Can You Open a Business Account With a P.O. Box?

When you open a business bank account, you must provide the bank with the business' physical address. Additionally, you must provide the bank with the physical address of anyone who intends to have access to the account. However, although you must provide the bank with physical addresses, nothing prevents you from also using a P.O. box for your business account.


The Patriot Act requires banks to obtain the certain kinds of information from account holders and account signers at the time of account opening. Every bank must have its own identification verification procedures, but the Act requires banks to obtain information such as the name and the physical or business address of the account holder and the age and Social Security number of every account signer. Banks must keep this information on file for five years.


When you open your business account and fill out a CIP form, you can provide the bank with a P.O. box, in which case the P.O. box appears on the actual account record and the bank sends all correspondence to that address. Many business owners prefer to use a P.O. box for banking purposes to make it harder for thieves to steal checks or account information.


In addition to verbally providing information to the bank at the time of account opening, you also have to provide the bank with some kind of documentation to show that you have registered your business with the state. Depending on your business entity and your state's laws, this documentation may include items such as the articles of incorporation, a partnership agreement or a business license. Typically, these types of documents contain both the business's physical and mailing addresses, which means that your bank has another document with the physical address.


Your bank has no need for the physical address of your business but your bank must share this information, if requested, with the federal government. The Bank Secrecy Act requires banks to assist the Internal Revenue Service and other government departments with investigations into money laundering and other criminal activities. The government may obtain the business's address if you become the subject of such an investigation. However, the Patriot Act does not require banks to constantly update your business's address. This means that you can change your business address without having to notify your bank and even if you do notify the bank, your bank does not have to update its records.