Business Cash Management Explained

Business Cash Management: Tips for Managing Cash

If you’re running a business, you probably know that managing cash is critical to your success — so let’s share some tips on doing that even better. Solid cash flow is vital to keep a business thriving, whether you’re a sole proprietor or the head of a larger enterprise. Even businesses with strong earnings can struggle with cash flow. That’s why cash flow can be a sure sign of how healthy a business is — or is not.

So let us help you optimize that cash flow. We’ll share some smart insights and helpful tips on:

•  What cash management for business is

•  Why it’s so important

•  Ways you can improve your business cash management

Let’s get started.

What is Business Cash Management?

Simply put, business cash management is basically the way you track and manage the money coming into and going out of your business – usually on a cash flow statement. Positive cash flow means more money is coming in through revenues or borrowing than is being used to pay expenses, such as payroll and rent.

That said, good cash management also means not having too much cash on hand. In that scenario, business owners, while cautious, may be missing out on future earnings growth when they neglect to invest cash back into the business.

Here’s another way to frame this principle: You can look at your business’ balance sheet. Check the ratio of current liquid assets to liabilities. A ratio that’s greater than one indicates good health (you’re not losing money), but if that ratio gets too high, you could be holding onto too much cash or other assets that could better be invested elsewhere.

The Importance of Cash Management for Businesses

Cash flow is the essence of all businesses. Without cash, a business will struggle to meet expenses, pay suppliers, repay any investors, and, often most importantly, grow the business through marketing and/or new opportunities.

Strong cash management strategies can also help a business avoid taking on debt. It can also give business owners more control over everyday activities, decisions, and growth opportunities. What’s more, smart cash management is the best way for owners to fulfill their vision for their enterprise while meeting both their short, intermediate and long-term needs. There’s certainly a lot riding on cash management, so let’s dive into ways to optimize it.

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6 Tips for Managing Cash Flow

Cash management can be especially challenging for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Yet it is one of the most important financial strategies business owners must master. These six tips can help.

1. Learning Your Cash Flow Cycle

A cash flow cycle is the time it takes to purchase your supplies and materials (or prepare the work that goes into providing a service), transform them into a product, sell your offering, and collect payment that can go into your business bank account. Sounds simple but a lot can go haywire during that process.

That’s why it’s important for business owners to constantly update and monitor their balance sheets and profit and loss statements. Ideally, you want to know at any given time what happened in the cash-flow cycle last month. Also important: Knowing your projections for what’s going to happen next month.

Understanding your cash flow cycle can help identify and address inconsistencies such as a late-paying customer or a build-up of inventory. If your business is seasonal or cyclical, you want to be well-prepared for both the intensely busy times…and the lulls.

2. Getting Payments on Time

Reminding customers to pay on time is one of the easiest but most necessary ways to manage cash flow. Late payments are a fact of life; common, even. Having receivables come in even a day or two past the due date can wreak havoc with your cash-flow cycle and your bank account.

Consider setting up email reminders to all customers ten days, seven days, and two days before payment is due. Technology today makes it a snap to pre-schedule email blasts. If the payment is still late or only a partial payment was made, don’t hesitate to follow up with a personal note or phone call.

This simple solution can really work. Customers will pay more attention to timely payments when they know you are paying close attention.

3. Turning Over Inventory Quickly

Having an abundance of inventory on hand at a given time means that a bundle of cash is tied up in that unsold stock. That could be an issue, because those funds might otherwise be working to pay for operations and expenses. What’s more, if all of that inventory bought upfront doesn’t sell as expected, it could mean losses on top of that lack of cash. That could hurt your growth and business valuation.

Many small business owners have learned that, in terms of cash, it’s better to turn inventory more quickly. Of course this will vary widely depending on your business – perhaps your product is handmade jewelry, perhaps its reconditioned air conditioners. But, just as an example, you might want to boost from inventory turning over from twice a year to five times. More targeted marketing could contribute to this acceleration.

That said, finding the right inventory management to fit with your cash flow cycles takes some time and experience. Recent supply chain issues have shown how challenging inventory management can be. Again, constant monitoring of the cash flow cycle can help guide how you tweak things.

