Wave expands into banking with new small business account and debit card

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Toronto-based Wave Financial, which has developed a financial planning platform for small business owners, is launching a small business bank account solution called Wave Money. Part of the new offering includes a business bank account and a debit card.

“We’re shaking up the banking industry by introducing Wave Money – a first-of-its-kind business bank account.”

Wave Money will grant small business owners access to no account minimums or monthly fees, free instant payouts, free built-in bookkeeping, mobile check deposit, and access to “the largest free ATM network in the [United States].” Wave Money is currently in limited release and only available to US businesses.

Wave, which was acquired last year by H&R Block for $537 million CAD, is touting the new offering as the “future of small business banking.” In a blog post regarding Wave Money, the company said, “today, we’re shaking up the banking industry by introducing Wave Money – a first-of-its-kind business bank account that helps small business owners take control of their finances.”

“Most entrepreneurs start a business to do what they love, not because they want to spend time on finances. Few first-time entrepreneurs have accounting expertise. Yet, establishing good financial management and bookkeeping practices are essential,” said Kirk Simpson, co-founder and CEO of Wave.

The Toronto-based FinTech company is positioning Wave Money against traditional banks, which Wave argued, “have high fees, complicated record-keeping, and take days to give business owners access to their money.”

“Wave Money is made specifically for the entrepreneur who loves their work, not bookkeeping. It’s free and makes managing small business finances easy, even for those with little finance and accounting knowledge,” Simpson added.

Wave Money offers users a business bank account, debit card, and mobile app so business owners can deposit funds, spend with the Wave debit card, and manage everything in the Wave Money mobile app. Business owners using the new service can also pay vendors and contractors via email. Wave Money automatically categorizes expenses so businesses can track expenditures and manage income and spend in one place with what the company calls “real-time bookkeeping.”

As a FinTech company Wave is not authorized to operate as a bank without a license. Calling itself a “banking alternative,” Wave has partnered with New York-based Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB) to launch Wave Money. CFSB will issue the Wave Visa Business Debit Card and hold all Wave Money deposits, which will be insured up to $250,000 through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

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Founded in 2009 by Simpson and James Lochrie, Wave offers a range of financial services for businesses, spanning accounting, invoicing, payroll, and receipts. While the startup had a payment offering that allowed users to accept credit card and bank payments online, Wave Money marks the company’s first move into the banking space.

Wave is the second major Canadian tech company to launch a business banking and card offering this year.

Last month, e-commerce giant Shopify launched Shopify Balance, its own banking product for small businesses that featured a bank account, card, and rewards program for merchants. Similar to Wave, Shopify Balance is set to launch for early access in the US later this year. Shopify has yet to reveal which banking partner it is working with for Balance, telling BetaKit it will be partnering with a “trusted card issuing and bank partner.”

Notably, Wave announced its banking product exactly one year from the day it was revealed that H&R Block was set to acquire the Toronto-based startup. The $537 million acquisition marked one of the largest ever Canadian tech exits, adding Wave to a list that consists of Shopify, Eloqua, Radian6 Technologies, and Kobo.

Following the acquisition, Wave continued to operate independently. Simpson told BetaKit at the time that the acquisition allowed Wave to build out its platform “for the long term, and think in longer time horizons, and deliver more and more value for our customers.”

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast