One of the most important things to do after forming your LLC is to open a business bank account. Your 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 required, it is recommended that you do maintain a separate bank account for your business. Follow the 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 business bank 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 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 often, 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.
Pro-tip: It’s recommended you ask the following questions about your business bank account.
- What documents are required to open an account?
- What are the minimum monthly balance requirements?
- What are the monthly fees, if any?
- How much is needed for the initial deposit?
2. Required Business Bank Documentation
When opening a business bank account, the bank will request certain documents from you. What should you provide to open a bank account? Most banks ask for the following to start a new account:
- A filed copy of your Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation to ensure that your business is registered with the state.
- A copy of your LLC Operating Agreement this is required to ensure that you are authorized to open bank accounts on behalf of the business.
- Federal tax ID number (EIN) for tax purposes
- The business 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 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 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.
For a list of documents required to open a business bank account you can download it here.
Business Bank Account Required Documents
3. Open Your Bank Account
Now that you have selected the right bank and gathered all the required documentation, head to the bank and open up your bank account! 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.
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.
How to Open a Business Bank Account for Non-U.S. Residents
Non-U.S. residents can now open an LLC business bank account online with Mercury. It wasn’t until this year that this was an online option to open a business bank account for your LLC. To open a business bank account you will need:
- Documentation - Required documentation will depend on the state where you form your LLC. The most common forms will be any of the following Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, Certificate of Formation. You will also need to send a stamped and approved copy of your LLC approval documents.
- Identification - Mercury will only accept a passport for non-U.S. residents. They will ask for your phone number and other personal contact information.
- Address - You will need to provide Mercury with your LLC’s business address. This can be an office location. However, not having a permanent US address is the biggest problem you’ll face when setting up a business bank account in the US. Your proof of address cannot be a PO Box. Banks will ask for your proof of address or proof of residency.
- Employer Identification Number (EIN) - You will need to show proof of your LLC EIN Number. Mercury will only accept two official letters from the IRS. You can submit an EIN Confirmation Letter (CP575) or EIN Verification Letter (147C).
OFAC Restricted Countries
Because of U.S. sanctions, you won’t be able to open a bank account if you reside in some countries. For a list you can check the Sanctions Programs and Country Information issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
You can see all of Mercury’s fees here: Mercury pricing
You can see frequently asked questions here: Mercury FAQs
If you are a non-U.S. resident/citizen and plan to open your bank account in the U.S. in person, 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.
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 simple. Most of the work is in gathering all the proper LLC 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!
Do You Need A Real Physical Address For Your Business Bank Account?
VirtualPostMail (VPM) now offers an easy way for you to obtain a true physical address along with supporting services to ensure that it complies with banking regulations year after year. Learn more about how to get proof of address to maintain and open a business bank account.