How to Open a Joint Business Bank Account

Key Takeaways

  1. A joint account is a financial account at a bank or brokerage co-owned by two or more persons.
  2. All joint account holders can equally access the funds but also equally bear responsibility for any fees or charges.
  3. Transactions in a joint account might need signatures from all co-owners or just one.
How to Open a Joint Business Bank Account

Every business needs its own bank account. If your company has more than one owner, you need to know how to open a joint bank account. Setting up a business bank account helps you keep personal and company funds separate, simplifies bookkeeping and is required to benefit from certain business liability protections.

If you’re going into business with another person, you’ll need to open a joint business bank account to ensure you both have a way into the company’s funds. We’ll break down what you need to know about joint business bank accounts to choose the right one for your company.

What Is a Joint Business Bank Account?

A joint business bank account is different from linked bank accounts.

When you have linked accounts, it means you possess two distinct bank accounts but allow both deposits and withdrawals between them. The main advantage of linked accounts is the control it offers; if necessary, one partner can restrict access to the other.

On the other hand, with a joint account, both you and your partner can seamlessly deposit, withdraw, and carry out various transactions. Each of you will also have your own debit card associated with this account.

Pros and Cons of Joint Bank Account

Pros

  • Separate business and personal funds. This can make bookkeeping and budgeting easier. It’s also required for certain business structures, like LLCs.
  • All owners have access to the funds. Since you can both access the account’s money, it’s easier for either person to make purchases for the company.
  • FDIC insurance. Both account holders will receive $250,000 in FDIC insurance for money in the joint business account.

Cons

  • Equal liability. Both account holders will be liable in the event that funds in the account are misused.
  • All owners have access to the funds. This is also a benefit, but equal access means that one partner could withdraw funds even if they weren’t the initial contributor, meaning trust is paramount.
  • Complications in the event the business closes. A joint account can make it complicated to properly divide business assets if you close the company, especially if you didn’t contribute equally to the account or the company.

How Joint Business Bank Accounts Work

Joint accounts operate similarly to individual accounts, but they accommodate two or more authorized individuals. Such accounts can be permanent, like an account where a couple deposits their salaries. Alternatively, they can be short-term, catering to parties pooling funds temporarily.

The title on joint accounts between two entities may use "and" or "or" between the names of the account holders. An "and" account necessitates signatures from all involved parties for fund access. In contrast, an "or" account allows any one of the named parties to sign and access the funds.

Jointly held accounts can encompass various banking products like checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, lines of credit (LOC), and mortgages. While all named individuals on the account have full access rights, they also share responsibility for any associated payments, fees, or charges.

Setting up a joint account is straightforward and mirrors the process of opening a single account. Ideally, all involved parties should be present during the account setup at the bank, whether it's for a deposit account, mortgage, or loan. For credit cards, adding another user is equivalent to creating a joint account, usually necessitating the second party's signature.

Who Needs to Open a Joint Bank Account?

Opening a joint bank account with a business partner is a good idea, but you should consider the structure of your business first.

If you’re starting a partnership where both people involved have equal rights, responsibilities, ownership, and liability, a joint business bank account makes sense. If you’re running your own business but hiring employees, you should think twice before opening a joint account with your employee given the amount of access it grants them to your company’s funds.

An alternative may be an employee business credit card or debit card with set spending limits. Joint business bank accounts should be reserved for situations where a business has multiple owners.

Benefits of Opening a Joint Business Bank Account

When you and your business partner (or partners) share equal responsibilities and ownership in the venture, it's logical for all to have access to the company's bank account. A shared business account ensures that each partner equally owns the account. This allows every partner to deposit, withdraw, and manage the account seamlessly. More importantly, this dedicated account ensures a clear distinction between personal and business finances.

A joint account streamlines your company's financial processes. Instead of juggling with multiple accounts, recording payments, and tracking individual contributions, everything gets centralized in one joint account, making transactions transparent and straightforward.

Furthermore, should you consider getting a business loan in the future, a joint account is advantageous. Financial institutions typically want to review several months of business banking activity before approving loans. A shared account with your partner ensures that all financial records are consolidated, simplifying the evaluation process for lenders.

How to Choose a Joint Business Bank Account?

When you’re comparing joint business checking accounts, you should be looking at a few key factors.

