How to Perform a Business Bank Account Comparison

With all the financial institutions in the world clamoring for more and more business, hype is at an all-time high in the financial district. Terms and conditions that are applicable to certain trial dates can lead to confusion once these “free trials” end and can leave the business owner feeling used and defeated with an account that no longer suits their needs. Fortunately, there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure that your company gets the account it needs by performing a bank account comparison.

Company Size and Business Account Options

The business checking options will vary depending upon the size of your own. Incentives that hook small businesses aren’t necessarily applicable to big corporations and vice versa. Each size of business requires a different set of account options in order to optimize financial support and services.

Small businesses tend to make fewer transactions than larger corporations and therefore greatly benefit from a preset limit of free transactions. Typically with this type of package, once the preset limit is reached, a small fee is charged to each applicable transaction thereafter. Some business accounts even offer an interest earning option that is beneficial to businesses with low to moderate transaction volume. Conversely, larger businesses require a moderate to high number of transactions and usually pay a small monthly fee to allow for this difference.

Minimum Balances

Small business accounts tend to forgo monthly minimum balances but usually sacrifice interest earnings for this advantage. Moderately sized businesses usually have accounts that require a minimum daily balance or a monthly averaged balance that exceeds a predetermined limit. Minimum balances for larger businesses tend to be slightly more complicated; these can be determined by an average daily balance, average combined deposit balance, or average combined deposit balances and outstanding credit balances. The specific amounts are different for each institution, be sure to contact individual banks for detailed information.

Maintenance Fees

Many business owners neglect to factor in maintenance fees when performing a bank account comparison. This usually isn’t a big deal for a small business account since most do not have a monthly maintenance fee. However, moderately sized and larger businesses must take these fees into consideration when comparing business accounts. Nowadays, most financial institutions only charge maintenance fees if the balance falls below a predetermined minimum limit. Once again, the amounts of these fees vary by institution so be sure get an accurate number when comparison shopping for an accounts.

Business Type

Even though you may own a certain sized business, not all accounts suggested for that sized company will suit your needs. Some business accounts are geared toward non-profit organizations, community groups, and public agencies while others lean more toward small or growing businesses. Research and investigate each business account you consider to determine the right business checking account for your company.

Business bank account comparisons can be confusing and daunting chores; however, if you take into account your business size and style with business account options you desire, it should be a relatively easy task to choose a business account that will carry your company well into financial security.

The Importance of Having a Business Bank Account For Your New Business

Many small business owners avoid or do not pay too much attention when considering whether to open up a bank account in their business name. They make the mistake of using their personal account to carry out their business transactions, just so they can save a small amount of money required to open a new business bank account.

Having an account in your business name has many advantages. For example it gives your business a more professional look when dealing with your customers or clients. Using your personal account for business purposes gives the impression you are not really serious regarding your business and it is more like a hobby.

Having a separate business account proves to be beneficial when you need to complete the accounts for the business and any related tax returns. Indeed, you can quickly check the income and expenses for the year, rather than having the hassle of separating your personal and business transactions if you only have a personal account.

Another good reason to have a business bank account is to show the tax authorities that your business is transparent in terms of the financial transactions it carries out. All the income and expenses should be accounted for through the business account. Thus, if HM Customs & Revenue want to look at your records, this will demonstrate that you are declaring all your income and only claiming expenses related to business.

Opening a company account with a bank also has other additional perks. For example, you can usually obtain free banking for at least a year as a new business. Also some banks even offer new clients special deals on accounting software to use in their businesses. Lastly, as regards this point, it may be easier for you to obtain a business overdraft or loan if you have a company bank account.

Some entrepreneurs are put off from opening a business bank account because they think it will be complicated in terms of the formalities and legalities. This is a misconception as it is very easy to open a bank account most of the time.

