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Reviews

RushCard Review: Heavy on Fees and Expensive to Reload

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

RushCard Review

The RushCard is a prepaid debit card you can load and reload with cash to make purchases, pay bills or withdraw cash at certain ATMs. Unlike a typical debit card, RushCard isn’t attached to a checking account and doesn’t require a credit or banking history check for account approval. It also has no minimum account balance.

Generally, prepaid card companies market to consumers who can’t qualify for a checking account because of a poor banking history. In that regard, they are a popular substitute for traditional debit cards, giving consumers the freedom to use them to pay bills, shop for groceries or deposit their paycheck like anyone else.

But these benefits can come at a steep price, usually in the form of various fees.

In this post, we took a closer look at the RushCard. We analyzed the fine print to out what the card has to offer and what red flags consumers should watch out for.

We’ll cover:

  • The RushCard basics
  • How to deposit, withdraw and transfer cash with a RushCard
  • The fine print and fees
  • How the RushCard protects your money
  • The pros and cons

How much it costs to use the RushCard

  1. There’s a one-time card fee of $3.95 or $9.95.

RushCard offers a variety of different personalized card styles. Depending on the style you choose, the one-time card fee can vary. Most of the cards cost $3.95. The fancier designs cost $9.95. The company is running a promotion now that will refund this fee if you meet certain qualifications: you have to apply for a card before Aug. 31, make a cash deposit, and activate the card before Sept. 30.

  1. The Rush Unlimited Plan costs $5.95 or $7.95 per month.  

Once you’ve set up your RushCard account, you can choose from two membership plans: Rush Unlimited or Pay As You Go.

Rush Unlimited Plan: $5.95 per month with direct deposit; $7.95 without direct deposit

Once you pay the upfront monthly fee, you are able to make unlimited purchases with your card without paying additional transaction fees.

Pay As You Go Plan: There is no monthly fee, but you must pay $1.00 per transaction. If you make more than a few purchases with your card each month, this plan can quickly become more expensive than the Rush Unlimited Plan. On the bright side, both the Rush Unlimited Plan and Pay As You Go Plan have a transaction and international fee cap of $10 per calendar month.

The best RushCard perk

Access your deposits two days early

One of RushCard’s major selling points is how quickly users can access their funds when they are deposited. By signing up for direct deposit, RushCard may credit those types of deposits two days earlier than most traditional banks would process them.

This is a huge boon for customers who live paycheck to paycheck and often have trouble stretching out their funds. However, RushCard’s fine print warns that early deposits of your paycheck are available on a case by case basis. It largely depends on how your employer processes your payroll.

If you direct deposit your tax refund onto the card, you may also be able to get your money as much as two weeks sooner than you would with a paper check.

But this perk comes with an obvious downside: Usage fees. Depending on which RushCard plan you sign up for, you will likely run into fees that can eat away at any funds that are deposited early.

Depositing, withdrawing, and transferring cash with a RushCard

Setting up direct deposit on RushCard is free and the best way to avoid some of the card’s more onerous fees. Besides direct deposit, you can load money onto the card by transferring funds from an existing checking or savings account.

You can also make or request RushCard-to-RushCard transfers to send and receive money from other RushCard customers. There’s no fee to transfer money between your own RushCards and you can use up to four cards at the same time.

Additionally, you can add cash to your account via PayPal or at participating retailers. You’ll pay hefty fees for this service, however, which we explain in the next section. Participating retailers include:

  • MoneyPak
  • Ace Cash Express
  • CVS
  • Dollar General
  • Family Dollar
  • MoneyGram
  • Rite Aid
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart

To deposit checks, you can use the RushCard mobile app. Again, you’ll pay a fee for this service (1% to 4% per deposit). Another option is to deposit checks at Walmart, but again, there will be a fee. At the Walmart register, you’ll have to cash the check first (which can cost $3 to $6) and then add the cash to your card.

To withdraw cash or to check your account balance, you can visit any MoneyPass in-network ATM for free. Using an out-of-network ATM will cost you $2.50 per transaction and $0.50 per balance check on top of the fee charged by the ATM operator.

The RushCard bill pay service is free.

The fine print and fees

We’ve touched on a few of the RushCard fees, but let’s dive further into some of the details of the fine print.

