When it comes to running a small business, it’s important to have the ability to cash flow your operations. After all, if you’re waiting on your outstanding invoices to get paid by a big vendor in order to pay your employees or manage an important upgrade. At the same time, if you’re just looking to get started as an entrepreneur, you likely have a long list of business banking needs, whether that’s opening a business checking account or securing necessary lines of credit to fund new product development, or purchase a retail space.
As a platform for addressing many of these business financing needs, BlueVine offers business owners a variety of services in the financial tech sector. Learn more about how it aims to help small business owners below — as well as the pros and cons of opening up a BlueVine account and how it stacks up against the competition.
Dedicated banking for small businesses with features like
BlueVine was started in California in 2013 by Eyal Lifshitz, Nir Klar, and Moti Shatner as a way to provide online banking services and financing options to small businesses, startups, and even mid-sized companies.
Invoicing fools, especially invoice factoring, are also a major service provided by BlueVine, as one of the founders was inspired to start the financial tech company after seeing how a relative’s physical therapy company struggled to maintain an adequate cash flow waiting for insurers to fulfill unpaid invoices.
One of BlueVine’s major goals as a company is to simplify how small business owners use and take advantage of services associated with their bank account. Unlike traditional banks, BlueVine business accounts and services are offered completely online.
Since 2016, BlueVine has raised an impressive amount from venture capitalists and other rounds of funding, making it a hot company in the fintech space. It is worth noting, however, that its business model has shifted a bit since 2020 to facilitating loans as part of the Paycheck Protection Program in response to the coronavirus pandemic. To date, it has offered loans to over 150,000 struggling small business owners.
warning: Due to the pandemic, much of BlueVine’s services are suspended instead of offering small business owners Payroll Protection Program Loans; however, post-COVID, you should be able to take advantage of all of their services.
How does BlueVine work?
Thanks to a simple online form, getting started with BlueVine is relatively straightforward. You’ll start by heading to its website and clicking on a button that says “Get Started.” From there, you’ll choose between opening a business checking account or applying for small business loans through its Paycheck Protection Program.
Opening a business checking account with BlueVine
If you choose to open a business checking account, the process is quite quick. You’ll start by filling in some information about your account, including your first and last name, mobile phone number, and email address. You’ll also create a user password and agree to BlueVine’s Registration Terms.
After you’ve completed that step, it’s time to fill out some information about your business itself. Some of the business details you’re required to include in the account creation process include your business name and address, as well as your trade name if applicable. You’re also required to include details about the industry you work in, what sort of business entity you’ve formed under, and your annual business income.
The final piece of information to include is your Employer Identification Number or Social Security Number, which helps BlueVine not only verify your identity but also speed up the application process. All said you can complete your business checking application with BlueVine in just a few minutes.
Applying for BlueVine’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
When you use BlueVine to apply for business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, you have the chance to receive a few different benefits. For starters, if you already have an existing business bank account through BlueVine, the application is much simpler. However, even if you’re applying for business financing as a first-time BlueVine customer, you still can reap the benefits of things like double your payroll costs and deferral for up to ten months.
When you apply for a PPP loan through BlueVine, you’ll need to fill out some personal information to create your accounts, such as your first and last name, email address, phone number, and password. You’ll also be required to disclose whether or not you’ve already received a PPP loan from another source.
Once you’ve started your account, you’ll need to share some information about your business, such as its existing financing, annual income, business name, and address. Providing your EIN or SSN will expedite the application process, and if you upload additional documents such as your 1040 Schedule C, payroll documents, and financial statements starting from February 2020, you’ll increase your chances of your application being automatically approved much faster.
It’s also worth noting that there are some questions you’ll need to answer in order to determine eligibility for support under the PPP. These questions range from things like “Have you received a Shuttered Venue Operation Grant from the SBA?” to “Is your business a government-owned hospital?” Several of the questions also concern whether or not your business engages in illegal activity or receives money from illegal sources.
