Opening a Bank Account

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Choosing a bank account seems such a simple thing to do – but, as with most things, it is necessary to think carefully about your business needs and what type of account/s will best serve you as the owner. The business bank account becomes a basic vehicle for tracking income and expenditure, building a positive credit record and facilitating secure payments.

Things to consider include:

  • Do you require a current (cheque) account or basic savings?
  • How many transactions you predict you will make per month
    • It may be cheaper to opt for a pay as you use the account or,
    • Choose a fixed monthly charge
  • The lowest balance you are required to keep in the account
  • The nature of your business e.g. retail stores will typically need to be in close proximity to a branch to make cash deposits, whereas online businesses or service businesses may suit online or mobile banking
    • Does your business need a bundled account – what are the benefits vs. the costs?
    • Does your bank offer special-purpose accounts e.g. medical, agricultural or franchise? An account that is specifically tailored for your type of business may take away unnecessary frustration and administration
  • The cost of the account - banking charges, fees, penalties for surpassing transaction limits or dipping below the minimum balance etc. Be careful of signing up to high-cost accounts, which reduce your bottom line but add no real advantage
  • Should you bank with one or more banks? While there is merit in the “don’t put all your eggs in one basket argument”, there are costs to factor in. You could be paying for a duplication of services and you may be losing on the reduced charges available to single bank clients. The more you build your accounts with a particular bank, the better your credit record and the better the business relationship.

Once you have selected the account that is most efficient and effective for your business, it is up to you to handle the account with care. Remember, this is your personal and your business’ credit record at stake. Dipping below minimum balances or overdrawing the account is a red flag and will reduce your ability to attract financing in the future.

For more information, refer to The Essential Guide for Small-Business Owners, Nedbank, pp30-31

 

 

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    Carefully consider your options and the costs vs. the benefits of different bank accounts and don't be afraid to ask questions. Have you opened a business account before? If so what was your experience? What would make your life easier as a business owner when it comes to choosing a business account?