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At some point, you’ll need a business account for your independence. If you don’t make many and/or expensive purchases for your business idea and don’t have any revenue yet, you can still use your private account. However, if you are already confident that you’ll continue on the path to self-employment, you can open a business account now.

Your task today:

Find a bank you trust and apply today to open your business account. But don’t be surprised: if you’ve only had a private account in the past, you’ll be surprised at all the fees you have to pay with a business account, for example, for every transfer. Not all providers offer a business account for all legal forms. Think about whether you need to have a local contact person (e.g., Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, U.S. Bank, and other branch banks) or whether you prefer a direct bank without branches like Ally Bank or even one of the modern fintechs (combine technology or financial services) such as PayPal or Venmo.

You can find a current overview of providers here:

It also depends a bit on your business idea: If you offer something locally, the local banks have the advantage because they can help you with their network if necessary. If your business idea is an online business, the direct banks or fintechs may be more suitable.

By the way, the price should not be your main criterion for choosing a business account. Other critical knock-out factors when selecting a bank include: Is your legal form supported? How do you get cash when you need it? Does the bank also offer financing for future growth or just payment transactions? Other factors include the trust the bank enjoys with you, how quickly and easily you can open the business account and whether you need additional features that some banks offer, such as financial planners, billing software, or accounting.

To open a business account, you need your personal identification (driver’s license/passport), registration at the trade office (except for freelancers), an extract from the commercial register for Kaufmann e. K., partnerships (KG, OHG, etc.) and corporations (GmbH, UG, etc.) as well as the articles of the association, including the list of shareholders, if one is required (GbR, KG, OHG, GmbH, UG, GmbH information).

In terms of costs, the right choice depends on how many transactions you make each month. If you make few transactions and most of them online, for example, as a freelancer, direct banks are cheap (free to $50 per year).

On the other hand, if you make frequent transactions via your bank account, for example, as a restaurateur or retailer, other providers have an advantage.