4. Understand Invoice Financing

Let’s say you hit a cash management hitch. If you do find yourself in a position where you have too much inventory on hand and you need cash to cover expenses, there is a path forward. Invoice financing companies will advance a full or partial amount of your outstanding invoices. You repay that amount plus interest after the invoice is paid.

This likely should be considered only as a stop-gap measure. Like credit cards, interest payments on invoice financing can add up fast and quickly get out of control. Consider the fact that annual percentage rates for invoice financing products can reach as high as a jaw-dropping 64%.

5. Cutting Costs

Monitoring and cutting costs on expenses is another tool for managing cash flow. After all, if less cash goes to pay overhead, more can be invested in the business. A few suggestions: Relying on online marketing efforts that can be less costly than traditional methods, outsourcing tasks that take too much time and money in-house, and reducing energy costs. You might also want to renegotiate outdated contracts and prices with suppliers. These are all areas business owners can consistently monitor to keep costs low.

6. Comparing Loans

Sometimes, a business could use a helping hand to smooth out its cash flow. Let’s say you have outstanding accounts receivable — in other words, you know money is due but you don’t have it yet — and you need the cash now. In this situation, taking a business loan can be an option to help bridge the gap.

Cash-flow loans (like invoice financing explained above) are short-term loans or lines of credit. These are often used to cover expenses or to take advantage of opportunities that can increase revenue.

A working capital loan is another option that can be used to finance everyday business operations such as rent, payroll or restocking inventory. These loans are not designed to finance long-term assets or investment. Companies with seasonal or cyclical sales often rely on working capital loans to provide relief during slow periods.

One caveat: Working capital loans are often tied to your personal credit, so missed payments or defaults will affect your credit score. Consider that carefully before you sign on.

In addition, there are a variety of small business loans available that are used to finance long-term expenses such as real estate, equipment purchases or business expansion. These include SBA loans, business lines of credit, and term loans.

Whatever type of loan you choose, be sure to compare your options carefully. Look at terms, APR, and how much lending you qualify for among several lenders before taking on any short or long-term debt. Spending some time and energy on research will help ensure you get the right form of financing.

The Takeaway

Cash flow management is an essential part of running a successful business of any size. Carefully monitoring cash flow, then learning some simple strategies can maximize it. These moves can help ensure your business remains healthy and your future growth stays strong.

Personal cash management matters, too. At SoFi, we can help make that process more profitable and less time-consuming for you. Sign up for our online bank account with direct deposit, and you’ll enjoy 1.25% APY, which is 41 times the current average interest rate. Plus, we’re fee-free – no monthly or minimum balance charges, period.

Start improving your cash management today with SoFi.


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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Can Personal Loan Be Used to Start a Business?

Personal Business Loans: Risks, Appeals, and Alternatives

Starting a new business requires a good idea, customers to whom you can sell your product or service, and money to get you off the ground. A personal loan to start a business can be one option for funding, especially if you don’t yet qualify for a small business loan or you qualify for a personal loan with a low interest rate. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of using a personal business loan to start your business as well as some alternatives to look into.

What Is a Personal Business Loan?

Personal loans to start a business are offered by some banks, credit unions, and online lenders. The borrowed funds are paid back with interest in regular monthly installments. While most loans will specify what you can spend the money on — a mortgage must be used to buy a house, for example — the sum you receive from a personal business loan can be spent in a variety of ways. It’s important to check with your lender about whether their personal loans can be used for business expenses, as some lenders do not allow it.

Your personal loan interest rate is based on a combination of financial factors, including financial history, income, and credit score. Generally speaking, the higher a person’s credit score, the more likely they are to receive a personal loan with favorable terms and interest rates. Applicants with lower credit scores may find it more difficult to qualify for low-interest rates. That’s because lenders tend to see them as at greater risk of defaulting on their payments and, to offset that risk, they might charge a higher interest rate.

Recommended: What Is a Personal Loan?

Why Might You Use a Personal Loan to Start a Business?

Personal loans for business may present a number of benefits compared to some other alternatives.

Ease of Qualification

Banks offer personal business loans based on personal income and credit score. On the other hand, when you apply for a business loan, you’ll likely be asked for quite a bit of information during the application process, including your personal and business credit score, annual business revenue and monthly profits, and how long you’ve been in business. The longer your business has existed, the more likely you are to have a record of revenue and profit, and the more likely you are to qualify.

