Unlike their small business counterparts, corporate cards are highly customizable. When it comes to Visa and Mastercard, your corporate card benefits will largely be based on the arrangements you make with your bank. American Express, however, directly issues corporate cards, so you can do more comparing upfront than you otherwise could with a Visa or Mastercard.
How Do Amex Corporate Charge Cards Work?
For the most part, corporate cards are scaled-up versions of Amex’s personal and business credit cards, tailored to meet the needs of a larger business. To get a corporate card, your company will need to be formally incorporated as an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp. It will also need to have good credit and do over $4 million in revenue annually.
Be aware that Amex’s rewards system works a little differently for corporate cards. You won’t automatically be enrolled in the Corporate Membership Rewards program. You’ll have to sign up for the program and designate a primary account as the Master Program Administrator (MPA). The MPA can then designate up to five corporate cards for the program, including their own as program administrator (PA). These cardholders will have permission to redeem rewards. Three more cardholders can be designated as offline redeemers; these people can redeem points for certificates, gift cards, statement credit, and pay-with-points through telephone request only.
Up to 98 cards in total can be enrolled in a single Corporate Membership Rewards program. Unlike business and personal cards, there are no reward tiers. You spend $1, you get 1 point. The redemption value of a point varies depending on how youÂ spend your rewards. For example, 20,000 points translate to a $100 statement credit ($0.005 per point).
Now that we know how American Express corporate cards work on a basic level, let’s compare some specific corporate cards.
American Express Corporate Platinum
The prestige charge card of the Amex brand has long been Platinum. Like its personal and business counterparts, the Corporate Platinum card is centered around international travel and resort stays.
American Express Corporate Platinum
Corporate Membership Reward Cost Per Card
If you like the Amex Platinum perks and have the annual revenue to qualify, the Corporate Platinum card is actually the cheapest version, at least on a per card basis. The personal and business cards come with annual fees of $550 and $450, respectively. Of course, $395 per card can add up pretty quickly, so you probably won’t be handing one of these to every employee in your organization.
Each employee with a Corporate Platinum card will enjoy the following perks:
Lounge Access: Access to all locations of The Centurion Lounge. Access to Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Pass Select, and Airspace Lounges.
$100 Airline Fee Credit: Amex will reimburse the cardholder up to $100/yr. for incidental flight charges with a qualifying, selected airline.
Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: Members who pay in full with their Platinum Card receive complimentary upgrades and services at participating locations, subject to availability. This includes things like in-room Wi-Fi, breakfast amenities, room upgrades, and noon check-ins.
Fee Credit For Global Entry Or TSA Prev: Cardholders get one statement credit per four years for an application fee charged to the card.
American Express Corporate Gold
If the Corporate Platinum card is meant to keep the globetrotting, pampered executive in style, the Corporate Gold card is more oriented toward helping workers stay productive on the road.
American Express Corporate Gold
Corporate Membership Reward Cost Per Card
You can get three Corporate Gold cards for the price of a single Corporate Platinum card, so it’s a good choice for frugal corporations that want to reap Amex travel benefits for a large number of employees without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay a surcharge on each card you enroll inÂ the Corporate Membership Reward program. If you also factor in the $100 airline credit you get with the Platinum Card, the savings you’d get from going with the Gold Card evaporate pretty quickly. On the other hand, you may prefer the a la carte approach to your benefits.
Each employee with a Corporate Gold Card will enjoy the following perks:
Fee Credit For Global Entry Or TSA Prev: Cardholders get one statement credit per four years for an application fee charged to the card.
Boingo American Express Preferred Plan: Complimentary, unlimited Wi-Fi access at Boingo hotspots. You’ll also give five in-flight internet passes each year.
American Express Corporate Green Card
The Corporate Green Card is marketed toward occasional travelers and core employees. You won’t find a ton of frills here, but the Green Card may align with certain spending strategies.
American Express Corporate Green
Corporate Membership Reward Cost Per Card
The Corporate Green Card’s benefits are pretty sparse and enrolling in the reward’s program ends up being more expensive than your annual fee, so you’ll probably only be passing these out to streamline your employees’ travel expenses.
Each employee with a Corporate Gold Card will enjoy the following perks:
Business Travel Accident Insurance: Covers flights, cruises, train, or bus travel charged on the card
Baggage Insurance: Covers lost, stolen, or damaged baggage on flights, cruises, trains, or bus trip charged on the card.
American Express Business Extra Corporate Card
The Business Extra Card is specifically focused on corporations that use American Airlines and its partner carriers.
American Express Business Extra Corporate Card
Up to $55/card
Corporate Membership Reward Cost Per Card
Unlike the other three cards we’ve covered, the Business Extra Corporate Card comes with its own rewards program and is ineligible for the Corporate Membership Reward Program. If you don’t mind sacrificing the flexibility, it offers some nice perks at a low cost.
Each employee with a Corporate Gold Card will enjoy the following perks:
American Express Busines Extra Rebate: 1% – 4% rebate on the first $1.5 million spent on qualifying American Airlines flights.
Business Extra Reward Program: Your cards will be enrolled in this reward program. You’ll also get four points for every $20 spent on eligible American Airlines flights and one point per $20 spent on other eligible purchases.
American Airlines Flight Discounts: $50 discount for every $5,000 of eligible purchases, up to a maximum of $1,000 in discounts each year.
American Express’s Corporate Card offerings provide several different ways for large corporations to optimize their travel spending. Since they’re mostly just scaled-up versions of existing cards, smaller businesses that grow into larger corporations may find it easy to transition from business to corporate class cards.
Not big enough for a corporate card? Check out our comparison guides toÂ business credit cards, charge cards, and personal cards that are good for business expenses.
The post Choosing An American Express Corporate Card appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Project managers are often stereotyped as office stiffs with permanent stacks of Stick It notes in their back pockets, quietly and heroically keeping the wheels on the bus going round and round. However, real humans do not fit easily into stereotypes — and this one is simply too narrow to stand up to even mild scrutiny. After all, all kinds of fields have projects to manage, and many projects take form far from an office building.
For example, project managers based in the construction industry need a powerful suite of tools at their disposal: communication with contractors and clients, document storage, scheduling apps, and more. Beyond that, individual construction workers need features for time tracking, task management, schedule reminders, and communication. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the three best project management apps for construction workers.
But first, some criteria. To work well for construction projects, task management apps need scheduling and document sharing features, a simple and flexible UI that works well on the go, and, of course, an affordable monthlyÂ cost. Read on for a comprehensive look at the following three apps — the best of the best when it comes to construction project management.
Unlike the other two apps we will be covering, Monday.com (formerly dapulse) is not a bespoke project management app. It does, however, meet all of our criteria handily. Let’s start with the price.
Monday.com isÂ not the cheapest project management app I have ever covered. It is, however, entirely competitive and reasonably priced when compared with other, similar applications. There are a number of pricing plans ranging from “basic” to “enterprise.” The lower-priced plans (especially the “standard” plan, which grants 50 GB of storage) all provide the most valuable features of this productÂ and come down to less than $10/user/month if you have 50 or more employees. If you don’t want to worry about managing your storage space, you might want to spring for the “Pro” plan, which comes with unlimited file storage. You do, of course, pay extra for the storage, with the price coming down to around $12/user/month on that plan.
In terms of features, Monday.com ticks all of our boxes for construction. You get file storage (how much depends, of course, on your subscription level), scheduling, and communication with both team members and clients. The Gantt chart (or timeline) is particularly good; adding items to the chart and assigning them to team members is easy and making modifications to the schedule is as simple as clicking and dragging. If I had one complaint or reservation about Monday.com’s feature set, it would be that the timeline has no dependencies; the addition of this feature would make this app incredibly well-suited to construction work.