All in all, applying for PPP funding through BlueVine is a bit more involved than setting up a business checking account; however, its online form makes the process quite easy to understand compared to some other government sites.
How much does BlueVine cost?
Checking account fees
BlueVine’s checking accounts come with zero monthly fees, making it an attractive option for any business owner who doesn’t want to waste money on banking fees. Additionally, unlike some other online banking options, BlueVine doesn’t charge any wire fees on incoming wire transfers or Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments, although you will pay a $15 wire transfer fee on outgoing transfers. BlueVine even offers fee-free ATMs at over 38,000 locations through a partnership with Money Pass at any Green Dot location.
Business line of credit fees
When it comes to the cost associated with opening a business line of credit through BlueVine, interest rates and credit limits will vary based on your credit score. Interest rates start as low as 4.8%, and BlueVine won’t charge you prepayment fees, maintenance fees, or fees if you choose to close your account.
Invoice factoring fees
Invoice factoring lets you leverage unpaid invoices to access more working capital for your business. BlueVine’s invoice factoring rates start as low as 0.25% per week, so you don’t wind up losing much money in the process of paying interest, unlike other term loans or small business loans.
important: Currently, much of BlueVine’s services are suspended instead of offering small business owners Payroll Protection Program Loans; however, post-COVID, you should be able to take advantage of all of their services.
BlueVine offers several different services that small business owners will appreciate as it looks to improve its company’s cash flow and strengthen the longevity of its business. Here’s a quick overview of some of BlueVine’s best features.
As has been mentioned elsewhere in this review, BlueVine’s invoice factoring is a key component of the services it offers. BlueVine can generally offer approval on invoice factoring in under one business day, making it an excellent way to get access to a larger credit limit by leveraging outstanding invoices if your available credit is otherwise tied up.
Applying for invoice factoring online is simple and only takes a few minutes. After your application has been approved, you can submit invoices and receive 80% to 90% of the value of that invoice as an advance. Once your vendor has fulfilled their personal guarantee and repaid the invoice, you’ll get the remainder of the value, minus BlueVine’s fee.
Integration with popular accounting software
One major benefit of using BlueVine for invoice factoring is that it integrates with the accounting software you already use. By integrating with a platform like Quickbooks, you can automatically synchronize your invoice factoring, while still having control over which invoices you do and don’t want to tap for a little extra working capital.
Robust business checking
BlueVine goes beyond what other online business checking accounts may offer by being upfront and transparent about its fees from the get-go. BlueVine offers live customer support dedicated to its services, no monthly fees, and the ability to earn up to 1% APY on your bank account balance up to $100,000.
With a BlueVine business checking account, you’ll get a business debit card to use wherever you go, and have the opportunity to access ATMs for cash deposits or withdrawals at over 30,000 different locations thanks to a partnership with Money Pass and Green Dot. You don’t even have to maintain a minimum balance and will get two free checkbooks included when you open your free account.
Lines of credit
BlueVine offers lines of credit—called Flex6 or Flex12—for 6 months or 12 months, depending on what you qualify for. The most you can qualify for is a credit limit of $250,000 in either case, and APR can range from 15% to 78%, meaning that if you don’t have excellent credit already, you may be paying a lot in interest. Even so, the fact that you can repay early with no penalties and may only wind up paying 0.3% in interest a week with good credit on a Flex6 credit line makes BlueVine an attractive option if you already use them for other business purposes.
With easy-to-use online tools and a simple, fee-free setup process, small business owners can reap a lot of benefits from opening up a BlueVine account. BlueVine’s business checking accounts are FDIC insured and BlueVine has been recognized by the Better Business Bureau as well as customer reviews on TrustPilot as having dozens of features that make small business owners’ lives easier. Especially with BlueVine’s pivot to providing Paycheck Protection Program loans during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that its values as a company are focused on helping small business owners thrive.
