How do you open a business bank account? · Business banking can be a great step if you want to separate your business and personal finances. · You. What documentation do you need to open a business bank account? · Articles of incorporation · Business licenses · Doing business as (DBA) certificate · Employer. Lloyds Bank Business Accounts for New Businesses. The account that helps your business make a flying start, including 12 months' free day-to-day business.
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How to Open a Business Bank Account in 6 Steps (+ Checklist)
Opening a business bank account is an important step when starting a new business. By separating your business account from your personal account, you can be better organized and keep track of your finances more easily. Opening an account takes only a few minutes, but it’s important to be prepared and know what kind of account you should get, where you should get it, and what documents you’ll need.
1. Choose the Best Account
Select the best type of account for your needs. Banks, credit unions, and online banks offer similar accounts but different services and fees. A few offer free accounts with no minimum balance, and some offer other ways to waive the monthly where can i open a business bank account. Typically, online accounts don’t charge fees and are a better choice for businesses with no cash deposits. Traditional accounts offer a wider variety of banking products and services. You may also want to consider opening a business savings account to separate your working capital from your savings funds.
While there are multiple steps to complete, the application process for a business account is usually seamless, so you can open an account in minutes. In fact, most major banks, like Bank of America, let you apply and submit your documentation completely online. Choosing a bank that offers an online application can help you open an account the moment you need it.
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Free Business Bank Account
Most banks will charge you between $12 to $29 a month to maintain your account, but there are a few that won’t charge a monthly maintenance fee. Some, such as Chase Bank, our choice for the best overall free checking account, will waive the fee if you maintain a minimum balance.
Keep in mind that having a free business checking account doesn’t mean you won’t be assessed any fees at all. For example, you could still be charged for transactions, wire transfers, and overdrafts.
Traditional Small Business Checking Account
A traditional small business checking account is similar to a personal checking account. It includes the ability to make deposits and withdrawals, write checks or make electronic funds transfers, and make purchases and cash withdrawals with a debit card. Typically, there are maintenance fees, transaction fees, ATM fees, and deposit fees. One very convenient option is Bank of America, with branches and ATMs nationwide.
Online Business Checking Account
An online business checking account is a good choice for businesses that don’t need to visit a physical branch or handle daily cash transactions as these accounts typically don’t allow for cash deposits. Also, most online-only accounts are fee-free or allow you to avoid monthly account fees by maintaining a monthly minimum balance.
First Internet Bank, named the best small business checking account for 2021 by Newsweek, has no monthly service fee and only requires $25 to open an account through its website. If you need assistance, First Internet’s relationship bankers are available via phone or email during regular banking business hours.
Business Savings Accounts
A savings account is a stable place to keep your money while it earns interest. Evaluate account terms, including annual percentage yield (APY), account fees, and balance requirements, to find the best business savings account for your needs.
2. Find the Right Bank
Finding the right bank can be a challenge when there are so many options. Here are some factors to consider when choosing where to open a business bank account:
- Existing banking relationship: If you have an existing relationship with a bank, it may be convenient to open a business bank account with the same bank. You can build credit history, get personalized service, work together on business goals, receive recommendations for additional business products, and access small business resources.
- Affordable costs: Consider the fees the bank may charge you, such as fees for monthly maintenance, deposits, transactions, and ATM use. Also, consider if they will reimburse you for out-of-network ATM fees.
- Convenient network: Make sure the location of the branches and the number of ATMs suit your needs.
- Good online/mobile experience: Confirm that your bank offers a good online experience, including online bill pay, electronic funds transfers, and mobile deposits. If your business accepts payments via payment apps, such as Zelle, check to see if there are any additional fees and how long it will take for transactions to post.
- Ease of bookkeeping integration: Ensure that your bank account and bookkeeping software integrate.
- Support for future needs: If you expect you’ll need more than just bank accounts, make sure your bank offers small business loans, lines of credit, and credit cards.