If your business is brand new, it can be tricky to get a business loan right off the bat, and it may be easier to qualify for a personal loan.

Faster Funding

How long it takes to get approved for a personal loan and receive funding will vary by lender. Online lenders are typically faster than banks and credit unions. However, you are likely to receive funding within seven business days.

By contrast, the process for a business loan can be much slower. For example, it can take 60 to 90 days to receive funding from a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan.

Can Have Low Interest Rates

Personal loan applicants with a positive credit history and a healthy credit score may be able to qualify for a low interest rate. In general, interest rates on personal loans can be much more competitive than those on other types of credit.

Credit cards, for instance — although not an inherently bad choice for business credit — can have higher interest rates than other types of lending options. They may also have penalties and fees that personal loans may not have, such as penalty annual percentage rates (APRs) that go into effect if you make a late payment, over-limit fees if you spend more than your credit limit, annual fees, and more.

Flexibility and Versatility

Personal loans have few restrictions on how you’re allowed to use the money you borrow. That means you can spend on anything from buying or renting a building to marketing materials to purchasing inventory, as long as your lender doesn’t restrict the personal loan funds to non-business purposes.

What Are Some Risks of Using a Personal Loan to Start a Business?

Despite the potential advantages of using a personal loan to help you start your business, there are also potential drawbacks to consider.

Some Lenders Don’t Allow Personal Loans for Business

Some lenders do place certain restrictions on how you spend your personal loan. Being upfront about your intentions to use it for business expenses and asking if that is allowed is a good idea. In some cases, it may not be. However, it’s far better to be honest about how you plan to use a loan than risk breaching the loan agreement. If you end up using a loan in a prohibited way, your lender could force you to repay the full amount of the loan with interest.

Can Mean a Smaller Loan

Personal loans generally offer borrowing limits as low as $1,000 and as high as $100,000 for larger personal loans. For small businesses, this might be plenty. But if you’re a larger business that needs more money, you may be better off looking for a loan that can better meet a business’ financial needs.

Can Have Shorter Repayment Terms

Lending periods for personal loans will vary. Typically you can find loans with term lengths of 12 months to five years, sometimes a bit longer. When compared to some small business loans, this is a relatively short period of time. Consider that for SBA loans, maximum terms can be as much as 25 years for real estate, 10 years for equipment, and 10 years for working capital or inventory.

Personal Credit Score and Assets Could be Affected

If you take out a personal loan and are unable to make monthly payments, you are putting your personal credit at risk. Missed payments may have a negative effect on your credit score, which can make it more difficult for you to access funding in the future.

Recommended: What Is Considered a Bad Credit Score?

May Qualify for Fewer Tax Deductions

In general, the interest you pay on a personal loan is not tax deductible. However, it may be if you use it for business purposes. This can get a bit tricky. You may only deduct interest on the portion of the loan that is used for business expenses. So if you use any of that money to remodel the bathroom in your home, for example, interest on that portion can’t be deducted.

Businesses are able to deduct interest from bank loans, vehicle loans, credit card debt, and lines of credit.

Personal Business Loans vs Small Business Loans

Borrowing money to pay for business expenses is a decision that takes some consideration. There are different reasons you might want or need a business loan, there are many lenders to choose from, and there are different lending options to compare. Here are some things to think about if choosing between a personal loan for business or a small business loan.

Factor to Consider Personal Loan for Business Small Business Loan
Use of funds Some lenders may not allow personal loan funds to be used for business purposes Specifically for business purposes — cannot be used for personal use
Qualification Personal creditworthiness determines approval, interest rate, and loan terms Lenders will require business financials, proof of time in business, and other details, in addition to possibly taking personal credit into account
Interest rate Depending on your creditworthiness, interest rate may be lower than other forms of credit, such as credit cards Depending on the type of loan, interest rates on SBA loans may be lower than some personal loans
Loan amount Up to $100,000 depending on the lender. SBA maximum loan amount is $5 million.

Some lenders may approve working capital loans for up to several million dollars

Funding time Depending on the lender, loan funds may be disbursed as soon as the day of approval or in up to seven days The SBA loan timeline is between 60 and 90 days from application to disbursement.

A working capital loan from a traditional lender may be approved quickly and funded shortly after approval

Tax deductibility Interest is not generally tax deductible Interest may be tax deductible in some cases

Recommended: Business Loan vs Personal Loan: Which Is Right for You?

