Choosing a Business Bank Account
When choosing a business bank account, keep in mind that all banks want your business. This means you can usually negotiate some free or discounted services. You might consider going with the bank where you have your personal bank account for easy transfer of funds, or you might find a bank more suited to your business operations and open your business account there.
Understand their minimum balances and fee structures. Ask around and see where other business owners bank and why. These days, banks are trying to use a personal touch to keep customers loyal, so find a trustworthy bank representative who understands your business. Finally, if you run your business under a name other than your own, be sure to open the business bank account under the business’ name, not your own.
Know what services you need before you talk to the bankers. Are you interested in their merchant account services so you can accept credit card payments? If you have—or plan to hire—employees, can they handle your payroll? Make it a point to go in and actually talk to someone. How helpful and knowledgeable are the staff? What are the bank’s online and telephone customer support services like? Are you assigned your own point person who you can call with specific problems, or just given an 800 number? When the IRS wants to know why a certain tax form has not been filed, you need an answer from your bank quickly.
Once you’ve opened a business bank account, it will be easier to cover your tax obligations without having to delve into your personal accounts. This way, when it comes time to make payments, you won’t be scrambling to transfer money to cover your taxes. This is particularly important for sole proprietors and independent contractors who operate a business under their own names.