Amy Fontinelle

Amy Fontinelle is a writer, editor, and personal finance expert.

Her articles have appeared at Investopedia, Bankrate, MassMutual.com, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Yahoo, Forbes.com, SFGate.com, Bankaholic, Mortgage-Calc.com, Saving Advice and other sites.

Amy’s clients include personal finance websites, financial institutions, public policy organizations, academic journals, and professional economists.

Posts by Amy Fontinelle:

by Amy Fontinelle on April 25, 2017

Best Banks for Small Business in 2017: Did Yours Make the Cut?

If you have a small business, you owe it to yourself to use the best bank for small business needs. Your business account keeps your personal finances separate from your business finances, making it easier to see where you stand in each area of your life. It also simplifies loan applications and tax preparation; limits personal liability; and in some cases is required for your business type. A small business’s banking relationship is important because it affects how smoothly your business runs and how much your banking fees and interest payments take away from your bottom line. A bank that offers a comprehensive set of small business solutions, from checking to credit cards to lending to payroll management, can simplify your administrative tasks and free up your time to focus on essential aspects of running your company that an outsider can’t handle. And speaking of freeing up your time, we’ve done lots of…

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by Amy Fontinelle on April 23, 2017

Spark Business Credit Card Cash Select by Capital One Review- Small Business Edition

If you're interested in a Capital One Business Credit Card with no annual fee, this Spark Business Card delivers above and beyond-- Small business owners can get the equivalent of an interest-free loan for the first nine months as a Spark Cash Select cardholder (as long as you avoid late payments and pay your entire balance before the promotional period ends.) Who is the Spark Business Card for? The Spark business card is a great option for a first-time small business owner. It’s one of the best business credit cards for startups because of its 0% introductory APR and ongoing cash back rewards. The Spark card is also one of the best small business credit cards for companies that make lots of overseas purchases or whose purchasing habits aren’t concentrated in a few categories, since this card has no foreign transaction fees and simple cash-back rewards that don’t vary by…

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by Amy Fontinelle on March 25, 2017

Chase Ink Cash Credit Card Review – Small Business Edition

Assuming you don't make any late payments and your balance is paid in full before the end of the promotional period, you’re able to enjoy what amounts to an interest-free loan with the Ink Business Cash Credit Card for small businesses. Who is the Chase Ink Cash for Business card for? The Chase Ink Business Cash credit card is a great option for a first-time entrepreneur looking to offset initial startup costs, for example. This credit card would also be well-suited for business owners looking to fund a large purchase that will generate revenue within the year, or for domestic businesses planning to use the card for business supplies and utilities. With a sign-up bonus worth $300 after spending $3,000 in your first quarter and competitive cashback rewards, Ink Business Cash is among the best credit cards available to small business owners. Learn more about How to Compare Business Credit Tools…

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by Amy Fontinelle on February 3, 2017

2017 Tax Audit Triggers Business Owners Need to Know

While the overall risk of an individual tax audit is low, the odds go up when you file a business tax return. Taxpayers who filed Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, faced an audit rate of 1.9% if their gross receipts were $25,000 to $100,000 in their 2014 return and an audit rate of 2.3% if their gross receipts were $100,000 or more. Further, filing business tax forms and having an income between $200,000 and $1 million substantially increases your risk of a field audit, where the IRS will want to meet with you at your place of business instead of corresponding with you about questionable items by mail (a correspondence audit). In fact, if your business is structured as a C corporation or S corporation, any audit is almost certain to be a field audit. C corporations with total assets of less than $10 million and multi-member LLCs…

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by Amy Fontinelle on April 18, 2017

An Informative Guide to Preventing Chargebacks & Reducing Fraud

A chargeback occurs when one of your customers disputes your company’s charge to their card with their credit card company. Customers sometimes initiate chargebacks when they are dissatisfied with a product or service and don’t feel you’ve handled the situation fairly. Other times chargebacks are the result of a billing mistake on the merchant’s end, a customer not being able to identify a purchase on their monthly statement, or an attempt to commit fraud. In any case, chargebacks can cost you big money in reversed sales and chargeback fees from the credit card processor. If you experience too many chargebacks, you could even face penalties, fines, and a termination of the credit card processing relationship. To prevent chargebacks from damaging your bottom line and your ability to accept credit cards, it’s important to know about chargeback laws and rules, ecommerce chargebacks, fraud prevention, and chargeback protection. RELATED: 6 Bad Habits…

