Novo or Relay: Which is the Better Banking Platform for You?

From managing cash flow to streamlining payments and managing your finance operations, a reliable and robust banking solution is a critical must-have for entrepreneurs. However, a bevy of online banking platforms to choose from makes it hard for business owners to make the right choice. 

When it comes to online banking platforms, Novo and Relay emerge as two tough contenders to choose from. 

However, fret not!

In this comprehensive guide, we take a deep dive into their unique features, ideal user profiles, and core strengths, to enable you to make an informed decision and select the right banking platform for your business.

This guide isn’t just about checking boxes on a feature list. We aim to help you choose an ideal banking partner that seamlessly integrates with your workflows, enables secure and transparent finance management, and ultimately, becomes a strategic asset that fuels your growth. 

A Look at Novo’s Banking Features

A Look at Novo’s Banking FeaturesA Look at Novo’s Banking Features

Novo offers business banking with one checking account, 10 virtual sub-accounts, and a debit card for freelancers and solopreneurs. They partner with a bank (Middlesex Federal Savings) and integrate with popular financial tools (QuickBooks etc.) for streamlined money management. ATM fee refunds and discounts on integrations are the other beneficial features.

Now, let’s take a deep dive into the banking features of Novo.

Free Business Checking Account

Novo comes without any hidden charges and account maintenance hassles. There is no monthly fee payment and no minimum balance requirements. So, it is perfect for small business owners and freelancers or solopreneurs as well. 

Novo allows unlimited transactions without any transaction fees, which allows you to manage your business freely without any transaction fee worries. You can manage your finances with ease, process payments, make transfers, and keep track of your cash flow without any hassles.

Another plus point is the free mobile banking app for iOS and Android devices. You can deposit checks, transfer funds, view transaction history, and access business bank account information – all from a single unified interface.

Fast Access to Funds

Novo offers Novo Boost™ for Stripe users, which helps you overcome the long waiting period for getting the Stripe payouts credited to the accounts. The solution accelerates the transfer process and credits the Stripe deposits within hours (subject to eligibility and Stripe processing times). This feature improves cash flow and gives business owners more control over their finances.

Invoicing Made Simple

Novo comes with a built-in invoicing tool to streamline the billing process for business users. You can easily generate professional-looking invoices directly within the platform, eliminating the need for separate invoicing software. 

The platform also allows invoice customization with the business logo, branding, and payment terms, rendering a professional touch to the business documentation for small businesses as well. 

Finally, you can easily monitor the status of your invoices in real time, staying informed about payments received and outstanding balances. This transparency facilitates easier and more efficient cash flow management and prompt client follow-ups.

ATM Fee Refunds

Novo users can enjoy nationwide ATM network coverage. You can easily access your cash conveniently with Novo’s vast ATM network and that too without having to worry about out-of-network fees. Novo reimburses all ATM fees incurred throughout the month, ensuring you have peace of mind when withdrawing cash.

Additional Features

  • Novo offers remote check deposits, so you can deposit checks electronically using the Novo mobile app, saving you time and trips to the bank.
  • You can get started with the virtual debit card right from your first deposit. This allows you to make secure online payments without waiting for a physical card to arrive.
  • Novo prioritizes your financial security. The company employs industry-standard encryption protocols and security measures to safeguard your account information and transactions.
  • Novo offers dedicated human-powered customer support via chat and email, ensuring you have access to friendly and knowledgeable representatives whenever you have questions.

Beyond the Basics: Partner Perks and Integrations

Novo goes beyond the core features by offering exclusive perks and seamless integrations with popular business tools. The integrations are one of the major USPs of Novo that makes it perfect for businesses with diverse financial and transactional needs.

We recommend exploring the official website to discover partner discounts on services like QuickBooks Online, Gusto, and Hubspot, further streamlining your workflow and maximizing your savings.

A Look at Relay’s Banking Features

A Look at Relay’s Banking Features

Relay understands the unique challenges faced by small businesses with growing teams. Hence, their feature set is designed specifically keeping in mind the financial workflows and their management. Relay allows you to open up to 20 free checking accounts for budgeting. You can equip your team with 50 virtual/physical debit cards, and integrate seamlessly with different accounting software. 

Now, let’s explore the features in detail.

Multiplied Checking Accounts for Enhanced Budgeting (Up to 20)

With Relay, you can say goodbye to budgeting spreadsheets and create up to 20 individual checking accounts, each with its own unique account and routing number. This innovative “digital envelope system” allows you to dedicate specific accounts for specific expense categories, such as operations, payroll, marketing, or inventory purchases. 

