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Reviews, Small Business

SmartBiz 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.

SmartBiz Small Business Loan Review

As a small business owner, you more than likely know how difficult it is to obtain an SBA loan. Besides the fact there’s tons of paperwork involved, it can take three to four months just to receive an answer.

smartbiz offers SBA Loans (it’s an SBA approved financial institution), but at a much faster pace. Since it automates everything during the application process (documents can be uploaded), you may actually be able to receive your funds within 7 business days.

SmartBiz is the best of both worlds when it comes to online small business lenders. You get the low rates and long term of an SBA loan, and the funding process is on par with other lenders so long as you work to submit documentation quickly.

If you want to benefit from an SBA loan in a more efficient way, let’s see how SmartBiz can help.

SmartBiz Small Business SBA Loan Details

SmartBiz SBA Loans range from $30,000 to $350,000 on terms of 60 to 120 months. Its variable APR ranges from 6.75% to 9.99%.

Interest rates are tiered depending on your loan amount. For example, loans between $30,000 – $50,000 have interest rates of 8.25%, $50,000 – $350,000 interest rates are 7.25%, and loans from $500,000 to $5,000,000 interest rates are 6.00% – 8.25%. These are true as of date of publish.

You must know how you’re going to use the funds from SmartBiz, as the purpose of your loan influences how much money you can receive:

  • Loans of $5,000 to $25,000 can be used for working capital (and so can all the other amounts)
  • Loans of $26,000 to $150,000 can be used for acquiring another business and refinancing existing, high-interest debt
  • Loans of $151,000 to $250,000 can be used to refinance business debt secured by real estate, or to buy real estate
  • Finally, loans of $251,000 to $350,000 can be used to refinance debt not secured by real estate

SmartBiz has a detailed repayment calculator on its home page in case you’d like to see what your estimated payments might be. For example, if you borrow $150,000 on a 10 year loan at an APR of 6.96%, your monthly payment will be $1,665.31. Overall, you’ll receive $143,683 since you have to account for closing costs and fees.

The Pros and Cons of a SmartBiz Small Business SBA Loan

Pro: SmartBiz’s APRs are the lowest of any online lender, which makes the loan more affordable.

Con: However, it’s one of the only online lenders to have a variable APR. That means the rate is subject to change with the prime rate. That might not be cause for alarm, though. Even if rates rise, chances are the APR will remain the lowest – some lenders have APRs of up to 40%.

Pro: Similar to the APRs, the 10 year repayment term is the longest of any online lender. This also makes the monthly payment much more affordable.

Con: By the same token, “dragging” the repayment period out can make for a more expensive loan, even if the APRs are low. Generally, the longer your term, the more interest you’ll pay on the loan. From our example of borrowing $150,000, 120 payments of $1,665.31 results in a total amount of $199,837.20. That’s almost $50,000 more. Thankfully, there’s no prepayment penalty.

Pro: If you’re looking for an SBA loan, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of all the paperwork, and how time consuming it is, SmartBiz is a great alternative. You can pre-qualify for a loan in 5 minutes and get pre-approved for a loan within 30 minutes.

Con: The use of your loan factors into how much funding you can receive. Other lenders aren’t as strict with how you use the funding.

Pro: If you don’t qualify for an SBA loan with SmartBiz, it works with other 3rd party lenders that may be able to help you.

Con: While the rates and terms are great, the fees aren’t. There’s a 0.00% - 4.00% origination fee, bank closing costs, and a guarantee fee for loans over $150,000.

What Businesses Are Eligible For a Loan With SmartBiz?

SmartBiz says the following characteristics are typical of the businesses it lends to:

  • Operating history of 2+ years
  • Industries served: manufacturing, retail, product, medical, contractor, service, and more
  • Has $50,000 to $5,000,000 in annual revenue
  • Owners are at least 21 years old and are US citizens
  • Minimum credit score of 600 needed
  • Need enough cash flow to handle payments (most important)
  • You can’t have any outstanding judgments, liens, bankruptcies, etc.
  • You also can’t have any criminal record other than minor vehicle violations

SmartBiz also lends to franchises. Overall, it’s looking to lend to well-established small businesses that have 1 – 40 employees, very good cash flow, and are profitable.

We recently received an email from a reader that applied to SmartBiz and was told she needed a 150+ Business FICO score in order to be approved.

