Typical business banking accounts can be expensive. While they are good options for bigger businesses that can easily afford higher fees, they tend to be inaccessible for freelancers and sole proprietors.
Fortunately, Lili offers free and low-priced business checking accounts for smaller organizations. These accounts provide the opportunity to enjoy perks such as debit card rewards, tax planning tools and earning a high interest rate.
Our Lili review can help you determine if this platform is the right option for your business banking needs.
Lili offers free and premium business checking for independent contractors. Notable benefits include tax optimization, high-yield savings and cash back rewards.
- Free business checking
- Tax planning tools
- Can earn interest
- No web platform
- Potential monthly fee
- Strict funding limits
- Won’t send checks
Table of Contents
- What is Lili?
- How Does Lili Work?
- How Do I Open a Lili Account?
- How Much Does a Lili Account Cost?
- Is Lili Worth It?
- What Does Lili Offer?
- Lili Reviews
- FAQs About Lili
What is Lili?
Lili is a mobile banking app specifically designed for sole proprietors and single-member LLCs. These organizations usually aren’t the core customer for most business checking accounts since many services target small or mid-size businesses.
With Lili, it’s possible to open a free business checking account without any minimum balance requirements. This fee-free bank account makes it easy to integrate with third-party apps, analyze spending and track tax-deductible expenses.
The business banking platform partners with Choice Financial Group Inc., Member FDIC, to offer banking services and up to $250,000 in FDIC Insurance.
How Does Lili Work?
There are several features that can make Lili Banking a great solution for your business.
Deposits and Payments
Determining if you can easily add funds and make withdrawals can be the most important factors when deciding if this service is for you.
Direct deposit, mobile check deposit and connecting to third-party payment apps are the easiest ways to receive money.
You can also deposit cash at over 90,000 retail locations across the United States for an additional fee (up to $5 per deposit).
Enrolling in direct deposit is the easiest way to add funds as it has the highest funding limits. You may also be able to receive your income up to two days early.
To make payments, you have a physical and virtual Visa business debit card. You may also provide your banking details for ACH transfers.
Unfortunately, this banking account doesn’t offer paper checks or wire transfers.
Additionally, the platform won’t mail checks on your behalf if the vendor doesn’t support the debit card or ACH payment methods.
Another concern is not being eligible for a mobile check deposit immediately. Instead, you must receive at least $200 in monthly direct deposits and your account must be open for at least 30 days before you can unlock this feature.
It’s not uncommon for basic business checking accounts to offer little beyond facilitating deposits and payments. Or, if they do have extra services, an expensive fee may apply.
Lili offers several features that can be more beneficial to freelancers who don’t have the budget for expensive accounting software but need help tracking transactions and receiving payments.
Some of the freelancer-friendly perks include:
- Labeling transactions as tax-deductible
- Tax estimation tools
- Storing pictures of receipts
- Earning cash back at participating merchants
- Customizable invoices
Several of these features do require a premium subscription.
While the optional $5 monthly fee is non-waivable, it can be cheaper than many alternatives that can cost at least $15 per month unless you satisfy the monthly deposit and transaction requirements.
Not every online business banking account offers these benefits. As a result, Lili Banking has a positive endorsement from the Freelancers Union.
This organization looks for valuable and cost-effective resources to help freelancers operate in a competitive economy.
Upgrading to Lili Pro costs $5 per month and offers several additional benefits, including rewards and hands-on customization.
Some of the most valuable features include:
- Cash back rewards: Receive cash statement credits at participating merchants
- Emergency savings account: Earn up to 1.5% APY on deposits
- Invoicing tools: Send unlimited invoices and collect any type of payment
- Overdraft protection: Up to $200 on debit card purchases
- Schedule C: Request a pre-filled federal 1040 Schedule C tax form
Pro users and Basic users get to enjoy higher daily spending limits as they can make up to $5,000 in card purchases and $5,000 in ACH withdrawals.
Members can deposit up to $5,000 per check (up to $5,000 per day). Remote check deposit is available after the account is open for 30 days and receives at least $200 in monthly funding.
How Do I Open a Lili Account?
You can join Lili Banking online or download the Android or Apple mobile app. Next, you set up your username, password and provide your business details.
Signing up takes a few minutes, but you can only join as a sole proprietor or single-member LLC. You must also live in the continental United States to apply.
After completing the application, you will access your dashboard and banking features through the Lili mobile app. A web platform will be released in the future for additional accessibility.
