How many times have you applied for a bank account and been rejected? I know how frustrating it is when this happens and how much time it feels like it has wasted. Banks are constantly changing their requirements, so it can be hard to keep up, especially when you are busy running a business.
It’s frustrating to get denied, especially because the rejection means that your business will be without a critical service. That is why, in this article, I want to share some tips that will help make sure your business checking account application is approved whether it’s your first time or your third time.
1. Apply for an EIN beforehand
The first thing you should do is get an EIN. The acronym stands for Employer Identification Number and is vital because it will give the bank more information about your company’s finances and history.
The EIN acts as a Social Security number for your business. It’s the number that will be used on your company’s tax returns and reports.
The EIN is needed for any business, from large corporations to single-person companies. Small businesses with less than 100 employees can sometimes take a few days to get one approved, but big companies who apply might need up to 120 days.
Requesting an EIN beforehand makes the process easier because you’ll have all the documentation in order when you go into the bank. If not, then they may ask for additional information – which means more time waiting.
The easiest way to get one of these numbers is by filling out this form online at IRS.gov or contacting their customer service line at 800-829-4933.
You can also fill out SS Form E-1, which may need to be completed when applying for a new business checking account with any financial institution that doesn’t already have your tax identification number on file.
2. Have a business address that isn’t a P.O. box
When you start a business, it’s best to have a business address that is NOT a P.O. box because some banks will not approve a business checking account application with a P.O. box address as the primary mailing address.
Instead of using a P.O. box for your business address, you could use your home address or the address of your business’s headquarters. Alternatively, I’ve had my business checking accounts approved by using a UPS Store mailbox, which uses “Suite” instead of a “P.O. box” – so you’ll have an actual address.
You also want to make sure that your business address matches your EIN and LLC docs (if applicable), as well as the information on your credit card, which will be used for a business checking account application.
Don’t forget to include contact numbers and email addresses for the location that corresponds with this address, too.
3. Have a legal agreement with any and all business partners
Another essential piece of documentation you’ll need is a signed legal agreement with all business partners. This contract should include the date of creation, what, if any, product or service is being transferred from one company to another (i.e., a new website), who’s responsible for which aspects of this project/product – or anything else you can think of.
You’ll also need to have at least two copies of these documents so that they’re easily accessible if there are questions about them later on down the line. But, again, the last thing you’d want is to be faced with a problem that you can’t fix because the contract is lost.
4. Complete your LLC filing before you file your application
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to ensure you’ve filed your LLC paperwork before you even start filling out personal information on the application.
The reason for this is because when you’re applying with an inactive company, it will take much longer to be approved or denied than if you had a completed filing that was active at the time of application.
Filing for an LLC can be done through a lawyer or a company like LegalZoom. You’ll want to make sure you have your Articles of Organization ready and that they’re filed with the Secretary of State’s office in whichever state you are residing in before filling out personal information on the application.
Once this is done, it will be much easier for banks to approve your business checking account because there won’t be any questions about whether an LLC has been formed yet.
If you already own a business but don’t have an active LLC filing at the time of submission, then remember that having all required paperwork prepared ahead of time can help decrease approval times significantly.
5. Make sure your business has been operating for at least a year
While this isn’t necessarily a requirement, it can help in getting a business checking account approved. This is because a business that has been operating for at least one year will meet any annual reporting requirements set out by the state.
The annual reporting requirement for businesses is to keep the IRS up-to-date on all income, deductions, credits, and other financial information.
An important thing to note is that banks have a responsibility in helping with this due diligence reporting process as well – which means they will ask for evidence of your activity from at least one year ago.
Suppose you’ve been running your business for less than 12 months when trying to apply. In that case, it’ll take longer to get accepted because there’s no proof that the company has seen substantial growth yet, or that it can sustain itself.
6. Have a good credit score and make sure you have a positive banking history
Having a good credit score can be very helpful when going to apply for a business checking account. A good credit score speaks to the trustworthiness of your company, and it’s also a sign that you’re financially stable.
If approved for an account with low fees for high balances, this will also offer financial stability. Plus, there are other benefits like applying for lines of credit when needed or getting better rates on loans.
When applying for a new business checking account, make sure the business has no history of bouncing checks or overdrafts. These can create problems down the line with monthly statements going unpaid.
This could lead to many more problems such as putting off legal proceedings, poor publicity in social media outlets, and even losing business deals if there’s any contract involved.
Depending on the size of your company, it may also be wise to have another person who oversees the financials and can make decisions on behalf of the company in case there’s an issue.
Things like that should be discussed with your bank to help avoid any future issues and make sure they have all the documents necessary for completing a new account application.
7. Avoid opening too many accounts
While it may be tempting (to increase your odds of approval and possibly decrease the waiting time), I don’t recommend opening too many accounts. Opening too many accounts could make it appear as if you cannot manage your money well, even though it may just be that you’re starting up a new company.
Additionally, applying for multiple business checking accounts at once could lead to a delay in approval. So, I recommend starting with one account and then waiting for the card’s arrival before applying for another if you need an additional checking account. This will help avoid any delays in getting your business off the ground.
8. Have a cosigner when it makes sense
If you aren’t in a great financial position, first of all, I would strongly consider whether starting a business now is the right time. But suppose it’s just that you don’t have substantial personal assets. In that case, it can help to have at least one cosigner on the account who can show they have enough assets to cover any potential losses incurred by the company’s checking account activity (this should be someone other than yourself).
If you are a sole proprietor, having someone other than yourself as an authorized signer is not necessary but can help if there ever is a problem with your credit score or something else happens where being able to show that you have some level of financial support from another individual may be needed.
It will demonstrate that they are financially sound and more likely to provide better coverage if anything goes wrong. This means it could make your chances of getting approved for business checking easier because banks feel like this person would be more reliable at covering any expenses related to their accounts should things go south for the company. It also helps protect against fraud and abuse.
Now that you know what to do, I hope the next time you apply for a business checking account, your application is approved faster than ever before. So keep these tips in mind and get ready to be on your way to having an even better experience with your bank.