Application Process and Documents Needed

As SmartBiz’s loans are SBA approved, a little more paperwork is required than with your typical online lender. However, it’s still much less when compared to what a bank would ask you for. They don’t look in every nook and cranny of your financials, but have the following documents and information ready during the application process:

  • Past personal tax returns
  • Personal financial information (bank statements are key)
  • Previous government loan history for your business
  • Past business tax returns
  • Balance sheet
  • Income statement
  • Management team information
  • Type of business, date of inception, and documentation proving the formation of the business
  • A subordination release signed by your landlord if you want to borrow more than $26,000

Note that larger loans are going to need more documentation. While SmartBiz can have you funded within a week, the process can take up to 3 weeks if you’re slow with submitting any requested documents. The quicker you work, the faster the process moves. It’s better to be prepared ahead of time.

The Fine Print

SmartBiz’s loans don’t have a prepayment penalty, but there is a 4% origination fee associated with the loan.

The biggest drawback is the guarantee fee, which is paid to the SBA. Thankfully, they did away with the fee for loans $150,000 or less, but it’s 2.25% of the loan amount for loans $151,000 and up.

Loans less than $25,000 don’t require any collateral, but loans over $25,000 require a UCC lien on business assets. A personal guarantee is also required from all individuals who own 20% or more of the business.

SmartBiz estimates closing costs are around $23 for loans $25,000 or less, and $317 for loans over $26,000.

Which Businesses Benefit the Most from a SmartBiz SBA Loan?

Businesses that have been around for two or more years, that are on the smaller side of the small business spectrum (need less than $350,000 in funds), and that want to grow and expand will benefit the most from a SmartBiz SBA loan.

Businesses should be in good financial shape overall and not hurting for money. They also shouldn’t be struggling to manage cash flow.

Smartbiz

APPLY NOW Secured

on Smartbiz’s secure website

Other Alternative Small Business Lenders

When it comes to getting an SBA loan, SmartBiz is your best bet. It’s the first lender to offer SBA loans online. No other lenders come close to the low rates and 10 year repayment term it offers.

However, SmartBiz does have some stricter eligibility requirements, so if you get denied there, try these alternative small business lenders.

If you have a branch nearby, you might want to check out Wells Fargo’s small business loan. You can borrow between $10,000 and $100,000 on terms of 2 to 5 years, and the APR ranges from 6.50% to 22.99%.

Since this is a bank loan, the process and requirements are similar. Wells Fargo places a strong emphasis on cash flow, there’s a once a month payment, and you need decent credit (most likely over 600) to qualify. There’s an opening fee of $150 which can be waived if you sign up for a Wells Fargo account.

Wells Fargo Bank

APPLY NOW Secured

on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

FundingCircle offers loans from $25,000 to $500,000 with repayment terms of 6 to 60 months. APRs range from 4.99% to 27.79%, and the origination fee ranges from 3.49% - 7.99%. You need two years of operating history, $150,000 in annual revenue, and minimum credit score of 620 to qualifya.

FundingCircle

APPLY NOW Secured

on FundingCircle’s secure website

Lastly, in case you don’t qualify for the other two, Lending Club allows you to borrow up to $300,000 on terms of 12 to 60 months with APRs ranging from 9.77% to 35.71%. Origination fees range from 1.99% - 8.99%, and your business only needs $75,000 in annual sales, and two years in business to qualify. Fair or better personal credit is needed.

LendingClub

APPLY NOW Secured

on LendingClub’s secure website

Shop Around to Keep Costs Low

Even though SmartBiz SBA loans offer some of the best rates and terms available for online lenders, it does come with its share of fees and costs. You should shop around and compare the overall cost of the loans you get approved for to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Doing so within a 30 day window will have less of an impact on your credit score.

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 erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Reviews

Rising Bank Review: Savings and CD Rates

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.

Year Established1906
Total Assets$1.9B
LEARN MORE Rising Bank’s secure websiteMember FDIC

Rising Bank is a brand-new, online-only bank that got started in 2018. However, it traces its roots all the way back to 1906, when a charter was issued to its parent bank Midwest BankCentre, known at the time as Lemay Ferry Bank. Midwest BankCentre is a community banking leader in its home of St. Louis and Rising Bank was designed to expand the reach of its parent bank.

Although Rising Bank is a division of a long-established bank, as a new entity itself, it offers a limited roster of accounts. For example, you still can’t open a checking account at Rising Bank as of February, 2019. Your savings and investment options are limited to three types of CDs and one type of savings account.

