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How to open a business bank account online – Forbes Advisor

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Editorial Note: Forbes Advisor may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but this does not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.

Small business owners are some of the busiest people in the world, so if you’re looking for a new professional banking relationship, you might want to save some time and open a business bank account online. Opening a business checking account online can help your business in several ways: by providing you with a safe place to keep your business income, by separating your personal and business finances, and by making it easier to track tax deductions. enterprises.

Don’t assume that you have to go to a physical bank branch to open a business bank account. It is more than ever possible to open a business checking account online.

Take a closer look at how to compare your options for online business bank accounts.

Benefits of a business current account

There are several reasons why you should open a business checking account to help your business grow:

  • Separate your business and personal finances. This makes it easier to protect your personal property in the event of a lawsuit against your business.
  • Keep track of tax deductions. Having a business checking account can make it easier for you to track tax-deductible business expenses, such as payments to suppliers and contractors, business equipment, supplies, inventory purchases, and all the rest. that you need to buy to run your business.
  • Building business credit. With a business bank account, you can start building trade credit under your business name (regardless of your personal credit history). Getting a business checking account can be the first step towards getting a business credit card, business line of credit, or small business loan.
  • Benefit from advanced commercial banking services. As your business grows, you may want to access higher level banking services such as cash flow management, merchant services and point of sale (POS) systems, revenue and data analysis to help you understand your business’ financial performance.

Choosing the best business current account

When trying to choose the best checking account for your business, think about your general business needs, what you expect from your professional banking relationship, and what bank account features and services are most important to you.

Here are some key things to keep in mind when choosing a business checking account:

  • Digital banking features. The best business checking accounts generally provide a great digital banking experience, both in your workplace and on the go, with features like mobile check deposit, online bill payment, and a user-friendly mobile app.
  • Corporate banking. Some banks offer a wide range of business banking services, such as small business loans, cash flow management, data analysis for your business income and sales forecasting, etc.
  • Ease of integration. If your business uses digital business tools to process payments and manage your accounting, such as PayPal, QuickBooks, Shopify, Stripe, or Venmo, you might want to make sure that your choice of business checking account can easily fit into the tools. that you prefer.
  • Interest rate for deposit accounts. Some business checking accounts bear interest, but the Annual Percentage Return (APY) may not be competitive with the best online savings accounts.
  • Service charge. Watch out for monthly service fees, ATM fees, wire transfer fees, and any other costs associated with using your account or receiving payments from your customers.
  • Bank branch and access to ATMs. If you need convenient access to ATMs to deposit cash payments at your business, or if you need in-person banking services that can only be provided at a physical branch, make sure your checking account company can provide them.
  • Monthly transaction limits. Some business current accounts only allow a certain number of transactions per month and charge a fee for any transaction over this limit. Make sure you understand how much money is coming in and out of your business in a typical month, so you can find an account that best matches your trading volume.

Business chequing accounts tend to offer a wider range of features and services than a personal chequing account. It helps to consider the needs of your business, both now and as it grows, when selecting a business bank account.

How to open a business bank account online

It is not always necessary to go to a bank branch to open a professional bank account. Many banks have expanded their online offerings and made it easier to open a business bank account online.

The exact process depends on the individual bank, but, in general, here’s how to open a business checking account online:

  1. Go to the bank’s website. Find details on how to open a business checking account online.
  2. Choose the business bank account you want to open.
  3. Make sure you have enough money to fund the account with any required minimum opening deposit.
  4. Read the fine print to find out what business documents you need to provide, depending on your business entity – limited liability company (LLC), partnership, sole proprietorship – and how to provide the documents online. For example, if you have an LLC, the bank may ask you to provide the articles of association for your business. You will need to provide a tax identification number for your business, such as an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or, in some cases, your personal Social Security number. You may also need to provide personal identification for yourself as the business owner.
  5. Sign, electronically, all necessary authorizations, such as giving the bank permission to check your credit.

Not all types of businesses can open a business bank account online. If your business is not a private business or has multiple owners, members or partners, some banks will require you to go to a bank branch to open the account in person.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much money do you need to open a business bank account online?

It depends on the bank, but often: not much. Some of the best business checking accounts don’t require a minimum deposit to open an account, or require a modest opening deposit of $ 50 or $ 100. Even if your business is newly established and is not yet generating significant income, you can still open a business bank account.

Do i need an LLC for a business bank account?

No. Even if you haven’t created an LLC or incorporated your business as a separate legal entity, for example, if you are doing business as a sole proprietor, you can open a business bank account. However, depending on the state, you may need to provide additional documents to open your account, such as a business license, alias certificate, business name registration, or Doing Business As (DBA ).

Why is it difficult to open a business checking account online?

