By Princess Jones
Choosing a business bank account can be a daunting task. There are so many options that you can come down with a serious case of information overload. Maybe you chose your bank arbitrarily and didn’t put much thought into it. Maybe you’ve been with this bank since you were working out of your garage and now that you have three locations, your needs have changed. Maybe it’s time to switch banks.
Everyone is looking for a discount. When you signed up for that business checking account you may have not minded the monthly service charges or the convenience fees added for cash deposits. Or maybe these fees didn’t even kick in until after your promotional period. Either way, every dollar you pay in fees is one you can’t put back into your business.
Just be sure to read all of the fine print so you know what you’re getting into. For example, accounts with no monthly fees often require a minimum deposit amount. Also, think about all the ways you use your business bank account. If cash deposits aren’t an issue, you don’t care that they are always free. On the other hand, if wire transfers or money conversions are a regular part of your business, you need to check out the fees for those.
A few years back, I was buying a used car in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I lived in Queens, New York but I’d found the perfect car while visiting my parents in their hometown. Where I lived, I couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a branch of my national bank. But when I got down to Virginia Beach, there wasn’t one. (Strangely, there was a corporate office for it but they couldn’t do bank transactions.)
At the time, I’d intended to just pick up a cashier’s check on the way to pick up the car. Suddenly, I was forced into paying cash and I had to go through several inconvenient workarounds just to withdraw that amount of cash in the first place. If I didn’t know it before, that situation convinced me that convenience is priceless.
Your needs will determine what’s convenient. If you’re a solopreneur that likes the idea of handling all of your financial needs with one website or branch visit, having your business and personal accounts with one bank is convenience. If you make regular cash deposits, a bank with nearby branches and late business hours is the definition of convenience.
Customer service isn’t exactly a tangible benefit. Every bank promises that their staff will go above and beyond for your business. But sometimes you see customer service in action and that draws you to another bank. That’s exactly what happened with me when I had to go to another bank several times over the course of a couple of months. During those transactions, the customer service impressed me so much that I started looking into their account options and eventually switched.
More Community Support
Local credit unions and banks are an excellent way to handle your finances while supporting your community. They tend to put money back into the community by participating in the local economy. They are also more likely to participate in local initiatives like food drives and charity sponsorship. Fees tend to be lower with personal service being the norm instead of the exception. And when it comes to lending, small local banks tend to a premium on current relationships. You may also noticed there’s less red tape than at large multinational banks.