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Opening a business account – the most important tips for start-ups

When you open a business account, you always have a close eye on your company's finances. This way, you can make sure that all funds for salaries, cleaning supplies, water and electricity bills and repairs are always stored in one place and that they are not confused with your private finances.

What is a business account?

A business account is an account to which all your company's income flows and from which you pay all your company's expenses. You do not have to open a business account in every circumstance – freelancers, for example, or sole traders are not obliged to do so. However, they are also advised to do so for the reasons given above. Whereas, if you establish a company such as a GmbH, an AG, a UG or a KGaA, you are obliged to open a business account. After all, the share capital has to be paid in here.

Which bank is the right one for the business account?

As in most cases, there is no straight answer to this question. Which bank suits you best depends on various factors. For online shops, for example, where the money is always paid upfront, a fintech bank may be sufficient. This is a direct bank without branches. Registration is often quick and easy, and there is often no basic charge for the accounts. If, on the other hand, you often have cash on your hands, which will certainly be the case in your car wash, an account with a branch bank can be worthwhile – especially one with many branches. Often the registration takes a little longer and there is a basic fee. On the other hand, the fees for deposits and withdrawals are usually much lower than for direct banks, which do not have their own ATM network. Accordingly, you should consider which services you need and which you can manage without.

How much will a business account cost you?

This question cannot be answered completely for all cases either. However, you should keep in mind that even accounts with a basic fee of 0.00 euros are not free, where normally costs are incurred for transactions. Depending on how often you make deposits and withdrawals, write out cheques, set up standing orders or make bank transfers, a whole lot of money can accumulate here. Charges may apply for

  • the account itself (monthly)
  • deposits and withdrawals
  • paperless bookings (such as online transfers)
  • paper bookings (form transfers, deposits and withdrawals in cash, cheques, etc.)
  • giro and credit cards
  • reversals
  • bounced payments

The higher the monthly fee, the lower the charges will be for each service. However, you should compare carefully before you open a business account, because the offers vary greatly.

Open a business account online – is that possible?

In some cases, you can actually open your business account from your computer within minutes. This applies above all to direct banks that have no branches. Here you are guided through the registration process on the bank's website, enter all the necessary information and can finally have your identity confirmed by video identity. However, in most cases these are normal current accounts that you can use as business accounts. If you would like to open a business account for a GmbH, for example, you will not be spared the trip to the bank or at least the post-identification procedure. In the latter case, you fill in all the necessary forms and send them by post, whereby the post office official confirms your identity.

Documents required to open a business account

Which documents you need to open a business account depends on the nature of your business and the bank's requirements. Generally, you need your identity card or passport to identify yourself. You will also normally find a PDF file on the bank's website, which you must fill in – essential details are your name, place and date of birth as well as the name of the company, the legal form and the line of business in which you operate. In most cases, a credit report is also requested and sometimes also old bank statements. Some banks do not require the credit report information; you can open a business account with them on a credit basis.

If you have registered a business, you need the registration certificate. In the case of a GmbH, all shareholders must identify themselves with their identity card or passport. It is also necessary here that you have the articles of partnership to hand.

If you would like to open an account in person

If you have decided that you would like to open a business account with the branch bank you trust, you should make an appointment with your advisor. Ask directly on the phone which documents you need to bring with you. This way you will have them ready and complete when you attend the appointment. In these circumstances, your account will be opened quickly and you will always know who to contact if you have a question.

Summary: The business account must match the company

Even if not every self-employed person is obliged to open a business account, this is strongly recommended. This way, private and business finances do not get mixed up. Carefully compare the fees for account management, deposits and withdrawals, cards and other services – a basic fee of 0.00 euros does not necessarily mean that the account is particularly cost-effective in everyday life. You must be able to prove your identity to open an account, prove your creditworthiness and provide written information about the company. In case of doubt, it is always worth talking to the consultant personally. 

For all further questions concerning the financing of your car wash, our colleagues will be happy to advise you