Crowdfunding For Startups: 8 Tips For Launching

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startup crowdfunding

For a people who revere startup culture and the idea that one can bootstrap one’s way to business success, we seem to prefer the TV version to the real thing — especially as of late. It turns out that new business creation recently approached its 40-year low. Banks are retaining their Great Recession-era tight-fistedness and the costs of education, housing and healthcare continue daily to expand beyond the ability of most Americans to keep pace. Frankly, our veneration of the entrepreneurial spirit does not appear to extend to supporting policies that would actually increase people’s ability to take the financial risks required to start their own business.

Due to these factors — along with the legalization of equity crowdfunding accomplished via the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012 — crowdfunding has arisen as a means of raising startup funds. You may only be familiar with crowdfunding in the context of all the medical- and disaster-based campaigns that have been making the news lately, but crowdfunding is a viable way to raise money for businesses as well.

The fact is, for the right kind of new enterprise, a crowdfunding campaign can be a great way to raise a much-needed initial infusion of capital. The biggest crowdfunding site for startups, Kickstarter (see our review), has seen over $3.4 billion USD raised by product-oriented business projects. To be fair, this money didn’t just fall into the laps of the startups in question. Crowdfunding takes some work to get right. However, it’s hard to imagine that the campaigners who raised that $3.4 billion could have raised that same sum via conventional means.

Just know that you’ll have a lot of competition for those crowdfunding dollars. You need to go into it with more than just a good story (not to discount the value of a good story!) — you’ll need to tailor your campaign to suit your particular enterprise, and you’ll need to give your potential backers a personal stake in supporting you with the promise of rewards, profit, or both.

Here’s what you should do to prepare before you begin.

Table of Contents

1) Learn Which Type Of Crowdfunding Suits You Best

If you know anything about non-charitable crowdfunding, you’ve likely heard of Kickstarter and its rewards-based crowdfunding model. What you might not be aware of is that Kickstarter is but one method of crowdfunding available to startups.

Rewards Crowdfunding

Rewards crowdfunding is what most people think of when they hear the term “crowdfunding.” Along with Kickstarter, Indiegogo (see our review), Patreon (see our review), and GoFundMe (see our review) are examples of popular platforms offering rewards crowdfunding. I’ll get into the differences between these platforms later on, but suffice it to say, these platforms generally involve raising money from The Crowd in exchange for rewards that are directly related to your startup’s mission. The platform will then take a cut of what you raise (except in the case of GoFundMe).

Equity Crowdfunding

Equity crowdfunding is a different beast entirely. The field of equity crowdfunding is a new one. It was legalized by the JOBS Act, which was signed into law in 2012 and whose provisions have gradually taken effect over the last few years. The JOBS Act was seen as a way to facilitate greater access to capital in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Equity crowdfunding differs from traditional rewards crowdfunding in that instead of backing a project in exchange for exclusive illustrations or a gadget or tickets to a performance, backers become investors who receive an ownership stake in the company. Investing is much more heavily regulated than rewards crowdfunding, so it’s a more legally complex way of raising funds than using Kickstarter. What’s more, the JOBS Act provides for two similar yet distinct forms of equity crowdfunding: the type in which you raise money from accredited investors only (which basically means rich people) and the type in which you can raise money from non-accredited investors (everyone else). Most equity crowdfunding platforms, including Crowdfunder (see our review) and Fundable (see our review), offer equity crowdfunding for accredited investors only, while a few upstart companies like Wefunder (see our review) offer equity crowdfunding for all (sometimes referred to as Regulation Crowdfunding).

Debt Crowdfunding

Debt crowdfunding, like equity crowdfunding, involves investing in a security of the company in question. However, with debt crowdfunding, the investor is a lender who gets paid back on a fixed schedule with interest. From the perspective of a startup, getting into debt crowdfunding means you’re borrowing money — not from a bank, but from a crowd of investors. Kiva U.S. (see our review), Lending Club (see our review) and Prosper (see our review) are all prominent debt crowdfunding outfits.

If you’re wondering which of these three types of crowdfunding best fits your startup, here’s a quick rundown for you:

  • Rewards crowdfunding is best suited to startups in the business of producing content for people to consume. Artists, gadget makers, podcasters, filmmakers, and board game producers have all made good use of rewards crowdfunding.
  • Equity crowdfunding makes sense for startups with exponential growth potential that do not produce a singular product or experience to share with a crowd of backers.
  • Debt crowdfunding is for startups that need cash for a defined purpose and that have the ability to pay back the loan.

For more information on the subject, I recently wrote an article comparing and contrasting these three types of crowdfunding. Check it out!

2) Research Different Platforms To Understand Their Differences

Simply knowing the difference between the three varieties of crowdfunding doesn’t provide enough information for you to settle on a platform. For one thing, crowdfunders like Indiegogo and Fundable offer both rewards and equity crowdfunding. For another, the terms, fees, content policies, and even the structure of the crowdfunding campaigns themselves differ from platform to platform.

For instance, you might be trying to raise funds to build your own board game company and have your sights set on Kickstarter. However, Kickstarter is a more exclusive platform than most rewards crowdfunders — it might not accept your campaign proposal. What’s more, you might find Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing funding policy intimidating. With all-or-nothing funding, if you raise less than your stated goal amount during the length of your campaign, you get nothing at all. You might find a platform like Indiegogo more to your liking, as Indiegogo accepts any campaign that doesn’t violate its rules while allowing you to collect whatever you raise with your campaign regardless of whether you’ve hit your goal.

Let’s say you’re an artist collective seeking to put on monthly art exhibitions. The Kickstarter/Indiegogo fundraising-for-a-one-time-event model of crowdfunding may not be for you. You might find Patreon to be a better fit. With Patreon, backers (or “patrons”) sign up to support you on an ongoing basis, either per month or per creation. You won’t have to gin up a new crowdfunding campaign every time you want to start a big project.

Likewise, equity crowdfunders vary greatly in their policies — SeedInvest (see our review), for example, boasts of only accepting 1% of those who apply to crowdfund on its site, whereas EquityNet (see our review) accepts any startup applying to use its services.

3) Check Out Other Crowdfunding Campaigns To See What Works (And What Doesn’t)

When you’re raising money via crowdfunding, you have one big advantage over those trying to raise money via other means. If you’re applying for a bank loan, you don’t get to browse through every loan application ever submitted to the bank or view the result of every application. But with crowdfunding, in most cases, the data is there for everyone to see!

Kickstarter is typical for a crowdfunding site in that every campaign ever posted to its website is left up permanently, regardless of whether the campaign succeeded or not. For the creator whose ridiculous campaign never really got off the ground, this permanent record of failure may not seem like such a boon. However, if you’re a startup looking to identify patterns in past crowdfunding campaigns that correlate with success — as well as patterns that correlate with not-success — this data is quite valuable indeed. I would strongly advise you to make use of it! Don’t be too proud to emulate what has been shown to work.

4) Be An Intensive Self-Promoter

If you’re the modest, retiring sort who spurns self-promotion, get ready to change your approach  — that is, if you want your campaign to succeed. Spend some time promoting your startup’s cause before taking the crowdfunding plunge (Indiegogo recommends at least two months of prep time before launch).

Do the legwork necessary to build up your social media following before starting your crowdfunding campaign, so that when you launch your campaign, you’ll have a built-in audience that is already receptive to your message. Contact journalists who cover your field. Build an email list. Consider buying ads on Facebook or Twitter to promote your campaign. Unfortunately, with crowdfunding as with so much else in our fallen world, you have to spend money to make money.

Remember to tailor your self-promotional efforts to fit your audience. If you’re looking to conduct business with accredited investors, a hard-nosed, data-focused approach may bear more fruit than a flashier look-how-cool-we-are campaign.

5) Create A Professional Video

I suppose I could have included this point in the previous section, but I think it deserves to be emphasized on its own. According to Kickstarter, posting a video to go along with your campaign increases your likelihood of ultimately succeeding from 30% to 50%.

Here’s another example of “spend money to make money” — a professional video with decent production values will make your potential backers more confident in the potential of your enterprise than something produced on the cheap. I’d love to live in a world where one could devote all one’s energies towards their true passions and not have to set aside time and resources for salesmanship, but we don’t live in that world. So, make a video. Keep it to just 2-3 minutes. You can get personal, but make sure to hit all your main points about your startup and its potential. Don’t forget to mention the benefits backers stand to earn!

6) Get Commitments From Backers Before Launching Your Campaign

It might not be fair, but it’s not easy to attract backers when your campaign first launches. An adverse first impression can easily dissuade someone from contributing to your campaign, and seeing “$0 pledged” next to your project can be enough to cause a prospective backer’s wallet to close. That’s why it’s important to line up commitments from backers before your campaign launches.

Time to make your family and friends prove their love to you by securing their backing before your campaign goes live! Gather commitments from your followers as well. Remember how I mentioned that you should build an email list of potential backers? Here’s where you can put that list to good use. Email your followers immediately when your campaign goes live. Get some pledges early and it will be all the easier to get subsequent commitments from backers. Data provided by Kickstarter backs this up — while their overall project success rate is just a hair under 36%, projects that raise over 20% of their goal have a 78% success rate.

7) Don’t Be Afraid To Use Analytics

The use of analytics is the only way you’ll be able to tell just what kind of traffic to your campaign page is converting to pledges. Use whatever analytical tools are available to see where your pledges are coming from and how you can boost them.

For instance, Kickstarter’s Project Dashboard gives you access to a trove of data regarding exactly where your backers are coming from. This data is invaluable when determining where you should focus your marketing.

kickstarter

8) Stay In Touch With Your Backers

Show your backers that you respect them by staying in touch with them. Keep them updated on your progress. After all, these are people who made a financial commitment to you knowing that there’s no guarantee that your plans will come to fruition.

Monitor social media chatter related to your campaign to see if particular concerns pop up repeatedly. If so, do what needs to be done to address these concerns. After all, you’ll want to stay in their good graces if you want to launch another crowdfunding campaign in the future!

Final Thoughts

Crowdfunding doesn’t work out for every startup that tries it. If you do your due diligence, however, you greatly increase the likelihood that your campaign will reach its funding goals. Follow these tips, and you’ll have a fighting chance to get the funding you need so that you can ultimately focus on growing your startup, not on fundraising!

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer, cereal chef and Netflix aficionado from San Diego. A native Californian who enjoys the beach, Jason nonetheless prefers to do his surfing on the World Wide Web, the raddest wave of them all. Jason can’t eat raisins.

Jason Vissers

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Thank You Page Best Practices, Ideas & Examples

A visitor has taken some sort of action on your site… hurray!

Before you celebrate too much, let’s talk about your Thank You page.

The Thank You page is one of the most underrated pages on a website. We often focus so much on getting someone to take an action (like purchasing a product, signing up for a webinar, downloading a whitepaper) that we forget how valuable a Thank You page can be, or the effort we should put into it.

A Thank You page, when used correctly, can be a crucial part of nurturing your audience.

But before we dive into some best practices, let’s cover the basics.

What is a Thank You Page?

A Thank You page is where a visitor is taken after completing a desired action on your website. It’s also sometimes referred to as a “confirmation” page because it confirms an action was taken.

A Thank You page can follow up any desired action on your site, from filling out a contact form to subscribing to an email newsletter or purchasing a product on your site.

Do I Need a Thank You Page?

If you have some sort of action you want visitors to take (also known as a “conversion” in marketing speak), then you absolutely need a Thank You page on your website.

This page not only serves as a way to confirm the action was taken successfully, but it also allows you to continue to engage your visitors, especially while they’re still “warm” (sales jargon for they’re more likely to want to interact/do business with you).

A visitor who has just taken an action on your site is incredibly valuable because they’re indicating they’re interested in you and what you have to offer. An effective Thank You page is a way to further that relationship and keep that interest growing.

Plus, saying thank you after your audience does something on your site is just plain polite.

Thank You Page vs. Thank You Message

A lot of forms and landing pages include built-in functionality to display a confirmation message once an action is completed. This functionality generally keeps users on the same page and simply replaces the form/download button/purchase area with a thank you message.

