Starting a business is an exciting time that comes with a lot of to-dos. Market research, choosing a location, naming, and licensing are likely all on that list. Opening an account for your business may not come to mind up front, but it is essential when you need to accept or spend money.

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A business checking account is like a personal checking account, with the biggest difference being the price. It offers check writing, debit cards, and ACH payment abilities. There are also benefits that come with opening a business checking account. Business accounts can offer protection, help you start building business credit, and allow you to take advantage of and offer more options.

Rachel Caballero is the community development manager at TruWest Credit Union.

Having an account in the name of the business will allow customers to make payments directly to your business, rather than you. According to the SBA “…36%-53% of small businesses are involved in at least one litigation.” Keeping your personal and business finances separate will help limit your liability and protect your personal funds. This also helps simplify taxes by making it easier to prepare with reduced error.

Having a business account, much like a personal account, gives the opportunity to establish a relationship. As part of that relationship, you can apply for things like credit cards and lines of credit in the name of the business. These can be used for day-to-day purchases, equipment upgrades, or for emergencies and can help you grow your business credit.

When you establish your business account, you will also be able to offer yourself, your employees, and your clients more. Many services like payroll, merchant services (which allows you to take debit and credit card payments), and loans will become available to you by establishing your business account with your financial institution. Without an account, you may have to pay higher fees and outsource these options.

Whatever reason you choose to open a business account, finding the right one for your needs is important. Write down what you need out of your account – consider online and mobile options, locations, hours, services, fees, and requirements. Do your research to find a financial institution that fits those needs and stays within your budget.

It is recommended to call the financial institution you choose to establish your account to get a list of required documents for account opening. This will make the process run more smoothly. Common requirements are the Employer Identification Number or Social Security number for sole proprietors, your filed and accepted documentation, your business license or certificate, articles (if needed), and all account owners with two forms of identification for each.

Author: Rachel Caballero is community development manager at TruWest Credit Union, which has more than 93,000 members and assets totaling more than $1.5 billion. TruWest Credit Union has 12 branch locations – eight in metro Phoenix and four in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit