Opening a business bank account is a simple four step process that can typically be completed in less than an hour, if you have prepared beforehand. You can open a business bank account either online or in-person, but doing so online will typically take longer and could require additional documentation.
Before you open a business bank account you’ll need to provide an employer federal tax identification (FEIN or EIN) and your legal registration documentation. If you haven’t yet incorporated your business, MyCompanyWorks can do this for you with a simple three step process that only takes you a few minutes to order online.
You can open your business bank account by following these four steps:
Step 1 – Determine What You Need in a Business Bank Account
There are many things you should consider before you move forward with opening a business bank account. First of all, what type of bank account do you need? While most businesses start with a business checking account, a savings account might also be a consideration if your situation dictates. The fees your bank will charge should also be a strong consideration on which type of account is right for you.
The most common types of business bank accounts are:
- Business Checking Account: This is an account you can freely move money in and out of as your business needs occur. If you have lots of transactions that you need to make with deposits and bill payments then this is the account that is most likely right for you. This is also the most common type of business bank account.
- Business Savings Account: This is an account that you can make deposits to where you’ll earn extra money every month for keeping it in your account. You’ll be limited on the number of withdrawals you can make though, so this is only for businesses not looking to make frequent payments out of the account.
- Free Business Checking Account: This type of account operates just like a normal checking account but there are no maintenance fees and may not have a minimum account balance requirement. These accounts are typically online business checking accounts so it is right for newer businesses that don’t need a physical branch nearby.
Once you’ve determined the account that you need then you should determine how much you’re willing to pay every month for maintenance and security. Having a physical branch nearby is important for businesses that take on a lot of cash that needs to be deposited on a consistent basis. If you just need a business checking account to sign up for affiliate programs for your online business or to get your business off the ground then an online free checking account may suffice.
Step 2 – Find the Right Bank for Your Business
Now that you know the type of account you’re looking for, you can narrow down which bank you’d like to work with. Oddly enough, the bank choice is made by proximity more than anything else for the majority of small businesses. Most businesses just want a bank with a name they can trust that is close to their base of operations. This makes transactions easy in the event the business owner has to go into the bank.
While many business owners are satisfied with proximity, you probably should consider other things when choosing the right bank to partner with. There are a number of factors that should be considered when picking the bank, such as the banking fees and other costs. The factors we recommend include:
- Bank Network: How convenient is the bank’s network to your operations? Are there plenty of free to use ATMs and deposit locations that meet the needs of your business? This is especially important to investigate if you’re opening a business bank account with an online provider without close proximity to a branch location because you need to know where you can withdraw funds from without paying a fee.
- Online Experience: How easy is it to transact business using an online website or phone app? Considering how much business is transacted online these days, this should be an absolute must that meets the demand level of your business needs.
- Costs: How much are the fees? Are you going to be paying a maintenance or security fee, and if so how much do you pay? Do your fees increase if your balance dips below a certain amount? These are all important things you should ask before signing on the dotted line and making your first deposit.
- Integrations: Small businesses typically use an accounting software like Quickbooks. Your bank should make your life easier, not more difficult. So, you should make sure that whatever accounting software you need, it integrates with your bank. If it doesn’t then you, or your accountant, will likely regret it later.
Once you’ve taken these things into consideration, and all other important aspects of the banking relationship that is important to you, then you’ll be ready to make a decision. Remember, the right bank doesn’t need to have a big name to be the right partner for you. For example, many credit unions and online banks have been great partners for businesses of all sizes.
Step 3 – Gather the Right Documentation
Before you open a business bank account you’ll need to make sure that you’ve correctly incorporated your business. The bank will ask for your corporate documents before you’re able to make your first deposit. Having the right documentation with you at the time of application will speed up the entire process, and enable you to walk away with a business bank account the same day you apply, in many cases.
The documentation that you’ll need to gather could include (call the bank before you visit to make sure you have it all):
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Social Security Number (if you’re an unincorporated sole proprietorship)
- Business Licenses
- Business Name Filing Document (if applicable)
- Partnership Agreement (if applicable)
- Articles of Incorporation or Organization (and appropriate banking resolution)
- Explanation of Your Business
- Funds to Deposit
- Some online banks may require more documentation to verify your identity
You can obtain most of this by incorporating your business ahead of time. MyCompanyWorks has been trusted to complete more than 60,000 business formations and counting. In just three easy steps you can be on your way to receiving all of your documentation so that you can immediately open a business bank account.
Step 4 – Deposit Funds With Your Bank
Once all of your documentation is verified, the bank will process your application and open your account. To finalize the account opening process you’ll be required to deposit funds into your new business bank account. Many banks will not require a certain deposit amount while others will require up to $1,000 as the minimum opening deposit even if they don’t require a minimum balance during the life of the account. It’s important to check with your bank before going through the process so you’re prepared to finalize this portion of the process.
Once your funds are confirmed into your account then you’ll be able to immediately access them through the checks that your bank will provide. Some banks will immediately provide a debit card while others will send them in the mail within 7-10 business days. The length of time it takes for your funds to show up in the account will depend on the bank you choose and the method you choose to deposit your funds with. For example, cash will be available a lot faster than a wire transfer from another bank (even if it’s your personal bank).
Benefits of Opening a Business Bank Account
There are many benefits for both you, as a business owner, and for your business when you open a business bank account. The most important one is that you should always keep your personal and business funds separated. This can protect you from personal liability in the event that something goes wrong in your business. For example, if your business files for bankruptcy in the future then mixing your personal funds with your business funds could put your personal assets at risk and attainable by the business’s creditors.
Other than the legal ramifications of opening a business bank account, you can also benefit from being able to easily pay your business’s bills and making it easy to pay your employees. It keeps your money safe and allows you to start building a banking relationship that you could utilize for needed loans to grow your business in the future.
If you’re ready to take advantage of the benefits of having a business bank account, you can get started today by registering your business. MyCompanyWorks will do this for you and you can get started immediately with our simple three step process. All you have to do is select a company type and your state, fill out a quick online form, and then you’ll receive the needed documents to open a business bank account.