Reloading fees

One area that deserves attention is the cost of loading cash on to your RushCard with the third-party merchants that we discussed above. It can get expensive if you go to these third-parties every time you need to refill a card. The fees range from $3.74 on the low end and go as high as $5.95.

Here’s a fee breakdown for a few of the merchants we discussed above:

  • MoneyPak: $5.95
  • Walmart: up to $3.74
  • MoneyGram: up to $4.95
  • Western Union: $3.95

Check deposit fees

Remote check deposits from the app aren’t free either, unless you don’t mind a 10-day wait to access your deposit. Ingo Money handles remote check deposits for the RushCard. If you want your funds immediately (within an hour), you will be charged from 1-4% of the check’s value.

There is no fee if you opt to wait 10 days to access your funds.

Other sneaky fees

RushCard charges fees for inactivity, international transactions, and currency exchanges. The fees vary depending on your plan.

Pay As You Go Plan: If you don’t use your RushCard for 90 consecutive days, there’s a $1.95 maintenance fee per month until you use the card again. It’s also a pretty terrible deal if you plan on using your card abroad. The plan carries a $2.00 international transaction fee and a currency conversion fee of 3%.

Rush Unlimited Plan: No international transaction or maintenance fees. However, there’s a currency conversion fee of 3%.

RushGoals

RushGoals is an optional account offered by RushCard as an option for saving toward certain financial goals.

This account may sound like an online savings account, but it really isn’t. In fact, the RushCard website takes care to avoid referring to RushGoals as a savings account. Unlike most savings accounts, these accounts earn no interest at all and they are not FDIC-insured, which means any funds set aside there will not be protected in the event of a loss.

The main perk of RushGoals is a break on RushCard fees. So long as you keep an average $500 balance in the account, you will receive $24 per year ($2 per month) as a refund for your RushCard fees. Considering it can cost about $3 to $6 just to reload your card and $2.50 to use an out-of-network ATM (on top of the ATM surcharge), the $2 per month earned is unlikely to make a remarkable dent in your card fees.

Ultimately, RushGoals is not the best option if you’re looking for a place to keep your savings. If you start off with a balance below $500 in your account, you won’t see a benefit at all.

There are far better ways to save than with RushGoals. For a list of high-interest online savings account alternatives that don’t require a minimum balance, check out this post.

How RushCard protects your money

Are prepaid cards like RushCard a safe place to store your money?

You may have noticed RushCard in the news recently. Last October, thousands of RushCard members were unable to access money on their RushCard for several days due to a system upgrade glitch. Social media erupted with complaints from cardholders unable to pay bills or access to their money. The debacle led customers to file a class action lawsuit against UniRush (the parent company of RushCard).

The suit has now been settled. RushCard founder Russell Simmons apologized to users publicly, although UniRush admitted no wrongdoing. All of this brings to light how important it is to make sure your money is safe with your financial institution. After all, anything can happen.

An issuer of a prepaid card may not be a bank or an FDIC-insured company. If you lose money with a company that’s not FDIC-insured, you may not get all of your money back. Fortunately, the RushCard is FDIC-insured through MetaBank. So, if UniRush went out of business, up to $250,000 of your money on the RushCard would be insured.

However, the fine print states the RushGoals offer is not a product of or endorsed by MetaBank, meaning those funds will not be covered by FDIC insurance in the event of a loss. That’s one more reason to skip RushGoals and try opening a savings account elsewhere.

Pros and cons

Con: The one-time card fee and monthly fees. You need to pay $3.95 or $9.95 just to get the card. Then you’ll fork over at least $5.95 monthly or $1.00 each time you swipe it until you reach the $10 cap.

Pro: You can get paychecks from your job direct deposited two days early. You may or may not qualify for this benefit depending on when your employer reports payments. According to the RushCard terms, it’s possible to get your money up to two days earlier based on a review of how traditional banks typically handle authorizing deposits from employers. Early deposits seem to happen on a case by case basis.

Con: The service fees to load money on the card. If you add cash to the card at stores you can expect to pay for it.

Pro: No international transaction fees for the Rush Unlimited Plan. This isn’t a reason to go out and sign up for the card, but it is one of the better terms.