Monday.com boasts an extremely well-designed,Â highly unique, UI. That said, I test a lot of project management programs, so I was thrown off for a moment by the one-term-for-everything philosophy of this app. Basically, everything you do in Monday.com comes down to ‘Pulses.’ You can assignÂ team members or clients to a pulse, add deadlines, send messages, and even create hashtags for pulses. This methodology required an adjustment period for me, accustomed as I am to the more common “task-list” format of Monday.com’s competitors. Fortunately, I think that users that are new to project management applications will not find pulses as flummoxing, especially with the help of some good onboarding training.
Overall, If you are looking for a flexible, simple, and robustly-featured solution to your construction project management needs, I would encourage you to check out Monday.com and give the free trial a shot.
CoConstruct, unlike Monday.com, is a custom-built app for construction firms. Everything about this brand is construction-focused, from the name of the application itself to the marketing and support materials on the company’s website. And this seems to be a winning formula. In fact, CoConstruct is most highly reviewed construction project management app on Capterra.
Unfortunately, CoConstruct does not make their pricing options transparent. The closest thing they have to a standard price “list” is a short reference to the fact that prices “start at only $99/month.” There are references to other plans, but you must contact CoConstruct directly to get concrete details. Fortunately, with prices starting out relatively low (assuming you have 30+ employees), it seems likely that you will be able to get higher-level plans without breaking the bank.
CoConstruct is aÂ very full-featured program. The company breaks down its feature set into three categories: COmmunicate, COordinate, and COntrol. It is a pretty snazzy way to describe what this application can do.
The COmmunicate field deals with internal communications between employees and clients. This section of the application can handle estimating, bidding, proposals, and expense tracking. Crew members can even upload pictures from job sites to confirm completed work or detail potential issues.
The COordinate section of the app handles scheduling, task lists, time tracking, and more. I want to particularly highlight the time-tracking features, which function similarly to those ofÂ Tsheets (read our review) and Timely (read our review). It is cool to see features from other apps folded into this one; that represents saved money and time for you, the customer.
The final section of CoConstruct, COntrol, is all about financials. This covers, of course, the proposals, bidding, and estimates I mentioned earlier, but also long-term budgeting and an excellent Quickbooks (read our review) integration.
Most importantly, CoConstruct is easy to use. I have to admit, when I first looked through some of the screenshots from this app, I was worried. A few parts of the UI are pretty outdated, which in my experience can translate to a steep learning curve. Fortunately, in CoConstruct’ case, I was wrong. Yes, certain elements of CoConstruct’s UI are not exactly breathtaking, but most of the app is well-designed and solid. I especially like the mobile apps, which allow crew members and foremen to easily keep track of their tasks, communicate with clients and subcontractors, and more.
While it is a little annoying that CoConstruct keeps some things hidden until you reach out to them directly (like their pricing), in the end, their high customer satisfaction rate is entirely justified. If you are looking for a comprehensive project management solution for your construction business, this may be the one for you.
Considering the fact that it has users in over 40 countries, awards from reviewers, and over one million projects completed from within the app, it’s easy to see why BuildertrendÂ refers to itself as an industry standard for construction project management. With features that cover commercial construction, remodeling, and homebuilding, this app is designed to be your one-stop-shop for managing tasks, projects, and more.
Buildertrend’s pricing system, funnily enough, reminds me of CoConstruct’s. Like that program, Buildertrend starts at $99/month. We get a few more details with Buildertrend, however, including confirmation that this price includes unlimited users. That is fantastic, and it means that larger companies will find greater value using this app. On a less positive note, the baseline price only includes one project; if your firm handles multiple sites at one time, you will need to shell out the extra cash for more projects. Having said that, Buildertrend takes pains to assure users that adding another project does not double the price; it seems that the more projects you buy, the less you pay per project. Just like it should be! Note that there is no free trial; if you choose to buy Buildertrend, you will have to do so without directly testing it first. Fortunately, there are plenty of in-depth videos to help give you an idea of exactly you will be paying for.
Buildertrend’s extensive feature set is divided into four categories: “Pre-Sale Process” features, “Project Management” features, “Financial Tools” features, and “Customer Management” features. There are 21 individual items within these categories, so rather than trying to explain everything here in this limited space, I want to point out some of my favorites.
First things first: One of those pre-sale features includes email marketing. I love it when apps combine features from other kinds of software into one place because it means that you, the user, are getting a more streamlined experience for a lower price. While the email builder is definitely less snazzy than some of the dedicated email marketing apps out there, it does the job well.
In terms of project management features, one of my favorites is the document markup tool. Need to make a change to a blueprint? Mark it in the document. Want to make sure a particular detail gets noticed? Highlight it in the document.
The last thing I want to highlight in terms of features comes from the customer management section. When decisions about color, style, and more need to be made, you can send your customers their options so they can quickly and easily get back to you.
Buildertrend is surprisingly simple to use, considering the number of features available. The best part of this is the full-featured mobile app. And I do mean full-featured–Â all 21Â features are directly accessible from within the app and can be used on the go. Very few project management platforms makeÂ everything usable on the go, and it says a lot about the priorities of the team behind Buildertrend that they have gone that route. In an industry that is all about being out in the field, it seems like a wise choice indeed.
If you are looking for a full-featured, flexible, and easy-to-use project management app for your construction firm, I highly recommend heading over to Buildertrends website and checking them out.
If I had to pick one of these three apps, I think it would have to be Buildertrend. I like that they focus on serious, thorough, construction-focused project management without losing accessibility. CoConstruct is very similar, but I think Buildertrend is just a bit more usable. Having said that, it may just come down to personal preference regarding which one of these three you choose.
If you are working with a small team, Monday.com might be your best bet. If you represent a larger company, CoConstruct or Buildertrend might be better fits for you. Regardless, one of these apps will certainly provide you the tools you need to get out there and get building.
The post Top 3 Project Management Apps For Construction Firms appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
It’s not hard to find articles that compare personal or business credit cards. But where are the ones comparing corporate credit cards?
At the corporate scale, you aren’t usually dealing with pre-designed deals and packages. If you’re big enough to qualify for a corporate account, your business likely has complex and very specific needs. The arrangements you make with your issuing financial institution will probably be unique to your company.
As you can imagine, this makes it very difficult to definitively rank corporate cards. Two businesses may get a corporate card from the same bank and have significantly different terms on their card.
Since we can’t tell you which card is the best for your particular situation, we’ll look at the factors that you should keep in mind when you’re evaluating your corporate credit card offer.
What Are Your Responsibilities?
Most corporate credit cards will require your company to meet some prerequisites to obtain and keep a card. These usually include:
Earning over $4 million in revenue annually
Opening a minimum number of cards on the corporate account
Paying any applicable annual fees
You’ll want to evaluate the costs of the annual fee, which typically consists of a base fee and an additional per card fee. While these fees won’t break the bank for a company earning over $4 million, you don’t want to have to pay more than necessary for the perks you receive.
Who Is The Credit Card Provider?
Visa, Mastercard, and American Express all offer corporate credit cards.
As is the case with personal and small business cards, Visa and Mastercard don’t issue the cards directly, instead selling their services to banking institutions, which in turn issue you a corporate card. Some of the benefits offered by your card will be common to all Visa or Mastercard corporate cards. These include things like auto rental coverage and aspects of your customer service. Overall, the banking institution you choose will be a bigger factor for what services you receive than whether your card is serviced by Visa or Mastercard.
American Express, on the other hand, directly issues their cards. Amex corporate offerings will be more familiar to you if you’ve ever perused their personal and business credit cards. In fact, you’ll notice that their corporate cards are largely scaled-up versions of their personal and business credit cards — there’s a corporate Platinum Card, for example.
How Does The Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Work?
Commercial vehicle rental coverage is offered with most corporate cards. This is usually offered through the credit card company itself rather than the issuing bank.
