Top 5 Project Management Apps For Nonprofits

Your business models may differ slightly from those of traditional businesses, but organizations in the nonprofit realm need project management tools just as much as anyone else. The problem? Many nonprofits can’t cough up the cash for a monthly subscription to an app in a field that is already relatively expensive.

Fortunately, there are several ways around this issue!  Several project management software programs offer free or reduced rates to nonprofits. That means that you can stop mucking around with whiteboards and Post-Its and go back to teaching underserved kids. Or researching bio-degradable plastics. Or whatever other noble mission you have set your minds on.

Typically, articles about project and task management apps for nonprofits focus on apps with free versions, ignoring the fact that many top project management developers offer their products at a reduced price to qualifying organizations. For that reason, I have chosen to ignore free apps in this post and focus on those offering discounts.

Here, in no particular order, are Merchant Mavericks’ top five project management apps for nonprofits:


Redbooth (read our review) is one of Merchant Maverick’s favorite project management apps. In fact, it’s the solution we use to manage tasks for our remote team of writers.

The slick UI, handy features (including time tracking and reporting), and overall ease of use all combine to make a powerful tool that can be used in a variety of ways.

Redbooth does offer a free version that works for simple task management. If that is all you need, you need read no further; follow the link above and give it a try. If you are looking for more advanced features, like the time tracking and reporting I mentioned, you will need to pay a bit more. Pricing for Redbooth is figured per-user, meaning that you pay less if you have fewer users. Though I would not call Redbooth “expensive,” the price can add up if you have more than 10 or 20 users. Fortunately, Redbooth offers a 25% discount for nonprofits, providing you can show them your IRS 501c3 status letter.

Read our full Redbooth review

Visit the Redbooth website

Teamwork Projects

When I think about rock-solid project management apps, Teamwork Projects (read our review) is one of the first that comes to mind.

Teamwork Projects is easy to recommend for a wide swath of reasons: powerful features, excellent integrations, and exceptional ease of use. Even better, there is a free version available! While this stripped-down version excludes many of Teamwork Projects’ more advanced features, it does fulfill small-scale task management needs for teams of 5 or less. If your team is larger than five, or if you would benefit from increased task boards, project portfolios, and reporting features, you may want to take a closer look at the paid versions. For most nonprofits, I think the relatively affordable “Pro” plan will suffice; most features from the Enterprise plan are geared toward large businesses rather than smaller, cash-strapped teams.

And speaking of operating on a budget, Teamwork Projects does offer a discount for nonprofits, though you will need to contact the company directly ([email protected]) to find out exactly what kind of deal is available to you.

Read our full Teamwork review

Visit the Teamwork website


Smartsheet review

Smartsheet (read our review) offers a bit more hardcore project management than the previous entries on this list.

Where Redbooth, Teamwork Projects, and some of the other apps I will discuss below make concessions in feature-depth in favor of usability, Smartsheets goes another way. This is a spreadsheet on steroids, and the developers don’t much try and hide that fact. In addition to standard spreadsheet features, Smartsheet also offers Gantt charts, automation, limited communication tools, resource management, and more.

While the interface is far from what I would call inspiring, it manages to keep from being quite as bland as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. If your team has spreadsheet experience but wants to supercharge functionality, Smartsheet might be a good choice for you. Unfortunately, there is no free version of Smartsheet at this time, but they do offer reduced rates to qualifying organizations, including nonprofits. The discount amounts to about two months off the yearly plan prices whether you choose the individual, team, or business subscription options.

Read our full Smartsheet review

Visit the Smartsheet website


best ecommerce apps

One of many products that attempt to combine user-friendliness with advanced project management features, Asana (read our review) successfully creates a social-media-like feel while still retaining such capabilities as reporting, task dependencies, and more.

I can’t call it full on, grown-up-pants project management, given its lack of time tracking and Gantt charts, but Asana still provides plenty of bang-for-buck. There is a free version which is limited in both how many people can use it and in what features are available. This app is definitely worth actually paying for, and though the initial cost is relatively low by project management standards, Asana developers have indicated they are willing to cut deals with students groups and nonprofits. To find out exactly what kind of deal you can get, though, you will have to contact their sales team.

Read our full Asana review

Visit the Asana website


Basecamp (read our review) is one of the project management perennials. Everywhere you look in the project management world, you find other companies desperately claiming to be “better than Basecamp!” The fact that so many project management startups compare themselves with this app should speak to its quality all on its own, but Basecamp can also boast over two million signups for their services.

This has always been one of my favorite project management platforms because of its simple interface, excellent communication tools, and automated check-ins. The features I just mentioned make Basecamp one of the best options in the business for remote teams; the app does so much of the work for you, keeping the whole group on the same page.

Happily, Basecamp offers 10% off for qualifying nonprofits with a 501(c)(3) form.

Read our full Basecamp review

Visit the Basecamp website

Final Thoughts

In the end, the best project management app for your nonprofit is going to depend on, well, your nonprofit. The actual work you are doing is the biggest part of what will determine your needs. Got a lot of data to share and analyze? Smartsheet might be the best option for you. Is your team working long distance, possibly on more than one continent? Basecamp and Redbooth will probably be the options you should consider most. Need a solid project and task managing app? Take a closer look at Teamwork projects or Asana.

I recommend checking out the free trials on offer from each of these companies to see which makes the most sense for your organization. From there, rest in the knowledge that each of these apps will be available to your nonprofit at a discounted rate, allowing you to manage your work without breaking your cash-strapped budget.

The post Top 5 Project Management Apps For Nonprofits appeared first on Merchant Maverick.


Top 10 QuickBooks Capital Alternatives

Top Alternatives To QuickBooks Capital

QuickBooks Capital (see our review) is a brand new lending feature designed for QuickBooks Online (see our review) users that offers installment loans at competitive rates. QuickBooks Capital uses your accounting information to determine whether you’re eligible for a loan, making the application process incredibly simple.

However, if you need fast capital, you may not have the time to wait for QuickBooks to contact you. Or maybe you’re looking for a loan with a higher borrowing amounts and longer term lengths. It’s important to explore all of your options before making a decision, so you’ve come to the right place.

In this post, we’ve picked the top 10 alternatives to QuickBooks Capital. These lending options vary in loan type, borrowing amount, and borrower requirements, so that no matter what kind of business you run, you can find the best option that works for your business’s needs.

Read on to discover more about QuickBooks Capital and see which, if any, QuickBooks Capital alternative is right for you.

Getting A Loan Through The QuickBooks Capital Marketplace

If you don’t receive a notification saying you’re eligible for QuickBooks Capital, or if you want to explore all of your options, you can access the QuickBooks Capital Marketplace. The Quickbooks Capital Marketplace is where you’ll find seven additional lenders with which QuickBooks Capital directly partners: OnDeck, CelticBank, Fundbox, LoanBuilder, Funding Circle, BlueVine, and Direct Capital.

The QuickBooks Capital team says:

The 7 partners on our platform meet our guiding principles for transparency, privacy, security, consumer protection, and overall cost of capital including rates and fees.

The best part about applying for a loan using the QuickBooks Capital Marketplace is that the application is simple. Instead of going directly to one of these individual lenders, you’ll apply directly through the QuickBooks Capital website. QuickBooks Capital will use your existing QuickBooks Online data to fill in your application. Then you will be able to view offers from the lenders you are eligible for.

Several of the lenders on this list are QuickBooks Capital partners. Read on to learn which of the seven are our favorites.

1. Fundation

Top Alternatives To QuickBooks Capital

Best For…

Established small businesses looking for a loan or line of credit for working capital or business expansion needs.

Products Offered

  • Installment loans
  • Lines of credit

Founded in 2011, Fundation (see our review) has quickly become one of the top choices for business lending. With competitive rates, excellent customer service, and almost no negative reviews, it’s easy to see why. Fundation offers installment loans (also commonly referred to as term loans) and lines of credit.

The qualifications for Fundation are a bit more stringent than those of the other alternatives in this post. To qualify, you must have a credit score of 660 or higher, have been in business for at least a year, and have $100K/year in revenue. You must also have three full-time employees.

Here are the rates for Fundation’s installment loans:

Borrowing amount: $20K – $500K
Term length: 1 – 4 years
Origination fee: Up to 5%
APR: 7.99% – 29.99%
Collateral:  Personal guarantee, UCC-1 blanket lien

Here are the rates for Fundation’s lines of credit:

Borrowing amount: $20K – $100K
Term length: 18 months
Additional fees: $500 closing fee
2% draw fee
APR: 7.99% – 29.99%
Collateral:  Personal guarantee, UCC-1 blanket lien

How To Apply For A Fundation Loan

You can fill out an application online. As you’re applying, Fundation will tell you if the business characteristics you’re entering are good or bad, so you’ll have a better idea of whether your application will be approved. You will need to provide some documentation as well. It takes between two to seven days to complete the application process and receive funding.


Fundation is a great option for established businesses with good credit who are looking for a loan that offers the competitive rates of bank and credit card lenders, without the long, complicated application process. Read our complete Fundation review to learn more.

Visit the Fundation Site

2. SmartBiz

Top Alternatives To QuickBooks Capital

Best For…

Established businesses in good standing looking for an SBA loan to be used for working capital, debt refinancing, or commercial real estate.

Products Offered

  • Working capital
  • Debt refinancing
  • Commercial real estate purchasing

SmartBiz (see our review) has been simplifying the SBA loan process since 2009. SmartBiz does not issue loans themselves; instead, they help pair eligible applicants with an SBA lender. SmartBiz specializes in the General 7(a) Small Business Loan, which can be used for working capital, debt refinancing, or commercial real estate purchasing.

Because SBA loans are government-backed, it is harder to qualify for these loans than some of the other alternatives in this post. You must have at least fair credit, have been in business for two years, and have enough cash flow to support repayments. You also cannot have any tax liens, current charge-offs or settlements, or any bankruptcies in the last three years. You must be a US citizen or permanent resident. If you’re using your SBA loan for commercial real estate, the real estate in question must be at least 51% owner-occupied, and you can’t have any previous defaults on government-backed loans.

Here are the rates for working capital and debt refinancing loans:

Borrowing amount: $30K – $350K
Term length: 10 years
Interest rate: Prime rate + 3.75% (loans of $30K – $49K)
Prime rate + 2.75% (loans of $50K – $350K)
Other fees: Referral fee: 2%
Packaging fee: 2%
Guarantee fee: 0% – 2.25%
Bank closing costs: ~$450
APR: 5.85% – 8.95%
Collateral: Personal guarantee
Lien on business assets

Here are the rates for SmartBiz’s commercial real estate purchasing loans:

Borrowing amount: $500K – $5M
Term length: 25 years
Interest rate: Prime rate + 1.5% – 2.75%
Other fees: Referral fee: 0.5%
Packaging fee: 0.5%
Guarantee fee: 2.25% – 2.75%
Bank closing costs: ~$5K
APR: 5.85% – 8.95%
Collateral: Personal guarantee
Lien on the real estate

How To Apply For a SmartBiz Loan

The good news is, SmartBiz can determine whether you have a good chance of qualifying for an SBA loan in minutes. If you pass their questionnaire, you’ll be assigned a SmartBiz representative who will help you fill out your application. Depending on the number of documents you need to provide, this step can take a few weeks. Once you’re approved, you can receive funds right away (unless you’re using the funds for commercial real estate, in which case there are several extra steps required before you receive funding). Overall, the application can take anywhere from one week to three months depending on the type of loan you are applying for and the size of the loan.


If you’re an established business looking for an SBA loan, SmartBiz loans are much easier to apply for than most SBA loans. This option is not suited for startups. If you’re interested in learning more about SmartBiz, read our full SmartBiz review.

