There are multiple conveniences that a small business can avail from by having a Relay checking account:
Relay is a Toronto, Canada-based digital bank exclusively offering business accounts. What is unique about it is that all the transactions are possible through a mobile phone – either an Apple phone or an Android phone. It has a debit card and its accounts are currently for business organizations in Canada, the US and the UK.
Its business checking accounts are absolutely free, there is no minimum balance requirements or transaction limits or overdraft fees. Incoming wire transfers are free. And a business entity can open multiple accounts or have multiple cards – up to 20 checking accounts and 50 virtual or physical debit cards.
Relay does not have any physical branches or offices and banking transactions are done using the Relay website or the mobile app. Cheques can be deposited via mobile deposits, but there is no facility for cash deposits.
A PREMIUM ACCOUNT
It has a premium account, Relay Pro, which offers same-day ACH availability and free outgoing wire transfers, besides features such as the ability to automatically import bills from QuickBooks Online and Xero. There is $30 per month charge for this account.
The neobank has tie-ups with Thread Bank, Evolve Bank and Trust to offer deposit accounts and these accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.
The accounts are highly suited for small businesses that need multiple bank accounts and have allied e-commerce business. The accounts are available for business owners – anyone with at least a 25% stake in the business can open an account – and for senior executives in firms, like CEOs, CFOs, COOs and the company treasurers. The account holders can also invite team members, assign roles and permissions and set spending limits.
Relay also combines its banking services with built-in bookkeeping functions. It offers direct integration with QuickBooks Online and Xero, allowing seamless sync of transaction data with accounting software used. Relay Pro has additional bookkeeping features, including the ability to set approval workflows for bill payments and automatically import unpaid bills from QuickBooks or Xero. One can also connect a Relay account to PayPal, Stripe, Square and Venmo and back-end administrative platforms like Gusto and Expensify. This can help reduce overhead and save time on administrative tasks.
Relay aims to fully automate the finance function for small businesses through a system that fully integrates into the back-office systems of business owners. It is claiming to be the first banking platform to have integrated accounts payable automation directly into banking.
Relay Pro users can avail automated bill payments. Third-party vendors can be paid directly from QuickBooks or Xero and batch the bills, which streamlines vendor management and saves time.
Some of the drawbacks that have been often pointed out by Relay users are that it has no cash deposits facility, limited customer service hours – telephone support from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – and long hold time for deposited checks as it may take 6 to 7 business days before getting credited into a checking account.
Relay’s major source of income is the merchant fee that Visa applies each time a customer uses his debit card. It also earn interest on each customer’s balance; interest is paid to Relay by the Federal Reserve through its partner bank, Thread Bank.
Relay says its vision is to fully automate the finance function for small businesses via banking that deeply integrates into the back-office systems business owners rely on. It is claimed to be a bank tailor-made for employer SMBs, offering deeper, more customized functionality and support than a traditional bank.
Relay’s co-founder and CEO Yoseph West says 82% percent of businesses fail due to cash flow issues, and traditional banking does not help. Relay, he says, is building a challenger bank that helps businesses succeed by offering powerful tools to increase cash flow visibility and streamline time-consuming financial processes, in addition to being affordable and easy to use.
PARTNERSHIP WITH PROFIT FIRST
Relay has recently partnered with Profit First Professionals, a member organization of profitability advisors and become an official banking platform for Profit First. In addition, Relay has launched auto-transfer rules, allowing businesses to automate the Profit First cash management system. Profit First is a behavioral-based cash management system that enables an enterprise to run its business out of its bank and become permanently profitable. The system teaches entrepreneurs to allocate their income into different checking accounts, including Profit, Owner’s Pay, Taxes and Operating Expenses, so they can better manage their cash flow and ensure long-term profitability. Some 3,000+ Profit First users already depend on Relay for banking and Relay makes it easy to put the Profit First method into action.