One of the functions that I’ve been worried slightly about it the establishment of banking services that can be used by a virtual non profit entity. While we hope to run the SQL Saturday corporation with minimal costs, there will be some costs for mail, hosting, accounting, etc., and possible the need to handle money from sponsors and distribute funds to individual events.

For most people, establishing a bank account requires a visit to a live branch. After all, there are various legal regulations in place to ensure that you aren’t laundering money or engaging in some criminal activity.

The short description of this post is that the SQL Saturday corporation now has a bank and can move money around. The details of this process are below.

Picking a Bank

There are lots of local banks I could use. Some are large, like Wells Fargo, but at some point we might have officers that aren’t near a Wells Fargo. Ideally I’d want to get a bank that is convenient for many people in many ways.

I got a few recommendations from friends and someone turned me on to Nerd Wallet, which has a review of some online banks. I looked through the list, and then went to read reviews and check out all of these companies at their own sites. They have a lot of pros and cons, but for me, these are important things:

  • low fees
  • accepting wires
  • good software support

At some point, in looking at a few places and searching around, I ended up seeing this review of Mercury bank. They fit with what I needed, and didn’t have restrictions that were a hassle for me. I don’t know how often we’ll get money or need to move it, but I liked what Mercury offered and decided to go with them.

Setting Up an Account

Unlike most places where you might sign up for a service online, banking has requirements. In this case, I filled out the account and had to enter a number of PII items, like birthday and tax id number for myself. I also had to enter some basics for Stacia Varga, who is our Treasurer. I didn’t have her tax id number, nor did I want it. Fortunately, the signup process was great and allowed me to send her a link in email.

While I waited for Stacia to do her part, I had to upload a copy of my driver’s license and fill out the official information from the corporation. It was quick and painless, and only took me about 15 minutes.

When I got the note that Stacia had completed her part, I refreshed the page and saw that all the steps were marked with green checkmarks. I submitted the application. At this point, I got an email that confirmed this was done and that someone would need to review things. I forgot about this and went on with my day.

The next business day, about 24 hours after I’d finished, I got a number of emails. First, one noting the account was ready and I could start funding it. The second noted a debit card was being sent to the corporation address (our lawyer). The third said I had a virtual debit card I could activate.


As of now, we have no funds. I’ve advanced the corporation about $500 personally to cover various fees for filing legal documents, as I didn’t want the corporation linked to Redgate or anyone else for now.

I also funded the bank account with $100 to get things rolling.