- Unlimited transactions
- Up to 50 Mastercard credit cards
- Team collaboration
- Supports several businesses
- Free account
- Not available for personal use
- U.S. only
In order to operate effectively, businesses need to pay certain expenses, such as taxes, deliveries, and traveling costs. Unfortunately, traditional banks may take a while to process payments – not to mention that red tape makes banking a nightmare. Relay Financial is an online banking platform that aims to make your money management as easy as possible by helping you keep track of cash flow from all sources in one place. It also aids in day-to-day administration by categorizing all your expenses and incomes, and collaborating with your team members and financial advisors is straightforward. On top of that, the service helps you manage the finances of every business you own. All this comes for free with Relay Standard. But if you’re looking for that bit extra, then Relay Financial’s paid subscription comes with additional features for an even more seamless banking experience. Although Relay Financial lacks a few financial tools, such as payroll management, it allows you to integrate third-party services that make banking even more convenient.
Relay Financial offers an alternative for businesses to see through their operations’ cash flow. Companies tend to use multiple bank accounts – often with different banks – to have better transparency over where their money goes and comes from. This is problematic because it usually backfires; instead of making cash flow more transparent, the process becomes much harder to follow. Fortunately, with Relay Financial you get a single bank account with sub checking accounts that are created for specific purposes, helping you manage all your funds in one place. You get one physical business card for your account, and every additional debit card – up to 50 – can be either physical or virtual.
Your Relay Financial account is protected on all fronts so you can go about your business with confidence. It’s insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Relay Financial can freeze your account at a moment’s notice when needed. Additionally, anyone who gets hold of your credentials will have a hard time signing in to your account, as the platform supports two-factor and biometrics authentication – the latter is extra handy when you use Relay Financial’s mobile app.
A minor drawback is that you have to operate your business in the U.S. to use Relay Financial, and you need an external bank to fund your account initially. On the bright side, Relay Financial can link all U.S. bank accounts in one place.
Relay Financial’s most crucial feature is that it lets you manage up to 20 checking accounts simultaneously, allowing you to earmark funds for different activities. These no-fee checking accounts are all within a single business account, and Relay Financial lets you decide which team members get access to each one. If you prefer to keep checking account details on your computer, it takes a matter of seconds to export this information in PDF, CSV, or OFX format. It’s worth mentioning that Relay Financial only operates with online checkbooks.
While it’s possible to use Relay Financial as your primary business banking account, you still have to fund it after signing up. Unfortunately, you need an external banking account for that, but the good news is that Relay Financial supports all U.S. banks, including local ones and credit unions. After you link your bank, you simply hit the ‘Add Money’ button in the upper right corner and transfer the money. Transferring funds is free and goes to the checking account you choose. Keep in mind that the external bank may still charge transfer fees, which Relay Financial has no control over.
It’s ideal to take advantage of the numerous checking accounts to monitor your spending activity. Accidents happen, though, and somebody may place money in a different checking account than intended. Fortunately, this minor misstep is easy to correct since funds are transferrable between checking accounts.
Daily collaboration is vital to keep everyone on the same page, especially when money is at stake. The good news is that Relay Financial allows you to share your business account with team members, who then get their personal Relay Financial debit cards. As the account owner, you also have full control of who can access what. For example, if you want John to only manage gas expenses, you assign him to the gas costs checking account. John then gets a physical or virtual Mastercard, which he can use to pay for gas.
Running various business ventures is also easier with a Relay Financial account – there’s no need to manage separate bank accounts and numerous business cards. Let’s say you start as a sole proprietor but then form an LLC later while keeping your original business too. Relay Financial offers you a way to manage all businesses with one banking account and business card.
Your account is accessible through Relay Financial’s website and comes with an online interface that shows every bit of detail you may ask for, including your funds and the checking account they’re assigned to. There’s no desktop application but managing everything on the website is a cakewalk. The online interface is mobile-optimized, and Relay Financial also offers a dedicated mobile app, compatible with both Android and iOS. You don’t need your physical debit card as the app lets you pay through your phone via your virtual Mastercard.
While Relay Financial is perfect to monitor cash flows, it still has to rely on external help to address a few other areas. When it comes to bookkeeping, Relay Financial integrates with the well-known services Xero and QuickBooks. The software automatically imports unpaid bills and lets you schedule payments, which can be made via ACH, wire, or check. Everything is also automatically synced, making sure that both platforms always have the latest information.
‘But what about payroll?’ you might ask. In this case, Relay Financial works with Gusto to offer a detailed view of your payroll transaction data, such as payroll cycle and debit type. The best part is that the banking service notifies you when your account lacks the funds to cover an upcoming salary payment, making sure you avoid any payroll shortfalls. Finally, Relay Financial takes advantage of Plaid to bring all these integrations together and provide all information in just one platform.
It’s clear that Relay Financial always keeps small businesses in mind, even in its pricing. That’s why its Standard plan is completely free, offering you most of the features at zero cost. There isn’t minimum balance requirement either. So, you can keep your account open whatever balance you might have. Opting for the Relay Pro subscription costs $30 a month for each business you add to your account, and it comes with features like free same-day ACH transfers or free international wire transfers (which are made via Wise).
If you need a bit more convincing before committing, you can try Relay Pro risk free for 14 days and decide whether the extra benefits are worth your while. Self-employed accountants and bookkeepers can also sign up, but, unfortunately, the company doesn’t offer its services to private users.
Relay Financial looks after its users to a great extent. Its customer service is available via email every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and by phone on business days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – EST. The company is also quite active on LinkedIn and Twitter. But what makes Relay Financial exceptional is that it hosts service demo webinars every other Thursday, where company representatives go through the various aspects of the service and answer as many questions as possible. The company emails these webinars to all participants afterward, so you can rewatch them anytime you want.
Apart from that, Relay Financial offers a helpful support page and thorough FAQ section. Here, you can find information about the company, service fees, supported industries, and much more. The company runs a blog, too, where it regularly publishes longer articles on financial topics, such as business scaling tips, budgeting methods, and revenue growth.