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Best business checking account for an independent contractor?

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  • Best business checking account for an independent contractor?

    I am an independent contractor physician (no employees, just me) acting as a sole proprietor. I have been doing a lot of reading on WCI and plan to open a business checking account so that I can run all income and expenses through this account. Although I know it's not required for a sole proprietor, I've read enough on these forums that have convinced me it's a good idea. I'm not looking for anything too complicated at this stage of my career as things are generally pretty simply for me at the present. My expenses are generally pretty minimal (a few conferences, some minor purchases such as scrubs periodically, etc...) and put on a business credit card. My income usually comes from one place that gets deposited once a month (40-55k/mo). At this point I would likely get income deposited monthly, business credit card paid monthly, and then transfer excess funds to my personal checking account once a month (usually shortly after pay day). Since my expenses are low, there wouldn't be a need to keep a lot of money in this account. Basically when I get my monthly money I'd transfer it to my personal checking account within a couple days and leave only a few thousand in the business account "just in case".

    I currently have my personal checking/savings through Ally Bank but I'm not sure the best place to open my business checking account and was looking for some opinions from the forum. A few ideas...

    1-Ally seemed like the logical choice but a quick internet search suggested that they don't offer a dedicated business checking account...although some sites suggest that you can just use a personal checking account since it's a sole proprietorship. Has anybody else done this?

    2-SoFi Money. I just saw WCI's recent post and the combined checking/savings is pretty cool. The interest rate is also tempting, but I don't think I'll be keeping enough money in there on a regular basis for it to add up to much.

    3-Chase Bank (or another brick and mortar big bank): not sure if there is something a big bank can offer that the online banks cannot in regards to a business account. In general I think brick and mortar operations have been a waste on the personal side...hence why I switched away from one to Ally a few years ago. But not sure if things are different for a business.

    4-Local Credit Union: have never used one of these and not sure it would provide any benefit to me.


    Thanks for the opinions.

  • #2
    I have enjoyed Azlo for my business checking account. When I was doing research into this topic, I was frustrated by the lack of good options for business checking accounts. Most require monthly fees or annoying minimums. Azlo is free. No minimums. No international fees. I’m told there is a fairly extensive ATM network (although I have never used an ATM on my business checking account). There a a few negatives though although they don’t matter for me. You can’t get a checkbook (you can send someone a check by mail via their website). There is no way to deposit cash since they don’t have any physical locations. Also it’s a new bank so short track record.


    • #3
      Are you sure you need a business account? Or just another personal account to segregate things? If the paychecks are written to you personally then don’t bother restricting yourself to “business” accounts. Not necessary.


      • #4
        I know where you are coming from that you might want a dedicated business checking...

        I use Chase. (so what there is a small monthly charge, 10-25$ is not much in the grand scheme of things, and they are a business expense)


        • #5

          Are you sure you need a business account? Or just another personal account to segregate things? If the paychecks are written to you personally then don’t bother restricting yourself to “business” accounts. Not necessary.
          Click to expand...

          This is what I do for my real estate side gig. I call it my business account but at the bank it is actually just a separate personal account I use solely to manage the properties.


          • #6
            I had a good experience using Chase for a business account when I had a small S-corp. It was free, obtained in about an hour at a local branch. This was in Florida at the time and they did require that the business was registered with the state, looking it up on the database and requiring an EIN before opening.

            Minimum was very low at 1500, came with a booklet of checks, a business debit card and generally made my life alot easier when separating all business expenses from my personal life. Recently closed the account which was also very easy, but did require being present.

            Hope this helps!


            Edit: my account had a 12.00 monthly charge which was waived with a minimum balance requirement.


            • #7
              I am curious about the threads on which you've "read enough on these forums that have convinced me it’s a good idea". Not disputing your statement, but I don't recall seeing that recommendation. If you have low activity, as you've described, I don't see the need for a business account, especially given that you already have a separate business credit card. If you didn't have the business credit card, it could make sense if you really want to isolate your business spending, but most of our clients in your situation just keep track on a spreadsheet or fill out a form we give them at the eoy.

              otoh, if you have multiple transactions each month, I would be more inclined to recommend. Hopefully, I'm not contradicting any earlier advice I've given ?.
              Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087