While it may not seem like a huge decision compared to everything else on your plate, if you’re running or launching a small business, then choosing the right business bank account is, believe it or not, a pretty big deal
Well, OK: it’s not massive or profound, but it’s certainly not something you should do without conducting some research, exploring your options, and making sure you find the right bank and account(s) that fits your business and your budget. To help point you in the right direction, here are four tips from National Business Capital, one of the country’s most experienced and reputable small business lenders:
- Look for Incentives
Much like wireless carriers and cable companies, banks covet your business — not just because you’re a wonderful person (which goes without saying!), but because if you’re on their roster then there’s a very good chance that, as the years unfold, you’ll avail yourself of additional products and services, such as a business credit card. As such, shop around to see which bank is offering you the best incentive, which could include reduced (or eliminated) fees for a few months or even a year, or gadgets and devices like iPhones, iPads, Chromebooks, and so on.
- Scrutinize the Fees
I can’t emphasize this enough: some banks charge an excessive and, frankly, unjustifiable amount in service fees for things that really don’t require any service on their part at all, such as exceeding a set number of ATM transactions, receiving ACH payments (a single deposit can lead to a $10 or $20 ding!), and the list goes on. Scrutinize the fees and make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for. And while you’re at it, confirm that certain fees aren’t “teasers” that will suddenly spike within a few months.
- Explore Online Banking
As a personal account holder, being obligated to visit a branch is annoying and inconvenient. But as a business owner, it’s also costly — since your time is money. As such, pay close attention to what each bank on your list offers in terms of online banking. For example, look at what you can do (e.g. open accounts, transfer funds, pay business taxes, etc.), and importantly, confirm that you can send and receive secure messages that will be responded to within one or two business days. And of course, make sure that they offer a secure app so you can check balances, pay bills, deposit checks, get alerts and so on via your smartphone. For a list of Forbes’ best mobile banking apps of 2016, click here.
- Check the Hours
As mentioned, you probably want to spend as little time in your bank as possible — not because you aren’t friendly, but because you have better (read: more profitable) things to do. However, it’s inevitable that sooner or later, you’ll need or want to head into a branch. Therefore, it’s wise to make sure that a bank is open evenings and on weekends, so that you won’t have to take time out of your busy day.
The Bottom Line
Again, I know that choosing your business bank (and subsequent account or accounts) isn’t high-level strategy, and you’re probably so immersed in issues like product offerings, marketing, distribution, inventory and so on, that this task may be struggling to get a space on your massive to-do list.
However, it’s definitely in your best interest to conduct some research, ask questions and read the small print (in fact, read it twice if you can). You’ll be glad you did, because you’ll have the business banking solution you need at the best possible price. Mission accomplished!
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