While showing this message is enough to confirm the action, in most cases, it doesn’t do much for continuing to engage with your audience. This is where a dedicated Thank You page can do wonders for your post-conversion opportunities.

By leveraging an individual page instead of a message on the existing page, you have more flexibility and opportunities to increase engagement, share relevant content, and provide additional opportunities to convert.

For more about thank you pages vs. thank you messages, check out this article by Hubspot.

Thank You Page Best Practices

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the details. Here are seven Thank You page best practices you can implement on your own site.

Give Confirmation

The first thing your Thank You page should do is confirm whatever action your visitor just took was completed successfully. For example, if they’ve just subscribed to your weekly newsletter, your page might say something like, “Thank you for subscribing to our weekly newsletter.”

Your Thank You page should also confirm any relevant details relating to the conversion, such as how long it will take you to respond after they’ve filled out a contact form, or when they can expect to receive the whitepaper they’ve opted-in for.

ShivarWeb Thank You Page

Ex: ShivarWeb

Remember, this is someone who has indicated interest in your business. You want them to feel valued right off the bat and to know that the action they took actually worked. The best way to do that is to confirm all of the details as soon as they finish the conversion.

Include Navigation

One of the worst things you can do on your Thank You page is keep your audience stranded there. These are people who have just indicated they’re into what you have to offer, which means this is the perfect time to keep them hanging around your site!

At the very least, your Thank You page should include your website’s navigation to allow your audience to stick around and explore your site some more.

The Skimm thank you page

Ex: The Skimm

Provide Related Content/Actions

Aside from using your navigation to give your audience an opportunity to stick around, your Thank You page is also a great place to provide related content or additional actions your lead may find interesting.

For example, if they’ve just opted-in to a whitepaper, you could provide related content on the same or a similar subject. This is a great way to continue to “warm up” your visitors (AKA make their interest in you grow) without being overly sales-y.

You could also use this opportunity to lead your users further “down the funnel” (the next step closer to purchasing) by offering another relevant action. For example, Hubspot offers a free session to learn more about their software after you opt-in to download one of their guides.

Hubspot Thank You Page

Ex: HubSpot

If your Thank You page shows when a visitor has already taken a purchasing action, you can still use related content to keep them engaged. The easiest way to do so is to display related items they may also be interested in — Amazon is renowned for doing just that!

Amazon Related Items

Ex: Amazon

Add an Offer/Promotion

Did a customer just enter to win a free product? Why not offer a coupon code to encourage them to purchase something sooner?

Adding an offer or promotion can be an excellent way to encourage warm visitors to convert, or to increase the value of a converting customer by enticing them to purchase additional items.

Keep in mind that your offer should be something relevant to their action and worthy of their attention. You don’t want to come across as spammy over overly sales-y. You want to provide something that feels uniquely valuable to your audience and relates to whatever action they just took.

Get Social

Encouraging people to connect with you on social media is a great way to further connect with a warm audience.

Instead of just leaving links to your social profiles, take it a step further and tell visitors why they should follow you. What can they expect to see if on they follow you? News about your business? Tips and tricks related to the action they just took? Spell out the value and make it clear it’s worth it.

katelyn dramis thank you page

Ex: Katelyn Dramis

You can also use your Thank You page as an opportunity to spread the word about your business. This works particularly well for actions like webinar registrations and offer redemptions.

If your Thank You page is confirming an offer redemption or webinar sign-up, include social share buttons to encourage your converters to spread the word on social media with their friends. They obviously think what you have to offer is worth signing up for! There’s a good chance they’ll spread the word for you, too.

Show Off Testimonials

Even if your visitor has just completed a purchase, your Thank You page can still be a place of reassurance that you’re as great as you say you are.

Use your page as an opportunity to show off social proof, whether it be customer testimonials, the number of social media fans you have, or a quick stat or case study.

Your Thank You page should continue to warm your visitors and encourage them either to purchase down the road or to purchase again. Using social proof to help reassure them that you’re the real deal can help this process significantly.

Encourage Opt-Ins & Account Sign-Ups

A Thank You page is the perfect time to ask your audience to become a regular part of your community and an ongoing converter.

For e-commerce businesses, asking your purchases to create an account after converting can yield far more results than asking prior to purchase (and can reduce cart abandonment).

If your business doesn’t include the opportunity for customers to create accounts, you can still invite converters to be regulars by asking them to opt-in to your email newsletter on your Thank You page. Make sure you specify why your audience would want to subscribe to your newsletter — what is it you’ll be offering that makes it worthwhile?

Conclusion & Next Steps

Your Thank You page can be an amazing tool in your sales arsenal if used correctly. Don’t let all of your focus go toward the conversion — spend adequate time on your confirmation page and yield the benefits time and time again.

Start by taking a look at your own Thank You page. Does it confirm the action your visitor took? Does it offer opportunities to stay engaged with your business? If it doesn’t, start by introducing one way for users to continue to interact with you.

Remember, like all pages on your website, your Thank You page isn’t set in stone. Test one approach to adding some meat to your page (like adding related content or a call-to-action to follow you on social media) and see how it works. Then, adapt!

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How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

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How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Journal entries, as an accounting concept, can take a while to grasp. The good news? QuickBooks creates almost all of your journal entries for you automatically. The other good news? If you do have to create a journal entry, it only takes five steps.

In this post, we’ll explain when you need to create a journal entry in QuickBooks and walk you through the journal entry process.

Table of Contents

When To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

In double-entry accounting, a journal entry is used to log which debit and credit accounts are affected by a given transaction. QuickBooks takes care of all the double-entry accounting behind the scenes.

Whenever you enter a transaction (like an invoice or bill) in QuickBooks, the software automatically creates a journal entry for you. Take this bill for example:

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

If we use the command shortcut Ctrl + Y, we can see the journal entry that QuickBooks automatically created for this transaction…

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

The entry tells us that Accounts Payable was credited $49.95 and the Other Business Expenses Account was debited $49.95. The debits and credits balance.

Again, QuickBooks creates an automatic journal entry for every transaction entered in QuickBooks. Additionally, the software will adjust the journal entries if you edit or change the transaction. So, most often, you won’t need to worry about it.

However, there are a few cases where you may need to manually create a journal entry. For example, you’ll need to create an entry for depreciation. QuickBooks provides a list of all the instances where you may need a journal entry. In such instances, follow these five steps:

Create A Journal Entry

To begin, go to Company>Make General Journal Entries…

You may see a notification letting you know that QuickBooks automatically numbers journal entries. You can eventually turn off auto-sequencing or change the beginning number, but for now, just click “OK” to get started.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Step 1: Enter Date

Use the drop-down calendar to enter a date for your journal entry. For our company, we’re going to create a depreciation journal entry for the end of 2017.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Step 2: Adjust Entry Number (Optional)

At this point, you can adjust the beginning sequencing number of your journal entry. QuickBooks will automatically number your journal entries from here on out.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Step 3: Add Debited Account

In journal entries, you list the debited accounts first and then the credited accounts. If you need a refresher on debits and credits, read our Quick Guide To Accounting Terms and Concepts.

Select the account being debited. Then enter the amount under “debit.” If desired, you can also add a memo, name, and mark the amount as billable.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Step 4: Add Credited Account

Select the credited account from the drop-down menu. QuickBooks automatically enters the credited amount under “credit” because the debits and credits must always match. If desired, you can you can also add a memo, a name, and mark the amount as billable.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

Step 5: Save

Check that all of the information looks correct and that the debits and credits match. Then click “Save & Close” or “Save & New” if you’re planning on creating another journal entry.

How To Create A Journal Entry In QuickBooks Pro

For troubleshooting issues, check out the QuickBooks Community or call QuickBooks directly. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

“”

7 Ways To Make Your Business Website Better

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As a reviewer of small business software and services — and a human who lives in the modern era — I’ve seen my share of business websites. Many of them are so basic that they serve only to confirm that the business in question, be it a bowling alley or an accountancy firm, is not merely a front for backroom bookie Big Sal and his associates (Fingers, Lefty, and Slippery Joe). What is dodgier than a business without a URL, after all?

(Read this article if you’re wondering whether your small business even needs a website. Spoiler alert: it does.)

Few websites are anything other than forgettable, and the ones that stand out usually owe their memorability to monumentally funny errors rather than to craftsman-level design.

Your website can be — and should be — more than just an online throwback to the yellow pages, a mere repository for basic information about hours and addresses and contact emails. Your website was destined for greatness. And I’m going to help you take it there. Here are several steps you can take to make sure your website stands out for all the right reasons:

Table of Contents

Join The 21st Century (Be Mobile Responsive)

When I say, “join the 21st century,” I am not being snarky in the manner of a 90s sitcom character. (If I were, I would have said: Welcome to the Oughts, holmes!)

I am trying to stress the importance of having a modern, mobile-responsive site. There’s a word for businesses with websites that don’t work well on smartphones. And that word is defunct.

Consumers are addicted to their mobile devices. And according to this article by Marketing Land, mobile devices now drive an estimated 56% of web traffic. That’s right — chances are that more than half of your customers will find your website on their mobile browser. If your site isn’t mobile responsive, I guarantee they will exit your page as quickly as they enter.

When viewed on a smartphone, non-responsive sites appear either too large or too small, requiring the reader to manually adjust the screen. Responsive sites, on the other hand, automatically adjust to accommodate each device, be it an iPhone, a Kindle, or a Galaxy Note8. Mobile sites are often simpler and/or allow the visitor to scroll down for more information, rather than navigating from one page to another.

Effective mobile sites are sleek, minimalistic repositories of information. They should be reminiscent of your full site and good ambassadors for your brand. They should not make people throw their phones in anger.

Happily, most do-it-yourself website builders allow for mobile responsive design; if yours doesn’t, it’s time to look for a new platform. And it goes without saying that if you’re paying a developer to design your site, you should insist that they make it responsive. If you want more information about this topic or tips about how to make it work for you, read our articles What Is Responsive Design? and Creating Websites For The Smartphone Generation.

Update, Update, Update

To stay competitive, your site has to look current. People are only becoming more attuned to (and judgemental about) the aesthetics of their technology. Older designs simply won’t cut it. You must update, and update frequently, to stay alive.

To be clear, we’re not just talking about upgrading from something like this…

If your site looks like that, you either went out of business in 1996, or you are using the design ironically. If it’s the former, and you’re now trying to get back into the game, good for you. Burn the site and start over. Burn it. If it’s the latter, you are invariably a hipster and I don’t want to talk to you or your handlebar mustache.

This is the horrible truth: your pages don’t have to be neon and underlined to look hopelessly dated.  Sites built as recently as 2012 now appear sad and outre. First impressions matter, and the average consumer will ditch your site without blinking an eye if it looks sketchy or old.

To stay in the game, you must update the design of your site every few years. Yes, it’s a pain. Yes, it will cost you time, money, or both. But what you gain in street cred will be worth every dime.

Updating actually isn’t so bad if you’re using a modern website building platform, like Wix (read our review) or Squarespace (read our review). New, intuitive site editors make it easy to switch layouts, change templates and forms, and alter color schemes — without paying an hourly rate to a spendy developer.

Provide Accurate & Complete Information

I know I spent a good part of the introduction talking about how business websites need to be more than just storehouses of basic information. That is 100% true, and I stand by every word. But…and this is a big but…it is vitally important to put basic information about your business on your website, front and center, or everything else in this article is pointless. Highlight your operating hours, address, phone number, and digital contact information, and put that information in more than one place. If your business occupies a physical space, your address and phone number should be above the fold. In other words, website visitors should not have to scroll down or navigate to another page to see this information.

You also need to give potential customers and new visitors at least a hint of what your company is all about on your home page. Don’t write a novel at this point. As you’ll see in the screenshot of Merchant Maverick’s home page below, a simple summary phrase — Unbiased Reviews That Save You Time And Money — is enough to convey the purpose of our site.

An “About Us” page is a great place to go more in-depth about exactly what your business does, and why you do it. It can also be a good vehicle to introduce yourself or your staff. Include mini-bios and pictures if you can. People are social animals. We’re evolutionarily wired for relationships, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. The exchange of goods and services is occurring less and less in the meatspace, but we still like to know who we’re dealing with.