The banking app will mail your physical debit card. You can fund your account by setting up direct deposit, linking an external bank account or digital wallet or by depositing cash.
How Much Does a Lili Account Cost?
A Lili Basic account is fee-free, and the Lili Pro account costs $4.99 monthly.
With Lili, small business owners won’t pay these incidental fees:
- ATM transactions at 38,000+ MoneyPass locations across the U.S.
- Overdraft fees
- Account inactivity
- Bill payments (third-party fees may apply)
- Stop payments
However, you may encounter the following fees:
- Non-MoneyPass ATMs: $2.50 per transaction
- Cash deposits: Up to $4.95 (varies by location)
- Card replacement: $5 after the first free replacement
While Lili isn’t entirely fee-free, it’s possible for small business owners to avoid out-of-pocket fees with the free Basic business checking account if they use in-network ATMs.
That said, there are some limitations to how much you can receive on a daily and monthly basis if you intend to transfer money from linked accounts (i.e., PayPal or Venmo) or use mobile check deposits with a Lili checking account.
|Funding Method||Pro and Basic Accounts|
|ACH Inbound (Linked Accounts)||$1,000 per day|
$9,000 per month
Up to 1 transfer per day and 2 per month
|Mobile Check Deposit||$5,000 per check|
$5,000 per day
$50,000 per month
Up to 2 checks per day and 15 checks per month
|Debit Card Funding||$100 per month|
Until mid-2022, free users had lower funding limits but now they have the same as premium members. If you were hesitant to join Lili before, this improvement may change your mind.
This account is best if you receive direct deposits from your clients. Depending on how you receive payment for your services, the funding limits can be a struggle if you have large or multiple transactions.
Is Lili Worth It?
It can be worth using Lili if you want a freelancer checking account. Its tax optimization and mobile banking features make it easy to use and track your activity.
Choosing a Lili Pro account is also worthwhile as you’re able to earn debit card rewards and interest on deposits to your checking account. Additionally, the invoice maker can be helpful.
The most significant limitations include:
- You must bank through a mobile app
- Limited network of fee-free ATMs
- Potentially small funding and spending limits
- Zero local branches
Other services will be better if you anticipate making multiple monthly transfers from linked accounts, such as your PayPal or Venmo account, and routinely depositing checks.
The primary reason for this is that the funding and transaction limits are low for non-direct deposits.
If you need to remote deposit checks, the monthly limit is 15 checks per month. Additionally, it takes five business days for checks to clear.
What Does Lili Offer?
Here are some of the best features available through Lili (although several require a Pro account).
Pro users can open a savings account that earns 1.5% APY. This rate is competitive with high-yield savings accounts and is an easy way to make your business cash more productive.
Basic members can also set aside savings into an Emergency Bucket. While this Lili account doesn’t earn interest, it separates your reserves from your spending balance. This can make budgeting easier.
Both accounts require depositing at least $1 per day. This deposit frequency may seem unusual, but it can help instill positive money behaviors.
Lili Pro users can access the BalanceUp overdraft protection feature on excess debit card purchases. New users start with a $20 limit that can go as high as $200.
If you overdraft on an eligible transaction, Lili deducts the cash shortfall from your next deposit to restore your balance. You have 30 days to make the account current, and interest won’t accrue while your bank account is in the negative.
In addition to being a Lili Pro member, you must receive at least $500 in monthly direct deposits to use this perk.
Frequent account activity also helps increase your overdraft protection limit.
While free users can’t access BalanceUp, it’s not possible to overdraft your bank account since you can’t write checks. This is because the payment processor declines the debit card purchase if there are insufficient funds.
Cash Back Rewards
Cash back rewards are available to Pro users who shop at participating merchants with their Visa Business Debit Card associated with their checking account. The offers are available through the Visa SavingsEdge program.
You can find shopping rewards offers for these purchases:
- Automobile parts and supplies
- Business software and services
- Gas stations
- Magazines and newspapers
- Office stores
- Shipping and postage
- Tax software
After enrolling in the program, you can search for selected brands and swipe your Lili Visa business debit card to earn cash rewards.
Unlike most programs, small business owners don’t have to activate the offer before completing the purchase to receive credit.
Unfortunately, free users won’t earn shopping rewards like they can with cash back apps.
Being able to send invoices directly from the Lili app is convenient and makes business banking easier. Available to Pro members only, this tool lets you send unlimited invoices from your email or a third-party service.