Visit the SmartBiz Site

3. StreetShares

Top Alternatives To QuickBooks Capital
Best For…

Small- to medium-sized businesses looking for a loan or line of credit to be used for working capital or business expansion needs.

Products Offered

  • Installment loans
  • Lines of credit
  • Contract financing

StreetShares (see our review) is a peer-to-peer lender that started back in 2013. The company was founded by veterans, for veterans, but you don’t have to be a veteran to use this small business loan service. StreetShares has competitive rates and low borrower qualifications making it a good option for merchants looking for installment loans, lines of credit, or contract financing. For installment loans, the maximum you’ll be approved for is 20% of your annual revenue.

To qualify for a StreetShares’ loan, you must have a credit score of 620 or higher, have been in business for a year, and have 25K in annual revenue (if you have $100K in revenue, you can qualify after being in business for only six months). If you’re interested in contract financing, the qualifications are even laxer; you just have to be a B2B or B2G business that sends invoices to your customers.

Here are the rates for StreetShare’s Installments loans:

Borrowing amount: $2K – $100K
Term length: 3 – 36 months
Interest rate: About 6% – 14%
Closing fee: 3.95% or 4.95%
APR range: 7% –  39.99%

Here are the rates for StreetShare’s lines of credit:

Borrowing amount: $5K – $100K
Draw term length: 3 – 36 months
Interest rate: About 6% – 14%
Draw fee: 2.95%
APR range: 7% –  39.99%

Here are the rates for StreetShare’s  contract financing:

Credit facility size: Max $500K per invoice
Advance rate: Up to 90%
Discount rate: Varies
Max overdue account: 180 days
Additional fees: None
Contract length: N/A
Monthly minimums/maximums: None
Factor all invoices: No
Recourse or non-recourse: Non-recourse
Notification or non-notification: Notification

How To Apply For A StreetShares Loan

To apply for a StreetShares’ loan, you simply fill out an online application. If approved, you’ll have to provide additional documentation. The whole process usually takes less than a week, so you can expect fast funding.


StreetShares is one of our top-rated small business lenders for a reason. This lender offers fast, affordable funding for small to medium-sized businesses and boasts some of the best rates on the market. Check out our complete StreeShares review for more details.

Visit the StreetShares Site

4. OnDeck

Top Alternatives To QuickBooks Capital

Best For…

Small- to medium-sized businesses looking for a loan or line of credit with a fast application process.

Products Offered

  • Short-term loans
  • Lines of credit

OnDeck (see our review) is an incredibly popular online lender that was one of the first to use technology for lending decisions — making approval fast. OnDeck also has relaxed borrower qualifications, although the loans can get expensive. OnDeck offers both short-term loans and lines of credits, and payments are made daily or weekly.

To qualify for an OnDeck loan, you must have been in business for twelve months, have a credit score of 500 or higher, and have an annual revenue of $100K.

Here are the rates for OnDeck’s short-term loans:

Borrowing amount: $5K – $500K
Term length: 3 – 36 months
Factor rate: x1.003 – x1.04 per month
Origination fee: 2.5% – 4%
Effective APR: Learn more
Collateral: UCC-1 blanket lien, personal guarantee

Here are the rates for OnDeck’s lines of credit.

Borrowing amount: $6K – $100K
Draw term length: 6 months
Draw fee: None
Maintenance fee: Typically $20/month
APR range: Starts at 13.99%
Collateral: Personal guarantee

How To Apply For A OnDeck Loan

OnDeck is one of QuickBooks Capital’s partners, so you can go fill out an application in the QuickBooks Capital Marketplace and QuickBooks will let you know if you qualify for an OnDeck loan. Or, you can apply with OnDeck directly.

Simply fill out the application on their website. OnDeck may ask for some documentation. Approval usually takes less than 24 hours, and if you accept an OnDeck loan, you can expect to receive your funds in one to two days.


While OnDeck can get expensive, its relaxed borrowing requirements make it a good option for merchants looking for fast funding who may not be approved elsewhere, or who need a little extra capital to hold them over until they qualify for better financing. Read our full OnDeck review to learn more.

Visit the OnDeck Site

5. Breakout Capital

Top Alternatives To QuickBooks Capital

Best for…

Small businesses in need of short-term loans to be used for working capital, inventory purchasing, or other short-term needs.

Products Offered

  • Short-term loans

Breakout Capital is one of our top-rated lenders and specializes in offering short-term loans to small businesses. These loans are more flexible than those of many of the other alternatives in this post. Depending on the strength of your business, you may be able to choose from multiple payment schedule options.

To qualify for a Breakout Capital loan, you must be in business for a year, have a credit score of 600, and have at least $10K/mo in revenue.

Here are the rates for Breakout Capital’s business loans:

Borrowing Amount: Up to $250,000
Term Length: Up to 24 months
Factor Rate: 1.25% to 3.5% per month
Origination Fee: 2.5%
Effective APR: Learn more
Collateral: Blanket lien and personal guarantee

How To Apply For Breakout Capital 

To apply for a Breakout Capital loan, you’ll need to fill out a pre-qualification form first, either online or by calling a Breakout Capital rep. You’ll then have to provide some basic information and a few documents. Breakout Capital will let you know if you qualify for one of their loans. The cool thing about Breakout Capital is that they will also let you know if one of their lending partners has a better offer for you.


Breakout Capital can be good option for small businesses looking for short-term financing. Read our full Breakout Capital review to see if this QuickBooks Capital alternative is right for you.

Visit the Breakout Capital Site

6. BlueVine

Top Alternatives To QuickBooks Capital

Best For…

Small businesses looking for invoice factoring or a line of credit for consistent cash flow.

Products Offered

  • Invoice factoring
  • Lines of credit

BlueVine was founded in 2013, and this online lender has been revolutionizing invoice factoring ever since. In addition to invoice factoring, BlueVine also offers lines of credit. The lender is known for positive customer reviews and plenty of customer support options.

BlueVine has relaxed borrower requirements. To qualify for invoice factoring, you must be a B2B business that’s been operating for three months, have a credit score of 530, and have a monthly revenue of $10K. To qualify for a line of credit, you’ll need to be in business for six months, have a credit score of 600, and have a monthly revenue of $10K (some states are not supported).

Here are the rates for BlueVine’s invoice factoring:

Credit facility size: $20K – $5M
Advance rate: 85% – 90%
Discount rate: 0.3% – 1% per week
Max overdue account: 13 weeks (91 days)
Additional fees: $15 wire transfer fee (no charge for ACH transfers)
Contract length: N/A
Monthly minimums: No
Factor all invoices: No
Recourse or non-recourse: Recourse
Notification or non-notification: Both (see below)

Here are the rates for BlueVine’s lines of credit:

Credit facility size: $6K – $200K
Term length: 6 or 12 months
Interest rate: 0.3% – 1.5% per week
Draw fee: 1.5% per draw
APR: 15% – 78%
Personal guarantee: Yes

How To Apply For BlueVine

BlueVine is one of QuickBooks Capital’s partners, so you can go fill out a QuickBooks Capital Marketplace application and QuickBooks will let you know if you qualify for a BlueVine loan. Or, you can apply with BlueVine directly.

Simply create an account, answer a few basic questions,  and provide three months of bank statements or connect to your bank account (you can also connect to your accounting software if you’d like). Approvals usually take a day. Once approved, you can start drawing from your credit line right away; transfers normally take one to three business days.


While BlueVine may not have the cheapest rates, it does have some of the lowest borrowing requirements. If you’re interested in learning more about this financing option, read our full BlueVine review.

Visit the BlueVine Site

7. Fundbox

Top Alternatives To QuickBooks Capital

Best For… 

Microbusinesses looking for invoice financing or a line of credit for consistent cash flow.

Products Offered

  • Invoice financing
  • Lines of credit

Fundbox (see our review) started out in 2013 as an invoice financing provider. Today, Fundbox also offers lines of credits and is known for good customer support and positive customer reviews.

To qualify for Fundbox’s invoice financing, you’ll need to have been using a compatible accounting or invoicing software for at least three months. To qualify for Fundbox’s lines of credit, you’ll need to have had a compatible bank account for at least six months.

Here are the rates for Fundbox’s invoicing financing (called Fundbox Credit):

Credit facility size: Up to $100K
Advance rate: 100%
Advance fee: 0.4% – 0.7% per week
Term length: 12 or 24 weeks
Additional fees: None
Contract length: N/A
Monthly minimums: No
Factor all invoices: No
Recourse or non-recourse: Recourse
Notification or non-notification: Non-notification

Here are the rates for Fundbox’s lines of credits (called Direct Draw):

Borrowing Amount: $1K – $100K
Term Length: 12 weeks
Borrowing Fee: 0.5% – 0.7% per week
Draw Fee: None
Effective APR: 12% – 54%

How To Apply For Fundbox

Fundbox is one of QuickBooks Capital’s partners, so you can apply to the QuickBooks Capital Marketplace and QuickBooks will let you know if you qualify for a Fundbox loan. Or, you can fill out an application with Fundbox directly.

Simply make an account and hook up your accounting or invoicing software to apply for invoice factoring, or hook up your bank account to apply for a line of credit. You’ll usually hear back in one to two hours. If approved, you can start requesting funds right away.


Fundbox is a great option for startups and small businesses looking for an invoice factoring solution or a line of credit. Read our complete Fundbox review for more details.

Visit the Fundbox Site

8. PayPal Working Capital

Best For…

PayPal users looking for a loan for working capital, inventory, or other short-term needs.

Products Offered

  • Short-term business loans

PayPal Working Capital (see our review) is incredibly similar to QuickBooks Capital. This lending service is available for PayPal users only, but since many QuickBooks lovers also use PayPal, we kept it on this list. PayPal Working Capital offers short-term business loans that operate like merchant cash advances (meaning payments are deducted from your daily PayPal sales).

To qualify, you must have been in business for three months and have $15K – $20K/year in revenue, depending on your PayPal account type.

Here are the rates for PayPal Working Capital’s loans:

Borrowing amount: $1K – $97K (first loan)
$1K – $125K (subsequent loans)
Term length:  Max. 18 months
Factor rate: Approx. x1.01 – x1.58
Origination fee: None
Effective APR: Learn more
Collateral: None

How To Apply For A PayPal Working Capital Loan

Applying for a PayPal Working Capital loan is easy. PayPal autofills an application for you. All you have to do is verify the information. If you are approved, the loan amount you accept will automatically be deposited into your bank account. If you aren’t approved, there are some steps you can take to try again.


While the factor rates can be potentially high and loan approval is inconsistent, PayPal Working Capital can still be a good option for PayPal merchants looking for short-term financing. Read our full PayPal Working Capital review for more details.

Visit the PayPal Working Capital Site

9. Funding Circle

Top Alternatives To QuickBooks Capital

Best For…

Established, large businesses in good standing looking for a medium-term loan.

Products Offered

  • Installment loans

Founded in 2010, Funding Circle is an online lender that specializes in offering loans to large businesses and franchises. Because of this, Funding Circle’s borrower qualifications are more stringent than those of some of the other lenders on this list.

To qualify, you must be in business for two years and have a credit score of 620. You also cannot have had any bankruptcies for the last seven years or any tax liens for the last 10 years.

Here are the rates for Funding Circle’s installment loans:

Borrowing amount: $25K – $500K
Term length: 6 months – 5 years
Interest rate: 4.99% – 26.99%
Origination fee: 0.99% – 6.99%
APR: 7.4% – 36%
Collateral: Personal guarantee, lien on business assets

How To Apply For A Funding Circle Loan

Funding Circle is one of QuickBooks Capital’s partners, so you can apply to the QuickBooks Capital Marketplace and QuickBooks will let you know if you qualify for a Funding Circle loan. Or, you can fill out an application for Funding Circle directly.

The Funding Circle application is fairly long, but it is still much faster than applying through a bank or credit union. Multiple documents are required. The complete application process usually takes around 10 days.


