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Mortgage

New Mexico First-Time Homebuyer Programs

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Do you want to buy your first home in New Mexico? With the state offering down payment loans and subsidized mortgages, you may be able to buy a house there sooner than you think. These are the most important first-time homebuyer programs for New Mexico’s residents.

New Mexico first-time homebuyer programs

New Mexico’s first-time homebuyer programs are administered through the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (NMMFA). This is a quasi-governmental agency that was chartered by the New Mexico state government.

Eligibility for New Mexico assistance

New Mexico’s first-time homebuyer programs are designed for people with low and moderate incomes. Specific income restrictions vary by county and family size. In addition to meeting income requirements, you need at least a credit score of 620 to participate. All of New Mexico’s programs require that the potential homeowner buy a single-family home that they will use as a primary residence.

FIRSTHome Program

What it is

The FIRSTHome loan is a 30-year fixed-interest-rate mortgage that can be combined with New Mexico’s closing cost and down payment loans.

  • No origination fees
  • Competitive interest rates (currently 4.75% to 4.85%)
  • Lower upfront cash requirements (only a $500 contribution is required from the buyer’s own funds)
  • Can be originated as Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Fannie Mae MyCommunity™ and HFA Preferred™ loans and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 184 Indian Housing program.
  • Can be combined with down payment assistance.
  • Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages only

Requirements

  • Minimum credit score of 620
  • Minimum $500 contribution from personal funds
  • First-time homebuyers only
  • Must earn income below program requirements ($79,179 for a two-person household in Santa Fe, for example)
  • Must occupy the home as a primary residence
  • Single-family homes only
  • Home price must fall below limits ($271,165 in all counties except in Santa Fe [$338,824] and Los Alamos [$350,471])
  • Must complete a homebuyer education course.

How to apply

Only certain lenders can originate FIRSTHome loans. To find a participating lender in your area, use the search tool on the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority’s website. The search tool will give you contact information, so you can reach out to the lenders. When you reach out, be sure to ask about New Mexico’s FIRSTHome mortgage and down payment assistance options.

FIRSTDown Program

What it is

The FirstDown Program offers a down payment loan with a 6% interest rate. First-time homebuyers who meet the income restrictions can borrow up to $8,000 to cover closing costs and down payment requirements.

  • Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgage
  • Six-percent interest rate
  • Lender may charge a $100 origination fee
  • Up to $8,000 loan amount

Requirements

  • Minimum credit score of 620
  • The buyer must contribute at least $500 of their own funds toward home purchase
  • Single-family homes only
  • Must meet income restrictions (which vary by household size and residential area. For example, a two-person household in Santa Fe county must earn less than $79,197.)
  • First-time homebuyers only
  • Must take out a FIRSTHome mortgage
  • Must complete a homebuyer education course
  • Home must be less than price limits ($271,165 in most parts of the state)

How to apply

To take out a FirstDown loan, you need to have a FIRSTHome mortgage. To find a lender that issues FIRSTHome loans, use the search tool on the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority’s website. When you speak to the lender, be sure to mention that you’re interested in a FirstHome mortgage and a FirstDown loan.

HOMENow Down Payment Assistance Program

What it is

The HOMENow loan is a forgivable down payment loan with no interest. Eligible borrowers don’t have to make any payments on this loan, which covers up to 8% of the purchase price of a home (up to $8,000). After 10 years, the loan is forgiven.

  • A loan for up to 8% of the purchase price (or $8,000)
  • The lender may charge a $100 origination fee
  • Zero-percent interest rate
  • Forgivable after 10 years
  • No monthly payments

Requirements

  • Minimum credit score of 620
  • Must be a first-time homebuyer
  • The buyer must contribute at least $500 of their own funds toward home purchase
  • Must earn less than 80% of area median income (for example, $44,400 for a-two person family in Santa Fe)
  • Must be used in conjunction with a FIRSTHome mortgage
  • Single-unit homes only
  • The home must be below price limits (for example, $322,525 for an existing home in Santa Fe County)

How to apply

People who qualify for the HomeNow loan must take it out in conjunction with New Mexico’s FIRSTHome mortgage. To find a lender that issues FIRSTHome loans, use the search tool on the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority’s website. When you speak to a lender, be sure to ask about the HOMENow mortgage.