Banks are required by law to know the true identities of their customers. If you open a business bank account, the bank must verify your identity and confirm not only that you are who you say you are, but also that your business exists as a legal entity that deserves its own separate identity within the financial system. . .

Sometimes this can be done online, as long as you can provide digital versions of any required sales literature. But some stories and situations are more complicated and require more time and attention. Not all banks allow all types of businesses to open an account online. For example, if your business has multiple members / owners, the bank may require all business owners to come in person to the bank branch to verify their identity.

Do you need an EIN to open a business bank account?

No. If you don’t have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business, in some situations you can open a business bank account using your personal social security number or your individual tax identification number (ITIN ) for non-US citizens.


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Take a personal loan from fintech companies? Keep these things in mind

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The digital lender assesses the creditworthiness of the borrower based on certain parameters.

India is one of the fastest growing fintech markets in the world, with an adoption rate of 87 percent compared to a global average of 64 percent, as the finance minister recently said.

Madhusudan Ekambaram, co-founder and CEO of KreditBee and co-founder of FACE (Fintech Association for Consumer Empowerment), says: “The impact is visible in the personal loan segment, as the process of obtaining loans has become very convenient and faster. Traditionally, banks have relied on physical evidence for due diligence, which included past performance of bank accounts, credit rating, salary evidence, age and duration of the loan, to disburse the loan. This made the whole process tedious and time consuming, which involved a high degree of physical documentation. “

However, with the advent of fintech players leveraging digital lending, the need for physical paperwork has either been eliminated or limited to a large extent.

Why are fintechs gaining so much popularity?

“The growing affinity of borrowers towards fintech for personal loans can be attributed to their distinctive features, made possible by technology,” explains Ekambaram.

These digital lenders have the ability to extend funding to New-to-Credit (NTC) borrowers, unlike traditional risk-resistant setups like banks and NBFCs.

They offer highly personalized products tailored to the diverse needs of borrowers, with minimal documentation.

Their digitized operations make the whole process quick and very convenient.

Most banks and financial institutions charge partial or prepayment. However, with fintech companies, borrowers can choose those that don’t have partial fees or prepayments.

Required documents

A personal loan is an unsecured loan that requires minimal documentation. The digital lender assesses the creditworthiness of the borrower based on the following parameters:

  • Credit history
  • Income level
  • Employment history
  • Repayment capacity

A loan from the fintech players can be obtained by simply submitting documents such as a PAN card, Aadhaar card, payslips for a certain period and a bank statement for the salary account. Fintech players offer to download these documents online, via a mobile application or a website.

Credit rating

To analyze a borrower’s creditworthiness, lenders use the KYC details (PAN and Aadhaar) to pull the credit reports from the bureau. Ekambaram adds, “They further use their efficient underwriting algorithms to assess credit score and repayment history, to provide loan approvals almost immediately. “

He further adds, “They use e-KYC for borrowers to digitally sign loan agreements via their Aadhaar details and mobile phone number linked to Aadhaar. “

While personal loans offered by banks and other traditional setups take around 7-8 business days to be disbursed, some fintech players provide approval within 5-10 minutes and disbursement of the loan amount within up to 72 hours. time.

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October 11, 2021 — Loan Rates Start Rising – Forbes Advisor

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Editorial Note: Forbes Advisor may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but this does not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.

The average interest rate on refinanced student loans increased last week. For many borrowers, rates remain low enough to make refinancing a good option.

The average fixed interest rate on a 10-year refinance loan was 3.45% from October 4 to 8. This is for borrowers with a credit score of 720 or higher who have prequalified on Credible.com’s student loan market. The average interest rate on a five-year variable rate loan was 2.57% among the same population, according to Credible.com.

Related: Best Student Loan Refinance Lenders

Fixed rate loans

Last week, the average fixed rate on a 10-year refinance loan rose 0.09% to 3.45%. The average stood at 3.36% the week before.

Because fixed interest rates remain stable throughout the life of a borrower’s loan, it is possible to lock in a rate that is significantly lower than what you would have received at the same time last year. The average fixed rate on a 10-year refinance loan at this time last year was 4.13%, 0.68% higher than the current rate.

Let’s say you refinanced $ 20,000 in student loans at today’s average fixed rate. You would pay about $ 197 per month and about $ 3,676 in total interest over 10 years, according to Forbes Advisor’s student loan calculator.

Variable rate loans

Average variable rates on five-year refinancing loans fell last week to 2.57% on average from 2.65%.

Variable interest rates fluctuate over the life of a loan depending on the index to which they are linked and market conditions. Many refinance lenders recalculate the rates monthly for borrowers with variable rate loans, but they usually limit the level at which the rate can go – lenders can set a limit of 18%, for example.

