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Reviews, Small Business

ForwardLine Small Business Loan 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.

personal loan_lg

While most “traditional” small business loans are based on factors such as credit, cash flow, and number of years in business, ForwardLine does things a little differently.

It’s a unique small business lender because the loans largely predicated on monthly credit card sales. Unfortunately, this disqualifies businesses that don’t process cards, but it provides an interesting opportunity for those that do.

Details of ForwardLine’s Merchant Loan

ForwardLine calls its small business loan a merchant loan because it’s based on credit card sales volume.

However, this loan is not a merchant cash advance (MCA). The difference is MCA’s are based on the future credit card sales of a company. A percentage of those sales are taken as payment on an ongoing basis until the loan is paid back. For that reason, there’s no repayment term for an MCA;lenders are essentially betting that companies will continue to be profitable. If they’re not, then payments can’t be made.

With a merchant loan, you have a repayment term and a fixed monthly payment amount. Payments are taken from your business bank account. Additionally, you aren’t required to change credit card processors, whereas with an MCA, you are.

However, if you want to pay by a percentage of your credit card sales through the merchant loan, you can. You choose the repayment option at the time of funding.

Let’s get down to the details. You can borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $2,000,000 on terms of 6, 9, and 12 months. In some cases, businesses can qualify for a longer term up to 15 months, but the 12-month term is the most popular.

The fixed fee for these loans starts at an interest rate of 8.99%. Shorter terms have lower rates. How does this translate into an APR? A loan with a fixed fee for 12.99% on a term of 12 months would be around 26% APR.

It’s worth mentioning that ForwardLine guarantees it has the lowest rates you can find, and if it can’t match a similar offer, it will give you $100. It’s also a direct lender – you won’t deal with any brokerages or middlemen during the funding process.

Pros and Cons of a Merchant Loan With ForwardLine

Pro: ForwardLine says it focuses on shorter repayment terms to avoid “unnecessarily long” ones. Since loans start at $5,000, this seems reasonable, but some businesses may not be able to pay back larger amounts in such a short amount of time ($100,000 over 12 months, for example). This is both a pro and a con;the plus side is, you’ll pay less in interest over the life of the loan with a shorter term, and ForwardLine offers a discount for early repayment.

Con: The biggest con is you need $3,000 in monthly credit card sales to qualify for a merchant loan. If you don’t process credit cards at all, or tend to do so on a less frequent basis, you won’t be able to obtain this type of loan.

Pro: ForwardLine guarantees having the lowest interest rates and backs that guarantee up with $100 if you’re able to find a better deal.

Con: ForwardLine focuses on the amount of stability a business shows rather than typical factors like cash flow and credit. That could mean your chances of getting approved for a loan are lower if you own a seasonal business that isn’t doing a ton of sales right now.

Pro: ForwardLine has been around for over a decade and has an A+ rating with the BBB. It was the first lender to ever make a merchant loan back in 2003. It offers same day approvals and next day funding if you need the cash quickly. The online form only takes about 3 minutes to fill out. On average, approvals take about one business day.

Con: There is a flat $275 origination fee on loans less than $15,000. The fee is $550 for loans above that amount. However, most small business loans have origination fees ranging from 3% to 5%.

Who Benefits the Most From a Merchant Loan With ForwardLine?

Businesses that have a greater amount of credit card sales will benefit from this type of arrangement. Typically, that means those in the retail industry, though it can apply to service-based, hospitality, and food industries as well.

In an interview, CEO Craig Coleman stated the average business ForwardLine lends to have between 6 and 12 employees, approximately $1 million in annual sales, and an average of 12 years in business.

You can choose to use the funds for expansion, debt consolidation, working capital, an equipment purchase, or to help with cash flow.

Eligibility Requirements

It doesn’t take much to qualify for a merchant loan with ForwardLine. You must have one year or more in operating history, and process $3,000 in credit card sales per month.

Loans aren’t offered in Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, or the District of Columbia.

