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Mercury vs. Novo: Which fintech is right for you?

These accounts are free, but neither accepts cash deposits, offers APY on savings or has a customer phone number.

Mercury and Novo are both no-fee digital business banking options with unlimited transactions, free incoming wire transfers and various software integrations. Side by side, Mercury has an edge over Novo, but it’s not by much. Neither fintech supports cash deposits, and you won’t earn interest on your checking or savings balance.

Mercury
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Novo Business
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Finder score 4.4★★★★★ 4.2★★★★★
Fee $0 per month $0 per month
Annual Percentage Yield (APY) N/A N/A
Minimum deposit to open $0 $0
Monthly transaction limit Unlimited Unlimited
Domestic Wires Incoming: $0
Outgoing: $0
Incoming: $0
Outgoing: N/A
Software integrations Compatible with external merchant services such as Amazon, PayPal, Stripe, Shopify and Square, and can sync with Quickbooks, NetSuite and Xero. Amazon, PayPal, Shopify, Square, Stripe and more
Branches Online only Online only
Currencies supported Buy and sell in USD and 20+ other currencies 50+ currencies through integration with Wise

Mercury vs. Novo: Product offerings

Novo and Mercury are not banks — they’re fintech companies. Novo’s banking partner is Middlesex Federal Savings, FA Member FDIC, and it offers the typical amount of $250,000 in FDIC deposit insurance. Mercury offers much more FDIC insurance with its network of partner banks, offering staggeringly high deposit coverage of $5 million. If a bank or fintech offers higher-than-normal FDIC coverage, it’s typically around $2 million, making Mercury’s $5 million in coverage easily among the highest we’ve seen.

Business checking

Mercury and Novo have no-fee business checking accounts designed for small businesses and startups. With either account, you don’t have to deal with annoying opening deposit requirements, overdraft fees or balance requirements. If you need a free business checking account, either will get you what you’re looking for.

Novo has just one plan with no fees and accepts a wide variety of business types, including sole proprietorships, LLCs, partnerships, corporations and non-profits. It offers up to $7 in monthly out-of-network ATM reimbursements and the ability to create and send unlimited customizable invoices. It accepts all wire transfers for free, and its international wires are through its Wise integration. However, you can’t send domestic wire transfers.

Mercury also accepts most US business types and companies and was founded to create affordable business banking for startups. It also has digital tools through API integrations and automated mass payments, and you can add team members for crew access. A huge standout perk with Mercury is that all wire transfers are free in and out — domestically and internationally. Mercury offers four plans in total, but its Core plan is completely free. Plus costs $35 per month, and Pro is $350 per month. Its other plan Enterprise appears to have the same perks as Pro, with a few features just saying “Contact us,” leading us to believe it’s a customizable plan for large businesses.

Novo and Mercury are often featured among the best business checking accounts thanks to their lack of fees and accessibility. However, when it comes to savings, both fintechs fall short. Neither offers APY on savings or checking balances. A savings account that doesn’t earn anything is effectively useless, aside from sitting in an account with FDIC insurance. On top of that, Novo and Mercury don’t have a cash deposit method. While it’s common for digital accounts not to accept cash deposits, fintechs that support it often partner with Green Dot to make it happen.

Financing and lines of credit

Mercury offers business financing options, including a corporate credit card that offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases and virtual cards for your team. However, getting the card requires a minimum $25,000 cash balance. Mercury also offers venture debt, a type of term loan designed for startups and comes with support from a relationship manager. With the loan, you can withdraw funds within the interest-only repayment period of 18 months, and it offers repayment terms of up to 48 months. Exact amounts and APRs aren’t listed, so contact Mercury to learn more.

Novo offers financing as well, with merchant cash advances up to $75,000 with factor rates as low as 1.5%, and Novo has plans to release a rewards credit card later this year.

Transactions and transfers

With Mercury or Novo, you don’t have to worry about excessive transaction fees because you get unlimited transactions. Both fintechs also accept all incoming wire transfers with no fees. Mercury is the better option for wire transfers since you can send and receive all domestic and international USD wire transfers for free.

With Novo, you can’t send domestic wires, and Novo encourages its free ACH transfers instead. You can send international wires through its Wise integration. Novo offers Express ACH for quicker ACH transfers and Novo Boost, which increases Stripe payment speeds by up to 95%. Novo’s Express ACH costs 1.5% of the amount, with a minimum of $0.50 and a maximum of $20.

Additional features

Mercury states it accepts payments from many merchant payment services, including Amazon, PayPal, Stripe, Shopify, Square and more. It doesn’t offer its own invoicing services, but you can sync the account with Quickbooks, NetSuite, Slack and Xero. Mercury offers bill payment services, but you only get five per month with the Core plan. For more, you’ll have to upgrade to Plus, Pro or Enterprise. While you won’t get checkwriting privileges directly, Mercury can write and send checks to vendors on your behalf.

Novo doesn’t list all its software integrations but states that it accepts over 15, including Amazon, PayPal, Shopify, Square and Stripe. Novo doesn’t list a limit or any monthly allowances on bill pay, but we do know that you can send checks to vendors at no cost. Novo also offers a service called Novo Payroll that’s integrated with your Novo checking account to send payroll to employees and contractors with automatic tax calculations and automatically generate W2 and 1099 forms. However, Novo Payroll doesn’t offer direct integration with accounting or HR software.