National first-time homebuyer programs

New Mexico’s first-time homebuyer programs have strict income and property-value limits, so not all first-time buyers will qualify for them. However, homebuyers in New Mexico aren’t limited to just the state programs. Homebuyers can also consider some of the federal first-time homebuyer programs. These programs help New Mexico residents with limited savings or fair credit scores buy their first house.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Hannah Rounds
Hannah Rounds |

Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here

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Reviews

SoFi Money Cash Management Account Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

SoFi Money review
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SoFi, the financial institution known for low rates and low fees on student loans and mortgages, is making a foray into consumer cash management accounts. SoFi Money™ will offer a high-yield checking account with no account fees.

We looked at every aspect of SoFi’s new checking account offering to see how it stacks up to competitors.

What sets Money apart from the competition is that SoFi clearly wants this account to be a one-stop shop for both savings and checking. Basically, the SoFi Money account will offer an interest rate that’s much higher than the rate on most checking accounts. This means you can keep your savings in your checking account rather than a savings account. This sounds convenient, but it’s not always the best idea.

Some people may manage to save more money when they separate their money into a different account, even if the account doesn’t have a great interest rate. And you can certainly find savings accounts with higher yields than the 2.25% APY SoFi Money is offering.

We dug into the details that are available at this time to see who should consider replacing their current checking account with SoFi Money.

SoFi Money vs Ally and Simple

The SoFi Money account offers an excellent blend of low fees and high interest rates, but it won’t be perfect for everyone. We’re highlighting a few accounts that shine where the SoFi Money account is a bit weaker.

“The important thing about this account is that it’s not a checking or savings account,” said Ken Tumin, editor of DepositAccounts.com, another LendingTree-owned site. “This appears to have more risk than a checking or savings account.” Why is it riskier? Instead of providing FDIC insurance directly, SoFi sweeps your deposits into one or more partner banks for the FDIC coverage. Your money isn’t FDIC-insured until the funds arrive at a partner bank, nor is it SIPC-insured when held with SoFi.

Banking with competitor Ally provides immediate and direct FDIC insurance for your banking deposits. “Its checking account rates may be a little lower than SoFi’s account for most balances, but they also offer savings and money market accounts which offer much higher interest rates. Savings and money market rates have risen much more than checking account rates since the Fed began raising interest rates.”

Bank

APY (Checking)

APY (savings)

SoFi Money

2.25%

N/A

Pros:

  • No monthly fee
  • No overdraft fees
  • High APY on checking
  • No ATM fees and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, worldwide (as long as the ATM accepts Visa)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons:

  • Honestly, we can't find any! Just be sure to read the fine print to thoroughly understand everything.
Checking Account + Protected Goals Account*

2.02%

N/A

Pros:

  • Connected Savings Goal
  • Zero fees, even for non-sufficient funds and overdrafts
  • Built-in budgeting tools
  • Free Allpoint® ATM use

Cons:

  • No ATM fee refunds
  • No check-writing abilities
Online Savings Account from Ally Bank

0.10% on account balances up to $14,999.99.



0.60% on account balances of $15,000 or more.

2.20%

Pros:

  • Up to $10 ATM reimbursement
  • Free use of Allpoint® ATMs
  • High-yield savings
  • Instant transfers between checking and savings (including free transfers to protect against overdrafts)

Cons:

  • $25 overdraft fee (one per item)
  • Up to 1% foreign transaction fees
  • ATM reimbursement only available in the United States

What’s exciting about the SoFi Money account

No account fees. This will be a huge benefit to people who tend to keep low balances or live paycheck to paycheck, as fee-free accounts are few and far between among traditional big banks these days. With SoFi Money, you won’t pay a monthly maintenance fee and you won’t have to worry about paying non-sufficient funds fee (NSF) or overdraft fees either. You’ll also get free checks, free automatic bill pay and free mobile funds transfers. SoFi won’t even charge you a foreign transaction fee whenever you use your debit card to make a purchase in a foreign currency. Very few banks offer this level of “fee free,” and those that do often offer paltry interest rates.