3. Check the Account’s Costs
Most banks typically charge fees. Usually, banks waive them if certain criteria are met, such as maintaining a minimum balance, using bill pay, or keeping within transaction limits. Be sure to find out if the account will charge transaction fees, early termination fees, or minimum account balance fees.
Business checking account fees
- Monthly fee ($0 to $29 per month): Flat fee that’s waived if certain criteria are met, such as maintaining a minimum balance
- Transaction fee (40 to 50 cents per transaction): Fee that’s assessed if the number of transactions exceeds the monthly limit, which typically starts at 100 monthly transactions
- Cash deposit fee (2% to 3% per deposit): Fee that’s charged if cash deposits exceed the monthly allowance, which often starts at $5,000 a month
- ATM fee ($2 to $3 per transaction): Charge for ATM transactions at out-of-network ATMs
- Wire transfer fee ($15 to $45 per transaction): Fee assessed on domestic and international incoming and outgoing wire transfers
Business savings account fees
- Monthly fee ($0 to $15 per month): Flat fee that’s waived if you meet certain criteria, including maintaining a minimum balance or linking your savings account to a checking account
- Monthly balance transfer fee ($5 to $20 per transaction): Per-transaction charge if you exceed six balance transfers per month
- Cash deposit fee (2% to 3% per deposit): Fee that’s charged if cash deposits exceed the monthly allowance, which typically starts at $5,000 per month
- Wire transfer fee ($10 to $45 per transaction): Fee assessed on domestic and international incoming and outgoing wire transfers
4. Gather the Required Documents
The documents you will need to open a business bank account may vary between financial institutions. Typically, you’ll be asked to present your employer identification number (EIN), your business’s formation documents, and any federal or state licenses, which vary from state to state. To help ensure you’ve got all the right documents, we’ve prepared a free downloadable checklist of required documents by corporate structure for your convenience.
Sole Proprietorship Business Bank Account Requirements
- Personal identification: You need your Social Where can i open a business bank account number as well as two forms of personal ID to open a business bank account. Valid types of identification include a driver’s license, passport, and Social Security card.
- Fictitious business name certificate: You might also need a where can i open a business bank account business name certificate, also known as a doing-business-as certificate (DBA certificate) if your business operates under a different name than your own.
Partnership Business Bank Account Requirements
- Business identification: To open a business bank account, you need your federal EIN and a copy of your articles of organization.
- Organization documents: These include your business partnership agreement and any other organization documents that you may have prepared when you formed your partnership.
- Other potential documentation: You may also need to provide a signed declaration of unincorporated business and any required business licenses. Business licenses are common with healthcare businesses or restaurants.
S Corporation (S-corp) Business Bank Account Requirements
- Business identification: When opening a business account, you need to show your federal EIN.
- Articles of incorporation and corporate charter: You need to provide your certified articles of incorporation and possibly your corporate charter.
- Corporate resolution: You might also need to provide a corporate resolution signed by all of your officers as well as a signature card signed by the account signers.
- Business licenses: Businesses that need a license, such as restaurants, must also provide their license documentation.
Limited Liability Company (LLC) Business Bank Account Requirements
- Business identification: To open a business bank account, you need your federal EIN as well as a copy of your articles of organization.
- Organizational documents: You need to provide the organizational documents used to form either your S-corp or partnership.
- Other potential documentation: You also may need to provide a signed declaration of unincorporated business and any required business licenses; business licenses are common with healthcare businesses or restaurants.
C Corporation (C-corp) Business Bank Account Requirements
- Business identification: Like an LLC, you need your federal EIN to apply for a business bank account.
- Articles of incorporation: You also need your certified articles of incorporation; you receive your article of incorporation documents as a part of your incorporation process.
- Corporate charter: If your articles of incorporation don’t provide sufficient information regarding who is authorized to sign, you may also need to provide an additional corporate charter that specifies this information.
- Corporate resolution: You might also need to provide a corporate resolution signed by all of your officers as well as a signature card signed by the account signers.
