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June 14, 2022

How to open a US bank account for your Ecommerce

How to Open a US Bank Account for eCommerce?

US bank account

A business bank account, like personal bank accounts, can help businesses make and receive payments via A.C.H. transfers, local and international wire transfers, and checks. Depending on where you live, your business bank account can also help you transfer funds from other payment service providers like Venmo, PayPal, or Interac. 

These accounts retain your money, guarantee it under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), earn interest, show your balances and transaction history, and send bank correspondence and reports.

Simply put, business owners with bank accounts have access to resources that can help them grow their businesses.

In this post, we'll discuss the different types of accounts, the advantages of having a business account, and how to open a US business bank account for e-commerce. 

How an Entrepreneur Can Benefit From Having a Business Account

Business bank accounts offer special features designed specifically for entrepreneurs. These accounts allow company owners to conduct business transactions, take out small business loans, accept checks addressed to the company (rather than an individual), and keep personal and business funds separate. The latter can significantly simplify accounting.

Furthermore, business bank accounts allow third parties (usually registered agents) to sign documents for acts performed on the account, such as sending substantial payments. These features can help you track your company's expenses, cash flow, and even quarterly projected tax payments.

Online sellers, small businesses, corporations, and other business types can benefit from bank accounts. However, visit the physical locations of several banks before you settle on one and check your account regularly for any suspicious activity. 

Types of Business Bank Accounts 

There are three types of business bank accounts, each with unique features.

  1. Business Account

A business account is an account that business owners use daily. You can make cash withdrawals, send and receive payments via A.C.H. transfers or wire transfers, and write checks with a business checking account. Most banks offer to create these accounts. 

Furthermore, you may be able to open a bank account remotely and obtain some overdraft protection, depending on the bank. You can even open two accounts at the same bank.

Like any checking account, business checking accounts are intended to be used daily. A commercial checking account will often have a higher volume of transactions than a savings account.

  1. Business Savings Account

Companies or corporations (while adhering to corporate bylaws) keep money that they don't use daily in a savings account. This indicates that banks will expect lower activity, higher deposits, and higher withdrawal volumes in business savings accounts than in checking accounts. 

These accounts may offer high-interest rates and other benefits in exchange for storing your money. They are one of the best bank accounts you can have. 

  1. Merchant Services Account 

A merchant services account acts as a payment processor. Through this account, your business can take payments from clients using debit cards, credit cards, gift vouchers, and payment systems providers like Stripe with a merchant services account. 

The money is held in the merchant services account until the transaction is completed. It is then transferred to your company’s account. 

Merchant services accounts have extra safeguards to secure your customers’ personal information and your company’s liabilities. These accounts can’t be used for anything else — you can’t deposit, withdraw, or make payments with them. 

Do I Require a Business Bank Account for E-commerce?

Yes, you should open a business bank account for your e-commerce firm, and lucky for you, opening one of these accounts is not difficult. 

There are numerous advantages to maintaining your business and personal transactions separately, such as: 

  • It simplifies bookkeeping by eliminating the need to segregate personal and business purchases as well as using complicated accounting software. 
  • It’s easier to allocate monthly expenses to individual accounts. 
  • You keep your business taxes and fees distinct from your income. This ensures that all of your financial accounts are secure.

The Advantages of Having a Business Bank Account in the United States

Even if you aren’t a US citizen, creating a business bank account has financial, tax, and branding benefits that can help you grow your firm, such as: 

  1. It Keeps Your Personal and Business Finances Separate 

Keeping your individual and career accounts separate helps you save money at tax time. You won’t have to spend any time sorting through receipts and accounts during a season that is almost certainly already hectic. 

Furthermore, keeping separate personal and corporate financial records can help the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) understand whose finances are under scrutiny — and if you’re organized, they’re more inclined to believe your records.

  1. It Allows You to Make Payments as a Business 

Your vendors will have more faith in your capacity to pay on time if you have a business account. As business accounts have higher barriers to entry, using one signals to vendors that a bank believes in you and your eCommerce business. 

Merchants will also expect you to make regular payments when your small eCommerce businesses want to make purchases.

  1. It Works as a Symbol of Trust

When you can pay for a corporate bank account rather than a personal bank account, it demonstrates that you’ve invested enough in your company to have an account and that your company is trustworthy and reputable.