These programs will usually cover collision and theft of the vehicle, but not necessarily any contents within the cars. There are restrictions on what types of vehicles are covered and under what circumstances. For example, Visa will cover SUVs, but only so long as they are road-safe.
You’ll also want to know how the coverage works both within the United States and internationally. Again using Visa as an example, your damage waiver will function as primary coverage when you’re out of the country and secondary while you’re within. Secondary insurance policies pick up fees and charges that your primary policy does not.
Look over the fine print of your policy, or better yet, have your accounting team do it so that you’ll be able to create guidelines for how your employees should use their coverage to rent vehicles.
How Is The Rewards Program Set Up?
Though they’re not as big of a selling point for corporate credit cards, rewards programs can still add value to your account by returning a percentage of your expenditures back to you as cash, statement credit, gift cards, flyer miles, or points you can spend through other reward programs.
To get the most out of your reward program, you’ll want to know what types of expenses your employees will be putting on their corporate cards. If they’re concentrated in a particular area — like travel expenses — you’ll want a reward card that reimburses those expenses at a high rate.
Do You Want To Make Individual Or Company Payments?
Because corporate cards are meant to be used by multiple employees, there are two different ways to set up your payment systems. You’ll want to be sure your bank offers the setup of your preference.
One configuration is to have the company directly pay the balance on all of the cards. In this case, you’ll probably want to design a policy to determine what types of expenses the cards can be used for.
The other is to have your employees each be responsible for their own cards and then submit expense reports so the company can reimburse them for qualifying expenses.
In both cases, you can work with your issuer to set spending limits.
While you can’t directly compare corporate cards the same way you can compare small business and personal cards, you can approach the negotiations with a firm sense of what features and services you want your issuer to offer. Since you’ll be setting policies for employee usage, you’ll want to be able to clearly define when the cards should or shouldn’t be used.
If your business isn’t up to the corporate scale yet, but you’re still looking for a card, check out our small business, personal credit, and charge card guides.
The post A Guide To Choosing The Best Corporate Credit Cards appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
By now, if you keep up with developments in the business world (or if you’ve had to raise funds for a loved one in need), you’re likely familiar with crowdfunding giants like Kickstarter (see our review), Indiegogo (see our review),Â Patreon (see our review), and GoFundMe (see our review). The biggest crowdfunding platforms also tend to have the most marketing resources at their disposal, so it’s little wonder if you’ve heard of them and not their smaller competitors.
Big crowdfunders have their places, but it’s high time some of smaller, more specialized crowdfunding sites out there got a little attention. Many such platforms are aimed at a particular slice of the crowdfunding market and may be better suited to your particular cause than some of the more general-purpose crowdfunders.
Let’s explore some of the specialty crowdfunding sites that can help you raise money for your distinct needs.
Small Business & Startup Crowdfunding
Fundable (see our review) is a business crowdfunding platform with a particular appeal to small businesses and startups that have exponential growth potential. With Fundable, a company can launch a rewards crowdfunding campaign or an equity crowdfunding campaign…or even both!
Fundable won’t let you run a rewardsÂ campaign and an equity campaign simultaneously, but if you play your cards right, you can use a successful rewardsÂ campaign to demonstrate the strength of your startup to investors and begin a successful equity campaign. (Read my article on the differences between equity crowdfunding and “traditional” crowdfunding for more information.)
Fundable is more exclusive than many otherÂ crowdfunding platforms and must approve your Company Profile after you’ve finished filling out your company information on their site.
Fundable doesn’t charge a percentage of what you raise as a fee, departing from the practice of such crowdfunding platforms as Kickstarter and Patreon, which charge 5% each. Instead, Fundable charges a flat rate of $179/month. For the underresourced startup, this monthly fee is a substantial barrier to entry — particularly as the fee must be paid regardless of whether your campaign is successful. For the small business that expects success, however, this fee policy can be a boon. Consider the startup that successfully raises $50K in a 60-day campaign. $358 is a lot less than $2,500 (5% of $50K)!
You will, however, have to contend with payment processing fees. For its rewards campaigns, Fundable takes 3.5% + $0.30 of each transaction to cover payment processing. There are no such fees associated with Fundable’s equity campaigns because those campaigns do not involve online payment transfers — all payments are made offline.
Like Kickstarter, Fundable has an all-or-nothing funding policy. If you don’t reach your funding goal by the time your campaign ends, you don’t get anything. Something to keep in mind!
Wefunder (see our review) is another crowdfunding platform that specializes in business funding. Unlike Fundable, it is exclusively an equity crowdfunding site. And while Fundable’s equity campaigns only allow you to fundraise from accredited investors (a term that essentially refers to rich people), Wefunder’s equity campaigns take advantage of Title III of the Jobs Act of 2012 to offer equity crowdfunding for non-accredited investors (often referred to as Regulation Crowdfunding). What this means is that Wefunder lets you raise equity from anybody and everybody, just as you can raise money from anyone with rewards crowdfunding.
Wefunder is the largest Regulation Crowdfunding platform in existence, currently comprising 50% of the market share.
Wefunder takes a more relaxed approach to letting companies use their platform than does Fundable. Wefunder doesn’t do any prescreening, so there’s no initial bar to clear. Once you’ve started, Wefunder charges an initial non-recurring fee of $195 to launch your funding campaign. They then charge, in their words, “up to a 7% fee” of what your raise in a successful campaign. Conducting a Regulation Crowdfunding raise with Wefunder means accepting this relatively onerous fee policy. Payment processing fees are paid by the investors.
Like Fundable, Wefunder’s crowdfunding campaigns employ the all-or-nothing funding model, so if you take your business fundraising idea to Wefunder, you’d better have a detailed plan of action and the means to follow through on it. If your campaign doesn’t live up to its billing and you don’t reach your goal, no funding for you.
When it comes to crowdfunding to pay for medical expenses, GoFundMe receives the lion’s share of attention. A recent NerdWallet study found that $930 million of the $2 billion raised on GoFundMe during the time period studied went towards medical campaigns. However, as I documented in my GoFundMe review, quite a few campaigners have had serious issues with the company and its practices. Let’s take a look at some GoFundMe alternatives for those Americans (curiously enough, it’s just about always Americans) seeking to crowdfund their medical expenses or those of a loved one.
Of all the crowdfunding platforms focused on human need, YouCaring is probably the most well-known of the non-GoFundMe crowdfunders. How does YouCaring stack up?
GoFundMe recently garnered some good press byÂ eliminating its 5% platform fee for campaigns based in the US and Canada. YouCaring does them one better: Its campaigns have no platform fees no matter where the campaigner is based. Both platforms do, however, takeÂ 2.9% + $0.30 out of each donation to cover the cost of payment processing while asking donors to voluntarily contribute money to the platform to help keep it going.
One thing that comes across when perusing user reviews of YouCaring is that its customer service is second to none — the level of responsiveness described is unusual for a crowdfunding site. YouCaring offers real-time chat support and personalized coaching that helps guide users through the crowdfunding process.
YouCaring has facilitated the raising of $900 million since its founding in 2011, so it has an established track record of success. The site is definitely worth exploring if you or someone close to you needs help with medical expenses.
GoGetFunding is another crowdfunding platform focused on personal crises like medical episodes (though they let you crowdfund for any and all causes). You can raise funds in 23 currencies with GoGetFunding.
In one respect, however, GoGetFunding has fallen a bit behind the times. In its FAQ, GoGetFunding proclaims that itsÂ platform fee of 4% is “lower than all of our major competitors.” Now, this may have been true when written, but it is no longer true. If you take a trip down memory lane, you’ll recall that I mentioned that YouCaring and GoFundMe have no platform fees. (With all due respect to GoGetFunding, 4% is not lower than 0%.)
Beyond the 4% platform fee, 2.9% + $0.25-$0.30 per transaction is taken by the payment processor — roughly the same payment processing fees as GoFundMe and YouCaring.
