With freelance workers on the rise, and so much business being conducted virtually, the traditional model of business bank accounts is changing. Lili offers a solution tailored to freelancers and small business owners, with low costs and easy-to-use tools.
If you’re considering a bank with freelancer-specific options and standard accounting features, Lili may be a good fit for you. Keep reading for details on Lili that can help you determine if it’s the best bank for you.
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What is Lili?
Founded in November 2018, Lili is a New York City-based fintech company that focuses on banking services for freelancers. The service was originally focused on checking accounts only but has expanded to offer a wide variety of services and is now an all-purpose mobile bank.
By focusing on only the most important elements of digital banking for freelancers, Lili is able to keep costs low and create better experiences on what they offer.
Who is Lili best for?
Lili offers business bank accounts, and not personal bank accounts, to freelancers, contractors, online businesses, and small retailers. To sign up, you must have one of the following business entity types formed:
- Sole proprietorship
- Single-member LLC
- Multi-member LLC
- General partnership
- Limited Liability Partnership
Corporations cannot use Lili for their banking, but other business types can. The majority of Lili’s customer base are freelancers and small businesses who are looking for a low-cost banking option that still allows them to complete the basic financial and accounting tasks they need. There is also a special appeal to those with fluctuating incomes, like seasonal workers.
Small business owners who want to sort expenses, save for taxes, and make minimal cash deposits are typically satisfied with Lili’s services. Lili only offers a single business debit card, so businesses that need more may not be the best fit.
Lili is also an entirely mobile banking platform, so it is important that any users are able to use the mobile application or website and do not expect to go to physical branches.
- Designed specifically for freelancers and contractors’ needs.
- No monthly fees or transaction fees.
- No ATM fees when used at a MoneyPass ATM.
- Cash deposits can be done for a fee via the Green Dot network.
- Includes tools for expense tracking and tax planning.
- An early payment option allows funds to be released up to two business days earlier than other accounts.
- Mobile app and website make use easy.
- Options for invoice creation.
- Connected checking and savings accounts.
- Competitive interest rates for savings accounts.
- Offers a Visa debit card.
- Fee-free overdrafts.
- Most functionality is available with a free account.
- Out-of-network ATMs have fees.
- No physical branches.
- Cash deposits are limited per day and per month, with service fees for each deposit.
- No checkbooks or wire transfers.
- Only one business debit card is available, known as a Lili card.
- Cannot create joint accounts.
- Will need to pay for a number of features.
Notable features of Lili
The majority of Lili’s features are available to all users, whether they have a free account or a premium account. Those who choose to upgrade will also enjoy premium features that enhance the experience.
Lili Basic Features
- No-fee and low-cost banking: One of the biggest reasons freelancers choose Lili is the low cost of banking with the institution. There are no monthly fees, transaction fees, or hidden fees associated with maintaining a Lili bank account and no minimum opening deposit.
- Though Lili does not have their own ATMs, any MoneyPass ATM can be used for no fee. There is also no charge for returned items, stop payments, or incidental fees at stores. Lili also does not charge any foreign exchange rate adjustment fee.
- While there are fees for cash deposits, they are $4.95, which is lower than many others. Using an out-of-network ATM will cost $2.50 domestically and $5 internationally. Otherwise, no fees should be charged.
- Fast direct deposits: Lil offers account holders the ability to get select funds up to two days earlier than they would with a traditional bank. This applies to direct deposits, ACH transfers, and transfers from any Cash App account linked to Lili. For business owners, this quick access to funds can make business operations smoother and avoid problems.
- Expense management tools: The Lili app includes a number of features that help with the general financial services of a small company, including extensive abilities to track and manage expenses. Each expense can be individually tagged as either a personal or work category, and you can adjust the automated merchant categorization. You can also add receipts to each transaction.
- This tracking offers dynamic reporting to analyze your own spending, as well as an easy way to separate out business expenses when tax time comes.
- Users can also open an Emergency Bucket where a fixed amount is set aside daily as an expense. This is then available as an emergency fund.
- Tax planning: Each time you get paid, Lili allows you to automatically set aside a predefined percentage of funds using a Tax Bucket feature. The tool includes a tax estimator to help determine how much you should save each time, and users can also manually add and remove money from the tax buckets.
- Visa business debit card: Within two weeks of opening an account, each business owner will receive a Visa debit card tied to their account. There is also a virtual card that can be used before the card arrives, and it can be linked to Venmo, Cash App, Google Pay, and Apply Pay.
- Easy-to-use mobile application: The majority of Lili users manage their finances from the mobile application, which is available on Google Play and Apple stores for users. All aspects of the account, including reporting and transfers, are available in a mobile format for busy entrepreneurs. Additionally, there is a web interface that can be used from a computer.
- Extensive network of ATMs: While Lili does not have its own branches, it is connected to MoneyPass ATMs. Any withdrawal at one of the 40,000 MoneyPass ATMs across the United States will have no fee.
Lili Pro Account Features
- Overdraft protection: Lili offers a program called BalanceUp for Pro users with at least $500 in qualifying monthly deposits. When this condition is met, up to $200 in overdraft protection is automatically available on debit card purchases. While this needs to be resolved within 30 days, it offers a safety net for users who are stuck with a necessary purchase.
- Unlimited invoicing: Lili Pro users can manage invoicing from their application as well. The tool allows users to create, send, and organize invoices and accept all methods of payment through the mobile application.
- Savings account with competitive APY: In addition to their business checking account, Lili Pro users can also open a savings account for their business. This includes a 2% APY, which is competitive among business savings accounts.
- Advanced tax optimization: Along with tax planning, Lili Pro also offers tax tools to help proactively optimize tax returns. This includes a real-time tracker for tax write-offs that automatically convert to tax savings. Lili can also generate Schedule C forms for a business automatically.
Check out our roundup of the Best Small Business Checking Accounts
How much does Lili cost?
One of the biggest benefits to Lili for small businesses and freelancers is that many of the features are available at no cost.
A Lili Basic package has $0 in monthly fees attached to it.
For users who want to upgrade to Lili Pro, the cost is $9 per month. The company also offers a 30-day free trial.
Lili has very few fees associated with its mobile banking app. Cash deposits incur a $4.95 fee, and out-of-network ATM fees vary, but usually range around $5.
How is Lili’s customer support?
During the week, Lili offers both phone and email support from 9 A.M. to 7 p.m. Eastern time, with high reviews from customers who have worked with them. However, there is no phone support available over the weekend, and users will have to rely on email: [email protected].
There is also a Help Center available on the mobile application.
Lili is a fintech company that works with the Bank of Choice Financial Group. Bank of Choice Financial Group is FDIC-insured, which gives Lili all the protection of a traditional bank.
Yes, Lili offers a basic package with many services for free, including no-fee banking, tax planning software, and expense management. Businesses can also pay $9 for Lili Pro to access advanced features.
Lili offers only business bank accounts, not personal ones. These accounts are designed for freelancers and small businesses. To open an account, you must have one of the following: sole proprietorship, LLC (single or multi-member), general or limited liability partnership, and S-corp.
Lili offers both checking and savings accounts for businesses, though the latter is only available with a paid Premium account. Lili does not have credit cards or lending options at this time.