If you were to refinance an existing $ 20,000 loan into a five-year loan at a variable interest rate of 2.57%, you would pay around $ 356 on average per month. In total interest over the life of the loan, you would pay approximately $ 1,334. Of course, since the interest rate is variable, it can go up or down from month to month.

Related: Should You Refinance Student Loans?

When Should You Refinance Student Loans?

Most lenders require borrowers to graduate before refinancing, but not all, so in most cases, wait to refinance until you graduate. You will also need a good or excellent credit rating and stable income in order to access the lowest interest rates.

If you don’t yet have enough credit or income to qualify, you can either wait and refinance later or go with a co-signer. The co-signer you choose should know that they will be responsible for making the student loan repayments if you can’t anymore and that the loan will show up on their credit report.

Before choosing to refinance, calculate your potential savings. It is important to make sure that you are saving enough to justify refinancing. Shop with several lenders for rates and take your credit score into account when shopping. Keep in mind that those with the highest credit scores receive the lowest rates.

Refinancing student loans: other things to consider

There are a few things to keep in mind when refinancing a federal student loan into a private student loan. For starters, you will lose access to some of the benefits offered by federal student loans. For example, you will no longer have access to income-based repayment plans or deferral and forbearance options.

You may not need these programs if you have a stable income and plan to pay off your loan quickly. But make sure you won’t need these programs if you’re thinking about refinancing federal student loans.

If you need the benefits of these programs, you can refinance only your private loans or only a portion of your federal loans.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Rates

One of the big goals of refinancing student loans, for many borrowers, is to reduce the amount of interest paid. And that means getting the lowest possible interest rate.

Variable loan rates may initially be lower than fixed rate loan rates. Of course, because they are variable, they are subject to interest rate increases. You can limit the risk of rising interest rates with variable rate loans by paying off your loan as quickly as possible. Nonetheless, if you like the reliability of a fixed payment, then fixed rate loans might be a better choice.

When considering your options, compare the rates of several student loan refinance lenders to make sure you don’t run out of potential savings. Find out if you qualify for additional interest rate reductions, possibly by choosing automatic payments or by having an existing financial account with a lender.


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SoFi soars after Morgan Stanley identifies 2 catalysts that could drive 54% rise in fintech company

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  • SoFi stock rose 14% on Monday after Morgan Stanley called it “the fastest growing history in consumer credit.”
  • The bank launched SoFi with an “overweight” rating and set a price target of $ 25, representing 54% upside potential.
  • These are the two catalysts Morgan Stanley sees driving SoFi stocks up over the next year or so.
  • Sign up for our daily newsletter here, 10 things before the opening bell.

SoFi stock climbed 14% on Monday after the company received bullish praise from Morgan Stanley, who called it “the fastest growing story in consumer credit.”

The bank launched SoFi with an “overweight” rating and a price target of $ 25 which represents upside potential of 54% from Friday’s close.

SoFi’s strength comes from its beginnings as a consumer lender primarily focused on refinancing student loans at a lower rate, according to the bank.

“Lending is the hardest part of consumer credit because you need to understand credit and provide great customer service. But the reward is greater loyalty when you help them solve their cash flow problem and leave more money in their pockets, ”Morgan Stanley said. .

After successfully granting a loan to a consumer, SoFi is able to sell him various financial services in the investment, banking and mortgage sectors. This activity now represents 24% of all SoFi products, and should lead to further growth. Morgan Stanley expects SoFi to double its customer base to 5.3 million over the next two years.

According to the bank, contributing to this growth will be two catalysts on the horizon.

First, SoFi’s student loan refinancing activity is expected to increase after the government ends its deferral of student loan payments in February. The program allowed student loan borrowers to withhold payments amid the COVID-19 pandemic, temporarily removing the incentive to refinance a lower-rate private loan.

The expiration of the government’s student loan deferral program is expected to result in a 70% increase in student loans in 2022 and return to pre-pandemic levels, according to Morgan Stanley.

Second, SoFi’s approval of its banking charter could increase total revenues by 10% in its first year just based on the benefits of having access to the same low interest rates as other banks. Reducing SoFi’s cost of capital is key to improving profits when lending money at a higher interest rate. Morgan Stanley expects SoFi to receive approval for its pending banking charter in early 2022.

Risks for Morgan Stanley’s bullish SoFi stock deal include fintech not receiving bank charter approval, a sharp drop in brokerage income due to crypto volatility, and intense competition from the market. share of traditional financial firms and fintech newbies.

SoFi share price


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Here’s what to do if your student loans are canceled

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seksan Mongkhonkhamsao | instant | Getty Images

It’s a question millions of Americans would love the chance to ask: What should I do after my student loans are canceled?

