One of the top things to do after you have formed your LLC and applied for your EIN is to open an LLC business bank account. A business bank account allows you to keep track of business expenses, simplify tax reporting, deposit payments under your company name, and to set up credit card payment acceptance.
While it’s not technically necessary, it is highly recommended that you do maintain a separate bank account for your business. Follow our 3 steps below to set up your business bank account.
3 Steps to Set Up Your Business Bank Account
1. Choose a Bank That Fits Your Business Needs
All banks are not created equal. There are a vast number of banks options out there, and you’ll need to do some research to see which account is right for your needs.
When choosing a bank for your business, take into consideration the following factors:
- Existing banking relationship - banking relationship is extremely important when doing business. Using more products and services from the same bank will help to reduce some costs and also allows you to get better rates and easier approvals for lines and credits.
- Costs - Consider the affordability of the costs you might be charged, such as monthly servicing fees, deposit fees, and ATM fees. If you’re a cash-based business, check for cash deposit fees. If you wire funds frequently, check for free included wires or lower wire fees.
- Convenience - Make sure the location, as well as the number of ATMs and branches, suits your needs.
- Support for future needs - If you expect to need more than just bank accounts, make sure your bank offers small business loans, lines of credit, and credit cards; a small business credit card allows you to float business expenses and often offers rewards.
If you are a non-US resident/citizen and plan to open your bank account in the U.S., you will need to check with the bank to see if they support international businesses and what types of documents are required to open an account in the U.S. International banks tends to be more friendly to international businesses.
We recommend the following questions to ask the bank about your business bank account:
2. Required Business Documentation
When opening a business account, the bank will request certain documents from you.
What should I provide to open a bank account for my business?
Generally, most banks ask for the following to start a new account:
- A filed copy of your LLC’s certificate of formation to ensure that your business is legally registered with the state.
- A copy of your LLC Operating Agreement. This is usually required to ensure that you are authorized to open bank accounts on behalf of the business.
- Federal tax ID number (EIN).
- The address where your business office is located. This must be a physical business address in the U.S. and can either be a residential or commercial street address, but cannot be a PO Box. Banks may require you to provide proof of address to ensure that you do occupy or own the space.
- A mailing address where all your documents, statements, and notices will be sent. This can be any address.
- A valid ID of the company owners or members.
Some of these documents may vary depending on what state you live in (or the state in which you established your business). Federal banking regulations require a real physical address in order to open and maintain a U.S. business bank account. Mailbox addresses and PO Boxes are not allowed. Banks will close or suspend your account if they request for proof of physical address and you are not able to provide a proper physical address.
What Documents Are Required For Applying For a Business Bank Account?
You’ll need the following items to open your LLC’s business bank account.
Articles of Organization - Every bank/credit union will require the state-approved Articles of Organization (also known as “Certificate of Organization” or “Certificate of Formation”) that will typically tell the bank/credit union the LLC's name and address, the nature of the LLC's business, and LLC’s registered agent. The Articles of Organization must be approved by the state before applying for a bank account, as this is the only way the bank/credit union knows the LLC is legally authorized to do business in your state.
Employer Identification Number (EIN) - Make sure you’ve received your EIN from the IRS before heading to the bank. You’ll need to show them a copy of your EIN in order to open your account because an LLC is a legal entity subject to federal taxation, all banks and credit unions require an EIN number in order to open an account.
Personal Identifications - You’ll need to bring in two forms of identification. Every bank/credit union will require at least one form of government-issued identification such as a driver’s license or passport. Double check with the bank before heading over.
Additional Documents That May Be Required For Your Business Bank Account
Operating Agreement - The LLC Operating Agreement outlines ownership, member responsibilities, and operating procedures in an LLC. It also details who will have authority to manage the LLC and open bank accounts.
While it is not required to have a written Operating Agreement in all states, it is strongly recommended that you do have one as some banks require this. The agreement will also benefit you if you have multiple members in the LLC, if you have a manager managing your LLC, or if you want to reduce personal liability.
3. Open Your Bank Account and Use It!
Now that you have selected the right bank and gathered all the required documentation, head to the bank and open up your bank account! This is likely the easiest step. Expect to take about an hour to open the account.
Determine whether you will need an ATM card and whether you need checks. Ordering checks may cost you extra unless your bank account offers it as a free benefit. An ATM debit card will be useful if you need to make purchases online and you didn’t separately apply for a business credit card.
Finally, make sure to use your bank account for all your business transactions. This helps to keep all your financials in one single place so you can easily file taxes at the end of the year.
Having a business bank account is an excellent and recommended way to separate your business and personal finances. The process of opening a bank account is fairly simple. Most of the work is in gathering all the proper documents needed to open the account. But it’ll be worth it to do it, especially when you are looking for your business to succeed!
What the Top Banks in the U.S. Require to Open a Business Account
Download our Business Bank Account Chart that gives you a quick overview of the requirements for opening a business bank account for some recommended national banks.