How to Choose a Small Business Bank Account

Choosing a small business bank account is an important step in the start up process of your jewelry making business. Your personal bank may not offer you the services you need at a reasonable price. So shop around. Go to a few banks and start asking questions.

Yes you do need a business bank account. You need to keep your personal and your business banking separate. You may discover that your personal bank gives you the best deal and it's convenient to do all your banking at one location. But to be a professional you need to have a separate checking account. You need to have an audit trail of all your income and deductions for tax purposes (just ask your accountant). After all, you're not a hobby business anymore.

The first thing you need to ask about is bank charges. Are you going to be charged a fixed fee on your new business bank account or are you going to be charged a per transaction fee. Some banks charge business checking accounts for each deposit and each check written on the account.

Find out if you need to have a minimum amount to open your business bank account. Do you need to keep a minimum balance in your account. Will they waive all fees if you have a minimum balance? Do you earn interest on your business bank account?

Are you interested in online banking? Some people like the convenience of being able to check on their business bank account at all hours of the night. You know that jewelry business owners don't sleep much, don't you? We are up at all hours of the night. Just be aware of the fact that they will charge you for this service.

While you're there ask them about merchant accounts. If you're not ready to accept credit cards right now that's okay. As long as you're asking questions why not get all the information you might need right now. You can put it away for future reference. Find out what the discount fee, transaction fee, and monthly fee would be.

They are going to ask you what type of checks you want. I would go with the small personal size checks. They are easier to deal with and cheaper. Chances are you will want to carry the check book with you sometimes and this is more convenient. You might want to get the carbon copy checks too. I think they are annoying but you may like them. The business size checks are expensive but if you are planning to print them from your computer that might be the best way to go. I don't write out enough checks to justify the printing cost or the hassle of firing up the computer to write a check.

You should find out if there is a waiting period to get a debit card. Some banks do this. I don't know why. Grab an application form for a business credit card too. You want to keep those business expenses separate from your personal expenses don't you? If you have to carry a balance in the beginning of your new business venture the interest is a write off.

When you decide on a business bank account that offers you the most bank for your buck you'll need to have a few pieces of information with you to open your new account. Some banks want to see a business license and they will open the account in your name with a DBA (doing business as) your business name if it's different than your legal name. I just added the word jewelry after my legal name to make it simple. You can always change it later.

You can use your social security number for now but I recommend at some point applying for an EIN (Federal Employers ID Number). As your business grows you may not want to be handing out your social security number to others. I feel more comfortable giving them my EIN. And who knows, down the road you may need to hire employees.

Take your drivers license with you to the bank to prove who you are. And also take anyone else who will be authorized to be on your signature card. You may want to be the only person who can sign checks on this new account and that's okay too.