Lili Review: The Bank Account No Freelancer Should Live Without

Disclosure: We’re letting you know that this post contains sponsored links which The Smart Wallet receives compensation for, which may impact their order of appearance because talking about money should always be an honest discussion.

The gig economy is growing every day, and around 57 million* Americans participate in some form. Perks include having a flexible schedule and being their own boss, but often times income can be unpredictable, which can make finances difficult to keep track of.

Being a gig worker typically falls into four categories:

  • Freelancers who provide a service or skill (graphic design, writing, etc)
  • Freelance Marketplace workers who get hired on-demand via platforms like Uber, DoorDash, Upwork, Fiverr, etc.
  • Self-employed gig workers who have their own small business (small business owners and skilled tradespeople)
  • “Other” includes everything else. For instance, Etsy or eBay sellers, influencers who make money via sponsorships or affiliate ads, and more

This type of work has become mainstream, and there are vital tools to help freelancers, small business owners, and side hustlers manage their finances.

We’ll take a closer look at Lili, an all-in-one banking app designed specifically for freelancers.

What is Lili?

Lili is a fee-free mobile banking app that’s only accessible to freelancers and small business owners. Founded in 2018, Lilac Bar David (CEO) and Liran Zelkha (CTO) wanted to redesign banking to help freelancers thrive while facing unique challenges that are so different from traditional employment.

There are no account fees, no overdraft fees, no minimum balance, no foreign transaction fees, and you can get paid up to 2 days earlier** via direct deposit. Even stimulus payments and tax refunds can arrive earlier!

Lili also provides exclusive tools like:

  • Expense reports – They’re automatically generated and can be exported out
  • Expense management – It’s easy (and fun) to categorize Personal or Business expenses by literally swiping left/right in the app when viewing debit card purchases. No need for separate bank accounts!
  • Tax Bucket – Helps you plan & prepare taxes all year long (instead of at the last minute)
  • Emergency Bucket – Helps you set aside a fixed daily amount for an emergency fund which you can access at any time
  • Financial Insights – Track how much your business is bringing in vs. your spending habits

With Lili, you won’t get surprised at tax time as you’ll be able to save and categorize expenses throughout the year. They’ll make sure you include common tax deductions too like mileage, home office, software, internet, cell phone bill, and more depending on your profession. Last year, the average tax refund received by Lili customers was $2,697!

Need cash? You’ll be able to use your Lili Visa® business debit card to withdraw cash at over 38,000 free ATMs.

How to Get Started with Lili

You can open a Lili account in 3 minutes. (They timed it).

It’s simple:

  1. Complete a Lili application
  2. Download the Lili app
  3. Pair your device
  4. Get your Visa® card!

While you’re waiting for the physical card, you can use the digital debit card immediately.

Note: Since you’re applying for a bank account, you’ll need to provide your SSN. Don’t worry, it won’t affect your credit score!

What Members Are Saying

At the time of writing, Lili is rated 4.7 out of 5 on the App Store with positive reviews from members.

“Lili makes even the most agonizing tasks a piece of cake. I’m actually excited to do my taxes this year!” – Shlicia, Arizona (Graphic Designer, 2sday’s Design Solutions)

“Expenses has never been easier and the tax bucket is so great I still don’t know how I was saving before!” – Marti, New York (UX/UI Designer, Marti Bruno Design)

“Lili has allowed me as a freelancer to spend less time on my personal finances and more time on my clients.” – Logan, Nevada (Insurance Agent, Beta Insurance)

Is Lili Safe?

Since Lili is a mobile-only app, there is no brick & mortar location.

However, your money is FDIC-insured up to $250,000 (the standard for traditional banks as well) through their partner bank Choice Financial Group.

You can also freeze and unfreeze your card whenever you need to directly from the Lili app. Plus, real-time transaction notifications whenever your debit card is used keep you constantly updated.

Is Lili Worth Your Time?

Lili was voted Best Bank Account for Freelancers in 2020 by Fundera, the go-to financial resource for small businesses! They’ve also calculated that by using Lili, you’d save 60 hours of finance management and $1,700 per year.

With no monthly fees, no minimum balance, and free exclusive tools to manage and reduce your taxes, it’s well worth a shot as Lili is free to apply for.

Read More: How to Make Your Retirement Savings Last 20 Years

57 million gig workers source: Statista

** Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of payer’s submission of deposits. Lili will generally post these deposits on the day they are received which can be up to 2 days earlier than the payer’s scheduled payment date.