Alternatives to Personal Business Loans

Personal loans may not be the best option for everyone and are not the only way you can fund your small business. You may also want to consider small business loans or a business line of credit.

Small Business Loans

Small business loans are offered through online lenders, banks, and credit unions. There are a variety to choose from that may be designed for specific purposes. For example, a working capital loan is designed to help you finance the day-to-day operations of your business. An equipment loan can help you replace aging technology and buy new equipment.

SBA loans are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, whose aim is to help small businesses get off the ground and grow. That means if you aren’t able to make your payments, the SBA will step in and cover 85% of the default loss. By reducing risk in this way, the organization helps businesses get easier access to capital.
Shopping around for the best small business loan rates is a good way to compare lenders and find the one that works best for your unique financial needs.

Business Lines of Credit

A business line of credit is revolving credit, much like a credit card. You are allowed to borrow up to a certain amount and you only pay interest on the amount you are currently borrowing, making this option more economical than a term loan for some business owners. As you repay the funds, the amount of credit available to you reverts back to the original limit and you can borrow the money again.

Another advantage to a line of credit over a term loan is the ability to use a check to pay vendors who may not accept credit cards.

Credit Cards

Credit cards, with a current average interest rate of more than 16%, tend to have higher interest rates than other types of funding. For example, the average finance rate for personal loans is about 9.41%, according to the Federal Reserve.

Also, credit cards are revolving credit. If you don’t pay off the balance each month, you can fall deeper into debt. Whereas, installment loans offer fixed monthly payments with a fixed end date.

Business credit cards may be a good choice for some business owners, though, to keep personal and business expenses separate. They may also offer rewards, perks, and bonuses that make them an attractive option.

Recommended: Breaking Down the Different Types of Credit Cards

Merchant Cash Advance

Funding for a merchant cash advance (MCA) is based on a business’ past credit card receipts. Technically not a loan, an MCA is an advance on future revenue. The business repays the MCA lender a percentage of its monthly sales revenue until the debt is paid in full.

The Takeaway

Taking out a personal loan is one way to fund your small business needs, as long as your lender allows the funds to be used for business expenses. There are alternatives, though, including lines of credit and SBA loans.
SoFi Personal Loan interest rates are competitive and have no fees. You can check your rate in just one minute.

Explore your loan options with SoFi Personal Loans


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SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified.
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How to Pay for Cosmetology or Esthetician School

Paying for Cosmetology or Esthetician School

Looking good comes with a cost. Ask cosmetologists. The average price of beauty school is $16,000 a year.

A career in cosmetology can be rewarding. You get a creative outlet and a chance to help others look their best. It also offers flexibility for a good work-life balance. But the licensing process can add up.

Cosmetology and esthetics programs are offered through community, technical, and vocational colleges — accredited institutions that qualify for financial aid. Accreditation broadens the range of financial aid options. Prospective students can consider interest-free payment plans, financial aid from schools, scholarships, grants, and loans from the government or private entities. Read on for more detailed information on the types of financial aid that pay for cosmetology school, and what options don’t.

Esthetician vs Cosmetology School

Esthetician (or aesthetician) licenses specialize in skincare treatment, recommendations, and analysis. Treatments include facials, massages, and waxing. With this license, you can work at spas, salons, or doctor’s offices, such as plastic surgeons or dermatologists.

Cosmetology covers the creative styling of hair, skin, and nails — but also provides basic training in treatments. Students can get an esthetician license through a cosmetology program. A career in cosmetology can lead to work as a makeup artist, hairstylist, or manicurist. License holders typically work in salons, spas, the entertainment industry, and hotels or resorts. The table below outlines some of the differences between an esthetics license and a cosmetology license.

Field

Esthetics License

Cosmetology License

Average School Tuition $7,433 average of top ten US schools $16,000
Subjects Techniques and science behind skin care treatments. Specific subjects include skin anatomy, facial and makeup techniques, hair removal, and medical office esthetics. Hair, skin, and nail care and styling. Specific subjects include dermatology, makeup, and haircutting.
2021 Median Salary $37,300/year $29,680/year
Job Growth 2020-30 29% (Faster than US average) 19% (Faster than US average)
Types of Jobs Skin care specialist (esthetician), makeup artist Hair Stylist, nail technician, makeup artist, barber

Be sure that your school is state-approved. You can search for schools through your local government’s licensing process. Also, it’s helpful to know whether your certificate is transferable to other states and which states accept it. This way, your time and resources aren’t lost.