The app lets you create customizable invoices that can include your business name, logo and bank account details.
It’s possible to receive payment in nearly any fashion by integrating with Stripe. You can connect three payment apps to deposit the proceeds from paid invoices.
Your customer’s payment options can include:
- Debit or credit card (using Stripe)
- Bank transfer (using Stripe)
- Cash App
A client can also mail a paper check or pay with cash. However, depositing your funds with these options can require more effort.
Along with tracking their invoice history in the mobile app, business owners can download PDF copies as needed.
The Lili banking experience revolves around the Android or Apple mobile app that’s relatively easy to use. For now, you can only access your bank account by phone or tablet using the app.
Some of the notable app capabilities include:
- Categorizing expenses
- Contactless payments
- Monitoring balances in your checking account or savings account
- Finding cash deposit locations (90,000+ nationwide)
- Linking payment apps
- Making invoices
- Mobile check deposit
- Pushing notifications for transactions
- Quarterly and annual expense reports
The app also makes it easy to retrieve your bank account number and routing number details if you need those to request payment or pay a bill.
Furthermore, integrating with several third-party services enhances the mobile banking experience.
All users have access to the tax tools that can make it easier to prepare your tax return.
The tax optimizer features include:
- Expense Reports: Quarterly and annual expense reports by category
- Receipt Scanner: Take pictures of receipts before they fade, tear or get lost
- Tax Bucket: Set aside a percentage of your income for estimated taxes
- Write-off tracker: Designate expenses as personal, business or both
This service won’t automatically send payments to the IRS or local tax departments if you pay estimated taxes during the calendar year.
However, you can use your Tax Bucket balance to make contributions mid-year or at filing time by providing your banking details.
As a loyalty bonus, Pro members can request a premade Schedule C and have in-depth expense categorization tax tools for more accurate reporting.
Many people like Lili for its simplicity, tax planning tools and lack of fees. However, businesses handling large transactions will need to use a bank with more flexibility.
This is how Lili stacks up on the different rating websites:
|Website||Rating||Number of Reviews|
|Apple App Store||4.7 out of 5||5.4K|
|Trustpilot||4.7 out of 5||838|
|Google Play||4.5 out of 5||9.81K|
|Better Business Bureau||1.57 out of 5||7|
Here are some Lili review excerpts from customers:
“Great app for banking, both personal and business. You can categorize EVERY transaction, it even reminds you to sort them. There’s a free version & a paid one. I have only tried the free one.” — Livvy S.
“It’s ok. Nothing awful but nothing extraordinary either. I have a Pro account, the BalanceUp and the life/work feature are nice. Mostly no hidden fees, but I will say, you guys gotta get more ATMs in rural areas. Pretty smooth other than that.” — David K.
“This bank account is awesome for the small business owner. It takes all the guessing and any extra work at all related to keeping track of cash flow, receipts and expenses that are tax write-offs at the end of the year.” — Brainstorm83
“Good starter for business but may not stay because (I) need multiple accounts and the ability to create them within the app. A bill pay checking system needed as well for easy payment of things like utilities and rent.” — Anon
FAQs About Lili
Do you still have questions about Lili? These answers might be able to help you determine if it’s the right solution for your business banking needs.
Is Lili safe?
Yes. While Lili isn’t a bank, all accounts are eligible for up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance through its partner bank, Choice Financial Group.
Additionally, the platform encrypts your data. Plus, you can activate Touch ID and facial recognition to secure your bank account.
How can I contact Lili customer service?
Phone support is available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Monday to Friday.
It’s also possible to send an email for non-urgent matters or visit the online help center for solutions to commonly asked questions.
Is Lili legit?
Yes. Lili Banking offers legit business checking accounts for independent contractors and single-member LLCs. You can access banking essentials to receive payments and pay expenses while making it easier to track business deductions.
However, businesses that normally deposit checks and cash will find the funding limitations frustrating as the platform emphasizes direct deposit.
Additionally, no brick-and-mortar branch access and limited bill pay capabilities will make some entrepreneurs hesitant to use the platform.
Lili can be an excellent option if you primarily receive your payments through direct deposit and don’t need to send checks to pay bills.
Its tax optimizer tools are also valuable for single member LLCs and freelancers. Plus, it’s easy to distinguish business deductions from personal spending.
While you must upgrade to Pro to access the best features, the $5 monthly fee is reasonable and can be worth it for the high-yield savings and cashback rewards.