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Benefits of a consolidated financial relationship

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Are your merchant services and business banking accounts with the same institution? According to the Small Business Payment Spotlight, consolidated financial relationships are on the rise. There are plenty of good reasons why.

When small businesses combine their financial relationships with one institution, they can gain a variety of benefits—a reality most small businesses are capitalizing on as they shift into 2020 mode.

In fact, 79 percent of small businesses surveyed by Bank of America Merchant Services said an integrated relationship between merchant services and business banking is “important” or “critical.”

Four reasons why consolidated financial relationships work for small businesses

Additional data from the Small Business Payment Spotlight1 shed light on the specific benefits small business owners gain by working with a single trusted financial institution.

51 percent of businesses receive faster access to funds. When your business banking and merchant services accounts are with a single institution, you will likely enjoy faster access to the funds from the card transactions your customers use to pay for your goods and services.

While some non-bank providers may offer next day funds, it can come with extra fees. Be sure to check with your provider for details – because faster access has the potential to relieve a whole range of worries about when you’ll receive money from recent sales, like when you’ll be able to place orders or pay bills.
48 percent of businesses save on overall costs. By bundling your accounts, you’ll likely get a discount on products, services and fees.

For instance, linking a business checking or savings account to a merchant services account often eliminates or reduces your monthly maintenance fee, depending on your bank’s programs or benefits. Or, by maintaining a minimum combined balance across all your financial accounts, you may enjoy reduced service charges, such as transaction or maintenance fees.
42 percent receive customer service on a 24/7 basis. When your small business consolidates with one financial institution, you get their undivided attention, and depending on the institution, you may enjoy easy access to dedicated customer service on a 24/7 basis.

That means whenever you have a question or concern, you can call them on your schedule, not theirs.
35 percent receive consultative support from their financial institution. Because your bank will have an inside view of your small business’s financial health, they can tailor their recommendations to your unique situation. Would you be better off with a business credit card rather than relying on your debit card? Could your point-of-sale system help you manage costs? You may get more personalized answers to these kinds of questions.

What to ask when consolidating your financial relationships

To maximize your small business banking experience, get the answers to these questions before signing on the dotted line.

How do I know my small business will benefit from consolidated banking and payment accounts? If your small business simply needs a checking account and a single way to take payment, bundled services may not be for you.

But if you need a mix of merchant and banking services, like a business loan, a business debit and credit card, a robust point-of-sale system with business management services, the ability to accept payments online, or a range of other financial needs, a consolidated relationship can help.

Under a consolidated scenario, you can get all of the above in a single package, which can simply your life when you need help, compared to getting them separately.
How does a consolidated banking relationship meet my unique business needs? It’s important to find out the services your financial institution provide—and how much those services cost—under a consolidated financial relationship.

The goal is to get the exact services you need—no more and no less. Get quotes and compare different programs your bank offers. Ask for references and follow up—it’s a big advantage when you can talk to other merchant banking customers and compare their experiences with your expectations.
How will my cash flow improve under a consolidated financial relationship? One of the main benefits of consolidating your merchant and banking services is cash flow management. Because your customers’ payments are processed by the same institution that manages your deposit and checking accounts, you are typically able to access your funds a lot faster.

When discussing cash flow under a bundled small business banking arrangement, aim for an account that offers next-business-day funding, and with no additional fees attached.
Does my financial institution offer the range of payment options I need? In a consolidated financial relationship, your financial institution should offer a wide variety of payment acceptance options for your customers, including credit, debit and mobile device payments, along with a great customer experience at checkout.

Also ask about access to web-based reporting tools that can assist you in managing your payment processing activity.
What business management tools can will I get that would help make bundling my accounts worthwhile? A good banking relationship isn’t complete unless you get the business management help you need to maximize benefits. Make sure to ask what management tools they can provide and how they can help your small business become more cost-effective.

As a true business partner, your bank should provide access to a suite of products and services that help you accept card payments, manage your business, engage customers, track inventory, improve cash flow, schedule staff and track sales, among other business management needs.

There’s potential in consolidated relationships

In business, it’s helpful to have an experienced hand at the wheel to leverage financial opportunities on a daily basis. That’s what a consolidated financial relationship with a single bank can do for you.

The fact is, a small business receives a range of benefits when it has a single relationship with one financial institution. From accessing a wide variety of payment types and improving cash flow to delivering a better customer experience, consolidated relationships pay off. Find out for yourself by talking to your financial institution.

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