Thus, you can enjoy meticulous organization of finances and gain clear visibility into your cash flow to make more informed financial decisions.

Seamless Collaboration with Granular User Permissions

Relay empowers businesses to overcome the gap between financial data and team/business components. You can easily assign distinct permission levels to each team member, ensuring secure access tailored to their specific roles. 

Relay also allows you to set read-only access rules for bookkeeping tasks, full administrative control for trusted team members, or restricted access to specific debit card management for controlled spending. These features foster transparency while safeguarding sensitive financial information.

Empowering Debit Card Management (Up to 50 Virtual/Physical Cards)

Relay users can issue up to 50 virtual or physical debit cards, and thus, distribute spending capabilities strategically. Virtual cards are ideal for online purchases, while physical cards offer convenient in-person transactions. 

You can also set spending limits and instantly freeze cards if lost or stolen, ensuring maximum security and financial peace of mind.

Automated Accounts Payable for Streamlined Operations (Relay Pro)

The Relay Pro offering unlocks the power of automated accounts payable (AP) functionality. It integrates seamlessly with popular accounting software solutions like QuickBooks Online or Xero to automatically import unpaid bills into the Relay dashboard. 

Thus, you can streamline your approval process by setting up automated single or multi-step approval rules based on dollar amounts. This ensures no bill gets paid without the necessary oversight, thereby saving you valuable time and effort.

Interest-Bearing Savings Accounts to Grow Your Business (Relay Pro)

Another powerful feature of Relay Pro is integrated savings accounts. You can earn interest on your business savings, and accumulate a safety net for unexpected expenses or future investments. This feature encourages responsible financial planning and helps you unlock the full potential of your business’s cash flow.

International Capabilities: A Bridge to Global Markets (Relay Pro)

While the standard Relay plans and offerings cater to domestic transactions, Relay Pro empowers businesses with international finance and banking management as well. You can do international wires and currency exchange through seamless integrations with third-party platforms.  

This allows small business owners and online business owners to tap into global markets and conduct business transactions with greater ease. 

Integrations and Security

Relay also integrates with popular accounting software like QuickBooks Online and Xero, ensuring seamless finance management and smooth financial data flows. The company uses industry-standard encryption protocols and robust security measures to safeguard your financial information and transactions. 

Novo and Relay Similarities

Novo and Relay Similarities

Both Novo and Relay share a core foundation of features designed to empower entrepreneurs and small businesses. While the platforms have many different features, let’s take a closer look at the common functionalities they offer before comparing them.

Free Business Checking Accounts

Both Novo and Relay come without the burden of monthly account fees, allowing you to focus on growing your business without hidden banking costs. Hence, both of them are excellent options for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small business owners alike.

User-Friendly Mobile Banking Apps

Both Novo and Relay boast user-friendly mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. Hence, you can manage your finances on the go, deposit checks, transfer funds, monitor transactions, and gain granular visibility over your cash flow – all from a single interface.

Security and Reliability

When it comes to secure and reliable operations, both Novo and Relay employ industry-standard encryption protocols. The companies offer robust security measures to ensure safe finance management and transactions.

ATM Access

Both Novo and Relay offer access to ATM networks, allowing their users to withdraw cash conveniently as and when required. While the specifics of fee reimbursement differ between the two platforms, both platforms aim to minimize the out-of-pocket costs associated with ATM withdrawals.

Integration Potential

Modern businesses, especially online businesses thrive on seamless integrations. Both Novo and Relay offer amazing integration capabilities with popular financial tools and third-party services. Thus, you can connect your banking platform with existing accounting software or invoicing tools, streamlining workflows and centralizing your financial data.

Customer Support

Another powerful similarity between Novo and Relay is the exceptional customer support via multiple dedicated support channels, such as chat, email, or phone. The users can easily access knowledgeable human support representatives whenever required.

Novo and Relay Differences

Novo and Relay Differences

Below is a detailed comparison between Novo and Relay features (standard offerings/packs).