The Biden administration has already given more than 450,000 borrowers reason to think so, after forgiving the debt of some borrowers with disabilities and others who attended fraudulent colleges.

More than 40 million people, of course, are still struggling with loans, but there are signs that more relief may be on the way.

The United States Department of Education has announced that it will make a number of changes to expand the reach of the civil service loan cancellation program, which excuses the debt of those who have worked for the government or organizations to nonprofit for a decade.

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And President Joe Biden has said he supports wiping out at least $ 10,000 for all borrowers, while Major Democrats, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., And the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., continue to pressure the President to erase $ 50,000 for everyone. These proposals would leave between a third and more than 80% of borrowers debt-free.

Canceling your student loans will likely be a turning point in your financial life.

The typical bill is around $ 400 per month, and research shows that the payments make it harder for borrowers to start a business, save for retirement, and buy a home.

“This is a great opportunity to go back and look at your cash flow so you can determine where to deploy the money you previously spent on your loan payments,” said Douglas Boneparth, Certified Financial Planner and President. of Bone Fide Wealth in New York. .

First steps

Once a borrower’s loans are canceled, he must ask his lender for a copy of his promissory note stamped “paid in full”, said Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Counselors, a non-profit organization.

“It may take a few months,” Mayotte said. “I would keep this, along with the forgiveness approval letter, in their ‘never throw’ files.”

It could take up to 60 days for your credit report to reflect the drop in debt, Mayotte said. (All three credit bureaus provide a free report once a year.)

“If not after this period, the borrower should file a credit dispute or contact the loan department,” she said.

Financial movements

Experts recommend that people have enough money in an emergency savings account to cover three months to a year of their usual expenses if other sources of income dry up.

“If you are strapped for cash and could use a bigger cushion, this is the first place I would consider putting my money,” Bonparth said.

To watch your savings grow faster, store your money in a high yield savings account. Experts point out that it is worth shopping around for the different banks to find the best deal: average rate of an online savings account is about 0.45%, while it is only 0.14% with traditional banks and credit unions, according to DepositAccounts.com.

(You’ll just want to make sure that any account you put your savings in is FDIC insured, which means up to $ 250,000 of your deposit is protected against loss.)

If you are comfortable with your emergency savings level, Bonparth recommends redirecting your student loan money to your retirement fund.

If your company offers a 401 (k) match at work, try to salt enough to take full advantage of it. In addition, or if you are self-employed or without an occupational pension plan, you can save up to a certain amount each year in individual retirement accounts.

“If these are maximized, start an automatic monthly investment plan on a brokerage account,” Boneparth said.

If you have credit card debt, experts also advise you to use the freed up money to pay it off faster.

Above all, try to avoid going up another tab, said higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.

“Enjoy the feeling of freedom that comes with being debt free,” he said.


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Bank credit will increase from 7.5 to 8.0% for fiscal year 22: CARE Ratings

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The outlook for bank lending growth is expected to be between 7.5% and 8.0% for FY22, due to a weak base effect, economic expansion, extended credit support from banks. emergency (ECLGS) and a surge in personal credit, according to CARE Assessments.

On a year-over-year basis, non-food credit growth stood at 4.9 percent in March 2021, up from 6.7 percent in March 2020, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India.

“The medium-term outlook looks promising with less stress on businesses and increased provisioning levels in banks. The retail lending segment is expected to perform well relative to the industry and service segments, ”the credit rating agency said in a report.

Second-quarter disbursements from some banks increase but overall loan growth has slowed

The agency estimated that the year-on-year bank credit growth rate increased by 160 basis points (bps) to 6.7% (fifteen weeks ended September 24, 2021) from the previous year’s level of 5.1% (fortnight ended September 25, 2020) and remained stable when compared to the previous fortnight.

“The year-over-year increase reflects the weak base effect and the easing of foreclosure restrictions in parts of India.

“In absolute terms, the loan draw has increased by ₹ 6.8 lakh crore over the past twelve months and by ₹ 0.5 lakh crore compared to the previous fortnight,” the report said.

Holiday season credit withdrawal

The agency expects bank lending to improve further in the next fortnight, driven by growth in the retail segment following the start of the holiday season and rate cuts.

“This hike should be supported by rate cuts from banks to stimulate retail lending, as several banks are offering loans at record interest rates before the holiday season,” the rating agency said. credit report.

For example, in September 2021, banks like Kotak Mahindra Bank and Punjab & Sind Bank reduced the 1-year loan rate based on MCLR / marginal cost of funds (based on mom) by 5 percentage points. base (bp) each, respectively.

In addition, to attract borrowers, several banks have reduced interest rates on home loans as a special offer during the holiday season – for example, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Kotak Mahindra Bank cut their mortgage rates by 45 basis points, 25 bps and 15 bps, respectively, according to the report.

