Business Check vs. Personal Check

Linda King, Treasury Management Product Consultant, First Republic Bank
June 22, 2022

  • Business checks often come with more advanced security features and have larger deposit limits compared to personal checks
  • For best practice, as well as for ease of bookkeeping, budgeting and tax preparation, keep business and personal expenses separate. You generally do not want to use personal checks to pay for business expenses and vice versa.

Despite their similarities, business and personal checks have specific uses and features. The differences between these two types of bank checks are important to understand, especially for small business owners.

Business checks are associated with business checking accounts and are exclusively used for business purposes, whereas personal checks are associated with personal checking accounts and are used for more general household purposes. It’s important to keep business and personal expenses separate, for ease of bookkeeping, budgeting and tax preparation.

What is a business check?

A business check draws from a business’s assets via a business bank account and may have enhanced security features compared to personal checks.

Business owners — including sole proprietors, partnerships and corporations alike – can use business checks to pay for a multitude of business expenses, such as payroll, tax payments and operating expenses.

Although there is a big difference between personal and business checks, they look physically similar and include the same fields, such as check number, routing and account number, date, payee, amount of the check, memo and signature. 

Business owners (or accountants who manage business bank accounts) can order checks. 

What is a personal check?

Unlike business checks, personal checks are tied to your personal bank account and use your personal funds, generally in a personal checking account. 

Personal checks are primarily used to pay individual or household expenses, such as groceries or rent for one’s residence. They are meant to be issued by the account holder(s), who can also order checks.

Is a business check the same as a personal check?

Aside from some face-value similarities, such as the way the checks look, several aspects differentiate business checks from personal checks.  

  • Business checks often come with more advanced security features compared to personal checks (watermarks, thermochromic ink, bleed-through numbering, holograms, etc.).
  • Personal checks are typically handwritten, whereas business checks are often printed out on a check printer.
  • Business checks have larger deposit limits than personal checks.
  • Business checks are generally physically larger than personal checks.
  • Business checks often come in a ledger, whereas personal checks come in a checkbook format.
  • Business checks can include your “doing business as” (DBA) name if applicable. 

Final thoughts

As noted, keeping business and personal expenses separate is an essential way to simplify both personal and business bookkeeping. This can be made easier by using not only business checks and bank accounts but also business credit cards and business accounting software.

Frequently asked questions

Can you order personal checks for a business account?

You can only order business checks through business bank accounts. Therefore, you cannot order personal checks for a business account. This is the case for all businesses, including service providers, retailers and more.

Can you use personal checks for business purposes?

Although it is possible to use personal checks for business purposes, it’s not ideal. It’s best practice to keep your business and personal finances separate, for bookkeeping, budgeting and tax preparation.

Do business checks clear faster than personal checks?

Both personal checks and business checks take about two business days to clear, but this varies by financial institution.

The strategies mentioned in this article may have tax and legal consequences; therefore, you should consult your own attorneys and/or tax advisors to understand the tax and legal consequences of any strategies mentioned in this document. This information is governed by our Terms and Conditions of Use.