Business Bank Account

Opening a Business Bank Account for an LLC

One of the first things to do after forming your LLC (and getting your EIN) is to open an LLC business 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 you formed the LLC).

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.

Other reasons to have an LLC bank account are:

  • easier financial recordkeeping
  • 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?

You’ll need the following items to open your LLC’s business bank account:

LLC Approval
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).

Federal Tax ID Number (aka EIN)
Make sure you’ve received your EIN 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 these video instructions.

2 Forms of 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.

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.

Our Bank Recommendations

Here are some banks we recommend (and their locations):

Wells Fargo has the largest number of branches and they cover most of the US. They have excellent customer service. (map)

TD Bank has great hours and is open on Sunday. Their branches are located along the east coast. (map)

PNC Bank branches are found in nearly all states east of the Mississippi, except for New England. (map)

Chase branches are found in the more populated cities and not in small towns. (map)

Bank of America has branches in nearly all the states except for MT, ID, WY, ND, SD, NE, UT, and CO. Their service can sometimes be below average though. (map)

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 + {name of your town}” 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.

All Members Most Likely 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 it’s 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 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 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.

Promotions
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.

Different Packages
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.

Debit Cards

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.

Credit Cards

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 through our courses, you should have obtained an EIN from the IRS.

Business Savings Account

Along with the checking account you open, your bank may also offer you a business savings account. If you prefer to keep all your banking under one roof, this might be a good idea.

However, if you prefer higher interest rates on your savings, we recommend setting up a business savings account with CapitalOne 360.

CapitalOne 360 also has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements.

References

Chase LLC checklist
Wells Fargo required documents
Bank of America LLC documents

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Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator at LLC University
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! We teach people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your entrepreneurial journey.
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10 Comments

  1. Tracey March 31, 2017

    Hi,

    My husband and I have a construction company. I’m new to this and last year the first thing we did was go register the company in the office of deeds and quickly got the EIN number. My husband and I didn’t have any idea that we were going to need the company to be an LLC for our protection. I don’t know what to do now since we already have an EIN number but we have to get the company register as LLC. Will I have to get a new EIN number or is there any way I can still use that one? Please let me know how you can help? Thank you for your time.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz April 5, 2017

      Hi Tracey, it sounds like you either registered a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership at the Office of Deeds and then obtained an EIN. In that case, although you can “transfer” an EIN from your existing Sole Proprietorship or Partnership, having to deal with the IRS on this (and hoping it’s done correctly) is a pain. Instead, we recommend forming an LLC and then applying for a new EIN from the IRS after the LLC is approved. Then, after you (or your accountant) files your final tax return for the Sole Proprietorship or Partnership, you can simply close the EIN with the IRS (instructions here). Hope that helps! Let me know if you need anything else.

      reply
  2. Kathleen June 21, 2017

    Hi Matt,

    I received a check in my name from a 403b. How exactly do I deposit this money into my LLC to help with fund the startup?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz June 23, 2017

      Hi Kathleen, you can simply use the proceeds as a capital contribution and deposit them into the LLC’s bank account. We don’t have this form on our site, but you can find one here to document the transaction.

      reply
  3. Rachel June 27, 2017

    Hi,
    I have worked as a sole proprietor cleaning company for a while now and have just worked as a DBA. I have a license to do business from town hall, a license from DRS to collect sales tax and I also get vouchers from IRS for SE Payments. All under my name/SSN(since I was DBA).
    Recently I formed a Single member LLC under the some name but With LLC at the end.
    I am not sure what I need to do now. Do I have to get a new license to do business from town hall? Do I also have to register for sales tax license?. And do I have to change anything with IRS for SE vouchers? Will I still need them since I’m single?
    member llc.
    Thank you for your help.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz June 28, 2017

      Hi Rachel, likely yes, you’ll need to change all that you mentioned, since the legal entity doing business (now your LLC, not you) has changed. Regarding the SE vouchers, please check with your accountant on this one. And regarding the business license, depending on the jurisdiction, you’ll either need to get a new one, or they’ll let you transfer your existing one. You’ll need to call and check.

      reply
  4. Andy Watson September 5, 2017

    Hi

    I opened a LLC 3 years ago but have never used but I am now starting a new business so propose to use the LLC. I have gone online and with your helpful tutorial changed the name appropriate to my new business. However my Certificate of Organization is in the old company name and the bank I am trying to open an account with won’t accept it. Should I apply for a new Cert of Organization or is there another way around?

    Thanks for your help!

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz September 6, 2017

      Hi Andy, after your LLC name change went through, you should have received back confirmation showing the new LLC name. Which state is your LLC in?

      reply
      • Andy September 8, 2017

        Hi Matt

        Thanks for your reply my LLC is in Pennsylvania I didn’t get a confirmation but I if I search the new name it does come up ok.

        reply
        • Matt Horwitz September 12, 2017

          Hi Andy, you should have received confirmation of the amendment that you filed. I recommend calling the Bureau of Corporations and ask for a copy, then bring that to the bank. You never need to form a new LLC in order to change the name of an LLC. That just doesn’t make sense if you think about it. Also, to save time, you can call the bank and see if they’ll accept the updated record on the state’s website. Depending on the bank, that just may be enough. Either way, I’d still get a copy of your amendment changing your LLC name. You will likely need that for other things.

          reply

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