As an online-only bank, you can only open Rising Bank accounts online. The process involves providing basic personal and financial information, confirming your identity, funding the account, and submitting the completed application. Information you’ll be required to provide includes your name, email address, phone number and Social Security number, along with information about the bank you’ll be using to fund the account.

Here’s a look at the limited roster of Rising Bank account offerings, including information such as minimum balance requirements, monthly fees, and other features and benefits.

Rising Bank’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

2.45%

Savings

Rising Bank High Yield Savings Account

2.10%

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.85%

CD Rates

Rising Bank 1 Year Term CD

2.75%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 12 Month CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.95%

CD Rates

Rising Bank 2 Year Term CD

2.90%

Synchrony Bank 36 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

3.00%

CD Rates

Rising Bank 3 Year Term CD

3.10%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 5 Year CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

Rising Bank’s savings account options

High-Yield Savings Account

This account is the only savings account option in the Rising Bank lineup.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
2.45%$1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

Rising Bank’s High-Yield Savings account is the bank’s only savings account option, but it makes up for this limitation by offering a quality product. There’s no monthly maintenance fee with the High-Yield Savings account, and the minimum opening deposit requirement is quite low for a high-yield product. The high rate offered by the account is paid on all amounts above the $1,000 minimum deposit requirement, with no tiers paying additional interest on larger deposits. While not affecting most customers, there is an account maximum of $500,000.

The High-Yield Savings account is strictly a savings-only product. There is no ATM access with this account, and the account cannot be overdrawn. Interest is paid monthly, and deposits are FDIC-insured up to the insurance limit.

As with all Rising Bank accounts, you can sign up for online banking for free and access your High-Yield Savings account online 24/7.

How to get Rising Bank’s savings accounts

As an online-only account, the High-Yield Savings account can only be opened online. The process involves providing basic personal and financial information, confirming your identity, funding the account, and submitting the completed application. Information you’ll be required to provide includes your name, email address, phone number, and Social Security number, along with information about the bank you’ll be using to fund the account.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Rising Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Rising Bank’s savings accounts compare

Rising Bank only has a single savings account option, but it is exceptional. With no fees, a low minimum opening balance requirement, and an extremely high yield, Rising Bank’s High-Yield Savings account is tough to beat. In fact, the rate paid is not only well above the national average, it’s higher than some of those offered by the nation’s best available savings accounts.

Rising Bank’s CD account options

Term CDs

Rising Bank’s Term CDs are for customers saving for a goal at least one year away.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
2.85%$1,0001 year
2.95%$1,0002 years
3.00%$1,0003 years
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ interest for terms of one year; 180 days’ interest for terms of two years; 180 days’ interest for terms of three years

Rising Bank’s Term CDs are straightforward, with limited options. You can only open a regular Rising Bank CD for one year, two years, or three years. Each maturity has the same $1,000 minimum to open and to earn interest. However, all CDs also have a $500,000 maximum.

Early withdrawal penalties are either 90 days or 180 days on these Term CDs, depending on the maturity selected. For each maturity, interest is credited every three months. All CDs are FDIC-insured up to the insurance limit and renew automatically upon maturity. Upon notice of maturity, funds can be withdrawn within a 10 calendar-day grace period.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Rising Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Jumbo CDs

Rising Bank’s Jumbo CDs are for larger deposits only.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
2.95%$100,0002 years
  • Minimum balance to open account: $100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ interest

These Jumbo CDs are even more limited in scope than the bank’s Term CDs, with just a single, two-year maturity available. As a jumbo CD, you’ll have to deposit at least $100,000 to open the account and earn interest. Early withdrawal penalties amount to 180 days’ interest.

As with the bank’s regular Term CDs, interest is credited every three months, all CDs are FDIC-insured up to the insurance limit and there’s a $500,000 account maximum. Jumbo CDs automatically renew unless funds are withdrawn within 10 calendar days after maturity date.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Rising Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Rising CDs

Rising CDs is the name that Rising Bank dubs its bump-up CDs.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
2.85%$25,00018 months
3.00%$25,00036 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $25,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $25,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ interest for 18-month maturity; 180 days’ interest for 36-month maturity

Rising Bank’s Rising CDs come in two maturities — 18 months and 36 months. The CDs require $25,000 to open the account and earn interest, which is compounded every three months. The twist with these CDs is that you can bump up your CD rate once per term if rates rise. Additionally, you can deposit additional funds into a Rising CD one additional time during your original term; this additional deposit must be at least $5,000.

