Lili Review: Banking for Freelancers

Full-time freelancers and part-time side hustlers have inconsistent income so managing costs and preparing for taxes are always a priority. This includes where they bank too – finding a checking account with great benefits and low fees is super important.

Lili has created a checking account specifically designed for those who freelance or have a side-hustle. It offers an expense management system that separates business and personal spending, an automatic tax savings tool, and detailed reporting features.

And best of all, Lili’s standard account has no monthly fees!

So is Lili legit and is it worth it? Find out in our Lili review below!

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About Lili

Lili is a banking app that’s designed for freelance workers (including side-hustlers and small business owners). It’s built around the way freelancers earn, spend, and manage money – offering many tools in one place to help you manage their finances.

The Lili app is a mobile app that’s available both on Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play. Everything can be done on the app.

Safety and security are important when it comes to banking and you’ll be glad to hear that Lili uses bank-grade encryption and deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 for each depositor through its partner bank, Choice Financial Group.

Freelancer Benefits

What really sets Lili apart from the competition is the tools and features.

The Lili account is a checking account that you can use just for your business, or as a hybrid personal/business account. If you use it as a hybrid account, Lili will help you separate your personal and business expenses.

Every time you use your Lili debit card, the transaction will appear inside the app. Then, just by swiping left or right, you can assign each purchase as a personal or business expense.

This really helps when it comes to taxes. So many people co-mingle their expenses under one account that they have a tough time figuring out how to categorize expenses at the end of the year.

In addition to making expense categorization a Tinder-style breeze, Lili also includes financial reports that offers insights on your business expenses, taxes, and finances.

Many businesses pay extra for this by using a separate financial management software, but it comes standard with Lili’s bank account.

Another great feature is Lili’s tax saving tool. By answering just a few short questions, Lili will automatically set aside a percentage of your income for taxes.

For freelancers that don’t know how much to save for taxes, this is a lifesaver at tax time.

One other interesting benefit is the personal “Emergency Bucket”. If you activate this feature, you’ll be able to choose a fixed amount you want to set aside every day for emergencies.

And your funds aren’t locked up using this. The money in your Emergency Bucket is available to you at all times and you can always choose to withdraw it if you need it for any reason.

Lili Checking Accounts

Lili has two checking account types: Lili Standard and Lili Pro.

The Lili Standard checking account is 100% free and comes with all the features and benefits I talked about earlier, while the Lili Pro checking account adds additional benefits and higher limits for just $4.99 a month:

  • BalanceUp: Overdraft coverage up to $200
  • Automatic Savings Account: Earn 1% interest on your Emergency Fund
  • Invoicing Tool: Create and send unlimited invoices
  • Higher Limits: Deposit more and spend more (see the tables below)

Here’s a comparison of the daily spending limits for the two Lili accounts:

Daily LimitsStandardPro
Spending$3,000$5,000
ATM Withdrawal$500$500
ACH Outbound$500$2,000

And here’s the daily and monthly limits for deposits for the Standard and Pro accounts:

LimitStandardPro
Direct Deposit$25k daily ($50k monthly)$25k daily ($50k monthly)
Cash Deposit$1k daily ($9k monthly)$1k daily ($9k monthly)
ACH Inbound$200 daily ($1k monthly)$200 daily ($5k monthly)
Debit Card Funding$100 per month$100 per month
Mobile Check Deposit$6,000 per month$6,000 per month

Mobile App

Lili’s mobile app is how you’ll access your Lili checking account. You can start the new account process on Lili’s website then transition to the app, but not vice versa.

This may be a negative for those who are used to banking with their laptop or desktop.

Fortunately, the Lili app is easy to use and very intuitive. I opened the Lili Standard account a few months ago and had no issues with navigation or finding what I needed.

For financial reports and insights, you can easily download them as CSV, EXCEL, or PDF files or email them to yourself so you can view them on a bigger screen.

Account Fees

Lili is pretty close to a no-fee bank as you’ll find, which makes it exceptional for freelancers that wants to limit costs.

With Lili Standard, you won’t be charged any of the following fees:

  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Returned item fees
  • Stop payment fees
  • Deposit item returned fees
  • Funds transfer fees
  • Inactive account fees

The only fees you could be charged for with a Lili Standard account is for out-of-network ATM usage. That fee is $2.50 per use domestically and $5.00 per use internationally. Having said that, there are 38,000+ free ATM locations across the US.

If you choose to upgrade your account to a Lili Pro, then it will costs an additional $4.99 per month as I wrote about earlier. However, that monthly subscription fee comes with a host of better benefits so it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it or not.

How To Open An Account

You can visit the Lili website to open an account. It takes less than three minutes.

Once you complete the application on the website, you’ll be directed to download the mobile app in order to begin using Lili. Your Visa debit card will arrive within 10 business days, but you can start using your digital debit card immediately.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a freelancer who’s comfortable with mobile banking, Lili is a good choice to manage your business banking needs. It’s a free checking account that charges low service fees (if there’s any at all).

Freelancers will appreciate the ability to categorize expenses, automatically save for taxes, and build an emergency fund.

For those with a sizeable balance, upgrading to Lili Pro for $4.99/month will earn you interest on your money while getting additional benefits.

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