Web business banking offers customers the convenience of carrying out financial transactions from the comfort of their offices, homes or phones while on the go. Online banking tools allow entrepreneurs and small business owners to keep a real-time eye on their company’s finances or delegate tasks to others.
Online business bank accounts are offered by traditional banks with physical branches, as well as by credit unions and some online-only financial institutions.
Who web business banking is for
Web business banking is helpful for people who are hard-pressed to visit a bank branch during business hours while they’re busy managing their company’s operations. Having to bank in person can be especially inconvenient for business owners who handle most of their day-to-day transactions online.
Online business bank accounts are typically designed for small and mid-sized businesses in any sector. Financial institutions typically offer a range of options to meet the needs of different types of businesses, from sole proprietors who make electronic transactions fully online to business owners who need to deposit cash and write cheques.
As a business owner, you can typically apply for a web-based bank account online, but will need to provide information and documentation to verify your business structure. For example, if your business is a general partnership, you’ll need your:
- Partnership registration and agreement.
- Trade name registration or master business licence.
- Name, occupation, date of birth and ID for up to three authorized signatories.
- Percentage and type of ownership for anyone with 25% or more ownership.
Many banks will require you to book an in-person appointment to review this documentation before you can begin using your business bank account online.
How web business banking works
Web business banking is similar to online banking for individuals — business owners can access their financial accounts online on a computer or via a mobile app on a phone or tablet. Some financial institutions also allow you to link a business bank account to business solutions, such as accounting services or software or AI-powered insights, or even your personal bank account.
Many banks allow you to set multiple levels of access on your web accounts. This functionality allows you to control the type of information or data that each employee is allowed to view by creating different levels of administrative rights.
Common features or services provided by web business banking
For many business owners, online business banking is a one-stop shop for remotely managing a number of financial responsibilities.
For example, RBC’s business banking portal and app allow individuals who manage company finances to carry out tasks such as:
- Checking account balances and transactions.
- Tracking business spending.
- Making payments, both one-time and recurring payments to vendors and employees.
- Sending international wire transfers.
- Managing Canadian and U.S. funds.
- Filing business taxes to the Canada Revenue Agency.
RBC also offers a premium tier that allows you to further customize your banking with monitoring and reporting capabilities, market trading platform access and automated file-based integrations.
Through web business banking, you can also apply for credit or loan facilities, such as a line of credit or a business credit card. If you choose a digital-only banking option, monthly fees are often low, and in some cases, you aren’t required to maintain a minimum balance.
What’s the difference between web business banking and retail or personal banking?
Online banking options for businesses and individuals offer similar features, including the ability to access accounts online, make payments and manage funds. But since a web business bank account isn’t necessarily assigned to a single person, several individuals from the company may be able to view information and make transactions. Some web-based business accounts also offer access to other resources, such as the ability to set up wire payments or file your business taxes.
What about web business banking vs. corporate banking?
For large companies, corporate banking goes beyond payroll and taxes to provide a suite of integrated services, such as term financing, international trade services, investments and even a dedicated relationship manager. In cases where corporations require investment banking services such as mergers and acquisitions or management buyouts, corporate banking teams also often partner with their investment banking and global markets teams.
In short, corporate banking is much more extensive and involved for companies whose needs are greater and more complex than the services offered through web business banking, which are usually designed for small or medium-sized businesses.
Is web business banking safe?
Yes, online business banking is as safe as online personal banking. Some financial institutions offer features like biometric security to help prevent fraud, where users are required to verify their identities with their face, voice or touch ID. Many banks also use two-factor authentication as part of their sign-in process, such as requiring you to enter a single-use security code.
With the ability to set different tiers of administrative rights, businesses can also limit access to sensitive information, allow only approved employees to conduct certain tasks or set up payments, or lock and unlock users remotely to manage sign in.
Which financial institutions offer web business banking services?
Almost every large financial institution in Canada and many smaller ones, such as credit unions, offer online banking options for businesses, including:
- Bank of Montreal (BMO).
- Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank).
- Royal Bank of Canada (RBC.)
- TD Bank.
- Meridian Credit Union.
- Coast Capital.
- Vancity Credit Union.
A few online-only banks also offer account options for business clients, such as Tangerine Bank’s business savings account, though it requires you to have a business chequing account at another institution.