If you’re starting a new small business with a partner, you’re probably going to want a joint bank account. This article will walk you through what a partnership bank account is (and how it actually works), the pros and cons of having a joint bank account, and a step-by-step guide for how to get your joint bank account started. 

What is a Joint Bank Account? 

A joint bank account provides both you and your partner (or partners) with equal access to bank withdrawals, deposits, and other financial transactions. Everyone who is a part of the joint account will also have a debit card associated with said account. When you’ve started a company with a partner this allows you all to get your banking done simply and efficiently.

But having a joint bank account also means having a lot of trust in the other people. Because everyone is able to control the money going both in and out — and where that money gets sent to — you want to make sure that everyone that has access to the account is on the level. Of course, if you’re starting a small business with these people then hopefully that’s something you’ve already looked into.

At NorthOne we support joint business banking accounts and partnerships, although we may request partnerships documentation to verify your business.

Let’s talk about how to open a business bank account and some of the advantages of doing so.

The Pros of Opening a Joint Business Bank Account

As we mentioned, having a joint business bank account gives you and your partner equal access to all aspects of your finances associated with said bank account and — in many cases — the business in general. Here are some reasons why that might be a good thing. 

Each Partner will have equal rights to the account:

If one person in a business partnership is handling all of the finances, it can lead to resentment and frustration really quickly. It also sets people up for financial mistakes. By each member of a business partnership having equal rights to the account, it takes away much of this tension. It also means that there are two sets of eyes on your finances, meaning hopefully it’ll be easier to catch any potential mistakes that might happen, and ultimately save you time and money. 

Your business finances are consolidated into a single account

Having all of your business finances in one account makes your life easier. A joint account means that the money for the business is all in one place, meaning you and your partner can pay bills and expenses from said account, making it simpler to budget and keep track of finances, see where money is going, and keep a record for bookkeeping purposes. It’s particularly important to have good bookkeeping practices and the right tax forms for when you need to pay taxes. For example, you’ll need to understand W-4 vs. W-2 tax forms—and that’s just for starters.  

You’ll have extra deposit insurance

If something goes wrong and your bank closes then you’ll have extra deposit insurance. The (FDIC) and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) provide $250,000 of insurance per depositor. If you’ve got a joint account your deposits will be insured up to $500,000. 

The Cons of Opening a Joint Business Bank Account 

While there are plenty of reasons why it’d be good for you and your business partner to have a joint business banking account, there are also reasons why — for some people — that might not be the best idea.

Equal rights to the account can backfire if things are mismanaged

While all partners having access to the account can be a positive thing, it also means if there are any problems it is an issue for everyone on board. If one partner has issues with financial management issues — say, bouncing checks or going into overdraft — those issues are now the problem of the group. Poor financial management on a joint business account can also impact a person who is applying for their own separate bank account later down the line.  

Asset protection is minimal

It differs from bank to bank but depending on the terms of the account creditors might be able to come after funds from a joint business bank account to satisfy the debts of an individual partner. Having honest and frank conversations about your financial situation can feel somewhat awkward when speaking with potential partners, but it’s a crucial step if you want your business to be successful. 

If the business closes, dividing the assets can be more challenging with a joint account

We all hope that our businesses succeed, but if for whatever reason two partners decided to move on from their company then dividing the assets in a joint account can be trickier than if each partner had their finances separate. 

What documents do I Need for a Joint Business Bank Account?

  • EIN
  • Personal identification
  • Business license
  • A certificate with name and date of birth
  • Organizing document that has been filed with the state
  • Partnership agreement
  • Monthly credit card revenue if opening a merchant account

Again: A partnership is a business owned by two or more people. Similar to a sole proprietorship, the owners in a partnership are not separate from their business and share profits, responsibilities, and liabilities.

The 3 Steps to Open a Joint Bank Account With a Business Partner

1. Research your options

A business banking account is something your company is going to use for years to come. You want to make sure you’re getting the best band for your buck. You also want your bank account to have features that move at the speed of your business. Just because you use one bank for your personal finances, it doesn’t necessarily mean that is the bank you’re going to want for your business. Here are some things to consider:

How much will it cost?  

There are plenty of “free” banking accounts out there, but if you read the small print those accounts can actually end up costing you big money with hidden fees and monthly minimums. NorthOne charges a flat rate of $10 a month for access with no small print and no hidden fees. The only fee you pay is $15 to send or receive a wire payment.

What are the features you need?

Dealing with the finances for your small business shouldn’t have to happen within someone else’s business hours. A bank that is fully online with mobile check deposits can be a game-changer for your company and save you tons of time. A bank can also be more than just a place to store your money. Features like dedicated tax accounts and cash flow reporting can help take the tension from banking so you can get back to doing your actual job. NorthOne has all of these features and more 

How hard is it to open a bank account?

Many banks require a lot of unnecessary paperwork and meetings to open up an account. But opening a business banking account doesn’t need to be difficult. You can get it done in about three minutes with NorthOne. 

2. Get your paperwork together

As we mentioned in the previous section, to open up a joint bank account you’ll need an EIN, personal identification, business license, a certificate with name and date of birth, an organizing document that has been filed with the state, a partnership agreement, and monthly credit card revenue (if opening a merchant account) to get started.

It’s best to have all of this paperwork ready to go before beginning the application process with a bank.

3. Apply for the account

Once you’ve done your research on what business banking account is right for you and put your paperwork together the only thing left to do is actually apply.

NorthOne supports partnership bank accounts with a full-suite of features needed for banking success from simple payments, to cash deposits across the country, to mobile check sending and deposits.

Starting a business with a partner or partners can be one of the most rewarding ways to make a living for yourself. But when doing so you want to make sure people aren’t keeping financial secrets from each other, are clear about their intentions for the business, and that your goals for the future are aligned.

It takes a lot of trust to open a joint bank account with a business partner. If you’re ready to take that great leap forward then you can get started with a NorthOne business banking account.

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