Best Business Bank Accounts 2020

What is a Business Bank Account?

A business bank account is a checking account set up specifically for business incomes and outflows, allowing individuals to keep their professional financial affairs and transactions separate from their personal ones. Business accounts often provide features that are uncommon for individual accounts. These features include initiating wires or ACH payments, delegating account authority/privileges to other parties (like an employee or accountant), and cash management tools like positive pay.


What is the Difference Between a Business Bank Account and a Personal Bank Account?

Although business bank accounts and personal bank accounts are similar in many ways, the do have their differences. A business bank account has more requirements to open than a personal account.

Fees and required balances also tend to be higher for business bank accounts, while interest rates are lower. Business bank accounts usually allow a limited number of transactions before the bank charges additional fees.

Since a business bank account represents the business and not a person, authorized signers can be added or removed at any time without needing to close the account.


What Do You Need To Open a Business Bank Account?

Requirements to open a business bank account vary by financial institution. However, most banks require the following:

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number for sole proprietors
  • Business formation documents
  • Ownership agreements
  • Business license

Account signers need to bring their personal identification to open the account. Most banks require an initial deposit to fund the account when it is opened; the minimum opening deposit requirements vary by bank—and can be a key factor, along with ongoing minimum account balances, to consider when choosing one.


Can I Open a Business Bank Account Online?

Yes, there are many banks that allow you to open an account online in just a few minutes. Several of these banks are mentioned above. To open your business bank account online, the bank will require all of the same paperwork as if you opened the account in person.


Can I Use My Personal Bank Account For My Small Business?

You can use your personal bank account for a small business, like a sole proprietorship. However, it is best not to. Having a dedicated bank account for your business allows you to keep your business deposits and expenses separate from personal transactions. This is very important when it comes to filing taxes.


Do I Need a Business Account If I’m Self-employed?

You do not need a separate business account if you are operating your business under your own name. However, it is recommended that you have a dedicated, separate bank account to make it easier to track business revenue and expenses.

If you are operating your sole proprietorship under a fictitious business name or as a separate legal entity (e.g. C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC), then you need to have a separate business bank account.


Is It Legal To Transfer Money From a Business Account To a Personal Bank Account?

Yes, it is legal to transfer money from a business account to a personal account. However, if you have partners or shareholders in your company, it is not advisable to make such a transfer without their written consent. All transactions into and out of a business account should be documented for good recordkeeping, tax purposes, and in case of an audit.

Some banks allow you (and, like Chase, even encourage you) to link your personal and business accounts. Depending upon the legal structure of your business, some banks even allow your business and personal accounts to be viewed on the same online banking screen. This makes transfers between accounts simple and quick.


The Bottom Line

From sign-up bonuses to easy cash deposits, business bank account features can vary greatly. Consider all the characteristics before choosing where to bank.

Whatever perk or feature most matters to you, having the right business bank account is crucial to your business. This account is where your deposits are made and expenses are paid.

And, as your business continues to grow, it makes sense to re-evaluate your business bank account each year. Pay attention to the transaction limits, fees, restrictions, and benefits to ensure that yesterday’s account is the right one for your business today—and tomorrow, as well.


Methodology

Research for this article encompassed business bank accounts from across the U.S. We evaluated the benefits offered, transaction limits, fees charged, and customer service of each business bank account reviewed to determine the “best of” designation for each category.

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