Avoid Grammar Mistakes

You don’t have dig deep to realize that American public schools are sadly failing when it comes to even basic writing competency. Just log in to Twitter for 10 seconds and yOull sea that Im rite. (There’s a little editor humor for you.)

You can get away with shocking grammar in Tweets, texts, and even over email (alas). But your website is not the place to be slipshod and careless. Save that devil-may-care attitude for Facebook or Christmas cards, where only some of your acquaintance will be judging you. If your website is riddled with typos and syntax goofs, you will lose customers, period. Error-laden copy connotes one of two things to your client base: you are illiterate or you are lazy. Ponder this riddle: What’s more off-putting to a consumer — an uneducated merchant or an indifferent one? The answer, of course, is moot. Neither one is going to survive.

This may all seem terrifying if grammar isn’t exactly your thing. But don’t worry! There’s no need to hastily enroll in a community college course. Simply running your site through spellcheck should catch most spelling errors, though you’d be surprised how many merchants neglect to do so. For higher level syntax and grammar issues, try using a service like Grammarly. It’s not perfect for higher level writing, but it catches almost 100% of basic errors (there/they’re/their, etc.), and it’s free. You can also enlist help from friends and family. The more eyes on your website copy before you publish, the better.

Write Engaging Copy About Your Products/Services

It’s not enough for your content to be grammatically perfect. It must also be useful and interesting. And there’s the rub.

How does one write captivating copy? Especially if one is trying to sell items as unsexy as, say, lawnmower parts or plumbing services? The key is to know your audience. Your stuff doesn’t have to be Dostoevsky-good. It doesn’t even have to be Reader’s Digest-good. Excellent website copy is defined by only three characteristics:

  • Detail
  • Utility
  • Appeal

Let’s take them one by one.

Detail

Presumably, you understand your business and your products or services well. Take the time to describe them, providing as much or more of the minutia as is reasonably warranted. Color; size; shape; weight; feel; smell; taste. Go further into the aesthetic sensibility of your items if you want. The more your customer knows about the product or service, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their purchase.

Utility

The overall helpfulness of your copy will depend in part on how wisely you’ve used detail in your descriptions. But you must go even a step further. It’s not enough to state that a scarf is hand-knit, blue, and made of angora wool. It’s not even enough to say that it is 60-inches-long and machine-washable. For optimal impact, you’ve got to paint a word picture for your potential customers. Give suggestions about various ways to wear the scarf. Talk about occasions or events the scarf is appropriate for. If a customer can imagine your product as a useful part of their daily life, you’re far more likely to make the sale.

Appeal

This one’s not so straightforward. The line between interesting copy and content that is mind-meltingly dull is thinner than you’d expect. When in doubt, go back to the advice above: know your audience. If you’re hawking lawnmower parts, it’s best not to be cutesy or make attempts at humor. You’re likely to simply irritate people. For utilitarian products and services, appealing equals factual and descriptive. But if bespoke spa treatments or patchwork quilts are your daily bread, be as whimsical as you want. Go nuts. Employ first-person language. Break out the charm. And if you don’t feel up to the task, hire someone who is. There are plenty of freelancers out there who write website copy for a living. Sites like Upwork are teeming with writers who would fist-fight each other for the privilege of generating your web content. (I know because I used to be one of them.)

Use Original Images

On the internet, as in life, it often pays to be unique. And not in an after-school-special, every-snowflake-is-beautiful kind of way. Search engines like original content. They give preference to it, in fact.

That said, unless your name is Dorothea Lange or Ansel Adams, you’re much better off using BigStock or Getty Images for your graphic content than simply uploading pictures from your digital camera or smartphone. Unique isn’t always equivalent to good. My iPhone pictures, for example, are invariably blurry and too dark, invoking what I’m sure are merely pity-likes on Instagram. Yours may be better (and likely are), but I can say with near certainty that they aren’t good enough to be featured on your website.

Website-quality photographs and images should be:

  • High-resolution
  • Well-lit
  • Sharply focused
  • Artistically blocked, posed or designed
  • Minimally cluttered

Images like this don’t grow on trees. They come from professional photographers and graphic designers who use professional equipment. In other words, you’ll have to pay for them. Craigslist is a good place to find relatively cheap freelancers in your area, or you can solicit help from sites like Upwork and Guru.

Maintain A Blog

Blogs aren’t just for bloggers. Used wisely, a blog can be an excellent marketing tool for your retail, restaurant, or service business.

For starters (to reiterate my point in the section above), search engines give preference to original content. They gobble it up, in the manner of hungry hippos. To be clear, Google is an equal opportunity tool in that, if you have a URL, you’ll show up in an appropriate keyword search…eventually. But if you want to rank a little higher than the two-millionth results page, you’ll need to put it a bit more effort. Creating unique, high-quality content for your site increases your visibility to potential customers online. The key phrase here is high-quality, by the way. Search engines employ highly trained digital bloodhounds that can sniff out BS filler-content a mile away. You can try to cover redundant or pointless copy with metaphorical coffee grounds, but Google algorithms just keep getting smarter.

If you equate blogs solely with hot-button social issues like politics, the Mommy Wars, religion, and the like, it may be difficult to see how having one could benefit — or even apply to — your business. There are only so many edgy articles you can write about lawnmower parts.

Blogs don’t have to be hilarious rants or incisive social commentaries. In fact, if you want them to work well for your site, you should avoid controversy and/or high-art altogether. Instead, think about what kinds of things your customers are interested in, and provide content that caters to those interests. Do you sell custom clothing? Write a few how-to posts about accessorizing or blog about fashion trends. Run a pet shop? Talk about what pet owners can do to keep their dogs healthy. Rank cat toys from worst to most purrr-fect. Cat owners in your area who search for toy ideas may just stumble on your article and become loyal customers. Blogs exist to provide helpful information for your current clients, but they serve to draw in new customers as well.

Here are some articles types that work well for business blogs:

  • Top 10 Lists
  • How-To Articles
  • Dos & Don’ts
  • Product Comparisons
  • Guides
  • Best Of/Worst Of Lists
  • Industry News
  • Trends & Fads
  • Interviews

If you don’t feel up to creating the content yourself, hire someone who is.

Final Thoughts

In our increasingly digital society, your website is the most visible face of your business. It behooves you to make that face as clean and attractive as possible. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to create a professional, effective site.

Consider the tips above and take action where you can. With just a little TLC (and a little cash), your website can go from bland and forgettable to sleek and profitable.

Further Reading

We’ve talked about seven ways that you can create a better website for your business. Here are some other resources to help you get started.

Starting From Scratch?

Check out our large selection of do-it-yourself website builder reviews or compare top website building software vendors. If your website needs to incorporate an online store, you’ll want to peruse our eCommerce software reviews and compare some of the top shopping carts.

Read these articles if you need help deciding on a platform:

Looking To Improve Your Current Site?

If you already have a site, but need some tips on how to take it to the next level, these articles should help:

Want Tips On eCommerce?

We’ve written a comprehensive ebook on starting an online store. It’s free and well worth a read. If you’re operating an online store already or are thinking about adding one to your website, check out these articles:

Need Help With Social Media For Your Business Website?

Social media is a huge part of good business marketing, and it’s helpful to integrate your social media channels with your website. Check out these articles for more information:

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington is a writer, editor, and native Oregonian who lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley with her husband and two small children. When she’s not writing or testing software, she spends her time reading early 20th century mystery novels, staring blankly at her iPhone, and attempting to keep her kids fed, clothed, and relatively uninjured.

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington

“”

The Complete Guide To Card Brand Fees For Merchant Accounts

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

credit card processing fees image

In this guide, we’re tackling a surprisingly tricky and supremely detail-oriented topic in the world of card payment processing: card brand fees. Navigating these fees on your merchant account statement can feel like you’re on a scavenger hunt you didn’t sign up for — and not the fun kind. There’s no avoiding the fact that the devil’s in the details when it comes to card brand fees, but too many merchants overlook or misunderstand them at their own peril. Fortunately, Merchant Maverick is here to help you:

  • Understand card brand fees and how they apply to your specific merchant account.
  • Identify these fees on your statement with our reference list of commonly-charged card brand fees.
  • Discern if your card processor is ripping you off by messing with these fees.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Table of Contents

Card Brand Fees VS Interchange Fees

Wait, aren’t these the same thing? If you thought so, you’re not the only one. Many merchants are surprised to learn that interchange fees and card brand fees are two completely separate types of fees. If this includes you, then you are about to join the elite class of merchants who understand the difference!

The common conflation of these two fee types stems from the fact that both are considered part of the “wholesale” cost of card processing, as opposed to the “markup.” In processing lingo, “wholesale” simply means that your processor must pay these fees to a separate entity in the processing chain instead of keeping the money for its own use.

The key distinction between these two sub-categories of wholesale fees, therefore, is which link in the chain is owed each fee. Here’s the difference: An interchange fee goes to to the customer’s card-issuing bank, while card brand fees are ultimately paid to the actual card brands themselves (e.g., Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express).

For both of these wholesale costs, card processors and the merchant services providers (MSPs) who manage your accounts are faced with a choice. Do they itemize and “pass-through” these wholesale fees directly to the merchant? Or, do they absorb the wholesale cost into the pricing structure in other ways, perhaps by charging a higher processing rate or monthly fee? Or, do they use some solution in between?

As a merchant, you’re tasked with knowing how your own MSP handles wholesale fees — both interchange and card brand. We’re only addressing card brand fees in this article. For more on interchange fees and how the different pricing models (such as interchange-plus) incorporate them, see our complete guide to rates and fees.

Card brand fees are typically either a percentage of volume charge or a flat amount per instance. Some apply to all your transactions, while others only apply in very specific situations, such as when an authorization is abnormal in some way. We’ll cover these individual fees and their circumstances in the itemized list at the end of this article.

The good news is that card brand fees have set, established amounts across the industry. Like interchange fees, they’re considered non-negotiable, and the processor has no control over the amounts. The bad news is that finding the true wholesale amounts for card brand fees is generally more difficult than looking up interchange rates.

Before we delve into why these fees are so pesky, note that they’re also called card network fees, card association fees, or assessments (although, as you’ll see, an “assessment” is technically a specific sub-category of card brand fee).

Card Brand Fees Are Especially Tricky

Due to several regrettable quirks of the processing industry, card brand fees are particularly complicated and opaque. Here are the primary reasons:

  • They’re not displayed on the card brand websites. By contrast, interchange tables are readily available at the Visa and MasterCard websites.
  • You can’t call the card brands and ask about the fees. You’ll be redirected right back to your own MSP to answer any questions. It’s incredibly frustrating that we can’t rely on the card brands to disclose these base costs, and instead must rely on processors and MSPs to be honest when they pass the fees through.
  • Multiple fees may apply to the same authorization or transaction. For example, transactions paid with a foreign-issued card incur separate international surcharges on top of the regular assessment that’s applied to all your transactions.
  • The fees change (usually increase) over time. And not all at once. While they’re rarely decreased, sometimes particular fees are eliminated and/or replaced with others. Occasionally, a completely new fee is instituted, to which the only fitting response is…

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  • Many of the fees are known by multiple names and abbreviations, and it’s often difficult to match the names on your own statement with any established names.
  • Two or more fees may be combined into one on your statement, making them hard to identify and verify.
  • The fees can be spread throughout multiple sections of your statement — not grouped all together or even labeled properly — just in case you weren’t already driven bonkers by this stuff. Often, I’ve seen them buried inside “interchange” or “authorization” sections.
  • Brazen processors or MSPs may add their own markups to card brand fees without telling you. Or, they may invent fees and give them card-brand-sounding names. Yuck, right?
  • Most of the fees are small, so can be overlooked as inconsequential. They can still add up quite quickly, but the real issue at stake is the overall honesty and transparency of your provider. Regardless of whether an extra fee or markup here and there isn’t costing you that much, wouldn’t you still rather know about it?

