As a small business owner, your bank has a big impact on your finances. You’ll want to choose a bank that offers competitive rates, minimal fees, and great products.
Switching to a new bank can take time and effort, but it may be worth it if you can save money or receive a better product.
Here are five ways to tell if it’s time to switch banks.
1. The minimum balance requirement on your checking account is too high
Larger banks typically charge fees on business checking accounts if you don’t maintain a minimum balance. The minimum balance requirement averages around $5,000.
Not all small business owners are able to retain this kind of balance, particularly new businesses. A startup may use incoming cash right away on essentials like inventory and then get hit with a fee for not having a high enough balance.
The fees typically range from $12-20 per month, which may not seem like a lot, but it adds up—and why pay if you don’t have to? Many online banks, smaller community banks, and credit unions don’t require minimum balances.
2. The monthly transactions limit and cash transaction fees are too limiting
Larger banks typically place a limit on the number and volume of physical cash deposits and withdrawals you can do each month, after which a fee is applied. For example, you may be limited to $10,000 in cash transactions each month and 200-250 cash transactions each month. After that, you may have to pay a 0.2-0.3 percent fee per transaction ($2-3 for every $100).
Most businesses won’t find these limits to be a problem, but if you’re a retail business with a lot of incoming and outgoing cash, these limits can be constraining. In that case, you might want to shop around for a bank that offers the most flexibility. Also, you can try a community bank or credit union, which may offer more generous transaction allowances.
3. Your business checking account doesn’t integrate with your accounting software
Most banks offer businesses the ability to link their accounting software with their checking account. This saves time and reduces errors. QuickBooks is the most popular accounting software for small businesses, so most banks offer it as an integration. The integration eliminates the need to manually input your banking activity into your accounting software. In some cases, you can even automatically pay bills through QuickBooks using your checking account.
More recently, alternatives have started to gain popularity. Some of these have more features available to users and can be found for a better price. Be sure to ask your banks if they offer integrations with any other accounting software platforms.
Without this feature, you may be wasting time and be more prone to making accounting errors. So consider switching banks if their systems don’t integrate with the tools you use.
4. Your bank doesn’t offer online or mobile banking
Many small business owners work on the go and need online or mobile banking. Having access to real-time information can help you when working with clients.
Some useful banking products, such as auto pay and mobile deposits, are only available online or with a mobile app. If your bank doesn’t offer online or mobile banking, you may want to switch to a more tech-savvy bank.
5. You want a business loan, and the bank doesn’t meet your needs
If checking and savings are the main banking services you use, then focus on things like fees and features. If you need a business loan, then there are additional considerations:
- Larger banks won’t give you special treatment when applying for a loan simply because you already have a checking or savings account with them. Local banks and credit unions place more value on building existing relationships.
- Applying for an SBA loan? If your bank is not part of the SBA’s Preferred Lender Program, we suggest switching banks. A bank that’s part of the program should be able to get you through the application process much more quickly.
Applying for a business loan is a big endeavor that requires expert guidance from a knowledgeable banking partner. If your bank is falling short, consider switching.
The bottom line
Even if you’ve been going to the same bank for years, the five reasons above may be signs that it’s time to switch.
While things like fees and rates are important, you should also consider more intangible things, such as the level of service and attentiveness from bank staff. If you’re unsatisfied with your bank, consider taking your business elsewhere.