Below are organizations that can help you find accredited and state-approved programs:

•  Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

•  Accrediting Council for Continued Education & Training (ACCET)

•  Council on Occupational Education (COE)

•  National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS)

Typical Cost of Beauty Schools

Beauty school programs are generally more affordable than the average four-year program. According to the College Board’s annual Trends in College Pricing report, during the 2021 school year, the average cost of tuition at a four-year nonprofit institution was $38,070. Cosmetology students, in contrast, can expect to pay around $16,000 to complete a degree in their field. But beauty school students still borrow $7,300 per year on average.

Esthetician School

Requirements for esthetics licenses vary by state. Connecticut is the only state that does not require a license.

Students can expect to complete 300 to 1,500 hours depending on state program requirements. Most states require students to pass a state-issued exam to obtain a license after completion of a program. For example, Washington requires students to complete a program of not less than 750 hours and to fill out a license application.

Students can also specialize in esthetics as part of their overall cosmetology program.

Cosmetology School

Each state requires a cosmetology license in order to practice. While requirements differ, most states require three things: you must be 16 or older, hold a high school diploma, and have completed a state-licensed cosmetology program.

Some states also require an exam in order to obtain a license. And some require regular license renewals.

While states can issue a license that covers all cosmetology specialties, some require separate licenses in specializations such as barbering or manicures.

Programs range anywhere from 1,000 to 2,100 hours across states, and usually include retail and business admin training to supplement. Specializing in a field, such as nail care, requires additional hours. Finally, programs are hands-on—meaning students have limited online options.

To find out your state’s requirements, the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology has a registry of state offices. ​​

Possible Funding Source #1: FAFSA®

Does FAFSA pay for cosmetology school? Yes! But, students who apply must be enrolled in an accredited program to be eligible.

The first step to applying for government financial aid is filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. New forms are released each year on October 1st — and the sooner you complete one, the more likely federal grants will be available.

Information provided on the FAFSA helps to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. The government, states, and colleges also use it to determine the amount of financial aid to award you. Schools you list in your form will review your FAFSA and put together an aid offer. If your school’s financial aid does not cover the entire cost of tuition, you can use the FAFSA to apply for federal grants and student loans.

Not familiar with setting up FAFSA? This FAFSA guide provides an overview of the form and the aid options available through the FAFSA. Here’s a brief explainer on some of the aid types that may be available to students.

Recommended: FAFSA 101: How to Complete the FAFSA

Pell Grants

The government awards Pell Grants to students from lower-income families and who have not previously earned a degree. Unlike loans, they do not need to be repaid.

The Pell Grant’s 2022-2023 maximum is $6,895 and students may be eligible for up to twelve terms. The amount is determined by the following:

•  Expected Family Contribution (EFC), or the amount your family can pay

•  Cost of Attendance (COA), finalized in your school offer letter

•  Full-time or part-time status as s student

•  Length of your school’s academic year

Schools will disburse the federal grant to you directly, apply it to your tuition, or both. In order to receive Pell Grants, students must stay enrolled in their respective program of study and fill out the FAFSA form each year.

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

The Department of Education also offers Direct Loans. Cosmetology students may be eligible for either subsidized or unsubsidized loans. The government pays for the interest rate of subsidized loans as long as you’re enrolled in a program, for the first six months after leaving school, and during qualifying deferment periods. Interest rates for unsubsidized loans are not covered. Subsidized loans are awarded based on financial need, while unsubsidized loans are not.

Applying for a federal loan offers these key advantages:

•  Low fixed interest rates

•  Flexible repayment plans

•  Possibility of forgiven loans

•  Deferment and forbearance options

Parent PLUS Loans

PLUS loans are available to parents of undergraduate students or graduate or professional students. They offer some of the advantages of federal Direct Loans, but offer higher borrowing limits.

Parents can apply for Parent PLUS Loans on behalf of their children as well. Unlike other federal student loans, these types require a credit check and are not based on financial need.