High yield without complicated account requirements. Some high-yield checking accounts require account holders to maintain minimum balances, use their debit card a certain number of times or set up direct deposit. SoFi has no such requirements. The interest rate on the account is currently 2.25% APY, and it is a variable interest rate that is subject to change. In a rising rate environment, you could easily see that rate go up over time, as many other banks have been raising their rates in response to the rising federal funds rate.

Up to $1.5 million in FDIC insurance. One of the unique features of the SoFi Money account is in its design. Money kept in the SoFi Money account is actually “swept” into one of six program banks. All six banks give account holders up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance, so SoFi Money™ holders get up to $1.5 million in total FDIC insurance. While not many people will need that much insurance, it is a notable feature.

ATM fee reimbursement. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees. Plus, SoFi will reimburse you for any ATM fees you pay worldwide when you use your Visa Debit card at any ATM with the Visa, Plus or NYCE logos. In contrast, other banks may reimburse for ATM fees up to a set dollar limit, like $10 at Ally.

Membership with SoFi. Opening a SoFi Money account makes you a member of SoFi. SoFi isn’t an exclusive club, but it provides its members with unique services like career coaching, local networking events and an entrepreneurship accelerator. If you’re looking to grow in your career, spruce up your resume, network with local career-minded individuals or just put a face with your bank, SoFi provides events that can help you out.

Digital first banking. Most people will interact with their SoFi Money account through the digital app. The app will include mobile banking features such as bill pay, photo check deposit, and mobile cash transfers. Although SoFi promises a digital-first experience, it remains to be seen if they can deliver. SoFi had a rocky update to its current app at the end of 2017, but has resolved the issues. Hopefully, the addition of SoFi Money to the SoFi app goes smoothly.

No account minimums. You do not need to maintain any particular balance to avoid fees or to earn interest.

Free checks. Plenty of SoFi Money account holders will forgo physical checks altogether, but those that need them can request checks for free.

There isn’t much not to like about SoFi Money™, to be honest. But there are a few areas where we think taking a closer look at the fine print is necessary. Although, considering that SoFi doesn’t charge any fees, plus the relatively high APY it offers, some of the items in the fine print might be okay to overlook, depending on how you use your account.

magnifying glass

What’s in the fine print?

  • Visa 1% foreign transaction fee. Although SoFi won’t charge you for making purchases in a foreign currency with your SoFi Money Visa® Debit Card, Visa will. You’ll pay a 1% fee to have the transaction converted to U.S. dollars.
  • Note that SoFi offers unlimited reimbursement on ATM fees, but only when you use your SoFi Money Visa® Debit Card at any ATM with the Visa®, Plus® or NYCE® logos. SoFi can also choose to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.
  • To open up a SoFi Money account, you must be 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Accounts with better interest rates

Smaller banks that have “reward” checking accounts offer superior interest rates to the rates offered by SoFi. These banks limit their high interest rates to a subset of balances. They also require account holders to meet certain account usage requirements (such as debit card use minimums or direct deposits). Despite these requirements, these checking accounts may be superior savings vehicles.

For example, people with low checking account balances should consider an account at America’s Credit Union rather than SoFi. America’s Credit Union offers a 5.00% APY on balances up to $1,000. (After that, rates drop to 0.10% on balances between $1,000.01 and $15,000 and 0.25% on balances over $15,000.01). This account doesn’t have any monthly service fee, but it doesn’t offer any ATM refunds. Plus, earning the high interest rate requires you to meet several standards including 10 monthly uses of the debit card, at least $15,000 in loans or deposits with ACU, and at least $500 in direct deposits monthly.

Still, with a massive 5.00% APY on the first $1,000, many people can earn more interest by checking with America’s Credit Union. You can learn more about the details, requirements and limitations of America’s Credit Union here.

