The first pure-play online bank, Security First Network Bank (SFNB), launched in 1995, just a year after Amazon. But unlike ecommerce, digital-only banking was slow to catch on. The legacy banks (Wells Fargo, Bank of America, et al) maintained market share by providing digital services deemed “good enough” to retain customers loath to switch banks.

But that began changing in the mid-2010s, first in the UK, then elsewhere as well-financed digital players started making inroads with consumers. There was Monzo, Revolut, Starling, Nubank, Chime, just to name a few. But we still haven’t seen a breakout small business bank, partly because of the love/hate relationship business owners have with big banks.

In the adjacent SMB lending space (see our Top 30 Digital Lenders list), top brands such as Kabbage (now American Express), Square, Paypal, Amazon, Brex, and others have grabbed significant share. But there is not yet a place where small businesses flock to get deposit, payment, and financing needs met in a single interface. Brex was probably the closest, but it recently abandoned the SMB market to focus on larger enterprises.

So who are the best digital challenger business banks? Let’s start with our definition.

  1. Centered around deposit and debit/charge card services (eliminates Kabbage and most SMB lenders)
  2. Predominantly focused on small-business financial services (eliminates Paypal, Amazon, Block
  3. Primarily digitally delivered (rules out Wells Fargo, BofA, and the majority of traditional banks*)
  4. Founded since 1999

For the latest table, check our Challenger Bank table

Challenger of the Month*

Powerful banking. Simplified finances.

Apply in 10 minutes for business banking that transforms how you operate.

When you deposit $10K within your first 90 days, get $250 cash.

Apply in just 10 minutes!

HQ: SF  |  Founded: 2017  |  Raised $136M (including $120M in 2021)  |  Valuation: $1.7 billion | Website visits: 2.2 million/month  | Employees: 728 

 

Resources: Looking for digital banks, lenders, payment providers, insurance or digital accounting for small businesses? Check out our latest lists: Small Business (SMB) savings/treasury accounts (7) | SMB online lenders (33) | SMB challenger banks (15) | SMB insurers (15) | SMB charge cards/expense management (16) | Billpay & invoicing (16)| Payment processors (7) | Subscription processors (7) | SMB digital accounting/bookkeeping (21)

The FAB Score (Fintech Attention Barometer) is a proxy for the size of a private fintech company.


Leading Digital Small Business Banks (United States)
ranked by our FAB score (Fintech Attention Barometer**)

Rank Company FAB** Reviewed Founded HQ Funding ($M***) Visits
(May ’24)
1 Mercury 544 10 Jun 24 2017 SF $152 2,600,000
2 NOVO 285 10 Jun 24 2016 NYC $296 740,000
3 Relay 150 10 Jun 24 2018 Toronto $52 640,000
4 Found 146 10 Jun 24 2019 SF $75 550,000
5 Arc 97 10 Jun 24 2021 SF $181 2,000
6 (t) NorthOne 56 10 Jun 24 2016 NYC $90 92,000
6 (t) Lili 56 10 Jun 24 2018 NYC $80 210,000
8 Grasshopper 49 10 Jun 24 2016 NYC $172 45,000
9 Viably 45 10 Jun 24 2021 NC $71 18,000
10 Baselane 32 10 Jun 24 2020 NYC $7.9 115,000
11 Slash 29 10 Jun 24 2020 SF $19 73,000
12 Meow 20 10 Jun 24 2021 NYC $27 3,000
13 Winden 16 10 Jun 24 2021 LA $5.3 36,000
14 ZilBank 13 10 Jun 24 2021 Dallas $0 37,000
15 Arival 9 10 Jun 24 2018 Miami, FL $10.8 14,000
16 Guava 4 10 Jun 24 2018 NYC $2.4 1,000

Sources: FintechLabs, Pitchbook, Crunchbase, SimilarWeb; 11 June 2024

*Our business model depends on revenue from referrals and sponsors. When you see a referral link in the URL, we may earn a fee for new accounts (thanks!). This can improve visibility on our website, but does not impact the company’s FAB score.
** The FAB score, Fintech Attention Barometer, is a proxy for the overall size of a private company since they typically do not release traditional metrics (# customers, deposits, AUM, etc). The score is based on VC funding, website traffic, mobile downloads, and the number of employees. It’s a work in progress, so expect changes in the formula.
***Funding is the amount invested into the company as either equity or debt.


