the mid-market rate — no markup, and no international transaction fees either. Using Xero, you can integrate your Wise account for extra ease of use, plus you can cut down on unnecessary admin with batch payments. You’ll also get access to the Wise API, helping you handle payments and workflow with less stress. With the drudgery taken away, you’ll have more time and money to concentrate on making your business great. You can also create and send your invoices by using our downloadable free invoice templates, and use our balance sheet template, income statement template, cash flow statement template or an independent contractor agreement template.

It’s really important to pick the right business account, so make sure you have as much information as possible before you make your choice. You can look at both conventional accounts like the Navy Federal small business account range, and newer options like those Wise offers. Taking a little time to compare these products in terms of cost, convenience, and features is likely to be well worth it, as you’ll find it much easier to see which one is right for your business.


Sources:

  1. https://www.navyfederal.org/pdf/publications/fact-sheet.pdf 20 May 2019
  2. https://www.navyfederal.org/resources/articles/personal-finance/are-you-eligible-to-join-navy-federal.php 23 May 2019
  3. https://www.pnc.com/en/small-business/banking/business-checking-overview/treasury-enterprise-plan.html 23 May 2019
  4. https://www.navyfederal.org/pdf/ebrochures/1284B.pdf 22 May 2019
  5. https://wise.com/us/business/pricing-and-coverage 28 May 2019
  6. https://www.navyfederal.org/products-services/business-services/membership.php 22 May 2019
  7. https://www.navyfederal.org/products-services/business-services/checking-savings.php 23 May

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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