You’ve formed your LLC and are looking for a way to keep the momentum going. At the top of your to-do list sits two important tasks: opening a business bank account and setting up your Amazon store.
In this article, you’ll learn what the BIGGEST barrier to opening a business bank account and Amazon store is, as well as the most ideal solution for both.
The Problem: Opening Your Business Bank Account
Opening a business bank account may sound simple, but the challenge is that U.S. federal banking regulations require all bank accounts to list a physical address (either a home address, commercial office, or an address attached to a tangible building) for verification purposes.
Modern-day financial institutions have a strict set of criteria when it comes to verifying potential customers, and you have Know Your Customer regulations to thank for that. Although KYC regulations originated in the 1990’s, they weren’t executed until after the U.S. Patriot Act was introduced. These standards help ensure that banks are not taken advantage of and prevent money laundering and other common fraud schemes.
KYC requires that you provide two mandatory documents with each application to a U.S. bank: proof of identity with a photograph and proof of address. Because of this requirement, it’s often difficult for online or international businesses to set up banking and payment processing here in the United States.
Choosing the Right Physical Address
In order to verify your identity when opening a business bank account, you’ll be required to provide a physical address and mailing address. If a bank does not have a proper physical address on file for your business after 30 days, your bank can choose to close or suspend your account.
You cannot use a PO Box, virtual office, registered agent, virtual mailbox, or other mailbox rental address as your physical address.
Banks will sweep their databases to verify that physical addresses are real physical addresses. This is done so they can verify that your physical address complies with federal banking regulations (as mentioned above) in order to open and maintain a U.S. business bank account.
What You Need To Open a Business Bank Account
Let’s talk about what it takes to open a business bank account and how your physical address comes into play.
Requirements to open a business bank account will vary depending on the financial institution and type of business bank account. However, almost all banks require proof of address in order to open your first account.
In general, here’s what you're going to need to open your business bank account:
- A government issued ID (can be a driver’s license, passport, or state issued ID)
- Your Employee Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number (SSN)
- Your LLC’s Articles of Organization
- Your LLC’s Operating Agreement
- Proof of address
Need more information? You can head over to VPM’s blog to find the ultimate Guide to Opening a Business Bank Account. Most financial institutions will allow you to start the application online, but you may have to visit an in-person branch to finalize the process. If you’re running your business internationally, you can contact your bank directly for more information.
What is Proof of Address
Proof of address requires that you provide your bank with a document verifying that your physical address matches your stated address. Here are a few examples of items you can use for proof of address:
- Property tax bill
- Insurance policy (this can be homeowner's, renter's, or life insurance)
- Voter registration card
- Bank statement
- Utility bill (water, gas, power, Internet)
- Lease agreement/mortgage statement
The most common documents for proof of address are lease/mortgage statements and utility bills.
The Problem: Opening Your Amazon Store
Now that you know what proof of address is, where does that fall in line with Amazon?
Amazon requires a utility bill to verify your identity and ensure no fraudulent activity takes place on the platform. If you have an LLC, your utility bill needs to have the same name and address as your business. This can be a challenge if you’re working remotely or overseas.
Failure to provide proof of address is one of the biggest reasons that sellers get rejected when attempting to sign up on the platform. Amazon accepts any of the following types of utility bills:
- Landline phone
Note: Amazon does not accept mobile phone bills or screenshots of utility bills, bank passbooks, word documents, zipped files, excel files, or partial documents. All statements must be submitted within the last 90 days.
What You Need To Open Your Amazon Store
With 98.07 million users accessing the Amazon shopping app at least once a month and retail sales nearing the 500 billion mark, it is no surprise that millions of small business owners have made the leap to open an Amazon store.
Selling on Amazon can open your remote business up to a world of opportunities, including an increase in online sales, an additional stream of income, and the potential to get your products in front of millions of eyeballs. In other words, it can help you level up your business in ways that other e-commerce platforms cannot.
When you register for your Amazon Seller Central account, you’ll need to have the following on hand:
- Your name (as per the income tax return)
- Your full address
- Your contact number
- Your email address
- Your business structure type (LLC, partnership, sole proprietor, corporation)
- Registration state
- Your FTI (Federal Tax Identification) number
- Proof of address in the form of a utility bill
If you don’t have a utility bill to submit as proof of address, VPM’s TruLease plan can help you open your Amazon account. Ready to find out how?
How TruLease Works
VPM partners with commercial building owners to lease you an office space. When you sign up for Trulease, you’ll get a physical address along with a lease agreement and a separate mailing address that comes with virtual mailbox services.
To open an Amazon Seller Central account, you’ll need to request the utility bill add-on. With it, you’ll receive a utility bill in the lessor’s name along with the service address shown on the bill to prove the physical address exists.
Benefits of TruLease
TruLease provides you with a professional business address that is a true physical space. Other major perks of the service include:
- The ability to choose your location. Get a leased address in Delaware, Florida, or California.
- 30-day money back guarantee. In the event that you are not able to open a bank account, you’ll receive a 30-day money back guarantee. See the full cancellation conditions and policy.
- Phone/in-person verification of your physical address. If a bank, payment processing, or any other financial institution representative were to request an on-site visit or call to verify your business address, VPM’s customer support team will assist in getting this scheduled with the building owner to confirm your leased space.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is that TruLease comes bundled with 2 addresses: a mailbox address and a leased address.
The leased address is to be used in places where proof of physical business address is needed (i.e. your business bank account).
The mailbox address will be your permanent mailbox address. You may use this address for all other purposes, including sending and receiving mail, communication with customers, and documentation.
Last of all, with TruLease you can request an additional utility bill for further proof of address (i.e. for opening your Amazon Store).
Opening a business bank account and Amazon store can help protect your assets and maximize your business’s success. But in order to do so, you’ll need to provide proof of address in the form of a document that verifies your location. VPM’s TruLease plan offers you a solution to get access to a physical address, lease agreement, and utility bill.