Con: The remote deposit fine print. The convenience of remote deposit is made inconvenient by the amount of time you have to wait for funds unless you pay a fee.

Pro: Free bill pay. RushCard does offer a bill pay service that is free. You can also use bill pay for free.

Con: The RushGoals account. Using an account for savings that just earns credits for your prepaid card isn’t the best option for long-term savings.

Who will benefit most from the RushCard?

The RushCard and other prepaid cards are closest that customers with poor banking histories can get to a traditional bank account. But you shouldn’t fall back on prepaid cards unless you’ve considered other products first.

For instance, the Opportunity Checking account from Wells Fargo gives customers with a bad banking history a second chance. BBVA Compass Bank also has a second chance banking product. Find out more about second chance banking products here.

If you must use the RushCard, enroll in the Rush Unlimited Plan, sign up for direct deposit to fund your account, stick to in-network ATMs, and use bill pay to avoid unnecessary fees.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Best of, Reviews

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card or Amex EveryDay Preferred® Credit Card: Which Should You Use?

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Amex EveryDay Preferred

Note from the Editor: The information related to The Amex EveryDay Preferred® Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Looking for a credit card that will reward you for feeding your family? The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express and Amex EveryDay Preferred® cards are two options to consider. The basic The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express charges a $0 annual fee. The Amex EveryDay Preferred® Credit Card charges an annual fee, but allows you to earn more rewards. Let’s figure out which is best for your budget.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

The The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express gives 2x points at U.S. supermarkets with a $6,000 annual cap and 1x points on everything else. Warehouses and superstores are not included in the U.S. supermarket category, so be mindful of this if you’re a big Costco or Target grocery shopper.

An extra perk of the rewards program is if you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period, you’ll earn 20% more points on those purchases. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has a Welcome Offer as well: Earn 10,000 MR points after you spend $1000 in the first 3 months. You can redeem points through American Express Membership Rewards®.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

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Rates & Fees

The Amex EveryDay Preferred® Credit Card

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card has similar terms as The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express except it awards you a little more for your spending. The extra points you can earn do come with a price tag: a $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees).

You can earn 3x points at U.S. supermarket spending on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, 2x points at U.S. gas stations and 1x points on all other purchases. As an added bonus, if you make 30 or more separate purchases in a billing period you’ll get an extra 50% more Membership Rewards® points on those purchases. Terms Apply.

Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. You use the Membership Rewards® site to redeem points from this card as well.

American Express Membership Rewards®

Since both cards give you access to American Express Membership Rewards®, let’s give it a closer look. Through Membership Rewards®, you have the option to cash in points for gift cards, statement credit, travel, entertainment and more.

The value of each reward varies. You won’t get as much value from rewards points if you choose statement credit for instance. If you redeem 10,000 points for a statement credit, you’ll only get $60. If you use that same amount of points for airfare through American Express Travel instead, the value is $100.

You can also transfer points to other travel programs. Generally, 1,000 Membership Rewards® Points equal 1,000 miles, points or credits in another travel program.
There are some exceptions including:

  • British Airways and Iberia: 250 points = 200 Avios
  • El AL Israel Airlines: 1,000 points = 20 Matmid points
  • Hilton: 1,000 points = 1,500 HHonors points
  • JetBlue Airways: 250 points = 200 JetBlue TrueBlue points
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1,000 points = 333 Starpoints
  • Virgin America: 200 points = 100 Elevate points

Pros and Cons

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Pro: You earn Member Rewards® points for free since there’s no annual fee. And you earn even more points if you make over 20 purchases in a month.

Con: Spending at warehouses and superstores won’t earn 2x points. If you shop at either type of store often, this card won’t be the best opportunity for you to get rewarded for spending.

Pro: It’s the same earning category all year round. You won’t have to worry about activating categories to earn. The cap per year in the 2x U.S. supermarket category is $6,000 which is a reasonable amount for an entire year.

Con: There’s a low value for statement credit. Redeeming your points for travel and gift cards will earn you more than using points to pay off your credit card bill.

Pro: Access to Membership Rewards®. You have many options for redeeming points earned although each reward has a different value. Make sure whatever reward you plan to redeem for is a worthwhile use of your points. Fortunately, there’s a convenient Membership Rewards® tool on the American Express website that will show you the value of each reward.

