Small Business Checking Account Requirements
Every business should have its own checking account, even the smallest home-based enterprise or freelance worker. Although a business checking account may not be required, it is certainly essential if you want to keep your personal and business transactions separate. Not just anyone can open a business checking account. Your financial institution, whether that be your bank or credit union, will need some proof that you operate an enterprise as one condition for opening an account. Other information may also be required, but check with your bank to learn its specific requirements.
Employer Identification Number
Sometimes called a taxpayer identification number, an employer identification number is a nine-digit number. Your financial institution may require this number as a condition for opening a business checking account. You must have an EIN if you have employees, if you operate your business as a corporation or as a partnership, or if you have a Keogh plan. Contact the IRS to obtain your EIN.
Articles of Incorporation
Documentation proving when your business was launched are found in your Articles of Incorporation. Such articles describe the date your business was started, its legal structure and your management team or shareholders. The Secretary of State will have a copy of this information on file and will have issued a stamped copy to you for your records.
Your financial institution may require that you furnish a copy of your business license. That license may be issued by your state or it could be a business use license issued by your municipality or county. The license will state your business’ name such as “doing business as” with your name or its corporate name alone.
Business Name and Address
As you fill out bank documentation to open your small business checking account, you will need to submit photo identification to verify who you are. Your banker will make a copy of your driver’s license, your passport or other acceptable documentation and include that in your account file.
Your financial institution may require proof of a business address. A recent letter or other mailing addressed to your business may be sufficient. If you operate a home based business, a personal letter may be sufficient.
If keeping your business and personal information separate is not enough of an incentive to open a business checking account, consider this: when it comes time to apply for credit, potential lenders will want to see a track record of your business transactions only. Open your business accounts with an EIN and that information can be tracked separately from your personal matters.
See Also — Small Business Financing: Where to Find It