Bank accounts are undoubtedly a good product for businesses, big or small. The medium-sized and big businesses have bank accounts and use them actively. Individuals also have bank accounts, many of whom run their accounts regularly.
However, a practice I have come to notice is that when these individuals start a business, they are reluctant to open a bank account in the name of the business. Many run their personal finance and the income and expenses of their business in a single bank account.
I spoke with a few small business owners who expressed their reasons for not opening bank accounts or having a separate bank account for their business. Among them is the fear of their small incomes being depleted by high monthly charges on the account.
Monthly bank charges in Ghana can go as high as GHc50 for small businesses. These businesses cannot afford to pay GHc600 a year for financial services. “It would cripple my business” one business owner lamented.
They are struggling with other problems such as rent, electricity, tolls and taxes, and inadequate funding and that means they are not in any way ready to pay the smallest fee to have a separate bank account for their businesses.
Some banks in Ghana have innovative products for such small businesses that either do not charge them or charge very little, at the end of each month. But it appears the small business owners are not aware of such opportunities.