LLC University® bank recommendations
Our bank recommendations are split into two categories:
- traditional banks (with physical branches)
- and online banks
Best traditional LLC bank accounts (physical branches)
If you travel a lot, having branches in nearly every state is super helpful. Check out:
- Wells Fargo has the largest number of branches and they cover most of the US. We have accounts with Wells Fargo. Here’s a map of Wells Fargo locations.
- Bank of America has branches in nearly every state, except for a few. Here’s a map of Bank of America locations. Note: In our experience, Bank of America doesn’t have the best customer service and it can be difficult to get phone support without waiting a long time.
- US Bank doesn’t have as many locations as Wells Fargo and Bank of America (specifically not on the east coast), but they are located in many other states. Here’s a map of US Bank locations.
If you live on the east coast:
- TD Bank has great hours and great customer support. We have accounts with TD Bank. Here’s a map of TD Bank locations.
Other banking options:
- Fifth Third Bank has branches in the Midwest and a few in the Southeast. Here’s a map of Fifth Third Bank locations.
- PNC Bank has branches in nearly all states east of the Mississippi, except for New England. Here’s a map of PNC Bank locations.
- Citizens Bank has branches in CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT. Here’s a map of Citizens Bank locations.
- Santander is a good choice for an LLC bank account. They are only located in the Northeast. Here’s a map of Santander branch locations.
- Truist (formerly SunTrust Bank) is well-known in the Southeast region. Here’s a map of Truist locations.
- There are lots of other banking options all throughout the country. We recommend making a few calls and seeing if banks have monthly fees as well as checking on other account features. We have more tips on banking further down on the page.
Business banking in a smaller town
If you live in a smaller town, or don’t have access to the branches above, you can open a business bank account with your local bank. You can google “small business checking + TOWN NAME” or review this map for options in your area.
Tip: Whichever bank you choose, they should have great customer service and be willing to answer all your questions. They should help educate you on their various products, like business loans, checking, savings, and investments. Finding a bank with great hours and a few branch locations is also a plus.
Online LLC bank accounts
Mercury is our #1 recommendation. Here are our favorite features:
- No monthly fees
- Virtual debit cards
- Helpful support
- Beautiful and intuitive design
- Helpful mobile app
- Great for non-US residents (no SSN or ITIN required)
- Spending analytics
- Domestic and international wires (incoming and outgoing)
- Free ACH transfers
- And more
We have a Mercury business account and we find it easy to use.
Note: Mercury doesn’t allow cash deposits, so if you need to deposit cash, you’ll also want to open a traditional bank account. Also, Mercury doesn’t offer phone support, so if you prefer to deal with customer support by phone, a traditional bank may be a better fit. Mercury does have email support though.
How to open an LLC bank account
Not only does opening an LLC business bank account make life easier, it also helps you maintain personal liability protection (which is the main reason people form LLCs).
Think of your LLC as being another person: it makes its own money, has its own bank account, and has its own expenses.
If you don’t create a separate bank account for your LLC (and you mixed your LLC funds with your personal funds), you would be “commingling” your assets and a court could “pierce your corporate veil”, which would then make you personally liable for the LLC’s debts and legal obligations.
Note: This doesn’t mean you can’t move money between your personal account and your business account; you certainly can. You just want to avoid paying business expenses with a personal card and avoid paying personal expenses with a business card.
Other reasons to have an LLC bank account are:
- easier financial record-keeping
- easier to calculate and pay taxes
- audit prevention
- easy to track/deduct business expenses
- professionalism and credibility (using business checks instead of personal checks)
In order to keep your personal liability protection:
- don’t pay personal expenses out of your business account
- don’t pay business expenses out of your personal account
What documents are needed to open an LLC bank account?
You’ll need the following items to open your LLC’s business bank account:
1. Articles of Organization (or equivalent)
This will be your LLC’s approved Articles of Organization, which might be called something different in your state (Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization).
2. EIN Confirmation Letter or EIN Verification Letter
Make sure you’ve received your EIN Number from the IRS before heading to the bank. You’ll need to show them a copy of your EIN in order to open your account. If you need assistance getting your EIN, please see getting an EIN for my LLC.