Anyone choosing GoGetFunding over its immediate competitors is accepting the 4% fee, so let’s see what you get for that money. GoGetFunding lets you add team members to your crowdfunding campaign if you want to make your campaign a team effort. You also get PayPal support, a personal fundraising coach, and PR to help promote your campaign to the media.
Crowdfunding For Filmmakers
Seed&Spark is a crowdfunding platform devoted to funding the production of movies and shows. Not only that, but the rate of funding success for Seed&Spark projects is 75%, which (Seed&Spark claims) beats all other competitors in this particular field — a claim that seems to have been corroborated by a blogger.
Seed&Spark’s fee policy is unique in the industry. Seed&Spark takes 5% of donations — the same rate as Kickstarter — but offers backers the chance to cover that fee at checkout. According to Seed&Spark, a majority of backers do so. In addition, the platform charges 2.9% + $0.30 for payment processing (same as most competitors). Combine this with the fact that, according to Seed&Spark, filmmakers take home an average of 95% of what they raise, and it appears the average platform fee paid by Seed&Spark creators is 2% — not bad at all for a non-personal crowdfunder!
Seed&Spark’s funding model is a hybrid of the all-or-nothing approach favored by Kickstarter and the keep-what-you-raise approach adopted by other crowdfunders. With Seed&Spark, you get to keep what you raise only after reaching 80% of your funding goal.
Once you’ve had a successful campaign and you actually complete your movie or show, you can even choose to have it distributed by Seed&Spark. If you do, the revenue will be split 60/40, with the creator getting 60%. Subscribers to Seed&Spark will then be able to stream your movie or show at seedandspark.com as well as on Apple TV and Roku through Seed&Spark’s app.
Slated is an equity crowdfunding platform devoted to movie production. Launch a Slated project and you’ll be marketing your film concept to a select crowd of accredited investors, many of whom work in the film industry (producers, writers, directors, actors, etc.). In fact, according to Slated, 68% of the films appearing at Sundance in 2016 and 54% of 2016’s Oscar-nominatedÂ films were made by Slated members. Using Slated is a way to get exposure for your project among the very people in the industry who matter.
With Slated, all funds are transferred offline — not great for convenience, but it means you won’t be paying any fees on what you earn.
The platform is free to use, but if you want any real likelihood of meeting your goal, you’ll want to useÂ Slated Analytics’ Script Analysis service. Use this service and three Slated members — industry insiders with experience doing exactly this — will pore over your script and assess its screen-worthiness. Only one of the three pros who read your script has to give it a passing grade for it to earn an official recommendation. Your score will prove vital to your ability to attract investors and secure funding. The script analysis costs $395 per draft, while the combined script and financial analysis package will set you back $995.
Crowdfunding For Musicians
PledgeMusic is a crowdfunding platform for musicians. It gives bands and other performers the ability to get their music funded, connect with their fans, and offer exclusive content. According to PledgeMusic’s FAQ:
“You can run a project around your new album or EP, a book, a DVD, a concert tourâ¦anything youâre doing, as long as itâs centered around music!”
In addition to being a crowdfunding platform, PledgeMusic also hosts your music. This may explain why PledgeMusic takes a sizable 15% cut of what you raise in a successful campaign (thankfully, you won’t have to cover the payment processing costs). Furthermore, PledgeMusic is an all-or-nothing crowdfunder. You’ve got to hit your funding goal before you receive anything.
PledgeMusic will work with you in designing your campaign and in tweaking the look of your store page. The platform is designed to allow you to offer both digital downloads (tracks, albums, etc.) and physical products like instruments, backstage passes,Â and swag.
ArtistShare is a crowdfunding platform so old that it predates the term “crowdfunding.” Founded in 2001 and launched in 2003, ArtistShare was the first “fan-funding” site for creative artists.
ArtistShare is much more of an exclusive club than the other crowdfunding sites I’ve covered in this article. The company must pre-approve you before you can raise funds on the site, and judging by the artists on the platform, ArtistShare favors polished jazz and classical musicians.
ArtistShare takes 5% of what you raise in fees. They take an additional 3-5% for payment processing fees.
ArtistShare’s funding model isn’t quite all-or-nothing and it isn’t quite keep-what-you-raise either. With ArtistShare, if you don’t hit your funding goal, you will only receive funds from backers who clicked the “Unconditional Support” option when making their contribution. Thus, if your project doesn’t reach its goal, you’ll still get some funding, but you won’t get everything that was pledged.
If crowdfunding makes sense for your particular situation, there’s no reason you have to follow the herd and go with the big boys. There are plenty of specialty crowdfunding sites out there, only a few of which I’ve covered here. You may find that a niche crowdfunding site can offer you particular benefits — benefits you might not get with a more general-purpose crowdfunder.
The post The Best Specialty Crowdfunding Sites appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Invoice factoring — selling unpaid invoices to a factoring company in exchange for immediate cash — is a useful financing tool for certain businesses. If your business, like many others, has slow-paying customers that affect your cash flow, invoice factoring might help you manage your finances.Â But how, exactly, does invoice factoring work? And should your business use factoring services? Keep reading to find out!
Invoice Factoring Basics
Invoice factoring is essentially a sales transaction in which a business sells their unpaid invoices to a factoring company, at a discount, in exchange for immediate cash. Typically, the factoring company will hold a percentage of the invoice value in reserve; when the customer pays, the company will send you that money, less the factoring fee.
Factoring is generally used to solve cash flow problems caused by slow-paying customers. Instead of waiting 60, 90, or even 180 days for a customer to pay, the business can sell the invoice to a factoring company to get the cash needed to maintain business operations or take on new projects.
A factoring arrangement might look like this:Â You sell an invoice valued at $5,000 to a factoring company. The factoring company sends you $4,500 (90% of the invoice value) and keeps $500 on reserve. Your factoring fee is 0.06% per week. Your customer pays after 35 days, or 5 weeks, so your fee is $180 ($30 per week). The factor deducts their fee, and sends the remaining reserve, totaling $320, to you.
Invoice Factoring Eligibility
If you run a B2B business and you invoice your customers, chances are you’re a good candidate for invoice factoring.
Unlike with many other types of business financing, your business’s revenue and creditworthiness are not especially large considerations when determining eligibility; invoice factors are more concerned with the creditworthiness of your customersÂ because your customers are the ones paying the bills. So, even if you own a young business without a financial track record, or you don’t make very much money, or you have poor personal credit, you might still be eligible for invoice factoring.
Is Invoice Factoring Right For My Business?
You may be eligible for invoice factoring, but should you use a factoring service? There are a lot of pros to factoring your invoices, but it’s not a perfect fit for all businesses. To determine whether factoring is right for your situation, ask yourself these questions:
Are my finances suffering due to slow-paying customers?
Slow-paying customers can affect many areas of your business. If you aren’t paid for your work until months after you have completed the job, you might have trouble meeting business expenses, purchasing inventory and supplies, paying employees, or paying for overhead costs. If this is the case, invoice factoring can be a simple way to ensure that you have the working capital you need.
However, invoice factoring is not always cheap, which is why you need to consider this next question:
Can I afford invoice factoring?
In general, factoring fees (called discount rates) range from about 1% – 6% of the invoice value per month, depending on the particulars of your factoring arrangement and how high-risk your client is. If you sell an invoice from a particularly slow-paying client, and you have a high factoring rate, you could wind up paying around 18% of the invoice value in fees for the opportunity to get your money sooner.
Many invoice factors also charge additional fees for factoring services. You might be charged money transfer fees, servicing fees, monthly minimums, or other expenses, which can add up over time. Head over to our explanation of factoring rates and fees to learn about discount rates and other commonly charged fees.
