Thinking outside the lending box
If you are a business owner, you know how tedious it can be finding feasible banking options. Depending on your financial history, financial need, and current financial state, it can take months before not only finding the right bank or lending option, but to be accepted as a client. We know the pain, and decided to find the best alternative lending option for small business lines of credit.
Why alternative lending instead of big bank?
Alternative lending companies aren’t typically as strict as big name banks, and therefore have higher acceptance rates. The leniency from alternative lending companies is great for small businesses with financial dings or questionable credit history. Alternative lending also offers benefits such as quicker approval times, more flexibility, and less paperwork.
Alternative lending options
There are a dozen alternative lending options that have gained popularity over the years, such as Lending Club and OnDeck. While you should definitely take a look before deciding, after extensive research and our own personal experiences with debt, we suggest Kabbage as an excellent option for small business in financial need.
Kabbage immediately separates itself from other options with its application and approval process that takes the headache out of “sign up”.
Instead of a lengthy underwriting process that has to be done in person, Kabbage’s application is done completely online, and has an almost instant approval process if requirements are met.
Small businesses must have been in business for at least a year, and earn at least $4,200 in mostly revenue. Monthly revenue, transaction volume, and credit score are also deciding factors.
Finding the proper paperwork takes a large chunk of time in itself, which is why Kabbage offers its users the option to save time by linking the application to a business checking account or online banking service such as PayPal instead.
Once linked, Kabbage will review the data to determine loan eligibility. Compatible banks and online services include: Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, PNC, U.S. Bank, Regions, BB&T, TD Bank, USAA, Citibank, Capital One, SunTrust, Navy Federal, BBVA Compass, Fifth Third Bank, PayPal, Authorize.Net, Stripe, Sage, Square, eBay, Shopify, Yahoo, Amazon, Etsy, and Intuit.
FYI: Kabbage also looks at personal credit score, which should be at least above 550.
Kabbage offers lines of credit between $2,000 and $100,000, and functions more as a credit card than a traditional loan. For example, if you are approved for a $100,000 line of credit but only use $20,000, you only pay fees on the $20,000. Users can also draw money against their line of credit as often as once a day.
The fees mentioned above range anywhere from 1.5 to 12 percent of the loan amount for the first two months on a six month loan, or six months on a 12 month loan. There is a standard one percent fee for remaining months. Outside of these monthly fees, there are no added costs for a line of credit, which is another reason we suggest Kabbage. Most of the other lenders we researched had additional fees.
It is also important for small businesses to note Kabbage does not enforce any limitations on how the loan is used. Inventory, design, marketing, or whatever you decide to spend it on, is your prerogative. This is in contrast to other lending companies, who want to know explicit plans about how the money is to be spent before approval.
Although we like Kabbage overall, it is our responsibility to tell you about the things we don’t like. The biggest complaint we have is the limited amount of time small businesses have to repay their loan.
While there is a 12 month option, which is still not a lot of time, the only other option is six months.
So for small businesses with financial needs that span longer than a 12 month repayment term, Kabbage may not be the right solution.
Don’t take our word for it…
As stated in the beginning, there are a dozen other options for alternative lending, along with traditional lending options. And although we appreciate you taking our word for it, applying for the wrong loan can make a bad financial situation worse. So please be sure to research your different choices, keeping your specific needs and goals in mind.
If the decision is too tough on your own, consult with an accountant or financial expert to find the best option for you and your small business.
Blockchain has a competitor that could already obsolete the tech
(TECH NEWS) Just as people are learning what the word “blockchain” means, technology is already advancing beyond this groundbreaking innovation.
Blockchain’s new competitor may one day render the popular database service obsolete. Hashgraph pitches itself as a “superior consensus mechanism/data structure alternative to blockchain,” featuring a decentralized platform for micropayments, live collaboration apps, distributed MMOs, auctions, and distributed capital markets.
The distributed ledger technology system notes it’s faster, fairer, and more secure than blockchain. However, Hashgraph has very diplomatically stated, “The pitching of Hashgraph against Blockchain is a sensationalist angle that we do not endorse.”
They go on to say, “We consider Blockchain to be like a capable older brother who graciously paved the way by bringing the power of Distributed Ledger Technology to the light of day, for which we are very grateful.”
Very Miss America of them. Unlike Bitcoin, Hashgraph doesn’t need massive amounts of computation or energy consumption. This is in part due to how the system handles transactions, particularly mining.
Bitcoin mining is the process of adding records of transactions to Bitcoin’s public ledger. These records are a blockchain, which serves as a confirmation of past transactions. With standard bitcoin mining, each transaction is put into a container, forming a long single chain.
If two miners happen to make two blocks at the same time, one will be discarded eventually, especially if one arrives too quickly. Instead, Hashgraph uses every container, and any member can create transactions at any point without threat of deletion.
Currently, Bitcoin uses proof-of-work (POW), requiring costly custom hardware. PoW artificially slows down the mining process, which is why miners need special hardware to gain anything close to efficiency. However, Hashgraph offers faster transactions, too.
Right now, Bitcoin on standard blockchain are limited to seven transactions per second, but Hashgraph could be up to 50,000 times faster with 250,000 transactions per second (pre-sharding). The transactions would only be limited by bandwidth availability.
