The Novo Business Banking Review: Safety, Card, Checking, App, and Fees (Updated 2023)
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Novo offers one of the all-around best online checking accounts for small businesses in the United States. Highly recommended by Monito's experts, Novo offers the best and lowest fee schedule we've seen yet from an online business account. Its platform seamlessly connects your checking account with your favorite apps and marketplaces — from Stripe to Amazon to Quickbooks. Trusted by over 175,000 small business owners across the country, Novo's banking services are provided by Middlesex Federal Savings F.A., a member of the FDIC.
What Monito Likes About Novo
- Account sponsored by FDIC-member bank;
- Can apply online in as little as ten minutes;
- No monthly or hidden fees and no minimum deposit;
- Send and track free and unlimited invoices;
- Free incoming and outgoing ACH payments;
- No fees for both incoming domestic and international wire payments;
- Refunds at all out-of-network ATMs (even internationally);
- Library of thousands of easy-to-connect apps;
- Multi-user access allowed;
- Able to increase check deposit and cash withdrawal limit for free;
- Integrated with Wise for wires and with Stripe for instant payouts.
What Monito Dislikes About Novo
- Does not initiate outgoing wire transfers;
- Insufficient funds charge of $27;
- No APY on account balances;
- Does not provide physical check books;
- Does not provide business loans;
- Does not issue lines of credit;
- Not yet integrated with Zelle.
Free Business Checking Account With Novo
With no hidden fees and the lowest fee schedule we have seen, Novo's business checking seamlessly connects you with free transfers, ATM refunds, marketplaces, and payment systems to streamline your finances.
How Monito Reviewed Novo's Services
As with all services reviewed by Monito, Novo underwent a rigorous evaluation to assess the quality of its service. To begin with, our experts analysed several key criteria, including customer reviews, the percentage cost of various transaction types, top-up options, access to customer service, as well as business and legal metrics such as revenue, appropriate authorisation, and company size. As with all Monito Scores, this Novo review was peer-reviewed by at least one Monito expert.
Monito's reviews are trusted by 100,000+ readers every month.
We don't merely research. We probe and verify every statement.
Our recommendations are always unbiased and independent.
We only recommend what we'd recommend to our friends and families too.
Is Novo Legit?
Yes, Novo is an independent financial technology that offers you legit and safe business checking accounts. As a digital platform, Novo does not operate in physical branches. Instead, it uses its software to connect you with checking accounts that can manage your small business's invoices, taxes, and revenues.
To ensure your money is safe, Novo's checking accounts are sponsored by an actual FDIC-insured bank: Middlesex Federal Savings (MFS), a community bank located just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. The reason why it is important for your money to be stored with an FDIC-insured bank is that in the event of the insolvency of Novo, clients will be able to claim funds from their segregated account. Claims will be paid above all other creditors.
Your Novo debit card is EMV chip-protected and accepted worldwide. All card transactions are processed by the Mastercard network and are protected by Mastercard rules.
Is Novo a Bank?
No, Novo is not a bank nor is it owned or operated by a bank. Novo is an independent tech company that designs US business checking accounts with easy-to-use tools for small business owners. They partner with Middlesex Federal Savings F.A., a member of the FDIC, to provide the actual bank account and bank services.
Novo's Service Quality
Novo is one of the leading online checking accounts for small businesses in the United States, and for good reason. In this section, we learn about its domestic and international transfers, Stripe integration, automated savings tool, debit card, and much more.
Novo Business Checking
Unlike a traditional big bank, you can easily open up a business account from your computer in minutes on Novo's website (as long as you have a social security number and a business registered in the United States).
Once approved, you will access a business checking account with no minimum deposit and no hidden fees. This is a big reason why we highly recommend Novo. No matter where you are, never second-guess yourself when making transactions or moving cash around with your business checking account.
Invoicing Your Customers With Novo
Many online business bank accounts offer tiered membership and only offer unlimited invoices if clients upgrade to paid plans. Novo, on the other hand, offers just one checking account for all clients and allows you to send unlimited invoices to your customers free of charge.