Possible Funding Source #2: Scholarships

Research scholarships. A good place to start is with your school. Their aid letter will outline scholarships awarded from its program. You can contact them to see if there are additional scholarships you can apply for at the school.

Professional associations also offer scholarships based on need or merit. The below beauty industry associations have lists of scholarships.

•  Professional Beauty Association

•  National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology

•  American Association of Cosmetology Schools

The U.S. Department of Labor also offers a free scholarship finder .

Finally, ethnicity-based groups, employers, or your parent’s employers may also offer tuition assistance and scholarships.

Possible Funding Source #3: Working Part Time

Since cosmetology programs are shorter in duration — working part-time to help pay for college is feasible. Try getting work in your field — as an assistant or admin at an office. That way, you can learn while getting paid — and even get a foot in the door.

Studying and working is a fine balance. It depends on how much time you can commit. If studying fills up most of your week — you may not be able to focus on studying for the career you hope to work in and may also hurt your score needed to pass exams needed to work in the industry.

You can even find working cosmetologists to get advice on how to do both.

Possible Funding Source #4: Private Student Loans

After exhausting all other avenues of aid, private student loans can help cover the difference. A private undergraduate student loan can be offered through banks, credit unions, and online lenders. They can be applied to a range of programs, even applied towards paying for CDL school.

Lenders will perform a credit check to determine your interest rate and how much you are eligible for. Students who don’t have credit scores will need a cosigner, usually a parent.

Possible Funding Source #5: School-Specific Financial Aid

Financial aid availability depends on your school.

Aveda Institute Maryland, for example, offers financial assistance for current and former military servicemen. Paul Mitchell Schools also offer three forms of military financial aid. One includes a My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Program for military spouses.

Delgado Community College in New Orleans provides financial assistance on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students must complete a FAFSA, online scholarship form, and accept or decline their aid offer letter.

Possible Funding Source #6: School-Specific Payment Plans

College tuition payment plans are an option. Instead of paying tuition upfront at the beginning of the year, students pay tuition in installments.

Payment plans are an excellent alternative to taking out loans since plans are generally interest-free. Check with your school for eligibility requirements and deadlines for enrollment periods.

The Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Western Suffolk, Long Island, and Alexander Paul Institute of Hair Design offer no-interest payment plans.

Explore Private Student Loans With SoFi

Cosmetology and esthetician careers require state-approved schooling and licenses. These accredited programs are covered by federal financial aid, and some schools offer financial aid. Zero-interest payment plans can also be a huge help to pay for a program.

If you still come up short of tuition, you can explore private student loans.

SoFi offers student loans that offer qualifying borrowers competitive private student loan rates. Plus, there are no fees and flexible repayment plans. The application process can be completed online.

Find out if you qualify for an undergraduate student loan or graduate student loan in just a few minutes.*

FAQ

Can FAFSA be used for beauty school?

Yes. States require students to participate in state-approved accredited beauty schools to obtain a license. Students enrolled in post-secondary programs at accredited institutions qualify for financial aid.

Do you work and earn money while in cosmetology school?

Students typically cannot work in their field without a license, unless it’s an unrelated job in the industry. Find out if your school participates in the Federal Work-Study Program. These programs are available to part-time or full-time students with financial needs. Students will usually find jobs at their school or private for-profit employers that have agreements with your school. The jobs are typically relevant to your field of study.

Are beauty schools accredited? How do you select a good program?

Yes, beauty schools can be accredited for post-secondary education. Always check to make sure your program is accredited to avoid predatory schools with poor programming. Consider starting your search with state license departments. The National-Interstate Council Of State Boards Of Cosmetology has a directory of all 50 states’ centers.


Photo credit: iStock/petrovv

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Sending & Receiving Money From Someone Without a Bank Account

The Best Options for Sending and Receiving Money From Someone Without a Bank Account

Bank accounts are common, but not everybody has one. In fact, an estimated 5.4% of U.S. households (approximately 7.1 million) were “unbanked” in 2019, according to the FDIC. This means no one in the household had a checking or savings account at a bank or credit union.

For sure, there are advantages to having a bank account. Your money is stashed securely, and you earn interest on it. You can get your payroll check direct-deposited and not have to make a trip to the bank.

