Many business owners don't have an EIN upon starting a business, which brings out the question: can you still open a business account without EIN? While there are many benefits to getting an EIN, not everyone needs one.
The main problem is that most banks require your EIN in order to open a business bank account - and without an EIN, the most you can get is a personal account. However, there are several ways for you to separate your personal and business finances.
Note: If you want to open a business bank account without an EIN, try Bonsai Cash. Our account is easy to set up, has no hidden fees or minimums and makes managing your business finances a breeze. Open an account today.
Also referred to as the "Employer Identification Number," the EIN is similar to the social security number, only it's issued for businesses. The EIN is used in order to file the income tax return for your business so that you can get taxed accordingly.
EINs represent a legal requirement for businesses that have more than one person working for the company. For example, if you are operating a sole proprietorship or a single-member LLC, then you don't need an EIN.
That being said, if you are part of a partnership, a multi-member LLC, or a corporation, then the laws of most states will require you to get an EIN for tax purposes. Failing to do so might result in a fine from the IRS.
Banks are very serious when it comes to legality. When you open a business bank account with them, they want to make sure that you are legitimate. This way, they do not put themselves at risk, as it is assumed that most business owners will eventually take on employers.
Because of this, they rarely offer business bank accounts to self-employed people or freelancers. They will just assume that you are simply not authorized to run a business if you can't even get an EIN.
This mostly depends on your situation and where you are opening your account. Most banks will need your employer identification number or a business license when you set up a business bank account, for legal purposes and for bank protection.
If you have a business that supposedly needs employees as well, this may seem like a red flag for your bank and won't offer you the account. Even self-employed people with no employers are seen as a risk, so the bigger banks may not offer business bank accounts.
Still, there are some financial institutions that can offer this benefit. Bonsai Cash, for example, allows freelancers to open a business bank account, even if they do not have employees working for them.
So, you will have to check the bank policies to see whether they accept your request or not, even without the EIN. You cannot open a business bank account with only an EIN.
If you are allowed to get a business bank account without an EIN, the chances are that you will be required to give your social security number instead of the regular business tax ID number.
Check with the financial institution, to see the exact requirements for setting up a small business checking account.
Getting a business bank account can open some doors for every business owner. Indeed, you can get another personal bank account to keep your business and personal finances separated.
However, most business bank accounts offer even more than that. Here is what you may reap if you can get a business account, with or without the EIN.
Business owners using their personal accounts for business purposes have one disadvantage: if anything happens to their business and they get sued, then their personal accounts are directly connected - and therefore, fully liable.
Whether you are a sole proprietor or multi-member LLC, you always need to separate your business and personal finances. Many business structures which act as a separate legal entity require a distinct bank account (without an LLC you can open a business bank account). This way, they will not be able to seize assets from your personal account, because technically, it is not connected.
Many banks offering merchant services will also provide something called "merchant accounts." These accounts are business accounts with an advantage.
Not every client wants their purchases disclosed, and a merchant service offers them buyer's protection. This means that their purchases are protected, along with their identity.
As their name suggests, business bank accounts are made for business. Not every client will take you seriously if you ask them to write a check in your name. However, if it's written to a business bank account, things change.
Plus, if you get a business bank account, customers will be able to make payments using a credit card account - something that will make it much easier for you to conduct business.
Employees listed under you will also be able to handle your new business bank account on your behalf.
Most banks provide lines of business credit that you may use in case of emergency. They also offer credit cards that you may use to build your business credit score or improve your business history.
Depending on the bank that you go for, you may or may not need an EIN. That being said, if the financial provider offers you a bank account for business even without the EIN, then they probably offer business credit cards as well.
Whether you are trying to obtain a business bank account without an EIN or not, financial institutions typically allow you to choose from the following account types:
A checking account is the first type of account that you need to get, as it allows you to make active transactions.
You use this account to manage payroll, make payments and conduct a variety of financial tasks. It's also the account where you will receive your payments. Read more about the impact of business accounts on credit score.
Aside from the checking account, you can also get a savings account where you may put extra earnings. A business savings account is great because it builds interest over time based on the amount of money that your business makes.
If you want to keep your personal finances separate from your business ones, you may want to consider using a merchant account as well. This will allow you to accept debit and credit card payments.
Depending on who you are doing your business banking with, check whether they provide merchant accounts or not. If they offer a business bank account without an EIN, the chances are that you can also get a merchant account.
You might want to do some research before you settle on one particular account. Find one that meets your needs. Bonsai, for example, allows you to get paid in debit and credit cards, as well as ACH, so you might want to take it into consideration.
Credit cards are a good option to have around in case of an emergency or purchasing miscellaneous items. This will give you a line of access to a fair amount of business credit, which you can tap into and pay back whenever you have to make a purchase.
The main advantage of a credit card is that if your small business already has a bad credit history, then you may use the credit card to build it up. This way, you will get much better rates for potential small business loans, which can help you grow your business in the future.
Even if you don't need an EIN, there are still a couple of reasons why you should consider getting one after all. Here is why:
While it may be possible to open a business bank account without an EIN, your options may be fairly limited.
Unless you strike gold from the first research sections, you'll have a lot of banks to rule out. An EIN can offer more opportunities for choosing a bank account.
Very often, even if you do get a business checking account, many banks will feel reluctant in giving you a business loan. Some lenders do offer California finance lender loans without an EIN, but you may not have the same benefits as if you'd have an EIN.
As a business owner, you should keep your personal assets separate from your business finances. If you get an EIN, then you will be able to obtain a business credit card, so that you can keep your business expenses separate.
In the absence of an employer identification number, you will have to use your social security number - something that can put you at risk of identity theft.
The more you use the SSN, the higher the risk will be. Therefore, if you use the EIN to open a business bank account, your own identity remains protected.
Even if you don't have an EIN, sole proprietors and single-member LLCs can still be legitimate operations. However, not only will the EIN allow you to hire employees, but it will also give you a more professional look. This can be very handy if you want to establish trust and reliability with vendors and other potential partners.
Even without an EIN, it is fairly easy to open a business bank account using Bonsai Cash. Here are the steps that you have to go through:
When you create a business bank account using Bonsai, you have to add your full name, a password, your country of residence, and the currency that you are planning to deal with. Bonsai Cash is a guaranteed business account.
Once you have created the business account, you need to answer a couple of questions in regard to your work. This can be your type of work and other work-related things that you are involved with.
You're probably using a credit card to handle your own finances. Add the billing information, and you will obtain access to Bonsai Cash. You will also get a 2-week trial, which can help you save money.
Now that you've set up your Bonsai account, it is time you begin using it. Bonsai can help you with payment management, business finances, tax season, and many more.
It is possible to open a business bank account without an EIN. That being said, you might have to do a bit of research as to what banks accept SSNs instead of EINs. Do some research on their requirements and settle on the one that fits your needs the most.