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Novo Bank Review: Powerfully Simple For Small Businesses & Freelancers 2022

By James LePage
 on March 11, 2022

Novo Bank Review: Powerfully Simple For Small Businesses & Freelancers 2022

By James LePage
 on March 11, 2022

This article will review Novo Bank, a popular offering for digital ventures, entrepreneurs and small businesses alike. What we love about Novo is that their banking app is not just a replica of a traditional banking experience. It has been designed with entrepreneurs and small businesses in mind.

As a digital agency and content company, we've used this bank for the past couple of years as our banking partner. They offer a simple and easy to use platform that is great for small businesses and freelancers. As a digital business, we've interfaced with support, put in feature requests, tested and used almost all the integrations, and paid our employees with this Bank.

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Therefore, you're reading an unbiased review by a company who has truly used this bank.

What Is Novo?

Novo is a digital-only bank that operates in the United States. They offer a suite of powerful tools and services to help entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed online.

Who are they owned by?

Founded in 2016, and based in Miami, Novo is founded by Michael Rangel and Tyler McIntyre, while being backed by some of the biggest American venture capital firms, like Rainfall Ventures.

What's A Neo-Bank?

Novo Bank is classified as a neo-bank. So what is a neo-bank? A neo-bank is a term used for a bank that has been created in the last 10 years and focuses on technology, online banking and digital services. Neo banks partner with traditional brick and mortar banks to offer their customers a modern digital experience.

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In simple terms, it's a new breed of bank that is built for the modern world.

Who is Novo partnered with?

Novo partners with Middlesex Federal Savings, a 100+ year old bank headquartered in Massachusetts. This partnership allows Novo to offer FDIC-insured accounts and other traditional banking products that are backed by Middlesex Federal Savings.

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This partnership is important because it allows Novo to offer their customers the security of a traditional bank without all the fees: they just focus on building a great application for their users.

Novo Features

The bank prides itself for "powerfully simple business banking", and their business checking account is definitely that.

They offer a cross platform banking application that brings the term "mobile banking" to the next level. You can open an account, deposit checks, pay bills and manage your money from anywhere in the United States.

Novo is constantly adding new features and expanding their services. We'll chat about integrations in the next section, but for now, let's look at the core features.

Great Easy Platform Design

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The Novo Mobile App is unreal. The interface is so simple and easy to use. It's by far one of the best-designed banking applications we've ever used.

The app allows you to do everything you need to do with your money without any hassle. You can easily deposit checks, transfer money, pay bills and more from the app. All features are cross platform, accessible in the browser and app.

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Browser Dashboard

Account Overview

The account overview page gives you a snapshot of all your finances in one place. You can see your current account balance, recent transactions and more.

One thing we love about the account overview is that it's designed for small businesses. You can see all of your connected accounts and quickly reconcile them with a few clicks.

Invoicing Tool

The invoicing tool is great for creating and sending professional invoices. You can create an invoice, add your logo and customize the colors to match your brand.

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The invoicing tool

It's completely free and integrated directly with the bank. It's also robust enough to be a legitimate replacement to expensive invoicing software.

Debit Cards

You'll get a physical and virtual card. The physical card is made out of plastic and can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. The virtual card can be used online and in apps like Uber.

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Novo Debit Card

We've used the cards for everything from in-person transactions to online shopping. They work great and we haven't had any issues.

Reserves

Reserves allow you to deposit cash into "storage", which can be set aside for taxes or other capex. This is great for a business owner who needs a simply way to save money for a goal.

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Great Security

The bank takes security seriously and offers a 2-factor authentication, which is a must for any business banking account. They are also FDIC insured, so your money is safe with them.

Outgoing transfers

Transfers out to pay employees or bills are very easy. Bill Pay is also very easy to setup, making it simple to send money out.

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You can also do international transfers, powered by Wise. They charge fees, but all international transfers cost money.

Incoming ACH transfers

This was one of our favorite features. You can easily add customers and have them send you money via ACH. This is great for businesses that invoice their customers or accept payments online.

ACH deposits into your account are free and take 1-2 business days to process.

Free ATMs

ATM access is unlimited, and ATM fees are always refunded. We've experienced this firsthand.

Incredible Customer Service

The support team is on top of things. If you ever need questions answered or support, they are always there to help.