The two letters from the IRS that are acceptable by banks are:
- EIN Confirmation Letter (575 CP)
- EIN Verification Letter (147C)
Can’t find your EIN letter? You can call the IRS and get a 147C EIN Confirmation Letter. You’ll need a fax, since that’s the only way the IRS can send you 147C. But they’ll fax it to you right while you’re on the phone. Make sure to call as early as possible (7am ideally) for the shortest hold times. If you don’t have a fax, any digital fax service (ex: HelloFax) will work fine.
3. Your Identification
You’ll need to bring in two forms of ID. One of these needs to be government-issued (such as a driver’s license). The 2nd ID could be any of the following: credit/debit card, passport, voter’s registration, or utility bill.
4. Operating Agreement and Additional Forms
Most banks don’t need a copy of your Operating Agreement or your Welcome/Approval Letter (if you received one), but some banks may require it. We recommend bringing all additional LLC documentation just to be safe.
5. Declaration of Beneficial Ownership
A Declaration of Beneficial Ownership form will be provided by the bank. It’s simply a document that discloses who the LLC owners are.
How can non-US residents and non-US citizens open an LLC bank account?
Non-US residents with an LLC can either:
- Visit the US to open a bank account (but that can be difficult).
- Open an online bank account with Mercury (no SSN or ITIN required and no US address required)
If you visit the US in person, you’ll need to open an LLC bank account in the state where you formed your LLC. We recommend calling the bank ahead of time and making sure they are comfortable opening a bank account for a non-US resident/non-US citizen.
To avoid traveling, Mercury is a great option because you can open an account online.
And you don’t need a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
For more details please see how non-US residents can open an LLC bank account in the USA.
All LLC Members Need to be Present
Most banks require all LLC members to be present when opening a bank account.
We recommend calling the bank ahead of time to double-check.
Don’t be confused if they ask for your DBA
A lot of people who work at banks are clueless when it comes to LLCs. Hopefully you don’t get one of these reps, but if you do, they may ask for your DBA (aka Fictitious Name) documentation.
You don’t need a DBA for your LLC, since your LLC operates under its own name. But often the reps get confused and think that the LLC needs one.
We can assure you, it does not, and the account will just go in the name of the LLC.
Having said that, if your LLC needs to operate under a name different than the one you registered with the state (and you have a DBA), make sure to bring its approval.
Call the bank ahead of time
Call the bank ahead of time and ask to speak with the person who handles business accounts.
Check on the following:
- What are the required documents?
- What are the minimum monthly balance requirements?
- What are the monthly fees, if any?
- How much is needed for the initial deposit?
- Do all LLC members need to be present?
- What’s the best time of day for the quickest service?
- What else do I need to bring that I forgot to ask?
Be Careful of…
Monthly Fees and Required Minimum Balances
A lot of banks charge monthly fees and require you to maintain a minimum monthly balance.
But many other banks don’t charge monthly fees, so we recommend calling a few and checking before going into the local branch.
Be careful of promotions and incentives for opening an account. Although they may sound good, most are just temporary and usually lead to ongoing monthly fees.
Banks may have different packages/tiers of business accounts (like economy, gold, and deluxe, for example). Usually, the fancier sounding packages have crap you don’t need and higher fees.
We recommend going with the basic package and save yourself the money (and the hype). You can always upgrade later.
You’ll also receive a business debit card after opening your account. Some banks will issue them right on the spot, others will mail them in a few days.
Having a debit card helps you keep track of business expenses with a dedicated card.
Most debit cards also have technology built in to prevent any fraudulent purchases.
Besides a debit card, you can also get credit cards for your LLC to use for rewards, such as cash back or travel.
To see the top cards, check out business credit cards.
Tips when Ordering Checks
After your account is opened, you’ll be able to order business checks. Below are some helpful tips.
Don’t start your checks at #001
Most checks start at number 001. This could give your business an “amateur” feel. Just ask the bank to start your checks at #1000 or #5000 or whatever you please.
Don’t get super-sized checks
Most banks will try to sell you “special” checks that boost your ego. They are big business checks that come in a large, bulky binder. Unless you need to run checks through a printer (which is what they were originally designed for), you can save yourself some money by just ordering regular size checks.
Single Member LLCs: EIN vs. SSN?
Most banks will let Single-Member LLCs open a bank account with their SSN, and some might even suggest it. We recommend using your EIN instead of your SSN for privacy and easier record keeping.
If you formed your LLC by following our LLC filing instructions, you should have obtained an EIN from the IRS.