Funding Circle is a good fit for large business or enterprises that are established. Startups and small businesses will be better off with any other lender from this list. To learn more about Funding Circle, read our complete Funding Circle review.

Visit the Funding Circle Site

10. Lending Club

Top Alternatives To QuickBooks Capital

Best For…

Businesses of nearly any size with fair credit looking for a medium-term loan.

Products Offered

  • Installment loans
  • Personal loans
  • Auto refinancing

Founded in 2006, Lending Club (see our review) is one of the oldest lenders to offer loans online. Lending Club has competitive rates and good customer service. This lender offers personal loans, auto refinancing, and business installment loans (which are what we will be focusing on).

To qualify for a Lending Club business loan, you’ll need to be in business for 12 months, be 18 years old, be a US citizen or long-term resident, and have $50K in annual revenue. You also have to own 20% of the business and cannot have had any bankruptcies of tax liens.

Here are the rates for Lending Club’s installment loans:

Borrowing amount: $5,000 – $300,000
Term length: 1 – 5 years
Interest rate: 5.9% – 25.9%
Origination fee: 0.99% – 6.99%
APR range: 9.77% – 35.71%
Collateral: Personal guarantee
Blanket lien on loans above $100,000

How To Apply For A Lending Club Loan

To apply for a Lending Club loan, you’ll need to fill out an online application. You’ll receive a quote, and if you’d like to continue, Lending Club will ask you for more information and several documents. Approval usually takes one to two weeks.


Lending Club can be a great option for businesses of many sizes. Learn more about Lending Club and it competitive terms in our complete Lending Club review.

Visit the Lending Club Site

What Type Of Loan Is Right For Me?

You may have noticed that the lending options above all offer a large variety of products, like installment loans, lines of credit, SBA loans, invoice factoring, and short-term loans. To decide which loan is best for you business, ask yourself:

  • Which loans am I eligible for?
  • What do I want to use this loan for?

It’s also important to know the differences between each type of loan.

For installment loans, short-term loans, and merchant cash advances, you’ll receive your funds in one lump sum. Once these funds are gone, you’ll have to apply for a new loan, which makes these loan types ideal for working capital, inventory purchasing, and business growth projects.

For lines of credit, you’ll be able to draw however much you’d like up to your maximum borrowing amount as you need the funds. Most lines of credit revolve, meaning once you pay back the money, you can draw from the line of credit again. For this reason, lines of credits are good for consistent cash flow, unexpected expenses, and time-sensitive business opportunities.

To learn more about financing option, check out these articles:

  • Installment loans
  • Short-term loans
  • Merchant cash advances
  • Lines of credit
  • Invoice factoring

No matter which you choose, these lenders vary in one distinct way from QuickBooks Capital: You get to take the initiative in finding capital, instead of waiting for QuickBooks Capital to reach out. While QuickBooks Capital offers competitive rates, these 10 alternatives are more than worth looking into if you need fast capital, a higher borrowing limit, or a different type of loan.

Looking for even more options? Check out a comparison of our favorite small business lenders, or our full list of reviews.

The post Top 10 QuickBooks Capital Alternatives appeared first on Merchant Maverick.


A Guide To Choosing The Best Corporate Credit Cards

Man hands over credit cards for payment

It’s not hard to find articles that compare personal or business credit cards. But where are the ones comparing corporate credit cards?

At the corporate scale, you aren’t usually dealing with pre-designed deals and packages. If you’re big enough to qualify for a corporate account, your business likely has complex and very specific needs. The arrangements you make with your issuing financial institution will probably be unique to your company.

As you can imagine, this makes it very difficult to definitively rank corporate cards. Two businesses may get a corporate card from the same bank and have significantly different terms on their card.

Since we can’t tell you which card is the best for your particular situation, we’ll look at the factors that you should keep in mind when you’re evaluating your corporate credit card offer.

What Are Your Responsibilities?

Most corporate credit cards will require your company to meet some prerequisites to obtain and keep a card. These usually include:

  • Earning over $4 million in revenue annually
  • Opening a minimum number of cards on the corporate account
  • Paying any applicable annual fees

You’ll want to evaluate the costs of the annual fee, which typically consists of a base fee and an additional per card fee. While these fees won’t break the bank for a company earning over $4 million, you don’t want to have to pay more than necessary for the perks you receive.

Who Is The Credit Card Provider?

Visa, Mastercard, and American Express all offer corporate credit cards.

As is the case with personal and small business cards, Visa and Mastercard don’t issue the cards directly, instead selling their services to banking institutions, which in turn issue you a corporate card. Some of the benefits offered by your card will be common to all Visa or Mastercard corporate cards. These include things like auto rental coverage and aspects of your customer service. Overall, the banking institution you choose will be a bigger factor for what services you receive than whether your card is serviced by Visa or Mastercard.

American Express, on the other hand, directly issues their cards. Amex corporate offerings will be more familiar to you if you’ve ever perused their personal and business credit cards. In fact, you’ll notice that their corporate cards are largely scaled-up versions of their personal and business credit cards — there’s a corporate Platinum Card, for example.

How Does The Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Work?

Commercial vehicle rental coverage is offered with most corporate cards. This is usually offered through the credit card company itself rather than the issuing bank.

These programs will usually cover collision and theft of the vehicle, but not necessarily any contents within the cars. There are restrictions on what types of vehicles are covered and under what circumstances. For example, Visa will cover SUVs, but only so long as they are road-safe.

You’ll also want to know how the coverage works both within the United States and internationally. Again using Visa as an example, your damage waiver will function as primary coverage when you’re out of the country and secondary while you’re within. Secondary insurance policies pick up fees and charges that your primary policy does not.

Look over the fine print of your policy, or better yet, have your accounting team do it so that you’ll be able to create guidelines for how your employees should use their coverage to rent vehicles.

How Is The Rewards Program Set Up?

Though they’re not as big of a selling point for corporate credit cards, rewards programs can still add value to your account by returning a percentage of your expenditures back to you as cash, statement credit, gift cards, flyer miles, or points you can spend through other reward programs.

To get the most out of your reward program, you’ll want to know what types of expenses your employees will be putting on their corporate cards. If they’re concentrated in a particular area — like travel expenses — you’ll want a reward card that reimburses those expenses at a high rate.

Do You Want To Make Individual Or Company Payments?

Because corporate cards are meant to be used by multiple employees, there are two different ways to set up your payment systems. You’ll want to be sure your bank offers the setup of your preference.

One configuration is to have the company directly pay the balance on all of the cards. In this case, you’ll probably want to design a policy to determine what types of expenses the cards can be used for.

The other is to have your employees each be responsible for their own cards and then submit expense reports so the company can reimburse them for qualifying expenses.

In both cases, you can work with your issuer to set spending limits.

Final Thoughts

While you can’t directly compare corporate cards the same way you can compare small business and personal cards, you can approach the negotiations with a firm sense of what features and services you want your issuer to offer. Since you’ll be setting policies for employee usage, you’ll want to be able to clearly define when the cards should or shouldn’t be used.

If your business isn’t up to the corporate scale yet, but you’re still looking for a card, check out our small business, personal credit, and charge card guides.

The post A Guide To Choosing The Best Corporate Credit Cards appeared first on Merchant Maverick.


Best Payment Processing Integrations For Accounting Software

Best Payment Processing Integrations for Accounting Software

Are you ready to start accepting credit and debit cards from your customers? Do you want your customers to be able to pay their invoices directly online? You’ve come to the right place.

Here at Merchant Maverick, we know payment processing can be a tricky concept to wrap your mind around. Finding the best option for your business isn’t always easy. The good news is we’ve done the hard work for you. The even better news? Each of these payment processors integrates directly with your accounting software to make your life that much easier.

This post will discuss five of the top payment processors that integrate directly with accounting software. We’ll cover the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is best for your small business. And we’ve even created a handy chart to help you compare all the payment processors that integrate with major accounting programs.

But before we begin, let’s cover a few basics about payment processing.

If you’re already a payment processing pro, feel free to skip this section and continue on to our top picks for best payment processing integrations. Or visit our merchant account reviews to see more payment processing options.

A Brief Intro To Payment Processing

There are two different types of payment processing companies — merchant accounts and payment service providers (or PSPs).

  • Merchant Account: A merchant account is an individual account that connects your business directly to a payment processor so you can accept credit cards and debit cards. When your customer pays with a card and the payment clears their banking institution, the transaction will be deposited directly into your bank account through your merchant account.
  • Payment Service Provider: A payment service provider also allows you to accept credit cards and debit cards. However, instead of creating an individual account, a PSP will lump all of your transactions into a shared account where multiple merchants transactions are stored.

So which one should you use? There are a lot of factors to consider, including your business type, the size of the transactions you’re processing, the number of transactions you process per month, and whether or not you are considered a “high-risk” merchant.

According to our merchant account expert, Tom DeSimone:

If you plan to process large transactions ($300 or more) or a sizeable monthly volume in card payments (about $10K or more, NOT INCLUDING cash and checks), you will want a merchant account to get the best rates.

On the other hand, he says this about PSPs:

While transactions fees might be a little higher than if you had your own merchant account, PSPs usually do not charge a monthly fee or other schedule fees. You just pay for what you use, which is ideal for businesses that only process sporadically.

It’s pretty simple, really. If you plan on processing large transactions or lots of transactions every month, a merchant account will probably be the way to go. If you’re a smaller business that doesn’t process much and needs a pay as you go option, a PSP might be a better choice.

There are other pros and cons to consider with each type of payment processing company, however.

We borrowed this handy chart from our Beginner’s Guide To Payment Processing to help you better understand the differences between merchant accounts and PSPs:

Best Payment Processing Integrations for Accounting Software

There is one more important concept to cover before we move on. In addition to merchant accounts and PSPs, you might encounter payment gateways.

If you’ve ever bought anything online, you’re already familiar with this concept (whether you know it or not):

  • Payment Gateway: A payment gateway allows you to accept credit and debit cards online. Payment gateways use either merchant accounts or PSPs to connect your business and your customer’s banking institution so you get paid.

Payment gateways account for some of the most common accounting integrations (think PayPal and Stripe).

In order to integrate your accounting software to a payment gateway, you will need to establish an account with that gateway provider. Depending on the payment gateway you choose, you may need to set up a merchant account or PSP account. Your payment gateway may require that you use a specific merchant account or PSP of theirs, or they may offer a payment gateway and merchant account or PSP bundle.

I know this is a lot to take in, believe me, but it gets easier from here. Now you can sit back, relax, and learn about our top five favorite payment processing integrations for accounting software.


Best Payment Processing Integrations for Accounting Software

Fattmerchant integrates with QuickBooks Online.

Fattmerchant (see our review) is a merchant account provider that was founded in 2014. This company sets itself apart by offering subscription-based pricing, making it competitive and potentially more affordable than other merchant accounts. Fattmerchant also offers 24/7 customer support and receives positive feedback from the majority of its customers.

Products & Services

Fattmerchant supports the following products and services:

  • Merchant account
  • Virtual terminal
  • Countertop terminals (pricing not disclosed)
  • Point of Sale (POS) integrations
  • Mobile payments
  • One mobile card reader ($75 for each additional reader)
  • Shopping cart integration
  • eCheck services ($29/mo + $0.25 per transaction)
  • Data analytics

The company does not have its own payment gateway, but Fattmerchant is compatible with Authorize.Net, Payeezy, or the TSYS Payment Gateway. It will set you up with a free gateway or integrate with your existing one.


Fattmerchant offers two pricing plans that are paid monthly. There is no locked-in contract and no early termination fees for either plan.