The Amex EveryDay Preferred® Credit Card

Pro: No revolving categories. Again, no need to activate for bonuses each quarter.

Con: The annual fee. This card will cost you $95 per year. Make sure you do the math – the fee can be worth spending, so long as you spend enough.

Pro: More ways to earn. Besides U.S. supermarket stores you can earn rewards at gas stations (2x points). Plus, you earn more at U.S. supermarket stores, 3x points.

Con: Excludes superstores and warehouses. This may be a huge drawback if you shop for your family at Costco, Sam’s Club and other stores that fall into this category.

Pro: Access to Membership Rewards®. Just like the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, you’re offered many ways to redeem points through the exclusive American Express Membership Rewards® site.

Other Rewards Card Options

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is another option if you spend heavily on groceries outside of superstores, warehouses and specialty stores. You earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 of spend) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is also an annual fee of $95 on this card. If you want to earn cash back, this is the better option. If you like Membership Rewards (especially the ability to convert rewards into airline miles), the Everyday cards are a better option.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Citi® Double Cash could be a good choice if you want to earn cash back hassle free. You earn double rewards on all purchases, no category restrictions including shopping at superstores. You get 1% cash back when you make purchases and another 1% cash back when you pay off your credit card statement. You should be prepared to pay off your entire statement balance monthly to make the most of this cash back offer.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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Which Card Will Benefit You the Most?

The Amex EveryDay Preferred® Credit Card is a better option if you do enough spending at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations to cover the cost of the annual fee. If you have any doubt you’ll spend enough in these categories, the no-fee The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is the one to go with.

Both are particularly valuable in travel rewards. You won’t get much value from turning in your rewards points for cash, but you can benefit from trading them in for flights or transferring them to other travel rewards programs.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Identity Theft Protection, Reviews

Review: PrivacyGuard Identity Theft Protection

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Pickpocketing at the subway station

We should all be a little on edge when it comes to identity theft. It’s no longer out of the ordinary for companies we do business with to experience data breaches. Plus, scammers, hackers and thieves continue to get craftier with their approaches to stealing our information.

Identity theft services seek to help us catch identity theft before it does too much damage. But, it’s important to note that no identity theft protection company can eliminate the risk of theft entirely.

PrivacyGuard offers an identity theft protection product that includes credit monitoring and recovery support if your identity is stolen.

PrivacyGuard Identity Theft Protection at a Glance

privacyguardPrivacyGuard has a three-part service including credit reports, credit monitoring and identity theft recovery.

Credit reports and scores – You get credit reports and CreditXpert credit scores from all three bureaus monthly. According to PrivacyGuard, CreditXpert uses common scoring methods to give you a credit score estimate. This isn’t the FICO scoring method which is used by most lenders. But, you can still use CreditXpert to gain a general sense of your credit score health. PrivacyGuard also has a score tracking tool that charts changes in your score monthly.

Daily Credit Monitoring – Credit alerts will inform you of credit inquiries, new accounts opened, public records added, change of address requests or derogatory remarks.

Identity Theft Protection Recovery – If your identity is stolen, PrivacyGuard has fraud recovery specialists that assist you in taking back your identity. They can help with disputing accounts, contacting your creditors and other paperwork. A toll-free hotline is also available for members if you have questions about your credit report.

Extra Services – Beyond the basic identity theft services PrivacyGuard reimburses for the cost of obtaining certain records including your driving history and MIB files. An MIB file holds the medical information you provide to health insurance companies.

Medical insurance fraud is another form of theft you need to watch out for. PrivacyGuard suggests you stay aware of the medical history in your file in case someone attempts to use your insurance to get free health care.

PrivacyGuard Doesn’t Have Identity Theft Insurance

Noticeably absent from the PrivacyGuard product is an identity theft insurance policy considering the price tag. We’ll get to how much this costs next.

When companies offer identity theft insurance it usually covers missed wages, attorney fees and other costs you incur while taking back your identity after fraud. PrivacyGuard will help in the logistics of identity theft recovery, but you have to foot the bill out-of-pocket.

How Much PrivacyGuard Costs

PrivacyGuard is currently running a special. Using the product for 14 days will cost you $1. After the 14-day period ends, $19.99 will be withdrawn from your account each month.