There’s no minimum credit score specified, and ForwardLine states on its site that it’s not a FICO driven lender. The stability of your business matters much more, and a large part of that is your sales history.

Consequently, the biggest factor for how much money you’re eligible for is based on your credit card sales. To give you an idea of how much you might qualify for, ForwardLine’s website states, “The maximum financing amount we fund is typically 2x your average monthly credit card sales.” Look through your last 3 to 6 months of credit card statements to get a good average, or 12 months if you’re a seasonal business.

How much interest you’re charged also depends on your industry and time in business. ForwardLine doesn’t have too many industry restrictions, but wholesalers generally don’t qualify because their sales aren’t consistent.

Application Process and Documents Needed

If you’d like a quote, ForwardLine has a short and simple form that takes about 3 minutes to complete online. If you have over $3,000 in monthly credit card volume and have been in business longer than a year, you’re already pre-qualified for a loan.

After submitting your form for a quote, you’ll get a credit decision within 10 minutes. If approved, you’ll hear back from a representative as they need to verify the information you provided.

At the very least, you should have your last 4 months of bank or credit card statements ready, as next day funding is available provided you can submit all the requested documentation. You’ll also need your driver’s license and a voided check to complete the process.

The Fine Print

ForwardLine doesn’t charge any late fees, although there is an origination fee of $275 on loan amounts below $15,000, and $550 for loan amounts above $15,000.

Additionally, specific collateral isn’t needed to secure the loan.



on ForwardLine’s secure website

Other Alternative Lenders

ForwardLine is unique as not many other lenders give you the option of repaying your loan through credit card sales or your bank account on a daily basis. Other lenders require monthly, biweekly, weekly, or daily payments solely made through your bank account.

If you’d rather go with a traditional small business loan, there are plenty of other lenders out there to apply with.

Bond Street offers loans from $50,000 to $1,000,000 on terms of 1 to 3 years, with APRs starting at 8%. You need 2 or more years of operating history and $200,000 or more in annual revenue to qualify. Bond Street doesn’t loan in South Dakota, Nevada, Vermont, or North Dakota. The minimum credit score you need to qualify is 660.

Bond Street


on Bond Street’s secure website

Swift Capital has loans on shorter terms. You can borrow $5,000 to $500,000 on 3 to 12 months with pricing as low as 9.9%. You can get funded in 1 hour if you request $10,000 or less. Swift also promises to have the lowest rates on comparable loans or you’ll receive $500. Daily and weekly repayment options are available. To qualify, you need at least one year in business and $5,000 in monthly revenue.

Swift Capital


on Swift Capital’s secure website

The Bottom Line

As a small business owner, your time is valuable. You want to find the most affordable loan that will allow you to expand and profit. While small business loans are more expensive than traditional bank loans, the convenience and speed of the funding process makes online lenders attractive. Just don’t pull the trigger too early. Spend at least a few hours calling or applying with several lenders to see who can offer you the best terms and rates. As long as you shop around within a 45 day period, all the credit inquiries that occur during that time frame will count as one single inquiry.

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.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at


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College Students and Recent Grads, Reviews

Review: SunTrust Custom Choice Loan

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.

mortar board cash

SunTrust offers students a good option to finance their education with its Custom Choice Loan. Interest rates are fairly low, students may apply with a cosigner, and it comes with several repayment options. As a bonus, SunTrust offers graduates a 2% principal balance reduction as long as students graduate with at least a Bachelor’s degree.


Details of SunTrust’s Custom Choice Loan

The minimum amount you can borrow is $1,001 and the maximum amount you can borrow is $65,000. The total amount of Federal and private student loan debt you take out per year can’t exceed $150,000. You can choose a 7- or 10-year repayment term, and a 15-year term is available for borrowers taking out $5,000 or more.

Fixed APRs range from 5.35% to 14.05%, and variable APRs range from 4.37% to 13.38%.

