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Freelance work is on the rise and has fast become the dominant method to earn a living these days. Last year more than 20 million people took the plunge and banks have begun to take notice. One such bank, Lili, which was founded by Liran Zelka and Lilac Bar David and based in New York, was designed with today’s freelancer in mind. It’s one of the only digital banks that does work-life balance so that you don’t have to.
Many traditional banks require freelancers or self-employed individuals to obtain an LLC or S-Corp in order to establish business bank accounts. Lili took the hassle out of submitting mountains of paperwork and navigating red tape. You can sign up within minutes and enjoy the perks of a personal bank account with many business features, all while keeping an account in your own name.
The super convenient sign-up is just the beginning when it comes to creators living the laptop lifestyle or freelancing on the go. The Lili app offers dozens of perks and tools to keep you accountable while doing banking on your terms.
Let’s dive in!
What is Lili?
Lili is a banking app designed for small business owners, side-hustlers, and freelance extraordinaires who have long needed a banking option that works on their own terms.
A relatively new company in the fintech space, Lili has been around for just a few short years and has already amassed a user base of over 450,000 entrepreneurs.
The work-from-home culture has generated a major shift in the way we do business around the world and freelancing has become the poster child of future work.
Branded as a one-stop shop, the fintech offers a suite of products and services such as free tax savings, no hidden fees, and no minimum balance requirement.
Who is Lili For?
Freelancing is the ability to work when you need to, choose your own clients, and be location independent. Today’s freelancers represent a network of individuals who earn in a variety of spaces.
Regardless of how you earn, Lili bank has you covered. Their mobile-only platform is perfect for those who work flexible hours or pick up a shift on demand such as :
- Rideshare Drivers (Uber,Lyft, etc)
- Gig Workers ( UpWork, Freelancer, Fiverr)
- Delivery Drivers( DoorDash, Uber Eats, InstaCart)
- Contract Shift Workers ( Nurses, Caregivers, Waitresses, Handymen, Bartenders)
- Consultants (Accountants, Graphic Designers, Sales & Marketing)
As a Lili account holder, you can enjoy around-the-clock access to your account with real-time updates that work with your schedule.
The Lili banking app is loaded with features that promise to help you keep your finances in order while concentrating on earning. All of these come exclusively for members at no extra cost.
- Free direct deposit
- Debit card instant transfer ( up to $100 limitations apply)
- Account to account transfer(outside banks)
- Invoice creation
- Virtual card access
- All Lili accounts are FDIC insured up to $250,000.
All of the account features can be accessed on the mobile platform that also provides biometric security, a wide range of settings, and the ability to set up multiple account alerts.
Connect a payment app to your Lili account and you’ll be able to transfer money to your Lili account in a matter of seconds! You can avoid inconvenient transfer delays and start managing your money from your Lili account right after collecting payment.
When you deposit your earnings from online platforms into your Lili account, you get your money up to 2 days earlier. Whether you’re running an online store on Shopify or driving for Uber, make sure you get paid early by setting up direct deposit to your Lili account.
Freelancers who use Lili as their primary or secondary account can gain access to benefits that are pretty hard to compete with. Not many banks will offer to help you set aside for taxes, label transactions to maximize write-offs or create up-to-date expense reports.
You can also enjoy other benefits that make your freelancing life easier such as the following:
- Emergency buckets for unexpected expenses
- Fee-free overdraft up to $200 on your debit card purchases.
- Option to receive pay two days earlier
- Bill payment from inside the app
- Deposit your cash at more than 90,000 retail locations across the US
- Tax calculator to estimate accurate tax liability year-round
As a freelancer, you have the flexibility to create and design your own medical, retirement, and paid time off package versus fitting into the matrix of a traditional employer. You can also enjoy the perks of having a Lili debit card with the protection and benefits of a Visa card.
Pros and Cons
While the Lili app does provide some very convenient perks like expense management tools, no hidden fees and fee free overdraft privileges, there are a couple of things you will have to do without when using their services.
No hidden fees
Monthly fee for premium plan
No traditional checks
Great mobile app
Mobile banking only
24 hour banking
No in-person branches
Does Lili Have Fees?
Lili is one of the only banks that doesn’t charge fees for items and transactions commonly paid at other financial institutions. You won’t be charged for services like stop payments, returned items, bounced checks, account inactivity, maintenance, or wire transfers.
However, you can expect a small fee for the usage of an ATM outside the 38,000 in-network ATMs or you can upgrade to their Lili Pro Account, which contains additional features.
One of the ways that Lili is able to offer lower-cost services is that they don’t require you to deal with brick and mortar locations. That way they can avoid paying those expensive overhead fees that are passed down to you.
Do I Need to Be a Business Owner?
The major advantage of using Lili for your banking needs is that the account is perfect for those who do business in the non-traditional sense. Freelancers are considered self-employed and may choose to work a variety of contracts or gigs to balance their business and personal lives. Lili allows you to have one checking account that automatically manages your business expenses and needs as well as your personal ones.
Lili Standard vs Lili Pro
The Lili standard account does come with many accessible features, however, the upgrade to Lili Pro will get you some additional benefits such as paid account interest and free overdrafts.
How Can I Sign-Up?
Sign-up is a piece of cake since the banking itself is done on a user-friendly mobile application that works for both Android and iPhone users. After a quick online registration, you will be directed to download the Lili app to complete your account process.
Once you have everything uploaded you will gain immediate access to your account information including account numbers, financial tools, and your new Visa Debit card.
The accelerated approval process can be a lifesaver for those who need to establish a bank account quickly to get access to funds earned while doing independent contractor services, like rideshare driving or grocery delivery services.
For an app that offers such amazing features, the three-minute registration is the icing on the cake.
Is Lili Right for You?
Lili is an awesome choice for those who prefer to have their banking needs met with the push of a button or swipe of a screen. The suite of financial tools also works for you when it comes to avoiding under or overpaying taxes if you aren’t savvy in accounting methodology.
Being self-employed or freelancing is a balancing act in and of itself. If you are looking for a way to simplify your finances and enjoy a few bonus features along the way, then signing up for a Lili standard or Lili Pro account may be just what you need.
Sharee Biggs is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Qualified Tax Professional and personal finance writer who helps millennials, women and moms reach their money goals by getting serious about their personal finances.