Before you start making sales or purchases in your business, it’s best to open a business bank account. Doing so prevents you from commingling personal and business assets, which is frowned upon and can make it challenging to sort out income and expenses at tax time. But before you head to the bank or go online to start the application process, familiarize yourself with the requirements that must be met to get approved for a business bank account to make the process smoother.
Most Common Things You Need to Open a Business Bank Account
Here’s what you’ll need to open a business bank account.
Personal and Business IDs
You’ll need to present your driver’s license or passport to confirm your personal identity. A copy of your business license from the state or any formation documents or articles of incorporation is also required as a form of business identification. More on the specific requirements for each type of business shortly.
The bank or credit union you choose will also ask for your EIN or employer identification number. If you don’t yet have one for your business, it can be retrieved from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). But if you’re operating as a sole proprietor with no employees, you can provide your Social Security number instead since you’re not required to obtain an EIN.
Most financial institutions require an opening deposit to establish a business bank account. However, the amount varies by the bank or credit union and the type of bank account you open – checking or savings. You may also be subject to a minimum daily balance requirement, and falling below this amount could result in fees.
Can You Open a Business Bank Account with Just an EIN?
You’ll typically need more than just an EIN to open a business bank account. The bank or credit union you select will also request your business license and articles of incorporation or formation documents. There are also other documentation requirements that may apply, depending on your company’s legal structure.
How Much Is the Initial Deposit to Open a Business Bank Account?
It varies by the financial institution you select. The opening deposit requirement generally won’t exceed $100, and some banks and credit unions allow small business owners to open an account without making a deposit.
What Other Documents the Bank May Require to Open Your Business Account?
Beyond the business formation documents, here are some additional documentation requirements you may need listed by business type:
- Sole Proprietorship: The bank or credit union will request a certificate of assumed name if you’re operating under a title that isn’t your first and last name. In many states, this document is referred to as a certificate of fictitious name registration.
- Partnership: If you have partners and are operating as a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), you should also have the partnership agreement handy that includes the company’s name, the names of your partners and each individual’s roles, rights and responsibilities.
- Limited Liability Company: If your company is an LLC, the bank or credit union will request an operating agreement that discloses the same information.
What Is the Usual Process to Open a Business Bank Account?
When you’re ready to open a business bank account, take the following steps:
- Step 1: Research your options. Do you need a business checking account, business savings account or both? If you’re planning to accept debit and credit cards, it’s also best to inquire about merchant services accounts offered through the financial institutions you’re considering.
- Step 2: Compare your top selections. Once you have a list of banks or credit unions you’re considering, evaluate their offerings to determine if they are suitable for your business. Also, be mindful of the rate of return you’ll receive on your money along with the accessibility of bankers, online banking functions and the ATM network. Most importantly, confirm that the opening deposit and minimum balance requirements (if applicable) work for you. And don’t forget to assess the fee schedule – the lower the fees, the better.
- Step 3: Visit the bank or credit union to meet with a business banker to apply. (If you’re using an online bank, you can typically complete the application process online). Be sure to have the documents mentioned above handy to avoid hiccups in the process. And it doesn’t hurt to ask the banker what documents and information you’ll need before getting started to streamline the application process.
- Step 4: Read the fine print. It’s never any fun to incur fees that you weren’t expecting. So, it’s vital to read the fine print before you begin using your new business checking or savings account.
- Step 5: Make your minimum opening deposit and start using your business bank account(s).
Where Can You Easily Open a Business Bank Account Online?
If you want to open a business bank account online, you’ll have several options to choose from. Not all are created equal, though, and some offer minimal perks to small business owners.
Ideally, you want a business bank account designed with the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs in mind. It should also have minimal fees and offer a seamless online banking experience to help you manage your company’s finances with ease, even if you’re always on the go.