LLC Bank Account | All Documents & Information Needed

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: March 4, 2024
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Opening a business bank account requires some effort, but it's manageable.

As seasoned legal advisors and attorneys with over ten years of expertise, we understand the significance of accurate paperwork.

From our extensive experience, we know that incomplete documentation when opening a bank account for an LLC can lead to months of wasted time—a situation no one desires when launching a robust business.

To help you avoid any documentation-related pitfalls, we have gathered our first-hand experience and business knowledge in this guide to help you kick off your LLC business in the best way possible.

Quick Summary

  • To open an LLC bank account, you will need articles of organization, a certificate of organization, and an Employer Identification Number. 
  • You will also need a DBA certificate to comply with Anti laundering procedures.
  • According to the IRS, as of 2021, there were over 5.8 million active LLCs in the United States, and most of them have multiple bank accounts.
  • To have your business bank account opened in a short time, and with full documentation, we recommend talking with legal experts.


How to Open an LLC Bank Account

A man opening an LLC bank account via a cash machine

To open an LLC business account you will have to get familiar with different options and choose from them [1].

Banks of all sizes serve the state, with distinct criteria for new business accounts, considering existing relationships, first-time openings, and credit history, which is why doing in-depth research is crucial at first.

Given the significant rise in entrepreneurship, with 5,481,437 new businesses launched in 2023—an 8.7% increase from the previous year as reported by the Commerce Institute—it's increasingly vital to grasp the essentials of setting up an LLC business bank account [2].

To open a bank account in the States for your LLC, I recommend my clients to follow these steps:

1. Research: Compare banks based on services, fees, and convenience.

2. Choose an Account Type: Select a business account suitable for your LLC's needs.

3. Gather Documents: Prepare necessary documents like your LLC's formation papers, EIN, and personal identification.

4. Visit the Bank: Set up an appointment and visit the chosen bank branch.

5. Complete Application: Fill out the required forms and provide the necessary documents.

6. Funding: Deposit the initial funds required to open the account.

7. Understand Terms: Review account terms, fees, and any linked services.

8. Start Banking: Once approved, you can start using your LLC's bank account for transactions.

Before an LLC can open a bank account, it must possess the necessary legal documents to comply with banking requirements.

LLC Articles of Organization

The best way for banks to be sure that your business is set as a legal entity is to see Articles of Organization.

The Articles of Organization, also known as a Certificate of Formation or similar names depending on the jurisdiction, is a legal document filed with the appropriate state agency to formally establish the existence of an LLC.

This document provides important information about the business, including its name, registered agent, purpose, address, management structure, and other pertinent details.

Present Your LLC Operating Agreement

Shaking hands

Operating agreements matter because banks usually require one before they open an account for an LLC. An LLC operating agreement outlines LLC members' rights and duties, similar to shareholder agreements for corporations but with fewer formalities.

By default, banks see LLC members as equal co-owners without preferential withdrawal rights unless specified otherwise [3].

The operating agreement sets forth how decisions about withdrawing money will be made within the company—by vote or on some other basis.

Showing important documents

A business license is something that you need to have ready when it comes to opening an LLC bank account, in most cases.

Your business license is proof that you are allowed to do business in your state.

Not all banks require business licenses, but some will ask for them as part of the account opening process so they can check with authorities about whether or not you have a history of business licensing violations.

Business licenses are usually issued by business licensing bureaus of the business' state government, so your business license will have a section for you to fill in with information about your business.

When you apply for other services, you may need this number, such as a business credit card or merchant account.

You Need an EIN - Business Tax Number

ID with barcode

EIN or Employer Identification Number is a business tax ID number that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues to businesses.

Business owners use it to file business taxes, comply with federal laws and regulations, report business transactions to other companies or individuals, etc.

To open a business bank account, LLCs need an EIN, as banks require it for official recognition.

Without an EIN, financial institutions hesitate to offer business banking services since the government doesn't recognize the LLC's official status. Therefore, it's crucial to apply for an EIN before establishing a business checking account for your LLC.

DBA Certificate is Also Necessary

Showing and pointing a certain document

DBA Certificate necessity for an LLC depends on its business activities and the laws of the state or country.

The acronym DBA stands for "Doing Business As," and a business will have a different name on its bank account because it is not acting like itself, but rather under an assumed name or business structure [4].

Banks usually require this document before opening your business banking accounts to ensure that you are operating legally within your state's LLC laws.

To begin with, banks ask for DBA certificates from small businesses to comply with Anti Money Laundering (AML) procedures required by federal law, which aims to prevent money laundering activities by verifying the identity of customers who open new business bank accounts [5].

This procedure helps financial institutions avoid being used as tools for criminals seeking to launder dirty cash through legal entities.