How To Stay On Top Of Card Brand Fees

It’s a shame that merchants can’t rely on Gandalf’s wizardry for this quest. Instead, we suggest you follow our tips for navigating these fees:

  • Be aware that you may be charged only some, or even none, of these fees. This depends on several factors, including 1) your pricing model, 2) what your MSP decides to pass through versus absorb, and 3) what happens with your transactions and authorizations in a given month. With many blended, tiered or flat-rate plans, all or most of the card brand fees are absorbed into the overall cost of your account instead of itemized and passed through to you. There are no guarantees with any pricing model, however, so check your statements anyway!
  • Obtain a list of card brand fees from your merchant account provider. If they’re passing these fees through to you, they should provide a detailed list with the specific names and abbreviations they’re using.
  • Use a secondary, neutral source to confirm fee amounts. Our list below is a great place to start.
  • Keep a running list of the card brand fees you’ve seen on your own statements, along with the amounts. Reference lists are handy, but a personalized list is easier to use and track over time than a litany of every possible fee for every possible circumstance.
  • Processors shouldn’t mark up these fees without clearly informing you. And really, they should leave these fees alone completely. If the fee is charged at all, it should be passed through at cost.
  • Trust the amount more than the name. Identifying a fee on your statement is often more about looking at the rate or amount charged, as well as the specific number/volume/type of transactions to which it was applied. The process of elimination can be very effective here.
  • Definitely be suspicious if you spot extra fees that aren’t on the reference list, any that seem like duplicates or that can’t be matched with established values, or those that look too high. Don’t worry too much if a fee seems too low; it’s possible your processor is just absorbing or redistributing some of the cost.
  • Be on the lookout for fee change notifications. October and April are common transition points, but the fees can change at any time. Good processors will notify you (sometimes on the statement itself) when a card brand fee is set to increase or change. If your processor doesn’t fall in this camp, it’s all the more important that you bookmark this article.
  • Ask before you sign. If you’re just signing up for an MSP or changing providers, ask how it handles card brand fees in addition to interchange costs. Be very clear that you know the difference and want the specifics. Remember, not all customer service reps are created equal in their knowledge of this topic. Ask to be transferred up the chain if you’re not satisfied.

Final Thoughts (Let’s Crowdsource This!)

As merchants, you are on the front lines for tracking card brand fees. We believe your input will be key in keeping our reference list up to date. Some of you have processors who actually do a good job organizing and displaying card brand fees on statements, as well as notifying you of any upcoming changes. Is a fee on our list is no longer accurate? Are we missing a new, legitimate fee? Together, we can also help other merchants whose processors are abysmal at communicating fees, or even cheating business owners. Let’s all team up on this — leave a comment below!
International Service Assessment (ISA)

  • Surcharge owed on transactions that are processed in the US on a card issued outside the US.
  • 1.20% – International Service Assessment (ISA) – Non-US currency
    • Same fee as above, but incurs this higher rate when the transaction is settled in the cardholder’s local currency.
    • 0.45% – International Acquirer Fee (IAF)
      • Applies in same circumstance as the International Assessment above.

    Per-Item:

    • $0.0195 – Acquirer Processing Fee (APF): Credit
      • Owed on all credit transactions for US-based businesses, irrespective of where cardholder/issuer is located.
    • $0.0155 – Acquirer Processing Fee (APF): Debit
      • Owed on all debit transactions for US-acquired businesses, irrespective of where the cardholder/issuer is located.
    • $0.0195 – Credit Voucher Fee (Credit)
      • Owed on all refunds issued in the US via credit card.
    • $0.0155 – Credit Voucher Fee (Debit)
      • Owed on all refunds issued in the US via debit card.
    • $0.0018 – System File Transmission Fee / Base II Fee
      • Owed on all authorized transactions submitted for settlement (in addition to the above transaction fees). Base II refers to Visa’s settlement network.
      • Outdated Visa settlement fees:
        • $0.0025 – Settlement Network Access Fee. Base II fee may still be called by this name but should be $0.0018.
        • $0.0047 – Kilobyte (KB) Access Fee. Should not be charged in addition to the above.
    • $0.10 – Transaction Integrity Fee (TIF)
      • Owed on a debit or prepaid Visa transaction that fails to meet CPS requirements (e.g., not settled in 24 hours, no AVS submitted on a keyed transaction).
    • $0.09 – Misuse of Authorization Fee
      • Owed when a transaction is authorized, but not followed by a matching cleared transaction, or when a canceled or timed-out authorization is improperly reversed.
    • $0.20 – Zero Floor Limit Fee
      • Owed when the merchant submits a settlement transaction without an authorization.
    • $0.025 – Zero Dollar Verification Fee
      • Owed when the merchant verifies a cardholder’s information (e.g., AVS, CVC2) without authorizing a transaction.

    Other:

    • Varies – Fixed Acquirer Network Fee (FANF)
      • A flat fee based on your volume per month, type of business (Merchant Category Code or MCC), number of locations, etc. Typically charged quarterly or monthly. Learn more about the FANF here.

    MasterCard Network Fees

    Volume-Based:

    • 0.12% – Assessment / Acquirer Brand Volume Fee – Transactions <$1,000 and all Signature Debit
      • Owed on gross commercial and consumer credit transactions less than $1,000, as well as all signature debit.
    • 0.14% – Assessment / Acquirer Brand Volume Fee – Transactions >$1,000)
      • Owed on gross commercial and consumer credit transactions exceeding $1,000; excludes signature debit. Note: May be listed as 0.02% surcharge over the above assessment.
    • 0.0075% – Acquirer License Fee (ALF) / License Volume Fee 
      • Owed on gross transaction volume. Increased from 0.0045% Oct. 2017. Note: sometimes combined with the above assessments, bringing the totals to 0.1275% and 0.1475%, respectively.
    • 0.60% – International / Cross-Border Assessment Fee (Domestic)
      • Surcharge owed by US-based merchants on transactions on a card issued outside the U.S. settled in USD. (Similar to Visa’s ISA.)
    • 1.00% – International / Cross-Border Assessment Fee (Foreign)
      • Same fee as above, but incurs this higher rate when the transaction is settled in the cardholder’s local currency. (Similar to Visa’s ISA.)
    • 0.85% – International Acquirer Program Support Fee
      • Applies in same circumstance as the Cross-Border Assessment above. (Similar to Visa’s IAF.)
    • 0.01% – Digital Enablement Fee
      • Owed on all card-not-present transactions for signature debit, consumer credit, and commercial credit cards.
    • 1.57%Global Wholesale Travel Transaction B2B
      • Owed instead of regular assessments, international surcharges, and NABU fees when the MasterCard B2B (MSB) card product has been used. Applies to a specific set of Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) in the travel and entertainment sector.

    Per-Item:

    • $0.0195 – Network Access and Brand Usage Fee (NABU Fee)
      • Owed on all US-based authorizations, regardless if settled. (Similar to Visa’s APF, Discover’s Data Usage Fee.)
    • $0.0044 – Kilobyte (KB) Access Fee
      • Owed on each authorized transaction submitted for settlement. Note: we’re in the process of checking to see if it’s still charged.
    • $0.01 – AVS Fee (Card-Not-Present)
      • Owed on card-not-present transactions processed using Address Verification Service (AVS). Often shows up on a statement under “Authorizations.”
    • $0.005 – AVS Fee (Card-Present)
      • Owed on Card-Present transactions processed using AVS. Often shows up under “Authorizations.”
    • $0.0025 – Card Validation Code Fee
      • Owed on all transactions involving CVC2 authorization.
    • $0.025 – Account Status Inquiry Fee
      • Owed when a merchant verifies AVS or CVC2 without authorizing a transaction.
    • $0.03 – SecureCode Transaction Fee
      • Owed on all MC SecureCode verification attempts (SecureCode service requires merchant signup).
    • $0.055 – Processing Integrity Fee
      • Owed for transactions that do not comply with best practices for transactions (i.e., not properly cleared/settled/reversed within MasterCard’s time frames for the type of transaction). Below are similar fees for other types of authorization integrity issues:
        • $0.045 – Processing Integrity Fee, Pre-Authorization
        • $0.045 – Processing Integrity Fee, Undefined Authorization
        • $0.040 minimum, or 0.25% – Processing Integrity Fee: Final Authorization
    • $0.012 – Processing Integrity Fee Detail Reporting
      • Owed on any authorization that generates a processing integrity fee for pre-authorization, undefined authorization, or final authorization.

    Other:

    • $1.25/mo. ($15 per year) – Merchant Location Fee
      • $15 annually for each location with traditional MSPs/processors ($3 annually for payment facilitators like Square). Not applicable to merchants processing under $200/month, nor to charitable or religious organizations.
    • $500 – Yearly Registration Fee
      • For online e-cigarettes/vaping businesses.

     Discover Network Fees

    Volume-Based:

    • 0.13% – Assessment
      • Owed on gross transaction volume.
    • 0.55% – International Processing Fee
      • Owed on US-based transactions processed with a card issued outside the U.S.
    • 0.80% – International Service Fee
      • Applies in same circumstance as the International Processing Fee above.

    Per-Item:

    • $0.0195 – Data Usage Fee
      • Owed on all authorized transactions. (Similar to Visa’s APF and MasterCard’s NABU Fees.)
    • $0.0025 – Network Authorization Fee
      • Owed on all authorized transactions. Replaced the Data Transmission Fee in 2013, which only applied to settled transactions.

    American Express OptBlue Network Fees

    American Express OptBlue

    Volume-Based:

    • 0.15% – Assessment
      • Owed on gross transaction volume.
    • 0.40% – International Assessment / Inbound Fee
      • Surcharge owed on transactions involving a card issued outside the US.
    • 0.30% – Card-Not-Present Surcharge
      • Surcharge owed on any transactions considered CNP, including keyed and ecommerce transactions.
    • 0.75%Technical Specification Non-Compliance
      • Owed on transactions that do not meet Amex standards, such as an authorization not obtained at the same time as a sale. Much rarer than Visa and MasterCard fees for transaction integrity problems.

    Per-Item:

    Rose Holman

    Rose’s eclectic professional background includes teaching, research, retail, non-profits and music. Upon returning to her Pacific Northwest roots following a four year stint in the tiny country of Luxembourg, she immediately applied her innate curiosity and lifelong love of explaining stuff to the world of merchant accounts. Her hobbies include devouring podcasts, practicing minimalism, and singing four-part harmony with her husband and two kids.

    Rose Holman

    “”

    How Can I Get A Bank Loan For My Business If I’ve Had A Bankruptcy?

    Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

    Bankruptcy shouldn’t be taken lightly. Aside from asset forfeiture, the shock to your credit rating is the main disincentive to filing bankruptcy. Prospective filers are cautioned that they’ll have a hard time accessing credit for up to a decade. While there’s some truth to these warnings, the worst case scenarios are also a bit overblown.

    It’s possible to get bank loans after a bankruptcy, but you may have to work a bit harder to get them and approach the process with an open mind. We’ll look at some of the questions you should ask and strategies you can pursue below.

    Table of Contents

    What Happens To My Credit Score?

    Even after bankruptcy, your credit rating will be one of the biggest determining factors in whether or not a bank will lend to you.

    While you might assume bankruptcy completely destroys your credit, the truth is a bit more complicated. You can expect a bankruptcy to shave a hundred or two points off your credit rating which, of course, isn’t great. How negatively impacted your credit is will depend on the amount of debt being discharged and how many accounts are delinquent, as well as how many accounts are current. In fact, depending on how bad your credit was at the time you declared bankruptcy, it’s not impossible that your credit might slightly improve.

    The bankruptcy will stay on your record for seven to 10 years, but your credit can begin to improve immediately.

    How Can I Improve My Credit Score After Bankruptcy?

    There are a number of different ways to improve your credit. Some of them apply to everyone, others more specifically those with bankruptcies on their record.

