Ally Bank Review

My husband and I had been loyal ING customers for years when Capital One bought them out. I didn’t want to make any rash decisions although I wasn’t the biggest fan of Capital One due to issues with our Capital One credit cards. I figured we would give them a try, and we did. However, I recently heard Ally Bank was offering 2.2% for their savings accounts with no minimum balance, etc. Capital One offers 1% unless you have their money market account, which pays 2%. Who knows how much money we’ve lost over the years.

I decided that I had enough of Capital One and their lower rates, and opened new accounts over at Ally for all of our savings account needs. We have sinking funds for car insurance, electricity (I budget a set amount each month and transfer the money to this account so we “pay” the same each month), and our escrow account. I also moved our emergency fund over. The process was very simple, and so far I love their website! It is so much more user friendly than Capital One’s. I hate how Capital One’s has the accounts in huge blocks and it isn’t always the easiest to figure out how to transfer money.

I did call Ally’s customer service for a question, and they were very helpful with their answer and they did inform me that they do perform a soft credit check when accounts are opened. I’m not the biggest fan of that, but not like there’s anything I can do about it, so it’s fine. I’m hoping we won’t need to use our credit for anything in the near future, so that’s good!

I love that Ally’s savings accounts pay 2.20% with no minimum balance and no maintenance fees. Like any savings account, you are limited to six withdrawals a month. It all seems so simple, and we’ve had our savings system set in place for so many years that I think we will love Ally and they will serve our needs well. I’ll be sure to let you all know if anything changes, but my biggest regret is that I didn’t do this many years ago!

Where do you keep your savings account?


Tips When Applying for a Small Business Loan

When you are applying for a small business loan, lenders look at your credit. Since the business is likely owned only by you, no other factors play a significant role in credit worthiness. Lenders take several items into consideration, with the three most relevant being discussed below.

View your Credit Report First

Before you even complete a loan application it is important to review your personal credit report. If it is not perfect or near perfect, work on correcting the entries by making payment arrangements on larger sums. Pay off small balances first. This will help to quickly improve your credit score.

When a potential lender sees that you are making payments on larger sums, it shows financial responsibility in the efforts to recover your good credit standing.

Have a Specific Business Plan in Place

When you approach a lender for a small business loan, they need to see that you have a proper business plan. The plan should discuss the type of business it is, why the area needs your specific business, the potential for profit and how you plan to grow and market the business. If you have any promotional materials in place, product samples or prototypes, it is ideal to take these with you.

The business plan should be well-detailed, accounting for every penny that you are asking for.

The funding breakdown should include:

• Funds for space rental/mortgage payments
• Utility payments
• Supplies
• Payroll
• Additional business expenses

This should also be detailed enough to be broken down by the period of time these funds would cover upon estimations of demand in the area for your business.

Provide a Detailed Expense Sheet

Other than in the business plan, a detailed expense sheet should be supplied. This is an exact breakdown that includes costs for building if needed, costs of renovating an existing space, furnishing the space, technology and security features that are required and who you expect to contract for these jobs. Their quotes should be attached to this expense report.

When a lender sees that you are fully prepared to run a small business in a specific demographic area, they scrutinize every detail that you provide. There will also be a portion of the discussion that allows them to ask you specific questions about the business, why you want to start it in a certain area and what you plan or wish to achieve by bringing the business to that area.


Opening Business Bank Account Tips

When I worked at the bank, I opened many business accounts for clients.  They do take a little more time to open when compared to just a personal checking account. I learned a lot about businesses and business checking accounts after opening a bunch of them!  If you’re thinking of starting a business or opening a business account, I can share with you some tips and tricks that will help expedite the experience with your banker.  Here are some of the things I learned:

-Checks made payable to a business must be deposited to a business account.  For example, if you are a dog walker and a client writes the check to Joe Smith Dog Walking, an account must be set up that way to negotiate the check.  If you don’t anticipate receiving more checks made out that way, I’d personally recommend asking the client to re-write the check just in your personal name.

-You don’t have to have a business set up through the state to open a business account.  A DBA, or “doing business as” is a business where a person is acting as the sole proprietor.  These were very common for people who just wanted to open a separate account for their side hustles.  We opened a lot of these for people selling Lularoe, Young Living, doTERRA, Plexus, Avon, Mary Kay, Thirty One, Scentsy, and the like.  Also, many lawn cutters just starting out would choose this option until they got their business paperwork set up.

-It’s a really good idea to have all the required paperwork in order before the account is opened.  When the banker starts opening the account, there are many screens where information has to be typed in.  In our state, for an Limited Liability Company (LLC), one just has to apply for a tax identification number (TIN) and articles of organization and it’s an official business.  By having the paperwork first, the account opening process will take a fraction of the amount of time that it would if the paperwork wasn’t there.

-Make sure the fees and terms are explained before the account is opened.  A lot of times there are fee-free accounts but sometimes there are catches.  For example, there may be a fee if so many checks are written or deposited each month.  At the bank I worked at, if there was more than a certain amount of cash deposited each month there was a fee per hundred dollars!  The same principle applied to checks-if there was more than 100 checks written a month there was a small fee per check to cover processing.  Look over the terms and conditions for business banking accounts before the account is opened.

Opening a business bank account really doesn’t have to be a difficult process.  Having the required paperwork and reading the disclosures are the most important things for the business banker.  If you’ve been thinking about opening a small business, don’t let the business banking aspect of it deter you.  It can be really easy!

Have you ever opened a business bank account?

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