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Reviews, Small Business

SmartBiz Small Business Loan Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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 $5,000,000 on terms of 120 to 300 months. Its variable APR ranges from 5.04% to 10.29%.

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

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on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

FundingCircle offers loans from $25,000 to $500,000 with repayment terms of 6 to 60 months. Interest rates range from 4.99% to 24.99%, and the origination fee ranges from 3.49% - 6.99%. You need two years of operating history, $150,000 in annual revenue, and minimum credit score of 620 to qualifya.

Funding Circle

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on Funding Circle’s secure website

Lastly, in case you don’t qualify for the other two, Lending Club allows you to borrow up to $500,000 on terms of 12 to 60 months with APRs ranging from 9.77% to 35.98%. Origination fees range from 3.49% - 7.99%, 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

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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.

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Earning Interest, Eliminating Fees, Reviews

Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

The Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account offered by Charles Schwab Bank isn’t your average checking account. In fact, it’s a checking account designed exclusively for investors. If you want the convenience of having your idle cash and invested assets all under one roof, this product could be for you.

What is the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account?

The Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account is an interest-bearing checking account that is linked to your Schwab One brokerage account, making it easy and convenient to invest otherwise idle cash.

This product comes with attractive features that many traditional checking accounts offer — including no minimum balance requirements, no monthly service or ATM fees and a variable interest rate — as well as the unique feature of easy transfers to and from your linked brokerage account. When you open your High Yield Investor Checking account, a Schwab One brokerage account will also be opened for you. The accounts will have separate account numbers, but both can be viewed online with a single login.

Here’s what you can expect to receive upon opening and funding a Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account:

  • 0.03% APY
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance
  • Free transfers to and from your linked brokerage account
  • Schwab Bank Visa Platinum debit card
  • Complimentary checks, deposit slips, mailing labels and pre-addressed, postage-paid envelopes

How is the High Yield Investor Checking account different from other checking accounts?

In most cases, checking accounts do not require you to open another linked account in which funds will flow to and from. The Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account, however, is only available as a linked account with the Schwab One brokerage account.

If you’re in the market for just a checking account to stash the cash you use for your everyday spending needs, opening a brokerage account alongside your checking account can seem like an unnecessary step. The brokerage account’s main function is to trade stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and other financial products.

However, it is worth noting that the Schwab One brokerage account does not have any minimum balance requirements or requirements to fund the account, making it relatively accessible and easy to open.

Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account fees and minimums

The Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account features the following fees and minimums:

Monthly service fee

$0

Minimum balance fee

$0

ATM fee

Unlimited ATM fee rebates

Foreign transaction fee

$0

It’s worth noting that while the Schwab One brokerage account also does not have any minimum balance requirements or monthly maintenance fees, other account fees may apply. For example, trades placed through a broker come with a service charge of $25.

Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account pros and cons

Pros

  • Easy to invest idle cash: By having your checking account linked to your brokerage account, it makes it much more convenient to invest any idle cash.
  • Minimal fees: Schwab’s High Yield Investor Checking account boasts minimal fees compared to other checking accounts, specifically ones offered by other big banks.
  • Unlimited ATM rebates: This is a valuable feature and could save you a significant amount of money over time.

Cons

  • Low interest rate: The account’s 0.03% APY pales in comparison to other high-yield checking accounts, some of which have rates that climb to over 5.00% APY.
  • Unnecessary complexity: The requirement of having a Schwab One brokerage account could be viewed as an added hoop to jump through for those simply looking for a traditional checking account product.
  • Non-sufficient funds fee: Watch out for the account’s non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee of $25, up to $100 maximum per day, if you don’t have enough money in your account to cover a transaction. Still, this is less than the average NSF fee of $30.50.

Who is the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account good for?

If you’re just looking for a liquid checking account that you can use for your everyday spending needs, the Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account is likely not for you. There are other checking accounts offering much higher interest rates without requiring you to link a brokerage account in order to open the account. Additionally, if your strategy is to let your extra cash sit in the Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account without initiating regular transfers to your Schwab One brokerage account, your money would grow at a considerably faster rate in a high-yield savings account, money market account or CD.

If you already are an investor and have a Schwab One brokerage account — or are looking for a checking account that provides easy and instant transfers to and from your brokerage account — the Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account is certainly worth exploring. It has many of the same, standout features that the best traditional checking accounts have, while also being one of the few checking accounts out there that provides instant access to your invested assets.

promo-checking-wide-v2

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.

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Best of, Reviews

The Top 7 Second Chance Bank Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Some banks don’t like giving second chances to customers who have less-than-stellar financial histories, especially since it could expose them to expensive risks. A record of bounced checks or debit card overdrafts could easily lock you out of the conveniences of modern banking.