Challenger SMB Banks Currently Active in the United States


1. Mercury Technologies
FAB Score = 545 (up 40 from May ’24)
HQ: San Francisco Bay Area
Founded: 2017
Partner banks: Choice Financial Group, Evolve Bank & Trust, and a network of 20 banks to hold excess deposits; Patriot Bank (IO card issuer)

Traction
– More than 200,000 customers (Techcrunch, May 2024)
– Current run rate of $4B in payments per month (Techcrunch, May 2024); $50B processed in 2022, double the $23B in 2021
– Raised $152M (Crunchbase) including $120M in 2021
– Valuation: $1.7B (based on July 2021 round); $1.6B based on Q3 ’23 secondary market sales
– Website visits: 2.8 million (June 2024; SimilarWeb<<<< Most website traffic
– Employees: 825 (Pitchbook), up 25 since May, up 97 since March, up 144 since January, up 156 since August ’23

Social
– Articles: 20 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 47,000 followers (876 up 33 since June, up 70 since May)
iOS app: 4.9 (4,700 reviews, up 300 since June)
Trustpilot: 3.7 (980 reviews, up 50 since June)


 

2. Novo
FAB Score: 285
(down 34)
HQ: NYC
Founded: 2016

Traction
– Raised $296M including $125M in Aug 2023, $125M in 2022, and $41M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 550,000 (June 2024; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 424 (Pitchbook), up 16 since May, down 22 since Mar
– Integrations: Wise, Xero, Slack

Social
LinkedIn: 30,000 followers (434 employees, up 4 since June, up 24 since May, up 41 since Mar)
– Articles: 245 (Crunchbase)
– Industry awards: 4 (Novo)
Trustpilot: 4.4 (4,190, up 10 since June)
iOS app: 4.8 (14,200 reviews, up 600 since June)


3. Relay
FAB Score: 150 (unchanged)
– HQ: Toronto
– Founded: 2018
– Partner bank: Thread

Traction
– Raised $51.6 including $32M in 2024, $15M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 980,000 (SimilarWeb, June 2024)
– Employees: 199 (Pitchbook), up 1 since June, up 47 since May, up 57 since Feb, up 71 since Nov ’23

Social
LinkedIn: 8,000 followers (212 employees, up 16 since June, up 38 since May)
TrustPilot: 4.6 (1,700 reviews, up 60 since June)
iOS: 4.8 (1,300 reviews, up 100 since June)

 


4. Found 
FAB Score = 146 (down 16)
HQ: San Francisco Bay Area
Founded: 2019
BaaS partner: LendingClubBank

Traction:
– Raised $121M including  $46M in June 2024;$60M in Feb 2022; $12.75M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 630,000 (SimilarWeb, May 2024)
– Employees: 93 (Pitchbook), unchanged since Nov 2023, down 2 since October 2023

Social:
Linkedin: 5,000 followers (105 employees, up 12 since June, up 15 since May)
Trustpilot: 4.3 (510 reviews, up 25 since June)
iOS: 4.8 (17,800 reviews, up 900 since June)


 

5. Arc
Fab Score = 97 (down 2)
HQ: SF
Founded: 2021
Banking services provider: Piermont Bank

Traction:
– Raised: $181M in 2022 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 5,000 (SimilarWeb, June 2024)
– Employees: 45 (Pitchbook), unchanged since Nov ’23

