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At the start of 2019, I officially got official – I put on my big girl pants, registered for LLCs, and opened my FIRST EVER business bank accounts for both my real estate business AND Britt & the Benjamins.
I now have so many debit & credit cards, I need two wallets.
However, while I wrote a post a while back telling you WHY you need to get a business bank account, I didn’t divulge the HOW, i.e. the laundry list of items to look for when you decide your business is ready to put on its big girl pants, too.
Because while all of us women were created equal (shout out to JC for that), all bank accounts are not. And I’m here to help you find the best one for your business (especially if you currently have a crappy one in place).
And P.S. If you’re in a time crunch and just want the cliff notes, skip ahead to the bottom of this article. You can download my free Small Business Bank Account Chart, where you can compare my top 6 check accounts, including the bank account I use for both of my businesses!
WHAT YOU NEED IN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT
No Monthly Fees
Is it coincidence that the first priority of the woman on the other side of this computer is to save you money?
The first order of business for any checking account search is to ensure you find one with NO monthly fees.
You shouldn’t be charged to simply house your money there. (Trust me, the bank uses those funds in other ways to profit, so don’t feel like they are offering you this service out of the kindness of their heart.)
However, also note that many banks charge a monthly fee but do offer options to waive that, like maintaining a minimum balance in your account or using your debit card so many times per month.
As long as you meet those requirements month-in and month-out, that account can be a valid option for you.
Did you know that most banks have transaction and cash deposit limits tied to their business checking accounts?
That means that if you use your debit card too many times or deposit too much in cash at the ATM or nearest branch, you could be charged fees.
Thus, you want to make sure of two things:
a. The bank account you choose can support your current business + 20% (or your expected growth within the next 6 months)
b. It has multiple tiers of business accounts so that your account can grow as your business grows
We want to ensure that when you open your account, you have enough flexibility to cover the growth you plan for in the near term so as not to have to upgrade your account two weeks after opening it.
Talk about a headache.
But when you do hit that point of needing an upgrade, we also want to ensure your current bank can support that and make the process easy on you.
Thus, save yourself the Tylenol and find a bank with enough wiggle room both now AND later.
You know the nature of your business and the world we live in: It’s digital.
We pay online.
We receive money online.
And we need our bank to make all of that easy on us.
Thus, your bank needs to have the capabilities to help you perform all your business functions, whether that’s automatic transfers, auto bill-pay, or the ability to receive funds directly from clients through an online app.
Identify what exactly your online needs are along with a list of wants.
And don’t be afraid to call up the bank and ask them directly about whether or not they offer a particular service – when trying to determine if a bank had auto-draft capabilities for my real estate business, I couldn’t find the info anywhere online but one call and my question was answered.
In addition, if you utilize an online accounting software (like QuickBooks or FreshBooks), you’ll want to ensure that your bank is compatible with those platforms, meaning you can link your account directly to your accounting software to automatically pull your bank transactions in.
This makes tracking your finances 1000X easier and is a must for anyone trying to minimize that back-office work (which, for the record, should be all of us).
Profit First Friendly
If you have yet to hear of the Profit First method, I beg of you to go buy yourself a copy or borrow it from your local library. It’s a win-win scenario as it shifts the way you manage the cash in your business to run more efficiently and put more in your pocket.
And you know how I love win-win scenarios.
Now, one of the key pieces of Profit First that you need to implement is opening up multiple bank accounts. And for some of them, you won’t have any money sitting in there more than a day or two per month.
Thus, if you want to implement this method, you need to find a bank that will allow you to a) have multiple accounts under the same business (& online login), b) leave account balances in some of those at zero throughout the month without charging additional fees, and c) make at least 10+ transfers throughout the month fee-free.
I know, sounds like a lot. But have I told you that this is one of the items I checked out for each of the banks on my free Small Business Bank Account chart?
Yes, I made it easy for you. Take advantage.
Credit Card Rewards
If you run a lot of expenses through your business, getting a credit card (that you can pay off EVERY MONTH) that offers you rewards is a great idea.
It could help you earn cash back, free flights, or pay for your hotel – all for spending the money you were already spending.
You can obviously get any business credit card you want, but having one at the same bank as your checking account makes it much easier for tracking and payment. So if earning rewards is on your list, put this as another item to check off when you’re bank shopping.
For some of you, I know you’re going to say there was one glaring omission: What about the ability to have a savings account linked to your business checking?
And to you I say this: I didn’t forget. It’s just a bad idea.
The point of a savings account is to save, and having that account directly linked at the same bank makes it too easy to transfer money when you want to buy all new office furniture or expensive conference you just heard about.
Your business should be funding those things through its daily operations, and savings should be for higher ticket items that you are planning for, like a new computer or for expanding your team.
Plus, savings accounts at your typical brick & mortar banks offer ridiculously low interest rates, so opening an online account with American Express or Ally will give you a greater return on your money while also providing you with enough separation to ensure you don’t spend it on bad business investments.
So just park it there, ok?
If you haven’t already, don’t miss out on downloading my Small Business Bank Account Chart where you can compare my top 6 business checking accounts to see which is the best fit for you!
And I’d love to here from you: What bank account do you use & why? And is there anything you think is important you’d like for me to add to my chart?