How Mercury’s and Novo’s fees compare

Mercury and Novo’s basic plans don’t have monthly maintenance fees or require opening deposits. And since each has unlimited transactions, there are no excessive transaction fees.

Mercury doesn’t charge ATM fees, and sending and receiving wire transfers is free. If you want some more perks, such as higher bill pay allowances, you can upgrade to Mercury Plus, Pro or Enterprise. However, pricing can get steep, with the highest monthly fee listed at least $350 per month.

Novo offers up to $7 in out-of-network ATM reimbursements, and there are no fees for stop payments, overdrafts, returned items, debit card replacements, bill payments, check payments or paper statement fees.

What customers say about Novo and Mercury

Mercury and Novo aren’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as of June 2024. Mercury has an A+ rating with the organization, and Novo has a C rating. Mercury also has significantly fewer complaints than Novo, with Mercury only receiving 30 complaints in the last few years compared to Novo’s 150.

These digital banking options don’t have any physical locations, which can make support tricky and frustrating for customers. BBB grievances for Mercury and Novo are rather typical for fintechs, with most complaints revolving around deposits taking too long to clear, frozen accounts or attempts to get refunds on fraudulent charges.

As expected, a common complaint against Novo on Reddit is the struggle to contact a real person. Novo doesn’t have a customer phone line. For Mercury, most Reddotirs are pleased with their account, but a common complaint is that checks take longer than the advertised time, often taking weeks to clear. And Mercury also doesn’t have a customer support phone number.

Final verdict: Which one’s better?

Novo and Mercury are pretty neck-in-neck in offerings. Both offer no-fee business checking, business financing, free incoming wires and unlimited transactions. But at the end of the day, Mercury has a few more perks.

For starters, Mercury has a credit card; Novo’s is still in the works. Mercury’s credit card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, too. And with Mercury, you’ll get free incoming and outgoing wires in USD, whereas Novo can’t send domestic wires at all, which is normally a standard feature on all other checking accounts — even personal ones.

Comparing the fintechs’ financing options is apples and oranges. Novo has its merchant cash advances. However, those are considered the “payday loans” of business financing, so they’re hard to recommend, but the factor rates start low. Mercury offers venture debt, but APRs and exact amounts aren’t advertised.

Neither Novo nor Mercury offers any APY on their savings account, which frankly stinks, considering an APY is really the only difference between checking and savings accounts. Look to any other business savings account to find one worth your time and money. On top of that, Mercury and Novo can’t accept cash deposits, and neither has a customer phone line.

Mercury at a glance

Mercury offers a free plan, no-fee wire transfers and a cashback credit card. But your savings balance won’t earn anything, and there’s no customer phone line.

Pros

  • Free Core plan
  • Free incoming and outgoing wires
  • No ATM fees
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Multiple software integrations
  • Cashback credit card
  • Up to $5 million in FDIC coverage

Cons

  • No physical branches
  • No customer phone line
  • No cash deposits
  • No APY on savings

Novo at a glance

Novo is free, just like Mercury’s Core plan. However, you can’t send domestic wires or deposit cash, and its savings doesn’t earn any interest.

Pros

  • $0 monthly fee
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Merchant cash advances
  • Free check mailing
  • $7 in monthly ATM reimbursements
  • Free incoming wires

Cons

  • No physical branches
  • No cash deposits
  • No APY or rewards cards
  • No outgoing domestic wires

Alternatives to Mercury and Novo

Mercury and Novo have their perks, but the lack of phone support, inability to deposit cash and no APY on savings might be deal breakers.

  • Bluevine. A top-tier free business checking account, Bluevine accepts cash deposits at Green Dot locations and select Allpoint ATMs, and it has a customer phone line. Its savings can also earn up to 4.25% APY, depending on your plan.
  • Chase. If you want in-person support, Chase is worth considering. It’s the largest bank in the US and has over 4,700 branch locations. You can choose among many personal and business accounts, including the Chase Business Complete Banking® account, which features unlimited electronic transactions and unlimited debit cards for employees.
  • Found. If you still want a digital account, there’s also Found, designed for freelancers and the self-employed. Its digital account has customizable invoice creation and no monthly fees, and you’ll get expense and income reports. And unlike Novo or Mercury, you can earn interest on your savings if you upgrade to a paid plan.

See how even more bank accounts stack up:

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To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Holly Jennings as part of our fact-checking process.
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Editor, Banking

Bethany Hickey is the banking editor and personal finance expert at Finder, specializing in banking, lending, insurance, and crypto. Bethany’s expertise in personal finance has garnered recognition from esteemed media outlets, such as Nasdaq, MSN, Yahoo Finance, GOBankingRates, SuperMoney, AOL and Newsweek. Her articles offer practical financial strategies to Americans, empowering them to make decisions that meet their financial goals. Her past work includes articles on generational spending and saving habits, lending, budgeting and managing debt. Before joining Finder, she was a content manager where she wrote hundreds of articles and news pieces on auto financing and credit repair for CarsDirect, Auto Credit Express and The Car Connection, among others. Bethany holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan-Flint, and was poetry editor for the university’s Qua Literary and Fine Arts Magazine. See full bio

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