    • Get A Secured Credit Card: Unlike regular credit cards, secured credit cards require a cash payment as collateral. In fact, that deposit serves as your credit line. It’s not a great deal, but it will help rebuild your credit and offer the functionality of a credit card.
    • Pay Your Bills On Time: This is pretty obvious, but keeping your accounts current will help.
    • Use Only A Fraction Of The Credit You Have: Keep your balances small (somewhere below 25 percent of your available credit).
    • Take Out Loans and Keep Payments Current: Availability will vary based on your credit rating. We’ll be looking at some options below.
    • Use Alternative Lenders: Many alternative lenders cater to individuals and businesses with bad credit, just be aware that some of them won’t work with a borrower who recently declared bankruptcy.
    • Consider A Hard Money Loan: If you’re looking at a short-term real estate investment, hard money provides a risky way to get financing with bad credit.
    • Wait: On the bright side, the farther you get away from the date of your bankruptcy, the less impact it will have on your credit rating.

    What Loans Are Available?

    Lending is a gamble, but there are lenders willing to take a bigger risk in exchange for a potentially larger payday. Believe it or not, it’s possible to get a personal loan almost immediately after you declare bankruptcy. Business loans aren’t off the table either, although you may have to jump through additional hoops to prove the creditworthiness of your business plan.

    The bad news is that you’re probably going to be paying through the nose for any credit that’s extended to you. But if you’re judicious about how much you borrow and don’t let a lot of interest accrue, you can still make good use of loans.

    Since we’re looking specifically at bank loans, the good news is that they tend to be a bit more conservative when it comes to how much they’ll extend you and the length of the terms. Keep an eye out for any supplemental fees they charge on high-interest products.

    Mortgages are a different story. It’s almost unheard of for a bank to offer a mortgage to a newly bankrupt customer. Depending on the type of mortgage you’re looking for, the waiting times can range from one to four years. If you’ve previously defaulted on a mortgage, your wait time is more likely to fall on the longer side of that range.

    How Can I Find The Right Bank?

    Not all banks have the same bankruptcy policies. Consider keeping your business and personal accounts with a bank or credit union willing to extend you credit. You’ll also want to gather as much information as you can about what products are offered to customers with a bankruptcy on their record.

    Be wary of extremely high-interest rates and (especially) any monthly maintenance fees charged in addition to interest.

    What If I’ve Filed Chapter 13?

    Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcies, Chapter 13 bankruptcies last several years while your business undergoes restructuring. During this time, you’ll have trustee-enforced restrictions on how you can borrow.

    Final Thoughts

    As big an impact as a bankruptcy has on your life and business, it’s by no means the end of the line in terms of getting credit. Just be patient, weigh your options carefully, and don’t get taken advantage of.

    Chris Motola

    Chris Motola is an independent writer, journalist, programmer, and game designer who has mastered the art of using his laptop in no fewer than 541 positions, most of them unergonomic. When he’s not pushing keys or swiping screens, he’s probably out exploring urban or natural environs, experimenting in the kitchen, or delighting/annoying his friends with his ideas and theories.

    Chris Motola

    “”

    Equity Versus Non-Equity Crowdfunding

    Our impartial reviews and content are supported partly by affiliate partnerships. Find out more.

    equity crowdfunding

    Crowdfunding is extremely popular nowadays. I do not have to let you know this it’s a manifest truth, apparent on the planet around us. In the Kickstarter-driven boom within the tabletop gaming industry to using GoFundMe like a rickety replacement for a nationwide healthcare safety internet, crowdfunding is really a fundraiser solution formed through the occasions (it’s no coincidence that crowdfunding has had off within the decade because the start of the truly amazing Recession and also the resulting tightening of use of capital). It’s a primary influencer of economic and cultural trends.

    Go into the federal legislation referred to as JOBS Act. This act, formally known as the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (Congress might be damaged in lots of ways, but never doubt their acronym game), was passed with bipartisan congressional support — though not without critique — and signed into law by President Barack Obama this year. The primary reason for the Act ended up being to legalize equity crowdfunding. Basically, rather of backing a startup venture in return for an incentive or internal satisfaction, you back a business in return for equity–an possession stake in the organization. Rather to be only a backer, the contributor becomes an investor.

    You could think: Therefore the distinction between equity crowdfunding and Kickstarter is you offer rewards using the latter and equity using the former? Awesome.

    To that particular I only say: Whoa there, cowboy. It isn’t that easy.

    Let’s delve further in to the variations between both of these completely different way of performing a crowdfunding campaign.

    Table of Contents

    Equity Crowdfunding

    In the centre from the profound distinction between equity crowdfunding and non-equity crowdfunding may be the disparity between investing and creating a donation in return for a guaranteed reward. As the commitment of an incentive can carry by using it some extent of legal obligation, offering investment possibilities is really a wholly different proposition within the eyes from the law. Capital investment is an infinitely more heavily-controlled field, for apparent reasons. Securities fraud is among the most pervasive and insidious strategies by which honest people and organizations can lose everything they’ve labored for, because the victims of Bernie Madoff can attest. To totally deregulate securities buying and selling is always to give free reign towards the scammers and fraudsters in our midst.

    (I recognize the ever-growing pace from the news cycle means this stuff get forgotten more rapidly than in the past, however, you do remember Bernie Madoff, right? Please agree.)

    Regardless of the risks natural within the securities trade, it grew to become obvious within the wake from the Great Recession more funding avenues must be distributed around capital-starved startups and small-to-medium-sized companies. The legalization of crowdfunded securities was seen in an effort to help bridge this funding gap, and therefore the roles Act was pressed through Congress and signed into law, legalizing the advertising and solicitation of securities.

    Hold on! Ends up, the JOBS Act wasn’t just rather simple of Legalizing It. The Roles Act was made up of a number of different sections known as Titles, which Titles associated with different way of offering crowdfunded securities. They didn’t work all at one time. For instance, let’s consider the three Titles best to equity crowdfunding: II, III and IV.

    Title II from the JOBS Act required effect in 2013. It approved equity crowdfunding using accredited investors only. What’s a certified investor, you may well ask? A certified investor is just someone who either includes a internet price of $a million USD excluding the need for their primary residence or whose earnings continues to be $200K or even more during the last 2 yrs and who expects to create a minimum of much in the present year. “Accredited investor” doesn’t denote any particular skill — it simply describes individuals who make a lot of money and/or have a very high internet worth. The concept behind treating them differently as investors is they are less easily easily wiped out by a regrettable financial commitment.

    By comparison, Titles III and IV from the JOBS Act approved equity crowdfunding for non-accredited investors—basically everyone else. These Titles required effect in 2015 and 2016 correspondingly. Partly because of the gap over time between once the Titles required effect, equity crowdfunding for accredited investors is much more prevalent right now, with the likes of Fundable (see our review) and Crowdfunder (see our review) taking on the task. Equity crowdfunding for unaccredited investors (average folks), however, continues to be just getting began, though the likes of Wefunder happen to be attempting to make a try from it within this arena.

    Regrettably, equity crowdfunding has yet to consider off in the way envisioned once the JOBS Act was passed, particularly equity crowdfunding for non-accredited investors. Analysts have attributed this towards the dollar limits enforced along with other regulatory challenges. Nevertheless, it’s anticipated that Congress and also the SEC continuously refine the relevant rules managing the field, so equity crowdfunding will probably be around for a while in the future. Just be familiar with the possibility hazards. Here’s the disclaimer I insert into my equity crowdfunder reviews:

    Keep in mind that equity crowdfunding is really a still-evolving field, using the full impact from the JOBS Act still being assessed. Equity crowdfunding is really a more complicated proposition than, say, rewards-based crowdfunding, as investing is a lot more substantially controlled. Consult a lawyer for those who have any legal queries about the procedure, SEC rules, etc.

    Non-Equity Crowdfunding

    Non-equity crowdfunding encompasses a lot of what an average joe thinks about once they hear the word “crowdfunding.” Individuals who produce goods by means of tech gadgets and art are particularly attracted to rewards crowdfunding — crowdfunding where the backer receives the merchandise or work created through the campaigner in return for their contribution.

    As you’re probably aware, two such platforms are Kickstarter (see our review) and Indiegogo (see our review). As the two platforms get their variations — Kickstarter is much more exclusive regarding who are able to campaign on their own site and Kickstarter necessitates that you are offering rewards — both of them cash in keeping. Both offer entrepreneurs, startups and SMBs the chance to tap the public’s desire to obtain the following big factor. Both also take 8Percent of the items you raise in charges, with 5% visiting the platform and roughly 3% visiting the payment processor.

    GoFundMe (see our review) is yet another big player within the crowdfunding field, but when you can easily generate a GoFundMe campaign for the startup or small company, GoFundMe is really strongly identified with crowdfunding for medical expenses/emergencies that the more commercial campaign might find it difficult to gain traction around the platform.

    One crowdfunder has upended the Kickstarter/Indiegogo/GoFundMe funding model and it has accordingly designed a big splash recently. Patreon (see our review) will work better compared to other crowdfunders for artists yet others who produce new content continuously. Using their funding model, the backer subscribes to aid the campaigner with an ongoing basis. The machine resembles a regular membership service. The backer props up campaigner either on the monthly or perhaps a per creation basis, as well as in exchange receives exclusive content in the campaigner. It’s how Twitter legend dril gets support for his nuggets of timeless knowledge.

    I’ll observe that there’s a second kind of non-equity crowdfunding. Frequently it’s known as debt crowdfunding. Basically, this requires borrowing funds from the crowd of investors rather of from the bank. LendingClub (see our review), Kiva U.S. (see our review) and Prosper (see our review) are the leading debt crowdfunding sites.

    Naturally, many startups will discover the possibilities of dealing with debt to obtain funding less attractive than offering rewards or equity. Also referred to as P2P (peer-to-peer) lending, debt crowdfunding is much more similar to applying for a financial loan than performing a rewards or equity crowdfunding campaign, therefore if you are interested in going after this type of business funding, take a look at my article on personal loans for business use. In the following paragraphs, I examine both P2P lenders and much more traditional online lenders when it comes to services provided and term-lengths.

    Hybrid Platforms

    To help complicate things, some crowdfunders host both equity and rewards crowdfunding campaigns. While Indiegogo is better noted for its rewards crowdfunding, they really offer equity crowdfunding too via a partnership with Microventures known as First Democracy VC. Fundable (see our review) is yet another platform offering both rewards and equity crowdfunding. Using these hybrid platforms, you normally can’t conduct both types of campaigns at the same time. If you wish to do both, the smart factor to complete would be to conduct a rewards campaign first. If you are effective, after that you can use the prosperity of your rewards campaign to show to equity investors the viability of your products or services and it is attract consumers.

    Final Ideas

    As I’ve stated, equity crowdfunding has yet to consider off like other kinds of crowdfunding. The main rewards crowdfunders have used up the majority of the oxygen within the crowdfunding room, cheap the regulatory landscape is really new (cheap equity crowdfunding involves investing) implies that submission using the relevant laws and regulations and rules is much more complex compared to the flimsily-controlled realm of rewards crowdfunding. Nevertheless, the area is ripe for growth.

    Essentially, in case your entrepreneurial/business attempts are dedicated to a distinctive product or experience that may potentially generate viral enthusiasm, rewards crowdfunding is the best choice. If, however, you’re creating a company with exponential growth potential but which doesn’t create a singular product that people salivate over, equity crowdfunding helps make the most sense. Obviously, there isn’t any reason you cannot do one and so the other!

    Jason Vissers

    Jason Vissers is really a author, cereal chef and Netflix aficionado from North Park. A local Californian who enjoys the shore, Jason nevertheless would rather do his surfing on the internet, the raddest wave of all of them. Jason can’t eat raisins.

    Jason Vissers

    “”

    2017 Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Holiday Deals for Small Company Proprietors

    Our impartial reviews and content are supported partly by affiliate partnerships. Find out more.

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    I’ve never understood why, at the time as we meditate on being grateful and quite happy with what we should have, we hurry towards the store and proceed throngs of people to purchase the following best factor. So far, that’s.

    With regards to your online business, you need to make the most of every deal open to you. Fortunately, this season there are many to select from. We spent hrs digging to find the best Black Friday, Cyber Monday, along with other holiday deals so you do not have to. Whether you’re looking for a brand new POS system, a good deal on a credit card merchant account, or some seriously discounted accounting software, there’s something for everybody this holidays.