  1. It Protects Your Funds 

Almost every bank in the United States ensures its business bank accounts with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). If a bank fails or closes, this insurance will protect your funds.

Can a Foreigner or Non-US Citizen Open a Bank Account in the US Online?

Yes! The good news is that you can open a business bank account in the United States as a non-resident and non-citizen. However, only a few banks allow this type of customer, and the restrictions may differ from state to state or possibly even location to location.

As a non-citizen, you can open a business bank account in the United States even if you don’t have the access as a US citizen to the financial market. 

Let’s look at the various alternatives for personal and business bank accounts and how a foreigner can open an account in the US.

What Will You Need to Open a Bank Account in the US as a Foreigner? 

Before we get into details of how a foreigner can create an account in the US, it’s essential to understand the diverse banking systems in the United States. 

You’ve probably heard of big-name American banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo. However, many regional and state-based banks, credit unions, internet banks, and investment banks operate legally in the country. 

As a non-resident, it is recommended that you start your banking journey in the United States with larger institutions such as Bank of America, Chase Bank, or Citibank. They are all open to non-residents. Smaller, local banks have a reduced risk threshold, and if you don't have a US. business address, you'll most likely be turned down.

Furthermore, the paperwork or required documents you are asked to submit to open an account for your business can differ based on the bank, state, and even branch. 

How the Process of Opening a Bank Account in America Differs for an American and a Non-American (Foreigner)

Residents of the United States will typically be required to present the following documents to open a personal checking account:

  • Passport or I.D. 
  • US business address and proof of residence (such as a utility bill) 
  • The minimum currency deposit needed to open an account 

In some circumstances, a phone number in the United States is required to access internet banking.

When working with non-residents, banks will seek a way to substitute for the documents mentioned above in some way to create an account while meeting all KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) criteria.

You can use a near relative's personal address or a mail forwarding company for the US address as a foreigner. Still, banks have started to be cautious about these in recent times, so an actual residence address is ideal. 

Any significant online banks like Ally Bank, Charles Schwab, and Capital One will allow you to register remotely — make sure you use a VPN and don't tell them you live in another country!

For everyone else, there may be some different procedures and criteria and other alternatives to consider — based on whether you want to do this remotely or in person — if you want to open an account in the U.S. 

Opening a Business Account 

To open a business account in the United States, you will almost certainly need to form a limited liability company (LLC). This procedure can be completed online in a few minutes. Going the LLC route is the most convenient option because it is unlikely you would be allowed to open a U.S. bank account as a foreign organization.

While it isn’t impossible, you will need to demonstrate a long history of a corporate relationship with the United States, a large amount of money to deposit, and potentially even a personal background with the bank. 

However, the good news is that once you create an LLC, opening a bank account is also relatively simple, even from other countries miles away. After that, you'll need to get an EIN (Employer Identification Number), generally known as your LLC's tax number.

Most people select Delaware, Wyoming, New Mexico, or Nevada as the state in which to form their LLC. These four states have no state taxes and have the most business-friendly rules for foreigners. As a result, many international businesses opt to put their roots in these states. 

New Mexico is the perfect choice for digital nomads. This U.S. state combines good privacy rules with minimal prices, no taxes on non-resident businesses, and no yearly reporting or fines. 

When it comes to brick-and-mortar banks, the response to creating a non-resident account varies. Many people may inquire about your ties to the U.S. market and whether or not you have offices there. Perhaps they will require a substantial deposit, which you may not be able to afford. 

There are numerous deciding elements to consider, and you will almost certainly need to make an in-person visit to the bank’s physical branch. 

This article will also talk about the best banks for your e-commerce business, but remember that planning is vital, and calling ahead before arranging a vacation to the United States is recommended. You can also seek professional guidance on business accounts from Global Banks.

When Creating an Account for Your E-commerce Business in the U.S., Preparation Is Key

Due to the ever-changing dynamics of banking policies, it's critical to plan ahead of time before approaching banks. Always call ahead to double-check the criteria.

Here are a few criteria to keep in mind while contacting the bank of your choice: 

  • Check if you'll need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or a Social Security number (SSN).
  • Do you require a U.S. mailing address? (What kind of proof is the bank looking for?)
  • Do you need to show any proof of your financial situation in any way?
  • Are you willing to accept this (name) document?

It's important to realize that if you don't do your homework and go to the bank, you may be prohibited from applying at that bank again.

