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 May 10, 2017

Debt Service Coverage Ratio Explained in Acute Detail

Sara owns a thriving restaurant, and she thinks the time is right to expand. Specifically, she wants to expand the catering and food truck side of her business because she sees the most growth potential in this area. It will also be cheaper and easier than moving her lunch and dinner business to a larger location or opening a second location. However, Sara doesn’t have enough capital to expand on her own, and she wants to understand how lenders will evaluate her business before she applies for a loan. A key metric that lenders will judge her ability to repay a loan by is the debt service coverage ratio, or DSCR. [CTA-C] Let’s look at how lenders calculate this ratio and what it tells them. What is Debt Service Coverage Ratio? The debt service coverage ratio compares a business’s annual net income against its existing and proposed annual debt payments.…

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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 27, 2017

Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card Review – Small Business Edition

No credit history, low credit score, and struggling to get approved for unsecured business funding? Consider the Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card for Business. By depositing money in a collateral account, you create a credit line for your business. Then you build your credit by making timely payments-- All while enjoying the convenience of making purchases with plastic. Who is the Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card for? The Wells Fargo Business Secured business credit card is a good option for an entrepreneur looking to establish or rebuild credit. Approval for small business credit cards depends on the business owner’s personal credit history. So if you’ve never had a credit card or a loan before, you'll have to establish personal credit first. Alternately, if you’ve had trouble paying your bills on time, suffered a bankruptcy, or been foreclosed upon— You’ll need to improve your personal credit in order to access competitive business financing tools. Learn…

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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 April 28, 2017

Commerce Bank Credit Card Business Platinum Review – Small Business Edition

If your business isn’t concerned about perks like sign-up bonuses and cash back rewards and needs a simple, basic credit card, the Commerce Bank Business Platinum Card may be right for you. Who is the Commerce Bank Credit Card for? Commerce Bank brands its Visa Business Platinum Card as an alternative to making purchases using petty cash and an alternative to reimbursing employees for business expenses purchased using their own funds. This card is only available to businesses within Commerce Bank's five-state retail lending area: Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. It offers individual credit lines for employees and has no annual fee, but it’s a bare-bones credit card. It has no sign-up bonus and no rewards program, two features that can provide a small boost to your business. If you’re looking for one of the best cash back business credit cards, this isn’t the card for you. However, if you…

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by Amy Fontinelle on May 8, 2017

The 5 C’s of Credit Deciding Your Business Fate

When it comes to small business loans, success is spelled with the 5 c's of credit. We know, applying for a business loan can be intimidating enough without getting a mnemonic device involved. But if you're asking yourself how lenders will evaluate your business, the 5 c's of credit are a neat and tidy way to remember what counts across the board. Remember, each lender will have its own start up business loan requirements that determine which companies it will lend to and what loan terms to offer. However, you can get a general idea of what they’re looking for by understanding the 5 c’s of credit from an underwriting perspective. The 5 C's of Credit That Determine Whether Your Small Business Gets Funding 1. Capital Most businesses need working capital from time to time, and even more need start up loans just to get up and running. Perhaps the most readily…

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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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Ditch Your Banker: Find The Best Loans Through Alternative Lenders

by Eric Goldschein on May 25, 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 May 10, 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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Minorities, Women, and Veteran Business Owners – Get Extra Funding Here

by Ronis Gracie on May 15, 2017
Keeping a business afloat can certainly be a challenge, particularly during rocky economic times. No matter how poor sales may… Read more

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