Online and mobile banking
Many banks offer online banking capabilities and a smartphone app for mobile banking. Once you create an online account, you may be able to easily check your balance, initiate bank-to-bank transfers and pay bills at any time.
Using online banking can also be important for keeping accurate banking records. Many online accounting and payroll systems can be linked to online bank accounts, allowing you to easily share information back and forth. Having all your systems connected could make managing your business’s finances and taxes easier.
There are also online-only business bank accounts, which may be worth considering as an alternative to a branch-based account. Online-only banks don’t have to open and run branches, and they often pass the savings on to customers by having fewer and lower fees. They may also offer a higher interest rate on savings accounts and rewards or interest on checking accounts.
You won’t be able to speak with a banker in person or receive the in-branch services that many business owners need, such as easy cash deposits or getting change. However, if your business doesn’t need these types of services, an online-only account might be a good fit.
You could also use both types of accounts and open a checking account with a convenient branch-based bank, and an online-only savings account to take advantage of the lower fees and higher interest rate.
Keeping your online account safe
For many small business owners, online banking can be a convenient and secure way to manage the company’s finances. However, if you sign up for online banking, you may want to take a few extra precautions to make sure your account remains private and secure.
- Don’t log into your account while connected to public Wi-Fi. Someone else might be able to monitor your online activity.
- Use a unique and strong password. You may have a few passwords you like to use over and over again. Create a brand new one that you only use for your online bank account, and make sure the password is somewhat random (rather than a common word) with a mix of characters and capitalization.
- Opt-in for two-factor authentication. If your bank offers it, sign up for two-factor authentication, which will require you to take an extra step to sign in to your account from an unfamiliar device. For example, you might have to copy a security code that’s sent to your phone or email.
- Be cautious when checking emails. You may receive an email that looks like it’s from your bank or another trusted company, but is actually a trick. These phishing emails may ask you to sign in to your account (they could even direct you to a website that looks just like the bank’s website) or email back personal information, and then use that to log in to your account and steal your money. Ignore suspicious emails, or you can call your bank if you’re unsure about an email you receive. Always use the phone number on the back of your debit or credit card or on the bank’s official website and don’t rely on information from an incoming email.
- Keep antivirus software updated. Make sure your computer has antivirus software, regularly check for software updates and scan your computer for infections. Change your banking password — and other online account passwords — if you find a virus.