- Business licenses: Businesses that need a license, such as healthcare businesses or restaurants, have to provide their license documentation.
- Additional requirements for nonprofits: If you’re operating as a nonprofit organization, you’ll need to show your 501(c) letter from the IRS or other tax-exempt documentation.
Business Bank Account Requirements for Startups
- Personal or business identification: You must provide either personal identification, like a driver’s license or Social Security card, for a sole proprietorship or EIN for the other business types.
- Organizational documentation: You also need to provide the documentation used to organize your business, such as a fictitious business name certificate, LLC operating agreement, or articles of incorporation.
- Business licenses: If your startup business needs a license, you will also need to provide your license documentation when opening a business account.
5. Open an Account Online or In Person
Most banks provide the option to open a business bank account in person at time zone map north america branch location or online. Online-only banks will only allow online openings since they have no physical branch locations. Whether you choose to apply online or in person, you need to have the required documents for your specific company structure ready to show or submit on the bank’s website.
You may prefer to visit a branch to receive face-to-face customer service. Online-only accounts typically offer a customer service phone number or live chat.
6. Deposit Your Funds
Once you’ve opened your business account, the last step is to deposit funds. You can do this by writing a check to your business from another account like a personal account, making an electronic funds transfer between bank accounts, or depositing cash. Once that’s done, your account is ready to use.
If your business accepts checks, most banks offer mobile deposit―sometimes called remote deposit or where can i open a business bank account deposit capture―which can be done through a mobile banking app on a smartphone. If you anticipate large volumes of checks, inquire about getting a check scanner so that you can scan many checks at a time easily. Your bank may charge you a monthly fee to use the scanner.
Benefits of Opening a Business Bank Account
- Separate your business and personal finances: Keeping your business and personal bank accounts separate can help you manage your cash flow and make it much easier to track the financial health of your business.
- Build a business banking relationship: Building a relationship with your bank or credit union means you can get personalized help to reach your business goals.
- Maintain a clean financial record: A business bank account can help provide a clean and organized financial record when it’s time to do taxes.
- Protect your personal accounts from liability: Limited liability operations—LLCs, C-corps, and S-corps—can protect your liability better with a business bank account rather than a personal account.
Opening a Business Bank Account With Other Business Products
Business owners may want to consider opening a business bank account with additional business products for a more streamlined and efficient way to run their finances. For example, combining your business bank account with your business credit card and merchant processing allows you to see the big picture of both your income and expenditures.
Additional Articles and Resources to Help your Business
- Best Banks for Small Businesses: If you’re not certain which bank to choose, check out our list of the top five banks for small businesses.
- Tips for Separating Business and Personal Finances: Opening a business bank account is just one way to separate your business and personal expenses. To safeguard your personal finances from your business operations, review the nine tips and best practices in this biggest commercial banks in the us is APY?: Knowing the difference between APY and annual percentage rate (APR) and how these affect your bank accounts can help you decide which bank can help your business the most.
Opening a business bank account is an important step when starting a new business. By separating your business account from your personal account, you can be organized better and keep track of your finances more easily. See if your bank or credit union has any introductory offers and be sure to compare rates for savings and checking accounts with other financial institutions.
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|Multi-user access (Ltds only)||Yes||No|
|6 months Xero free (optional)||Yes||No|
|Mobile and web access||Yes||Yes|
|Card payments with Stripe||Yes||Yes|
|Easy bank transfers (free till 2023)||Yes||Yes|
|Business debit card||Yes||Yes|
|24/7 customer support||Yes||Yes|
|Free, instant UK bank transfers||Yes||Yes|
|Pots to separate money||Yes||Yes|
|Budget and categorise spending||Yes||Yes|
|Full UK current account||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile signup and switching||Yes||Yes|
|Apple Pay and Google Pay||Yes||Yes|
|Fee-free spending abroad||Yes||Yes|
|Manage scheduled payments||Yes||Yes|
|Pay in cash and cheques||Yes||Yes|
|£85,000 FSCS protection (if eligible)||Yes||Yes|
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Check if you're eligible
You can apply for a business bank account if you’re a sole trader or a registered limited company by shares (Ltd), based in the UK, and if you're an Ltd also a tax resident only in the UK.