  • Basic: $99/mo + $0.08 per transaction for retail ($0.15 per transaction for ecommerce)
  • Enterprise: $199/mo + $0.05 per transaction for retail ($0.10 for ecommerce)

If you’re looking for an affordable, honest merchant account, Fattmerchant is one of the best. This option is good for businesses looking for a predictable monthly subscription plan. Fattmerchant does not provide high-risk merchant accounts and may not be a good value for small businesses with low payment processing.

Read our full Fattmerchant review to learn more and see if this affordable merchant account option is right for you.


Best Payment Processing Integrations for Accounting Software

CDGcommerce integrates with QuickBooks Online.

CDGcommerce (see our review) is a merchant account provider with over 20 years of payment processing experience. This company is geared toward small to medium-sized business and also operates on a monthly subscription pricing model. A free payment gateway is included with every CDGcommerce merchant account. The company also sets itself apart with an impressive client retention rate and excellent customer support.

Products & Services

CDGcommerce supports the following products and services:

  • Virtual terminal
  • One credit card terminal (with a $79/yr insurance fee)
  • Mobile payments
  • POS systems
  • Optional security service
  • Data analytics and reports

CDGcommerce offers a free payment gateway. Users can choose between Quantum or Authorize.Net.


CDGcommerce has two types of pricing: simplified pricing and advanced pricing. Simplified pricing rates depend on your business type and size.

  • Online: Interchange + 0.30% + $0.15 per transaction
  • Retail: Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10 per transaction
  • POS: Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10 per transaction
  • Mobile: Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10 per transaction
  • Non-Profit: Interchange + 0.20% + $0.10 per transaction

Advanced pricing offers discounts for business with a processing volume of $10,000+ each month. There are no long-term contracts or early terminations fees for either pricing structure. Check out our complete CDGcommerce review for more pricing details. To learn more about interchange and interchange-plus pricing, read Trading Ease For Transparency With Interchange Plus.


CDGcommerce is a scalable company with an impressive number of products and services. The free credit card terminal is also a huge plus. The only catch with this company is that it is limited to merchants in the US.

If you’d like to learn more about CDGcommerce, read our full CDGcommerce review.


Best Payment Processing Integrations for Accounting Software

Square integrates with QuickBooks Online, Xero, Zoho Books, Kashoo, and Kashflow.

You’re probably familiar with the swipe-based payment processing system known as Square. Square (see our review) is one of the leaders in mobile processing. It offers great features including inventory, invoicing, and customer management features. And to top it off, Square has a ton of integrations.

Products & Services

Square supports the following products and services:

  • Virtual terminal
  • Gift cards ($2 per card)
  • Shopping cart integrations
  • e-Invoicing
  • Inventory management
  • POS app
  • Customer management
  • Customer feedback
  • Advanced reporting
  • Email marketing
  • Appointments ($30-$90/mo)
  • Payroll ($25/mo + $5/mo per employee)
  • Event rentals


Square offers standard fees with no interchange-plus pricing. There are no monthly fees, no locked-in contracts, and no early termination fees.

  • Standard Swipe Transactions: 2.75% per transaction
  • Square Register Swipe Transactions: 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction
  • Virtual Terminal Transactions: 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction
  • eCommerce & Invoice Transactions: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

Square offers several add-ons and additional monthly services. Be sure to read our complete Square review for more pricing details.

If you’re looking for a mobile payment processor, this is one of the most well-known and developed options. Square is good for small businesses with low processing volumes and can be an affordable choice. However, Square is not meant for high-risk merchants or companies with a large processing volume as the company is known to hold funds and suddenly terminate accounts.

To learn if Square is the right payment processing option for your business, check out our full Square review or read our post: Is Square Right For Your Business?.


Best Payment Processing Integrations for Accounting Software

Authorize.Net integrates with QuickBooks Online, Xero, Zoho Books, FreshBooks (classic), and Microsoft Dynamics.

Authorize.Net (see our review) is a payment gateway that was founded in 1996; it has since supported over 400,000 merchants. Not only does Authorize.Net allow you to accept online payments from customers, it also has a checkout feature, recurring billing, contact management, and fraud protection. In addition, the company offers good customer support and key accounting integrations.

Products & Services

Authorize.Net supports the following products and services:

  • Virtual terminal
  • Mobile payments app
  • Supports mobile card reader ($42-$98 per reader)
  • Simple checkout
  • Apple pay support
  • Fraud detection
  • Recurring billing
  • Customer information management
  • eChecks (additional cost)

If you have a merchant account, is designed to be compatible with your existing merchant account.

If you don’t have a merchant account, you can have Authorize.Net set you up with one. Or, you can choose a merchant account provider that partners directly with Authorize.Net. If you want to go this route, we recommend Dharma Merchant Services, one of our all-time favorite payment processing providers.


Authorize.Net offers two pricing plans: a gateway-only plan and a gateway + merchant account plan. There are no-long terms contracts or cancellations fees (but this may vary depending on your merchant account provider).

  • Payment-Only: $25/mo + $0.10 per transaction
  • Payment Gateway + Merchant Account: $25/mo + 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

Note: If you are using a merchant account provider that partners with Authorize.Net, your merchant account may lower or even waive certain fees. Read our complete Authorize.Net review for more pricing details so you can make sure you get the best deal.

If you’re looking for a payment gateway, Authorize.Net is a great option. It boasts excellent customer service and tons of features to cover most business needs. One important thing to remember is that Authorize.Net is not good for data exporting. Pricing can also be expensive if you sign up with Authorize.Net directly, so make sure you explore all of your options before deciding.

Read our full Auhorize.Net review for more information.


Best Payment Processing Integrations for Accounting Software

Braintree integrates with QuickBooks Online, Xero, Sage One, FreshBooks (classic), and Saasu.

Braintree (see our review) offers both merchant accounts and payment gateways. This processing company was established in 2007 and offers impressive features, multiple currency options, and excellent customer support. Flat-rate pricing and ample integrations are also a huge plus.

Products & Services

Braintree supports the following products and services:

  • eCommerce integration
  • Mobile payments
  • Recurring billing
  • Fraud detection
  • Tax support
  • Developer tools
  • PayPal integration

Braintree comes paired with its own payment processing, but merchants can choose to use a different merchant account with the Braintree gateway for an added fee.


Braintree has a simple pricing plan. There are no monthly fees, setup fees, gateway fees, or early termination fees. Instead, you’ll pay a competitive, standard rate:

  • 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

If you only want to use the Braintree gateway and not its payment processing, then you’ll have to pay a flat fee of $49 per month plus $0.10 per transaction instead.

We like Braintree so much that it even outranks PayPal and Stripe in our books. However, Braintree is not suited for high-risk merchants and certain types of businesses are prohibited from using Braintree.

Read our complete Braintree review for more details and to see if this merchant account and payment gateway provider is a good fit for your business.

Which Is Right For Me?

If you’ve learned anything from this post, it’s that when it comes to payment processing there are lots of options to choose from. The right payment processing provider for your business will depend on whether you’re looking for a merchant account or a payment gateway (or a combo of both), plus the number of transactions you process and the extra features your company requires.

One of the main things you should consider is which providers integrate with your accounting software. This will narrow down your decision quite a bit.

While we named some of our favorite companies above, there are several other common payment processing accounting integrations, including PayPal, Stripe, forte, and GoCardless. To make your search for the perfect payment processor easier, we’ve created a chart of the most common accounting programs and the payment processing providers they integrate with.

Software Payment Processing Integrations
QuickBooks Pro BluePay, Durango Merchant Services, QuickBooks Desktop Payments
QuickBooks Online Authorize.Net, BluePay, CDGcommerce, Fattmerchant, Forte,, Payline, PayPal, WorldPay, QuickBooks Payments,    Square, Stripe, WePay, WorldPay
Xero Authorize.Net, Bill&Pay, Braintree, Forte, GoCardless, PayPal, Square, Stripe, WorldPay
Zoho Books Authorize.Net, Braintree, Forte, PayPal, RazorPay, Square, Stripe, WePay
Wave PayPal, Stripe, Wave Payments
FreshBooks (new), Payments by FreshBooks, PayPal, Stripe
FreshBooks (classic) Authorize.Net, Braintree, Forte, PayPal, Stripe
Sage One Braintree, PayPal, Sage Payment Solutions,
Stripe, WayPay, WorldPay
Sage 50c GoCardless, Sage Payment Solutions
FreeAgent GoCardless, PayPal, Payal Here, Square, Stripe
Saasu Braintree, eWay, PayPal, PayWay, PinPayments, Stripe
Kashflow GoCardless, Global Payments, PayPal, Square,
Stripe, WorldPay,
Kashoo BluePay, PayPal, Stripe
ClearBooks GoCardless, PayPal,  PayPoint
AND CO PayPal, Stripe

Note: The above integrations are always changing and may vary by country. Check with your accounting software directly for the most up-to-date information.

Remember that when you are choosing the perfect payment processor to integrate with your accounting solution, you can never do enough research. Be sure to check out our merchant account reviews to learn how each software stacks up in terms of features, value for your money, and reliability. If you’re interested in learning more about payment processing, you can also download our free Beginner’s Guide To Payment Processing to learn to evaluate your options, negotiate a good merchant account contract, and more.

Best of luck, and stay tuned for more payment processing tips and tricks from the Merchant Maverick team. If you’d like to do more reading on the subject, the following articles will point you in the right direction:

The Complete Guide to Online Credit Card Processing With a Payment Gateway

Are You A High-Risk Merchant?

The 5 Best Small Business Credit Card Processing Companies

The post Best Payment Processing Integrations For Accounting Software appeared first on Merchant Maverick.


The Best Business Grants For Women

business grants for women

Do an online search for “business grants for women” and a slew of articles will come up. But when you click to read the articles, you’ll find that there is scant, if any, information on actual grants. Often, when you do find the name of a specific grant for female-led businesses, like the “Huggies Mom Inspired” grant, there will be no link to apply, because the program has been discontinued. Most of these articles will also toss you a link to — which does not offer any grant expressly for women-owned businesses.

The truth is that while there is a lot of demand for business grants, i.e., free money to help start or continue your business, there are hardly any such programs in existence. While both government and private grants do exist, most of that money goes to not-for-profit organizations, and the majority of these programs do not give preferential treatment to female applicants.

However, there are a select few grants offered specifically to female owners of for-profit businesses. This article includes real grants for women entrepreneurs only. Meaning, there will be an actual link to apply in most cases. Woohoo! Hopefully, this will save you some time scouring the web. I could only find a handful of legit, worthwhile business grant opportunities for women, but if you know of any others, feel free to mention them in the comments!

1. Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant


Eileen Fisher is a socially conscious clothing brand that emphasizes sustainability. The clothing brand offers a yearly grant to women-owned businesses, particularly those that focus on using their businesses to bring about environmental and/or social change. Each year, Eileen Fisher awards Women-Owned Business Grants totaling $100,000 to up to 10 recipients, with a minimum grant amount of $10,000. Additionally, grantees are invited to New York City in the spring following their reward for two days of business collaboration with Eileen Fisher.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for an Eileen Fisher grant, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • At least 51% woman-owned
  • Have been in business at least 3 years
  • Revenues not exceeding $1 million
  • Business founded on principal of creating social and environmental change

Franchises, startups, and past award winners are not eligible to receive the grant.

How To Apply

Visit the Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant website to find more information about the grant and apply.


Visit the Eileen Fisher website


2. Amber Grants


Amber Grants began in 1998. After a young woman named Amber died before being able to fulfill her entrepreneurial dreams, WomensNet started offering grants for women in Amber’s name. These are smaller grants, but they are very accessible and easy to apply for. Amber Grants awards $500 to a woman-owned business every month, and at the end of the year, one of the 12 monthly qualification winners wins another grant for $2,500.

Eligibility Criteria

Amber Grants do not have any particular qualification criteria, other than that recipients must be female entrepreneurs (age 18 and up) living in the United States or Canada. Amber Grants are open to any type of business.