Companies that rely on invoices
If you’re a business that relies on vendors paying their invoices on time in order to cashflow your operations, BlueVine’s invoice factoring services are also going to be a major boon for you and your company. Invoice factoring allows you to access up to 90% of an invoice before it’s paid for a nominal fee, so if you have one or two clients who are regularly late with their payments, it might be worth looking into invoice factoring through BlueVine to smooth out your income.
Who shouldn’t use BlueVine?
While BlueVine’s business banking services are great for many industries, there are two sectors of business that aren’t eligible to take advantage of any of BlueVine’s services. If you run a non-profit organization or are in the financial tech space yourself, you’re unfortunately unable to use BlueVine’s platforms and services.
Businesses that aren’t U.S.-based
If you’re not located and operating your business in the United States, you won’t be able to qualify for BlueVine’s invoice factoring services. Additionally, if you’re currently located in Vermont, North Dakota, or South Dakota you won’t be able to qualify for any lines of credit from BlueVine; however, you’ll be able to use its business checking and invoice factoring.
Pros & cons
Easy to get started. Setting up an account with BlueVine is fast and simple. Plus, its user interfaces within its banking platform and invoice factoring are clean and straightforward.
Multiple services from one company. BlueVine offers funding, invoice factoring, and business checking all under one online roof. This means that you have one less vendor or platform to learn and deal with, simplifying your accounting workflow. Fast disbursement. Funds are generally available in under a business day, meaning that you can access your credit and other financing options fast. Especially in a world where small business owners must be increasingly agile, this is a major pro.
Interest rates can get high. Depending on your credit score, you may pay a pretty penny in interest for your funding. Especially on the higher end of interest rates you may be better off seeking financing from a different funding source.
No financing options for VT, ND, SD. If you currently own and operate your business in Vermont, North Dakota, or South Dakota, you’re out of luck when it comes to using BlueVine in your business’ workflow.
BlueVine vs. Kabbage vs. Fundbox
Max line of credit
Available in all 50 states
As a financing option for small businesses, Kabbage offers a similar credit limit to BlueVine at $250k. Kabbage is also available in all 50 states, unlike BlueVine. That being said, Kabbage doesn’t offer invoice factoring services.
FundBox offers invoice factoring services and lines of credit; however, the maximum lines of credit you can get through Fundbox are only $100k—which is considerably less than what BlueVine offers. Even so, if you don’t need business checking and want a financing option available in all 50 states, FundBox is worth considering.
Are BlueVine accounts FDIC insured?
Yes. BlueVine business checking accounts are insured up to at least $250,000 by the FDIC.
What qualifications must be met to use BlueVine’s invoice factoring?
There are a few different factors that BlueVine weighs when determining eligibility for invoice factoring services. For starters, your business has to have been operating for a minimum of three months. If you meet that qualification, you’ll also need to show that you have at least $10,000 worth of monthly income as well as a minimum credit score of at least 530.
Is invoice factoring similar to a loan?
No. A loan involves repayment terms and invoice factoring is a form of financial advance. Instead of paying your invoice directly, any vendor or client whose invoice has been subject to an advance through invoice factoring will instead pay you through your BlueVine account. As long as your invoice is paid on time, you won’t owe any extra fees beyond the percentage BlueVine takes as part of your advance.
The bottom line
If your small or mid-sized business is on the market for an online business baking solution, BlueVine is worth considering. Particularly if you use invoices or struggle to maintain cash flow, BlueVine’s mixture of business checking, lines of credit, and invoice factoring can provide a helpful solution to smooth out your monthly expenditures.
Having a separate debit card, checkbook, or credit card for your small business can make accounting much more straightforward, and online banking offers a lot of advantages thanks to lower costs and less overhead associated with operating an online bank. Especially as companies get more and more digital, the necessity of a physical banking branch you can visit is becoming less important.
Currently, much of BlueVine’s services are suspended in lieu of offering small business owners Payroll Protection Program Loans; however, post-COVID, you should be able to take advantage of all of their services. For now, it might be worth reaching out to its support to see if other services make sense for you in the short term, such as opening up a business banking account while you wait for other aspects of its platform to become available again.
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