“What do I need to open a business bank account?” All types of businesses, even those based from home, should have a separate account for their business funds. This account allows you to spend and accept money without taking anything from your own personal account. 

Setting up an account is easier than you may think. While the requirements vary from state to state, many banks only require a few documents to open a business account. The most obvious requirement is that the bank will want proof that you have a legitimate business. Once you've found the right bank for your business, the other required documents should be easy to produce.

Required Documents for Opening a Business Bank Account

  • Business Identity Certification: All banks will require documentation that shows your business was formed in adherence to the laws of the state. 
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN): Since businesses have to pay federal taxes, banks that are a part of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation must have the taxpayer ID for every person who is an account holder.
  • Bank Application: Every bank has its own application for the process. The application will ask for the company's official name, the mailing address it's registered at, an address to an actual location, an EIN, and information regarding the other important partners within the company.
  • Signature Cards: Signature cards allow the bank officials to compare the signatures on specific checks to the signature on the card to see whether they're legitimate. Every person who deposits or deals with company funds will have to submit a card to the bank with a formal signature.
  • Business Licenses: In the majority of cases, you have to apply and register for an official business license if you want to start your own business. While the law requires all companies to have registration showing they're a valid business, business licenses are typically only required from businesses that serve the public to help prove their legitimacy. If you have both forms of documentation, bring both when you apply for your business banking account. 
  • Fictitious Name: You have to submit your fictitious name when applying for a business banking account instead of your full legal name. Your fictitious name, also known as your DBA name, is the name of your business. To receive your fictitious name, you have to submit a form to the Secretary of Commerce or Department of Labor. 
  • Professional Licenses and Personal Identification: As stated by the Consumer Protection Bureau, Dodd-Franks Act, and Patriot Act, you need a form of personal identification to corroborate your business models and identities. These forms of identification should include photocopies for signers of the accounts and the account holder, other personal identification of important partners, and any professional licenses you have. 

Business Formation Documents, Licenses, and EINs

The documents required to form a company depend on the type of business you're creating. The creation of corporations requires Articles of Incorporation. Companies that are limited-liability will need to file Articles of Organization. Proprietorships require certificates showing business authority. You will need to present your business's formation documents and any licenses to the bank to open a business account.

A few states only require businesses in certain industries to have business licenses. In Texas, industries such as cosmetology require a license to trade, but general businesses don't need a business license from the state.

You will also need an EIN to open a business account. You can obtain your EIN by filling out Form SS-4 from the IRS. You can find the document online and file it there to immediately get your EIN in a PDF. The PDF will appear with official IRS identification so that it will meet the requirements of the bank and verify the company's taxpayer ID. This process works for all types of companies except sole proprietorships. Sole proprietorships have to use the business owner's SSN, since these companies have no formal existence legally.

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