You have four choices of repayment plans:

  • Immediate Payment – There’s no grace period as you begin full payments while in school
  • Interest-only Payment – You pay the interest that accrues on your balance while in school
  • Partial Payment – Available on loans $5,000 or more, you can make payments of $25 per month while in school
  • Full Deferment – You get a grace period of six months when you choose this option, and you’re eligible for deferment as long as you’re enrolled in school part-time at an approved school (this option is the closest to how Federal student loans function)

The interest rate you get approved for is based on your credit history, loan term, amount requested, and other information provided on your application.

A 0.25% interest rate reduction applies if you set your loans to autopay, and SunTrust customers benefit from an additional 0.25% reduction if they pay through their SunTrust bank account.

How Does the Custom Choice Loan Compare to Federal Student Loans?

Before applying for the Custom Choice Loan, you should exhaust all of your federal student loan options first. Make sure your family fills out the FAFSA form to see what you might be eligible for. Federal student loans have lower fixed interest rates, and come with more benefits than private student loans do. These benefits will help in case you hit a rough patch with your money.

For the 2018 – 2019 Academic year, Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans have a fixed interest rate of 5.05%. That makes the 5.35% fixed APR and 4.37% variable APR of the Custom Choice Loan comparable. However, those are the lowest possible APRs available, and if you don’t have excellent credit, you may not be eligible to receive them. Variable rates are also subject to change, which means they can increase over the life of your loan and become more expensive.

SunTrust doesn’t have an origination fee with its loan, but the Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan has a 1.062% disbursement fee from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.

SunTrust’s APRs aren’t horrible, though. If you can, apply with a cosigner who has better credit, as you’ll be eligible for lower rates. You want to get as close to Federal interest rates as possible to get the best deal.

[7 Things You Need to Know about Private Student Loans]

Eligibility Requirements

You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to apply. A majority of four-year public or private colleges are eligible – you can check eligibility on the first page of the application.

If your credit history isn’t sufficient enough, you can apply with a cosigner, and there’s a cosigner release option available after 36 consecutive, on-time payments.

You must also be the legal age of majority when completing the application. Applicants residing in Iowa or Wisconsin aren’t eligible for this loan.

[How to Tell if Your Loans are Federal or Private]

Application Process and Documents Needed

You can apply online by yourself or with a cosigner. After your application and credit (a hard credit inquiry is used) are reviewed, you’ll be presented with your loan options. If you choose to move forward with the loan, you’ll be provided with a list of documents you need to upload.

Once you’ve submitted everything, an Approval Disclosure will be sent to you for acceptance. You have 30 days to accept the terms of the loan before they expire.

Upon acceptance, SunTrust will contact your school to request certification of the loan, as you’re only allowed to borrow enough to cover your education expenses. This also ensures you don’t take out more student loan debt than necessary.

Once everything is complete, you (and your cosigner, if you applied with one) have three days to back out of the loan. After that, the loan is finalized, and the funds are sent directly to your school.

Have these documents ready to submit when applying:

  • Proof of income – the student or cosigner must show proof of positive income in the form of a recent W2, paystub, or tax return
  • Photo ID
  • Proof of residency may be required if Photo ID isn’t sufficient

The Fine Print

There are no origination, application, or prepayment fees for this loan. If you’re 10 days past due on a payment, you’ll be charged 5% of the unpaid amount as a late fee.

The minimum loan amount is different in certain states: $5,001 in Alaska, $3,001 in Colorado, $2,501 in New Mexico, $5,101 in Oklahoma, $5,001 in Rhode Island, and $3,701 in South Carolina.

[Student Loan Disbursement 101]

Repayment Assistance Options

American Education Services is the loan servicer for SunTrust. If you experience any difficulty repaying your student loans, you’ll have to contact them for repayment assistance options. You may be able to apply for a deferment, forbearance, or interest-only payment for an extended period of time.

