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I'd like to be able to deposit cheques payable to a business name into my personal bank account. I do not have a company (Pty Ltd) and at this stage it's probably more trouble than it's worth to set one up.

I know that it's possible to register a "trading name" and banks will accept a cheque payable to that trading name once you've shown them the proof of registration, so I thought that this was the perfect solution. However, there is one problem: registering a business name requires my street address and makes this (and other) information publicly available. I like my privacy and do not wish my address to be listed. I'm fine with my customers knowing it, just not the entire world.

Is there any other way to do this, without the privacy sacrifice? I don't need any "business account" features or legal protection of the name or anything like that - I just want to be able to cash cheques payable to that name.

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    Wouldn't it be simpler to open an account in your business name, and then transfer the money to your personal account? – DJClayworth Aug 19 '11 at 18:15
  • I don't know, maybe, but the same question would still apply: how would I get my bank to open an account in the business name? They would need some kind of documentation to support it. – Evan Aug 20 '11 at 0:04
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    They would need documentation to show that you are a legitimate business. If you are a legitimate business then you shouldn't have a problem. – DJClayworth Aug 22 '11 at 3:20
  • Perhaps your invoice should just ask for cheques payable to "Evan Whoever". – poolie Aug 22 '11 at 4:28
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You don't have much choice other than to open an account in your business name, then do a money transfer, as @DJClayworth says.

You will not

  • be able to get your bank to open an account in a business name,
  • be able to use a trading name (with associated business registration)

without providing your name and street address and possibly other information that you may consider to be of a private nature.

This is due to laws about fraud, money laundering and consumer protection. I'm not saying that's what you have in mind! But without accountability of the sort provided by names and street addresses, banks would be facilitating crimes of many sorts, which is why regulatory agencies enforce disclosure requirements.

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  • Yes, of course I would need to provide my personal information to the bank. I just don't want it accessible to the public, which is what happens when you you register a trading name. – Evan Aug 20 '11 at 14:36
  • @Evan Could you register a trading name using a post office box? I don't refer to a public post office (too obvious). In N. America, one can have mail delivered to a business that especially provides such services. Most private parcel companies will not deliver to state post offices e.g. United Parcel (UPS). Many small companies choose to rent a post box where their mail can be received, signed for, and held safely. You would have a regular street address, and the companies providing this service are completely legitimate. *These post boxes are more costly than public post office boxes though. – Ellie Kesselman Aug 21 '11 at 1:23
  • Well, they do ask for a "street address (not PO box)". So, while it may or may not be detected, it probably would be against the rules of business name registration here. – Evan Aug 21 '11 at 12:22
  • I believe the point is that they want a place where documents can be served if necessary. PO Boxes don't do that. – DJClayworth Aug 22 '11 at 3:21
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    Perhaps you can use the address of your lawyer or accountant, if you have one. – poolie Aug 30 '11 at 2:32
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You actually don't have to open a business account with your bank, you can have a personal account with the bank and have your business funds go into it, whether it be from cheques or from Eftpos\Credit Card Facilities. You just have to get your customers to make the cheque out under your name (the same name used for your bank account).

If you are trading as a sole trader and you trade under a name other than your own name, then officially you are supposed to register that name with Fair Trading in your state. However, if you are trading using another name and it is not registered, Fair Trading will only become aware of it if someone (usually one of your customers) makes a compliant about you, and they will then ask you to either stop using that name as your trading name or have it registered (if not already registered by someone else).

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Banks has to complete KYC. In case you want to open a bank account, most will ask for proof of address. I also feel it is difficult for bank to encash a cheque payable to a business in your account.

Opening a bank account in the name of your business or alternatively obtaining a cheque payable to your personal name seems the only alternatives to me.

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Unfortunately, Australian bureocrats made it impossible to register a small business without making the person's home address, full name, date of birth and other personal information available to the whole world. They tell us the same old story about preventing crime, money laundering and terrorism, but in fact it is just suffocating small business in favour of capitalistic behemoths.

With so many weirdos and identity thieves out there, many people running a small business from home feel unsafe publishing all their personal details.

I use a short form of my first name and real surname for my business, and reguraly have problems cashing in cheques written to this variation of my name. Even though I've had my account with this bank for decades and the name is obviously mine, just a pet or diminitive form of my first name (e.g. Becky instead of Rebecca). This creates a lot of inconvenience to ask every customer to write the cheque to my full name, or make the cheque "bearer" (or not to cross "or bearer" if it is printed on the cheque already).

It is very sad that there is protection for individual privacy in Australia, unless you can afford to have a business address. But even in this case, your name, date of birth and other personal information will be pusblished in the business register and the access to this information will be sold to all sorts of dubious enterprises like credit report companies, debt collectors, market researchers, etc.

It seems like Australian system is not interested in people being independent, safe, self-sufficient and working for themselves. Everyone has to be under constant surveliance.

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