Social:
– Articles: 2 (Crunchbase)
LinkedIn 11,000 followers (154 up 9 since June, 145, up 10 since May, up 16 since Mar, up 32 since Feb, up 41 since Jan, up 46 since Nov ’23)


6 (tie). NorthOne
FAB Score: 56 (up 2)
HQ: NYC/Toronto
Founded: 2016

Traction:
– Raised $90M including $67M in Oct 2022 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 65,000 (SimilarWeb, June 2024)
– Employees: 61 (Pitchbook), unchanged since May, down 1 since Mar, down 2 since Feb, down 2 since August ’23

Social:
– Articles: 33 (Crunchbase)
LinkedIn 9,000 followers (61 employees, down 2 since May, down 1 since Mar, down 2 since Feb, up 1 since Jan, down 1 since Nov ’23)
Trustpilot: 4.4 (191 reviews,  up 2 since June)
iOS app: 4.7 (2,700 reviews, unchanged since Nov)

 


6 (tie). Lili
FAB Score = 56 (up 2)
HQ: NYC
Founded: 2018

Traction:
– Raised $80M including $55M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 210,000 (SimilarWeb, June 2024)
– Employees: 88 (Pitchbook), down 17 since May, down 17 since Nov ’23

Social:
– Articles: 19 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 14,000 followers (92 employees, up 6 from June, up 12 from May, up 24 since Feb, down 142 since Feb)
TikTok: 234,000 followers; 600,000 likes (unchanged for a year)
Trustpilot: 4.7 (3,160 reviews,  up 60 since June)

 


8. Grasshopper Bank
FAB Score = 49
(unchanged)
HQ: NYC
Founded: 2016

Traction:
– Raised $172M including $10M in Jan 2024, $30M Aug 2022 (Crunchbase)
– Assets: $620 million (12/31/22), 2.1x growth year over year (source: company)
– Deposits: $550 million (12/31/22), 2.2x growth year over year
– Loans: $450 million (12/31/22), 3.6x growth year over year
– Revenues: $17 million (2022), 2.4x growth year over year
– Website visits: 43,000 (SimilarWeb, June 2024)
Employees: 119 (Pitchbook), unchanged since Feb, up 18 since August ’23

Social:
– Articles: 34 (Crunchbase)
LinkedIn 26,000 followers (121 employees, up 2 since June, down 1 since May, down 3 since Mar, up 2 since Jan, up 8 since Nov ’23)
Trustpilot: 3.9 (139 reviews, up 26 since June)


9. Viably
FAB Score: 45
(down 2)
HQ: Charlotte, NC
Founded: 2016

Traction:
– Raised $71M including $50M (debt) in 2023 and $21M in 2022 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 41,000 (SimilarWeb, June 2024)
– Employees: 36 (Pitchbook), up 2 since May, up 2 since Mar, up 5 since Feb, up 5 since  Jan, up 2 since Nov ’23

Social:
– Articles: 8 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 1,100 followers (37 employees, up 2 since May, up 3 since Mar, up 6 since Jan, up 5 since Nov ’23)
– iOS app: NA


10. Baselane
FAB Score: 32 (down 3)
HQ: NYC
Founded: 2020

Traction:
– Raised: $7.9M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 170,000 (SimilarWeb, June 2024)
– Employees: 41 (Pitchbook), up 5 since May, up 5 since Mar, up 10 since Feb, up 12 since Nov ’23

Social:
– Articles: 5 (Crunchbase)
LinkedIn: 2,000 followers (40 employees, up 4 since June, up 3 since Mar, up 7 since Jan, up 10 since Nov ’23)


11. Slash
FAB Score = 29 (unchanged)
HQ: SF
Founded: 2020

Traction:
– Raised: $19M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 92,000 (Similarweb, June 2024)
– Employees: 18 (Pitchbook), unchanged since Jan, down 1 since Nov ’23

Social:
– Article: 1 (Crunchbase)
LinkedIn: 1,000 followers (19 employees, up 1 since May, up 2 since Mar, up 2 since Jan, up 1 since Nov ’23)


