fbpx

What Do I Need to Open a Business Bank Account?

Opening a business bank account might seem far from the most glamorous tasks that business owners need to tackle, but it is essential to your business’s success. Having a business bank account makes you look professional to your clients, keeps your business and personal funds separate, and can help you qualify for financing when the time comes.

As you might have expected, the requirements to open a business bank account can vary based on the type of business you have, the type of bank account you want to open, and which bank you use.

Let’s see some of the common things you’ll need to open a business bank account, along with tips for the best bank accounts for small businesses.

In This Article

Benefits of Having a Business Bank Account

One of the biggest reasons to have a business bank account is to keep your business and personal finances separate. Mixing the two can make it harder to do your taxes and maintain your books. You could also open yourself up to more legal exposure if you mix business and personal funds.

If you run a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) without separating your financials, you could potentially lose the personal liability protection you would have as an individual in case your business runs into any trouble. That means creditors could come after your personal assets if your business acquires a debt.

There are other reasons it’s good practice to open a separate business bank account. A business checking account makes you look more professional in front of clients. You’ll get custom checks with your business’s name on them, a dedicated company debit card, and you’ll also make your accountant’s life so much easier for tax time.

Opening a business bank account is also one step to establishing business credit for your company, something that can help you qualify for financing and favorable supplier terms down the line. The benefits you get when you open a business bank account far outweigh the headaches—get it over with early, and you’ll be happy you did.

Types of Business Bank Accounts

Now that you know the benefits of opening a business bank account, it’s time to decide what type of checking account you need. There are three main types of business bank accounts:

  • Business checking account
  • Business savings account
  • Merchant services account

Think about how you use your personal accounts. You use checking for day-to-day expenses, and to accept payments from friends and others. You use savings to store your leftover cash, and accrue a little interest on the money you don’t necessarily need to access quickly.

Business bank accounts work the same way. You’ll likely need a business checking account first, which allows you to do the basics—pay for things, collect invoices, and manage your cash flow.

Then, once you’re established and have more money in your checking account than you conceivably need to access within a month, consider adding on a business savings account to build interest and store away any surplus money. This account lets you keep money for the long-term while generating interest.

If your business accepts credit card payments, you’ll also need a merchant account. Merchant account providers front you payment for your sales before the customer pays their credit card company. You need to have a business checking account before you can open a merchant account.

That way, the merchant account provider has somewhere to deposit your funds. Some traditional banks offer merchant services accounts. You can also go with different banks for different types of accounts.

What You Need to Open a Business Bank Account

Whether you’re looking to open a business checking, business savings, or merchant services account, all banks will ask you for certain kinds of documentation about the business and its owners.

Some of these documents may vary depending on your type of business entity and what state you live in (or the state in which you established your business). Some banks also ask for more documentation than others. It’s typically simpler to open a business bank account online.

Here’s what you need to open a business bank account:

Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number (EIN)

To prove your business’s identity, you’ll need to provide your EIN, as well as the documents that the IRS sent you when issuing your EIN. Some banks allow sole proprietors to use their social security number instead of an EIN, but there are several benefits to getting an EIN even if it’s not required.

It’s fast and simple to apply for an EIN for your business on the IRS’s website. It lets your business have a tax presence independent of your social security number.

To obtain an EIN, you must have a valid Social Security number and be filing on behalf of a company located in the United States. If that’s in order, you can request an EIN online in about a half-hour. Be sure to save your EIN confirmation letter, which you’ll need to show to the bank.

Personal Identification

Most banks will also ask you for one or two forms of personal identification to prove that you are connected with the business. To open a business bank account, you must be an officer or owner of the company. Valid forms of personal identification include a driver’s license, state-issued identification, or passport.

Business License

A business license is what you’d expect it to be—a license from a state or local government body that allows you to conduct business. Each state’s or locality’s processes for getting a business license differ a bit, so it’s best to see what your area requires specifically.

Certificate of Assumed Name/DBA

Many businesses operate under a trade name that is different from their legal name. For example, ABC Bakery, LLC, might operate as “ABC’s.” If this is true in your case, you’ll need to file a fictitious business name, also known as a doing business as name (DBA), with your state’s secretary of state. The bank will ask for a copy of your DBA filing documents as proof of your business’s trade name.

Partnership Agreement

Businesses with multiple owners should sign their partnership agreement, also called a founders’ agreement. For corporations, this might be called bylaws, and for LLCs, it might be called an operating agreement. The agreement covers critical issues the company will face, each owner’s rights and responsibilities, and how it will conduct business.

Organizing Documents

The requirements for organizing documents vary a bit by state, but at their core, they spell out a few crucial components of your company: business name, address, owners, registered agent (the person who handles a company’s paperwork), management structure (who will be in charge of running the company), and the activities it will engage in.

