As a small business owner, your bank has a big impact on your finances. That’s why it’s important 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—especially if you can save money or receive a better product.
Here are five ways to tell if it’s time to switch banks.
1. Your Bank’s Minimum Balance Requirement Is Too High
Larger banks typically charge fees on business checking accounts if the account holder doesn’t maintain a minimum balance. The minimum balance requirement averages around ,000. The big problem is that 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 socked with a fee for not having a high enough balance. Fees vary, but can be around a month. This might not seem like a lot, but why pay if you don’t have to? Many online banks—as well as smaller community banks and credit unions—don’t require minimum balances, so your money may be better off in one.
2. Transaction Allowances Are Limited and Costly
Larger banks typically place a limit on the number and volume of physical cash deposits and withdrawals you can make each month, after which a fee is applied. For example, you may be limited to ,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% fee per transaction.
Most businesses won’t find these limits to be a problem. But if you’re a retail business with a lot of incoming and outflowing cash, these limits can be constraining. In that case, you might want to shop around for a bank that offers the most flexibility. Again, you can try a community bank or credit union, which may offer more generous transaction allowances.
3. Your Bank Doesn’t Integrate With Your Financial Software
Most banks offer businesses the ability to link their accounting software with their checking account. This saves time and reduces errors. QuickBooks is just one choice out of many for small businesses accounting software, and most banks offer integration with it and other programs.
That integration eliminates the need to manually input your banking activity into your accounting software. In some cases, you can even automatically pay bills through software via your checking account. Without this feature, you’ll waste precious time and expose yourself to potential accounting errors.
4. Your Bank Doesn’t Offer Online or Mobile Banking
Many small business owners work on the go, and thus need online or mobile banking. Having access to real-time information can help you when dealing with clients. At some banks, 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 Bank’s Loan Doesn’t Meet Your Needs
If checking and savings are the main banking services you use, you’ll focus on fees and features. If you need a business loan, however, there are additional considerations:
- Larger banks won’t give you special treatment when applying for a loan simply because you already have a checking account with them. Local banks and credit unions place more value on existing relationships.
- Applying for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan? If your bank is not part of the SBA’s Preferred Lender Program, I suggest switching. A bank that’s part of the program should be able to get you through the application process much more quickly. SBA loans are some of the least expensive available to small businesses.
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.
Even if you’ve been going to the same bank for years, the above reasons are all signs that it’s time to switch. While things like fees and rates are important, you should also consider factors like the level of service and attentiveness from bank staff. If you’re unsatisfied with your bank, consider taking your business elsewhere.