Likewise, foreign banks have also started offering home loans at lower interest rates. HSBC India cut mortgage interest rates by 10 basis points to 6.45%.


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Kiwis in need of legal help stung by interest above mortgage rates

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What may surprise some is that most of Brandon’s debt was for legal aid. New Zealand’s legal aid service is supposed to ensure that people with ‘insufficient means’ can access justice, but in about 65% of civil cases it is a loan, not a loan. free legal representation.

Critics of the system say that putting people into debt dissuades people from seeking justice.

Brandon says he’s an “Average Joe” who got ripped off by an employer. He first tried to get his money back by hiring a lawyer, who helped him with a Labor Relations Authority process. He paid the lawyer with $ 10,000, mostly borrowed from family members.

He was successful and the Employment Relations Authority said Brandon’s former employer owed him a significant amount of unpaid wages and benefits.

“That’s about where the fun started,” Brandon said with a weary laugh.

The employer has not paid and the Employment Relations Authority does not have the power to demand payment. To get the money he was owed and repay the money he borrowed from his family, Brandon had to go to court and he needed a lawyer.

The average hourly rate for a lawyer was $ 292.70 and it was beyond Brandon’s reach, so he sought legal aid.

To be eligible for legal aid, applicants must prove that they cannot afford a lawyer. This includes reporting all forms of income, savings and assets.

“They pretty much need to know the value of everything and once it’s all done they warn [legal aid call this a charge] on your property, ”says Brandon. “You kind of feel like a criminal before you start. “

Legal aid repayments can be made on a regular basis, can be taken from settlement money, or taken when someone sells a property, such as their home or car. The Legal Aid Commissioner can order the public sector, third parties or banks to make deductions in order to get his money back.

Unlike student loans, which don’t bear interest unless a beneficiary moves overseas, legal aid debts carry interest six months after a case is finalized. At 5% per annum, the interest rate is higher than the current interest rates for three-year fixed home loans from New Zealand’s four largest banks.

“If we had known what was going to happen, looking back we would never have continued,” says Brandon.

The case dragged on for more than half a decade, and over the years he and his wife questioned whether the continued stress and cost of the case was worth it.

“Even if we pulled over and were $ 10,000 on the trail, we still should have found the $ 10,000 to pay it off. Otherwise, the caveat was hanging over our property. There was a point of no -return.”

He knew his bill had gone up over the years, but when it was posted he was shocked.

“Twenty-three thousand blew us away,” he says.

The New Zealand Legal Aid Debt Bill

People can apply for legal aid debt cancellation, but lawyer Frances Joychild QC says in her experience it’s rare.

“The person must be poor in dogs, living in emergency accommodation with nothing, for it to be written off.”

She has represented many people through the legal aid system and says, in her experience, that most people have to pay off some of their debt.

“It’s so punitive and harsh that now legal aid is a loan,” she says. “They’re pretty brutal. As soon as the case is over, they start taking money from you every week. I’ve seen people who end up having to pay for legal aid for the next three years of their lives, as well as other debts. “

New Zealand’s legal aid debt currently stands at $ 177 million, with 70,605 debts owed, up from a peak of 106,471 debts owed in fiscal year 2020/2021. Each year, about $ 30 million to $ 35 million in new debt is added to the total.


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Pastor Joel Osteen Repays $ 4.4 Million Federal Pandemic Loan For His Texas Mega Church

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A famous and controversial pastor worth an estimated $ 50 million has repaid $ 4.4 million in federal COVID relief loans his mega-church received from the government.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church repaid the money after the stadium-sized facility was widely condemned for accepting the money last year.

A spokesperson said they needed the loan because the church, which is the largest in America and can hold 16,800 worshipers at a time, was unable to support the weekly collections during the COVID closures, which she says helps pay her 368 employees.

But it sparked an uproar as details of Osteen’s extreme wealth were once again shared.

Its most recent address is listed as a six-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion in Houston’s River Oaks neighborhood, valued at an estimated $ 15 million.

Small businesses could apply for PPP loans from their banks as part of the federal government’s CARES Act stimulus package to get their workers to stay on the payroll amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pastor Joel Osteen, seen here giving a sermon in 2017, is believed to have returned $ 4.4 million to his mega-church received in pandemic aid loans

Lakewood welcomes about 52,000 attendees through multiple services per week, and its services are broadcast worldwide, as Osteen proselytizes on the word of God and spreads the prosperity gospel – which teaches that wealth is a sign of God’s favor.

And during the pandemic, reports the Daily Beast, he appeared on the Today Show urging people not to “focus on what [they] to have or not to have.

The apparent hypocrisy has prompted some people on social media to complain about the church’s federal loan – the third highest granted in Houston in July and August, according to the Houston Business Journal.

