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7 Key Questions To Ask Before Choosing Your Business Checking Account

Jan 30, 2024
Posted by: Stearns Bank
Business owner standing in his warehouse with clipboard

When it comes to your business, every decision can have a significant impact on your success. This is especially true when it comes to choosing a business checking account. With the right account, you can streamline your finances, track your expenses, and promote growth. 

At Stearns Bank, we understand how critical it is to make informed choices for your business. That's why we've compiled a list of the top eight questions you should ask before opening a new business checking account. 

Asking these key questions cuts through the noise, so you can zero in on the exact features that matter most to your company. 

Question 1: What Digital Tools and Online Banking Do You Offer?

As a small business owner, your time and energy are valuable resources. That's why you need access to robust digital banking tools that can make financial management a breeze.Agriculture business owner on ipad

With the right online banking solution, you can easily handle transactions, monitor activity, and access insights from anywhere, in just minutes. This will give you more time and energy to focus on nurturing customer relationships, improving operations, and driving profits.

As you look for account options, prioritize seamless and robust digital tools that can help you achieve long-term productivity and growth. 

The Stearns Bank Answer: 

At Stearns Bank, we understand that managing your business finances can be challenging. That's why we've created StearnsConnect, a secure and convenient online banking solution that gives you complete control over your account from your mobile device.

With StearnsConnect, you can easily manage your account in real-time, check balances, view transactions and statements, deposit checks, transfer funds, pay bills, and schedule future transactions. And the best part? You can do it all from anywhere, at any time.

We also provide free access to over 41,000 ATMs across the country, so you can withdraw cash whenever you need it.

Question 2: What Benefits and Perks Do I Get?

Opening a business checking account comes with expectations around everyday transactions and balances. Yet the most strategic business owners view bank partners as collaborators—filled with advantages waiting to be tapped into.StearnsConnect on laptop screen

Rather than simply enabling payments and cash flow, the right banking provider spotlights features that empower growth. Such as:

  • Competitive interest rates that increase returns on account balances.
  • Cash back rewards and merchant discounts that boost returns on routine business spending.
  • Proactive fraud monitoring that prevents replacement card fees and payment disruptions.
  • Extended protection that eliminates liability for stolen checks or unauthorized charges.

Don't just look at the surface-level rates and fees when assessing accounts. Instead, focus on those that offer premium perks, modern conveniences, and money-saving safeguards.

The Stearns Bank Answer: 

At Stearns Bank, we deeply understand the dedication required to sustain a thriving business. We also recognize that too often, banking feels like just another chore rather than a strategic ally along your journey.

That's why we've created offerings that empower rather than hinder forward momentum — like industry-leading interest rates ensuring your funds actively build value. Plus loyalty rewards giving cashback on routine spending to reinvest in business growth.

And personalized expertise guiding tailored solutions beyond basic checking such as:

  • BusinessEssentials Checking: offering unlimited digital transactions, seamless payroll, and cash management insights without frustrating fees eroding progress.
  • Nonprofit Banking Solutions: delivering high-interest yields on deposits while waiving common fees. Includes $1,000 annual donations for 501c3 organizations banking with us to compound community impact.

We believe cultivating partnerships - not processing transactions - drives meaningful outcomes. Let us put our suite of accessible, business-building services to work so you can stay focused on goals empowering economic health and opportunity for all. 

PS: Save time researching — let our BusinessSmart comparison tool easily analyze accounts so you can see exactly how Stearns Bank maximizes earnings on your funds.

Question 3: What Fees and Minimums Do You Charge?

It's important to have a clear understanding of the fees and minimums that come along with opening a business bank account. As you explore the different options available to you, ask direct questions such as:Business owner in shop, looking at clipboard

  • “Walk me through all monthly, quarterly, and annual fees tied to this account along with any waivers.”
  • “If my average balance falls below $5,000 for two months, what additional fees would I incur?”
  • “How much would you charge me for say 50 cash deposits and 75 withdrawals per month?”

Whether you process a lot of checks, rely on cash deposits, manage fluctuating balances, or use additional services, understanding how those routines translate to bank fees is crucial. This way, you can avoid any surprise charges that could cause problems down the road.

The Stearns Bank Answer: 

Stearns Bank's BusinessSmart Checking account was designed with you in mind. It comes with no monthly maintenance charges and provides free access to online banking, bill pay, mobile deposits, and eStatements, making it easier than ever to stay on top of your finances while focusing on growing your business. We understand the challenges you face as a business owner, and our goal is to make your financial life as seamless as possible.

Question 4: What Account Management Support Is Available?

As a business owner, opening a bank account may seem like a straightforward process. However, the real value lies in finding a partner that offers long-term support tailored to your unique needs. Look for a bank that prioritizes building personalized relationships and has the experience and expertise to provide tailored guidance.

Additionally, inquire about direct access to experts who can address any issues that may arise. Avoid institutions that keep you on hold for hours or transfer you between departments. Instead, seek out those that offer fast and reliable support.

