Open a business bank account online: the lowdown

Wise
30.10.20
4 minute read

If you’re starting your own business, one of the very first things you’ll need is a dedicated business bank account.

You’ll need it to pay your bills and expenses, as well as receiving revenue from business activities. Whether you’re starting up as a sole trader, company or partnership, a business bank account really is a must-have.

In this guide, we’ll look at how to open a business bank account online. This is usually the quickest, easiest way to do it, rather than heading to a branch in person or posting off paperwork.

We’ll also look at a few other ways to handle your business finances online. For example, get a Wise Business account and you’ll have a low-cost way to do business internationally.

But more on that later. Let’s start with the basics.

What is a business bank account?

A business bank account helps you to manage your company’s finances. You can use it to track business expenses and income, pay bills, manage cashflow and budget for the future. Crucially, you’ll also need the information from your business bank account for tax and accountancy purposes.

It’s important to have a dedicated account for your company so you can separate personal finances from business transactions. It’s also a legal requirement for tax purposes if you’re a partnership, company or trust¹. Lastly, it looks much more professional to your customers.

There are a few key differences between personal and business accounts. Personal current accounts usually come with a few basic tools, and can often be free to open and manage.

Business bank accounts tend to come with a monthly charge or other fees, but account holders are rewarded with advanced tools and services. These may include payroll processing, business banking apps and integration with accounting tools, to name just a few examples.

How to open a business bank account online

Keen to get started? The first thing to do is to look for providers that offer the option to open your business account online. Not all do – for some banks, you’ll need to head there in person or apply in writing.

It can be far more convenient to open and manage your business finances online. And not just for everyday banking either – money transfer services such as Wise let you open your account, send money and manage transactions completely online.

If the provider does permit online applications and you’re happy with all the fees, conditions and features of the account, you’re ready to apply. Here’s what you’ll need in order to apply²:

  • Proof of your identity – showing that you’re 18 years or older and a permanent Australian resident. Different banks may have their own processes for validating your ID, but most will accept passports and drivers licences if you’re a new customer.
  • Your Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Address and other details for all directors of the company.

Once you have everything ready, head to your chosen bank’s website and follow all the instructions for applying online.

You may have to complete a few additional steps, such as verifying your ID or waiting to receive account details through the post. But when your account is finally open and ready to use, you can register for internet banking and login.

Some options

If you need a little help finding providers which let you open business accounts online, we’ve put together a few suggestions. But remember – it always pays to do your research before making a decision.

Wise

It’s free to open a multi-currency account online with Wise, and you could be up and running in a matter of minutes³. With your account, you’ll be able to manage multiple currencies, send money abroad with low fees and receive international payments for free. To find out more, scroll down towards the end of this guide.

National Australia Bank

With a few key details and documents (such as your ID and ABN), you can open a Business Everyday Account online with National Australia Bank (NAB). There are two choices⁴ - a flexible $0 monthly fee account which charges fees on things like banker-assisted transactions and cheques, or a $10 monthly fee account with more free transactions included.

According to NAB, you can apply for either of these accounts online in just 10 minutes⁵.

CommBank⁶

Another of Australia’s big banks, CommBank also offers everyday business bank accounts you can open online. Whether you’re a new or existing customer, you can apply online if you’re registered as a sole trader or private company. You can choose any director to operate the account, and change it later if you need to.

To get started, make sure you have your ABN, ACN (Australian Customer Number, if you have one), ID, registered business name and director details ready.

St George⁷

St George offers a number of business bank accounts you can open online, including its popular Freedom Business Account. This also happens to have no monthly fees for the first 12 months, so it could be ideal if you’re getting a brand new business off the ground.

Wise Business

As we’ve mentioned, you can apply online for a borderless Wise Business account and it only takes a matter of minutes.

But why open one? If you do any business internationally (or hope to), this account could save you serious money. It’s free to open an account and there are no monthly charges. Plus, it’s also up to 19x cheaper than services like PayPal⁸, which is what some businesses use to send money overseas.

Fees are always low and transparent for sending money internationally, and the recipient doesn’t need a Wise account – an ordinary bank account will do. The same goes for converting currencies when withdrawing to your bank. And it’s completely free to receive money from an overseas supplier or client.

But the best bit is that you’re guaranteed the real, mid-market exchange rate on every transaction. This means bank-beating rates with no mark-up added on top.

As well as saving money, you’ll also get access to a whole suite of tools and features with your Wise Business account. These include:

  • A linked Wise Platinum Business Mastercard®
  • Seamless integration with Xero accounting software
  • Mass payouts tool – perfect for payroll
  • Open API – for automating payments and connecting your business tools.

And that’s pretty much it – all you need to know to open a business bank account online. We’ve covered the reasons you need a dedicated account for your business, the documentation you’ll need and some providers which welcome online applications. So, you should be all set to open your account and get down to work.


Sources used:

  1. Why Set up a Business Account
  2. NAB - Applying for a Business Account
  3. Wise Business
  4. NAB - Applying for a Business Account
  5. NAB - Fees
  6. Commbank - Business Transaction Account
  7. St George - Bank Account
  8. Wise Business

Sources checked on 18-October 2020.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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