If you're going in person, look for a branch that has experience dealing with non-resident requests. If you stroll into any bank branch, you may find that some tellers may not be completely qualified to deal with your situation.

Factors to Think About When Choosing a Bank for Your E-commerce Business 

For e-commerce businesses, there are a variety of bank account alternatives, but the most popular is a checking account. 

Here’s a list of the top five free checking accounts currently available to U.S. non-residents:

  1. Wells Fargo
  2. Chase
  3. Capital One 360
  4. Charles Schwab Bank
  5. TD Bank

What to Look for When Selecting a Bank or Financial Services Provider?

US bank account, ecommerce businesses, unlimited transactions

When it comes to creating an account for your e-commerce business as a foreigner, you have many alternatives, but not all of them are right for you. Before deciding on a bank account, consider the fees, accessibility, and actions you'll need to perform — both within the bank account and with any third-party mobile apps your store uses.

Pricing 

The monthly cost of maintaining your business bank account(s) is included in the pricing. This regular payment may increase over time and is commonly referred to as a monthly service fee on your bank statement. 

The monthly fee is levied upon your monthly expenses or outward cash flow. Examples of expenses are overdraft fees, account opening and closing fees, untimely account closure penalties, minimum account balance fees, Automated Clearing House (ACH) fees, and Address Verification Services (AVS) fees. 

The service fee differs by the bank and, in some instances, per account, and it may change over time. So, when picking a bank, keep in mind the ever-changing nature of these costs. 

Furthermore, some banks, for example, have certain minimum balance requirements, so they charge penalties if your balance goes below a certain threshold. 

Interest Rates

Interest rates differ from one bank to the next. Moreover, interest rates range between checking and savings accounts within institutions. 

So, when picking between interest rates, think about your company's ability to save money or whether a high-interest savings account will be beneficial to you.

Incentives

Many banks use introductory incentives and referrals to entice you to transfer to their banking services, benefiting your business. These are frequently monetary bonuses or charge reductions given to new bank accounts. 

Check if the banking services provided by the bank and the costs that follow the initial offerings are feasible for your company and still correspond with your objectives.

The Application Process

The application process varies greatly, taking ten minutes to many weeks. Some applications can be completed entirely online, while other banks require a visit to a specific location. 

When assessing your options, be sure you can sign up remotely; otherwise, your account will not be activated without a trip to the United States. Furthermore, most banks will probably require a week or more for your application to be processed — make sure to factor this into your business strategy.

Which Bank Should I Choose for My E-commerce Business?

ecommerce businesses
  1. Novo

Novo is a relatively new business banking solution, but it was designed for small business owners. This means you won't have any technical concerns, and it'll work with most internet marketplaces. You can also use deposit account services at Middlesex Federal Savings, Novo’s partner bank. 

The coolest part about Novo is that it offers all its features for free. A MasterCard debit card, limitless transactions, transaction alerts, and ATM refunds are all included. Even better, it includes Google Cloud credits and Stripe's zero-cost processing. 

If you're constantly coming up with successful e-commerce business ideas, you'll want an account that you can expand with. We believe Novo is the ideal option for you, whether you own a website or use an online store.

  1. NorthOne

NorthOne is a sophisticated banking system for small businesses and freelancers, similar to Novo. They provide an FDIC-insured business banking account with API access to PayPal, Square, QuickBooks, and various other tools. 

It simply takes five minutes to set up, and there are no transaction limits and no hidden costs for a fixed charge of $10.

NorthOne's best feature is its user-friendly mobile banking. This can make a significant difference for small businesses and entrepreneurs because you can access your account and reports. You can even buy extra debit cards for your team within the app!

  1. Chase Complete Checking for Businesses 

Interestingly, one of the world's ten largest banks also has some of the best e-commerce solutions. Chase Business Complete (previously Chase Total Business) is an all-in-one account for small to medium-sized businesses.

The bank also has a relatively sophisticated mobile app and several benefits for setting up an account. 

The Chase Business Complete account comes with standard features such as an extensive ATM network, debit cards, ACH payments, and mobile depositing. It’ll be easy for you to collect payments this way.

The Chase Business Complete Checking account's sole flaw is its monthly cost. This $12 fee is waived as long as the account balance reaches $1,500 regularly.

Nonetheless, the advantages significantly outweigh the possible expense. You need a bank account where you can deposit your returns and use it to make payments. 