Head to our eligibility criteria for more detail on businesses and industries we can and can’t support at the moment.
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Business Bank Account Checklist: Documents You'll Need
- To open a business bank account, you will need your articles where can i open a business bank account incorporation, employer identification number and personal identification documents.
- You can set up a business checking and savings account.
- A business bank account is necessary to keep your business and personal finances separate.
- This article is for small business owners who are interested in opening a business bank account and want to know what they need to get started.
Business bank accounts help you manage your business finances in a professional manner and separate those funds from your personal finances. Opening a business bank account requires more effort than opening a personal account. There are documents to gather, names to be determined and licenses to get in order. Learn why you should have a business bank account and what you need to do to open one.
Benefits of a business bank account
Establishing a separate business bank account is an essential step in running your small business. While you may only have one personal bank account, your business likely needs multiple accounts.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, most business bank accounts offer benefits and perks that personal bank accounts do not. Here are four reasons why you need a business bank account.
1. Limited liability protection
Business banking helps limit your personal liability by keeping business funds separate from your personal funds.
"No matter what type of business you own, you should always separate your personal and business finances," said Chas Rampenthal, general counsel at LegalZoom. "The first and most important step toward successfully separating your finances is to have separate bank accounts."
2. Purchase protection for customers
Many banks offer merchant accounts as a business banking option. Merchant services are a business advantage, because they provide purchase protection for your customers and also protect their personal information.
A business bank account allows checks to be made out to the business – which is more professional than asking customers to make out checks to your name. Your customers can also pay with credit cards, and employees can handle banking tasks on behalf of the business.
4. Credit options
Some banks provide an option for a line of credit that you can use in an emergency. Many also offer business credit cards that you can use to start building a credit history for your fledgling business.
Key takeaway: A business bank account keeps your business finances separate from your personal funds. The benefits of a business bank account are that it helps limit your personal liability and customers can pay your company directly. Further, the bank may also provide you with a line of credit and a business credit card that you can use to build a credit history.
As with personal banking, there are several types of business bank accounts. Depending on your needs, you'll likely need to open more than one account.
Here are the four common types of business bank accounts:
- Checking account: A business checking account is a great choice for managing payroll, expenses and other basic financial tasks that keep your business running.
- Savings account: In addition to a checking account, you'll likely need a business savings account to hold your earnings.
- Merchant account: If you plan to accept credit and debit card payments, check with your bank to see if you can set up a merchant account. "Depending on whom you bank with, some banks offer merchant services as well," said Julia Spahiu, founder and CFO of Edi and Sienna Group. "I suggest to all my clients [that they] shop around before settling for one particular account, and renegotiate your rate at least once a year."
- Credit card account: You can use a business credit card for emergencies or miscellaneous items for your business. The chief benefit of a credit card for the owners of startups or if one has bad credit is that it can help build or improve your business credit score.
Key takeaway: The four main types of business bank accounts are checking, savings, merchant and credit card accounts.
Business owners have many banking options, and every bank offers something a little different. Take your time perusing the various options until you find the right bank for your business.
"Always shop around," said Mike Swigunski, founder and CEO of Global Career. "Banks are as keen to gain new customers as they are to retain current ones, so use this to your advantage to get better deals."
Here's what to consider (and ask about) as you evaluate different banks:
Every bank has different fee structures and features. Business accounts typically have higher fees and minimum balance requirements than personal accounts.
Tracy Odell, vice president of content at FinanceBuzz, recommends asking whether the bank offers any bonuses.
"Sometimes banks offer bonuses for opening a business account with them," she said. "For example, a bank might offer $300 if you open an account and maintain a certain minimum balance. These offers can be a great way to earn a little extra revenue, but keep in mind that these bonuses are taxable. Don't be surprised if you get a 1099 for the bonus next tax season."