All that said, your fees will depend on a number of components, including the factoring company you are working with, the creditworthiness of your customers, the number and size of the invoices you want to sell, the industry your business is in, and other considerations. You will have to look at your options and decide whether the cost is worth it to your business.
Even if you decide that you need a financial solution, invoice factors most likely aren’t your only option.
Would an alternative financing solution work better?
Now, more than ever, businesses have a plethora of financial solutions available. While invoice factoring might seem like the perfect solution to your cash flow problems, the following might be a better fit:
Asset-Backed Lines Of Credit:Â These credit lines can be backed by unpaid invoices or (occasionally) assets like inventory or other receivables. The amount you are able to borrow depends on the value of your collateral. Asset-backed lines of credit work similarly to invoice factoring, but might offer more flexibility in some ways. These credit lines also tend to have lower rates than financing that isn’t backed by anything, so you might qualify for low rates and fees in comparison to other options.
Revolving Lines Of Credit:Â With a revolving line of credit, the amount you are able to borrow replenishes as you repay your debts. While some revolving lines of credit are backed by collateral, some simply require you to sign a personal guarantee and/or pledge general business assets via a blanket lien. With this type of financing, you’ll always have money available when you need it. And because you repay weekly or monthly, you don’t have to worry about getting fined because your customers forgot to pay their bills. Head over to our article on business lines of credit to learn more about this type of financing, or scanÂ this list of our favorite lines of credit if you’re interested in learning about your options.
Business Credit Cards:Â Business credit cards can be useful if you need cash short-term for business expenses. You can put many purchases on credit cards and repay them on a timetable that works for you. However — especially if you tend to carry a balance — you might want to consider other options, because credit cards have notoriously high rates and fees. If you’re looking for a business credit card, check out some of our favorites.
Small Business Loans: If you only need funds one time, or if you need a large sum of money, a small business loan might be a good bet. Some lenders have long application processes, but many, including PayPal Working Capital and OnDeck, can let you know if you’re eligible within a very short time period. Most small business loans come in the form of installment loans or short-term loans. Small business loans can be used for a number of purposes, such as working capital, payroll, inventory purchasing, and other uses.
If you’ve decided that invoice factoring is a potential solution for your business, good for you! Invoice factoring can be a very viable way to maintain cash flow for your business, especially if you tend to get bogged down by slow-paying customers.
Interested in learning more? The following resources provide additional information about invoice factoring and may assist you to find the right factor for your business:
A Basic Introduction To Invoice Factoring:Â Invoice factoring basics, including what to look out for, a basic explanation of fees, and alternative services to factoring
Understanding Invoice Factoring Rates & Fees:Â An in-depth look at factoring rates and fees, including the variables that affect your rates, the three most common fee structures and their differences, and other fees you might have to look out for.
Spot Factoring vs. Invoice Factoring: A guide to help you determine whether your business should choose a spot factoring service, a high-volume factoring service, or some other alternative service.
Merchant Maverick’s comprehensive reviews of invoice factoring servicesÂ provide honestÂ and thorough assessments of some of the most popular invoice factoring services available.
The post Is Invoice Factoring Right For Your Small Business? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Are you ready to start accepting credit and debit cards from your customers? Do you want your customers to be able to pay their invoices directly online? You’ve come to the right place.
Here at Merchant Maverick, we know payment processing can be a tricky concept to wrap your mind around. Finding the best option for your business isn’t always easy. The good news is we’ve done the hard work for you. The even better news? Each of these payment processors integrates directly with your accounting software to make your life that much easier.
This post will discuss five of the top payment processors that integrate directly with accounting software. We’ll cover the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is best for your small business. And we’ve even created a handy chart to help you compare all the payment processors that integrate with major accounting programs.
But before we begin, let’s cover a few basics about payment processing.
If you’re already a payment processing pro, feel free to skip this section and continue on to our top picks for best payment processing integrations. Or visit our merchant account reviews to see more payment processing options.
A Brief Intro To Payment Processing
There are two different types of payment processing companies — merchant accounts and payment service providers (or PSPs).
Merchant Account:Â A merchant account is an individual account that connects your business directly to a payment processor so you can accept credit cards and debit cards. When your customer pays with a card and the payment clears their banking institution, the transaction will be deposited directly into your bank account through your merchant account.
Payment Service Provider:Â A payment service provider also allows you to accept credit cards and debit cards. However, instead of creating an individual account, a PSP will lump all of your transactions into a shared account where multiple merchants transactions are stored.
So which one should you use? There are a lot of factors to consider, including your business type, the size of the transactions you’re processing, the number of transactions you process per month, and whether or not you are considered a “high-risk” merchant.
According to our merchant account expert, Tom DeSimone:
If you plan to process large transactions ($300 or more) or a sizeable monthly volume in card payments (about $10K or more, NOT INCLUDING cash and checks), you will want a merchant account to get the best rates.
On the other hand, he says this about PSPs:
While transactions fees might be a little higher than if you had your own merchant account, PSPs usually do not charge a monthly fee or other schedule fees. You just pay for what you use, which is ideal for businesses that only process sporadically.
It’s pretty simple, really. If you plan on processing large transactions or lots of transactions every month, a merchant account will probably be the way to go. If you’re a smaller business that doesn’t process much and needs a pay as you go option,Â a PSP might be a better choice.
There are other pros and cons to consider with each type of payment processing company, however.
We borrowed this handy chart from our Beginner’s Guide To Payment Processing to help you better understand the differences between merchant accounts and PSPs:
There is one more important concept to cover before we move on. In addition to merchant accounts and PSPs, you might encounterÂ payment gateways.
If you’ve ever bought anything online, you’re already familiar with this concept (whether you know it or not):
Payment Gateway: A payment gatewayÂ allows you to accept credit and debit cardsÂ online. Payment gateways use either merchant accounts or PSPs to connect your business and your customer’s banking institution so you get paid.
Payment gateways account for some of the most common accounting integrations (think PayPal and Stripe).
In order to integrate your accounting software to a payment gateway, you will need to establish an account with that gateway provider. Depending on the payment gateway you choose, you may need to set up a merchant account or PSP account. Your payment gateway may require that you use a specific merchant account or PSP of theirs, or they may offer a payment gateway and merchant account or PSP bundle.
I know this is a lot to take in, believe me, but it gets easier from here. Now you can sit back, relax, and learn about our top five favorite payment processing integrations for accounting software.
Fattmerchant integrates with QuickBooks Online.
Fattmerchant (see our review) is a merchant account provider that was founded in 2014. This company sets itself apart by offering subscription-based pricing, making it competitive and potentially more affordable than other merchant accounts. Fattmerchant also offers 24/7 customer support and receives positive feedback from the majority of its customers.
Products & Services
Fattmerchant supports the following products and services:
Countertop terminals (pricing not disclosed)
Point of Sale (POS) integrations
One mobile card reader ($75 for each additional reader)
Shopping cart integration
eCheck services ($29/mo + $0.25 per transaction)
The company does not have its own payment gateway, but Fattmerchant is compatible with Authorize.Net, Payeezy, or the TSYS Payment Gateway. It will set you up with a free gateway or integrate with your existing one.
Fattmerchant offers two pricing plans that are paid monthly. There is no locked-in contract and no early termination fees for either plan.
Basic: $99/mo + $0.08 per transaction for retail ($0.15 per transaction for ecommerce)
Enterprise: $199/mo + $0.05 per transaction for retail ($0.10 for ecommerce)
If you’re looking for an affordable, honest merchant account, Fattmerchant is one of the best. This option is good for businesses looking for a predictable monthly subscription plan. Fattmerchant does not provide high-risk merchant accounts and may not be a good value for small businesses with low payment processing.
Read our full Fattmerchant review to learn more and see if thisÂ affordable merchant account option is right for you.
CDGcommerce integrates with QuickBooks Online.
