learn the business of blogging – always free
As business owners, we need to be careful about tracking our income and expenses – and keeping them separate from our personal finances. The day I formed my LLC I decided to open a Spark Business bank account through Capital One.
Why Capital One? Well, their Spark Business division gives me free checking and savings accounts. Yep, totally free! No fees, no minimum balance, and no minimum opening deposit. What’s even better is that my business savings account will have a 1% APR for the first year.
I did a lot of research and while many banks offer business accounts, Capital One appeared to offer the best deal at the lowest cost to my business.
Opening the Spark Bank Account
I started the process of opening the account online here.
The first few sections were super easy. I recommend opening a business bank account after you’ve formed an LLC but I believe Spark works with individuals as well.
I chose to open a Checking & Savings account at the same time. If you’re a Capital One customer, you can log in to have your information filled out. If you’re not, then you fill out your Legal Business Name, location, revenue, etc.
That part is really straightforward. Where I ran into trouble was when I was asked for the SS-4 IRS Notification Letter.
I was pretty confused as to what the SS-4 Letter was so I called Capital One. The rep told me I’d get this form in the mail so I waited a week.
I turned to my best friend Google, and found out that I actually had to apply for this form, and get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS.
EINs are typically used for businesses who want to hire employees, but apparently I needed one to open the account. I later learned that EINs can also be used in place of your social security number, like when signing up for affiliate programs, which is an additional privacy benefit.
Luckily you can apply for this number online for free and download the form afterwards.
In the meantime, Capital One had sent me an email requesting more documents:
We’ve received your request to open an account but need additional information before we can move forward. Please provide the following documentation by 09/22/2017:
1) Personal Verification: Please send a color image, front and back, of: Current Government or State Issued ID
2) Tax ID Verification: Please send a copy of: SS-4 IRS Notification Letter (Unable to accept SS-4 Application)
3) Business Address (listed on your application) Verification: Please send a copy of: Utility bill or Government/State document showing the business name and physical address. Please note: We are unable to accept P.O. Box or Commercial Mail Forwarding Addresses.
4) Business Agent (listed on your application) and Legal Business Name (if any type other than Sole Prop): Please send copy of: Articles of Incorporation/Organization or Operational Agreement (signed and specifying you as an agent/officer/member)
5) DBA Name Verification (if applicable and listed on your application): Please send a copy of: Assumed Name or Fictitious Name Statement showing DBA.
6) Business Description: Please describe your business and provide a link to your website.
You can send the requested documents by replying to this email. If you have any questions please email or call us at (844) 887-7275 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
They gave me about six weeks to gather the required forms. I sent them back via email 3 days later.
A week after that, I received another email:
We’ve received your request to open an account but need additional information before we can move forward. Please provide the following documentation by 9/22/2017:
Description of Business
What does your business entail? Please describe your business.
You can email it to us by replying to this email. Call us at (844) 887-7275 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday if you have questions about this request.
I wrote them back a 2-sentence description one day later.
10 days later, I finally received an email stating my account was open!
I’m not going to lie – opening the account was a lot more difficult than I had imagined. 3 weeks seems excessive just to open a checking account, but I guess that’s the finance industry for you. It was actually harder for me to open this account than it was for me to form an LLC!
Nevertheless, now that the account is open, I’m relieved to have a place to store my business income separately from my personal money!
I hope my experience on how to open a Spark Business checking account will help you!