How To Apply

Simply fill out the application template on the Amber Grant Application Page and pay a nominal $7 fee. Amber Grants recommends that rather than trying to “sound professional” in your application, you focus on conveying the passion you have for your business.

Amber Grants receive between 200 and 600 applicants every month. Visit the website for information about application deadlines.


Visit the Amber Grant website


3. Cartier Women’s Initiative


The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, a joint partnership created in 2006 by Cartier, McKinsey & Company, and INSEAD business school, awards annual grants to support projects by women entrepreneurs. This is one of the largest and most prestigious business grants for women, but the competition is steep. The first-place prize in this international business competition is $100,000; second place comes with a $30,000 prize.

Eligibility Criteria

Women entrepreneurs in the initial stages of development (2-3 years old), in any country, of any nationality, and operating in any industry can apply for this grant. The business must have an original concept and the business must have a for-profit model.

You can download the official Cartier Women’s Initiative rules of participation for more details.

How To Apply

When applications are open (which is only during certain times of year), you will be able to apply using the online Cartier Women’s Initiative application form.

From the Cartier Women’s Initiative website:

The call for applications for the 2018 edition of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is now closed. The call for applications for the 2019 edition of the competition will open in May 2018.

Before applying, be sure to read up on the grant application process. In addition to filling out the application form, you’ll need to supply supporting documentation including your resume, scanned copy of your business registration, proof of patent (if applicable), and detailed financials. Optionally, you can also include three additional attachments, such as your logo, images of your product, press articles, etc.


Visit the Cartier Women’s Initiative website


4. Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program


Fashion designer and philanthropist Tory Burch created the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to help empower female entrepreneurs. The Foundation has been quite successful in this goal, and today runs one of the most preeminent business grant competitions.

Each year, up to 10 finalists of this grant competition receive a $10,000 grant for business education, a 1-year Tory Burch Fellowship, and a 3-day business workshop at Tory Burch Headquarters in NYC. Note that the $10,000 grant cannot be used for purposes other than business education. Fellows will also participate in a Shark Tank-style pitch competition before a panel of judges to choose one winner of a $100,000 award, of which 50% is a grant and 50% is a “recoverable grant” (fancy way of saying 0%-interest loan).

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants to this business grant must be female business owners who meet the following criteria:

  • Own a majority stake in for-profit business, from any industry, in early-stage growth (minimum of 1 year and no more than 5 years of operations), generating minimum revenues of $25,000 and maximum revenues of $500,000 per year
  • Manage said business on a day-to-day basis
  • 21 years or older as of the application due date
  • Legal resident of the United States
  • Proficient in English

Read more about Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Grant eligibility.

How To Apply

Here is the application page for the Tory Burch grant. The application period is pretty short — it opens in early fall and closes in November. But that’s okay; in the meantime, you can download the application help guide to start perfecting your business plan and application essay so you will be ready to go when the next round of application opens.


Visit the Tory Burch Foundation website


5. Girlboss Foundation


Launched in 2014, The Girlboss Foundation funds female entrepreneurs pursuing creative endeavors. Specifically, these grants are for women in the fields of art, fashion, design, and music. Every six months, one grant beneficiary receives $15,000 to be used for a creative project within the following 12 months, in addition to online media exposure.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, Girlboss applicants must be US-based female creative business owners who are 18 or older. Note that the Girlboss Foundation only awards grants to individuals; GB can award the grant to an individual representing a business, but not to a business as an entity.

How To Apply

Fill out the online Girlboss Foundation grant application. First, however, read the information on the selection process so you’ll get a better idea of what to include and how you’ll be judged.


Visit the Girlboss website


6. Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition


The WFN is an organization that provides both capital and mentorship to women business owners. The organization’s Fast Pitch competition awards $20,000 in free grant money to a female-led business each year; runners-up receive $7,500, $5,000, and $2,500 respectively. If you make the top 10 finalists, you’ll pitch your business at a live in-person event in Los Angeles.

Eligibility Criteria

These are the criteria for this women’s business grant competition, from the WFN website:

  • Founder/CEO must be a woman or business must be majority-owned by women.
  • Must attend in-person to present in Los Angeles at the Fast Pitch Event.
  • Business must be past the idea stage (revenue preferred)
  • Must have raised no more than $1M in outside funding, excluding research grants.
  • Seeking early stage businesses based in USA with high-growth potential.

How To Apply

You can apply for this grant on the Women Founders Network Fast Pitch website as of May 1, 2018. The next round of applications will be accepted from May 1 – June 10, 2018.

WFN has posted grant application guidelines with detailed information about the contest and tips for applying, but note that these guidelines are for the 2017 contest.


Visit the WFN website


7. InnovateHER Challenge


The InnovateHER Challenge, est. 2015 under the Obama administration, is a national women’s business grant contest hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership. Each year since 2015, InnovateHER has given out three grants to especially worthy women-owned businesses, including a first-place prize of $40,000, a second-place prize of $20,000, and a third-place prize of $10,000. InnovateHER is the only federal grant money earmarked specifically for women-related businesses.

To arrive at the top 10 finalists for this nationwide competition, organizations such as universities and economic development associations run their own local competitions throughout the year. Then, from all of the local winners, 10 national finalists are chosen to pitch their businesses to an expert panel in Washington D.C.

Eligibility Requirements

This contest is for innovative entrepreneurs whose products and services create a measurable impact on the lives of women and families. These business solutions must also “have the potential for commercialization, and fill a need in the marketplace.”

Further eligibility requirements from last year’s InnovateHer Challenge page are as follows:

  • Citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of their submission of an entry (or teams of such individuals)
  • Private entities, such as corporations or other organizations, that are incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States. Individuals submitting on behalf of corporations, nonprofits, or groups of individuals (such as an academic class or another team) must meet the eligibility requirements for individual contestants. An individual may belong to more than one team submitting an entry in this Challenge.

Note that the rules don’t say this grant is only for women (even though it’s all about solutions that improve women’s lives). However, all of the past grant winners and finalists have been women, so perhaps this is an unspoken rule.

How To Apply

I assume that once the competition opens for 2018, there will be information about how to apply to any local InnovateHer competitions posted on the official InnovateHer Challenge website.

As of February 2018, this website had no information on the 2018 InnovateHER competition, despite the fact that if things were to follow the same schedule as last year’s and the previous years’ competitions, the contest would have kicked off this past December. I emailed the SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership about this and they told me that they will get back to me as soon as they have any information regarding the 2018 InnovateHer Challenge; I’ll update this post if/when I hear back from them.


Visit the InnovateHER website


Runner-Up: Halstead Grant


Halstead Grants are given to new jewelry designers who work primarily in silver. While this grant is not strictly for women, I’m including it as a runner-up, as the jewelry industry is mostly female-dominated, and most (but not all) of the past winners of this grant have been women. Plus, there is an actual link to apply for the grant. Score!

The grant consists of $7,500 in start-up capital and $1,000 in Halstead merchandise. Finalists receive $500 cash for Top 5 placement, or $250 for Top 10 placement.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicant must have opened business within the past three years.
  • Applicant must be pursuing jewelry design as a full-time career, not as a hobby or part-time job.
  • Applicant must be a US citizen.

How To Apply

Download and fill out the Halstead Grant Application. As part of the application, you must submit a jewelry collection along with answers to 15 questions that form the basis of a business plan.


Visit the Halstead Grant website


Final Thoughts

Grants represent a viable form of free funding for select, exceptionally talented women business owners. If you can present an especially impressive application, essay, business plan, and in some cases an in-person pitch, you might come away with some free cash to help bring your entrepreneurial dreams to fruition. However, such grants are extremely competitive, and in most cases even if you win a prized spot, you won’t receive a large amount of capital. There are some select grants available to small businesses in general, including grants for startup businesses, but these grant programs are similarly competitive. Generally, there just isn’t a lot of grant money to be had for for-profit businesses.

More attainable small businesses funding options for women include online loans, personal loans, or even alternative financing options such as crowdfunding. If you’re a female entrepreneur reading this article, I strongly recommend you also check out my article on the best loans for women. For more guidance on how to get financing for your women-owned business, feel free to contact us!

The post The Best Business Grants For Women appeared first on Merchant Maverick.


How To Identify The Pricing Model On Your Processing Statement

Credit Card Processing Statement image

“It’s 11 o’clock. Do you know where your children are?”

This was a popular PSA broadcasted to parents in the ’70s and ’80s, back when “stranger danger” was just about the scariest thing out there. Now, I have an equally important PSA for small business owners: “You have your processing statement. Do you know your pricing model?”

The ability to recognize merchant account pricing models (and, most importantly, which one you have) is a crucial step toward understanding your statement, as well as increasing your overall merchant-savvy. We’ve found that many merchants recognize the rates and fees they were quoted for processing, but without any broader context of which pricing model they have. This makes deciphering an already-confusing card processing statement all the more difficult, and makes discerning whether you’re paying too much nearly impossible.

Starting with a statement and working backward to an accurate understanding of how your quoted rates actually kick in is maybe not the ideal introduction to pricing models. Yet, this is most often the way things go, and I’m not surprised. No one goes to “merchant account school” for this stuff, and account providers vary widely in both their skill and willingness to thoroughly explain pricing.

The good news is that small business owners are no strangers to learning on the fly. So, grab a statement or two, and let’s get cracking!

A Quick Primer On Pricing

In broad strokes, the main pricing models are differentiated by the way your merchant account provider handles the wholesale cost of processing (what it must pay to other entities in the processing chain) versus its own markup. There are two separate types of wholesale costs — interchange fees and card association fees — but the differences between pricing models mostly center around how interchange fees are handled.

You’re probably already aware of the vast variety of credit and debit cards in circulation. Each type of card has its own pre-set interchange cost (a percentage of the sale and sometimes a per-transaction fee) that all merchant account providers must pay to the card-issuing bank when that particular card type is used. Over the years, the main merchant account pricing models have developed based on two possible ways of dealing with these wholesale interchange costs:

  1. Pass the interchange costs directly to the merchant and also charge a separate “low” markup.
  2. Blend the interchange costs into one or more “high” overall rates for the merchant that already include a markup.

I’m putting “low” and “high” in quotation marks because we recognize they’re super-relative terms. Not to mention, the exact amount of your rate is only one piece of the puzzle. As a helpful simplification going forward, you can think of “low” as well under 1%, and high as over 1% (often at least 2%, or even much more). The important thing to remember is that a low rate may not include interchange already (look for those costs listed separately), while a high rate likely does.

The “Big Four” Models

The most common pricing models are interchange-plus, membership, flat-rate, and tiered. For more background on the models, check out these helpful articles:

  • Trading Ease For Transparency With Interchange-Plus
  • Tiered Pricing: The Epic Fail Of A Pricing Model
  • Get A 0% Interchange-Plus Markup With Membership Fee Pricing
  • Analyzing The Cost-Effectiveness of Square’s Mobile Processing Solution (flat-rate pricing)

If you’re still a bit foggy on the differences, that’s okay. For now, you can start with your statement and work toward a better understanding of merchant account pricing as a whole. We’ll get there!

Good Indicators, But Not Guarantees

While each pricing model leaves tell-tale signs on a statement, it’s important to note that no “standard” indicator is necessarily a guarantee. Think of the indicators we’ll discuss as good clues, or important signs. In truth, processors may include red herrings in their statements, or invent their own strange hybrid systems. Fortunately, most stick fairly closely to the main pricing models.

Now, we’re finally ready to look at the four main pricing models and their most common statement indicators. The more indicators for a certain model on your statement, the better the odds that’s the model you have. I’ll be using a few snippets of statements as examples, but note that any interchange rates listed are not necessarily the current values. Some of the statements are older. In any case, your statement will never match these completely. No two processors display this stuff in the same way.