12. Meow
FAB Score: 20
(down 1)
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2021
– Banking service providers: FirstBank, Grasshopper Bank, Third Coast Bank

Rates (APY)
Top: 5.0% Treasuries/4.80% FDIC insured (11 Dec 2023**)
Minimum Balance: none

Traction
– Raised: $27 million including $22 million in 2022 (Crunchbase)
– Employees: 27 (Pitchbook), up 2 since May, up 2 since Mar, unchanged since Nov ’23
– Website visits: 35,000 (SimilarWeb, June 2024)
– Linkedin: 6,000 followers


13. Winden
FAB Score = 16 (up 1)
HQ: LA
Founded: 2021

Traction:
– Raised: $5.3M in 2022 (Crunchbase)
– Employees: 20 (Pitchbook), unchanged since August
– Website visits: 36,000 (SimilarWeb, May 2024)

Social:
– Articles: 2 (Crunchbase)
LinkedIn: 2,000 followers (11 employees, down 2 since May, down 3 since Mar, down 5 since Jan and Nov ’23)
– Trustpilot: No reviews


14. Zilbank
FAB Score = 13 (up 4)
HQ: Grand Rapids, MI
Founded: 2021

Traction:
– Funding: INA (Crunchbase)
– Employees: 6 (Linkedin)
– Website visits: 37,000 (SimilarWeb, May 2024)

Social:
LinkedIn: 2,000 followers (4 employees, down 1 since May, down 2 since Jan, down 1 since Nov ’23)
– Articles: 5 (Crunchbase)


15. Arival
FAB score: 9 (unchanged)
HQ: Miami, FL
Founded: 2018

Traction:
– Raised: $10.8M including $5M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 14,000 (Similarweb, May 2024)
– Employees: 44 (Pitchbook), up 4 since May, up 1 since Nov ’23

Social:
– Articles: 6 (Crunchbase)
LinkedIn: 15,000 followers (44 41 employees, up 3 since May, up 2 since Mar, up 4 since Feb, up 2 since Nov ’23)


16. Guava
Fab Score = 4
(unchanged)
HQ: NYC
Founded 2018
Banking services provider: Piermont Bank

Traction:
– Raised: $3.1M including $650k in Feb 2023 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 1,000 (SimilarWeb, Mar 2024)
– Employees: 10 (Pitchbook), unchanged since August ’23

Social:
LinkedIn: 2,000 followers (16 employees, unchanged since Mar, up 1 since Feb, up 2 since Jan, down 1 since Nov)
– Articles: None (Crunchbase)

 


Other SMB checking accounts at companies whose core business is not SMB banking

1. Bluevine
FAB Score = 274 (up 20)
HQ: San Francisco
Founded: 2013

Traction
– Raised: $769M prior to 2021 (Crunchbase) <<<<Highest funding amount
– Valuation: $1B+ (estimate)
– Website visits: 850,000 (SimilarWeb, Mar 2024)
– Employees: 618 (Pitchbook), up 12 since May, up 34 since Mar, up 40 since Nov ’23
– Articles: 127 (Crunchbase)

Social
LinkedIn: 56,000 followers (612 employees, up 1 since May, up 13 since Mar, up 19 since Jan, up 32 since Nov ’23)
– Trustpilot:  4.3 (7,970 reviews, up 80 since May)


Unlaunched or No Longer Listed

Moves (CLOSED May 2024)
FAB Score: 11 (down 5)
HQ: Dover, DE

Traction:
– Raised: $6.6M including $4.8M in 2022 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 19,000 (Similarweb, May 2024)
– Employees: 17 (Pitchbook), unchanged since Mar, down 25 since Feb, down 28 since Nov

Social:
– Articles: 10 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 2,000 followers (15 employees, unchanged since May, down 1 since Mar, down 9 since Feb, down 20 from Jan, down 29 since Nov ’23)

