Most people think that their bank account is just for making deposits and taking withdrawals. This is not the case anymore – with all of the technology developments banking has become more accessible, more convenient and much easier! As a small business owner, it is important that you maximize and get the most out of your bank account. After working for a large bank for several years, I have learned some of the in’s and out’s of small business banking.
One of the most important things that you can do happens before you even open your bank account. By shopping around, you can have the peace of mind knowing that you have picked the right bank that best fits your needs as both a consumer and a business owner. The idea is to make your money work for you – not the other way around! Here are a few things that you may want to consider:
*Does the bank offer free checking, direct deposit and online bill pay?
*Are they offering you decent interest rates?
*Are there convenient ATMs and branches?
Another thing that you should inquire about is minimum-balance requirements. More specifically you will want to find out if there is a monthly fee if their requirements are not met. If there are fees, generally there will be ways to have them waived, such as, direct deposit or using the ATMs and online services versus the tellers. Make sure you find out all these details before opening an account.
Investigate Online Banking
Once you’ve opened your bank account, take some time to find out how you can get the most out of the accounts. I recommend that you do your research on online banking and bill pay. If you are like most consumers you probably find it difficult to make it to the bank during normal business hours. These features can help you be sure that the bills are paid on time, allow you to make transfers between your accounts or to other members of the bank all from the comfort of your living room. Typically, you would also be able to perform other basic banking transactions like ordering a replacement card if your is lost or damaged and managing multiple accounts.
In addition, find out if your bank has a mobile app! Now-a-days, most of the bigger banks and credit unions do. This is a quick and easy way to have access your accounts right at your finger tips. You can see recent transactions, make transfers and even deposit checks into your accounts right from your phone. This is helpful for a small business owner always on the go.
One mistake that many people make is not linking their checking account to a savings account or credit card. By having these accounts linked you could avoid over-drafting your checking account and being hit with a fee of as much as $35. Additionally, if the over-draft is not rectified in a timely manner, some banks assess a second fee. OUCH! Allowing yourself the cushion by linking the accounts can help you avoid this headache. You could also consider linking you checking to a home equity line of credit, also known as a HELOC.
Another important thing to remember is to plan ahead! Before a night out with friends or traveling out of town, find out if there will be fees for using ATMs that are not owned by your bank. Always notify your bank prior to using your debit or credit cards out of town. If you forget to notify your bank of your travels it is very likely that your cards be closed for fraud. Your bank is just looking out for you and to them your out of town transactions appear to be fraudulent and unusual. It would be very embarrassing to be out of town at a self-storage trade show and conference and suddenly have no form of payment!
One last piece of info, most banks allow you to make appointments to see a banker and call in coin or cash orders. Keep this in mind to help you save time and not wait for an appointment to be available once you’ve arrived.
This type of due diligence will really help with your busy schedule and help you succeed in getting the most out of your bank! Have any questions for Jessica or other small business owners? Post below!
Jessica Turnage is an Operations Analyst for the U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network. She is responsible for assisting new affiliates throughout their set up process. She also manages updates to banking information. Prior to joining the team, Jessica worked in the banking industry for several years assisting both consumers and business clients manage their accounts.