  1. TIAA Small Business Checking

TIAA Bank is the second-largest bank on our list. Small e-commerce businesses or new business owners looking for a long-term banking solution can consider their “Small Business Checking” account. There are no monthly or hidden fees, ATM reimbursement, or mobile check deposits.

One disadvantage of this account is that it costs $1,500 to open, which may be prohibitively expensive for a company. However, it does give an annual percentage yield (APY) of 1.21 percent for the first year, which is higher than many savings accounts. 

This is an excellent account to open if you have the budget for it and want to expand quickly. 

  1. Axos Small Business Banking 

Axos is the oldest online bank in the United States, and it was designed specifically to service e-commerce firms. Although there are no physical facilities, your funds can be accessed at any ATM in the United States, with costs reimbursed. 

Opening an account is just as accessible, and there are no minimum balance restrictions. New entrepreneurs can even obtain a $100 bonus when opening an account.

The disadvantages of Axos include a monthly restriction of 200 free transactions, beyond which you will be charged $0.30 for each transaction. They don't accept credit cards, and their customer service hours aren't always practical.

How Do I Open a U.S. Virtual Bank Account?

minimum deposit, registered agent

The Advantages of a Virtual Bank Account

There are numerous advantages to having a U.S. virtual bank account. Virtual banks have reduced expenses because there are no maintenance or monthly fees and lower transaction fees. They do not charge many customary expenses, such as rent, electricity bills, and renovations, and they do not employ a large workforce. Most crucially, these banks enable you to open a virtual bank account in the United States.

In terms of credit checks, most virtual accounts come with a prepaid card, which means you're only limited by the amount of money in your account; there are no debts, and no credit checks are required. 

Furthermore, free virtual U.S. bank accounts for non-residents, such as Payoneer, Wise Borderless, PayPal, and Zenus, have made it easier for merchants worldwide to make and receive payments from the United States quickly and easily. 

Suppose you're selling your products to Americans, using U.S. affiliate companies like Amazon, ClickBank, and Godaddy, or receiving AdSense earnings. In that case, the Payoneer debit card enables you to withdraw money from any ATM that accepts MasterCard.

The Best Services to Use When Opening a U.S. Virtual Bank Account 

  1. PayPal

PayPal is one of the most well-known American finance companies, with millions of users worldwide. If you live in one of PayPal's recognized countries, you can open a virtual PayPal account.

How to Open a PayPal Account

You can sign up with PayPal on the website or through the app (Android and iOS). Verification is one of the most crucial things to perform to get the most out of PayPal. 

For PayPal verification, you can use a virtual credit card. You can also utilize a virtual account to verify your PayPal account. After successfully signing up for PayPal, you can apply for a PayPal Key, which is a virtual card. 

  1. Zenus Bank

Zenus is a virtual bank based in the United States that allows people and businesses to open accounts without showing proof of residency. You can make transactions globally if you have a non-resident U.S. account with Zenus.

How to Open a Zenus Bank Account

You must join the Zenus queue to open your virtual U.S. account. You will be notified through email when it is time to join. The bank promises a quick and easy sign-up process that should take no more than 15 minutes. 

You will receive a Visa debit card once your account is activated, and you will be able to fund your account promptly with your card.

  1. Wise Borderless Account

Wise Borderless is a multi-currency account that was previously known as Transferwise. It enables you to create a virtual U.S. checking account with a MasterCard debit card that you can use to spend money anywhere globally at the real exchange rate, with no conversion costs.

How to Open a Wise Borderless Account 

Creating a USD account is simple and requires no documentation. You must fill out an online registration form with your basic personal identification information. 

For verification, you'll need a photo I.D., proof of address, and a photo of yourself carrying your I.D.. Wise Borderless takes roughly two working days to authenticate your account.

After being validated, you'll need to activate your Wise Borderless account by depositing $25. You will receive personal account numbers and bank details for USD once your account is live. The account holds 50+ currencies in its balances, which may be converted instantaneously and for a modest price.

These virtual accounts offer payment options that fulfill all online money transfer needs, whether you are an established corporation, business executive, international financial technology company, freelance blogger, digital marketer, or online business.

The Takeaway

Without a bank account, a company is like a house without walls. It may function, but it isn't going to be pleasant. 

But now that you have so much information on opening a U.S. bank account for your e-commerce business, choose the bank and account options that are most appropriate for your company's needs and growth objectives.

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