Novo's software allows you to write and send customizable and professional invoices too. It tracks the 'Pending' and 'Paid' status of each invoice. Novo is a verified partner of Stripe, but you can also integrate your account with other payment systems like Square or PayPal. Novo also accepts ACH and check payments, both of which are free of transaction fees.
Novo Reserves and Novo Boost
Novo Reserves and Novo Boost are two user-friendly software tools that make your life a little easier and make Novo more useful than a standard checking account.
Novo Reserves allow you to manage up to 10 budgets for large business expenses like taxes and payroll. You can automatically allocate revenue into your selected Reserve. Reserves are best used to manage and organize your cash. Unfortunately, Novo does not offer APY payments on your savings. If you want to invest your cash into a savings account or non-cash assets, then you may want to find professional wealth management.
Novo Boost allows you to get paid faster at no additional cost. This feature is useful for businesses with high inventory turnover and who want to access revenue quickly. Novo Boost is currently only available for payments processed by Stripe. As a verified partner of Stripe, Novo will even show your live Stripe balance directly on the app.
Novo App Integrations
Novo works with Plaid to connect your account to thousands of other apps. What makes Novo unique, though, is its 15+ native integrations. These app partners worked directly with Novo to integrate their apps into the Novo interface.
Practically, this means that you can centralize your cash flow. Instead of jumping from Stripe to Square to Shopify to track your sales, view all of your balances in just one place. A few of the most well-known native Novo integrations include Stripe, Amazon, Etsy, Square, Shopify, Slack, Wise, eBay, Xero, and Quickbooks.
Novo Mobile App Review
Overall, Novo stands out for its fully-featured and user-friendly mobile and desktop application:
Novo App Advantages
- Supports virtual debit cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay;
- Instant payment notifications;
- Secured with two-factor authentification
- Centralized 15+ native app integrations;
- Deposits checks by photo;
- Integrates with Wise for cheap international transfers.
Novo App Disadvantages
- Current balance does not always update live;
- No live chat support;
- No API access for external parties.
Novo's Fees and Exchange Rates
Is Novo Worth It?
We think that Novo is a no-brainer when it comes to fees for online business checking accounts. You have only one transparent fee to watch out for: a $27 fee for issuing a transaction that exceeds your current balance. In other words, Novo does not provide overdraft protection.
Otherwise, Novo's fee schedule is free of hidden fees. In addition to no monthly maintenance fee, you will enjoy these unlimited services for no charge:
- ACH transfers,
- Incoming domestic and international wires,
- International card transactions,
- Send and track invoices;
- Check deposits,
- Domestic and ATM withdrawals.
Novo Fees vs Bluevine Fees
Let's look at Bluevine in contrast. Bluevine is another excellent online business checking account that offers an attractive 2% APY (as of November 2022) and issues lines of credit. However, Bluevine comes with some minor but tedious terms and conditions.
For example, you only get that 2% APY if you either spend $500 with the debit card or receive $2,500 in your account per month. Bluevine's great Bill Pay feature will incur a 2.9% fee if it is done by Credit Card transaction. Bluevine charges out-of-network ATM withdrawals and their accounts are subject to monthly deposit and withdrawal amount limits.
While we like Bluevine's excellent APY and line of credit features, Novo's services come with no limits, conditions, or fees. Since this provides small business owners with a real ease of mind, we highly recommend Novo for its very low fee schedule.
Novo vs Bluevine
See how Novo compares to Bluevine in terms of fees, features, and reviews.
US Bank Transfer Fee
$2.50 out of network
Currency Transfer Fee
Integrates with Wise
Int'l Card Transaction Fee
Free Debit Card
3.9/5 (1.6K Reviews)
4.4/5 (6.8K Reviews)
Email, FAQ, Blog
Email, FAQ, in-app
|Go to Novo ❯||See More|
Novo Debit Card Fees
You will get instant access to the Novo Mastercard by virtual card on the smartphone app. Card delivery to your address, and even card replacement delivery, is free of charge.