Fortunately, banks also like making money, and some offer special “second chance” accounts that minimize their risk while allowing consumers to stay in the banking system. A second chance bank account gives customers with troubled records a fresh opportunity to demonstrate they can bank responsibly.

When it comes to a second chance account, fees are an unfortunate reality. But some accounts offer customers a better deal than others, and we’ve researched our database to find the second chance accounts with the most reasonable fee structures, while also factoring in whether they provide online and mobile banking, and how accessible accounts are throughout the country.

Account Name

Monthly Fee

Minimum to open

Availability

Chime$0$0Nationwide
Peoples Bank Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking$4.95 $30Nationwide
GoBank Checking Account$8.95, can be waived if you meet requirements$20Nationwide
Radius Essential Checking$0$10Nationwide
Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts$10, can be waived if you meet requirements$25Nationwide
BBVA Easy Checking$13.95$25Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas
Woodforest National Bank Second Chance Checking$9.95 monthly maintenance fee if you use a direct deposit; $11.95 without a direct deposit$25Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia

Second chance account basics

With a second chance bank account, customers shut out of traditional bank accounts get the opportunity to win their way back into a bank’s good graces. Similar to credit bureaus, financial services company ChexSystems maintains records of consumers’ banking histories. Bounced checks, overdrawn accounts or instances of fraud can all end up on your ChexSystems record; if you accumulate enough black marks on ChexSystems, banks could deny your application to open a new account.

Because second chance accounts are meant for customers who have demonstrated bad banking behavior, some lack features of traditional accounts, such as overdraft protection. In the eyes of the bank, you represent too much of a risk for them to extend you such courtesies.

Nobody likes paying fees, and we generally advise consumers to avoid needless banking fees due to the many fee-free banking options available. But fees are the price you pay for access to banking when you have a poor record. Plus, the second chance accounts listed below give you access to online and mobile banking, which is always a plus.

The 7 best second chance bank accounts

1. Chime

Chime

Fintech app developer Chime is not a bank, however their online checking account product is open to everybody no matter how bad your record is with ChexSystems. Chime does not check on applicants with ChexSystems, plus they offer lots of non-traditional features to help you get your financial life back on track. Best of all is the fact that they charge no fees at all, and require neither a minimum opening deposit or a minimum balance.

Chime account features:

  • No opening balance or minimum balance requirements.
  • Set up direct deposit for your paycheck, and the funds from each pay period will be deposited as soon as the transaction is initiated, giving you access to your pay up to two days earlier than conventional checking accounts.
  • Automatic savings features to help you save in your connected Chime Savings account.
  • The app sends you daily bank account balance notifications, and sends transaction alerts every time you use your debit card.
  • You can disable the debit card from the app.

Fees to watch out for:

  • Chime’s service is almost entirely fee-free: No monthly charges, no ACH transfer fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no ATM fees if you withdraw funds from MoneyPass ATMs.
  • If you make an ATM withdrawal outside of these networks, there is a $2.50 fee.
  • Overdrafts are not permitted, so there is never an overdraft fee.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Chime’s secure website

Member FDIC

2. Peoples Bank Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking

Peoples Bank Cash Solutions

This Texas-based bank offers a second chance bank account that is available nationwide, and so long as you don’t have a record of bank or checking fraud on your record, you should be approved for this account. You’ll need to deposit at least $30 before the bank activates your account and provides you with checks and a debit card.

Fees to watch out for:

  • $4.95 monthly maintenance fee
  • $27.50 overdraft fee
  • $27.50 nonsufficient funds fee
  • $3.95 printed statement fee (which can be avoided with electronic statements)
  • $2.00 ATM withdrawal fee at machines not owned by Peoples Bank
  • $25 stop payment fee
  • $20 account closure fee (if within 90 days of opening account)

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Peoples Bank Cash Solutions’s secure website

Member FDIC

3. GoBank Checking Account

GoBank

A brand of Green Dot Bank, GoBank does not run a background check for new checking customers on ChexSystems, and it does not require a credit check. The account comes with a free debit card and fee-free access to a large network of ATMs, although be warned that out-of-network ATM withdrawals carry a $3 fee, on top of whatever the ATM operator charges. GoBank’s $8.95 monthly fee is high. However, this fee can be avoided with a monthly $500 direct deposit.