Interchange-Plus / Cost-Plus Pricing

All things being equal, interchange-plus statements are the most difficult to read. The big payoff is that you clearly see the difference between wholesale costs and your account provider’s markup on your statements. In this model, the rate you were quoted was just the markup piece — the “plus” in “interchange-plus.” In other words, interchange fees and your account provider’s markup are charged separately. Typically, interchange-plus plans charge both a percentage markup and a flat, per-transaction markup. Here’s what you’ll likely see on your statement:

  • Itemized Interchange Rates: 

    Example A: One small section of a long list of interchange rates. Note that each type of card is charged its own pre-set rate, and passed through to the merchant.

  • Consistent “Low” Percentage Markup: Charged separately from interchange fees.

Example B: Consistent markup of 0.40% listed after each card type’s itemized list of interchange fees. All transactions/card types have the same 0.40% markup.

Example C: In the “Rate” column, a consistent 0.31% markup is shown directly above the itemized interchange rate for each type of card/transaction.

  • Consistent Transaction Fee Markup: This per-transaction markup may be found in the same line items as the percentage markups, or down in a separate “authorization” section.

    Example D: Along with a consistent 0.10% markup across the board (Disc %), there’s a consistent $0.10 transaction fee markup (Disc P/I) for all card/transaction types.

Subscription / Membership Pricing

Membership pricing is sort of a riff on interchange-plus. The wholesale interchange rates are still charged separately from the account provider’s markup. The difference is that the markup comes in the form of one flat monthly subscription fee, and also a small, per-transaction markup. No percentage markup is charged. Here are the main statement indicators of subscription pricing:

  • Itemized Interchange Rates: Similar to Example A above.
  • Consistent Transaction Fee Markup: See Example E below.
  • No Percentage Markup: See Example E below. Note that percentages will still be part of itemized interchange rates (not shown below), but no separate percentage markup is present.

Example E: Consistent $0.11 “Item Rate” charged on all card/transaction types. No “Disc Rate” % markup. This account had a membership fee of $120/month (not pictured).  Interchange rates were itemized separately (not pictured).

Flat-Rate / Blended Pricing

This is the model most commonly offered by third-party payment facilitators (a.k.a. PSPs, merchant aggregators) like PayPal, Stripe, and Square. Occasionally, traditional merchant account providers use it as well. In this all-inclusive model, wholesale charges and the processor’s markup are all blended together into your one, flat processing rate. If a per-transaction fee is part of your rate, this also goes toward covering your provider’s wholesale costs plus any profit margin. Your flat rate covers all types of transactions, from inexpensive signature debit transactions, all the way to expensive business rewards cards. You’ll typically observe:

  • No Itemized Interchange Rates: Your statement is quite simple, but you can’t see the actual wholesale cost behind any of your transactions.
  • Consistent “High” Rate: If any rate is displayed at all, it’s usually just one main rate in the high 2% to mid-3% range, and sometimes you’ll see a per-transaction fee as well. Note that some PSPs charge a couple different high rates based on the type of transactions you run (i.e., keyed or ecommmerce vs. swiped/dipped.)

Tiered / Bundled Pricing

This is another case where you can’t see the itemized interchange rates separate from your processor’s markup on your statement. Instead, your transactions are first grouped into tiers according to the processor’s pre-set criteria. Each group (tier) is then charged a flat rate that already includes the interchange costs for those transactions. If you’ve got a tiered plan but have only been quoted one rate, it’s typically the rate for transactions that fall under the lowest, “qualified” tier. In reality, some transactions may be downgraded to higher priced tiers (mid-qualified and non-qualified). You have no real way of predicting these downgrades ahead of time. Here’s what you’d see:

  • No Itemized Interchange Rates: You generally won’t see a list of interchange charges–because why list them if they’re already blended into your tiered rates?
  • Qualified, Mid-Qualified, Non-Qualified Labels: Any line items with any of these labels (or similar-looking abbreviations) is your biggest clue.

Example F: Transactions are charged 1.75%, 2.75% or 3.25% depending on the tier

  • Multiple Rates, Usually “High”: By definition, a tiered program must have at least two rate levels or tiers shown on the statement. The standard model is three levels: qualified (lowest), mid-qualified (middle), and non-qualified (highest). Note that some providers may create a separate set of three tiers for debit transactions, because these wholesale debit costs are cheaper. The bottom levels of a signature debit tier can actually be “low” (well under 1%) and still account for the interchange cost or act as a loss leader. You’ll need to be sure that there are no other higher rates charged on your statement (and examine other indicators) before you can assume your “low” rate means you’re on interchange-plus! On the other hand, all credit card tiers will likely be well over 1% and in the “high” category, so look for those as a better indicator. When you’re looking for multiple rates on your statement, the mid and non-qualified transactions may be listed right next to the qualified ones, or may be shown as separate surcharges later in the statement (like in Example H below).

Example G: Two “high” rates are charged, 1.75% + $0.10 for credit, and 1.21% + $ 0.20 for debit. These are the two qualified tiers of this plan.

Example H: In the same statement as above, we find a surcharge section. Twenty-two transactions were downgraded to non-qualified (amounting to an extra 2%) and 30 to mid-qualified (an extra 1.47%). Multiple rates for multiple tiers at play!

Final Thoughts

Did you recognize your own pricing model among these main four types? If you made it this far with your statement, I hope you’ve at least developed a strong hunch. While each model has its merits for different situations, you can probably tell we prefer the inherent transparency and comparability of models that separate out the interchange costs from the account provider’s markup. By the same token, we have a hard time getting behind the unpredictable downgrading and surcharging of tiered pricing. I’d encourage you to check out our top merchant account providers if you’re looking for a fresh start. All of them offer transparent interchange-plus or subscription pricing plans.

Parents of the 70s and 80s feared “stranger danger” above all else, but my biggest fear for merchants is that they pay too much or even get scammed because they don’t have a solid understanding of their processing statements. Knowing and recognizing your pricing model is one of your best protections as a merchant. If you’re still unsure about yours, drop us a line and we’ll see if we can help!

The post How To Identify The Pricing Model On Your Processing Statement appeared first on Merchant Maverick.


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.


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.


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.


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


Team Bio Series — Jason Vissers (Ramen Lover)

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

This week on “Meet The Merchant Maverick Staff” we’re learning to love Jason Vissers, our resident website builder reviewer and crowdfunding expert. Among other things, Mr. Vissers has the distinction of making me laugh out loud while editing — no simple feat. When he’s not putting his editor in stiches or writing commentaries on modern American culture disguised as GoFundMe reviews, Jason is doing…what exactly? Read on to find out.

Name: Jason Vissers

Title: Writer — Website Builders, Lenders, and Crowdfunders

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Current city: San Diego, CA, though I spend a lot of time in PA with my girlfriend, who definitely exists, I swear.

Education and background: B.A. in Political Science from SDSU. I went to a party school but forgot to party. Whoops.

I’ve held a wide variety of jobs, from writing for a short-lived local weekly paper (any San Diegans out there remember the Fahrenheit?) to working the registers at a major fabric-and-crafts retailer. I hesitate to tell you which one because I still have waking nightmares where I’m being harassed by a bellicose grandmother in a sequined baseball cap pointing to her five-foot-long receipt demanding to know why her 40% off item coupon got applied to her Swarovski crystals and not her ceramic corn cob.

Those crafters have long memories.

Merchant Maverick department/specialty: I started out exclusively covering website builders. Since then, I’ve started writing about online lenders and crowdfunding platforms as well.

How did you discover Merchant Maverick?: My co-worker and sister Shannon let me know about the position. I jumped at the chance, and poof, here I am!

Proudest professional moment: As good as it feels to get my reviews and articles published here, my proudest professional moment has to be the time I wrote a feature article in the Fahrenheit in which I attempted to rank the beaches of San Diego according to the taste of their ocean water. The Fahrenheit didn’t have a lot of writers, so they just let me run with whatever nonsensical idea popped into my head. It was a different time…

Favorite Merchant Maverick post/moment/opportunity: Probably my article on website monetization. I spend a good while compiling the info, and I like to think my GIF game was on point.

What do you do when you have a day off?: I’ll probably go get some ramen at Mitsuwa, then play video games and watch stupid YouTube videos until I fall asleep under the reassuring glow of the warm screens.

What fictional character do you most resemble and why? Back in high school, someone told me I look like Principal Skinner from The Simpsons. Whatever.

Favorite TV shows: The Simpsons, Get A Life (most criminally underrated show of all time), NewsRadio, Mr. Show, The Young Ones, anything Tim & Eric-related, Twin Peaks, Nathan For You, and of course the incomparable Rock Of Love, particularly season 3 — the one with the bus.

Favorite ‘90s song: Hmmm… I could be douchey and name something super-obscure, but instead, I’ll say…a tie between It Was A Good Day by Ice Cube and Common People by Pulp. An honorable mention goes to Amish Paradise by Weird Al Yankovic.

Favorite breakfast food: All of it, all the live long day. But especially pancakes.

What are three items on your bucket list?:

  • Go to Japan and eat all the ramen
  • Learn how to play Devo riffs on the guitar (I cannot play the guitar)
  • Learn how to cook (anything)

If you could travel back in time and talk to your past self, what would you say?: Hi, me. I don’t have much to say since I haven’t really gained any wisdom or insight over the years, but here is an almanac containing the scores for future sporting events.

Mac or Windows?: Windows! Back in the days of yore, if you were into computer games, the PC was really your only option, as most games didn’t get a Mac release. I’ve stuck with PCs ever since, mainly out of habit.

You’re given an unlimited travel budget. Where do you go?: I’m planning a future trip to Japan. There are districts of Tokyo I want to visit because I’ve been there in Persona 5. I’m not even kidding. (Amazing game, by the way — using my authority as reviewer of things, I give it five stars).

Jason may be self-deprecating (Principal Skinner indeed!), but he’s one of our favorite writers here at Merchant Maverick. I for one will never be able to enter a Joann’s Fabrics without thinking of him fondly. And I’m sure I speak for all of us here when I say that, next time we are munching on Top Ramen, we’ll spare a thought for our favorite Simpsons aficionado. Stay tuned for the next installment in our team interview series, or go back and read the whole collection.

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


Tips To Get A Loan For The Start Up Business

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loans for business

It’s the central conundrum of beginning a company. It appears that everybody, from politicians on lower, ritualistically extols the benefits from the American small business operator. Those are the ur-icons of star-spangled capitalism and also the sturdy first step toward our national exceptionalism, sitting square alongside mother, apple cake, and also the ghostly visage of Dale Earnhardt. We can’t praise them enough within the abstract.

But, at any given time when corporate earnings are reaching all-time highs and firms like Apple are located on more money compared to what they get sound advice with, it remains very hard for ambitious entrepreneurs to get the capital they have to launch and also be a brand new business. Indeed, despite our valorization of startup culture, the speed of recent business creation within the U.S. is near its 40-year low. When the ability for anybody to produce a start up business is the reason why America special, the forces-that-be possess a funny method of demonstrating their reverence for the putative ideals.

On the floor level, there’s an indisputable logic towards the reluctance of lenders to loan money to start up business proprietors. In the end, most new companies fail. Entrepreneurship is inherently dangerous. In addition, many small company proprietors do not have great credit. Add the truth that if you are just beginning out, obviously, your business won’t have 2+ many years of existence within the books — a financial institution requirement of most loans. Just how can start up business proprietors navigate this atmosphere to get hold of some capital?

Continue reading to uncover the strategies by which you’ll give legs for your startup business.