Ultimately, you can get credit monitoring and credit scores free on a variety of platforms including Credit Karma and Discover. So, what you’re really paying for in this service beyond what you can get for free elsewhere is identity recovery support.

Other Identity Theft Alternatives

Here are two other identity theft products you may want to consider before settling with PrivacyGuard.

identity-guardIdentity Guard will monitor your credit daily. This service provides credit score and credit report updates from all three credit bureaus quarterly. In addition to credit monitoring, you get identity monitoring, public record monitoring, lost wallet protection, personal recovery assistance and $1 million of identity theft insurance. This will cost you $19.99 per month.

zanderinsZander is a good alternative if you’re simply looking for restoration support and identity recovery insurance. The service includes a $1 million identity theft insurance policy. It also offers internet scans of your personal information and credit reports. Credit monitoring isn’t included, but you can always use a free site for this and then tap into Zander if you experience fraud. It costs $6.75 per month or $75 per year.

Is PrivacyGuard Worth the Cost?

PrivacyGuard helps you catch identity theft by regularly checking your credit report for account changes. Again, this is something you can do for free at Credit Karma, Credit.com or www.annualcreditreport.com. Some credit card companies now offer scores and reports with products, check there first before spending your money.

That said, there is one advantage of PrivacyGuard credit monitoring. You get access to credit reports from all three bureaus in one spot. Free sites usually give you access to reports from up to two credit bureaus. You can solve this problem by signing up for more than one free site. Credit Karma, for instance, uses TransUnion and Equifax.

Another thing you can’t get for free is identity recovery support. If you’re willing to pay for this service, PrivacyGuard is still on the expensive side. A product like Identity Guard will give you more for your money.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Reviews, Small Business

Review: American Business Lending Small Business Loan

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

personal-loan_lg-e1469273811143

American Business Lending is a Preferred SBA non-bank lender offering SBA small business loans. SBA Loans are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Since the government may guarantee up to 85% of this small business loan, the lender is able to qualify business owners with more lenient standards and offer a lower interest rate than traditional loans.

You can borrow $300,000 to $5,000,000 for commercial financing. This loan can be used for expansion, refinancing, business acquisitions, start-ups, franchises, furniture, fixtures, equipment, inventory and working capital.

Loan interest on the American Business Lending SBA Loan is the prime rate + up to 2.75%. The Wall Street Journal prime rate at the time of publication is 3.50, so you can expect an interest cap of 6.25%. However, interest on this loan is floating, which is another way of saying variable. Interest rates will adjust quarterly based on the prime rate.

The loan term is 7 to 25 years. Collateral may be required. There’s a minimum 10% down payment. You may be able to avoid a down payment if you’re getting a loan for a refinance.

The American Business Lending Loan Process

There are four steps to the loan process. First, you’ll get assigned a loan officer. They’ll help you choose which loan product is the best for you and then you put in an application. During the application process you’ll turn in a few documents to qualify you for the loan including:

  • Financial statements
  • Federal tax returns for your business from the last 3 years
  • A business plan or projections for the next two years if your business is a start-up
  • A purchase agreement if you’re buying real estate or business assets
  • The franchise agreement if you run a franchise business
  • A copy of the note being refinanced if you’re refinancing a loan

From there, your application goes into underwriting where your loan request will be reviewed. An underwriter will possibly follow up with questions to qualify you. You get a credit decision within 72 hours of turning in your complete loan application.

Once approved, you’re given a commitment letter, which includes: your interest rate, loan amount, collateral required and other loan terms. You’ll have to pay a good faith deposit, which will later be used to cover the closing costs, credit reports and other fees associated with taking out a loan. After signing the commitment letter and turning in your good faith deposit, you can expect your loan to close within 30 to 45 days.

Since we just mentioned closing fees, now’s a good time to go into how much this is going to cost you.

Fees and Gotchas

American Business Lending charges a $1,500 fee for packaging the loan on top of the SBA guarantee fee charged by the Small Business Administration and other closing costs.

The Small Business Administration fee is charged to the lender and the lender can choose to eat the cost or charge it back to you. In this case, American Business Lending will charge you. The SBA guarantee fee for this loan will range from 3% to 3.75% of the guaranteed portion depending on how much you borrow.

