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eCommerce

Do I Need a Business Bank Account to Start an eCommerce Store?

You should set up a new bank account for your eCommerce business. Most payment gateways used for eCommerce require one for payouts.

Yes, absolutely! You should set up a business banking account right away if you are starting an eCommerce business. If you use WooCommerce or Shopify, you will need a bank account to receive funds from your sales revenue. The payment gateways you can use on these platforms will pay out your sales revenue to your bank account. Business income should always go to an account identified with that business for tax and accounting purposes.

That's the short answer to the question but read on to learn more. It's important to understand why a business account is essential as well as the options you have.

What is a business bank account?

Financial accounts for businesses include checking, savings, and lines of credit. There are different fees, interest rates, and benefits offered at different banks.

💸 Want to save money and not pay extra fees for business checking? Check out these free options from some of the best banks for eCommerce businesses. 🆓

Business bank accounts differ from personal accounts in a legally significant way: you don't own them! Your business does. Your registered business entity is the owner of your business accounts.

The Godfather saying this is business not personal

A sole proprietor or a single-member corporation is considered a “disregarded entity” for US tax purposes. That means your business is essentially just you and you don't have to file taxes separately for your business — but you should still use a separate business banking account.

It is always very important to have a clear distinction and separation between your private and business finances. This protects you and prepares your business to grow. Suppose you gain a partner or employees. You will have a big mess to clean up for them if you have been operating from personal accounts!

Why do I need a business banking account?

  1. Separate your business and personal finances to clearly differentiate them.
  2. Do business under your company's name, not your own.
  3. Build a separate credit profile for your business.
  4. Simplify your tax filing.
  5. Show professionalism and credibility.

What could happen if I don't have a business account?

You may have started your business as a sole proprietor without an incorporated business entity. Maybe you use your existing personal bank accounts for your business activities. That's not a practice that you should continue. It makes accounting and paying taxes more difficult. It also creates a legal liability you do not want to have.

Like with incorporation, by separating your personal and business accounts you are protecting your personal financial assets. Your business is obligated to pay any debts and damages it incurs. For that reason, you do not want your personal funds and property mixed up in your business. Business debts and claims brought against your company can tap your personal financial holdings if they are not separated.

What kind of bank account should I use for my eCommerce business?

You actually may need more than one kind of bank account.

At a minimum, you need a business checking account to receive funds from payment gateways used by your eCommerce platform. Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.net, JCB, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and others link to banks around the world.

Savings, Investment and Credit Accounts

You may want some additional savings and investment accounts to hold funds too. Taking out business loans, receiving grants, or even applying for business credit cards won't be possible without a business account.

Foreign Currency Accounts

If you plan to receive payments in multiple currencies, you may need separate accounts for those. PayPal allows one account to hold many different currencies, so it is especially useful for international eCommerce.

An Emergency Backup Account

It's also good to have backup bank accounts. If you lost control of your primary business account to fraud, phishing, or identity theft, what would you do? Having a secondary or backup bank would allow you to maintain your business operations. Even in an emergency or disaster of some kind, you should have a plan for business continuity.

What are the best banks for an eCommerce business?

The best bank for you may be your favorite local bank you've always used. Especially if you have a physical store and traditional banking needs.

If you are an online business not tied to one location, there are several popular digital banks designed for you. Axos is one, and Novo is another.

Remember, you don't have to limit yourself to just one bank!

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By Dan Knauss

Dan Knauss is a writer, editor, speaker, and teacher. He's a long-time WordPress freelancer who enjoys helping people use digital publishing effectively. Dan also blogs about disability, neuropathy, neuromuscular disease, and medical research at cmt.blog.