Bank of Cardiff Review

Lender Overview

Types of loans
  • Working capital
  • Equipment loans and leasing
  • Line of credit
  • Merchant cash advance (MCA)
  • Accounts receivable financing
Loan amounts
$5,000 to $500,000
Terms of payment
  • 3 to 18 months for working capital
  • 2 to 5 years for equipment financing
Pros
  • Flexible early payoff options, including 30 days interest-free
  • Multiple funding options
  • Works with businesses of all sizes
  • Will fund businesses with low credit scores
  • Can provide funding in 24 to 48 hours
Cons
  • Some loans have fees
  • Information on rates and terms is hard to find

Who should seek funding from Bank of Cardiff?

Small and large businesses with a wide range of funding needs may find a viable alternative to traditional loans from Bank of Cardiff. This lender is willing to work with companies with less-than-perfect credit scores and can offer a variety of options for merchants in need of quick funding for time-sensitive projects or investments.

Company Profile

Cardiff is an alternative lender based in San Diego, California with a regional office in Orange County. This small company is in the business of providing a diverse range of “industry-specific” funding options to businesses in need of cash for working capital, equipment upgrades and growth opportunities. Billing itself as “non-traditional,” Bank of Cardiff reaches into markets not covered by most alternative lenders, going beyond MCAs to provide small and large business loans, lines of credit, accounts receivable financing and more.

A focus on growth for its customers is the guiding principle at Bank of Cardiff, but the content of its website and social media profiles doesn’t clarify how the lender achieves this goal. Although the website contains a great deal of information, much of it is repetitive and doesn’t provide straightforward details for merchants in need of loans. This requires potential customers to contact the company or submit an application to discover their loan options.

The inclusion of a fraud alert policy and information on how to prevent fraud indicates Bank of Cardiff prioritizes the security of its customers. Few alternative lenders have such policies on their websites despite statistics showing 25 percent of lending fraud in digital markets results from fake accounts.

Credit Policy

Bank of Cardiff accepts applications from businesses with:

  • A minimum FICO score of 550
  • One or more years of time in operation for working capital, startups can qualify for equipment financing
  • A reasoable amount of negative ending days (NEDs) in the last six months

By making funding available to merchants with less-than-stellar credit and allowing a generous number of NEDs, this lender serves as an alternative to the stringent requirements of banks. It also opens the door for companies to receive the funding they need to grow and succeed if they’re rejected by other “fast-cash” lenders.

Exceptions

Companies not meeting the Bank of Cardiff qualification requirements can still approach the lender for funding if a clear plan for the use of the money is presented. The lender is willing to be flexible with businesses exhibiting focus and vision and may waive or adjust the requirements to provide cash to fund specific projects or needs.

Target Market

Like many lenders in the alternative funding market, Bank of Cardiff caters to businesses dependent upon fluctuating sales cycles or shifting client bases for the bulk of their profits. These include:

  • Retail stores
  • Restaurants
  • Medical offices
  • Dental establishments
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Trucking

All of these businesses have times of year when sales or appointments are more numerous than others, and many experience slow periods during which little money comes in. Even merchants with high customer volume and frequent turnover of products may sometimes require a quick source of funding. When they do, Bank of Cardiff has multiple options to address diverse business needs.

Cautionary Industries

Not every merchant can apply for the financial products offered by Bank of Cardiff. Certain industries are considered too high-risk, and most alternative lenders opt not to extend funding. The following industries are excluded from applying to Bank of Cardiff:

  • Automotive dealers
  • Financial services
  • Law firms
  • Non-profits

Term Length

The terms of 3 to 18 months offered on Bank of Cardiff loans are fairly standard in the alternative lending industry. Merchants seeking “fast-cash” options like MCAs are often not in a position to secure traditional loans with longer terms. However, short terms can carry high risks for companies with unpredictable cash flows or existing debt. Even a small loan can require several hundred dollars per week in payments, an amount some businesses may not be able to spare when sales are slow. A more favorable business profile may qualify a merchant for longer terms, but it’s still important to review the required payment schedule before committing to a loan offer.

Equipment financing offers new and established business terms from 2 to 5 years.

What’s Required to Apply

When applying for funding from Bank of Cardiff, merchants should be prepared to provide 6 months of their most recent bank statements and the most recent tax return. Applications must be dated within the past 30 days to be considered.

The application process begins online and requires four short pages of details about both the business and the individual submitting the form. Applicants must provide:

  • Business name
  • Entity type
  • Years in business
  • Business contact information
  • Tax ID
  • Previous year’s sales numbers
  • Number of owners
  • Ownership of business location
  • Personal information and contact details
  • Percent of ownership
  • Job title within the company
  • Type of loan requested
  • How the money will be used
  • Current credit card processor
  • Monthly card sales volume
  • Current and past loan status

Signatures are collected electronically at the end of the application. More than one business owner may provide information and sign to complete the process.

No information is provided on how long a merchant can expect to wait to hear back from Bank of Cardiff. Certain loan products, such as working capital loans and MCAs, may be funded in one to two days, but the time it takes for cash to appear in a company’s bank account usually depends on how quickly paperwork is submitted and whether the lender requires additional information before an offer can be approved.