Account maintenance requirements
Often, business bank accounts have requirements that you must meet; if you don't, you can be charged fees. For instance, it's common for banks to require you to maintain a certain balance – but this minimum amount varies from bank to bank – and it may be a daily minimum or a monthly minimum. If you have multiple accounts, the bank may count all of your accounts toward a combined minimum amount, or they may look at each account separately.
In lieu of maintaining a certain minimum balance, some banks, with their business checking accounts, won't charge you the fee if you spend a certain minimum on a debit or credit card tied to your account, or if you use one of the bank's other services.
Carefully consider which account features are must-haves when you're comparing banks. For instance, do you need a business bank account that includes detailed analytics? Do you want a mobile app that allows you to digitally deposit checks? Do you need a business debit card? Would it be useful to receive alerts when your balance is nearing your minimum?
Key takeaway: When looking for a bank for your business account, take your time researching the different requirements, features, fees and sign-up bonuses.
How to open a business bank account by company type
According to Grant Aldrich, founder and CEO of OnlineDegree.com, opening a business bank account follows the same process regardless of your business type, except for sole proprietorships, as opening a personal savings or checking account.
"If you're a sole proprietor, you need to bring your Social Security card instead of your EIN," Aldrich said.
Sole proprietors still need to bring their business license, DBA certificate and personal identification documents.
What documentation do you need to open a business bank account?
Before you open a business bank account, you should have the following documentation prepared:
- Articles of incorporation
- Business licenses
- Doing business as (DBA) certificate
- Employer identification number (EIN)
- Identification documents
"There are various factors business owners should consider when opening a business bank account," said Rampenthal. "It's essential to prepare all necessary documents from the get-go in order to facilitate a painless process."
Here's more information about each of the documents you'll need to open a business bank account.
Articles of incorporation
Your articles of incorporation show the bank how your business is structured, and you use these legal documents to register your business with the state and other entities.
"If you form a business as an LLC, limited partnership, corporation or other separate legal entity, to open a bank account, you will need the articles of incorporation that you filed with the state if you are the sole owner," said Tiffany Wright, president of The Resourceful CEO, a financing advisory firm for small and midsize businesses, and project director at Cogent Analytics.
Rampenthal said that banks will likely ask for your current business license to prove you are legally permitted to conduct business in your region.
"This also ensures that your business is accountable for all actions taken – including taxes and finances," he said. "Check with your state, county and local governments to determine if you need any licenses to operate your business."
Doing business as (DBA) certificate
A DBA, often referred to as a "fictitious name," allows you to conduct business "like marketing or advertising, or accept money, under a name that differs from the existing name of your business," said Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.
Sweeney added that most banks require a certified copy of a DBA to open a business bank account, since entrepreneurs aren't allowed to use their personal bank account under their business name.
"Filing for a DBA allows entities to do business under another name without having to form a new organization," Sweeney said. "For example, imagine an entrepreneur named Tom Johnson. Tom is a sole proprietor who runs his own business and wants to open up a sandwich shop called Subs 'n Chips. Tom wants this business to operate under the Subs 'n Chips name and not under his own name, Tom Johnson. As such, he would need to register for a DBA so he could do business under this name, including accepting and signing checks made out to and on behalf of Subs 'n Chips."
Employer identification number (EIN)
If you're a sole proprietor, you will need an EIN, your Social Security number, and a driver's license or passport, according to Levi King, co-founder and CEO of credit solutions and monitoring firm Nav.
EINs are also used to prevent identity theft, fraud and money laundering. King added that while some banks allow a sole proprietorship to open accounts without where can i open a business bank account EIN, it's still beneficial to create one.
Rampenthal said that the EIN is essential for managing taxes and paying employees.
"Sole proprietors may use their Social Security number for business tax where can i open a business bank account in lieu of an EIN," he added. "You can obtain an EIN for your business by filing with the IRS."
