All online business banking services should cover the basics: scheduling payments, direct-deposit payroll, direct vendor payments, transaction notifications, email alerts, wire transfer, account statements, balance, viewable images of processed checks, and multiple-user setup with varying levels of access. Some of the features offered for business online banking accounts vary by the bank's size. For example, not all banks offer international banking services. But here are some advanced features to look for:
- Remote Deposits
Remote deposit allows businesses to deposit a check in a bank account without having to physically deliver it to the bank (not to be confused with direct deposit or online deposit). In order to do that, a digital image of the check is scanned into a computer and then transmitted to the bank.
Some banks have developed their own remote deposit systems, while others use third-party companies. Remote deposits can be scanned with a desktop scanner or by taking a photo of the check with a smartphone app. Those images can be transmitted to the bank or processing company using a fax machine, a smartphone, a tablet computer, or even as an email attachment.
Banks usually charge a monthly fee for an unlimited number of remote deposits. Some will even provide a dedicated check scanner at no additional cost. For large volume check processors, some banks offer automated-feed scanners that can process large numbers of checks quickly.
- Paying Taxes Online
Some banks offer an option to pay your federal, state, and local taxes online. You can authorize payments in advance, pay penalties, estimates, and interest, quarterly payroll taxes, and sales taxes. You can authorize payments online using a computer or a touch-tone phone, and no additional software is needed. Some transaction and receipt fees may apply.
- International Transactions
Bigger financial institutions (Citibank, Well Fargo) have programs that cater to foreign markets and U.S. businesses that require international banking services, such as buying from overseas suppliers, shipping worldwide, etc. International online business banking services include:
- Opening an account in a foreign currency
- Foreign exchange online
- International wire transfers
- Foreign bank drafts
- Multi-currency payments and ACHs
- Foreign check conversions
- Foreign hedging services/tools
- Currency risk management tools
- Online support tailored to SMBs
Although there are often no enrollment fees or monthly service charges, expect fees for services such as wire transfers or bank drafts.