Aside from packaging and the guarantee fee, there’s a prepayment penalty to consider. If you take out a loan that has a term less than 15 years, there’s no penalty for paying early.

If you have a loan term of 15 years or more you can prepay up to 25% of the principal during the first 3 years without penalty. Payments you make above 25% will cost you 5% of the principal the first year, 3% the second year and 1% the third year.

Pros and Cons

We’ve gone over the basics. Let’s head into the pros and cons of this loan:

Pro: Competitive interest. Loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration have an interest cap. The prime rate has been at a low, so even though interest is variable it’s still a good deal for now.

Con: Fees. This lender is transparent with most fees there’s just many fees to consider. Particularly the closing costs and early prepayment fee. American Business Lending doesn’t say how much closing costs are exactly but you will be charged to cover appraisals and environmental reports, loan closing attorney’s fees, credit reports and lien searches. You may also get penalized if you’re able to repay this loan early.

Pro: Loan size. American Business Lending gives you the flexibility to take out a large loan amount and you can borrow for a longer time span than you can for other non-SBA business loans. We’ll cover a non-SBA business loan below so you can see the difference in loan amounts and terms.

Con: Loan size. The loan size is a plus for business owners who want to borrow over $300,000, but a negative if you’re looking for a smaller loan amount. Other SBA Loan products like the SBA Express Loan allow you to borrow $50,000 through an expedited process. American Business Lending doesn’t appear to have this option.

Pro: Experience with SBA loans. One of the downsides of SBA Loans is the application process. You have to qualify with the lender and also have your paperwork approved by the Small Business Association. According to the American Business Lending site, it’s a preferred SBA lender and the loan officers are experienced in processing these loans. Ideally, this experience will make the process less burdensome.

Con: Long wait time for funds. Applying and closing this loan will take awhile. Getting a credit approval will take 3 days. Then closing will take up to 45 days after you sign off on the contract. If anything should hold up the process like an appraisal you could be waiting for a few months until you get your hands on the loan.

Alternatives to American Business Lending

In our comparison section, we’re going to put the American Business Lending SBA Loan against two competitors including one that also offers the SBA Loan and another lender that doesn’t offer SBA Loans.

SmartBiz has an SBA Loan process that’s handled completely online. You can borrow $30,000 to $5,000,000 for 10-25 years. Interest ranges from variable 5.75% to 8.00%. Interest is higher at SmartBiz because the Small Business Administration sets a higher interest cap for smaller loans that have shorter loan terms.

You can pre-qualify for a SmartBiz loan within 5 minutes and get funding within 7 days of completing your application. SmartBiz doesn’t have a prepayment fee. The packaging fee is 4% in addition to closing costs. For loans above $150,000, there’s a 2.25% SBA guarantee fee.

Funding Circle can get you funds quickly and with a competitive interest rate, if you have a good to excellent credit score. You can borrow $25,000 to $500,000. This is comparable to the amount you can borrow from American Business Lending. However, the loan terms are shorter.

You have between 1 and 5 years to repay your loan. If you’re taking out a six-figure loan a short repayment window could be a challenge. Interest is from 4.99% to 26.99% APR. There’s an origination fee of 0.99% to 6.99%.

Who Will Benefit the Most From an American Business Lending Loan?

SBA Loans open the door to financing for small business owners who can’t qualify for traditional financing. So, an American Business Lending SBA Loan could be a good choice if you need to borrow a large sum with a low-rate.

Instead of a percentage package fee like SmartBiz, American Business Lending has a flat $1,500 fee, which can save you money and gives it an edge. One the other hand, SmartBiz has a quick and streamlined application process that is more convenient for smaller loans.

One question you should ask a loan officer at American Business Lending and SmartBiz before borrowing is how much the closing costs will be beyond the packaging and guarantee fees for the loan you choose.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Reviews

BUDGT: is the Expense Tracking App Your Answer to Overspending?

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Expense Tracking

Making spur of the moment spending decisions without consulting your budget is the easiest way to get off track financially. Luckily, you can have a spending plan at your fingertips with a financial app like BUDGT.

The Inside Scoop on BUDGT

BUDGT

BUDGT is made up of three main features, a monthly budget, your daily expense tracking and a progress report.