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by Amy Fontinelle on March 24, 2017

Small Business Compliance: Legal Basics You Need to Know

Being your own boss means being responsible for things an employer would normally handle for you, and that includes a basic understanding of business law. Knowing a few things about the legal requirements for starting a small business will help you avoid legal and financial troubles down the road. Below, we'll go over a few common legal issues that small business owners should watch out for: Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents To prevent someone else from taking credit for or profiting from your idea, you may want to protect your business’s intellectual property with a copyright, trademark, or patent. Specifically, you may want to trademark your company’s name and logo; patent any unique process, design, or invention your company creates; and copyright any original work of authorship, such as software you develop. You can apply for protection through the US Patent and Trademark Office or the Copyright Office of the Library…

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by Amy Fontinelle on March 7, 2017

EMV Compliance: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

As a savvy business owner that accepts credit and debit cards, you should aleady know the dangers of failing to upgrade to an EMV-compliant terminal-- Right? Just in case you need to refresh your memory, this article will tell you everything you need to know about EMV compliance in 2017: What Is EMV? EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. These three companies founded the organization that established the new standards for EMV chip technology in order to shift liability and reduce their fraud losses. On the plus side, EMV technology enhances credit card security through improvements in the way chips store and communicate data making chip cards harder to counterfeit than magnetic stripe cards. Industry standardization of this technology means chip cards work worldwide at any payment terminal that can process them. RELATED: An Epic Guide to Business Credit Cards, Charge Cards, & Lines of Credit What does chip technology mean for small business? For your…

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by Amy Fontinelle on March 31, 2017

How To Start A Business With No Money – Bootstrapping Your Startup

Wondering how to start a business even though you don't have a whole lot of money to work with? Thanks to the wide range of financing options available to entrepreneurs, it’s now possible to start pursuing your dream even if you’re flat broke. How To Start A Business When You're Broke Whether your idea is a new fitness wearable, a salon for special needs children, or an herbal tea farm, there’s a way to fund it. With various business loans, crowdfunding, P2P lending, bartering and bootstrapping techniques at your fingertips, you don't need a fat savings account to start a small business. 1. Fund Your Startup with Small Business Loans or Credit Cards There are many new high-tech options for borrowing money to fund a startup, but traditional loans and credit cards are still very effective. Startup Loans and Lines of Credit Conventional loans may be secured or unsecured. Terms depend in part on how the loan…

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by Amy Fontinelle on February 21, 2017

7 Unique Business Ideas on How to Grow Quickly

Young entrepreneurs and seasoned business owners with limited funds might ask themselves: What’s the fastest way to build a business? This is a smart question because finding the right answer could mean the difference between smashing your sales goals and running out of money before your business can even build momentum. The good news is there are plenty of ways for you to start your own company and grow it quickly. Let’s take a look at unique business ideas from fast-growing companies across various industries to figure out how they’ve achieved such rapid success: 1. Ride a Growing Trend Like Loot Crate Loot Crate is a private company that sends hundreds of thousands of monthly subscribers a box of collectibles such as licensed figures, T-shirts, and comic books. The numbers don't lie-- Launched in 2012, the company has experienced three-year growth of 66,789% to achieve $116.2 million in revenue in 2015. Additionally,…

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by Amy Fontinelle on March 9, 2017