“How many small businesses in Houston have closed because they were denied P3 funds? Rog Wagner asked. “Joel Osteen received $ 4.4 million from taxpayers, even though his church pays no f ***** taxes.”

Karen also referred to the Osteen mansion in River Oaks, while another person asked how churches could get the funds if they don’t pay taxes.

And Joel Jackson joked that the loan was a “big collector’s plate.”

The church has an average attendance of about 52,000 people per week, and its services are distributed worldwide.

The church has an average attendance of about 52,000 people per week, and its services are distributed worldwide.

Lakewood Church closed in-person services last year at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and was reportedly unable to 'raise substantial donations' at the time

Lakewood Church closed in-person services last year at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and was reportedly unable to ‘raise substantial donations’ at the time

Lakewood Church shut down in-person services last year during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, telling the Houston Business Journal at the time they had to go months without “the ability to collect substantial donations.”

“Believing the shutdown would only last a few weeks, Lakewood initially did not seek PPP assistance during the first half of the program,” the spokesperson said.

“However, as the closure persisted month after month, given the economic uncertainty, Lakewood eventually applied for the PPP loan and was able to provide full salaries and benefits, including health insurance coverage. to all of its employees and their families. ”

The spokesperson also insisted that none of the PPP funds went to Osteen or his wife, Victoria, who reportedly received no salary from the mega-church, but instead provided financial assistance for guarantee that their 368 employees “would continue to receive a paycheck and complete health.” care benefits.

He then got the $ 4.4 million loan from Bank of America last July.

More than 1,000 religious institutions in Houston have been approved for P3 loans, receiving up to $ 7.8 billion, although they do not have to pay taxes under federal law.

Loans were fully repayable if a company kept all its staff at the same level of pay and the money was spent on salaries and other expenses.

But on Friday, a spokesperson for Lakewood provided the Houston Chronicle with bank statements showing the loan was fully repaid.

In a statement, a church spokesperson said none of the money received from the PPP loan went to Osteen, right, or his wife, Victoria, who is reportedly not receiving a salary.

In a statement, a church spokesperson said none of the money received from the PPP loan went to Osteen, right, or his wife, Victoria, who is reportedly not receiving a salary.

After the news broke that the church was on a pandemic loan, many on Twitter questioned why such a wealthy church would need a $ 4.4 million payment.

After the news broke that the church was on a pandemic loan, many on Twitter questioned why such a wealthy church would need a $ 4.4 million payment.

Outrage over the loan comes four years after Lakewood was forced to open its doors to the victims of Hurricane Harvey after facing widespread backlash for initially refusing to do so.

The Category Four storm dumped 20 inches of rain over Houston, causing extensive flooding and killing 100 people.

At first, Lakewood did not open its doors to victims, citing flooding at the mega-church, according to NBC News.

But after videos were posted to Twitter showing the location relatively unaffected by the widespread flooding, people began to wonder why Osteen’s mega-church – which has a capacity of over 16,000 people and who had once been a stadium housing the NBA Houston Rockets has not opened. for the guests.

Osteen then tweeted: “Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. The doors to Lakewood are open and we welcome anyone in need of shelter.

He denied closing the church to those in need and shared photos that appeared to show the church had suffered from flooding.

“We never closed our doors,” Osteen said in a statement at the time. “We will continue to be a distribution center for those who need it.

“We are ready to house people once the shelters in cities and counties have reached their capacity. Lakewood will be of value to the community in the aftermath of this storm by helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives.


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“Are we blowing up? »: McAuliffe and his friends advocate for money online.

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Like other emails from the Virginia Democrats, the letters Carville signed have slammed the panic button in recent weeks as the race between McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin has tightened. Many of these are standard rates, trying to create a sense of urgency among local donors.

But others highlight a bigger concern: Carville’s hair. The famous bald strategist turned political celebrity told supporters of the former governor of Virginia that he was “tearing his hair out” on September 1 and 2. By the end of the month, it was too late. “I won’t have much hair anymore,” was the subject line on September 27.

Craze and hyperbole are nothing new to online fundraising. But in Virginia, the posts carry special weight, where Democrats have been on the wrong side of a gap in enthusiasm for their constituents and are struggling financially to keep up with a wealthy, self-funded GOP candidate who has already given his campaign more. of $ 16 million.

“Cook moved it to a tossup,” Carville said in an interview, referring to well-known election forecasters from Cook Political Report. “And I think the people at McAuliffe weren’t upset at all. I think the electoral history is not good at all, for the party that wins the presidency.

Carville’s emails were successful, at least for fundraising. Carville’s emails raised half a million dollars, according to the campaign. And aside from McAuliffe himself and Abrams, Carville is the number one fundraiser for email signers.