Feature Novo Relay
Debit Card Up to 50 Visa Debit Cards (physical or virtual) Mastercard Business Debit Card (physical and virtual)
Reserve Accounts Up to 20 accounts  Up to 10 accounts
Accounting Software Integrations QuickBooks and Xero QuickBooks and Xero
Ideal fit for Solopreneurs and freelancers Small businesses with 2 to 100 employees
Business Software Integrations Gusto, Plaid, and Yodlee Cash App, eBay, Lyft, PayPal, Square, Stripe, Uber, and Venmo
Minimum Opening Deposit No opening balance requirements $50 opening deposit required 
Overdraft Fees Zero $27 insufficient funds fee
Collaboration Permissions 7 unique user permission levels No user permission levels
Same-day ACH Free with Relay Pro Express ACH incurs a 1.5% fee 

Making the Final Decision: Novo or Relay?

While both Relay and Novo offer amazing set of features, you should opt for Relay when you: 

  • Want to distribute financial responsibilities – You can issue up to 50 virtual or physical debit cards with adjustable rules and limits for spending. Further, you can add team members to your account and customize the access level of each member.
  • Need support for outgoing wire transfers – Relay allows you to send domestic wire transfers for just $5, and international wire transfers at just $10. Novo does not offer outgoing domestic wire transfers and facilitates international wire transfers through Wise.
  • Want to deposit cash free of cost – Relay users can deposit cash for free at Allpoint ATMs. Novo users can deposit cash through money orders only.

You should opt for Novo when you: 

  • Want to make ATM transactions at any location – All ATM fees are refunded at the end of each month for Novo users. While Relay does not charge fees for non-network use, there are no refunds for any third-party operator fees incurred.
  • Use Stripe for payments – Novo is simply the best provider for rapid access to funds and faster payments. With Novo Boost, you can access your Stripe money within hours instead of days. Relay does not offer expedited cash flow.
  • Need access to funding products – Novo offers accessible merchant cash advances up to $75,000 via Novo reserves, while Relay only offers business checking and savings.

Pros and Cons of Novo


  • You can enjoy a free business checking account with no monthly fees or minimum opening deposit.
  • Users can conduct an unlimited number of transactions without incurring any fees. Additionally, they can receive incoming wires at no extra cost.
  • Global ATM coverage allows you to access your cash conveniently with worldwide ATM fee reimbursements.
  • Streamlined workflows can integrate your Novo account with popular business tools like Xero, Stripe, and Shopify for a more efficient workflow.


  • Cash deposits are currently not supported by Novo.
  • Sending domestic or international wires is not possible with a standard Novo account.
  • While bill pay is available, you cannot set up recurring payments for automated convenience.
  • Novo primarily offers chat and email support; phone support is currently unavailable.

Pros and Cons of Relay


  • Free account with no fees or minimums.
  • Unlimited free transactions and no overdraft penalties.
  • Free cash deposits at AllPoint ATMs.
  • Earn interest on savings with automatic transfers.
  • Use your debit card abroad without foreign transaction fees.
  • Free incoming wires and low fees for outgoing wires.


  • Limited phone support hours.
  • Check deposits take several business days to clear.
  • No bill pay functionality in the free plan.

Go Beyond Business Banking – Get Started With doola

Getting started as a business owner can be daunting with lots of technicalities and documentation involved. Further, identifying which business banking solution works the best for your current business needs and which business structure works the best for new ventures – all these questions can make you lose your focus from core business processes.

This is where doola comes into the picture! With a highly comprehensive business-in-a-box working model, doola can help you get started with your business in the US from any part of the world. We can help you identify your finance and banking needs and get started with the right platforms apart from simplifying your bookkeeping and taxes.

doola’s Total Compliance Package comes with multiple powerful features, such as company formation, money management, tax filing, CPA consultation, and more.

To know more or catch our product in action, please get in touch with our experts and grab a free consultation with us!



What are the key banking features offered by Novo for businesses?

Novo offers free business checking with unlimited transactions, ATM fee refunds, and invoicing tools, making it ideal for freelancers and solopreneurs who value affordability and managing finances on the go.

What are the key banking features offered by Relay for businesses?

Relay offers free business checking with unlimited transactions, team collaboration tools, debit card management, optional high-yield savings, and fee-friendly domestic/international wires.

What are the major differences between Novo and Relay in terms of business banking?

Novo caters to solopreneurs with invoicing and faster access to funds, while Relay empowers teams with multiple accounts, spending controls, and domestic wire transfers (for a fee).

doola's website is for general information purposes only and doesn't provide official law or tax advice. For tax or legal advice we are happy to connect you to a professional in our network! Please see our terms and privacy policy. Thank you and please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Start your dream business and keep it 100% compliant

Turn your dream idea into your dream business.