A few points that one needs to keep in mind while opening a business accounts are:

  • The account maintenance fee
  • Different transaction modes available e.g. online banking, debit card etc.
  • Overseas transaction charges
  • Interest rate charges
  • Minimal balance that you need to maintain

A company bank account may initially seem to be an extra overhead on your business, but the amount paid will be worth in terms of the time and money you will save by not having to separate out your business transactions from your personal transactions. Having a business bank account also sends a clear message to other businesses you deal with and the tax authorities that you are a proper business with nothing to hide.

Tips on Setting Up Your Small Business Bank Account

One of the first things you will need to set up is a bank account. We recommend a large bank because:

They have locations everywhere

They have longer hours

They will probably buy out your local community bank anyway

If you are an owner/operator of a small business, you will appreciate having a Debit or ATM card for your business. They also have easy to read statements for merchant accounts, little or low fee checking accounts, locations in the grocery store, weekend banking, business credit cards (VISA or MC), small business loans, auto loans and leases, etc. If you run a lot of locations and are expanding your business you might even ask the local manager to fax you weekly confirmation of daily deposits made during the week.

When opening an account always ask about checking account fees, primarily deposits per check charges. Try to have these reduced or eliminated. If you wish to shop banks and fees, don’t forget to shop service. We recommend these ten tips when selecting a bank.

Make an honest list of the services you want and those services you really need and then interview banks to see which services they provide on your ‘shopping list’. Be careful at big banks. Ask for the branch manager and not the new accounts sales girl. Chances are she’s just out of college and doesn’t even understand real world banking relations or hand-shaking deals at the Rotary Club or golf course. She’ll be too ‘By-The-Book’ to answer any real questions.

Start seeking referrals from long standing community and business leaders. Perhaps a local CPA, home based business consultant or small business owner. Make sure you get advice from people you respect.

Geography is important, but it should not in all cases be the deciding factor. You should start with nearby banks.

Visit the bank. Are there long teller lines? Is the staff courteous? Do they smile, etc.?

Sit down with a bank officer and don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions: Do you really want our small company’s business? Are you interested in long-term relationships? Will I be able to work with a certain specific person on a continuing basis? Will you treat me like a number? What is your turn around time on loan applications? How many layers of management are there until I get to the president? What’s his or her name? Have you ever met them? May I?

Make clear exactly what you want and need from a banking relationship. Will you be looking for a loan soon? Like any other relationship, communication is the key to a good banking relationship.

Don’t fall for flashy ads that promise you stuff and they forget your name next week. You might even come back the next day and ask “Do you remember my name? If they don’t, smile and walk out.

Try not to be misled by free toasters or mouse pads if you open an account. These free items won’t help your car wash business thrive, but a good banking relationship can.

Remember, that a bank’s service is gauged by the service it provides, not it’s brochures, gimmicks, signage or billboard ads.

Evaluate the relationship when you have been with a new bank for six months. Honestly evaluate how things are going and share your conclusions with your banker. The best banking relationship is one where both parties are open and forthright and where issues can be discussed that will lead to a long-term mutually beneficial partnership for the expansion and betterment of your car wash franchise.

Check Ordering For Business Account

Why does ordering checks and replacement checks cost so much?

Because banks make a profit on the checks you order. For a little less than one-half the cost you can order your own checks and eliminate the middleman – that’s the bank. Call:

Current Check 1-800-426-0822;

Checks In The Mail 1-800-733-4443;

Deluxe Checks 1-800-4DELUXE

All three firms guarantee that their checks meet industry standards. We’ve ordered from all three. Deluxe is faster if you’re out of checks, but still have money left. They do cost an average of $4.00 more per box.

Interest Bearing Accounts

If you choose an interest bearing checking account, be sure to take a close look at the other associated fees. It may say it’s a free account with no fees and that it’s interest bearing, but if you fall below a pre-determined balance you may pay exorbitant fees or if you have high activity such as lots of checks written or deposited, you may be charged a fee anyway. If it’s a per check fee it will undoubtedly be higher than a normal basic account.

You should not pay fees on a business savings account if fees are charged for your checking account you may seriously want to consider switching banks.

Choosing a good bank for your small business is very important, please take this initial step in your business seriously, you’ll be glad you did.

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