church checking account

Opening Your Church Checking Account

Part 7 in the 7-part series, Open a Church Checking Account

Of course you need a church checking account for your church plant to process donations, tithes & offerings, as well as pay expenses out of. Sometimes getting one open is easier said that done.

church checking account

What’s the Problem?

Especially since 9/11, banks have to be more diligent in identifying bank account holders and signers, and the feds have made them up the ante on documentation. If you just show up at a bank to open an account, be prepared to be turned away and given a homework assignment.

What to Do

Go to the bank with the following already prepared:

  • Your original, stamped Articles of Incorporation plus a copy (don’t leave them your original!)
  • Meeting minutes from your Board meeting where it was resolved to open an account with the bank you’re at, and where it was specified who the authorized signers are (how else are they going to know? They can’t just take your word for it)
  • The church’s Federal EIN number (don’t have that yet? Apply here)
  • Your identification
  • An opening deposit (duh!)
  • If you’ve already adopted Bylaws, bringing those along couldn’t hurt, though they’re probably not a requirement

Our friends at Dime Accounting remind you to also:

  • Request that the monthly bank statement cut-off date be the last day of each month (banks hate this, but it will make your life easier)
  • Discuss all the bank fees (banks love to hide them)

Don’t Set Yourself Up For Trouble

The church planter and the planter’s spouse should NEVER be a signer on the church checking account (or any bank account for that matter). This will keep you above even an accusation of dipping your hand in the till. You should always have a clear paper trail for all expenses and the accountability of someone else reviewing your receipts.


One response to “Opening Your Church Checking Account”

  1. Thank you for listing everything that you need to open a bank account for your church. It’s a great check list. I’ve just spoken with a Pastor who’s been in his ministry for 40- years and he said he has NEVER signed a check. He says it’s important to keep records transparent and available. Good advice.

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