But not having a bank account doesn’t mean you can’t send and receive money. If you’re wondering how to send money to someone without a bank account, you have several options. Here, we’ll share them. Read on to learn:

•   Important considerations before choosing a money transfer method

•   What options are available for sending and receiving funds without a bank account

What to Consider Before Choosing a Transfer Method

As with all financial services, you don’t want to rush and just go with the first method available. Each option you review will probably have its pluses and minuses. If you are trying to send or receive money without a bank account, do your research. Consider these important factors as you move toward making your decision.

Reliability

Reputation matters, always — and especially with something as important as money. You want to use services that have been around long enough to have a track record. You can start by asking around in your inner circle to learn what others are using and what their experiences have been. You can read reviews and articles as well (a quick search online should reveal other people’s assessments). Key things to consider are whether money transfers were completed successfully, on time, and without excessive charges. The bottom line: Do a bit of research, as you would if you were choosing a bank.

Transfer Cost

Without a bank account, you may not have the ease of, say, receiving your paycheck via Automated Clearing House (or ACH) or using a debit card. In fact, you may have to spend time and money to send or receive some cash. So read the fine print on the options you are considering to make sure you’re clear on the fee structure. When it comes to transfers, what will you be charged for and what’s free? Will there be certain criteria to meet in order for a transaction to be done without fees? You don’t want any surprises. This information will be essential in helping you decide which provider to select.

Security

Security is critical. When it comes to cash changing hands, you want to feel confident about safety. You don’t want to risk your hard-earned dough getting stuck in the ether somewhere or vanishing entirely. So when you are drilling down and scrutinizing possible providers, look into what layers of protection are in place. See if there is two-step authentication, data encryption, and an adequate privacy policy in place. Fraud and identity theft are rampant these days, so safeguarding financial information is a must.

Options for Sending and Receiving Money Without a Bank Account

With all those factors in mind, let’s dive into specific options and assess what seems best for you. When it’s time to send or receive funds without a bank account involved, you’ll have a few possible paths.

Mobile Wallets

Mobile wallets, or digital wallets, are smartphone apps where you can store your debit and credit cards. Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay are a couple of examples you may have heard of. These services offer a way to pay a friend without cash exchanging hands. Or you might receive funds. These are quick and convenient ways to complete transactions with just a tap or two of your smartphone to use that card in a mobile wallet.

There are often no fees involved, and you may enjoy cashback and other rewards for completing a transaction with your linked card. But be mindful that both the sender and receiver must have the same digital wallet for the transaction to be free. If you have PayPal or Venmo, your recipient needs to have them too in order to do a peer-to-peer or P2P transaction. Also, fees may apply when using extras like expedited transfers or paying by credit card, and mobile wallets in the U.S. are often restricted to transfers within our country.

Let’s also consider another concern; a flip side to all the perks. These mobile wallets can get all sorts of information as you use them — and we truly do mean all sorts. Specifically, your name, mailing and email addresses, mobile number, records of your calls and texts, your contacts and calendar, the unique ID number of your mobile device, account information, websites you visit on your mobile device, your current location, where you shop with your mobile device, and possibly how much you spend, what you buy and what loyalty programs you use. Whew, that’s a lot. Are you comfortable with this? In this era of increasing data-privacy concerns, it may be too much for some people.

Money Orders

Money orders may seem like they’ve gone the way of the dinosaur, but they still serve a purpose. You get one from the post office or stores like CVS and Western Union, among others. They can get the job done, but it’s not the fastest way to send money without a bank account. The recipient will need to show identification to cash it. Prices vary depending on the service you use and how much money is sent, but they can be reasonably priced.

For instance, at the post office, you may pay $1.45 for a money order up to $500 and $1.95 for one that’s more than $500, up to $1,000. By the way, money orders are typically capped at $1,000. You could buy multiple ones if you need to transfer more than that amount.

Credit Cards

If you don’t have a bank account to fund the transfer, know that some money transfer services allow you to pay by credit card. Then, your recipient will be able to pick up cash pretty much instantly. It’s easy and convenient, but it’s likely to be more expensive than other methods. For example, Cash App allows you to use a credit card to send funds, but will charge you 3% of the transaction value, and then the credit card you’ve linked may also charge you interest or fees. This might not be your first choice if you have less pricey options available.

