Business Value-Added Checking: Pros & Cons

Thumbs Up and Down
(Last Updated On: June 8, 2022)

Business Checking. The basic model hasn’t changed much in, oh, forever. So, what’s new? Well, FinTechs and neo-banks are finding a number of opportunities. They’re simply cloning the existing template, while making all aspects easier, faster, less costly and more convenient.

Unsurprisingly, these companies are increasingly gaining market share. What can you, as a “traditional” financial institution, do about it? Great question. One possible solution is a Value-Added Business Checking model.

In this climate, increasing revenue, or non-interest or fee income, is vital to the health of your institution. However, unlike personal accounts where debit card use can generate interchange fees, that is simply not the case with business accounts.

Based on a similar consumer-focused model, adopted by over 600 institutions, is a value-added checking account. With this value-added account, the account holder pays a monthly fee, and in return, receives a high-value benefits package.

What’s Included For Businesses:

  • Cash flow tools
  • Data breach solutions
  • ID Theft Monitoring & Recovery (for business owner)
  • Online business loan options
  • Even discounts on healthcare, shopping, and dining…
    • All available as employee perks!

Attaching value-added benefits to your basic business checking account differentiates your institution, while generating a substantial new revenue flow of non-interest income.

So, what are the Pros and Cons of moving to this model?

Pros of Value-Added Business Checking

Here are some of the advantages of moving to the value-added business checking model:


Historically, a value-added checking solution generates more income than other models. As it is simply attached to your account, your institution is free to offer other benefits, such as high-interest or relationship rewards.

Checking Cheat Sheet Tablet Cover

Your checking program is where loyalty, engagement, and onboarding really begin. So what are you doing to ensure it’s firing on all cylinders? This Cheat Sheet will give you 4 quick, actionable steps to make the most of your checking program.
Get the Cheat Sheet

Branding & Marketing

The value-added package is a sales point for your institution, helping you stand out from the crowd. People pay for value. Consider Amazon Prime, Netflix, Spotify, Apple Music, and the countless subscription box services (my skin has never felt so soft!).


Remember the Fintechs (and non-banks)? Sorry to say, but you’re not going to outspend nor out-innovate them. However, you can differentiate and claim your share of the market. Gaining a business customer also opens the door to gaining their personal banking business as well (not to mention all their employees!).

Accountholder Value

How? Recall how many institutions use these programs…600 and growing, with several million account holders. That’s true economies of scale.


What’s the value to you of a data breach solution? Or coverage for unauthorized electronic fund transfers? To your business clients, as that card services company likes to say, “Priceless”. Conveniently, you can offer it for a lot less.

In our experience, such account features retail for around $10 a month. Your costs will likely be far less, typically in the $3-4 range.

Accountholder Loyalty

You’re all about keeping the account holders you already have. Smart plan. It’s likely your business owners will get used to (and find more peace of mind) with this helpful suite of benefits.

Historically, value-added checking sees high retention, typically around 92%.

Plus, for their own business, offering healthcare, dining, and shopping discounts can assist them in both hiring and employee retention (making your institution even more the hero!).

Reduce Institution Cost

Why do financial institutions offer ID theft and data breach protection as core benefits? Because dealing with these things costs everyone a lot of money. Banks and credit unions pay billions of dollars a year as a result of fraud, and those costs keep rising.

Fraud costs can include a range of expenses, including replacement cards, losses applied to your institution, and staff time necessary for these tasks.

Proactive efforts to protect account holders from fraud save money in the long run, and when combined with the added revenue of value-added monthly income, the savings can really add up.

Sounds great, right? Of course it does. Those are the Pros of Value-Added Business Checking! Let’s take a look at the downsides so you can decide if it makes sense at your institution.

GreenProfit Leaf Icon

Stuff Your Mind, Not Your Inbox. Get the info you need a couple times a month.
Subscribe Now!

Cons of Value-Added Checking

Here are some of the cons of moving to a value-added checking system.


It’s hard for all of us. Business owners included! This can be even more true if they are an existing free account holder that’s getting converted to fee-based. Communicating the change, benefits, and any alternate options (if desired) is key to assuring your account holder it’s all in their best interests.

Time & Resources


These include staff training as well as any internal setup or coding for the new account type. Plus, marketing, outreach, and temporary staff to address the influx of account holder questions (across all communication channels). Additionally, a one-time setup fee, as much as $10,000, may be required to get the system going.

NSF Activation

There is a small chance that the value-added fee itself can trigger a non-sufficient funds scenario. To avoid this situation, code the system to not debit the fee if the account is below a certain level. Then, ensure an alert goes to your staff prompting communication with that account holder.

Fallback Account

Let’s imagine a scenario. Your institution currently offers a free business checking account. It gets “converted” to a value-added fee-based account.

If, after learning about the benefits, an account holder still does not want, it’s important to offer a free “Fallback” account.

In this situation, the account must be “materially different” for regulatory reasons. A simple way to achieve this is providing different perks, such as charging for paper statements or altering the fee structure when the account exceeds its free transaction threshold.

Delighting Your Business Checking Account Holders

So happy they’ll bake you cupcakes!

Value-added checking is one way a bank or credit union can attract and retain business customers.

The race to the bottom to provide free checking appears to be over, and business customers want more from their bank than just a giant safe.

Providing valuable services for a fee that delight your members/customers simply makes good sense.

Business Checking Cheat Sheet Tablet Cover

You’re doing awesome learning about Business Checking. Here’s a sweet shortcut to success: Get your 5 Business Checking Hacks Cheat Sheet right now!
Get the Cheat Sheet

Continue Your Learning Journey

Whether this is the first or 40th stop on your research effort, we’re here to ensure you have all the honest insights you need. Make sure you Subscribe to the Learning Library. That way, you’ll get notified when new content you care about appears.

Want to dive deeper into the Value-Added Checking topic? Take a look at these essentials:

Joe Winn - CU Geek

Blogger. Speaker. Part-time Jedi.

Focused on helping your bank or credit union grow in the face of emerging challenges.