When comparing accounts, consider the partnership model and ask about access to decision-makers who understand your business. This level of individualized service and care is key to a successful partnership.

The Stearns Bank Answer: 

Busines banking green flags infographicAt Stearns Bank, we pride ourselves on delivering an exceptional banking experience uniquely tailored to each client we serve. We understand every business is one-of-a-kind, which is why we offer a range of account options aligned to meet your specific needs.

Our team of highly skilled and knowledgeable business banking experts has extensive experience collaborating across countless industries. We take the time to clearly advise on ideal financial solutions to smoothly empower your organizational goals.

And when urgent questions inevitably arise, you'll speak directly with a real person familiar with your business’s profile not prerecorded messages. Our dedicated support team is always reachable right away to provide clarity and address time-sensitive concerns on the spot. No robots. No automated phone systems. When you call Stearns Bank, we answer on the first ring.

Question 5: What Security Features Safeguard My Funds?

Your hard work and dedication have paid off, and you've built a successful business. Protecting your funds is of the utmost importance, and you want to make sure that your chosen bank offers robust security features to safeguard your hard-earned money. 

When evaluating different providers, prepare direct questions, like:

  • "What security measures do you have in place to protect my account?"
  • "What happens if there is suspicious activity on my account?"
  • "How do you prevent unauthorized payments, and what happens if they occur?"

Make sure you choose a bank that prioritizes security and has the tools to quickly identify and contain potential threats. With the right security features in place, you can have peace of mind knowing that your funds are safe and secure.

The Stearns Bank Answer: 

You can trust Stearns Bank's century of experience safeguarding businesses and their money to keep your finances protected. We make it a priority to secure your funds through cutting-edge technology, meticulous safety protocols, and robust FDIC insurance coverage.Kelly Skalicky, Stearns Bank President & CEO quote

Additionally, deposits over $250,000 are fully covered through our ICS® (Insured Cash Sweep) and CDARS® (Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service) programs. With these innovative solutions, your entire deposit value is protected, giving you peace of mind as your business grows.

Question 6: What Additional Financial Services Do You Offer?

Your business may have basic banking needs at the moment, but as it grows, you may require more advanced financial services like customized cash flow management, accounting platform integrations, or lending for acquisitions. 

Choose a business checking account with a bank that can keep up with your evolving needs and provide you with a wide range of financial products, tools, and expertise to help improve your operations.Nurse working on tablet

When assessing institutions, don't just look at their current offerings. Instead, consider their ability to provide you with customized solutions that meet your unique business needs and support your long-term growth. 

By choosing the right partner, you'll have a trusted advisor who can help you navigate the changing financial landscape and achieve your business goals.

The Stearns Bank Answer: 

Take advantage of Stearns Bank's modern merchant services, efficient ACH transfers, convenient mobile check deposits, and quick Autobooks integration for accounting. Our thoughtful tools simplify complex tasks so you can focus on big-picture goals.

At Stearns Bank, we provide more than just accounts — we deliver complete business banking solutions to help your company succeed.

Question 7: How Are You Impacting Communities Beyond Banking?

As a business owner, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference beyond just your bottom line. When considering different bank account providers, look for organizations that prioritize social responsibility and community impact. 

Some ways to do this include: 

  • Supporting nonprofits or community organizations through donations, volunteering, or banking services
  • Offering mentorship or training to aspiring entrepreneurs or underrepresented groups 
  • Implementing sustainable business practices to reduce your environmental footprint 
  • Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace culture that values all employees

By aligning your business practices with your values and investing in your community, you can further your impact. So, consider partnering with like-minded organizations that share your vision for a better future.

The Stearns Bank Answer: Stearns Bank employees with nonprofit donation

Stearns Bank is proud to partner with the African Development Center (ADC) to provide capital and banking services to underserved communities. Our collaboration aims to promote business growth, wealth building, and reinvestment in Minnesota's African American and African immigrant communities. 

Additionally, we are actively working to reduce barriers that prevent full and fair participation in the nation's economy through Project REACh (Roundtable for Economic Access and Change).

Let’s Cultivate a Strategic, Lasting Partnership

Business owner and banker shaking handsAt Stearns Bank, our business banking experts stay closely attuned to the latest tools and technological advancements to drive simplified financial management for entrepreneurs. More importantly, we recognize that no two organizations are alike.

That’s why we take a customized approach — seeking to truly understand each client’s distinct ambitions in order to then collaborate on tailored solutions matching those growth goals. Our breadth of accessible account options, lending vehicles, cash flow insights, and customer loyalty programs aim to evolve in step with our clients’ needs over time.

We are passionate about creating long-term banking relationships that empower rather than hinder forward momentum. Let’s have a transparent conversation assessing unique priorities so we can determine where our capabilities best align to meet evolving demands. Let’s achieve success together.

Business Banking Should Be Simple  Whether it's live support from helpful experts, full online banking  capabilities, or uncomplicated account options, everything you need is in one  place to help you reach your goals. Contact a business banking expert