As a small business owner, one of the most valuable relationships you’ll develop over time is your business banking relationship. A checking account that can help you deal with unforeseen financial challenges and take advantage of unexpected opportunities can prove invaluable as you grow your business.
According to a recent study by Bluevine,* 88% of small business owners are open to trying a new bank. This number is not surprising, because most owners understand the importance of finding the right banking solutions as their businesses evolve.
Below, you’ll learn when it’s time to switch banks, what to look for in a business checking account, how to make the switch, and more.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Besides making your life easier, there are many benefits to finding a business bank account that works for your business.
The best business checking accounts don’t nickel-and-dime you for every little thing. Most businesses want an account with low, transparent fees, including no fees for monthly maintenance, overdraft, and non-sufficient funds. Your account should allow an unlimited number of transactions, so you can operate your business with peace of mind.
Another feature of all the best business checking accounts is high-yield interest. Your account should give you the opportunity to earn a competitive annual percentage yield (APY) on your operating balances. Many businesses end up having to move money between different accounts just to earn a little bit of interest, but the right checking account for your business will allow you to earn high APY without moving your money around.
With the right business checking account, you should be able to bank on your terms. For many businesses, that means being able to do everything online or from your phone, instead of needing to go to a physical bank branch. The overarching benefit: it saves you time.
Our survey found that, on average, business owners spend 6 full working days per year dealing with in-branch banking. That means the average small business owner spends more than a full workweek every year traveling to and from brick-and-mortar bank locations, as well as waiting in lines, making deposits, paying bills, etc. You get all that time back when you’re able to bank on the go.
Your business checking account should help you get where you want to go, with the right tools for now and later. Sophisticated functionality, like an integrated bill pay platform with multiple payment options, can empower you to perform everyday tasks with ease.
As you grow, you should also have access to features that support those efforts. International payments allow you to expand your global reach. Sub-accounts let you budget more effectively, setting aside money for payroll or emergencies. Multi-user access helps you securely share banking responsibilities with trusted team members or your accountant, making tasks like paying bills and filing your taxes much easier.
Knowing what to look for in a business checking account can be overwhelming and confusing. When choosing which account is right for your business, here are some points to consider:
You should easily be able to find and review a full fee schedule for an online business checking account. This includes monthly maintenance fees, overdraft and NSF fees, and any fees associated with bill payments or transfers.
Does the account have an opening deposit requirement? Will you need to maintain a minimum balance to avoid fees or keep your account open?
Are there other services available through the business checking account? Some accounts let you sync with accounting software, pay your bills, and/or get a business debit card.
If you need to deposit cash frequently, or if you have other reasons for needing physical bank locations, make sure you choose a bank that has branches nearby. Similarly, review the account’s transaction limits to avoid issues with receiving or sending payments.
Confirm your business checking deposits are safe and secure.
If you compare multiple business banking accounts, you’ll confirm one of two things:
You’re with the right bank
It’s time to switch banks
How can you tell? Ask yourself if your bank:
If you’re not satisfied with how your current bank account stacks up, ask other business owners for recommendations. A Bluevine survey revealed that almost a third of businesses opened their most recent business bank account based on a recommendation from someone they trusted.
The survey also showed that other prominent reasons for switching business bank accounts are to separate personal and business finances (28%), other banks have better features and benefits (25%), and fee increases at their current bank (23%).
One more interesting point: 64% of small businesses surveyed said they need excellent customer service to save time and operate efficiently.
So, if you’re spending too much time and money with your current business account—and it fails to grow and evolve with your business—that’s your sign that it's time to switch.
Source: “Account Switching Survey,” Bluevine & Morning Consult, 2022
Banks with a digital-first approach often have tools and technology that close the gap between your business’ finances and the accountant who keeps them in the black every month. This saves both you and your accountant valuable time.
So if you decide to switch bank accounts, first check out your bank’s compatibility with accounting software that tracks your income and expenses. This software may also send reminders to submit your quarterly tax deposits and the amount they should be.
Your business bank account should simplify your accounting, and syncing your account with your accounting software will do just that.
Another way your business checking account can help with accounting is by allowing you to give your accountant or bookkeeper secure access with dedicated logins. Some accounts let you invite additional users with controlled permissions, so your accountant can sign in with their own credentials and access everything they need to. Plus, some integrated bill pay tools empower your accountant to submit bill payments for your approval.
Many businesses put off changing banks because they don’t know how easy it is to actually switch business bank accounts. Follow these simple steps to save time and set yourself up for success with a new banking relationship.
Before you switch
With how much time I save now, I don’t know if I could ever go back to a traditional, brick-and-mortar bank.”
According to our survey, identifying a new bank and opening an account typically takes a business about two weeks. This includes research, getting recommendations from friends or fellow business owners, and talking with bank representatives. Of course, it can take a little longer to move your funds over and change all your direct deposits and recurring payments once your new account is open.
As you navigate the journey of building business credit, here are additional common questions that might come up along the way:
There is no reason you can’t leave your old business checking account open, although it may complicate matters for your bookkeeper or accountant. You also might pay monthly fees for your old account that could be eliminated by closing it after your new account has been opened. Some business owners use different banks to organize their finances, though some business checking accounts let you add sub-accounts with dedicated account numbers to help you budget more easily.
Most banks require an EIN or tax ID to open a business account. If you operate a sole proprietorship, some banks let you open a business account using your Social Security number. If you plan on switching banks, it’s a good opportunity to explore which entity is best for your business.
Rather than physical branch locations, digital-first banks bring the experience to you in the form of intuitive apps and a simple user experience. This approach translates to a long list of benefits, including lower fees, higher interest rates, easier access, more convenience and an all-around better experience.
The primary benefit of digital-first banking is time saving. You’ll save a considerable amount of time not having to visit your bank’s physical branch to conduct business. Plus, fees are usually lower if you bank with a digital-first bank because of its lower cost of doing business.
Keep in mind that the FDIC insures online-only checking accounts up to the same limits as traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
There’s always a chance you’ll experience issues when switching bank accounts. If you have any problems with your old bank, you’ll need to contact their support. Similarly, you may need to contact your new bank's support if the issue is on their end. That’s why it’s important to choose an account that’s known for having excellent customer service––so you can manage your finances with confidence.
You can definitely switch banks to consolidate business checking and lending. Putting all your accounts under one digital roof is a great way to reduce fees and the time you spend shuffling through accounts. Just be sure you’re comparing interest rates and loan terms when choosing a bank.
If your banking service provider offers both a business checking account and a line of credit, you might be able to access your line of credit funds faster when you have them deposited into that provider’s business checking account.
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The “Account Switching Survey” was conducted by a third-party survey platform, Morning Consult, on behalf of Bluevine. The sample of 337 business owners (non-Bluevine customers) in the United States was surveyed between October 10, 2022 and October 19, 2022.
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This content is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice of any type, such as financial, legal, tax, or accounting advice. This content does not necessarily state or reflect the views of Bluevine or its partners. Please consult with an expert if you need specific advice for your business. For information about Bluevine products and services, please visit the Bluevine FAQ page.