Finally, you'll need to provide documents proving your identity.
Forms of proof "can include a government-issued picture ID, such as a driver's license or passport," Rampenthal said. "This is used in order to corroborate [that] the business owner is indeed the person who owns and/or runs the corresponding business."
Key takeaway: To open a business bank account, you'll need to present documents where can i open a business bank account prove your identity and the legitimacy of your business.
When should you open a business bank account?
The best time to open a business bank account is before you accept the first payment for your company's goods or services. Typically, a business bank account is opened during the incorporation process. A bank get cash for amazon gift card cannot be opened until the business has a license to operate and an identifying tax number (which will be an employer identification number or a Social Security number for a sole proprietorship).
What is the difference between a bank and a credit union?
Banks and credit unions primarily offer the same services to customers and members. Both are designed to provide money management (such as checking and savings accounts), loan services, and other financial services.
The differences stem from the organization, classification and regulation surrounding each type of financial institution. Banks are for-profit businesses that can be singly or publicly owned. Credit unions are, by definition, nonprofit institutions. They are collectively owned by union members, so no credit union can ever be a sole proprietorship.
The difference in classification has led to where can i open a business bank account in regulations for the two types of institutions. Many of the rules that were instituted after the 2008 financial crisis were not applied to credit unions. Services at banks and credit unions might have different fees or interest rates attached to their services, and approval processes will vary. Credit unions, for example, may have requirements pertaining to who can be members of the credit union. For example, many credit unions limit membership to residents of the county where the credit union is located.
Is it better to apply in person or online?
Rampenthal said that some banks do not offer the option of opening a business account online, either to reduce the risk of identity theft or due to the nature of certain businesses.
Banks that do offer the option of applying for a business bank account online may take more time to review your documents and set up the account than they would if you applied in person.
If the bank you choose offers both application options, you'll need to decide which option (and trade-off) is more preferable: the convenience of applying online but waiting longer for your account to be set up or applying in person and having your account set up the same day.
Matt D'Angelo and Simone Johnson contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. Some interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.
From sign-up bonuses to easy cash deposits, business bank account features can vary greatly. Consider all the characteristics before choosing where to bank.
Whatever perk or feature most matters to you, having the right business bank account is crucial to your business. This account is where your deposits are made and expenses are paid.
And, as your business continues to grow, it makes sense to re-evaluate your business bank account each year. Pay attention to the transaction limits, fees, restrictions, and benefits to ensure that yesterday's account is the right one for your business today—and tomorrow, as well.
Business Bank Accounts FAQs
What Is a Business Bank Account?
A business bank account is a checking account set up specifically for business incomes and outflows, allowing individuals to keep their professional financial affairs and transactions separate from their personal where can i open a business bank account. Business accounts often provide features that are uncommon for individual accounts. These features include initiating wires or ACH payments, delegating account authority/privileges to other parties (like an employee or accountant), and cash management tools like positive pay.
What Is the Difference Between a Business Bank Account and a Personal Bank Account?
Although business bank accounts and personal bank accounts are similar in many ways, the do have their differences. A business bank account has more requirements to open than a personal account.
Fees and required balances also tend to be higher for business bank accounts, while interest rates are lower. Business bank accounts usually allow a limited number of transactions before the bank charges additional fees.
Since a business bank account represents the business and not a person, authorized signers can be added or removed at any time without needing to close the account.
What Do You Need to Open a Business Bank Account?
Requirements to open a business bank account vary by the financial institution. However, most banks require the following:
- Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number for sole proprietors
- Business formation documents
- Ownership agreements
- Business license
Account signers need to bring their personal identification to open the account. Most banks require an initial deposit to fund the account when it is opened; the minimum opening deposit requirements vary by the bank—and can be a key factor, along with ongoing minimum account balances, to consider when choosing one.
Can I Open a Business Bank Account Online?