As with other Rising Bank CDs, Rising CDs automatically renew unless you withdraw your funds within 10 calendar days after maturity. Rising CDs are also FDIC-insured.

How to get Rising Bank’s CD accounts

As mentioned above, you can only open a CD account online. You’ll need to provide personal and financial information, including a funding source, along with your Social Security number and identifying documents.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Rising Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Rising Bank’s CD accounts compare

All of Rising Bank’s CDs pay rates well above the national averages. Currently, there’s no advantage in ponying up the $100,000 required to open one of Rising Bank’s Jumbo CDs, as those 2-year CDs pay the same rate as the bank’s ordinary 2-year Term CDs. However, regardless of which Rising Bank CD you select, you’ll be earning an excellent rate. The bank’s 1-year CD is one of the best CD rates in the country, and the 2- and 3-year Term CD rates are not far behind.

Overall review of Rising Bank’s products

Rising Bank is not the institution you want to bank with if you need comprehensive financial planning and products. However, if you have selective needs and only want the best available accounts, Rising Bank might have some valuable offerings for you.

Money market accounts, IRAs and checking accounts are not available at Rising Bank, at least as of February 2019. But the high yields offered by the bank’s High-Yield Savings account and its three types of CDs are enough for even the most dedicated yield chasers. Carrying no monthly account fees and reasonable minimum deposit requirements, these products offer the complete package, with yields right at the top of their class, across the board.

Rising Bank’s bump-up CD, dubbed the Rising CD, starts customers at a top-tier interest rate right off the bat while still allowing them to raise the rate one time during the CD’s term. In fact, customers with at least $25,000 to invest are better served in the bank’s Rising CDs than its Term CDs, since both types of account pay the same initial rate but the Rising CDs offer the potential to raise that rate even further. Terms apply.

The bottom line is that Rising Bank may not be a one-stop shop that can cater to your every financial need. But if you’re just looking for low-cost products with some of the best rates in the nation, Rising Bank has a lot to offer.

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.

John Csiszar
John Csiszar |

John Csiszar is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email John here

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Reviews

Review of Netspend Prepaid Card

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.

If you cannot get a traditional bank account, you may have few options but to manage your money via a prepaid card. That’s where companies like Netspend come in. Netspend issues prepaid cards which allow you to receive your paycheck, government benefits and tax refunds via direct deposit. You can also use Netspend to pay bills, conduct financial transactions online, track your spending automatically via Netspend’s app and complete most other tasks you would be able to with a traditional checking account. In this review, we’ll explain what Netspend has to offer, fees and fine print and how it compares to other prepaid options out there.

Netspend Prepaid Card features

Your name is embossed on your card. If a cashier ever asks you for an ID to match to your card, but your card says “Valued Customer” or something of the like on it in lieu of your name, you could be denied the purchase. It would also prevent you from receiving funds via MoneyPak, and could cause other disruptions in your financial life. The fact that the Netspend Prepaid Card has your name printed on it alleviates a lot of friction.

Free direct deposit. If you want to receive your paycheck, government benefits or tax refund on your Netspend card, you can do so at no cost.

You will also be able to use the app to send money to anyone with Netspend FlashPay. While the app does offer mobile check deposit, there may be fees charged by the service provider Netspend partners with in order to enable this feature. That being said, Netspend does not charge any fees for this service directly.

Cashback rewards. Netspend issues these rewards when your spending lines up with sponsored offers, which are preselected for you based on your spending habits.

NetSpend also has a refer-a-friend feature which rewards you both with a $20 when your friend uses your referral link to open a new card and loads at least $40 onto it.

High-yield savings account. As long as you’re not currently subject to IRS backup withholding, another perk Netspend offers is access to a savings account with an APY of 5.00% for balances under $1,000. This can be a huge perk for those who are having trouble opening a bank account as it could potentially establish a more positive banking history. Beyond that, the APY is phenomenal.

