Benefits of business bank accounts
As soon as you start accepting or spending money as your business, you should open a business bank account. Common business accounts include a checking account, savings account, credit card account, and a merchant services account. Merchant services accounts allow you to accept credit and debit card transactions from your customers.
You can open a business bank account once you've gotten your federal EIN.
Most business bank accounts offer perks that don't come with a standard personal bank account.
Business banking offers limited personal liability protection by keeping your business funds separate from your personal funds. Merchant services also offer purchase protection for your customers and ensures that their personal information is secure.
Customers will be able to pay you with credit cards and make checks out to your business instead of directly to you. Plus, you'll be able to authorize employees to handle day-to-day banking tasks on behalf of the business.
Business banking usually comes with the option for a line of credit for the company. This can be used in the event of an emergency, or if your business needs new equipment.
Credit card accounts can help your business make large startup purchases and help establish a credit history for your business.
- Better than a piggy bank
John and Kelly opened a business bank account so they can receive and spend money on behalf of their auto repair shop.
John and Kelly want to open a business bank account to keep the funds from their auto repair shop separate from their personal funds.
Rates and fees vary from bank to bank, so John and Kelly visit multiple banks in the area. They bring along their business documents, including their business license and Employer Identification Number (EIN). They open a checking and savings account at a bank that gives them a favorable introductory offer and has low fees.
John and Kelly also open a credit card account, which they’ll use to make business-related purchases and build a credit history. They can use the line of credit in an emergency to keep their business running smoothly.
John and Kelly also want to open a merchant services account, which allows them to accept credit and debit card payments from customers. These accounts charge various transaction fees and require a minimum number of monthly transactions. John and Kelly carefully consider the fees associated with each merchant services provider before selecting the best one for their business.
Customers can now securely pay John and Kelly’s business – with cash, check, or card – rather than pay John and Kelly themselves.
Find an account with low fees and good benefits
Some business owners open a business account at the same bank they use for their personal accounts. Rates, fees, and options vary from bank to bank, so you should shop around to make sure you find the lowest fees and the best benefits.
Here are things to consider when you're opening a business checking or savings account:
- Introductory offers
- Interest rates for savings and checking
- Interest rates for lines of credit
- Transaction fees
- Early termination fees
- Minimum account balance fees
Here are things to consider when you're opening a merchant services account:
- Discount rate – the percentage charged for every transaction processed
- Transaction fees – the amount charged for every credit card transaction
- Address Verification Service (AVS) fees
- ACH daily batch fees – fees charged when you settle credit card transactions for that day
- Monthly minimum fees – fees charged if your business doesn't meet the minimum required transactions
Payment processing companies are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional merchant services accounts. Payment processing companies sometimes provide extra functionality, like accessories that let you use your phone to accept credit card payments. The fee categories that you need to consider will be similar to merchant services account fees. If you find a payment processor that you like, remember that you'll still need to connect it to a business checking account to receive payments.
Get documents you need to open a business bank account
Opening a business bank account is easy once you've picked your bank. Simply go online or to a local branch to begin the process. Here are some of the most common documents banks ask for when you open a business bank account. Some banks may ask for more.
- Employer Identification Number (EIN) (or a Social Security number, if you're a sole proprietorship)
- Your business's formation documents
- Ownership agreements
- Business license
Connect with a SCORE, Small Business Development Center, Women's Business Center or Veterans Business Outreach Center adviser.
Together, we can make
your financial goals a reality.
Basic Elements - Legal Text
This material is provided for educational and information purposes only. It is not a replacement for the guidance or advice of an accountant, certified advisor, or otherwise qualified professional.