We've had to reach out on a few occasions and each time we were extremely satisfied with the support we received.

To contact Novo customer service, use the live chat widget on the site. They also have an email and phone number, listed on the debit card.

User Management

A new feature, you can add owners and employees to the account. This is great for businesses with multiple owners or employees, or if you want to share access with an accountant.

Novo Integrations

This is the best part of this Novo bank review... the integrations. In our opinion, the vast collection of integrations available to for a business account is seriously what sets the Novo business checking account apart from others.

Digital banking should be integrated with popular tools, and this bank does that perfectly.

Let's run through each category:

Get Payments

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There are direct integrations to Stripe, Square, Shopify, Paypal, Venmo, Wix, and more. They even connect with WooCommerce!

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Here's an example of the Stripe integration, which allows you to see a snapshot of the account directly in the Bank.

Pay People

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Accounting

Direct integrations from Novo Bank to Quickbooks (QBO), Wave and other accounting tools make it incredibly easy to reconcile transactions automatically. In some cases, you'll have no need for an Accountant!

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Invoices

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For many, the Novo Invoicing feature is more than enough!

Budgeting

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Payroll

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Easily run payroll. We connect Novo Bank with Gusto to run ours.

Productivity

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Novo's Zapier connection allows you to integrate with 1000s of apps, and the Slack allows you to get notifications on credits and debits in real time.

Small business owners rejoice!

Special Perks and Rewards

Perks and rewards shouldn't be the deciding factor when choosing a business bank, but they are nice to have.

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Perks include Salesforce discounts, Snapchat and Google Ads credit, $20,000 in Stripe fee free processing, and up to $100,000 in Google Cloud Credits.

Novo Pricing

This online bank is completely fee-free, including the integrations and features mentioned above.

You won't pay transaction fees, monthly fees, wire fees, stop payments, or debit card replacements. There are no hidden fees that we've ever been hit with. That's one of the reason why many businesses, startups, ventures, and entrepreneurs are in love with this company.

The only time you'll be charged a fee is if you use an ATM outside of their network, which is reimbursed.

Applying For A Novo Account

When applying for an account, there's no fee or minimum balance requirements.

A common question we've send is, "Does Novo Bank do credit checks?" The answer is no, they do not.

The application process is simple and straightforward: you just need to provide your business information, like your EIN, business address, and contact information. They won't really look at past performance, as there are no debt instruments associated with this bank, so its perfect for somebody just starting out. You can use a DBA and Social Security Number in lieu of a legal entity. You'll also need to set up a username and password for your account.

Once you're approved, you'll be able to start using your account right away. Again, there's absolutely no monthly fee - but there is a $27 overdraft fee... worth noting.

Novo Compared To Traditional Business Banking

Novo is different than Traditional Business Banking like Chase or Bank of America. They don't have physical branches, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your business needs. They focus on providing an easy to use online platform and mobile app for their customers.

Novo is also different because they don't do things like credit checks or require a minimum balance. This can be great for businesses who are just starting out and don't have the capital to meet those requirements.

A drawback is that you won't have a traditional relationship with a banker, which larger businesses will want. This differs from your typical customer service. Having a banker as a company opens the doors to lines of credit, loans and other financial products.

The primary focus of Novo is their online platform and integrations, and they don't offer the traditional financial products that bigger businesses crave.

You can't build these relationships as there simply are no physical locations. You also won't get a checkbook (physical checks), though you can request that the bank sends a paper check to somebody, or have access to paper statements.

However, they do somewhat make up for these "downfalls". They run many webinars and offer personalized support. For example, during the pandemic, the founder sent an email to customers counseling them on how to apply for PPP loans:

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Conclusion

Novo Bank is a great online bank for small businesses and freelancers.

As a digital-only website development agency, we can definitely say that this bank is a great solution for content creators, bloggers, and other service based companies.

Remote-first companies may also find Novo to be a great solution.

They have many integrations available, are fee-free, and have a simple application process. They're different than traditional business banks in that they don't offer the same financial products or personal banker relationships. However, they make up for this with their personalized support. Overall, we highly recommend Novo Bank for businesses who want an easy to use online platform.

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James LePage
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James LePage is the founder of Isotropic Design, a digital agency that builds WordPress websites. I read, write and design constantly!
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