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How to shop for business checking accounts
The right business checking account can help you separate business spending from personal spending. If you are a freelancer, independent contractor, or small business owner, a business checking account is highly recommended.
But how can you know which one is best for you? It all comes down to finding one that offers the best combination of features, benefits, and cost. The filters below will help you search for the best deals available to you that meet your needs.
What should you consider when comparing business checking accounts?
There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to that question as every business is unique. What is ideal for you may be insufficient or overkill for another business. However, here is a list of things to consider when comparing business checking accounts.
- Account services and features.
- Interest rates (APY).
- Online only vs. access to a brick-and-mortar branch.
- ATM network.
- Daily, weekly, and monthly transaction limits.
- Signup bonus offers.
What services and features should you consider when comparing business checking accounts?
There are dozens of business checking account features offered by banks. Here are the key ones to consider when comparing banks.
- Check-writing services.
- Debit card access
- Safe deposit boxes
- Online and mobile banking.
- Bill payment services
- Wire transfer services
That covers the basics, but there are many other features to consider. For example, some banks offer expense management, tax tools, and other services that can be valuable to small businesses and independent contractors.
On the other hand, you may prefer to keep all your accounts (personal, money market, certificates of deposit, etc...) in one bank. In such a case, you may prefer to go with a financial institution that provides a comprehensive banking experience. Although you are unlikely to get the best prices and terms this way, it can simplify things to have all your accounts in one place.
What are the key fees to look at when shopping for a business checking account?
Business checking accounts often charge a wide variety of fees. The most important fees to look out for are listed below.
- Monthly maintenance fees.
- Minimum balance fees.
- Wire transfer fees.
- ATM fees and surcharges.
- Overdraft fees
Online banks tend to have fewer and more inexpensive fees than brick-and-mortar credit unions and banks. However, this is only an option for people who are okay with not having the option of managing their accounts in person as you won't have access to a branch.
How to Open a Business Checking Account
Once you choose the best deal for you and your business, you will need to find out whether you can open your account online or have to go in person. Most banks allow you to do all (or most) of the process online, but smaller regional banks and credit unions may not. Typically you will need to provide the following documentation. Obviously, the documentation required will vary depending on the type of business your own.
- Your Social Security number and photo ID
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Doing Business As certificate.
- Articles of incorporation and/or corporate charger.
- Business license.
After completing the account application form, it will be time to make your initial deposit. In most cases, you can make your first deposit by check, cash, or electronic transfer.
Once your business checking account is open, remember to make any necessary changes to automatic transfers, direct deposits, and bill payments.