CDGcommerce (see our review) is a merchant account provider with over 20 years of payment processing experience. This company is geared toward small to medium-sized business and also operates on a monthly subscription pricing model. A free payment gateway is included with every CDGcommerce merchant account. The company also sets itself apart with an impressive client retention rate and excellent customer support.
Products & Services
CDGcommerce supports the following products and services:
One credit card terminal (with a $79/yr insurance fee)
Optional security service
Data analytics and reports
CDGcommerce offers a free payment gateway. Users can choose between Quantum or Authorize.Net.
CDGcommerce has two types of pricing: simplified pricing and advanced pricing. Simplified pricing rates depend on your business type and size.
Online: Interchange + 0.30% + $0.15 per transaction
Retail:Â Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10 per transaction
POS:Â Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10 per transaction
Mobile:Â Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10 per transaction
Non-Profit:Â Interchange + 0.20% + $0.10 per transaction
Advanced pricing offers discounts for business with a processing volume of $10,000+ each month. There are no long-term contracts or early terminations fees for either pricing structure. Check out our complete CDGcommerce review for more pricing details. To learn more about interchange and interchange-plus pricing, readÂ Trading Ease For Transparency With Interchange Plus.
CDGcommerce is a scalable company with an impressive number of products and services. The free credit card terminal is also a huge plus. The only catch with this company is that it is limited to merchants in the US.
If you’d like to learn more about CDGcommerce, read our full CDGcommerce review.
Square integrates with QuickBooks Online, Xero, Zoho Books, Kashoo, and Kashflow.
You’re probably familiar with the swipe-based payment processing system known as Square. SquareÂ (see our review) is one of the leaders in mobile processing. It offers great features including inventory, invoicing, and customer management features. And to top it off, Square has a ton of integrations.
Products & Services
Square supports the following products and services:
Gift cards ($2 per card)
Shopping cart integrations
Payroll ($25/mo + $5/mo per employee)
Square offers standard fees with no interchange-plus pricing. There are no monthly fees, no locked-in contracts, and no early termination fees.
Standard Swipe Transactions: 2.75% per transaction
Square Register Swipe Transactions: 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction
Virtual Terminal Transactions: 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction
eCommerce & Invoice Transactions:Â 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Square offers several add-ons and additional monthly services. Be sure to read our complete Square review for more pricing details.
If you’re looking for a mobile payment processor, this is one of the most well-known and developed options. Square is good for small businesses with low processing volumes and can be an affordable choice. However, Square is not meant for high-risk merchants or companies with a large processing volume as the company is known to hold funds and suddenly terminate accounts.
To learn if Square is the right payment processing option for your business, check out our full Square reviewÂ or read our post:Â Is Square Right For Your Business?.
Authorize.Net integrates with QuickBooks Online, Xero, Zoho Books, FreshBooks (classic), and Microsoft Dynamics.
Authorize.Net (see our review) is a payment gateway that was founded in 1996; it has since supported over 400,000 merchants. Not only does Authorize.Net allow you to accept online payments from customers, it also has a checkout feature, recurring billing, contact management, and fraud protection. In addition, the company offers good customer support and key accounting integrations.
Products & Services
Authorize.Net supports the following products and services:
Mobile payments app
Supports mobile card reader ($42-$98 per reader)
Apple pay support
Customer information management
eChecks (additional cost)
If you have a merchant account, Authorize.net is designed to be compatible with your existing merchant account.
If you don’t have a merchant account, you can have Authorize.Net set you up with one. Or, you can choose a merchant account provider that partners directly with Authorize.Net. If you want to go this route, we recommend Dharma Merchant Services, one of our all-time favorite payment processing providers.
Authorize.Net offers two pricing plans: a gateway-only plan and a gateway + merchant account plan. There are no-long terms contracts or cancellations fees (but this may vary depending on your merchant account provider).
Note: If you are using a merchant account provider that partners with Authorize.Net, your merchant account may lower or even waive certain fees. Read our complete Authorize.Net review for more pricing details so you can make sure you get the best deal.
If you’re looking for a payment gateway, Authorize.Net is a great option. It boasts excellent customer service and tons of features to cover most business needs. One important thing to remember is that Authorize.Net is not good for data exporting.Â Pricing can also be expensive if you sign up with Authorize.Net directly, so make sure you explore all of your options before deciding.
Read ourÂ full Auhorize.Net review for more information.
Braintree integrates with QuickBooks Online, Xero, Sage One, FreshBooks (classic), and Saasu.
Braintree (see our review) offers both merchant accounts and payment gateways. This processing company was established in 2007 and offers impressive features, multiple currency options, and excellent customer support. Flat-rate pricing and ample integrations are also a huge plus.
Products & Services
Braintree supports the following products and services:
Braintree comes paired with its own payment processing, but merchants can choose to use a different merchant account with the Braintree gateway for an added fee.
Braintree has a simple pricing plan. There are no monthly fees, setup fees, gateway fees, or early termination fees. Instead, you’ll pay a competitive, standard rate:
2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
IfÂ you only want to use the Braintree gateway and not its payment processing, then you’ll have to pay a flat fee of $49 per month plus $0.10 per transaction instead.
We like Braintree so much that it even outranks PayPal and Stripe in our books. However, Braintree is not suited for high-risk merchantsÂ and certain types of businesses are prohibited from using Braintree.
Read our complete Braintree review for more details and to see if this merchant account and payment gateway provider is a good fit for your business.
Which Is Right For Me?
If you’ve learned anything from this post, it’s that when it comes to payment processing there are lots of options to choose from. The right payment processing provider for your business will depend on whether you’re looking for a merchant account or a payment gateway (or a combo of both), plus the number of transactions you process and the extra features your company requires.
One of the main things you should consider is which providers integrate with your accounting software. This will narrow down your decision quite a bit.
While we named some of our favorite companies above, there are several other common payment processing accounting integrations, including PayPal, Stripe, forte, and GoCardless. To make your search for the perfect payment processor easier, we’ve created a chart of the most common accounting programs and the payment processing providers they integrate with.
GoCardless, Global Payments,Â PayPal, Square,
BluePay, PayPal,Â Stripe
GoCardless, PayPal,Â PayPoint
Note: The above integrations are always changing and may vary by country. Check with your accounting software directly for the most up-to-date information.
Remember that when you are choosing the perfect payment processor to integrate with your accounting solution, you can never do enough research. Be sure to check out our merchant account reviews to learn how each software stacks up in terms of features, value for your money, and reliability. If you’re interested in learning more about payment processing, you can also download our free Beginner’s Guide To Payment Processing to learn to evaluate your options, negotiate a good merchant account contract, and more.
Best of luck, and stay tuned for more payment processing tips and tricks from the Merchant Maverick team. If you’d like to do more reading on the subject, the following articles will point you in the right direction:
The Complete Guide to Online Credit Card Processing With a Payment Gateway
Are You A High-Risk Merchant?
The 5 Best Small Business Credit Card Processing Companies
The post Best Payment Processing Integrations For Accounting Software appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
You probably know that a large portion of your traffic numbers in Google Analytics is either bullsh*t, spam, or straight-up wrong.
But you know that already. Even if you are tracking everything that you should track – there are still plenty of “unknown unknowns” in Google Analytics.
Like the fact that you did not know that Google Analytics does not track right-clicks (or any non-left click).
Think about how you browse the Internet. Right-clicking all the time, right?
Now think about those PDF downloads and external clicks that you are tracking as Goals in Google Analytics.
Yep – all wrong.
So here’s how to fix it – and track right-click events in Google Analytics as goals.
Phase 1 – Gathering Data in Google Tag Manager
For this part, I owe 100% of my knowledge to Jules Stuifbergen. You can read his guide to setting this up in Google Tag Manager here. And if your team needs help with Google Tag Manager, you should hire him – he’s awesome.