Pros and Cons of the Custom Choice Loan

Pro: If the borrower dies, then the balance of the loan may be forgiven as long as SunTrust is contacted and provided with proof of death. (If the cosigner dies, the student remains responsible for the loan.) Students who become permanently disabled can apply for a loan discharge as well.

Con: The loan isn’t available to those living in Iowa or Wisconsin, and minimum loan amounts differ in six states. Make sure that doesn’t apply to you in case you’re not looking to borrow a large amount.

Pro: The Custom Choice Loan fittingly gives you a few choices when it comes to loan repayment options. Choosing partial payments or interest-only payments can help lessen the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of your loan, and are easier to manage than going into immediate repayment.

Pro: SunTrust offers a Graduation Reward where 2% of your principal balance will be reduced, provided you graduate with at least a Bachelor’s degree. The principal balance is based off the net total of all disbursements you receive from SunTrust.

SunTrust Bank


on SunTrust Bank’s secure website

Private Student Loan Alternatives

Not eligible for a loan with SunTrust? There are many other private lenders offering student loans, such as Citizen’s Bank and Sallie Mae.

Citizens Bank: You can borrow up to $90,000 and your combined Federal and private student loan debt can’t exceed $120,000. Fixed APRs range from 6.39% to 11.65%, and variable APRs range from 6.14% to 11.40%. Repayment terms offered are 5, 10, and 15 years.

Citizens Bank (RI)


on Citizens Bank (RI)’s secure website

Sallie Mae: One of the most well-known private student loan lenders, Sallie Mae has a Smart Option Student loan with fixed APRs ranging from 6.25% to 9.16%, and variable APRs ranging from 4.00% to 9.04%. You can borrow up to the cost of attendance, and this loan comes with a Graduated Repayment option.

Sallie Mae Bank


on Sallie Mae Bank’s secure website

It’s also worth checking with your bank or local credit union for their rates. If you or your cosigner have an existing relationship with a bank, that could help you secure lower rates.

Are you afraid of your credit being negatively affected if you apply with too many lenders? As long as you complete applications within a 30-day window, then the credit bureaus will count all inquiries as one inquiry, ensuring your credit doesn’t take a huge hit. Shopping around for the best deal is worth the effort with student loan debt being such a burden. Lower interest rates will make your loan more affordable.

A Solid Option if You Have to Use a Private Lender

The SunTrust Custom Choice Loan is a solid option for students requiring more financial assistance than what the Federal government can provide. SunTrust customers benefit more with the 0.50% interest rate deduction, and no one can complain about receiving a 2% principal reduction on their loans upon graduating.

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.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at


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Apple Pay Cash 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.

With so many peer-to-peer money transfer options on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which is the most functional. If you’re an Apple user, you’ve probably been exposed to their proprietary product: Apple Pay Cash. Is it the best option for you, though, as far as fees and security are concerned?

Let’s dive in to find out.

Apple Pay at a glance

Fees: 3% fee if you use a credit card; free if you use a debit card or balance from Apple Pay Cash

How long it takes to receive funds: Funds are sent immediately to the recipient.

Fraud protection: If you feel you are a victim of fraud or a scam, Apple encourages you to contact the company immediately.

Compatible devices: iPhones (XR, XS, XS Max, X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE models), iPads (iPad Pro 3rd generation, iPad 6th generation, iPad Pro, iPad 5th generation, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and iPad mini 4 models), Apple Watches (1st generation, Series 1, Series 2, Series 3 and Series 4 models), and Mac models introduced after 2012 with an Apple Pay-enabled iPhone or Apple Watch. Mac model must have Touch ID.

How Apple Pay Cash works

Before you can start sending money, you need to link a card or bank account to your Apple Pay account.
First you’ll have to identify if your financial institution participates. If they do, you can then add your account to your device in the ‘Wallet’ section. You will have to add each individual card to each individual device. Keep in mind that while sending money to friends and family is free with a debit card, you will incur a 3% transaction fee if you use a credit card to send those same funds.