As to why he lent his name to dozens of fundraising messages for McAuliffe, his old pal at Clintonworld? “Because I’m an e-mail signing slut,” he said with a chuckle.

Democrats remain intensely focused on firing their base down the home stretch. In most public polls, GOP voters have been more enthusiastic about the upcoming election. The most recent was a survey of the Wason Center at Christopher Newport University Friday, which showed McAuliffe up 4 points in the poll’s margin of error. But the survey also found that Republican voters were more enthusiastic about the race than Democratic voters, which is consistent with other public polls in the race.

“It’s really, really important, and it’s especially damaging to Democrats,” said Ron Wright, member of the Republican State Central Committee and co-chair of the Northern Virginia Republican Business Forum. Wright said he believed Youngkin’s recent focus on education, where the Republican campaign hammered McAuliffe in TV commercials, would further energize Republican-leaning voters and independents.

Democrats are also grappling with falling Biden poll numbers in the state. A Fox News poll at the end of September in the state, Biden was even among registered voters, with 49% approval and disapproval, in a state he won by 10 points. And national polls have shown it underwater recently – something McAuliffe himself acknowledged last week.

“We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington, as you know,” McAuliffe said during a video call with supporters, broadcast by Republicans. “The president is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia, so we have to fend for ourselves.”

All eyes are on early voting in the state, which began about two weeks ago, for any harbingers of who will participate by the remainder of the election. This is the first gubernatorial election where any voter can choose to vote at the advance poll, either by mail or in person.

So far, more than 255,000 people have voted in advance, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project. More people already voted early than in the 2017 elections, before the new electoral laws came into force.

Both campaigns have recently started wasting resources encouraging voters to go to the polls or vote by mail earlier, especially with many voters still unfamiliar with the process.

“Everyone is trying to alert people because we always had the opportunity to vote early, but you had to have an excuse and so it wasn’t used well,” said Ben Tribbett, a longtime Democratic strategist. date based in Virginia. “So it’s something a little new for the state. “

The two clashed almost in quick succession in fundraising throughout the campaign. However, during the most recent fundraising period, which covers July 1-August. On December 31, Youngkin brought in more: $ 15.7 million, backed by a personal loan of $ 4 million, compared to McAuliffe’s $ 11.5 million, according to data from the public access project in Virginia. McAuliffe had double Youngkin’s money, $ 12.6 million to $ 6 million, although the Republican candidate could write another check to close the gap at any time.

This is a significant reversal from 2013, when McAuliffe managed to overwhelm then-state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, significantly overtaking him and overtaking the Republican on TV en route to becoming the first politician to win the race for governor of Virginia while his party controlled whites. House for decades.

The two national parties also spend a lot on the race. During that time, the Republican Governors Association gave Youngkin nearly $ 4 million, while McAuliffe received $ 2.5 million from his Democratic counterpart.

Since the beginning of September, McAuliffe has spent more than his opponent on advertising. Ad Impact, an ad tracking company, found nearly $ 12.1 million in spending in McAuliffe’s campaign, up from $ 9.4 million. (These totals include digital ad spend.)

But that recent edge only comes after Youngkin has been largely undisputed on the air for months. Youngkin immediately kicked off a steady stream of TV commercials right after winning his party’s nomination in May and hasn’t stopped since. McAuliffe was gloomy, meanwhile, from winning the party nomination in early June until late July, but joined his Republican opponent in bombarding state airwaves with TV commercials.

From early October, through Friday afternoon, the two combined to broadcast more than 6,700 TV spots, according to AdImpact data. That number is split almost exactly in the middle, with Youngkin holding a 92-ad lead.



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What you need to know about consumer protection with “Buy now, pay later”

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Have you ever bought a winter coat online only to find it looks nothing like the pictures you saw on the website when it arrived? While you will need to file a complaint with the merchant and possibly the credit card company before you get a refund, returning an item and getting a refund is usually straightforward when you buy it with a credit card.

But what happens when you buy the sweater using a “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) loan?

Will you have to continue making installment payments on the item even after you return it? Which company do you contact to resolve the issue: the BNPL provider, the merchant, or the issuer of the credit or debit card you used to fund the BNPL loan?

BNPL, also known as a point-of-sale loan, is an installment loan that allows consumers to split the cost of their purchase over time. BNPL options are available almost anywhere you shop, with a number of big name retailers like Walmart, Amazon, Target, and Sephora using them. A recent Karma credit study found that 44% of respondents had used a BNPL product at least once.

Yet, as consumers flock to this new way of financing, they need to be careful with them.

“BNPL loans are still new and government regulations have not completely caught up. This means that short-term financing options generally offer less protections for consumers, ”says Leslie Tayne, Founder and Managing Director of Tayne Law Group.