Yes, there are many banks that allow you to open an account online in just a few minutes. Several of these banks are mentioned above. To open your business bank account online, the bank will require all of the same paperwork as if you opened the account in person.
Can I Use My Personal Bank Account for My Small Business?
You can use your personal bank account for a small business, like a sole proprietorship. However, it is best not to. Having a dedicated bank account for your business allows you to keep your business deposits and expenses separate from personal transactions. This is very important when it comes to filing taxes.
Do I Need a Business Account If I'm Self-employed?
You do not need a separate business account if you are operating your business under your own name. However, it is recommended that you have a dedicated, separate bank account to make it easier to track business revenue and expenses.
If you are operating your sole proprietorship under a fictitious business name or as a separate legal entity (e.g. C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC), then you need to have a separate business bank account.
Is It Legal to Transfer Money From a Business Account to a Personal Bank Account?
Yes, it is legal to transfer money from a business account to a personal account. However, if you have partners or shareholders in your company, it is not advisable to make such a transfer without their written consent. All transactions into and out of a business account should be documented for good recordkeeping, tax purposes, and in case of an audit.
Some banks allow you (and, like Chase, even encourage you) to link your personal and business accounts. Depending upon the legal structure of your business, some banks even allow your business and personal accounts to be viewed on the same online banking screen. This makes transfers between accounts simple and quick.
Research for this article encompassed business bank accounts from across the U.S. We evaluated the benefits offered, transaction limits, fees charged, and customer service of each business bank account reviewed to determine the "best of" designation for each category.
How to Open a Business Checking Account
What You'll Need:
Banks require three primary types of documentation before you can open a business checking account:
- Personal Identification: Any form of government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver's license, passport, etc). Some banks may require a secondary form of identification (e.g. utility bill, credit/debit card, etc).
- Tax Identification Number: Multi-member businesses must provide their Employment Identification Number (EIN). Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs may provide their SSN or ITIN (for non-US citizens) instead of an EIN.
- Documentation of Business Registration & Compliance: Unless you’re a sole proprietor, you’ll need to bring your business formation documents (Certificate of Formation, Articles of Incorporation, etc). Businesses that require licenses or permits should bring proof of these as well.
Some banks also require the following documents:
- Operating/partnership agreement: Depending on your business structure, you may also need to provide your bank with a written operating agreement or partnership agreement.
- Assumed Name Certificate: If your business uses a DBA (Doing Business As) name, your bank may need to have your Assumed Name Certificate or equivalent document (e.g. Trade Name Certificate, Fictitious Business Name Statement, etc) on file.
How to Apply Online
Applying for a business bank account online is typically more convenient than applying in-person. Not all banks offer this method of application, but many are beginning to (Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo to name a few). It simply involves providing the documentation above in digital form, or inputting the information from these documents into an online form.
Some banks may allow you to start the application process online but require that you bring your business documents to a physical branch location before officially opening the account. It’s also important to keep in mind that you’ll be required to make a minimum initial deposit upon the finalization of your business bank account.
How to Apply In-Person
Applying at a physical branch of the bank of your choice is the traditional way to open a business checking account. Simply bring copies of the documents outlined above to a nearby branch location and ask to speak with a banker who’s qualified to get your account set up. It may be worth calling ahead of time to confirm the documents you need to bring, and ask whether or not all the members of your business need to be present.
Why Should You Open a Business Checking Account?
A business bank account establishes your business as its own entity that’s completely separate from your personal finances. This separation is essential for protecting your personal assets.
For more information on why you should open a business bank account, check out our guide.
National Banks vs. Local Banks
Before deciding on a bank, we encourage you to explore the pros and cons of national and community banks.
National financial institutions have more locations, making them a good choice for businesses looking to expand. Larger banks also tend to offer more sophisticated financial services. However, community banks get higher satisfaction ratings due to more personal customer service, which may make them a worthwhile option for small local businesses.
It’s important to consider the unique needs of your business before choosing a bank. Learn more about the differences between national and community banks by reading our guide.
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