People with larger account balances (up to $20,000) may prefer holding their account at Consumers Credit Union. This account has no monthly service fees, unlimited ATM reimbursement and high-yield accounts. You’ll earn 3.09% APY on balances up to $10,000, 4.09% APY on balances up to $15,000 and 5.09% APY on balances up to $20,000.

Consumers Credit Union requires account holders to meet four requirements to earn interest. The requirements include making 12 point-of-sale debit purchases (without using a PIN number), having a direct deposit or bill pay, signing onto the online banking system once per month and signing up for eStatements. The requirements may be annoying, but the interest is shockingly high. Learn more about the account here.

Comparable accounts that reimburse all ATM fees worldwide

One of the huge perks to the SoFi Money account is the unlimited ATM fee reimbursements per month. If you’re a heavy ATM user (especially while abroad), this should be a huge advantage for you.

The Charles Schwab High Yield Checking account is probably the best example of a comparable account with this feature. Not only will you receive unlimited ATM reimbursements, you’ll also avoid paying any foreign transaction fees. However, a huge downside is that this account has an APY of 0.40% compared with SoFi’s 2.25% APY.

Similarly, the Save & Spend Account at Aspiration Bank has unlimited reimbursement on ATMs worldwide. This account also offers a 2.00% APY on all balances. Aspiration also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or overdraft fees. However, SoFi’s rate is still higher.

Comparable accounts with no foreign transaction fees

The SoFi Money account doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, which some major banks have but often waive if you meet certain requirements. Once again, the Charles Schwab High Yield Checking account waives all foreign transaction fees. It also offers unlimited reimbursements on ATM fees worldwide. This is likely the premier account for international travelers, but it offers a paltry 0.40% APY, while SoFi Money stands out with a 2.25%.

Capital One also waives all foreign transaction fees on its checking accounts. However, these accounts carry a number of other fees and a lower interest rate than the SoFi Money account. Plus, Capital One won’t reimburse ATM fees charged by other banks.

Final take on SoFi Money

SoFi Money is a cash management account that will make a lot of sense for a lot of people. It’s one of the simplest accounts, and it offers unique benefits. The blend of no fees and higher interest rates should appeal to plenty of people. It’s an account that beats out most checking accounts from large banks, and it beats out accounts from most smaller banks, too (especially on the low-fee front).

If SoFi manages to implement the account without messing up its app, this account will quickly become a favorite account among people seeking accounts that don’t charge unnecessary fees.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Hannah Rounds
Hannah Rounds |

Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Small Business

Working Capital Loans: The Complete Guide for 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

working capital
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As a business owner, you know that you need working capital to turn a profit. Without inventory, cash and receivables, you’re unlikely to stay in business long. However, getting the working capital you need can be a challenge.

In an ideal world, your business would generate working capital from cash flow. Unfortunately, over a third of all business owners rank cash flow as a top challenge facing small business owners. Without sufficient working capital, your business could be one of the 50% of businesses that fail within their first five years.

If you’re a company owner looking to boost your bottom line, improving the amount of working capital available may be the key to your success. By managing your company’s financial needs, creating a financial plan and using debt intelligently you will set your company up for long-term success.

What is working capital?

Working capital measures your company’s ability to meet your financial obligations in the short term. Lenders may want to look at your working capital to see how well you manage your company’s cash flow.

Another way to define working capital is the measure of your assets that can easily be converted to cash. To calculate your company’s working capital, add up your company’s current liquid assets (including cash, inventory and accounts receivable) then subtract your current financial obligations (including accounts payable, short-term loans, utilities, payroll, taxes etc.).

For example, an auto repair shop may have $32,000 in cash, $18,000 in accounts receivable (invoices that will be paid in the next month) and $14,000 in inventory.

These are the shop’s current assets:

Current AssetsCurrent Liabilities
Cash $32,000Accounts payable: $10,000
Accounts receivable: $18,000Payroll: $8,000
Inventory: $14,000Credit card payment: $6,000
Long-term loan payments: $3,000
Total current assets: $64,000Total current liabilities: $27,000

Working capital


$64,000 - $27,000


=


$37,000

When your current assets are worth more than you owe, you have positive working capital. On the other hand, when your current bills exceed your liquid assets, you have negative working capital.

