Documents Needed to Open a DBA Checking Account

By Michelle Kaminsky, J.D.

Documents Needed to Open a DBA Checking Account

By Michelle Kaminsky, J.D.

If you want to conduct business under a name that is different from your business's legal name, you probably need to obtain a DBA (doing business as).

A DBA registration with your state or county lets consumers and creditors know who is running your business and allows you to conduct business under that name—including handling its finances through a DBA checking account. A DBA bank account allows the business to keep funds separate from those of the business owners' personal funds as well as collect money and cash checks on behalf of the business.

All types of entities can operate as a DBA, and the documents required to open a bank account vary slightly for each type of business. The two most common documents required to open a DBA checking account are a DBA certificate, which verifies that your business is operating under a fictitious name, and photo identification (driver's license, state ID, or passport) of the person's name connected to the DBA's registration.

Other documents you may need depend on the type of business. Here are some documents you may need to provide to your bank.

Person looking at computer that says "open a bank account"

Social Security Card or Employer Identification Number

Every business must have a tax identification number for federal income tax purposes. For sole proprietorships, this number may be the business owner's personal Social Security number, which should be presented to open a DBA bank account.

Partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and other business structures are required to have an employer identification number (EIN) to conduct business and must provide proof of that EIN to open a DBA bank account. Note that sole proprietorships may also choose to use an EIN instead of a personal Social Security number to operate a business, in which case they would need to provide the EIN to the bank in order to open a DBA account.

Business License

If your business requires a license within your jurisdiction, bring this documentation to the bank when you open a DBA account. The business license should include both your name and the name of the business.

Note that if your business requires additional licenses or permits, you should also bring those. It's better to have too much documentation with you than not enough.

Partnership Agreement, Articles of Organization, or Articles of Incorporation

If you are opening an account on behalf of a partnership, bring the partnership agreement with you. The partnership agreement can help the bank verify the owners behind the DBA.

For LLCs, you will need to bring the company's articles of organization. All of the LLC's officers should be listed in the articles and, if they are not, you should bring additional documentation called a “corporate resolution," that includes the names of all officers and is signed by them.

If you have a corporation comprised of more than one company—perhaps two separate types of businesses within the larger corporate structure—you should bring the corporation's articles of incorporation with you to open a DBA bank account.

For a nonprofit, bring the articles of incorporation as well as a certificate of nonprofit status. Additionally, just as with an LLC, if the documents provided don't list all of the company's officers, you should provide a corporate resolution that includes them.

Opening a DBA bank account shouldn't take long if you come prepared with all of the documents required. To ensure it goes as smoothly as possible, contact your banking institution before going in person, or complete the process online if available.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.