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How to open a business bank account

Research bank services to save money and get the right features

On this page

  • Find out what services you'll need from your bank, including account and payment facilities 
  • Learn about the regulatory requirements for card payments
  • Understand common account fees 

Transactional banking products

When deciding what type of transaction banking products your business needs, look at the type of business you're offering to your customers, what your suppliers need and how you want to manage your cash flow.

The most common transaction banking products are:

  • internet banking
  • credits/debits to accounts – electronically, manually or by direct credit
  • BPAY via credit or debit card
  • overdraft and other limit facilities
  • cheque production facility
  • lockbox service – secure processing of a mailed cheque, money order or credit card payment
  • payroll processing arrangements.

All businesses need an account that can be accessed by:

  • cheque
  • ATM
  • telephone banking
  • internet banking.
Your account should also be able to facilitate basic transactions, such as adding your takings, cash and other deposits. All the financial transactions of your business pass through this account.

Merchant facilities

Merchant facilities (also known as payment facilities) give your customers options when they pay by credit or debit card. A merchant facility allows you to process payments your customers make by credit or debit card – either manually or electronically. Merchant facilities improve your cash flow as your customers don't need to have cash in their account to pay. 

Using merchant facilities speeds up payment and reduces administration costs, such as printing paper invoices, and avoids having to set up accounts for one-off transactions.

Before you meet with your bank or financial institution to set up a merchant facility, be clear about:

  • whether you'll need an EFTPOS terminal to swipe debit and credit cards, for example if you have a retail store where customers walk in and use their card to pay
  • whether there's another way to process orders, such as a manual docket system – if you take most of your orders using mail, phone, fax or internet, extra account fees might be charged for manual processing, and funds will not be available as quickly as EFTPOS
  • what volume of credit card transactions versus cash or other payment methods you expect.

With so many options available, it's worth investigating what financial institutions can offer before you give them your business.

EFTPOS processing fees

You can't make a profit from extra credit card or EFTPOS processing fees. Businesses can only charge 'reasonable cost of card acceptance', which could include covering the cost of bank charges, maintaining credit-card terminals, line rental, communication charges and employee training.  

Account fees and charges

Banks and financial institutions charge for most transactions, and can be a serious cost, so make sure you compare fees before choosing who to give your business to. 

Almost all banks, building societies and credit unions provide fee summary information on transaction account statements. Check these regularly as part of your cash flow planning. This may help you decide if you should switch financial institutions.

Get in contact with financial institutions to check common fees – including charges for getting change and depositing takings.

Cashflow forecasting template (XLSX 78.26 KB)XLSX icon