Without sufficient working capital, your company could run into a cash crunch. At the very least, companies without much working capital struggle to jump onto new opportunities. In a worst-case scenario, your company’s bills go unpaid (or are paid late).

A few late payments might not seem like that big of a deal, but the problem could have cascading effects. Paying banks and vendors late will negatively affect your commercial (or business) credit score. In a short amount of time, vendors may start to give you less favorable terms. Your business becomes unlikely to get favorable financing rates, and your commercial insurance premiums may start to rise. With all these factors working against you, staying in business and avoiding further liquidity crunches become a huge challenge.

Even with positive working capital, some companies may struggle with their cash flow. Eric Giltner, who heads the North Dakota region of the Small Business Administration, recounted this story: “I counseled the owner of a lawn service who had receivables of over $40,000 and $25,000 in debts. The owner’s problem was there was no ‘teeth’ in his policy on collecting those dollars [from customers]. The business owner had to get aggressive in his collection procedures and was able to recover enough to pay his bills.”

When collecting payments takes too long, staying in business becomes difficult.

If you have negative working capital, or your company regularly struggles with cash flow issues, you will need to start making some changes. Giltner recommends meeting with a local Small Business Development Center that can help you develop a cash flow projection for free. If you’re more interested in the DIY approach, you can use some of the financial projection templates from SCORE, a nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs and small business owners.

“Too many small businesses fail to do a cash plan,” Giltner said. “It’s the biggest reason that small companies run into cash flow problems.” Working on a cash flow projection not only helps you shore up your business model, it may actually help you get funding for a working capital loan.

Understanding working capital loans

If your company is low on working capital, you may want to look into a working capital loan to help you boost profitability. Working capital loans are short-term loans that aren’t secured by equipment, land or inventory. We’ve rounded up some of the best options for small business loans, including working capital loans with interest rates starting around 6.75%.

You can use a working capital loan to pay for almost any business need. Whether you need to expand your marketing efforts, pay for additional inventory or consolidate debt, you can use the funds from a working capital loan to meet your business objectives. Some business owners even use working capital loans to cover everyday operating expenses during a low profitability season.

Most working capital loans are issued by nonbank lenders. With typical bank financing, business owners spend an average of 33 hours per year seeking financing. Working capital loans are underwritten quickly.

Although the speed and flexibility of working capital loans make them appealing to many business owners, they have drawbacks. Most working capital loans have extremely short terms ranging from three months to three years in length. The loans often have weekly or even daily repayment requirements.

They also may carry high interest rates. A typical rate for a working capital loan is 1%-3% per month, plus a 2.5% origination fee. This works out to at least a 15%-45% APR based on a 1-year repayment schedule.

How to use a working capital loan

The interest rates on working capital loans are much higher than rates on business lines of credit from traditional banks. Business owners shouldn’t think of working capital loans as long-term solutions. Instead, business owners should use the loans as a quick source of capital while they work toward lower-cost, more sustainable borrowing options.

However, even high-interest loans may have their place in your business. These are just a few reasons you might consider the loans:

To cover seasonal hiring needs: If you work in construction or other seasonal businesses, you may need to pay seasonal workers before you get paid. A working capital loan can help you bridge the gap that your savings won’t cover.

To pay bills: If you don’t have the money to cover rent, utilities or vendor accounts, you can use the proceeds from a working capital loan to pay the bills while you work on boosting the bottom line.

To purchase inventory: Restaurants, food trucks and stores often have to pay for several days (or weeks) worth of materials before they can make money from the inventory. A working capital loan can help you cover a big upfront expense, so you can earn a profit over time.

To fund unexpected opportunities: If a low cash balance is keeping you from taking on a bigger, more profitable project, a working capital loan could help you take your business to the next level.

To fill a financing gap: Your business may have qualified for a loan from a traditional bank, but not for the amount you needed. A working capital loan can cover the gap, so that you can develop your business further.