Table of Contents

Buddies & Family

I recognize this suggestion reeks of privilege. Most us citizens — individuals from in the past disadvantaged communities particularly — simply don’t have the same sources inside their personal and family systems just like individuals from wealthier precincts. But when wealth does exist in your family or perhaps your circle of buddies and you aren’t too squeamish concerning the apparent challenges of blending business with your own personal existence, you might like to try it out. Just make certain to speak your company plans making them conscious of the potential risks. Things could easily get awkward in case your business goes south, but a minimum of Aunt Dorothy is not as likely than the usual bank to repossess your vehicle!

(Clearly, I’m making assumptions regarding your aunt. For those I understand, Dorothy’s a genuine hard-ass)

Unsecured Loans For Business

If your company is under 2 yrs old, best of luck obtaining a business loan. However, have you thought about getting an unsecured loan and taking advantage of it to pay for business expenses?

Eligibility for an unsecured loan is dependant on your individual credit-worthiness and never those of your company. This really is clearly good if your company is just getting began, but you will have to have a good credit score along with a decent earnings, and you will be restricted to borrowing $35K-$50K. Around the plus side, unsecured loans are usually unsecured, meaning you won’t be required to set up collateral. The loan provider can continue to file suit you should you not repay the borrowed funds, however, you won’t go outdoors to locate your vehicle being towed out of your front yard by a few goon.

If the option suits your conditions, take a look at our help guide to using unsecured loans for business purposes. And when you’re searching to have an online personal bank loan vendor, here are a few options that you should consider.

P2P Loans

Let’s say I were to let you know that it is possible to acquire a loan online even when your credit rating isn’t so hot? Enter P2P, or peer-to-peer, lending. It’s considered a kind of crowdfunding, though in contrast to Kickstarter, you spend back your contributors. While there’s some overlap between this type of loan and also the kind I described within the last section, P2P lenders are usually more generous in who they’ll give loan to than “traditional” online lenders. Let’s take particular notice at a couple of them.

Kiva U.S.

Kiva U.S. (see our review), a nonprofit P2P microlender, offers crowdfunded microloans with % interest! Actually — Kiva U.S. offers loans where the loan provider doesn’t are in position to profit whatsoever. In addition to this, it normally won’t even check your credit rating. Kiva U.S. is dependant on “social underwriting,” and therefore rather of your credit reportOrearnings/etc. figuring out your credit-worthiness, the “crowd” items you financing making use of your status as leverage. It’s an amazing deal for individuals whose credit score is incorporated in the crapper. A few of the drawbacks: you are able to only borrow as much as $10K through Kiva, and also the application can require two several weeks.


Accion (see our review) is yet another nonprofit P2P loan provider to think about — one we at Merchant Maverick are particular fans of. Unlike Kiva, Accion’s loans aren’t “free,” however with much greater borrowing amounts (as much as $50K), terms and charges that rival nearly anybody’s, complete transparency, a readiness to give loan to startups, along with a dedication to financial education, Accion is a superb choice for jump-beginning your brand-new business.

Other P2P lenders include:

Small business administration Loans

Small business administration loans are loans supported by the us government by means of the Sba. The company doesn’t offer loans themselves but instead guarantees some of the loan from a lender. Should you default around the loan, the Small business administration covers part of the loss. This will make the borrowed funds a lesser dangerous prospect for that issuing bank (or any other lenders).

While you might have trouble qualifying to have an Small business administration loan if you were running a business for under 2 yrs, it’s still worth a go. Some online lenders streamline the entire process of trying to get this type of loan, thus hastening the best decision in your approval. Here are the online services offering Small business administration loans:

Short-Term Loans

Short-term loans really are a relatively recent product provided by many lenders. Are they all attractive to start up business proprietors is they typically require 3 months’ price of business history to acquire.

Short-term loans differ in certain fundamental ways from traditional loans. Charges aren’t calculated using rates of interest, but instead are fixed, i.e. calculated once to ensure that you’ll be aware of exact amount it’s important to pay back. Furthermore, as you may have suspected, they have… watch for it… temporary lengths.

Short-term loans have low customer qualifications, no use needs, along with a rapid application and funding process, so it’s easy to understand their attract start up business proprietors. However, they most likely should not be the first resort, because the charges are usually extremely high and also the loan + fee should be paid back relatively rapidly.

Read our piece on short-term loans to find out more.


It might be nice to obtain a loan that you simply didn’t need to pay back, wouldn’t it?

Business grants are awarded through the government (federal, condition, and native) in addition to certain NGOs and companies. Obviously, whether it were easy to obtain a grant, everybody could be providing them with — and I’m guessing you most likely have no idea lots of business grant recipients.

Most grant programs are very specific regarding the type of companies they plan to benefit, so it might take you a while before you decide to uncover a grant program that the business aligns with. You’ll should also detail your company plans having a high amount of precision. In addition, many grant programs need a compelling, well-written pitch promoting our prime-mindedness of the vision. Grants might be free money, but, ironically enough, you’ll need to actually work on their behalf.

It could be a job tracking lower the various entities available offering grants to small companies, and that’s why this Fundera article detailing 106 organizations offering small company grants is really an opportune resource.


I discussed P2P lending earlier, that is a type of debt crowdfunding. However, when many people consider crowdfunding, they’re considering rewards crowdfunding. Let’s explore rewards crowdfunding and it is more youthful brother or sister, equity crowdfunding. Both hold significant possibility of the budding businessperson.

Rewards Crowdfunding

Vast amounts of dollars happen to be elevated on rewards crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter (see our review) and Indiegogo (see our review). Using these platforms, you employ social networking to get the word out regarding your business and to inquire about financial support. In exchange, you provide rewards for your backers. Most such platforms allow you to host campaigns that you attempt to achieve a particular funding goal inside a defined period of time. However, Patreon (see our review) works differently for the reason that backers join give you support on the ongoing basis — monthly or per creation — in return for use of a steady flow of exclusive content. Rewards crowdfunding is especially well-suitable for individuals in the industry of manufacturing products of singular value, like innovative gizmos, tabletop games, and art of varieties.

Equity Crowdfunding

With equity crowdfunding, rather of offering rewards for your backers by means of gadgets or graphic novels, you are offering equity inside your company. Thus, the backer becomes a trader. Equity crowdfunding was just lately legalized by federal legislation, therefore the market is still experiencing growing pains, but it’s likely to grow because the relevant rules are further streamlined. Equity crowdfunding generally is a more complicated prospect than rewards crowdfunding — you need to accept the truth that you’re ceding partial charge of your organization to investors (with whom you’ll be accountable).

Crowdfunder (see our review) is one particualr pure equity crowdfunding platform, while Fundable (see our review) hosts both equity and rewards crowdfunding campaigns. A effective rewards crowdfunding campaign can set you up nicely to have an equity raise, because it tells investors the viability of the product available on the market.

Read this article on crowdfunding to obtain a more in-depth explanation of the best way to use various kinds of crowdfunding to finance your company.

Final Ideas

There’s never been a far more challenging time to launch your personal business. Society is flush with pockets of obscene opulence, yet so very little of this wealth makes its method to the burgeoning companies where it might perform the most good. Thankfully, we’re here that will help you inside your mission to fund your dreams. Here are a few more useful articles for proprietors of emerging companies seeking funding:

Not too you’ll require it, because you’re awesome, but: Best of luck!

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


Wix Versus Shopify

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

This is actually the dawning of age Disruption, and the majority of us find ourselves one of the Disrupted. As wages remain stagnant, decent benefits become ever harder to secure, and temporary work becomes the permanent reality, the cultural centrality of at-will employment lessens on an hourly basis. With couple of legal or institutional norms left to provide us from economic uncertainty, Doing The Work Yourself appears more rational than ever before. And believe to DIY rather than leverage the cyber-commons to market things online?

Because of the recognition of these two platforms, I figured it might be useful to check and contrast Wix and Shopify, two most prominent online services utilized by individuals and firms to bring in the eCommerce dough. However, some background info.

Table of Contents

A Fast Take A Look At Wix

wix pricing

Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Wix (see our Wix review) began in the year 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami, and Giora Kaplan. Getting grown to get probably the most broadly-used DIY website builder available on the market, Wix now boasts 110 million users all over the world — several unquestionably boosted because Wix is free of charge to participate.

A Fast Take A Look At Shopify

Shopify (see our Shopify review) may be the colossus from the eCommerce industry. Launched by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake (and in 2006), this Ottawa-based company presently hosts over 500,000 online stores and it has helped generate $46 billion in sales.

The 2 platforms possess a fundamental difference of emphasis, however. Wix is really a website builder with sophisticated eCommerce abilities (among additional features), while Shopify is really a dedicated eCommerce platform with website building features. This distinction should become apparent when i guide you through my comparison.

Web-Located or Licensed

Both Wix and Shopify are web-located.

Software and hardware Needs

All it’s important to use Wix or Shopify is really a computer, a web connection, along with a modern internet browser. Worry not, friend.


Here’s something which reveals the variations between the two platforms’ particular target audiences. While Wix has five compensated subscription plans available, you may also generate a free account. As long as its not necessary a web-based store, your personal domain, or any other advanced features, this can be used free account in perpetuity.

However, with Shopify, you are able to join without entering your payment info, but following the 14-day free trial offer ends, you’ll have to select from between three compensated plans. Basically, Wix is perfect for the hobbyist and also the casual blogger in addition to serious online sellers, whereas Shopify is about supplying an eCommerce platform—everything else is of secondary importance.

With Wix, you receive the next with a forex account:

  • Full Use of Wix’s Design and Editing Platform
  • 500 MB Storage
  • Limitless Pages
  • Free Hosting
  • Free Wix Domain — your URL is going to be [your Wix user name][your website name]
  • Wix Brand Ads

If you would like more from Wix, you’ll need to spring for just one of Wix’s five compensated plans:

Connect Domain Plan

  • $5.00/month (annual plan)
  • $4.00/month (2-year plan)
  • $3.50/month (3-year plan)
  • $7.00/month (monthly plan)
  • 500 MB Storage
  • 1 GB Bandwidth
  • Connect Your Domain (rather of “”)
  • Free Hosting
  • Google Analytics
  • Premium Support

Combo Plan

  • $10.00/month (annual plan)
  • $9.00/month (2-year plan)
  • $8.50/month (3-year plan)
  • $14.00/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • Free Domain (for just one year)
  • 3 GB Storage
  • 2 GB Bandwidth
  • Removes Wix Ads

Limitless Plan

  • $14.00/month (annual plan)
  • $11.00/month (2-year plan)
  • $10.00/month (3-year plan)
  • $16.00/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • 10 GB Storage
  • Limitless Bandwidth
  • Site Booster Application (annual plan only)
  • Form Builder Application (annual plan only)
  • $300 Ad Vouchers (annual plan only)

eCommerce Plan

  • $17.00/month (annual plan)
  • $15.00/month (2-year plan)
  • $14.00/month (3-year plan)
  • $20.00/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • 20 GB Storage
  • 20 GB Bandwidth
  • Online Shop

Very important personel Plan

  • $25.00/month (annual plan)
  • $22.00/month (2-year plan)
  • $20.50/month (3-year plan)
  • $30.00/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • 20 GB Storage
  • Limitless Bandwidth
  • Exclusive Very important personel Support Line – Priority Callback
  • Instant Response
  • Professional Site Review

Observe that while Combo-level plans and above incorporate a free personalized domain for just one year, you’ll need to pay to resume it beyond that — the typical rates are around $10 each year. If you would like your personal personalized email that suits your domain, Wix offers that (through G Suite) for $4.08 monthly. In addition, Wix has over 200 feature add-ons obtainable in the Wix Application Market, quite a few these apps are premium services and wish their very own compensated subscription.

