Best of Breed Apps: Relay Bank

If you read our blog with any regularity, you know we regularly emphasize the importance of cash flow management – knowing what is coming in and what is going out, and ensuring that you always have enough cash on hand to cover your obligations like payroll and accounts payable. 

We also like to call attention to “Best of Breed” services that could benefit our clients and readers when we encounter them. And when it comes to cash flow management, we’ve found that Relay online banking provides unique tools that makes their services worth a look.


Relay has a lot of the features that are attractive about many online-only banks – no fees for this, no minimums for that – but from Bookkeeping Express’ perspective, what really makes the company stand out is that it is specifically designed to improve cash flow management and transparency. It enables real-time clarity about what has come in and is going out; it enables employees to pay for expenses easily while maintaining central control and tracking; and it integrates not only with bookkeeping software but potentially with your own accounting service, enabling them to be a more direct partner in your day-to-day cash management and chart of accounts tracking. 


Low fees or no fees are a common appeal for online-only banking, and Relay is no different, offering:

  • No minimum balance to open an account

  • No minimum maintenance balance

  • No overdraft fees

  • No ATM fees at Allpoint ATMs

  • Unlimited electronic deposits


Relay’s banking model was specifically designed to streamline bookkeeping. Their platform offers a variety of ways to do this:

  • Multiple No-Fee Checking Accounts for Increased Visibility. A Relay business account offers up to twenty no-fee checking accounts – a big difference from traditional banks that typically charge significant fees for extra checking accounts. This can help businesses improve their cash flow and chart of accounts visibility significantly, as checking accounts can be assigned for things like Income, Operating Expenses, and Sales Tax. These various accounts can be managed from a single login, and transfers between them are instantaneous, versus what would likely be next-day availability with many traditional banks.

  • Multiple Debit Cards Empower Employee Spending While Keeping Control. A Relay business account provides up to fifty Mastercard debit cards whose spending limits can be set, and the cards distributed to team members, allowing an effective real-time view of expenses rather than being forced to wait until expense reports are filed to fully reconcile the company’s cash position. 

  • Accept Payments Directly Via Processors Like PayPal, Square, and Stripe.

  • Enriched Data for Visibility. Relay’s software automatically enriches the data related to every transaction, so instead of an unintelligible entry on a credit card statement like “Paid to: ALCO, LLC”, Relay will automatically fill in the complete details about “HEAVENLY CATERING”, including addresses, phone numbers, and website link, so you don’t have to waste time tracking down those details yourself.

  • Automate Payables. Relay’s online interface makes it easy to import your bills, see which are paid and which are not, and if desired, automate payments directly from the correct checking accounts to ensure they arrive on time.

  • Set Up Multi-Step Approval Rules for Payables. This is only available as part of the “Pro” level service, but is a powerful tool to ensure that bills are paid correctly, and an audit trail of approval is automatically created as well.

  • Integration With Accounting Software, and Even Your Accountant. Relay’s software has direct feeds that integrate with QuickBooks Online and Xero, and also partners with other quality software like the Gusto payroll app, another BKE “best of breed”  to seamlessly transfer to your bookkeeping process. In addition, Relay’s interface allows you to connect your account directly to your accountant, allowing your bookkeeper to help design and maintain your cash management system, and to even pay your bills for you if they offer that service.


There are some caveats that would mean you should use both Relay and a traditional bank, or even decide that Relay is not for you. 

  • Incoming payments are best received via processors like PayPal or Stripe, or via wire transfer or ACH transfer. Depositing cash is not an option, and currently deposits via check are quite slow to clear versus a traditional bank.

  • Some features, like QuickBooks integration, require the paid monthly plan. Depending on how valuable you find the extra services, this may or may not be necessary.


Cash management is the lifeblood of any business, and new technology and services continue to come to market that can address it. Relay online banking, with its focus on streamlining bookkeeping for businesses, is one of those, and Bookkeeping Express considers it one of today’s “Best of Breed” apps.