Further, Hashgraph brings fairness into play with consensus time stamping, meaning no one can alter the order in which transactions are processed. Basically, there’s no line cutting or fast passes like in blockchain, where miners can choose what order transactions occur in a block, even delaying or stopping future blocks.
Unlike blockchain, Hashgraph uses asynchronous Byzantine fault tolerance to achieve consensus within the community using virtual voting. Members cannot change the consensus once reached, nor can they prevent any community from reaching a consensus.
Plus, Hashgraph uses bank-grade consensus algorithms for added security, and is resilient to DDoS, Sybil, firewall, and virus attacks, as well as network partitions.
The amount of storage is reduced as well by only keeping the effects of the transaction, shrinking the amount of storage from its current 60GB for bitcoin to 1GB. So what does that mean? Your smartphone could act as a node.
Yes, you can start geeking out now.
At this time, Hashgraph isn’t available on public networks or ledgers, so no associated cryptocurrency is currently available. However, you can apply for an an enterprise or commercial license use on a private network by contacting Swirlds, the company that handles Hashgraphs licensing.
Like it or not, Millennials prefer Bitcoin over Stocks
(FINANCE NEWS) A new survey shows that the investment pendulum has swung to favor blockchain backed cryptocurrency over stocks when it comes to millennials.
Informed or not, Millennials prefer bitcoin over stocks. Could it be because “bitcoin” sounds cool and futuristic while “stock” sounds super boring? Studies haven’t officially evaluated my hypothesis, but let’s go with a maybe for now.
Venture capital firm Blockchain Capital’s survey of 2,000 people found that around 30 percent of the participants in the 18-34 age range would rather own $1000 of Bitcoin than $1000 of government stocks or bonds.
Additionally, of those surveyed, 42 percent of millennials were at least marginally familiar with bitcoin, while only 15 percent over age 65 knew of the concept.
On Wednesday bitcoin rose more than six percent to as high as $7,545, pushing the value of the cryptocurrency market over $200 billion for the first time ever. This time last year, bitcoin was worth around $700.
In the past year, cyrptocurrency has risen 600 percent. This is compared to measly gains of 15 percent for the S&P 500 Index. Despite the rise in value, only 2 percent of Americans currently own or have ever owned bitcoin according to Blockchain Capital’s survey.
However, as millennials become more involved in the investment force, this number is sure to increase. If U.S. regulators allow bitcoin ETFs, it may be even easier for new bitcoin buyers to enter the market.
According to Google Trends, more people are searching online for how to buy bitcoin that gold. Can you dive Scrooge McDuck style into a ludicrous pile of bitcoins? Well, no. But you also can’t have the Dothraki give you a melted bitcoin crown, so there’s that safety factor working in bitcoin’s favor.
What else is so appealing about bitcoin? Unlike traditional banks, the bitcoin network isn’t run by a centralized agency and has no physical backing. Instead, it’s run by a network of computers worldwide digitally keeping track of all transactions by storing records in a blockchain.
Since anyone can make an anonymous account, bitcoin gained notoriety a preferred method for drug dealers and ransom payment aficionados. However, the cryptocurrency is also accepted by many major businesses, including Overstock.com and eBay, for legal transactions.
Since there are no transaction or currency conversion fees, people in countries with high inflation can use bitcoin to avoid losing money. Plus, bitcoin makes international money transfers significantly faster than traditional methods.
While bitcoin certainly has proven fruitful for shady transactions, the rising popularity of cryptocurrency for legitimate uses indicates a market shift.
Venezuela cash crunch means workers won’t see money for months
(FINANCE NEWS) Venezuela is currently in a cash crunch due to a weakening oil market which means that Venezuelans won’t see pay for at least 5 months.
If you ever ran out of money as a broke 20-something, you know how nervewracking it can be to go without cash. Now, imagine you ran a country and ran out of money. Sweating yet?
Be glad you’re not Venezuela, who is extremely cash poor at the moment. According to coverage from Bloomberg, “more than $1.2 billion of the company’s debt is coming due in the next few days, and investors are showing less confidence that funds will be transferred.”
The country is already two weeks late to pay off several other bonds. Additionally, cargo ships full of crude oil have idled for months because Venezuela can’t pay for their supply of oil.
The biggest culprit for the cash shortage is the shrinking market for crude oil. PDVSA controls one of the large crude supplies in the world, and it’s been a lucrative export for the country. However, in three years, the price of oil has dropped by 50 percent.
The biggest demand for crude used to come from America, who would pay cash for the barrels; however, shipments are down 35 percent since August.
Part of that demand shortage is due to political sanctions, imposed on the country by the United States. In response to Maduro’s aggressive political maneuvering, which sought to arrest opposition leaders, “rewrite the constitution and strip power from Congress,” President Trump punished this behavior through sanctions on imports from Venezuela.
Because oil was such a lucrative export, PDVSA was targeted heavily by the sanctions. Oil importers don’t want to run afoul of these sanctions by buying crude from the country. That problem will get even worse if the sanctions increase, which Bloomberg predicts is likely to happen within the year.
There is a risk that PDVSA could default on its debt, which could have a huge impact on the oil economy. According to Bloomberg, if oil could be seized as an asset to cover for debts, oil traders will expect a significant discount to cover for that risk. That discount will sink overall oil revenue. This same problem came up when Ecuador, another large exporter of oil, defaulted on its debt in 2008.
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