Debt consolidation: If you owe multiple lenders or vendors money, and your company is at risk of missing a payment, a working capital loan could help you consolidate your payments into a single loan at a manageable interest rate.

Is working capital financing right for your business?

Depending on the opportunities and risks facing your business, a working capital loan may make sense. It’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of working capital loans. Business owners should also consider whether they have alternative financing options (including using cash savings).

Advantages of working capital loans

Speed: The most important reason to consider a working capital loan is the speed of funding. Entrepreneurs know that time is money. If you have to spend weeks applying for a loan, a business opportunity may pass you by.

Cash flow: Despite their high interest rates, working capital loans are designed to be easier on cash flow than traditional loans. With daily or weekly payment requirements, business owners don’t have to worry about making a big payment at the end of the month.

No collateral: Working capital loans are typically a form of unsecured credit. That means that you don’t need to put up land, equipment or other assets as collateral for the loan.

Flexible use: Finally, working capital loans are more flexible than traditional business loans. You can use the proceeds from a working capital loan for almost anything related to your business. For example, you can use loan funds to meet payroll, cover an inventory expense or create a new marketing campaign.

Available for subprime borrowers: Borrowers with personal credit scores as low as 500 can qualify for a working capital loan.

What type of business should use working capital financing?

Working capital financing is generally best for companies that have to complete a long project before their client pays them. For example, a construction company may obtain a working capital loan to purchase materials or pay employees while completing a building project that will take several months to build.

Working capital loans also makes sense when the loan will allow a company to take on bigger or longer projects than they could do with their current cash on hand. For example, a parts manufacturer can use a working capital loan to pay for materials and direct costs while they fulfill an order that is much bigger than usual.

Due to the fast underwriting and funding time, working capital loans may make sense for entrepreneurs who need funding now but can obtain a lower cost loan (such as an SBA loan) within a few months.

It’s important to remember that working capital loans require daily or weekly payments, so you must generate sufficient cash to cover payments while your business works to make a profit.

Disadvantages of working capital loans

High cost: The biggest drawback to working capital loans is the cost of borrowing. Although the interest you pay will depend on a variety of factors, borrowing money is always more expensive than using cash. In some cases, a business credit card may be a less expensive alternative.

Frequent payments: Although the daily or weekly payment schedule may be easier for cash planning, the frequent payments could make it tough to grow your savings.

Short payback: Working capital loans have terms ranging from three months to three years, but a common payback period is less than one year.

May not help you build business credit: Not all lenders of working capital loans report timely payments to Dun & Bradstreet, the primary creator of business credit reports.

Who should avoid a working capital loan?

Many business owners seeking a working capital loan need money fast, but Giltner recommends that business owners should create a cash flow projection before seeking funding.

Entrepreneurs can get free help creating cash flow plans through their local small business development center. In addition to projecting cash flow, Giltner urges businesses to taking steps to boost their bottom line. In particular collecting overdue receivables, selling excess inventory and seeking out better terms with vendors can help business owners gain working capital without taking on loans.

Even when you need cash quickly, a working capital loan may not be the right answer. Some business owners can get better interest rates and terms using a small business credit card. An unsecured line of credit from a local bank could serve a similar function to a working capital loan, but at a lower interest rate (in some cases).

Shopping for working capital loans

When shopping for a working capital loan, it’s important to understand that working capital loans can be quite different than other forms of loans. The first major difference between traditional financing and working capital financing is how interest rates are expressed.

The typical term for interest rate is “Cents on” as in you’ll borrow $10,000 for 25 cents on the dollar. That means you’ll pay $12,500 to borrow $10,000. This cost includes $10,000 in principal balance repayment, and $2,500 in interest and fees. Some contracts allow borrowers to defray the interest cost by paying early, but other borrowers must pay the full amount whether they pay early or not. If you prefer to think in annualized interest rates, you can ask your lender to convert the fees to an annualized percentage rate (APR).

No matter how the loan interest rate is expressed, you must take the time to understand the terms. Are you paying an origination fee? You can see the cost of the fee in your loan funding documents. It’s common for working capital loans to carry a 2.5% origination fee. You should also understand whether the loan has late payment fees, prepayment penalties or other hidden costs. Before signing any loan documents, take the time to understand the loan contract. A loan officer should be able to explain all the fees in the loan documents.