Now that you have a funding source, you can send money to family and friends easily. On your iPhone or Apple Watch, you can simply ask Siri. Apple tells consumers you can say something along the lines of “Send $50 to Mom,” to use this functionality.

You can also do a completely manual transfer. On your iPhone or iPad, you’ll be doing it through messaging. Open up a conversation with your recipient and press the Apple Pay button.

It looks like this:

If you don’t see it, click the button that looks like this:

You’ll be prompted to enter a dollar amount.


apple pay apple pay


Then simply type in the amount you’d like to send, add a message for your recipient if you so desire, and press the button that looks like this:

Finally, to send the payment, you will need to verify your Face ID, Touch ID or passcode.

To do the same with your Apple Watch, you will also need to open a conversation in messages and press the Apple Pay button. Turn the digital crown to set your payment amount, then turn it again when you’re ready to submit. Press “Pay,” and then double click the side button.

When someone sends you money via Apple Pay Cash, it will be deposited into your Apple Pay account. The first time you receive money, you will have to formally accept the payment within seven days. From there on out, payments will be automatically accepted unless you change your account settings.

You can leave your money in your Apple Pay Cash account, or you can transfer it to your bank account. Bear in mind that when you send money, it will be drawn from your Apple Pay Cash account first. If you send more than you have in your Apple Pay Cash account or your do not have a balance, it will come from your first payment method. This will preferably be a debit card so you can avoid the 3% fee which is incurred when you use a credit card.

Apple Pay Cash vs. Venmo

Except in rare instances where there is a hiccup in the payment process, both Apple Pay Cash and Venmo transfer money from user to user automatically. It may take one to three days to transfer money into your bank account, but your funds will be available via your Apple Pay Cash or Venmo balance immediately.

These two services also have the same fees as noted in our in-depth comparison: 3% of all transactions paid via credit card.

The biggest difference between Venmo and Apple Cash Pay is that Venmo is available to those who don’t have an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or compatible Mac. If most of your friends and family use Apple products regularly, this accessibility issue could be a moot point. But if you or much of your social circle uses Android or products with other operating systems, Venmo may be the way to go.

Apple Pay Cash vs Zelle

If you don’t feel like waiting a few days to get your money into your bank account, Zelle is a good alternative. Offered by many banks, Zelle is very much like Apple Pay Cash and Venmo except that money is transferred directly from bank account to bank account. You won’t have a “Zelle” balance like you would have a Venmo or Apple Pay Cash balance. Transactions with Zelle are usually completed within minutes.

Zelle itself doesn’t charge consumers any fees to use its service, but your bank or credit union might. The only fee to worry about with Apple Pay Cash is the 3% fee when you use a credit card as your payment method.

Risks of mobile payment apps

Apple Pay Cash is secured on various levels. First, you will have to enter a passcode, Face ID or Touch ID to send any money. This is required each and every time you make a transaction. Secondly, your actual card numbers aren’t stored directly on your mobile device or Apple’s servers, which helps keep you safer from potential hacks.

Because these security measures are already in place, the remaining bulk of staying safe with Apple Pay Cash is placed on your shoulders. Make sure you don’t accept payments from people you don’t know. In fact, Apple encourages you to report these payments as “junk.”

Even with people you do know, you should be careful of imposters. You may get a payment from a “friend” with a dummy phone number or email address and/or Apple Pay Cash account. If you’re not expecting a payment from someone, verify that they sent you money by getting in touch with them before accepting the payment.

If you want to have to opportunity to reject payments, you will have to change your settings. While you will have to formally accept your first payment, after that the default is to accept all payments automatically. Go into your settings to change payment approval to “manual” in order to dodge any shady incoming payments.

Finally, Apple cautions users to be wary if a company requests an Apple Pay Cash payment via messaging. Apple will never ask you to pay your bill this way, and it’s not the safest way to pay your other bills either as you can’t be 100% sure it’s really the entity you owe money to rather than an imposter.

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.

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here