Setting up business banking needn’t be high admin. Just follow these seven easy steps and you’ll have a business bank account in no time…

Step One: Choose a Bank

People tend to stick with what they know, but the bank you use for your personal banking may not suit your business banking needs. Before simply opening a business bank account at your existing bank, shop around. Investigate what small business banking packages each of South Africa’s major banks has to offer you. Carefully compare features. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you require a simple cheque account for day-to-day transactions?
  • Or a bundled account with savings and business credit card facilities?
  • Do you need a small business loan or overdraft facilities?
  • Does the account leave room for business expansion?
  • Does the bank offer competitive bank charges and interest rates?
  • Does the bank offer good customer support, and training or advice on enterprise development?

Step Two: Register your Business

If you haven’t already, you need to register your business with the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC). You’ll need to provide your bank with the relevant documentation (see below).

Step Three: Get your Documents Together

You will need to present your banker with original company documentation. In general, you’ll have to supply the following information:

  • If you’re a Sole Proprietorship: identity document; two trade references; tax number; three month’s bank statements if switching accounts
  • If your business operates as a CC: founding statement; Certificate of Incorporation; identity documents of each member; two trade references; three months’ bank statements if switching accounts
  • If your business operates as a PTY (Ltd): Memorandum of Incorporation; Certificate of Incorporation; identity documents of shareholders/directors; three months’ bank statements if switching accounts.

Step Four: Get FICA’d

Banks are obligated to comply with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act No. 38 of 2001 (FICA), legislation which aims to combat money laundering. These are prerequisites for opening any bank account in South Africa, and you will need to present them to your banker:

  • Proof of identity – your green South African identity document
  • Proof of business address – a utility bill not more than three months old.

Step Five: Background Checks

You will have to consent to the following checks:

  • Identity checks
  • Credit record check with the credit bureaux
  • Fraud prevention checks

Step Six: Opening Balance

You will need to make a deposit to kick things off – ask your banker what the minimum opening balance on their small business bank account is. You will also need to ensure that the account is kept active, by transacting (making deposits and withdrawals on a fairly regular basis).

Step Seven: Make Some Money

Your business is registered; you have a business account; now get out there and get trading!

Remember: These are guidelines only; each bank has their own particular requirements and qualifying criteria. It’s always best to speak to a banker, in person, about opening business bank account. If they want your business, they will do their utmost to help you.