 

Lance (pivoted to Sequence spend management Sep 2023)
FAB Score: 7 (NEW)
HQ: NYC
Founded: 2018

Traction:
– Raised: $4.7M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: <5,000 (Similarweb, Sep 2023)
– Employees: 31 (Pitchbook)

Social:
– Articles: 7 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 1,200 followers (81 employees)


Vergo (pivoted to spend management for construction industry Sep 2023)
FAB Score = 10 (down 6)
HQ: NYC
Founded: 2021

Traction:
– Raised $4.2M including $4.1M in June 2022 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: less than 5,000 (SimilarWeb, Sep 2023)
Employees: 29 (Pitchbook)

Social:
– Articles: 3 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 1,300 followers (25 employees, unchanged)
– Trustpilot: NA

LiveOak Bank (discontinued business checking Aug 2023)
FAB Score = 45 (down 6) 
HQ: Wilmington, NC
Founded: 2008

Traction:
Raised: $152 million (Crunchbase)
Revenue (TTM): $392M (Yahoo)
Valuation: $1.4B (Public; 30 Aug 2023, up $100M since 14 July)
Website visits: 150,000 (Similarweb, July 2023)
Employees: 886 (Pitchbook), unchanged

Social:
Articles: 3 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 18,000 followers (915 employees, up 9 since May)
Trustpilot: 4.2 (70 reviews, up 37)


Oxygen (removed Feb 2023, because they appear to be more focused on consumers)
FAB Score = NA

– HQ: San Francisco Bay Area
– Founded: 2018
– Raised $45M including $20M in 2023 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 230,000 (SimilarWeb, Jan 2023)
– Employees: 92 (Pitchbook), down 5 since March
– Articles: 22 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 5,700 followers (97 employees, up 2 since March)
Trustpilot: 3.3 (192 reviews)
iOS app: 4.8 (24,100 reviews)

Zifi (Zions Bank)
Pivoted to card processing provider (April 2023)
– HQ: Salt Lake City, UT
– Founded: 2022
– Raised: NA (unit of Zions Bank)
– Website visits: 24,000 (SEMrush, April 2023); 4,300 (SimilarWeb)
Linkedin: 267 followers (12 employees, up 12 since March)


Challengers Closed to New Accounts

Nearside (formerly Hatch) (removed Feb 2023)
Note: Plastiq acquired Nearside in Nov ’22 for a reported $130M and is shutting down its banking services
FAB Score = 66 (down 2)
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2018
– Raised $73M including $58M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 8,000 (SimilarWeb, April 2023)
– Employees: 57 (Pitchbook), unchanged
– Articles: 5 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 1,500 followers (24 employees, down 15 since March)
– TrustPilot: no reviews
iOS: 4.3 (183 reviews)


Solid (was Wise) >> pivoted to Fintech as a Service in 2021
FAB Score: NA
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2018
– Raised $18M prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 1.9 million (Mar 2022; SEMrush)
– Employees: 126 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 4 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 2,020 followers (56 employees)


Joust (acquired by ZenBusiness, 30 July 2020; currently referring customers to Radius Bank)
– Target: Freelancers
– HQ: Austin, TX
– Founded: 2017
– Raised: $11M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: Unknown
– Employees: 18 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 5 (Crunchbase)
– Twitter followers: 448
– Trustpilot: NA
– iOS: 4.1 (28 reviews)


Seed (Acquired by Cross River Bank currently closed to new customers)
– HQ: San Francisco Bay Area
– Founded: 2014
– Raised $5.2M (2015) (Crunchbase)
– App downloads (last 30 days): 425 (Apptopia)
– Website visits: 210 (May 2021; SEMrush)
– Number of employees: 12 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 4 (Crunchbase)
– Twitter: 810 followers


Addendum: Other SMB/SME challenger banks around the world (not a definitive list):

UK

Germany

Australia

France

Rest of world