    Note: We’ll be updating this publish regularly to create the most up-to-date offers and discounts. Be on the lookout for additional bargains in the future!

    Table of Contents

    Merchant Services

    If you are searching to simply accept card payments out of your customers, you’ll need a credit card merchant account. Most merchant services charge a particular rate per transaction, but there’s a couple subscription-based mixers are providing discounts on their own monthly rates along with a couple of which are offering deals on hardware.

    Fattmerchant

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Promotion not far off.

    Fattmerchant hasn’t released their Cyber Monday deal yet, but it’s not far off. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

    Fattmerchant is really a subscription-based credit card merchant account that works with most major shopping carts. The organization offer 24/7 free support and receive 5/5 stars on our websiteTo understand more about this credit card merchant account, visit our comprehensive Fattmerchant review.

    PaySimple

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    PaySimple is providing 50% from the first 3 several weeks and services information.

    This promotion is perfect for new clients you have to complete the enrollment form by 11:59 pm EST on November 30th to obtain this discount (discount doesn’t affect individual transaction charges). Use coupon code CYBER.Offers are not valid with every other promotions. Contact PaySimple for more information.

    PaySimple is yet another subscription-based credit card merchant account that meets its name. The credit card merchant account is straightforward, simple to use, and it has great customer support. To understand more about this credit card merchant account, read our comprehensive PaySimple review.

    Cayan

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Cayan is providing $150 in free software and hardware.

    Cayan is providing a vacation Bundle to new users who join a Cayan account. The bundle includes $100 in instant credit, a totally free EMV-enable card swiper, and free eCommerce setup (often a $150 value as a whole). Contact Cayan directly for more information or join the vacation bundle here.

    Cayan has developed in the credit card merchant account game since 1998 and it has an excellent status. The program is fairly priced while offering wonderful features. To understand more about this credit card merchant account option, read our full Cayan review.

    Mobile Payments

    If you were to Nederlander Bros, you realize about Mobile Reason for Purchase (mPOS) apps. Accepting payments on the go with simply a tablet and/or smartphone is essential for many companies. Which screaming holiday deals might help your organization just do that.

    Square

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Square is providing $10 off a Contactless + Nick readers.

    When you join a Square account, you will see a promo for $10 a Contactless + Nick Readers (ordinarily a $49 value). The discount is restricted to 1 per account. Contact Square to learn more.

    Square is a huge name in mobile payments processing–and for a good reason. With ample features along with a flat swipe rate, it’s easy to understand why. On this 4.5/five star software within our comprehensive Square review.

    Intuit GoPayment

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Promotion not far off.

    Intuit hasn’t released their Black Friday promo yet, but it’s not far off. The deals will likely be announced on Monday. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

    While Intuit is much more noted for its QuickBooks accounting software, Intuit also provides a mPOS known as Intuit Go Payment (formerly referred to as Intuit Payment Solutions). Intuit GoPayment offers competitive rates along with a seamless Quickbooks integration. To understand more about this method, read our comprehensive Intuit GoPayment review.

    POS Software

    Reason for Purchase (POS) solutions really are a huge element of retail and restaurant companies. If you are looking for a great POS system, there’s seriously no better time for you to purchase. Miracle traffic bot category has got the most holiday promotions undoubtedly, so you have several options.

    Toast POS

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Toast POS is providing up $6,000 in hardware to new clients.

    If you’re a new Toast POS customer transitioning from Aloha or Micros, you are able to qualify for approximately $6,000 in hardware.

    This deal is essentially a hardware swap. For instance, for those who have an Aloha or Micro terminal, you are able to swap it for any free Toast POS terminal (as much as $6,000). Toast is just matching existing hardware, so any other purchases is going to be priced normally. This deal applies its November. Find out more about this deal and Contact Toast POS directly to find out if you qualify.

    Toast POS is a perfect restaurant POS that provides ample features, a loyalty rewards program, and gift certificate abilities. Discover what else Toast POS provides within our comprehensive 5/five star Toast POS review.

    Revel Systems

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Promotion not far off.

    Revel Systems hasn’t released their promotion yet, but be on the lookout for that company’s announcement. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

    Revel Systems is among the top iPad POS systems, boasting 25,000 terminals being used and powerful features. To understand more about Revel Systems, read our comprehensive Revel Systems review.

    Lightspeed

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Promotion not far off.

    Lightspeed hasn’t released their promotion yet, but be on the lookout for that company’s announcement. We all do realize that both software and hardware is going to be discounted. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

    Lightspeed offers multiple POS systems for particular industries. (Before the promo is released, we won’t know which version is going to be discounted.) Read our complete Lightspeed Retail, Lightspeed eCom, and Lightspeed Restaurant reviews to find out more.

    NCR Silver

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    NCR Silver is providing 1-2 free several weeks and services information for annual subscriptions.

    Although this isn’t always a Black Friday or Cyber Monday purchase, we would have liked to show you from the promotion NCR Silver is presently running.

    If you buy single-year subscription, you’ll get a month of free service if you buy a couple-year subscription, you’ll receive two several weeks of free service. The offer pertains to brand new merchant, no matter location or quantity of terminals. Purchase ends on December 31. Contact NCR Silver for more information.

    NCR Silver is really a cloud-based POS well suited for medium-sized companies. It provides 24/7 support and integrates with leading accounting software. Read our complete NCR Silver review to find out more.

    LingaPOS

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Linga POS is providing 3 several weeks of free service.

    New users who begin a Linga account will get 3 several weeks of the free Linga POS license. Deal ends on December 15th. Contact Linga POS directly to benefit from this offer.

    Linga POS offers impressive features together with a strong inventory management system. The program is competitive in cost and is a superb option for food services. Read our complete LingaPOS review to find out more.

    Hike POS

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Hike is providing a 30% discount to customers.

    Hike is providing a 30% discount to customers. We are adding a lot of this promotion soon, until then, contact Hike directly for details.

    Although Hike is really a relatively recent POS solution, it provides an attractive interface and lots of features. Hike is simple to use and versatile too. Read our comprehensive Hike review to understand more about this 4.5/five star software.

    Epos Now

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Epos Now’s offering $500 in savings.

    Epos Now’s offering their POS System including a 15″ touchscreen terminal, an invoice printer, along with a cash drawer for $1,299 (ordinarily a $1,799 value). Contact Epos Let’s focus on details or visit here to join up with this promotion.

    Epos Now’s a quick-growing POS system located in the United kingdom. The machine is simple to use, filled with features, and reliable enough for Disney Pictures and Universal for doing things (that’s enough to achieve my election if it is adequate for Disney it should be the most joyful POS system on the planet right?). Read our full Epos Now review to find out if you accept me and to understand more about the program on your own.

    Springboard Retail

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Promotion not far off.

    Springboard Retail hasn’t released their November promotion yet, but be on the lookout for that company’s announcement. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

    Springboard Retail is really a POS system with limitless users and ample features. The POS system offers scalable prices plans and it is incredibly simple to use. To understand more about POS option, read our complete Springboard Retail review.

    GiftLogic POS

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    GiftLogic POS is providing a hardware looking for $.99 with acquisition of any initial software bundle.

    If you buy any GiftLogic POS software bundle, you’re qualified to purchase a hardware looking for a reduced cost of $.99. We is going to be adding a lot of this promotion soon, until then, contact GiftLogic POS directly for details.

    GiftLogic POS is really a Home windows-based retail POS that is fantastic for clothes shops and gift shops. The program offers extensive features including reporting and inventory. To understand more about this POS contender, read our complete GiftLogicPOS review.

    Accounting Software

    The section you’ve all been awaiting! Okay, in order the mind accounting author at Merchant Maverick I’m just a little biased toward accounting software, but hey–that means I understand a great deal after i see one. I’m excited to talk about these steals along with you.

    Aplos

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Aplos is providing 50% off select annual subscriptions.

    Aplos is providing 50% from the newbie of the annual subscription for their Starter or Standard Accounting packages. Any new user can use with this promo and you will find no cancellation charges (should you aren’t satisfied, Aplos will refund you the rest of your unused subscription). Use coupon code SuperSale2017 to obtain this deal although it still lasts. Contact Aplos to learn more.

    Aplos is really a non-profit accounting solution with ample features and extremely positive testimonials. We even named the program among the Top 4 Accounting Programs for Nonprofits, so long should be good. Browse the publish on your own to find out if this nonprofit solution is a great fit for you personally.

    QuickBooks

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Promotion not far off.

    Intuit QuickBooks hasn’t released their Black Friday promo yet, but it’s not far off. The deals will likely be announced on Monday. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

    QuickBooks may be the big named in comprising grounds. With multiple desktop and cloud-based products, this accounting giant offers solutions for pretty much any sized business. Read our comprehensive reviews of Quickbooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop Pro, QuickBooks Desktop Mac, QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, and QuickBooks Self-Employed, or read this handy comparison chart to determine what version fits your needs.

    Note: If you are offered on Quickbooks Desktop, look into the Black Friday deals at the local Best To Buy, Staples, along with other office supplies online stores. I will allow you to inside a little secret: The final time I visited Staples, QuickBooks Desktop Pro was $30 less expensive than the discounted form of the program on Intuit’s site.

    Shopping Cart Software Software

    This season, most eCommerce sellers are most likely considering how you can market their very own stores to bring in the vacation sales. But remember to take a few here we are at yourself and think about whether these shopping cart software discounts are suitable for your company.

    Zoey Commerce

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Zoey Commerce is providing a 5% – 10% discount on annual subscriptions.

    Zoey Commerce is providing a price reduction on annual subscriptions. New clients registering for the Strategic business plan will get a 5% discount using the coupon code THANKS5. New clients registering for the company Plus or Premier pan will get a tenPercent discount while using coupon code THANKS10.

    These discounts are additionally towards the existing 10% discount that Zoey offers for annual subscriptions. Monthly plans don’t apply. These codes is going to be active from Wednesday, November 22 to Thursday, November 30. When you produce a trial, you will see a place for any coupon code. If you want help getting this deal or want more details contact Zoey Commerce directly.

    Zoey Commerce is really a well-loved, fully-featured eCommerce platform. If you wish to determine what makes miracle traffic bot so excellent, read our complete 5/five star Zoey review.

    Shopify

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Shopify is providing $30 predetermined fee shipping with DHL Express.

    Shopify can also be offering holiday shipping with UPS.

    Although this isn’t always a Black Friday or Cyber Monday purchase, we would have liked to show you from the promotion Shopify is presently running.

    This holidays, Shopify is partnering with DHL Express to bring Shopify customers a $30 flat-rate shipping option (before Holiday sales in my opinion). Packages should be between 1-3 pounds. Certain countries might not qualify and fuel surcharges may apply. Purchase ends December 31st. On this deal or contact Shopify for details.

    Shopify can also be offering holiday shipping rates with UPS. This integration brings Shopify customers guaranteed date shipping, discounted rates for heavier packages, and all sorts of peak surcharges on UPS Ground is going to be included in Shopify. Find out more about this deal or contact Shopify for deals.

    Shopify is among the big names in eCommerce and even for good reason. It provides good prices, strong features, and 24/7 customer care. To understand more about this 5/five star software, read our complete Shopify review.

    3dcart

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Promotion not far off.

    3dcart hasn’t released their November promotion yet, but it’s not far off. The promotion should really launch on Wednesday. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

    While 3dcart might be keeping us at nighttime on their own promotion for which appears like forever, it’s no mystery this company provides a great eCommerce platform. With ample features, affordable plans, and lots of design styles, 3dcart has something for virtually any merchant. Read our complete 3dcart review to learn more.

    WooCommerce

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Promotion not far off.

    Woocommerce hasn’t released their promotion yet, but be on the lookout for that company’s announcement. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

    Woocommerce is definitely an free shopping cart software wordpress plugin that directly integrates with WordPress websites. The first software download is free of charge and also the eCommerce platform provides a apparently unbeatable quantity of integrations. On this shopping cart software option within our complete Woocommerce review.