In fact, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently cautioned consumers against the tendency to overspend when using BNPL services, the negative impact they could have on credit scores, their late fees and the lack of consumer protection.

Below, Select takes a look at the consumer protections offered by credit cards, debit cards, and some of BNPL’s top providers to help you choose the one that’s right for you.

Consumer protection for credit cards, debit cards and BNPL loans

Consumers are offered a number of credit card protections through the Fair Credit Billing Act. There are two types of complaints that consumers can file with their credit card issuer: A billing error or a problem with the quality of a good or service. A billing error can be an authorized debit, an incorrect debit or a mathematical error. If you have a “billing error,” the FCBA requires credit card issuers to investigate if a consumer files a complaint within 60 days of receiving their account statement.

If the FCBA does not apply to the quality problems of a good, the consumer can nevertheless file a complaint with its issuer. Since this type of complaint is under state law, consumers are more likely to resolve their issue or be reimbursed if they meet certain conditions. conditions like purchasing the item in their country of origin.

The FCBA only applies to “open” credit accounts, such as credit cards or retail cards with revolving accounts, so these rules do not apply to debit cards or installment loans, such as BNPL loans.

It should also be noted that some credit cards, like The American Express Platinum Card®, have benefits that include return and purchase protection, which can help you get your money back after a retailer’s return policy expires, or if your purchase has been lost, stolen, or damaged.

However, people who use debit cards also have protections when it comes to accusations of fraud through the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. Like credit cards, these protections do not apply to product quality issues. If consumers have any issues with the quality of a good or service they purchased with a debit card, they will need to resolve the issue with the merchant before contacting their debit card issuer, including some have their own zero liability policy.

BNPL loans, on the other hand, are not subject to the regulation of credit or debit card issuers. While countries like Great Britain are putting in place regulations on the BNPL industry that would allow consumers to file a complaint with a national agency, there are no special regulations for BNPL providers in the United States. . Some of the major BNPL providers, such as To affirm, Klarna and After payment have their own dispute resolution policies in place.

“If you purchase a defective item with a BNPL loan, you are subject to the policies of the merchant and the BNPL lender, which can make it difficult to navigate the return process,” says Tayne. “In some cases, you may need to continue paying for an item until the merchant notifies the lender that you have returned it successfully.”

For example, Affirm has a dispute resolution process that works similarly to a credit card dispute resolution process: consumers have 60 days to open a dispute with Affirm. Once the consumer and the trader have submitted information to support their claims, Affirm will then rule in favor of the trader or the consumer.

Consumers should also check whether they are required to make payments on returned items. Klarna, Affirm, and Afterpay all offer consumers the option of delaying payments. Klarna will allow you to withhold payments if you report a problem with your order while Affirm will not require continuous payments on a purchase if you open a dispute with them within 60 days of the transaction. Afterpay allows customers to extend the original payment due date by two weeks while the return is being processed.

Additionally, depending on how you fund your purchase through BNPL, you may need to contact the merchant, BNPL provider, and debit or credit card issuer to resolve issues. (Although some providers, like Affirm, just allow you to link your checking account for payments.)

Because Afterpay only allows consumers to pay with a credit or debit card, consumers are subject to the same protections as if they had used their payment cards directly at the retailer, says Amanda Pires, vice-president. president of communications at Afterpay.

This means that if you purchase an item with Afterpay and make payments with a debit card, you are subject to the protections offered by your debit card issuer. According to Pires, 90% of Afterpay transactions are funded by debit cards.

For consumers, knowing which companies to contact to return an item or report a defective item they purchased with a BNPL loan can be confusing.

Tayne suggests consumers contact the retailer to understand the return policy, research BNPL’s return policy, and as a last resort, contact the card issuer if they need further assistance.

“If a retailer does not accept the return or if the BNPL service is not cooperating, consider contacting the credit card company. The credit card companies will often ask you if you have tried to resolve the issue. with the seller, then do your best and dispute a transaction as the last option, ”says Tayne.

At the end of the line

Understanding your consumer protection rights as a credit, debit, or BNPL user can be complicated and confusing. Before returning an item that you believe is faulty, you should inquire about the return policies of the merchant, credit or debit card issuer or / and BNPL supplier. Most BNPL issuers and providers have dispute resolution procedures, but your first action should be to try and resolve the issue with the merchant.

If you don’t want the hassle of potentially having to contact three different companies to return a defective item, you should consider getting a credit card with a 0% APR introductory period on new purchases. Similar to some BNPL products, these cards offer a way to fund interest-free purchases, in addition to giving you the consumer protections of a credit card and possibly even earning rewards.

Editorial note: Any opinions, analysis, criticism or recommendations expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.


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