In the 12 months ended February 2020, total bank branches declined by more than 1,500. That number continues to grow. Even branches that are still operational are temporarily closed due to distancing requirements, underscoring an increasing need for online banking for consumers and businesses alike.
But what factors should you consider when choosing an online banking provider for your business?
Round-the-clock access and account management is non-negotiable.
Online banking makes financial management faster and easier. Small business owners have specific needs.
Timely account management. Forty-four percent of small businesses like to perform balance inquiries from any location, including 56% who use mobile and 29% who use desktops.1 Online account management gives small businesses 24/7 access to account information.
Efficient payment processing. The payments landscape is constantly changing. Consumers don’t want to wait to send or receive payments or funds. Online bill pay is convenient and in high demand, with 44% of small business owners choosing to make digital payments.2 But whether paying by cash, check, debit or credit card, they want efficient, timely processing.Your online business banking partner should offer a wide range of payment options, including ACH, digital wallets and peer to-peer.
Convenient mobile apps. With fewer brick and mortar locations, mobile apps make account management and payments as simple as a quick tap on a smart phone. Eighty-six percent of small businesses now use mobile business banking.3 Mobile deposits further eliminate the need for trips to the bank or ATM. Eighty percent of small businesses scanned checks for mobile deposit this year.4
Flexible funds movement. Twenty-nine percent of small businesses would like to easily move funds between accounts, customers and vendors.5 Online providers should make it effortless to disburse funds however and whenever you choose.
Strive for a satisfying overall digital experience.
Ninety-five percent of commercial banking clients expect the same digital experience as in their personal lives,6 and 82% say a bank’s digital platform is a key reason they are loyal to their financial instutions.7 Banks that fully understand small business needs are redesigning their online platforms for an enhanced user experience. In addition to the services you’ll regularly use, consider the additional investments banks are making to evolve the digital experience.
Uniform user experience across multiple devices
Responsive design ensures you’ll get the same online experience no matter which device you use to access your accounts — the screen size and menu design automatically adjust. This allows you to perform daily cash management tasks from anywhere, using any device you choose.
Seamless integration with existing and future technology
Is your provider’s solution compatible with your accounting, tax and other software? Maybe you need payroll processing, like 86% of other business owners last year.8
Integrated software that automates daily entries, helps with budgeting, and helps to manage payroll and cash flow will save valuable time that you can use for other tasks. Scalable solutions enable your business to grow and adapt to changing needs.
Secure data and access management
Your and your customers’ data should be securely managed. It’s not only good business — the Payment Card Industry Security Council requires merchants and card data processors to protect payment information. There are stiff penalties and fines for failure to do so. It’s important to ask your financial institution how it protects card and other financial data, as well as how they would respond in the event of a data breach.
Another critical element of security is internal controls. Every employee shouldn’t have access to financial applications and data. Does your bank offer solutions with which you can grant specific employees permission to access accounts, transactions and reporting on a “need-to-know” basis?
Look for financial strength.
Your digital banking provider should be prepared to address your financial needs over the long haul. Profitability and capitalization are critical requirements when choosing a banking partner. Review the institution’s net income over the past five years. Does it reflect a record of steadily increasing profits? Does a significant portion of those profits make their way to the “shareholders’ equity” section of the balance sheet? Check to see how your prospective bank’s capital ratio measures up against banks of similar size.
Demand personal attention.
There are substantial differences in consumer and business banking. That’s why it’s important to choose a financial institution that is experienced in serving small businesses. This year, 77% of small businesses asked their bank for advice on managing company finances.9 Your banking partner should thoroughly understand your industry, company and financial needs and be able to anticipate solutions as your business evolves.
Whether you’re opening a new account or funding an expansion, you deserve prompt, courteous service. Does your financial institution offer a dedicated resource who can handle all your banking requirements? It’s not unreasonable to expect a relationship manager who’ll be attentive to questions about existing or future services.
There are many considerations in choosing the best online banking provider for your business. In addition to offering up-to-the minute digital tools, you’ll want a partner that looks to the future, is responsive to your needs and has the solid financial backing to support your business’s growth.
For more information about Synovus online banking for businesses, call your Relationship Manager.
Important disclosure information
This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.
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