Account Features:

  • A free debit card
  • 24/7 mobile and online banking
  • Simple budgeting and spending tracker tools
  • Mobile check deposits

Fees to watch out for:

  • $2.95 sign-up fee, waived if you set up your account online
  • $8.95 monthly maintenance fee, waived each month your account receives payroll or government direct deposits totaling at least $500
  • Fees of up to $4.95 charged by retailers to make cash deposits
  • $3 out-of-network ATM withdrawal fee
  • $5 card replacement fee
  • Foreign transaction fee is 3% total transaction

SEE DETAILS Secured

on GoBank’s secure website

Member FDIC

4. Radius Essential Checking

Radius Bank

Products from online bank Radius are available to customers nationwide, and accessibility is a strong point in its favor. This second chance bank account only requires customers to deposit $10 to open an Essential Checking account, which is lower than some other accounts on this list.

Account Features:

  • A free debit card
  • 24/7 mobile and online banking
  • Access to Radius’s budgeting and personal finance tracking apps
  • Eligibility to upgrade to Radius’s Reward Checking account after 12 months of positive banking history

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9 monthly maintenance fee
  • $25 per item non-sufficient funds fee (waived on all overdraft items $5 or less)
  • $5 daily overdraft fee

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Radius Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

5. Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts

Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo’s Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts are tailor-made for folks with a lackluster credit or banking history. With a $25 opening deposit, you’ll get access to a second chance bank account that offers most of the bells and whistles of a traditional bank account. The account does come with a monthly fee, although it’s possible to waive it if you meet a few requirements (see below).

Account features:

  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • Free transfers are available between Opportunity Checking and Savings accounts
  • You can choose to opt into overdraft protection
  • Free access to bill pay
  • “My Spending Report with Budget Watch” is available if you want to pay extra attention to where your money is going
  • Free debit card with access to more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs throughout the country

Fees to watch out for:

  • $10 monthly service fee, waived if any of the following are true:
    • You make 10 posted debit card purchases or payments
    • You keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500 in the account
    • You receive $500 total in direct deposits each statement cycle
  • $35 overdraft and returned item fee
  • $12.50 overdraft protection transfer fee
  • $15 fee for excess activity (exceeding withdrawals from your savings account)
  • 3% foreign transaction fee with your debit card
  • $5 for money orders
  • $31 for stop payments

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

6. BBVA Easy Checking

BBVA
BBVA’s Easy Checking product is available as a second chance account to customers in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas. There is a $13.95 monthly service charge to maintain the account. You can request that BBVA upgrade your account one of their regular checking products after 12 months — and ditch that high monthly fee — so long as the Easy Checking account remains active and has a positive balance.

BBVA Easy Checking features::

  • Online and mobile banking, customized alerts, and a free debit card (with option to personalize)
  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • Free BBVA ATM withdrawals

Fees to watch out for:

  • $3 fee for out-of-network ATM withdrawals
  • $38 insufficient funds fee ($32 in California)
  • $15 deposit item returned fee
  • $32 stop payment fee made over the phone or in person ($30 in California); $25 if made online

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BBVA’s secure website

Member FDIC

7. Woodforest National Bank Second Chance Checking

Woodforest National Bank

This regional bank has a checking account aptly named Second Chance Checking, to help people rejected by other banks access — provided they live in one of the 17 states where a physical branch exists and can meet the $25 minimum opening deposit requirement. Those states are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9.95 monthly maintenance fee if you use a direct deposit
  • $9 one-time account set-up fee
  • $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee when used at a non-Woodforest network ATM
  • $15 debit card set-up fee
  • $32 overdraft fee (for each charge)

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Woodforest National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Alternatives to a second chance bank account

Get a prepaid debit card

Tired of the traditional banking experience? You could opt for a prepaid debit card instead. With a prepaid card, you can load money onto it and spend at merchants that accept major credit and debit cards. But if you try and spend more money than what’s on the card, the transaction is declined — although this prevents you from accruing any overdraft or insufficient funds fees. This is useful if you feel you may still have trouble managing your spending and need an extra layer of security to prevent you from getting into trouble.

Some prepaid cards offer extra perks like advance direct deposit and free ATMs so long as you stay in their network.

Open a secured credit card

You may also have better luck applying for a secured credit card if your credit score is in good enough shape. Usually, this requires depositing cash with the lender, who then gives you the credit card for the same amount. Each month that you make on-time payments, the bank will report that good behavior to the credit bureaus, helping you boost your credit score. At the end of the payment period (generally 12 months, though it varies by banks), you’ll get the full deposit back.

Secured cards can come with high interest rates and many don’t feature the enticing rewards other high-end cards do, but they get the basic job done for consumers who don’t need a card with a high credit limit.

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.