Netspend Prepaid Card fees and fine print

Monthly fees range from $5 to $9.95 per month. Although the Netspend Prepaid Card comes with a lot of benefits, it comes with a lot of fees, too. Different plans will incur different monthly fees. For example, the FeeAdvantage Plan, which allows you to circumvent a $1 charge for every purchase requiring a signature and a $2 fee for every purchase requiring a PIN, will run you $9.95/month. If you have a regular direct deposit of at least $500/month set up, you qualify for the Netspend Premier FeeAdvantage Plan, which does the same thing at a much lower price point of $5/month.

Reload fees can sting. While there are no activation fees or check deposit fees charged by Netspend, you will have to contend with reload fees everytime you want to put cash on your card.

Lots of miscellaneous fees. There are fees if your purchase is declined, fees if you want to stop a pre-authorized payment, ATM fees, foreign transaction fees and account inactivity fees should you let your account sit for 90+ days without any transactions, withdrawals or deposits.

Checking your balance via text, email or your online account center is free. However, checking via ATM or a customer service agent will incur a $0.50 fee. You will also be charged this fee if you make a balance inquiry via the automated telephone service, though the $0.50 fee is waived in this instance if you have a Netspend Premier FeeAdvantage Plan.

Overdraft protection plan is limited. While you can opt into overdraft protection to protect yourself from declined purchase fees, you will have to go through the steps of enrollment in the program first. You will only be allowed three overdrafts per calendar month, and each one will cost you $15. Unless you’re getting your purchases declined 15 times or more per month, this service may not be worth it.

Try not to lose your card. If you lose your card, there is a $9.95 fee to replace it. If you need your replacement card within less than seven business days, you will have to pay $20 to $25 in shipping costs depending on how quickly you need it.

NetSpend Prepaid Card Fees
Activation feeNone
Monthly Plan FeePay-As-You-Go Plan: None; FeeAdvantage Plan: $9.95/month; Netspend Premier FeeAdvantage Plan: $5/month
Reload feeVaries depending on location and deposit type.
Check deposit feeNone
ATM fees$2.50 at domestic ATMs; $4.95 at foreign ATMS
ATM decline fee$1.00
Foreign transaction fee3.5% of withdrawal or purchase in USD, in addition to the $4.95 foreign ATM fee
Account-to-account transfer fee$4.95 when initiated by customer service representative
Bill payment feeVaries
Stop payment fee for ACH debit/preauthorized payment transactions$10
ACH debit/Preauthorized payment transaction decline fee$1
Card replacement fee$9.95
Balance inquiry fee$0.00 to $0.50 depending on plan and modality of deposit.
Account inactivity fee$5.95/month after your account has been inactive for 90 days

Using the Netspend Prepaid Card mobile app

Netspend’s mobile app allows you to deposit checks via mobile, send or receive money from anyone with Netspend’s FlashPay and find the lowest-cost reload locations near you.

If you’re looking for the more advanced budgeting features some financial institutions offer to their mobile users, you’re out of luck. But you will still be able to monitor your account balance and transaction history.

Opening a Netspend Prepaid Card Account

Ordering a card is easy and can be done online You simply provide your name, address and email and your card will be shipped to you in 7-10 days.

However, in order to activate your card, you’ll have to meet some eligibility requirements. First, you must be 18 years of age and not live in Vermont. You will also be required to verify your identification by supplying your name, address, date of birth and government-issued ID number. In some cases, Netspend will require you to provide your actual ID in order to verify your identity.

Your credit history and checking history will not be run as a part of the application process.

Overall review of Netspend Prepaid Card Account

There is no way around it: Netspend Prepaid Cards are loaded with fees that will eat into your paycheck or any other source of income. If you can get a traditional checking account, you should as it is extremely likely that it will be leagues cheaper to manage your money.

However, Netspend isn’t built for those who can easily get a bank account. It is built for those who have been shut out of the traditional financial system. If you need a way to get your money into digital form to conduct financial transactions, cards like Netspend’s can be one of the few ways to take care of business, despite the dramatic fees. A better option would be to find a prepaid card option with lower fees, like Walmart’s Bluebird by American Express Prepaid Debit Card or the Chase Liquid Prepaid Card.

Do note that if your employer offers to pay you via a prepaid card, you do not have to accept. Specific laws vary by state, but regardless of where you live, your employer must give you the option of either a paper check or direct deposit. If you have access to a bank account, it’s likely not to your advantage to accept your paycheck via prepaid card. If you don’t, you may still choose to use cash checking services if they end up being cheaper than the fees on a card like Netspend’s Prepaid Card.

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

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