Opening a Small Biz Bank Account: FIVE KEY questions.

Almost every legitimate business utilizes a bank account, often more than one, as a part of running their small Business.

Beyond the obvious benefits of being able to process payments which your business or company sends and receives, bank accounts provide a safe place to store funds and can also serve as an investment tool, depending on the type of account.

A bank account is also your small business’s key point of entry with your primary bank, and the entire banking and payments system.

Depending on which financial institution you choose to do business with, your bank account can help you gain access to people, bankers, who can be key partners and advisors for your small business.

Taking some time to consider FIVE KEY questions before you open your first (or move your existing) bank account will turn what many businesses treat as a transaction tool into a great business resource.

1. How do you plan to use it?

Having an idea of how much volume you expect in terms of cash, checks and deposits is a great starting point to finding the right account. Also think about whether you plan to do anything with electronic payments or credit cards. Maybe your small business needs to be able to pull funds out via an ATM or debit card, not all businesses do.

Thinking about your potential usage will help you decide how important bank location, drive-ups or ATM’s are to you. Another important point to consider is whether your bank supports all your desired payment types. Taking these factors into consideration may help limit your initial search for a bank and it will allow the bank to better help you find the right account type.

2. What technical options are available?

In this day and age, having high tech access to your bank account and an easy mobile interface can often be a deciding feature. Your firm should check out the bank’s website support for accounts. See what the process is if you want to send or collect electronic payments (like wire transfers or ACH). Asking if your bank can support electronic remote deposit of checks may even change how you think about the bank’s physical locations.

3. How will it integrate with your firm’s other systems?

This may seem like a strange question, but what about your accounting system? Do you want to link it with your bank account? Services like payroll or credit card processing might be offered by your bank. This could have real pricing or timing advantages, but even if you use other providers making sure they can integrate with your account in a streamlined way is really good to explore.

4. What security features are possible?

A bank account is helpful in keeping your business’s funds safe, but keep in mind how frequently businesses become targets of fraud. If you still use a lot of checks, ask about special security check options. As a part of your exploration of technical options, see if the bank can offer filters or text /email alerts to let you monitor your account for certain usage. Finally, see if the bank offers specialized fraud prevention services like Positive Pay.

5. Who does your account come with?

Which banker or bankers you will work with might be the most important question to ask. Who will you be able to talk with about your business? Will they be a specialist in small business issues and trends? What ideas and networking opportunities might they provide your small business? The value your bankers can add in these areas can make any bank account much more than a transaction processing service.

As you can see from these five key questions a bank account can really be an entry point into a huge amount of business services and ideas that can make your small business become more efficient and effective. While every small business needs a checking account, ask these key questions, because you don’t need just any account.

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