Guide to Choosing the Best Business Bank Account: Checking Account
PART 2: What to Look for in a Business Checking Account
You know you need to open a business checking account, but want to make sure you get the best bang for your buck. You would hate to waste time locking in a subpar business checking account only to switch it later.
Knowing what key business checking account factors to look for will help keep you focused on what your business really needs. Remember, function over flash. Opt for a long-term, “relationship material” bank over a one-time sign-up bonus.
Here’s the bad news: Most business checking accounts charge service fees. In general, these occur monthly.
The good news: service fees aren’t that expensive, and banks typically offer ways to offset them.
The most common way to waive your service fees is to maintain a specific account balance. Look at “service,” “maintenance,” or “activity” fees associated with a business checking account; then check to see if you can waive any of these fees by staying above a certain account balance, or signing up for paperless e-statements.
For example, our BizReward Checking account waives its activity fee (and charges no transaction fee) so long as the $20,000 minimum balance is maintained.
Two things to look out for on the Transaction front—limits and fees. It’s common for banks to limit the amount of free transactions they allow and charge additional fees by item. Items include: each check deposited, each check drawn on account, and each deposit made.
If you run lots of transactions per month, these small fees can add up. Look for options with higher free monthly transaction limits, such as our popular Small Business Account offering 120 free items, or accounts offering “earning credit,” like our Commercial Checking account with 0.50% earnings credit.
Earning credit is money the bank pays you on your idle funds. This credit helps offset service and transaction fees. Commercial Checking—with earnings credit is ideal for large corporations with big balances and enough transactions to take advantage of accrued earnings credits.
Cash Withdrawals & Deposits
As you research account options, you will probably come across attractive business checking account offers from online banks. While they don’t often highlight the downsides to these kinds of accounts, they’re important to consider.
For instance, with no brick-and-mortar locations, you won’t be able to make a cash deposit. Additionally, many online banks restrict you to in-network ATMs and do not offer the ability to send money wires.
This one’s easy. If you’re planning on sending or receiving money wires, you need to make sure your business checking account offers those services.
Once you confirm wiring capabilities, see how many are included in your checking account plan per month. Will that number be enough to cover you for the month? If not, what’s the per-wire fee after the monthly allowance is spent?
Keep in mind: wiring fees are standard for most business accounts. It’s not common for banks to offer more than a handful of free wire transfers per month.