Business owners also need to prepare to get loan offers for a smaller amount than they need. Under certain circumstances, lenders will fund a business owner’s full request for a loan, but sometimes they lend as little as half the requested funds. The total amount your business receives may depend on your business’s profitability, your credit history and other factors.

The loan offer experience will vary by lender, but approved borrowers can typically choose from a range of loan amounts and repayment periods. You’ll need to weigh the total cost of borrowing and the daily or weekly payments to determine which loan works best for your business.

Consider starting your small business loan search on LendingTree, our parent company. You simply fill out a short form and can potentially receive up to five offers from lenders.

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Minimum requirements for a working capital loan

Although working capital loans are more accessible than other forms of business financing, you must still meet some baseline requirements to qualify.

These are the other things you may need to qualify for a working capital loan:

A reason for seeking financing: Before applying for a business loan, you need a solid explanation for why you want the funds. Business owners who can’t explain how they will use the loan, may struggle to find a lender willing to work with them. Lenders want to be repaid, so they need to see that the loan is part of your financial plan. Even if you need the loan to catch up on bills, you need to explain how you’ll use your new financial position to boost your profits.

A business checking account: To qualify for a working capital loan, you may need a separate business checking account. This is the account where you pay most of your businesses expenses, and where you deposit income.

Business bank statements: Recent bank statements (from your business bank account) can show your historic spending. They will also prove whether you meet gross revenue requirements.

Annual revenue: Different lenders have different revenue requirements for business borrowers.

Time in business: To prove your business’s track record, you may be asked for a copy of your articles of incorporation, a business tax return or older business bank statements.

Personal credit score: The business owner may need to show their personal and/or business credit score(s).

If you qualify for a loan, you may need to submit further documentation before the loan becomes funded.

How to apply for a working capital loan

Thanks to internet marketplaces, applying for a working capital loan is now easier than ever. Many online applications will ask about the following areas:

Your industry: Some lenders specialize in working with borrowers from specific industries, so lenders may ask about your company’s industry.

Annual revenue: You need to provide an estimate of current and projected revenue for the upcoming year.

Personal credit score: To help with underwriting the loan, you need to provide an estimate of your personal credit score. Many credit cards provide estimates of your credit score. You can also get a free credit score from LendingTree, MagnifyMoney’s parent company.

Date of incorporation: This is the date your business was founded. If you have articles of incorporation, the date will be on those documents. If you’re a sole proprietor, give the date you started doing business.

Entity type: Is your business an LLC, a partnership or a sole proprietorship? Maybe it operates as an S or C Corporation. Although the entity type won’t affect your profitability, it will affect how your lender writes the funding contract.

Employer Identification Number (EIN): The EIN is a nine-digit business tax identification number assigned by the IRS. You will need this number to apply for credit. If you don’t have an EIN, you can use your Social Security number.

Social Security Number (SSN): Your SSN helps validate your personal credit score.

In addition to the information above, you may need to upload a few documents to the lender’s secure website.

Once you complete your application, you should keep your phone handy. A representative may call to clarify some details in your application. You may also be asked to submit more documentation.

For example, some businesses may need to provide include month-to-date bank statements, older bank statements, proof of payoff letters or other documents explaining your company’s financial health. You may also need to submit your company’s articles of incorporation, a business tax return or a copy of your driver’s license.

Some lenders provide fast funding as quickly as 24 hours.

Do I need a business credit score to qualify for a working capital loan?

Your business does not need a business credit score to qualify for a working capital loan. That’s good news for businesses that don’t have any existing credit. A lack of business credit score won’t hurt you when applying for a working capital loan through most online lenders.

If your business has a credit score, lenders may consider it during underwriting. Businesses with good business credit scores may be able to qualify for better terms and rates on working capital loans. On the other hand, a business with a bad business credit score may not qualify for a working capital loan.

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Hannah Rounds
Hannah Rounds |

Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here

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