Either way – here’s how I implemented his guide along with my clarifications.
1. Setup a Click Listener Tag
This tag is going to hang out on your page “listening” for a mousedown action on a right or middle mouse button. Here’s what it looks like.
Now your page should be “listening” for a mousedown function.
2. Setup Data Layer Variables
Now – you want to be able to capture and categorize the events in the Data Layer. That’s where Variables come in.
These are critical for your future goal tracking.
Like my click events in Google Analytics, I’m going to want the link target and the link text.
So head to your data variables area.
Now set up the data layer variables to match the variables to be sent by the listener tag.
Be sure to pay attention to the name you use for the Variables. That’s going to come in later.
3. Set up the Trigger for Google Analytics
Now that we have a listener tag firing on Pageview / DOM Ready and sending the variables that we want – we need to get a Trigger ready for our Google Analytics Tag.
Go to Triggers and add a new Custom Event Trigger.
Make it fire on nonleft.linkclick, using Regex match.
The Regex is because in the Listener Tag – you are listening for both right and middle clicks. The Regex will capture both.
Ok – now we are tracking non-left clicks in Google Tag Manager…but not Google Analytics.
If you need clarification on this Phase – check out Jules’ post for a different perspective.
But let’s move to Phase 2 of the process.
Phase 2 – Gathering & Using Data in Google Analytics.
For this phase, we’re going to pull the Google Tag Manager Data Layer Variables into Google Analytics. Then we’re going to integrate the data with our existing left-click event data to create more accurate event click goals.
Step 1. Setup a new Google Analytics Tag
In Google Tag Manager, you need to add a new Tag. Make it a Google Analytics / Universal Analytics Tag.
Make it an Event Tracking tag. It’ll look like this.
Now – you can name the Category, Action & Label anything really.
To have an effective Goal setup in Google Analytics., you need to have 2 of them match existing click event patterns – and have 1 of them differ.
Having one differ is critical because this event will create a lot of noise…and it does not technically track a click – it tracks onmousedown.
You need to be able to segment out these events.
For my setup, I made the Category “right-click” and then pulled in the Data Layer Variables for the Action and the Label since my setup tracks URL as Action and Anchor Text as Label.
Next, you’ll match your Trigger to this Tag.
Now, when someone does a non-left click, it will push your Variables into the Data Layer, fire your Google Analytics Click Event – and populate it with the Variables all at once.
Congratulations! You have full click event data in Google Analytics.
Now we need to tie it into an accurate Goal.
Step 2. Create a Useful Goal
Suppose you want to track PDF downloads as a Goal. You’ve been tracking the left-click downloads. But now you need to integrate your new non-left clicks.
You’re going to use one of the two fields that the non-left and left click events share in common to create a single goal.
But again – with left and right clicks, you are still dealing with 2 very different actions. It’s important to be able to segment each and confirm the behavior on your own site.
Since you left one Event field different – you can do just that.
*aside – and yes, you can see that until I set up right-click tracking, I was completely missing almost 1/3rd of my clicks.
First off, trust but verify your Google Analytics data. Do not focus on individual numbers to make data-driven decisions – look at contrasts, patterns, and other data sets to get a clearer picture of what you need to do.
Second, if you track clicks for any reason, whether it’s for downloads, for advertising, or decision-making – make sure you implement non-left click tracking. It’s a common enough browsing habit that tracking it will provide a much clearer picture.
Third, this post uses a very specific recipe for a very specific problem. But you can (and should) amend every part of this post to fit the problem you’re having. Hopefully it’s helpful!
The post How To Track Right-Click Events & Goals in Google Analytics appeared first on ShivarWeb.
A corporate credit cardÂ may sound like a good fit for your situation, but if you’re like many business owners, you probably aren’t sure where to get started.
After all, personal and small business credit cardsÂ are ubiquitous, but you’re unlikely to encounter advertisements for corporate credit cards in your casual travels. You also won’t find easy, online sign-up forms for corporate credit cards.
So how do you go about getting one?
Work For A Corporation That Uses One
This sounds a bit like cheating, but it illustrates an important point about corporate credit cards. A company will usually have multiple copies of a corporate card for use by multiple personnel. In fact, one of the big advantages of corporate cards is that they streamline your company’s incidental and travel expenses.
Of course, this advice only applies to people who would be satisfied with simply having access to a corporate credit card. If you own a company and want to open an account, however, there’s a bit more you’re going to have to do.
As obvious as it may sound, you’ll probably need to, you know, incorporate if you have aspirations toward a corporate card.
Regular small business credit cards require you to give the issuing bank your personal guarantee. That means that the bank can come after your personal assets, not just your business assets, should you default on your debt. This isn’t a great deal, but it comes with one major advantage: you don’t actually have to have a business to qualify for a business credit card. Likewise, you can get one if your business is a simple sole proprietorship with no partition between your personal and business identity.
Corporate cards, however, require your business to be formally incorporated as anS-corp, C-corp, or LLC. Your business is solely responsible for corporate credit card debt — the bank cannot come after your personal assets.
Earn Over $4 Million In Annual Revenue
Sadly, there’s no way around this one. Before most banks will issue you a corporate credit card, you’re going to have to demonstrate that your company is raking in some serious cash. Since the issuer will be dedicating premium customer support services to your company–and without even the protection of a personal guarantee–they’re looking for an account with some serious clout.
This can be a blessing in disguise. Corporate cards come with some significant costs that wouldn’t necessarily scale down well to small businesses anyway.
Find A Bank You Want To Work With
Corporate credit cards are issued primarily by large banking institutions, so there are far fewer options than there are with other credit cards. Since you’ll have access to far more customer service than would a personal or small business credit card holder, you’ll want to research those institutions’ corporate customer service policies and reputation.
Most corporate cards come with rewards programs not unlike those of small business credit cards. You’ll still want to factor rewards programs into your calculations, but given the costs of maintaining a corporate credit card, rewards won’t play as significant a role as they do with the lower-tiered cards.
Many issuers will want you to commit to a minimum number of cards and annual spending, so make sure you know what they expect from you.
Once you know what institution you want to get a card from, you’ll need to reach out to them by phone, in person, or submit an inquiry form to begin the process.
Make Sure Your Company’s Credit Score Is Good
Not to beat a dead horse, but youwon’t be able to relyÂ on your personal credit score to get a corporate credit card.
You’ll also want to demonstrate good corporate accounting practices. Banks will want to see good cash flow, for example.
Corporate credit cards are an elite product for large, stable businesses with numerous employees. Expect a more involved process than you’d get with a personal or small business credit card.
Haven’t hit $4 million yet and still want a card? Consider a small business credit card or even a personal business credit card.
The post How To Get A Corporate Credit Card appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
When you swipe your card (or insert your EMV chip into the reader), you’ll have pretty much the same experience whether you’re using a credit card or a charge card. So why would you choose one over the other?
Turns out there are some important differences to consider before you sign up for aÂ card.
What Is A Credit Card?
When most people think of paying by plastic, they’re thinking of a credit card. If you’re “paying with Visa or Mastercard,” and you’re not paying with debit, you’re probably using a credit card. But while those two companies control the infrastructure for making credit card payments, they’re not actually the ones extending the credit.
In fact, “extending credit” is the operative phrase when it comes to credit cards. When a bank issues you a credit card, what they’re effectively doing is proffering a revolving line of credit. Unlike a loan, a line of credit can be tapped at any time, for any amount (up to a set credit limit). The “revolving” part means that, as you pay off your balance, that amount becomes available for you to use again.
Like loans, lines of credit (and credit card balances) accumulate interest over time. Credit cards do, however, have grace periods during which the balance can be paid off without accumulating interest. These can be set by law, as is the case for personal credit cards, or extended as a courtesy, as they are for business credit cards. Just be aware that business credit cards can, and often will, change the terms on you with little notice. And many business credit cards will charge an annual fee.