Unlike other budget systems where you enter financial account information and have exact facts and figures in the dashboard, BUDGT is very basic.

You create a budget with your income, expenses and savings goals. The budget can be exported as a .csv to use in Excel if necessary.

Then BUDGT gives you a daily allowance. You enter purchases and they’re put into categories. If you’re forgetful, BUDGT has a timer you can set to remind you to put in expenses for each day.

Besides the micro day-to-day tracking feature, you can look at your monthly budget at a macro level. The progress report shows your spending for the entire month.

How does BUDGT work?

Currently, BUDGT is a standalone iOS app that can’t be synced with any other device. However, there is an Apple Watch extension you can use to update your spending without pulling out your phone.

To create a budget, you hit a big plus sign to add income and then a big subtract sign to put in an expense. According to BUDGT, there are two ways to make this app work for you.

If you earn just enough income to cover your bills each month, BUDGT recommends putting in both your income and expenses to very closely monitor cash flow.

If you have more leeway, BUDGT says another option is to enter the max amount you want to spend per month on something in the income field instead. This is useful if you want to give yourself an allowance in a specific area. For example, use this method to set an amount you want to spend on lunch or coffee during the week and then hold yourself accountable.

One thing you don’t have to worry about with the BUDGT app is data security. Connecting your financial accounts isn’t required or even an option.

Who is BUDGT best for?

This app is for you if you tend to overspend on little things here and there throughout the day. Small purchases add up and may cause your money to vanish each month. Use BUDGT to curtail your miscellaneous spending.

On the other hand, BUDGT won’t give you a full picture of your financial standing. If you’re looking for an app with analytics that include your net worth, this isn’t the one for you.

What does BUDGT cost?

BUDGT costs $1.99. Whether or not it’s worth the cost is debatable. BUDGT is no doubt useful, but there are similar apps that don’t cost anything. We’ll go into more detail later in this post.

What are the pros and cons of using BUDGT?

If you’re deciding whether to purchase the BUDGT app, here are some of its pros and cons:

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Even easier to use for Apple Watch owners.
  • Helps you make quick spending decisions to stay within budget.
  • Data security. The best way to protect your information is keeping it to yourself. If you’re fearful of your information getting into the wrong hands, you’ll dig this app.
  • Your expenses are organized into categories.
  • You can review your spending habits for the current and past months in pie charts.

Cons

  • The app costs $1.99 for a pretty basic service.
  • It does require manual data entry of your expenses. Miss some expenses and you’ll be working with an incorrect budget.
  • BUDGT doesn’t give you a full picture of your wealth including account balances, investments, etc.
  • Only available on iOS.

How does BUDGT Stack up Against the Competition?

Level Money

Level Money is a system similar to BUDGT except it’s free and you can connect your savings, checking and credit card accounts to the dashboard for more accurate reporting. Level Money shows you how much you can spend daily and weekly to stick to your budget.

There’s also an insights section to review past spending. The purpose of Level Money isn’t to be a full-service wealth management app, it’s to keep you on track from day-to-day. Level Money is available for iPhone and Android.

 

Mvelopes

Mvelopes is a spinoff of the envelope budgeting system. The envelope system is where you put cash into envelopes for each of your expenses, so every one of your dollars is given a purpose.

Mvelopes helps you actively monitor your spending the same way as the envelope method except on your device. The free version of the app allows you to create up to 25 spending envelopes. Mvelopes is available on iPhone and Android.

Mint Budgeting

Mint.com takes spend tracking and budgeting a step further than any of the other apps we’ve discussed so far. You can connect all financial accounts to Mint.com including loans and investments to get an overall view of your finances.

With Mint.com you can also set savings goals and track spending through your transactions. In addition, you can get detailed reports with graphs to easily view where you stand. Mint.com includes credit monitoring as well. This app is free and available on iPhone and Android.

Should You Use BUDGT?

 

BUDGT’s mission is great, however, Mvelopes and Level Money are free and serve the same purpose.

Understanding your daily spending is important, but so is understanding how this spending impacts your overall wealth. Ideally, you would couple BUDGT with another system like Mint.com or even a simple Excel spreadsheet that has all of your accounts in one place.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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