    Website Builders

    Searching to construct a brand new small company website? It’s not necessary to become coding expert overnight. Rather, make use of a website builder.

    uKit

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Promotion not far off.

    uKit hasn’t released their Cyber Monday promotion yet, but be on the lookout for that company’s announcement (it’ll be in this article). We’ve heard the offer will probably be pretty great. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

    uKit is really a feature-wealthy, simple to use website builder that screams classy and professional. Read our full uKit review to understand more about what this rising website builder can provide.

    Inventory Software

    If monitoring your holiday inventory gets difficult, it might be time for you to consider a listing software. And just what better time for you to purchase than when you will find Cyber Monday promotions within the works?

    TradeGecko

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Promotion not far off.

    TradeGecko hasn’t released their Cyber Monday promotion yet, but it’s not far off. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

    TradeGecko is really a cloud-based inventory software with strong worldwide business abilities. The program can also be noted for its robust set of features and simple to use interface. To understand more about this inventory option, read our complete TradeGecko review.

    inFlow

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    inFlow Cloud is providing per month of free service along with a free USB scanner.

    inFlow is providing per month of free service along with a free USB scanner to new clients who join inFlow Cloud. This Black Friday deal is going to be sent being an email promotion you must sign up for any free trial offer between November 24 and November 27. To be able to receive this deal, it’s important to spend the money for first month and services information next, the 2nd month is free of charge and you will find no cancellation charges. The bar code scanner is restricted to all of us addresses. Contact inFlow to learn more.

    InFlow offers both in your area-installed and cloud-based solutions. The program offers ample features and it is only suitable for Home windows computers. We presently have only overview of inFlow On-Premise, however, you can look it over to a minimum of learn bout inFlow like a company.

    Invoicing Software

    You probably know this: Creating invoices in Stand out just doesn’t work during christmas (or during any season, really). If you feel it’s time for you to manage profits having a full-fledged invoicing software, take a look at these deals.

    Harvest

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Harvest is providing $10 off and away to new users.

    Harvest is providing $10 from the first month and services information for brand new users who join Harvest during christmas. Use coupon code JUSTSAYINGTHANKS to reap the harvest of the deal before it’s far too late. Contact Harvest for more information.

    Harvest is a superb invoicing application with amazing time tracking abilities and much more amazing customer support. The program can use more invoice templates for me, however if you simply need time tracking and project management software, this really is certainly a high contender. Read our complete Harvest review to find out if miracle traffic bot fits your needs.

    Invoice Ninja

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    Invoice Ninja is providing 75% off.

    On Cyber Monday, Invoice Ninja is providing a 75% discount on invoicing plans. We is going to be adding a lot of this promotion soon, until then, contact InvoiceNinja directly for details.

    Invoice Ninja is a straightforward-to-use invoice solution with great invoice templates along with a client portal. Invoice Ninja also provides over 35 payment gateways. to understand more about this invoicing option, read our complete Invoice Ninja review.

    E-mail Marketing

    Get the own Black Friday and holiday emails sent fast with the aid of e-mail marketing software. If you’ve never considered e-mail marketing before, this is the time.

    GetResponse

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    GetResponse is providing 15% business Enterprise plan.

    GetResponse is providing a 15% discount for GetResponse Enterprise. We are adding a lot of this promotion soon, until then, contact GetResponse directly for details.

    GetResponse is really a seasoned e-mail marketing veteran with experience along with a set of features to demonstrate it. The program is simple to use and cost-effective. Read our full GetResponse review to find out if this e-mail marketing tool suits your company.

    Project Management Software

    Project management software solutions offer from task management to workflow management to scheduling to budgeting and much more. But every one has one common denominator: they assist you keep an eye on work.

    ProofHub

    Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

    ProofHub is providing a 41% discount on their own software.

    Although this isn’t always a Black Friday or Cyber Monday purchase, we would have liked to show you from the promotion ProofHub is presently running.

    ProofHub is providing a 41% discount on their own Ultimate Control plan (ordinarily a $150/mo value for $89/mo rather). Contact ProofHub directly for particular information regarding this promotion.

    ProofHub is really a superbly designed software with wonderful features like task and subtask management, reports, and file proofing. To understand more about this project management software option, read our complete ProofHub review.

    Time For You To Get Shopping!

    Before getting to transported away within the Black Friday mania, there exists a final suggestion: Seek information in advance.

    While these deals could be a good way for your online business to save cash, we implore you to definitely save time before you act. Don’t purchase it just since you can. Purchase it because it’s the best solution for your online business.

    Each one of the promotions above originates from items that we’ve researched extensively at Merchant Maverick. However, we don’t would like you to simply take our word these are wonderful products. Seek information. Make the most of our comprehensive reviews, investigate the organization you’re thinking about purchasing from, and look for the other users are saying before choosing.

    If you want help buying a solution, our Merchant Maverick blog provides extensive great sources and we’re always here for those who have questions.

    Friendly PSA over! Now you can shop ’til you drop and make the most of these bargains before they’re gone.

    Shall we be missing anything? If you’re a vendor having a Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or holiday purchase that people haven’t pointed out, please tell us within the comments below.

    Chelsea Krause

    Chelsea Krause is really a author, enthusiastic readers, and investigator. Additionally to loving writing, she grew to become thinking about accounting software due to her constant need to learn something totally new and know how things work. When she’s no longer working or daydreaming about her newest story, she are available consuming obscene levels of coffee, studying anything compiled by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files together with her husband.

    Chelsea Krause

    “”

    Reason for Purchase Security Safeguards Watch Owner Must Take

    Our impartial reviews and content are supported partly by affiliate partnerships. Find out more.

    Maybe you have stopped to question how individuals who came before us imagined the long run world? While it’s fun to see creative predictions in the past (I’m speaking for you, To the long run II), it truly is amazing to understand precisely how advanced age technology we reside in is. A number of these modern luxuries have improved our way of life and led to the growth of mankind. The invention of computers, the internet, tablets, and smartphones (to mention only a couple of) helped transform the corporate world, and much more particularly, the purpose of Purchase (POS) world. That stated, every rose has its own thorn. This is also true with regards to we’ve got the technology advancements which have benefited the POS world within the last twenty years approximately. While cutting-edge software systems and devices have given extreme convenience, a lot of business proprietors appear to forget these advancements have a cost.

    Allow me to ask everyone retailers available an issue: Presuming you presently use a POS system, just when was the final time you ran any kind of security checkup or update? If you were checking up on this news recently (take it easy, this isn’t going to get political), you already know that the purpose of Purchase (POS) industry has had a number of big blows in the online hackers and cyber attackers around the globe. Cybersecurity ought to be the main thing on watch owner’s mind when thinking about their future or current POS system.

    Whenever you partner your company having a third-party POS system, you’re exposing the information of the company, by extension the information of the customers, to a person else’s security standards. Before you decide to work with another company, you’ll know their security protocols to be able to factor them to your own safeguards. (Yes, additionally towards the protection provided by your POS vendor, it’s vital that you should have your personal security plan in position. Nobody has your own interest in mind greater than you need to do.)

    Table of Contents

    Why Must I Worry About My POS System’s Security?

    When I hope I’ve just made abundantly obvious, probably the most important options that come with your POS product is its security. Actually, Verizon released an information breach investigations report in 2014 stating: “75 percent of information security occurrences within the food services industry happen at the purpose of Purchase [system].” Yikes! The retail side of the profession isn’t faring much better. A current data security report from Thales revealed: “More than 80% of shops consider themselves susceptible to data threats, and 37% stated they’re ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ vulnerable.”

    How reassuring.

    When I pointed out earlier, you’ve seen prominent companies in news reports during the last many years for major hacks. For individuals and also require missed these headlines, let’s have a quick stroll lower memory lane, we could? 2003 brought one from the worst POS data breaches the earth has seen when retail chain T.J. MAXX unsuccessful to update their data file encryption system. Online hackers utilized their POS systems and stole the debit and credit card information with a minimum of 45.seven million people. You read properly. That’s at least 45.7 million people. And who could forget 2013, the entire year Target’s POS system was infiltrated by hackers because someone overlooked the truth that the HVAC system was on the network with use of internal servers. That mistake affected 41 million customers. This May, Target decided to pay $18.5 million dollars to stay claims produced by 47 states and also the District of Columbia. Maybe crafts and arts store Micheals’ 2014 POS data breach rings a bell? Ah, recollections!

    It may be simple to think these hacks only affect large, soulless corporations, but that’s a significant misconception. It’s believed that roughly 43 percent of cyber attacks are fond of small companies. Much more alarming? Within six several weeks of the data breach, 60 % of those same small companies close shop. Individuals figures aren’t departing me with any warm fuzzy feelings.

    As possible clearly see, even simple mistakes can have huge effects. The backlash from all of these attacks is quick and may have major lasting effects. Take a look at a couple of types of whatever you decide and face after the body is breached:

    • The status of the business requires a hard hit.
    • Consumer confidence/trust is impacted and for that reason, your revenue is affected.
    • You remain liable whether or not the breach came via a third-party POS system.
    • If online hackers can access proprietary information it will set you back competitive ability.
    • You can face government fines for those who have unsuccessful to conform with any industry-specific security standards.
    • Additionally, you will face lots of unpredicted expenses (legal charges, software updates, customer reimbursement, and damage control, for instance).

    As numerous experts in the market say, the entire costs and effects these major data breaches dress in companies is difficult to evaluate, however the damage is lasting.

    Security Measures To Consider Inside A POS System

    Choosing the best POS system to suit the requirements of your unique operation is definitely an overwhelming task. This is when searching to find the best home security system can really assist you to narrow lower your alternatives. You have to get rid of undesirable options beginning with evaluating who provides the very indepth safety measures. When I pointed out before, if you select to pair yourself having a third-party vendor, you allow another company’s security protocols to affect your company. The Ponemon Institute has discovered that “65% of firms that reported discussing customer data having a partner also reported a subsequent breach using that partner.” I am not a gambler, however i don’t like individuals odds. It doesn’t mean that each third-party vendor is likely to be your demise. However, it’s to your advantage to do your homework prior to signing any dotted lines.

    Mark Guagenti, as security expert from Tidal Commerce, states there’s a couple of questions watch owner should ask before investing in a POS system:

    • Can there be an update cycle?
    • Will the POS vendor concentrate on PCI compliance?
    • Will the POS vendor respond rapidly to security threats and patch them? Will it appear they have they done this previously?
    • Will the vendor supply or could they be compatible “semi-integrated” terminals?
    • Will they [the POS company] employ standard file encryption? Is the website encrypted with HTTPS (That’s often a good first-step when looking for)?
    • If your in your area installed system, may be the software installed and maintained by professionals?

    Simply because your third-party POS system has an alarm system doesn’t mean you aren’t accountable for the security of the consumer data. According to Your Liability in 3rd Party Data Breaches:

    While such 3rd party information systems providers come with an obligation to maintain your data safe, this doesn’t relieve your firm of the data security responsibilities. You need to make certain your computer data is stored, processed and transmitted safely, even if at the disposal of others.

    Produce A Security Routine And Stay With It

    POS systems would be the lifeblood from the retail and foodservice industry, and that i don’t observe that altering anytime within the near or distant future. Once you know these integral bits of technology are highly lucrative targets for online hackers (who appear to see security updates as challenges), you’ll understand that cybersecurity is really a constantly altering issue. It’ll be there forever. Establishing your home security system, crossing your fingers, and leaving simply isn’t likely to work.

    You have to start considering your home security system being an organic object that should be tended to regularly. Take it easy, its not necessary to become a neurotic helicopter parent, but you should generate a consistent routine to make sure that your home security system is current and eager to have an attack whatsoever occasions.

    Chuck Rubin, the main executive of Micheals crafts and arts stores, puts it quite nicely:

    Within an era where very sophisticated and determined crooks have proven able to effectively attacking an array of computer systems, we have to all increase our degree of vigilance.