The main organizational document for a corporation is called the articles of incorporation. For an LLC, it’s called the articles of organization. You should store these founding documents in a safe place and be ready to show them to a bank.

Monthly Credit Card Revenue

This final piece of information is for businesses that are applying for merchant services accounts. If you own a merchant account, you will need to tell them your processing history and your average volume of monthly credit card revenue. If you’re a startup, then you might not have any processing history, but will need to provide estimates of your monthly credit card volume.

Some merchant account providers ask for additional documentation as well, such as financial statements and bank account statements.

How Requirements Vary for Different Business Types

Here’s a basic overview of what you’ll need to open a business bank account based on your entity type:

Sole Proprietorships

  • Social security number (okay for sole proprietorships only) or EIN
  • Personal identification
  • Business license with the name of the business and the owner’s name(s)
  • Certificate of assumed name/DBA
  • Monthly credit card revenue (for merchant accounts)

Partnerships

  • EIN
  • Personal identification
  • Business license
  • Certificate of assumed name/DBA
  • Partnership agreement with the name of the business and its partners
  • Organizing document filed with the state (for limited partnerships or limited liability partnerships)
  • Monthly credit card revenue (for merchant accounts)

Limited Liability Companies

  • EIN
  • Personal identification
  • Business license
  • Certificate of assumed name/DBA
  • LLC operating agreement with the name of the business and its partners
  • Articles of organization
  • Monthly credit card revenue (for merchant accounts)

Corporations

  • EIN
  • Personal identification
  • Business license
  • Certificate of assumed name/DBA
  • Corporate bylaws
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Monthly credit card revenue (for merchant accounts)

Choosing a Business Bank Account

Okay, if you’ve made it this far, it means you have everything prepared to open your business bank account. From here, the next step is to compare and choose the right business bank account for your company. Here are some excellent options for small businesses.

Azlo Business Checking

Who it’s right for: Businesses that don’t handle much cash and want a digital, completely fee-free bank account.

Benefits:

  • No fees and no minimum balance requirements
  • Unlimited free transactions per month
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Send digital invoices to your customers

Chase Total Checking

Who it’s right for: New businesses that are ready to grow while easily managing their cash flow.

Benefits:

  • Low service fees ($12 for paperless billing, $15 for paper billing per month) that are waived if you maintain a $1,500 daily balance
  • 100 free transactions per month
  • Free, unlimited non-wire electronic deposits

Chase Performance Checking

Who it’s right for: Bigger companies that need the essentials.

Benefits:

  • Low service fees ($30 per month) that are waived with a daily balance of $35,000
  • 250 free transactions per month
  • Monthly deposits of up to $20,000 in cash are free

NBKC Business Money Market Account

Who it’s right for: Businesses that want an interest-bearing savings account

Benefits:

  • Earn high-yield interest on your savings
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum deposit or daily average balance requirement
  • Apply quickly and easily online, manage the whole of your account online

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much money do you need to open a business checking account?

Many banks today don’t require a minimum deposit to open a business bank account. However, minimum deposit policies will vary by bank, and some accounts will have $50, $100, or other requirements. Be sure to research their website or call a location to confirm their policies.

2. Can I open a business bank account online?

Yes. Many banks, like Azlo and NBKC, have digitized the application process to let you open a business bank account online. Keep in mind that you will still need to provide all the necessary documents and identifications as you would when applying in-person.

Use our guide to learn more about how to open a business bank account online.

3. Can I open a business bank account without an EIN?

Usually, only sole proprietors can open a business bank account without an EIN. In these cases, sole proprietors without an EIN can register for a business bank account using their social security number. For other entity types, however, an EIN is typically required. 

Since policies vary by bank, though, you should call each location or visit their website to confirm their requirements.

The Bottom Line

As tricky as it might seem to open a business bank account for your company, it’s the kind of pain that you only have to endure once. Fulfill all of your state’s registration requirements, and have all of your state and federal paperwork ready to go. You should also know what your company’s needs are, like whether you need the liquidity of a checking account versus the interest rate of a savings account.

The paperwork required to get your company set up with a bank account isn’t minimal, no question, but most of it will have already been done when you set up your business. And the other documents that haven’t been filed yet will still come in handy later on—whether it be at tax time or when your business grows. Once you open your business bank account, you can focus on generating sales and filling that account with cash.

The post What Do I Need to Open a Business Bank Account? appeared first on Fundera Ledger.

This post was originally published on this site

GET UP TO $500K IN BUSINESS FUNDING

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Xiphos Web Marketing

FREE
VIEW