Is Azlo Bank Safe, and How Does It Work?

FT Contributor  | 

Finding a bank with low to no bank fees can save you hundreds of dollars per year. Many banks charge monthly maintenance fees, ATM withdrawal fees, and very expensive overdraft fees that could cost you more than $30 for every incident.

If you’d like to save money, consider switching to an online bank. Many online-only financial institutions offer free accounts and pay higher interest rates on your savings funds than the traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Online banks don’t have the same overhead of opening and staffing bank branches nationwide, so the operational savings are passed back to you. All you need is a smartphone or computer to handle your online banking from, and you’re good to go.

How Does Azlo Bank Work?

There are plenty of online-only banks offering personal checking and savings accounts. Azlo takes the concept and adapts it to provide online-only business banking. Small businesses and startups willing to give up on paper checks and do all their business banking from the Azlo mobile banking app will save serious money on banking fees — Azlo does not charge any fees at all.

If you’re wondering how Azlo Bank makes money, they claim they earn interest on account funds and earn part of the merchant commission each time a bank customer makes a payment using the Azlo debit card.

Is Azlo a Real Bank?

There may be some doubt or confusion about whether Azlo Bank is real due to the lack of physical bank branches. Azlo Bank is real. It’s a fairly new player in the financial services industry — the bank was founded in 2017 to serve entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners.

Most account features are free, including issuing unlimited payments within the United States and Mexico. All deposits up to $250,000 are covered by the U.S. government’s Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), thanks to Azlo’s partnership with BBVA Bank.

Azlo Bank Financial Services

If you run your own business or do contract work as a freelancer, you’re probably aware of how many fees you have to worry about when you have a business bank account. Check out the services Azlo Bank offers and compare it to your bank:

  • Account minimums: There is no minimum to open an account and no minimum monthly balance required.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None.
  • Overdraft fees: None.
  • Other fees: None. Azlo Bank doesn’t charge fees for any of the services they offer.
  • Type of bank: Online bank. Manage your business accounts through the Azlo Bank mobile app or website.
  • Transaction limits: None.
  • ATMs: Free withdrawals from the Allpoint network’s 55,000 ATMs.
  • Payment methods: Schedule bill pay and Azlo will mail a check to the recipient, by electronic funds transfer (EFT), setting up direct deposits, or paying with the provided Azlo Visa debit card.
  • Deposits: Deposit checks using the mobile app. Deposits are available in one to six days. Your deposits will clear faster after you establish a history with the bank.
  • Domestic and international wires: You can’t currently send wires, but your business can receive domestic and international wire transfers for free.
  • Integrations and compatibility: Link your accounting software from QuickBooks, Wave, or Xero to automatically import and reconcile all your business transactions.
  • Merchant processing: Integrated with Stripe, Square, and Paypal.
  • Other features: Digital invoicing available straight from your account using the mobile app or website.
  • Requirements to open an account: Must be 18 years or older and must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident with a Social Security number. Sole proprietors, limited liability companies, general partnerships, and corporations, are eligible.
  • Prohibited businesses: Gambling, pawn shops, money services, privately owned ATMs, marijuana, precious metals, and cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses.

The Pros and Cons of an Account With Azlo Bank

Weigh the pros and cons of switching to Azlo Bank for your business needs:

Pros

  • No fees of any kind;
  • Unlimited transactions;
  • Free ATM withdrawals at 55,000 ATMs from the Allpoint network;
  • Compatible for credit cards and payments through Square, Stripe, and Paypal;
  • Send or receive payments to and from Mexico and the U.S.;
  • Funds are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC);
  • Works with accounting software services including QuickBooks, Wave, and Xero.

Cons

  • No physical branches;
  • No savings accounts are available;
  • No cash deposits allowed;
  • No paper checks available;
  • Withdrawals are limited to ATMs;
  • All banking must be completed through the mobile app or website.

Is Azlo Right for You?

Deciding if a bank is right for you can sometimes be confusing. Azlo Bank is best for entrepreneurs and small businesses who are comfortable with doing their business banking in a new and modern way. If your business accepts credit and debit card payments using Square or Stripe and you can pay your vendors by using a debit card or sending an EFT, Azlo Bank is designed just for you. You’ll appreciate the ease of banking using the mobile app and the fact that you won’t have to pay any fees whatsoever.

If you run a retail business or startup where cash payments from customers are common, skip Azlo Bank. You won’t be able to make cash deposits since the bank doesn’t have any physical bank branches. Azlo Bank is best for new startups or small businesses that need a basic checking account setup. If your business is making enough money where you may benefit from having an interest-earning checking or savings account, you’ll miss out on the potential interest income other banks pay you on your deposits.


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