How to Choose the Right Business Account

A business person counting money on a table

To choose the right business account you should set the requirements of your business, research account types, and check fees.

From my experience, choosing the right business account is directly linked to the size of your business and how much money is in your checking account.

If you have a small amount of income coming through this bank, you may want to consider an interest-checking account for LLCs.

Many checking accounts for LLCs will have minimum monthly balance requirements. However, some companies may require a lower amount.

Consider opening an online business checking account if you do not want to go through the hassle of maintaining a checking account and meeting balance requirements.

Streamlining Finances for Business Owners

As a business owner, prioritize having an emergency fund in a business account. For saving, consider a high-yield business savings account.

Having multiple checking accounts offers flexibility for deposits. A business credit card enables earning rewards on all purchases.

"Operating an LLC necessitates a dual-account approach, where the business owner maintains separate accounts for personal and business finances. This structure is not just a recommendation but a requirement for clear financial management and legal compliance," explains a business finance expert."

- Delina Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, Distinguished Expert in Mergers & Acquisitions

This can get complicated, especially if you plan to travel abroad since banks may not be able to provide their services while out of the country, which could result in lost money when attempting international transfers.

The best way around this would be to open up yet another account with your destination's local currency so that there are no issues during foreign transactions.

Why Does an LLC Need Its Own Bank Account?

Debit cards on top of each other

An LLC needs its own bank account to provide legal separation and enhance credibility.

An LLC requires its own bank account to establish clear legal separation from its owners, safeguarding personal assets and ensuring financial clarity.

By maintaining distinct business accounts for business expenses and income, the LLC upholds its credibility and adheres to regulatory guidelines.

This separation streamlines financial management, protecting the business and its members while enhancing overall professionalism.

The business name should be listed as the primary LLC account holder on the application, not your personal name or that of another LLC member.

Once open, you can use this new separate account for all business-related transactions only.

Do not open a personal bank account with these personal funds unless otherwise required by law (for example, paying yourself in an LLC).

Doing so could put your personal assets at risk if something goes wrong with the business down the line.

Maintaining a separate business bank account makes financial sense due to better tax rates, despite limitations on using personal funds.

An LLC offers limited liability protection to its owners from any liabilities related to their business activities and operations, which means that creditors cannot go after the owner's personal assets if something goes wrong.

If borrowers want similar protections when getting a business loan through alternative lending companies, then they need an organizational structure that gives them this legal status.

Data Privacy and Security in Business Banking

It's essential for entrepreneurs to understand the types of personal information banks collect during the account opening process and how it's utilized. From basic identification details to financial records and transaction history, banks gather a plethora of sensitive data to ensure regulatory compliance and facilitate seamless banking operations.

However, with the rise in cyber threats and data breaches, safeguarding this information has become paramount.

You should take proactive measures to protect their financial data by implementing robust security protocols, such as utilizing secure passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication, and regularly monitoring account activity for any signs of unauthorized access.

Additionally, encryption technologies and data encryption methods can further fortify the security perimeter, making it significantly harder for cybercriminals to penetrate sensitive financial systems.

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FAQs

Can I Use My LLC Bank Account For Personal Use?

No, you can not use your LLC bank account for personal use. However, using business credit cards for personal expenses is an option.

Is It Hard to Get a Business Loan With an LLC?

Getting a business loan with an LLC is challenging, just like for any business. Strong credit scores increase chances for traditional bank loans, while alternative lending options are available for others.

Can I Deposit Personal Money Into LLC?

You can deposit personal money into an LLC's business bank account. However, it's crucial to keep business and personal finances separate to maintain the LLC's liability protection and avoid commingling funds.

Are There Any Restrictions on the Number of LLC Business Bank Accounts That Can Be Opened?

There are generally no restrictions on the number of LLC business bank accounts you can open. Open separate business bank accounts for clear financial separation and accurate record-keeping between personal and business finances.

Opening An LLC Business Bank Account

Opening an LLC business bank account is a vital step for any business owner. It offers numerous benefits, such as separating personal and business finances, simplifying financial management, and enhancing credibility.

Boost your financial efficiency by choosing the same bank for both your personal and LLC accounts.

When you combine checking, savings, investments, loans, and credit cards, it becomes easier to handle your money. You can get help from experts in online legal services for extra convenience.

References:

  1. https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/limited-liability-company-llc
  2. https://www.commerceinstitute.com/new-businesses-started-every-year/
  3. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/26-LLCs%20in%20the%20Real%20World.pdf
  4. https://www.bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness/resources/post/what-is-a-dba-what-does-it-mean-for-your-business/
  5. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/aml.asp

About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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