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Fundwise Capital Review

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Fundwise Capital Review

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Date Established
2013
Location
Provo, UT

Pros

  • No credit rating requirements
  • Good public reputation

Cons

  • Opaque terms and fees
  • Some additional fees

Overview

Fundwise Capital is a Utah-based financial service company that specializes in helping new businesses find funding. Fundwise does not directly lend to businesses. Instead, they’ll attempt to connect qualified customers with third-party funders.

Fundwise makes their money through a combination of fees charged to clients, fees charged to Fundwise partners, and their credit counseling program.

So is Fundwise a good deal?

That really depends on how good you, as an entrepreneur, are at digging up sources of funding on your own. Fundwise will probably be most useful for individuals with great credit who don’t have the time, connections, or experience necessary to access financial resources. For those folks, Fundwise is an unusual but helpful service.

Note: You should approach the world of alternative funding with caution; the rates are often usurious and the terms can be punishing for the unprepared or unlucky. You should always make sure you’ve exhausted other potential sources of funding first (take a look at our handy short-term funding comparison chart to make sure).

Services Offered

Fundwise offers the following types of business funding through their partners:

Borrower Qualifications

Fundwise has only one major line in the sand for borrowing qualifications, and that’s a strong credit rating:

Time in business:None
Credit score:680
Revenue:N/A*

*Your personal income is taken into account.

Terms and Fees

Lines of Credit

Here’s what you can expect from a line of credit through Fundwise:

Credit limit:$25K – $300K
Term length:6 -18 months
Interest:0% for 9 – 15 months, 1% – 2%/month after
Origination fee:$500 + 9% approval fee
APR: 0% for 12 months
Collateral:N/A

Fundwise’s lines of credit come in both personal and business forms. Which one you get will likely depend on whether or not your business currently exists or if it’s been around long enough to have the necessary records.

A line of credit is an agreement by a funder to lend a business or individual a certain a set amount of money, called your credit limit. Unlike most other loans, you don’t receive this money as a lump sum. Instead, you can draw upon this money at will, in whatever increments you want, so long as the total amount you’ve borrowed doesn’t exceed your credit limit. You only need to make payments on the money that you use. Fundwise can connect businesses to both revolving and non-revolving lines of credit. In the case of revolving lines of credit, payments you make on your balance free up that credit to be used again, similar to a credit card.

Fundwise’s lines of credit offer some additional perks that are appealing to new businesses, namely a year-or-so of 0% interest. There are no restrictions on what you can use the money for. Fundwise’s lines of credit are unsecured, meaning they don’t require collateral.

Installment Loans

Fundwise can also connect you with installment loans, though they offer less information about the terms.

Borrowing amount:$25K – $300K
Term length:3 – 7 years
Interest:0% -15% on first 9 – 15 months
Origination fee:$500 + 9% approval fee
APR: 6% – 23%
Collateral:N/A

Installment loans, sometimes called “term loans” or “medium-term” or “long-term” loans are the archetypical loan product. They last for several years or longer, accumulate interest over time, and are paid monthly.

Fundwise sweetens the pot for startups by negotiating a lower initial interest rate for their clients. In the best case scenario, this can mean 0% interest for up to two years, which can add up to enormous savings.

Like their lines of credit, Fundwise’s installment loans are unsecured, meaning they don’t require collateral.

Business Credit Cards

Fundwise can also help you get a business credit card.

Credit cards aren’t necessarily the best way to finance early business expenses–if your balance sits on your card, it will quickly become more expensive than all but the most predatory short-term loans. That said, business credit cards can be an excellent way to finance short-term expenses that you can pay off quickly.

How quickly? Most business credit cards will extend a grace period of at least 21 days. If you pay off your credit card in full within that time frame, you won’t have to pay any financing charges at all. In fact, if you’re very strategic with your business credit card, you can actually save money by accumulating points through your credit card’s rewards program. Note that the grace periods generally don’t apply to cash advances, so avoid those unless absolutely necessary.

Keep in mind that most business credit cards have annual fees, so you’ll want to factor that into your math, though many issuers will waive the first year’s fee. Business credit card APRs typically fall between 15% and 26%, with some outliers a percentage point or two higher or lower. The cards offered through Fundwise come with a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balances transfers. You can view participating credit cards through Fundwise’s website.

Application Process

The application process begins online. It goes without saying that your credit rating will be an important factor for any financial product you apply for, though how much it matters will vary. For Fundwise, your credit rating is everything. In fact, they’ll require you to open a credit monitoring account and ask for the results of your own personal credit inquiry. That might sound a little weird, but it works around having to do a hard pull on your credit. You may also be asked for proof of income.

If you qualify for funding, you’ll usually receive your cash (or access to your line of credit) within one to two weeks.

Sales & Advertising Transparency

Fundwise doesn’t disclose too much information on their website beyond some basic information about what they offer, as well as a lot of “best case scenarios.” Considering how niche their service is, they’d do well to divulge more information upfront.

That said, they do provide enough information to get a general sense of the products they can link you with.

Customer Service & Technical Support

Fundwise can be reached through their website–there’s a chat client in the lower right corner, by email, by phone, or through social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube).

Though it’s not exactly customer service, Fundwise offers a paid credit counseling service called Fundwise Optimize that can help businesses qualify for more funding.

Customer reviews of customer service are generally positive.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

Fundwise isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but they currently rate an A+ with the watchdog company. Currently, there are 10 complaints on record, all of them closed within the last three years. Here are some of the complaints:

  • Advertising Issues: Many of the complaints revolve around customers believing, or being told, that they would qualify for more funding than they actually were.
  • Difficult To Qualify: With the high credit requirements, many prospective business owners simply won’t qualify. And the ones who do could probably get an SBA loan.
  • Lack Of Transparency: Related to the advertising issues, some customers appear to have been lured by the promise of funding only to be hit with sales pressure to enroll in the Fundwise Optimize program to improve their chances.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

Response to Fundwise has largely been positive. The company currently rates 8.8 out of 10 on Trustpilot, with 130 reviews. Here are some of the things Fundwise customers liked about their experience:

  • Low Impact On Credit: Though their method of checking your credit is unusual, Fundwise avoids doing any hard pulls of your credit.
  • Fast: For the type of lending they can connect customers to, Fundwise is pretty fast.
  • Customer Service: Many customers felt the assistance they received from Fundwise staff was helpful, and that staff were knowledgeable and available.

Final Verdict

It’s hard to gauge Fundwise against competitors since there aren’t tons of companies doing exactly what they do. The question is whether using their service will help you access more and better funding than you could on your own.

So can it?

For new entrepreneurs with good credit, Fundwise can make a significant impact, especially if you qualify for zero interest during your first year. The fact that the funding is all unsecured, too, can be a difference-maker for individuals who don’t have significant assets to use as collateral. The 7-to-14 day turnaround is also very respectable for startup funding.

There are a few points of caution, however. If you don’t want to sign up for a credit monitoring service, or if you aren’t prepared for their fees, you could easily find yourself in over your head. Also beware of being upsold on credit counseling, unless it’s something you think would be beneficial for you.

Prefer to avoid the middleman? Check out how to apply for an SBA startup loan or a startup grant. If you have a few months of business under your belt, you could qualify for a small business loan. We can also help guide you through the world of business credit cards.

Chris Motola

Chris Motola

Finance Writer at Merchant Maverick
Chris Motola is a writer, programmer, game designer, and product of NY. These days he's mostly writing about financial products, but in a past life he wrote about health care and business. He's a graduate of the University of Central Florida.
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