A Beginner’s Guide to Making the Most of Small Business Loan Money

Whether you have a restaurant, a retail store, a mobile business, or some other small business, you may sometimes lack the cash flow to meet your company’s needs. Fortunately, your dreams and hard work need not go to waste: A small business loan can tide you over. Still, getting approved for business funding is only half the battle. Once you've been approved, you must then decide how to best re-invest those funds for the best possible ROI. How to Use Business Loan Money Wisely This general guide for borrowers explores some of the best ways to maximize ROI depending on:  what kind of business you have & which loan product you have. Best Restaurant Loans: Restaurants have large capital expenses for storefronts and equipment, but banks consider them risky endeavors. So what's a restaurateur to do? SBA Loans for Your Restaurant Business Whether you have a corner cafe or a fine dining…

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Ditch Your Banker: Find The Best Loans Through Alternative Lenders

by Eric Goldschein on March 29, 2017
The world of lending has shifted. No longer are banks the sole gatekeepers of capital, which is good news for… Read more

Business Owners: 5 Truths Your Banker Doesn’t Want You Knowing

by Jackie Lam on February 17, 2017
When looking for the best banks for small business loans, Bank of America and Wells Fargo may come to mind. However,… Read more

An Epic Guide to Business Credit Cards, Charge Cards, & Lines of Credit

by Eric Goldschein on February 2, 2017
If you’re a small business owner, you know how important it is to always have extra capital on hand so you… Read more

A Complete Declassified List of Tax-Exempt Fringe Benefits

by Amy Fontinelle on January 30, 2017
With all the uncertainty surrounding Trump's tax plan, tax saving tips for small business owners are as important as ever. Finding… Read more

Hero Companies Who Are Helping Small Businesses Succeed

by Caitlyn Rose on January 19, 2016
These are challenging times for small businesses. Luckily, however, the news isn’t all bad. Read on to learn about three… Read more

Bank Turn You Down For A Business Loan? Here’s How You Can Get Alternative Funding

by Caitlyn Rose on January 7, 2016
If you're like most small business owners, your first stop for financing needs might be your local bank. Unfortunately, the… Read more

Corporate Bylaws: Why Your Business Can’t Function Without Them

by Ronis Gracie on December 10, 2015
While “corporate bylaws” may sound like something that only giant companies need, the reality is that every corporation has to… Read more

An In-Depth Look at How Invoice Financing Works

by Ronis Gracie on November 30, 2015
As a business owner, you probably experience a multitude of small frustrations each day. But perhaps one of your biggest… Read more
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Complete Business Funding Glossary – 2017 Edition

by Ronis Gracie on March 1, 2017
When you were a kid, you probably had a special group of friends who stayed together no matter what. You… Read more

A Complete Guide to Business Loans for Funding a Bar

by Ronis Gracie on January 16, 2017
One of the most exciting and rewarding types of businesses to operate is a bar. Whether you run a neighborhood… Read more

New Ways to Get Money Out of Your Business That You Might Not Have Thought Of

by Ronis Gracie on November 17, 2016
You have finally reached that milestone you have anticipated for so long: Your business is making a reliable profit. As… Read more

Infographic: The Rise of Marketplace Lenders

by Caitlyn Rose on January 12, 2016
Sooner or later, most small businesses will require an infusion of cash. The need might arise almost immediately during the… Read more

Bank Turn You Down For A Business Loan? Here’s How You Can Get Alternative Funding

by Caitlyn Rose on January 7, 2016
If you're like most small business owners, your first stop for financing needs might be your local bank. Unfortunately, the… Read more

5 Types of Grants For Women-Owned Businesses

by Caitlyn Rose on December 29, 2015
If you are a woman thinking about starting a small business, you are part of a growing trend. Since 1997,… Read more

Your First Small Business Loan: What You Need to Know

by Caitlyn Rose on December 16, 2015
When you set out to find the first loan for your small business, you’ll probably have many questions but few… Read more

Interest Rate versus APR: What You Need to Know to Price a Loan

by Ronis Gracie on December 8, 2015
Small business loan terminology is complex, and many of the terms are similar enough to be confusing. Two such phrases… Read more

Minorities, Women and Veteran Business Owners: Here’s How to Get Extra Funding for Your Business

by Ronis Gracie on September 7, 2015
Keeping a business afloat can certainly be a challenge, particularly during rocky economic times. No matter how poor sales may… Read more