Shopify, by comparison, has three primary subscription packages to select from:

Fundamental Shopify

  • $26/month (annual plan)
  • $23.25/month (2-year plan)
  • $21.75/month (3-year plan)
  • $29/month (monthly plan)
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify Payments: 2.9% + 30¢
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify POS: 2.7% + 0¢
  • Transaction Charges for Shopify Payments: None
  • Transaction Charges for Exterior Payment Gateways: 2%
  • 2 Staff Accounts
  • Limitless Products
  • Limitless File Storage
  • Shopify POS Retail Package: yet another $49/month
  • Shopify Shipping Discount: “Good”
  • Print Shipping Labels
  • 24/7 Support
  • Fraud Analysis
  • Manual Order Creation
  • Discounts
  • Website and Blog
  • Free SSL Certificate


  • $71/month (annual plan)
  • $63.25/month (2-year plan)
  • $59.25/month (3-year plan)
  • $79/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify Payments: 2.6% + 30¢
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify POS: 2.5% + 0¢
  • Transaction Charges for Shopify Payments: None
  • Transaction Charges for Exterior Payment Gateways: 1%
  • 5 Staff Accounts
  • Shopify Shipping Discount: “Better”
  • Gift Certificates
  • Professional Reports
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery

Advanced Shopify

  • $266/month (annual plan)
  • $235/month (2-year plan)
  • $219/month (3-year plan)
  • $299/month (monthly plan)
  • The suggestions above PLUS:
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify Payments: 2.4% + 30¢
  • Charge Card Rate for Shopify POS: 2.4% + 0¢
  • Transaction Charges for Shopify Payments: None
  • Transaction Charges for Exterior Payment Gateways: .5%
  • 15 Staff Accounts
  • Advanced Report Builder
  • 3rd Party Calculated Shipping Rates

Shopify, like Wix, sells custom domains. Shopify’s domains cost $14/year for any .com and a little more for other domain types. Shopify also offers an application store of their own, featuring more than a 1000 feature add-ons, both free and never-free.

Furthermore, Shopify provides a service known as Shopify Lite just for $9/month. However, this plan of action doesn’t range from the online shop, that is, in the end, what many people consider once they consider Shopify. It will permit you to sell products in your social networking accounts, another website, or personally (presuming you receive Shopify POS for $49/month). Lastly, for businesses which make over $a million in sales each year, there’s Shopify Plus. It’s packed with advanced features, but you need to contact Shopify to even obtain a cost estimate, which means you know it’s just for the greatest outfits.

Having a free plan available along with a cheap $5/month plan since it’s opening compensated subscription, Wix is clearly the cheaper of these two platforms. Plus, Wix’s least expensive eCommerce-enabled plan’s $17/month when compared with $26/month for Shopify (annual plan prices), therefore if cost is an essential factor for you personally, Wix may be the champion. Obviously, you need to consider what you’re really getting for the money, and Shopify’s advanced eCommerce system might provide you with more bang for your buck.

Simplicity Of Use

Wix and Shopify both try to be as accessible as you possibly can, and both largely deliver. We’ll begin with Wix. The conventional editor combines simplicity of use with nearly infinite versatility. All of the tools you have to add features to your website can be found via buttons across the left from the editor. When you wish to include something, you simply choose the element, click on the Add button, and drag it wherever you would like it. It’s as easy as that. Many website builders restrict where you’re in a position to place elements, forcing you to definitely stack your elements like blocks and restricting you against placing things more precisely. Wix enables you to place anything anywhere (though if you want assist with precision placement, Wix provides options like “Snap to Objects” that will help you.

This method to website building means you need to be conscious of methods things can look on cellular devices, and that’s why the editor has dotted lines that demarcate the boundaries of the smartphone screen.


If you’d rather not need to invest in this degree of fine-tuning, Wix comes with an even simpler website building model for you personally: Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). When you begin building your Wix website, you’re given a choice of using either Wix’s standard editor or Wix ADI. Pick the latter, and you will be motivated to point the objective of your site and also the features you would like incorporated (a web-based store, your blog, etc). For those who have a current online presence, Wix ADI will pull your articles on the internet to include to your site. You’ll then be given some design/color/font options. When you make these choices, voilà! An internet site is going to be produced for you personally! After that, you are able to direct the AI to create specific changes aimed at your website for you personally, or it can be done yourself, utilizing a simplified form of the Wix editor which fits similar to the “arranging content blocks” model I pointed out earlier. It makes sense an editor that provides you less freedom but that makes it even simpler that you should create a beautiful website. Wix enables you to pick the editing model that works well with your purposes. Should you need assistance, 78 tutorial videos walk you thru pretty much every part of the website building process.

Shopify can also be one that is functional by almost anyone. You’ll begin within the dashboard in which you have quick access to every facet of your eCommerce site. In the links around the left from the dashboard, you will see and manage your orders, add products, see the details and buy good reputation for your clients, view site analytics, generate discounts, add apps in the Shopify Application Store, and make additional sales channels so that you can sell your product or service on Amazon . com, Facebook, Buzzfeed, and much more.


So far as customizing the feel of your eCommerce site goes, you are able to download a totally free theme (something like a Wix template), purchase a premium theme in the Shopify Theme Store, and edit your present theme. It ought to be noted that, naturally, Shopify has numerous more eCommerce-specific styles than does Wix.

When you attend edit your theme, you’ll discover that your articles — products, images, slideshows, and so on — is arranged in stacks that you could reorder when needed, much like Wix ADI. Creating, rearranging, and editing your articles is easy.You need to haven’t much problem creating a beautiful online shop using the Shopify editor.

A couple of facets of the editor aren’t as seamless, however. For instance, after i attempted to include a roadmap from Google Maps to my Shopify store, I had been forwarded to acquire and enter a Google Maps API key, which is an inconvenience. With Wix, you simply set the address you would like the map to focus on and add it. Overall, though, they are two very user-friendly platforms, so that your decision about who to choose most likely won’t hinge on simplicity of use.


Both Wix and Shopify provide an impressive variety of features. Since Wix is really a general-purpose website builder, it naturally includes a broader number of available features than does Shopify. Wix provides you with a high-notch blogging tool, photos from Bigstock, many social networking integrations, a forum feature that allows you to setup your personal membership-based network, an excellent form builder, and far, a lot more. Wix’s eCommerce system has enough features to fill a quite sizable page online, including order tracking, inventory management, worldwide shipping and tax rates, coupons, pop-up marketing sales tools, invoicing and accounting — other great tales. Actually, you may also produce a Shopify store and plop it on your Wix site!

Additionally for their standard online shop, Wix has some good feature packages tailored to a particular industries. There’s Wix Restaurants, an element set together with a menu element, a table reservation system, along with a full online ordering system which assists both pickup and delivery. There’s Wix Hotels, with a full reservation management system, multilingual booking for worldwide visitors, along with a feature that will get your website for auction on TripAdvisor. There’s Wix Music, which is a perfect tool for bands to setup digital distribution of the music. In addition, there’s Wix Occasions, a bundle that provides you all you need to manage and monetize a celebration. Truly, there’s little that Wix can’t do.

While Shopify is, obviously, centered on eCommerce, there is a great blogging tool too — a terrific way to showcase what you need to offer. It’s no afterthought, either. You may also do such things as schedule posts ahead of time and add tags. There’s also image galleries along with a e-newsletter signup form. The majority of Shopify’s features, however, are based on the internet store! Shocking, I understand.

Listing all Shopify’s online shop features will make this short article pretty ungainly, so I’ll list the highlights for you personally. You receive automatic shipping rates, abandoned cart recovery, as well as an automatic tax calculator that considers your location and also the location of the customers. Unlike Wix, Shopify lets your clients setup their very own accounts together with your store (though it doesn’t pressure these to create accounts) to create future transactions simpler and to provide you with valuable data relating to your customers’ shopping habits. You will find fulfillment center options and dropshipping apps, together with social networking integration, product variations, and digital revenue. Basically, if you are establishing a web-based store, there isn’t any contest: Shopify may be the platform for you personally. However, Wix includes a better attract certain industries, like restaurants and property management.

Integrations and Add-Ons

Both Wix and Shopify have extensive repositories of third-party integrations prepared to be connected to your website. The Wix Application Market has 248 apps to select from, both free and premium. These apps vary wildly from live chat apps, business tools, form builders, marketing tools, video players, booking apps, eCommerce apps — choose a feature, and you’ll likely find multiple options in Wix’s Application Market.

To not be surpassed, Shopify’s Application Store has more than one 1000 apps prepared. Marketing, sales, shipping, accounting, social networking — if it is eCommerce-related, you’ll probably think it is within the Shopify Application Store. Shopify even has product sourcing apps in situation it’s not necessary almost anything to sell and therefore are searching to market the other party’s products!

One key Shopify integration you may remember in the prices section is by using Shopify POS, something that allows you to accept charge cards to create sales wherever there is a purchase to make. It integrates seamlessly together with your Shopify store and it is an excellent tool in case your store has both a web-based along with a meatspace component. Wix, however, doesn’t have POS system of their own. You are able to integrate your Wix store with Square POS, only on iOS devices and just in a few locations. Advantage: Shopify.

Payment Processing

Shopify has significantly more payment processing options than does Wix, offering over 100 to Wix’s 15. However, with platforms, you’ll only have the ability to use a few of the available payment options, as the majority of options are location-specific (certain payment gateways are just obtainable in many places). One awesome factor about Shopify is they their very own in-house payment gateway: Shopify Payments. Make use of this, and Shopify won’t charge any transaction charges. Use another payment processor, however, and they’ll (the speed depends upon your subscription level). Wix, by comparison, charges no transaction charges, regardless of what payment processor you utilize.

Observe that both Wix and Shopify allow you to accept offline payments too.

Customer Support and Tech Support Team

Wix includes a telephone number for direct support, available Monday-Friday from 6 am to five pm PST. They likewise have an assistance ticket system along with a healthy assortment of FAQs and support articles within their help center, but, alas, no live chat.

Shopify’s customer care is much more robust, with 24/7 phone, email, and live chat, together with many support articles. Again, advantage: Shopify.

Negative Reviews and Complaints

Wix and Shopify have a massive quantity of users, and together with which comes a higher amount of complaints, as you may notice in the comments published to the reviews of these two platforms. Wix will get lots of stick for poor customer support, slow/buggy sites, and unpredicted billing charges. Others have complained that Wix sites aren’t mobile-responsive — that’s, it normally won’t adjust instantly to suit the screen of the device.

Shopify also sees lots of complaints regarding customer support, and also the transaction charges (billed whenever a payment processor apart from Shopify Payments can be used) are very unpopular. Others have complained that Shopify doesn’t adhere to the legal needs in a few countries where they nevertheless sell their product. And others have experienced security problems. Overall, these issues have introduced lower the Trustpilot scores of these two companies — Wix’s Trustpilot score presently is 4.1 while Shopify’s Trustpilot score is 3.4.

Positive Testimonials and reviews

Wix and Shopify have ample fans too. Many users rave about the caliber of Wix like a design tool, while some really praise the oft-belittled customer support. Shopify users love the simple intuitiveness from the platform, along with the well-designed templates. Suffice to state, there’s no popular consensus regarding Wix or Shopify!

Final Ideas

You’ll observe that in many of these groups, I haven’t announced a champion. That’s since these two platforms don’t entirely share exactly the same audience, though there’s certainly a large amount of overlap. What it really comes lower to is that this: if you are building a web-based store, or you possess a physical store by having an online component (or the other way around!), Shopify is what you want. Shopify handles eCommerce unlike any other. However, if you are creating a website with no online shop, or maybe you’re intending to sell restaurant orders, hotel reservations, or music online, Wix is the greatest option. The treatment depends on which your plans are for your own personel particular slice of cyber-territory.

Thankfully, both platforms can be used as free on the trial basis, so that you can explore without risk. Go on and try them! That old world is dead, and it is not returning. Embrace the ” new world ” before it slips your grasp! (The ” new world ” is very slippery, careful.)

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