Bank of Cardiff states it requests only “minimal documentation and financial disclosure” from merchants in order for them to qualify, and the lender looks at a company’s strategy and full business profile in addition to basic credit requirements. Some loans need to be secured with collateral depending on the type and financial health of the business.

Rates

Rates for Bank of Cardiff loans start at 1.17, but actual rate information is difficult to find on the lender’s website. Rates are often described as “highly competitive” without any actual rate information being provided. Several mentions of competitive service prices suggest Bank of Cardiff seeks to position itself as a more affordable solution to immediate funding needs than other alternative lenders.

Reviews of the company suggest fees can climb significantly for merchants not qualifying for the starting rates. Many previous customers cite high rates as a reason for their dissatisfaction, which is why any company applying for an alternative loan must review the terms and rates carefully before accepting an offer.

At a factor rate of 1.17, a $50,000 loan becomes $58,500. Adding in other fees charged by the lender, the final cost of the loan tops $60,000. At 12-month terms, this amounts to $1,250 per week in loan payments, a significant amount for small businesses that already may be facing financial difficulties. To ensure no payments are missed, merchants must have a clear plan for paying back the full amount of the loan and all related fees.

Stacking

Merchants carrying existing loans or liens are often rejected by alternative lenders whose policies require first-position status on all loans. Bank of Cardiff is willing to take second position and accept merchants with one existing financial obligation to another lender or institution.

This can be beneficial or detrimental to a business depending on its financial strength. Companies with loans or lines of credit in place with other lenders may need financing, such as equipment leasing, their existing providers don’t offer and could miss out on the opportunity to upgrade and get ahead of the competition if they can’t obtain additional funding. In such a case, a loan from Bank of Cardiff could improve business operations and lead to financial growth in the long term.

However, companies in the practice of stacking loans simply to obtain additional working capital may sink themselves into bankruptcy as payment obligations pile up and more loans are needed just to stay afloat.

Documentation Fees

Bank of Cardiff transfers loan funds via an ACH and charges $395 for this service.

Origination Fees

Merchants obtaining funding from Bank of Cardiff usually pay a 1-3 percent origination fee. On a $100,000 loan, this amounts to $1,000 to $3,000 and must be paid in addition to factor rates and documentation fees.

Renewal Policy

It’s often the policy of alternative lenders to require a specific percentage of an initial loan to be paid off before considering renewal. Bank of Cardiff, however, touts a commitment to business growth as one of its values and is flexible with renewal and add-on options. Rather than considering a fixed amount paid back as a benchmark, the lender bases renewal decisions on the percentage of the approval taken on the first transaction and seeks to assist merchants with their changing financial needs.

Interest Forgiveness

Sometimes it’s possible to pay a loan off early if business picks up. Bank of Cardiff offers a 30 day interest-free early payoff option on approved credit. Other payoff options are also available. Merchants who do not qualify for early payoff options must pay the full amount of the loan and all fees regardless of whether or not they can pay the loan back before the end of the terms.

Loan Use

Bank of Cardiff provides merchants with the flexibility to choose a loan type that’s suited to their needs, financial situation and stage of growth. As long as the money is put toward business expenses, the lender places no restrictions on how merchants spend their funding.

Equipment loans and leases may be used to purchase any type of machinery or technology, allowing businesses in industries like manufacturing and food service to improve their products and offer a better customer experience. Lines of credit and MCAs are often used to bridge gaps in cash flow, and working capital loans can be put toward improvements, renovations, expansions or customer acquisition tactics. When seasonal changes in business require more staff or large inventory purchases in anticipation of sales, a loan from Bank of Cardiff can ensure merchants have what they require in advance of rising demands.

Online Reputation

Bank of Cardiff has a solid online presence and maintains mostly positive ratings on several review platforms:

  • 4/5 BBB with an A+ rating
  • 4.6/5 Facebook
  • 4.9/5 Google
  • 3.5/5 Yelp

Satisfied merchants praise the lender for its easy application process, fast approval and quick delivery of funds. When traditional funding isn’t a viable option or deadlines for cash requirements are tight, these merchants say Bank of Cardiff’s helpful, polite staff make it easy to get a loan.

Several recurring complaints are found in negative reviews, including:

  • High fees and rates
  • Incorrect or dishonest information about rates

Aside from the BBB website, Bank of Cardiff doesn’t appear to be responsive to customer complaints or praise. Few answers or dispute resolutions have been posted at the time of this writing.

Licenses & Accreditations

Bank of Cardiff has been BBB accredited since 2015. This lender has not yet been reviewed by any high-profile financial websites. Their California Finance Lender License Number is 603-G469

Company Contacts Details

Phone number:

  • 888-244-9099

Email:

  • info@bankofcardiff.com

Key personnel:

  • William S. Stern, Managing Director
  • Dean G. Lyukin, Managing Director

Social media:

Theresa Houghton
About Theresa Houghton
Theresa "Sam" Houghton is a wellness consultant and freelance writer from Upstate NY. With more than half a decade of experience in the business world, Theresa understands the unique challenges small business owners face in highly competitive markets. Her experience with researching and writing positions her to provide solid advice and high-quality content on a variety of topics. When she's not writing or helping people get on track to better health, Theresa likes to read the Bible, play humorous card games and knit socks. You can learn more about Theresa's wellness consulting services at GreenGutWellness.com and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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