You have a lot of choices when it comes to selecting a bank for your small business. With 23 million small businesses (20 employees or less) in the US, many banks are capitalizing on this growing customer segment by offering more small business services. But you want to make sure you find a bank that suits your needs. What might work for one small business doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for yours. The key is to identify just what your small business needs are and to find a bank that fits.
CashEdge, a provider of small business solutions for online invoicing, bill pay and funds transfer, has compiled a list of the “Top 10 Things to Remember When Choosing a Bank for Your Small Business.” It would be worth your while to pay attention. Here you go.
1. Cash Management Services: It is important that your banking partner offer services created to meet the specific needs of small businesses, such as online cash management services. These services should include solutions for accounts receivable (sending invoices and receiving payments online) and for accounts payable (online vendor and employee payments). Services such as this allow you to 1 – Create invoices customized with your logo and send them electronically to customers; 2 – Collect online payments from customers directly into your bank account or via credit card; 3- Pay vendor and employees in a few clicks; and 4 – Track everything in real-time with online invoice and payment history online. These services will save you time, money, and hassle.
2. Security: Make sure that your bank has security measures in place to protect you and your business. Ask your bank what kind of fraud protection measures are in place. If you are transferring funds, does your bank conduct identity checks? What is their policy for dealing fraudulent transactions?
3. Robust Online Capabilities: Your banking should be done on your schedule, not on your bank’s. Be sure to ask your banker if you are able to create and send invoices, receive customer payments, make vendor and employee payments, and transfer funds between your accounts online. Easy-to-use online services will save you time and money and also eliminate the need for multiple out of the box program solutions, such as QuickBooks, so that you can keep track of your finances and do your banking in one place.
4. Ease of Use: Whether your banking takes you to the local branch, or it is all done online, make sure that you are comfortable using all of the small business applications that your bank has to offer.
5. Customer Service: If you have a banking question or a problem, is the customer service readily available? Is there a call center that is open “after hours?” Be sure that your bank has customer service representatives and hours that work for you.
6. Small Business Loan Services: Research the bank’s loan services. When your small business needs to grow, you want a bank that can grow with you. It some cases, it may be easier for you to qualify for a loan if you a prior relationship with the bank.