  • Cost. Look at the monthly fee (as well as the requirements to avoid it) and the cost for other services such as cash deposits. Try to find an account with few or no fees. At a minimum, if you have to pay fees, choose an account that offers tools and services that are worth paying for.
  • Features. Think about what you need from your account. If you use cash a lot, choose a bank that has branches in your area and high cash deposit limits. Online businesses can stick with online business banks. If you expect to need financing, choose a bank that offers lending services.
  • Customer service. How hard is the application process? Does the bank have a reputation for being easy to work with? The last thing you want is to have a bank account that is difficult to use.
  • Integrations. Many business banks integrate with tools like QuickBooks or PayPal. If your company uses those tools, using a bank that integrates with them can make your life much easier.

How to Open a Joint Business Checking Account

If you know how to open a joint checking account, you know everything you need to know about how to open a joint business bank account.

To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Set ground rules. Talk with your tour business partner about ground rules for how you’ll use the account together, when you’ll make deposits and withdrawals, and when you need to consult each other before using the money.
  2. Gather the required documents. You’ll need to gather all of the paperwork the application asks for to ensure the process goes smoothly.
  3. Choose the right bank. Selecting the right business bank is essential. We’ll break down what to look for in a bit.
  4. Apply. Sit down with your business partner and fill out the bank’s application to request your new joint account.

Best Joint Business Bank Accounts 2023

These are some of the best joint business bank accounts to consider.

Name Rates Fees Rewards Features
Nearside N/A None 2.2% No credit checks or income requirements, Discounts and credits for services like Yelp and Indeed, No minimum deposit, Access to lending services, Integrates with popular business tools
NorthOne N/A $10 / month None Open an account in as little as 3 minutes, Organize your money with envelopes, Make ACH and wire payments from your phone, Integrates with popular business tools

If you're not certain that one of these banks is right for you, or just want to explore your options, there are dozens of other business banks out there and many will offer joint business accounts. Whenever you're opening a new bank account it's in your best interest to shop around and compare different options. You might find a bank offering better rates, lower fees, or services that better suit your company's needs. Taking the time to compare multiple options can result in big benefits for your company.

What Do You Need to Open a Joint Checking Account?

When you apply for a joint business checking account, you’ll need to have the same information that you need to open an individual business account. That includes:

  • Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Your business formation documents
  • Your partnership agreement
  • Your business licenses
  • Financial information for your company
  • Photo ID for all of the owners of the account

How To Avoid Risks Associated With a Joint Business Bank Account

To safeguard against potential issues with a shared business bank account, consider the following recommendations:

  • Maintain Transparent Records: Ensure all transactions are meticulously logged with their purpose as they happen. This minimizes the risk of unauthorized activities on the account.
  • Establish a Mutual Agreement: Incorporate a detailed financial management strategy in your partnership agreement. This clarity delineates each partner's role concerning the company's monetary matters.
  • Opt for a Flexible Bank: Select a bank familiar with partnerships and can offer tailored solutions to address the nuances of a joint business bank account.
  • Understand Your Partners' Financial Background: Before forming a partnership, get acquainted with each partner's credit history and financial contributions to the enterprise. If a partner brings significant personal debt, granting them access to company funds might introduce undue risk to the business.

Bottom Line

A dedicated checking account is essential for any business. If you’re running a company with multiple owners, a joint business bank account can give you the flexibility to rely on each other to make purchases from the account.

However, every account owner will have access to the funds, so you need to make sure that you trust your business partners to use the account properly and set ground rules for how you’ll interact with company funds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I open a joint bank account with anyone?

Most banks will only let you open a joint business bank account with other owners of your business. You’ll need to provide partnership agreements and other business documents to prove this relationship.

Can I take my name off a joint business bank account?

After establishing a joint business bank account, it's impossible for either co-owner to withdraw their name from the account. This restriction applies not just to your own name but also to your partner's.

To take off a name from a joint business bank account, the only option is to shut down the account and open a new one. Additionally, it might be necessary to restructure your business entity, possibly as a sole proprietorship or an LLC, prior to setting up the new account.

Do both partners need to be present to open a business bank account?

If you want to start a shared business bank account, both owners must sign the papers. If you do this at the bank, you both should be there. If you're doing it online, both will get papers to sign digitally.

If your business is an LLC, not everyone needs to be there to open the account. But, anyone allowed to sign for the account probably needs to go to the bank to finish the paperwork.

Do business partners also need to maintain an individual bank account?

Each business partner should have a personal bank account in addition to the joint business account.

How long does it take to open a joint bank account?

If you know how to open a joint bank account online, you can get it done in just a few minutes. If you’re applying for an account in person, it may take a bit longer.

What happens when someone dies and you have a joint account?

If one owner of a joint account dies, the funds in the account immediately pass to the remaining owners of that account.

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