The Novo card charges zero international card transaction fees on both ATM withdrawals and point-of-sale transactions. This means the Mastercard exchange rate (which you can monitor here) will be applied to your purchases, with no FX markup by Novo. Novo will even refund you for any and all ATM fees incurred domestically and abroad — an incredible perk.
Novo allows multiple users to access the same business account. Novo only allows for one card per user, but you can request to add another user and issue them a separate debit card. Be aware that the new user will have full account owner privileges, including transfer and fund withdraw capabilities.
Novo Foreign Currency Exchange Rates
Novo's platform has native integration with the well-known international money transfer service Wise, formerly known as Transferwise. Rather than hop to the Wise app on your desktop or smartphone, you can send cheap international money transfers directly from your Novo balance on the Novo interface.
Instead, they charge a commission fee (i.e. a percentage of the transfer amount). Common currency corridors, such as British pounds to Euros, will be very cheap. More obscure pairings, such as the Turkish Lira to Brazilian Real, will incur a higher commission fee.
For example, for transfers from 1,000 British pounds to Euros, you'll pay a fee of around £4.28 (a 0.4% commission). In the reverse, for 1,000 Euros to British pounds, you will pay a fee of around €5.14 (a 0.5% commission). When sending 20,000 Turkish Lira to Brazilian Euros, you'll be charged around ₺388 (a 1.9% commission fee).
Wise money transfer fees were calculated on 25 November 2022 at 1200 CEST.
Compare Novo & Wise exchange rates to cheap international money transfer services:
Novo has mixed reviews on Trustpilot with a satisfaction score of 3.9/5. Over 1,580 people have left reviews there with 24% being 1-star reviews. Novo's reviews on the Apple App store are much stronger, with 12,300 total reviews averaging 4.8/5 stars. For support email them at email@example.com or call their support phone number on the back of your Novo debit card.
We provide a summary of pros and cons below:
Positive Novo Reviews
- No hidden fees offer ease of mind;
- Lots of integrations and always improving;
- All app features conveniently in one place;
Negative Novo Reviews
- No live chat and inactive customer support;
- Slow to process account closing requests;
- Balances and transfer statuses are slow to update.
Novo at a Glance
Where Novo is located and other facts about Novo small business checking:
FDIC-insured through Middlesex Federal Savings, F.A.
User-friendly and integrates with many online apps
No hidden fees and among the lowest cost US business accounts
Good reviews overall by clients across the US.
Miami, FL; New York, NY
Banking Innovation Award (2021 Digital Banking Awards)
✅ Fun Fact
Novo has employees working in NYC, Miami, Boston, Portland, and cities across India
Frequently Asked Questions About Novo
Is Novo a real bank?
Novo is a fintech, not a bank. Banking services provided by Middlesex Federal Savings F.A.; Member FDIC.
Is Novo a good bank?
We recommend Novo as a digital business banking platform, but it is not a real bank. Novo is a fintech. Banking services provided by Middlesex Federal Savings F.A.; Member FDIC.
What bank does Novo use?
Novo uses Middlesex Federal Savings F.A., a member of the FDIC, to power its business checking accounts.
Does Novo have checks?
Novo deposits checks with its app for free, but it does not issue physical paper checks.
Does Novo offer credit cards?
No, Novo does not offer credit cards or lines of credit.
Is Novo closing?
No. In fact, Novo is expanding its customer base and processing more accounts daily.
How do I contact Novo by phone?
Novo does not disclose its phone number publicly for privacy reasons. If you are a Novo customer, then you can reach them by their support number located on the back of the Novo debit card.
How do I transfer money to Novo?
Go to the 'Move Money' tab and scroll to the 'Add Money' section. Select either 'Transfer funds to Novo' from a bank account or 'Deposit a Check.'
How long does Novo take to deposit money?
ACH transfers typically take between 1 and 3 days to process. Novo has an Express ACH feature, which enables you to initiate same-day or next-day ACH transfers for a small fee.
Sources Used in This Review
Novo is a fintech, not a bank. Banking services provided by Middlesex Federal Savings F.A.; Member FDIC.