What Is A Charge Card?
Charge cards are a little different. Unlike credit cards, charge cards are not bank-issued. The “lender” in this case is the same as the card company. With rare exceptions, most charge cards these days are issued by American Express.
Charge cards aren’t lines of credit. Instead, you’re paying an annual fee in exchange to be able to defer your payment for 30 days. Your entire balance is due on your statement date, except in cases where you’ve made special arrangements with the issuer. If you miss a payment, you’ll face a punishing wall of fees and possibly cancellation.
The major selling point of charge cards is that they have no credit limit. Conventional wisdom would dictate that you can put as much on your card in any given month as you want, but that isn’t exactly true.
American Express has a policy called No Pre-Set Spending Limit. What this means is that Amex makes a calculation based on your payment history, credit record, and estimated resources and may put a cap on monthly spending. The company estimates that about 10 percent of their customers have a cap at any given time.
How Else Do Credit Cards and Charge Cards Differ?
The remaining differences tend to be more quantitative than qualitative. Both types of cards offer reward programs. Charge cards traditionally had an edge here, but business credit cards have recently caught up, offering comparable reward programs to all but the most elite charge cards.
Because charge cards can’t rely on interest to earn money, they tend to have higher annual fees than similar business credit cards.
When To Choose A Charge Card
No matter which type of card you choose, you should try to pay off the entirety of your balance each month. Since a charge card doesn’t easily let you carry a balance from month-to-month, you’re encouraged to maintain more disciplined spending habits than you might have with a business credit card. If you miss a charge card payment, you’ll feel the consequences right away. This is an important concept when you’re dealing with rewards cards as interest payments can easily neutralize any financial advantage you might get from the rewards.
Additionally, your payment terms will be clearer and less subject to sudden change. There’s less fine print to keep track of. You’ll always have the same number of days to pay of your balance.
Though the ability to buy as much as you want with a credit limit is overstated, you may prefer the softer limits on your spending habits.
Finally, if you like American Express’s rewards programs and perks, you’ll probably want to consider a charge card.
When To Choose A Credit Card
One of the biggest advantages offered by credit cards is that they’re accepted at far more businesses than charge cards, so if you plan to use a card as a primary means of payment, keep that in mind.
The credit card industry is more diverse, with tons of lending institutions offering their own cards and reward programs. While American Express does offer variations on its rewards programs, you won’t find the same level of diversity with charge cards as you will with credit cards.
Of course, credit cards do allow you to carry a balance, which provides a lot of flexibility in when you pay off your balance. This can be as much of a curse as a blessing, however, as it’s easy to let balances linger and accrue interest.
You should generally aim to pay your balance off during your interest-free grace period (as you would with a charge card) to get the most out of your credit card. It’s worth noting that this is easier to do with personal credit cards than with business ones as the latter can change your terms with no notice. Unfortunately, business credit cards also tend to have the better reward programs.
Both credit cards and charge cards are convenient ways to pay for expenses without carrying wads of cash or taking out complicated loans. Before you sign up for one kind or the other, take some time to analyze your spending habits and determine what type of card is best for your business.
Not sure where to start looking? Check out our personal and business credit card comparisons, as well as our charge card comparisons.
The post Should My Business Get A Credit Card Or A Charge Card? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
This week on “meet the Merchant Maverick team,” we’re getting a crash course on Rosie Holman, everyone’s favorite minimalist. When she’s not making merchant accounts providers cry with her pithy, concise reviews or listening to moral philosophy podcasts, Rosie is singing with her family band. But what else is she up to? Read on to find out.
Name:Â Rose Holman
Title: Merchant Accounts Writer
Hometown: I lived in a foggy beachside suburb of San Francisco called Pacifica until I was 13. That probably counts as a hometown, even though I’ve only been back once since then.
Current city:Â Portland, OR
Education and background: After earning aÂ BA in biology and an MA in teaching, I taught high school science for a couple years before I had kids. Although I never went back to full-time teaching, most of my work and volunteer roles have involved some sort of teaching component. Even when writing for Merchant Maverick, I find it scratches the educator itch.
Merchant Maverick department/specialty: I mostly write reviews of merchant account providers. Frankly, I’m shocked some of them are still in business! I’m also the company’s resident over-thinker. I was coronated via crown-emoji in Slack the other day, so I think the title’s official.Â Just when you think we’ve resolved an issue, I’ll find another detail to consider.
Proudest professional moment: A proud moment from my teaching days was when myÂ sophomores were presenting their big, end-of-the-year biology experiments. Two teams had run essentially the same experiment, but with very different results. I was all geared up to capitalize on the “teachable moment” and explain why this can happen to real-life scientists, too. Instead, completely unbidden, the second group proposed several excellent reasons for the variation, and then went on to explain how they’d design a new experiment to test their theory. They became real-life mini-scientists right before my eyes! I was beaming.
Favorite Merchant Maverick post/moment/opportunity: Any timeÂ a merchant account provider alters a significant part of its website because they’ve read my review and taken the constructive criticism both seriously and graciously. I think that’s actually part of why we’re here — not only to write unbiased reviews, but to motivate companies (and even entire industries) to up their games.
What do you do when you’re not working?: I manage the Airbnb room in our house, which I guess may technically still count as working. When I’m definitely not working, I enjoy reading, or distracting myself from the pain of exercising by listening to thought-provoking podcasts. Our family of four also have a little folk band of sorts, so there’s always a lot of music in our house.
What fictional character do you identify most with and why?:Â I’m going with Jane Eyre, since I remember relating to her when I first read the book as a girl. We do have some basic things in common — the whole teaching thing, plus a general stubbornness and an irritatingly overdeveloped sense of right and wrong.
Favorite song:Â Do people really have one definitive, all-time-favorite song? I’m more of an artist or whole album sort of gal, and even that’s a tough choice. For the sake of following the rules, I’ll pick Sister Winter by Sufjan Stevens. Just the right blend of melancholy and hope in that one, and my son sings a killer harmony part.
Favorite â90s movie:Â Whew, at least we’ve narrowed this one down to a decade. After multiple rounds of minimalism-inspired purging, I still own a DVD copy of 1993’s fantasy rom-com Heart and Souls, staring pre-meltdown Robert Downy, Jr. and a pretty decent ensemble cast. As I reviewer, I must warn you: 6.9 stars on IMDb, 55% on Rotten Tomatoes.
What is your ideal breakfast?: I’m not picky, as long as it’s late. Two hours after I wake up seems about right. Apologies to the most important meal of the day, but the thought of eating food directly after waking makes me nauseous.
What US State have you always wanted to visit?:Â New York. And now I’m extra motivated because the enigmatic and elusive Tom DeSimone lives there.
If you could travel to any time period and observe, where would it be?:Â Because I grew up in church, I think I’m obligated to say “biblical times.” Still, I think it’d be pretty neat.
Mac or Windows?:Â Mac.
You’re given anÂ unlimited budget to build a house. What’s inside? Where is it?:Â Since becoming a minimalist, I’ve always wanted to try living in a tiny house. An unlimited budget gives this a fun twist, so let’s say it’s a souped-up tiny house — lots of energy-saving features, custom modular furniture, and high-end finishes. The location wouldn’t matter, because it would be movable!
What can we say about Rosie Holman that she hasn’t already said herself? Anyone who can admit openly to an affinity with Jane Eyre has earned theirÂ official overthinker crown in our book. And why not? This team needs a little overthinking sometimes. We’re looking forward to visiting Rosie’s AirBnB after her inevitable stint on Tiny House, Big Living, but we’ll make sure to show up well after breakfast.
Interested in reading about other members of the Merchant Maverick staff? Check out our team interview series.
The post Team Bio Series — Rosie Holman (The Minimalist) appeared first on Merchant Maverick.