    Exactly what do you need to do? Begin by sitting lower and establishing a security plan. Once more, Guagenti has some good advice:

    • Check and run PCI scans quarterly. Some vendors offer internal scan tools that you could also run.
    • Have your IT personnel look at your router and firewalls configuration quarterly.
    • Verify that the products are updated, and switch on auto-update whenever possible. Should you must switch off auto-update, make sure you look for updates by hand monthly, or when news of security patches surface. Have your IT personnel justify why auto-updates are switched if they ought to be disabled.
    • In case your in your area-installed system has an administration interface, don’t open it up to the outdoors world. Period. Only open ports which are needed for the system to function, and hang up IP limitations. If you need to access your in your area-installed system remotely, focus on establishing a secure Virtual private network. Also, observe that a Virtual private network must only operate inside a network that doesn’t handle charge card data.
    • Possess a process. Whilst not all business proprietors need to have a process as thorough as say, a repayment processor, getting an itemized lower process for security makes certain that someone or someone will always be given the job of security.

    Some things of my very own to include:

    • Become your own advocate! Don’t blindly trust that the third-party provider has the back. You would not just hop right into a vehicle using the first stranger who offered you something shiny. Even our moms trained us much better than that!
    • Know who’s your data. Understand the 3rd-parties involved with your business information and look at their security standards.
    • Make certain you realize the rules and laws and regulations inside your country regarding what you’re responsible for in case of a panic attack.
    • Employ a security company to do audits on third-party vendors.
    • Think twice about taking out Cyber Insurance. Although this won’t safeguard you against every facet of a breach, you will not remain dry and high by yourself in case of a panic attack.

    Final Ideas

    It’s pretty typical within our culture for all of us hitting the “Remind Me Later” button when updates appear on the devices. While procrastinating on these updates within our personal lives might not create a catastrophic data breach, doing this in the industry world is wholly irresponsible. Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report opens with this particular statement: “If you haven’t endured an information breach you’ve either been incredibly ready, or very, very lucky.”

    Nobody is in charge of whether their clients are selected to have an attack. It’s, however, in everyone’s welfare to create themselves an unhealthy target by getting a powerful immune system and preparing themselves for that worst. I sincerely hope this information has provided grounds to re-evaluate your present POS security methods and also to think about: Precisely how “incredibly well prepared” shall we be held?

    Elizabeth Cranston

    Elizabeth Cranston is really a author and native Oregonian who resides in the gorgeous Off-shore Northwest. She enjoys researching and becoming to the foot of questions relating to begin Purchase industry.If not covering and researching Reason for Purchase software, she will usually be located overindulging in Nederlander Bro’s coffee, making others laugh, or hearing music.

    Elizabeth Cranston

    Elizabeth Cranston

    Elizabeth Cranston

    “”

    Is The POS System Protected From The KRACK Attack?

    Our impartial reviews and content are supported partly by affiliate partnerships. Find out more.

    KRACK attack

    As you become older, what you fear so much start to change. If you need to file your personal taxes and hang your own physician appointments, all of a sudden the boogie man doesn’t appear so frightening. However, there’s a brand new ‘scare’ every adult should know, and I am not talking about the clown in the approaching revival from it. Actually, the “KRACK-en” continues to be unleashed upon the tech world. (Insert afraid screams here!)

    Maybe you’ve heard about Key Reinstallation Attacks (more generally known as KRACK attacks) and perhaps you haven’t. In either case, this threat effects you, your great-granny in Zoysia, as well as your favorite cafe lower the road. In addition to this, it may affect your company too! Sorry to rain in your parade, but no one’s Wi-Fi enabled products are protected from that one. Seriously, this list of devices susceptible to some variant of the attack is lengthy. (Take a look at some prominent names that leaped out at me: Apple, Android, Linux, Dell, Google, H . P . Enterprise, Apple, Microsoft, The new sony, Oracle, McAfee, LG, IBM, Amazon . com, and Blackberry.) Like I stated, nobody is immune here. 

    Table of Contents

    Exactly What Is A KRACK attack?

    Significantly improved I’ve alarmed you about who this threat effects, let’s discuss just what a KRACK attack is. On October 16, 2017, Mathy Vanhoef, a investigator in a Belgian college, released a study titled Key Reinstallation Attacks Breaking WPA2 by forcing nonce reuse. If you are at all like me (and not the greatest tech nerd available), studying this title might have broke up with you scratching your mind. But after hanging out researching and talking with some experts about this attack, Vanhoef’s report gets to be more unnerving in my experience on the personal (and business) level. I’ll explain why.

    The best results of this sort of attack continue to be within the speculation phase. However, it’s obvious that, when transported on full of level, KRACK attacks could devastating to anybody who hasn’t taken the necessary security measures to safeguard themselves, their online information.

    Vanhoef’s report opens with this particular less-than-encouraging paragraph explaining his findings:

    We discovered serious weaknesses in WPA2, a protocol that safeguards all modern protected Wi-Fi systems. An assailant within selection of a target can exploit these weaknesses using key reinstallation attacks (KRACKs). Concretely, attackers may use this novel attack method to read information which was formerly assumed to become securely encrypted. This is often mistreated to steal sensitive information for example charge card figures, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos, and so forth. The attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi systems. With respect to the network configuration, it’s also easy to inject and manipulate data. For instance, an assailant could possibly inject ransomware or any other adware and spyware into websites.

    Yikes! Or like a kid who needs to get creative using their cussing might say: “Oh KRACK!”

    What’s much more alarming is always that WPA2 systems abound. Since 2004, they’ve traditionally been considered probably the most secure option, but because evidenced within the paragraph above, that merely isn’t true any longer. Pleasure.

    How’s A KRACK Attack Transported Out?

    [embedded content]

    Above is really a video (produced by Vanhoef) that shows just how a KRACK attack utilizes weaknesses within the WPA2 protocol. But I’ll do my favorite to describe precisely what happens throughout a KRACK attack.

    Once your wireless device connects to Wi-Fi, it participates with what is known as a four-way handshake. This “handshake” verifies a user’s password and establishes an encrypted link between the router and also the device. Attackers who’re near by (within around 100 foot) may use key reinstallation attacks to bypass WPA2 network security they’re then capable of seeing information which is not encrypted and might be able to steal sensitive data because it goes through the network. Based on your network configuration, attackers might even have the ability to add ransomware or adware and spyware to websites.

    When I pointed out, attackers should be in close range towards the Wi-Fi system they are attempting to access. This will make it impossible for attacks to become transported from miles away. And even though it is feasible for attackers to merely sit inside a parking area before an outlet and connect high-powered wireless antennas, I’ve have been told by a few experts it isn’t prone to happen.

    If you are looking at more in-depth information about how exactly KRACK attacks work, check out Vanhoef’s report. I found The KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability, described like you’re five to be really useful too.

    Exactly What Does This Suggest In My POS System?

    Several things might have to go without having to say, but with regards to the safety of the POS system, you shouldn’t assume anything. In case your POS product is operating via Wi-Fi and it is delivering/transmitting unencrypted data, it’s no longer safe, even when your network is password protected. (You most likely should not be delivering unencrypted data over your Wi-Fi network anyway, but that’s just my two cents.)

    If you work with a in your area-installed POS system, you have to pay especially close focus on this type of attack. It may seem that, since most legacy systems rely on wired systems, the body is protected. This type of misconception that may be potentially catastrophic. Children Mark Guagenti, a specialist from Tidal Commerce:

    “Security for [POS] systems has improved since 2004 [when WPA2 was introduced], however, that door has become open again. It just takes one device or misconfigured network to spread out in the whole system.”

    In 2013, when Target’s data breach affected 41 million customers, online hackers acquired access via the Heating and cooling system (that was on the network which had accessibility internal systems)! As well as in 2007, attackers could steal the data of 45.seven million debit and credit cards from the major store simply because T.J. Maxx didn’t update their data file encryption system. Whoops.

    Hopefully, we won’t use whatever huge, KRACK-based POS data breaches soon, especially since there’s a simple fix. But retailers must take this threat seriously. Double and triple look at your systems for the utmost safety. As Guagenti warns:

    “An attacker [could wreak real damage to a register, particularly if the software programs are outdated. They might poke and prod in the registers API, possibly run fraudulent transactions, open/close the money drawer, etc. They might also possibly enter into others such as the back-office computer.”

    Most newer iPad/Android-based cloud-based systems may be impacted by the attack. Fortunately, the harm ought to be minimal transactions are often fully encrypted finish-to-finish. As lengthy as the POS vendor is employing SSL/TLS (also referred to as HTTPS) file encryption and also you make use of the necessary updates and patches, your POS system ought to be safe!

    Can One Safeguard My POS System In The KRACK Attack?

    I understand I’ve colored a fairly harsh picture. Before you throw all of your Wi-Fi routers onto a bonfire, grab your pitchforks, and dirt off your pillaging attire, you need to know that—despite whatever you decide and read in certain articles—this WPA2 vulnerability doesn’t signify the finish around the globe. 

    WPA2 continues to be a safe and secure protocol. You are able to safeguard yourself in the KRACK attack by patching your devices using the security update for that KRACK exploit. As lengthy as you apply the patch, the body won’t be susceptible to this attack. This vulnerability can’t be fixed by altering your Wi-Fi password. You must make use of the security update patch first. Then you are able to (and really should) improve your Wi-Fi password.

    Take if from Guagenti:

    “Patch! Patch! Patch! Achieve to your POS vendor and request an update around the status of recent patches for that KRACK exploit. This is a period to inside it to make certain that your hardware, like iPads, wireless terminals, and wireless access points possess the latest firmware available. Associated with pension transfer security news, now’s [also] time to check on and make certain that the systems are encrypted with strong file encryption, possess the latest software, make use of the guidelines, and therefore are segmented to PCI standards so cardholder data exposure is minimal if any…[B]usiness proprietors [should] proceed to wired connections if at all possible, disable wireless access points, and wireless clients to avoid attacks.”

    Check out the vibrant side. Somewhat, this vulnerability could be a good factor! It possesses a opportunity for everybody to complete some pre-holiday security maintenance and tuning up. (Besides, when has strengthening your POS system security have you been an awful idea?)

    POS Security Safeguards Listing

    • Achieve to your POS vendor about patches for that KRACK attack. (Here’s every patch for that WPA2 exploit presently available.)
    • Patch all Wi-Fi devices/routers for that new KRACK exploit. (This is actually the listing of Wi-Fi routers which have patched the WPA2 flaw to date.)
    • Change to a wired web connection (if at all possible) until all patches are set up and security safeguards happen to be taken.
    • If you work with a hybrid-POS system, change to offline mode before the patch is created.
    • Refer To It As and make certain all wireless hardware and wireless access points possess the most current firmware.
    • Conduct an intensive audit of the entire network atmosphere.
    • Verify that software and firmware is current.
    • Make sure all communication and security settings.
    • Update all wireless devices employed for business (smartphones, iPads, tablets, laptops, etc.).
    • Verify that the POS provider is following PCI compliance standards.
    • Make certain all of your transaction information is transmitted over SSL/TLS file encryption.
    • Make sure that your POS vendor employs HTTPS.
    • Alert your employees to look for purchasers with laptops or smartphones who stand near to POS systems for suspiciously lengthy amounts of time.

    Final Ideas

    With regards to security as well as your POS system, you actually can’t be too careful. Unlike the cracks we prevented walking on within the third grade (for anxiety about causing serious back trouble for our moms), not implementing this KRACK attack seriously might have real effects.

    I recommend using the security steps provided in the following paragraphs as quickly as possible. Don’t finish up as being a victim on the small-scale. More to the point, don’t risk a significant data breach since you didn’t make use of a simple patch or undergo a regular security check-up. Determine what things you can do to maintain your personal devices protected from these attacks too. Better safe than sorry!  

    Elizabeth Cranston

    Elizabeth Cranston is really a author and native Oregonian who resides in the gorgeous Off-shore Northwest. She enjoys researching and becoming to the foot of questions relating to begin Purchase industry.If not covering and researching Reason for Purchase software, she will usually be located overindulging in Nederlander Bro’s coffee, making others laugh, or hearing music.

    Elizabeth Cranston

    Elizabeth Cranston

    Elizabeth Cranston

    “”