4 Tips to Consider When Looking for a Business Checking Account
When you’re looking for a business checking account, you shouldn’t automatically open one with the bank you have your personal account with. Though, that isn’t a bad place to start.
With business accounts, there are more things to consider, and you have to decide what’s important to you and what makes sense for the future of your business. So before you go out and open an account, keep these four things in mind.
1. Keep accounts separate
Keeping your personal and business accounts separate will help you budget for both yourself and your business. You don’t want to overestimate the amount of money you have to work with for either.
Secondly, you want to keep those accounts apart for record-keeping and tax purposes — it’ll be much easier to find business expenses to deduct in an account that’s dedicated to your business.
Lastly, Margarette Burnette from NerdWallet.com recommends two different accounts for legal purposes. “You are better protected if legal action is taken against your company when you have separate records of business and personal transactions. Having commingled accounts may put your personal assets at risk in a lawsuit.”1
2. Mind the fees
Different businesses have different needs, even when it comes to a checking account. When your business is just starting out, you should check out free business checking accounts that don’t have balance requirements or monthly maintenance fees. That’ll save you from getting charged fees when your business’s income ebbs and flows.2 If you have a bigger business handling considerably more cash than a startup might, an account that includes fees may actually be best.
One thing that’s clear is the account’s transaction limits must fall in line with your business. You’ll get charged a fee for every transaction (checks written, ATM deposits and debit card transactions) over the designated limit. Your best bet: Talk to your business banker! They’ll help you figure out exactly what your business needs, even as your business grows and potentially graduates from one account to another.
3. Check out the intangibles
In life, and in a business checking accounts, it’s the little things that matter. Is the debit card free? ATMs? Are there ATMs by work and home? Are there physical locations near work and home? What about online banking, online bill pay and account alerts? Are those free and available? They might not be the main selling points in a business checking account, but to be clear, these little things go a very, very long way toward a business owner’s sanity.
When it comes to banks handling the nitty-gritty details, Clint Sporhase, Managing Director of Small Business Banking at First National Bank, says, “You should only have to worry about your business. Your bank should be making your life easier for you, so let them sweat the details.”
4. Think beyond checking
As your business grows and your needs move beyond a checking account, you’ll need a bank that cares about small businesses. In fact, the Wall Street Journal recommends finding a bank willing to form a relationship with you. “Ideally you’ll find a banker who will take the time to walk you through how to solve a problem, so you can go back to running your business.”3 In order to grow, your bank will definitely need lending capabilities, payroll and other services, but you also need great customer service. And those don’t have to be mutually exclusive. If a bank makes it clear to you that they invest in their small business customers and care about their success, it will make it that much easier for you to operate your business. So as you’re shopping around, ask yourself what you value in a bank. But most importantly, ask how does your bank value you?
Still have questions? Click here to learn more and connect with a business banker.
1 “Small-Business Checking Primer: Answers to 5 Essential Questions.” Burnette, Margarette. 2017. NerdWallet.com. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/small-business-checking-primer/
2 “4 Banking Tips for New Small Businesses.” 2013. NerdWallet.com. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/small-business/4-banking-tips-new-small-businesses/?trk_location=ssrp&trk_query=4%20Banking%20Tips%20for%20New%20Small%20Businesses&trk_page=1&trk_position=13“How to Shop for a Bank.” The Wall Street Journal.http://guides.wsj.com/small-business/funding/how-to-shop-for-a-bank/