Prepaid Debit Cards

A prepaid debit card is another way to move money when a person doesn’t have a bank account. It shares some features of a credit card, debit card, and gift card. It is a debit card that’s been pre-loaded with money, and you can generally use it at any retailer (online or in person) that accepts credit cards. In fact, prepaid debit cards may be associated with credit card networks; think MasterCard or Visa, for example. This means they can be used anywhere that accepts that kind of plastic.

While prepaid debit cards may sound like an easy solution, keep in mind that they can be riddled with fees. For instance, you might get hit with a fee for card activation, making a purchase, adding money to the card, and/or withdrawing money at an ATM. You’ll want to read the fine print because these fees may make prepaid cards a less attractive option compared to others.

Cash or a Check

Cash is king and can be a super-simple way to send or receive funds, even if you don’t have a bank account. It’s one thing if you can just meet up in person and hand over or be handed (discreetly) a stack of money. But if the two parties involved are in different cities, that changes the equation. You could of course, wrap up cash as securely as possible and mail it, but that is ill-advised. Why tempt fate? Maybe it would arrive safely; maybe not.

Let’s say one person involved in a transaction has a bank account and mails the other a check. A lost check situation can occur, or a check might be stolen. Then what? The check-writer could attempt to stop payment, but the sender might wind up out of the money, and the receiver is still empty-handed. That’s a lose-lose. And what if a check arrives safely by mail, but the recipient is without a bank account? They will have to seek out a place to cash the check, and that will involve a fee.

We’ve highlighted some potential problems, but in some situations, cash or a check might be better than not receiving the money at all. That’s for the two people who need to transfer funds to decide.

Money Transfer Services

Money transfer services can be a godsend. No bank account is required for either the sender or recipient. It’s easy. In addition to in person retail outlets, you can now access money transfer services like Western Union and MoneyGram online. It’s a quick transaction; money can arrive as early as the same day.

You have some flexibility, too, such as sending money transfers to a debit card or a mobile wallet. Pay attention to fees, though, as they vary and depend on the amount you’re sending and more. For example, if you use Western Union in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to send between $600 and $800 via the Money in Minutes service, there’s a $33.90 fee. If you transfer $50, the fee will be about $5.

The Takeaway

Having a bank account can be a cornerstone of good money management, but there are a number of Americans who don’t have one. If, for whatever reason you are without one, there are still ways to send and receive money. These include digital wallets, money orders, money transfer services, and other options. Some will have fees and security risks, among other downsides, so take your time to explore the safest, most convenient choice for your situation. Because once cash is gone, it can be hard to get it back.

On the topic of protecting your cash, let’s focus on your banking for a moment. How would you like to earn a super-competitive interest rate and pay no fees? That’s what you’ll find at SoFi when you sign up for our Checking and Savings with direct deposit. You’ll enjoy 1.25% APY and you won’t pay monthly, minimum balance, or overdraft fees (on up to $50). So you keep more of your money, which earns more money.

See how SoFi can make your banking so much better.

FAQ

Can I transfer money to someone without a bank account?

Yes, there are a number of options to transfer money if someone doesn’t have a bank account. These include using a money transfer service, prepaid debit card, mobile wallet, or money order.

What is the best way to transfer money to someone without a bank account?

What’s best depends on the two people involved. What are any time constraints, what is cost-effective, and what method is most convenient? Once these and other factors are considered, you can determine the best method, which might be a money transfer service, a mobile-wallet app, a money order, or a prepaid debit card.

How much does it cost to send money without a bank account?

Costs vary depending on the method you use, the amount of money you’re sending, and whether it is being transferred domestically or internationally. While a domestic money order from the U.S. Postal Service will cost $1.95 for an amount between $500 and $1,000, you might wind up paying considerably more for other transactions.


Photo credit: iStock/santypan

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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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How Many People Have Student Loans in the United States?

How Many Americans Have Student Loan Debt?

Student loan debt and education continue to go hand in hand. According to the latest figures from the Federal Reserve, 30% of U.S. adults had student loan debt upon leaving school.

Federal student loan relief under the CARES Act, set to end on Aug. 31, 2022, has paused monthly federal student loan payments, enacted a 0% interest rate, and halted loan default collections.

However, as the relief window comes to an end, Americans must continue to face their outstanding student debt.

How Many People in the USA Have Student Loans?

The total federal student loan debt crisis amounts to $1.61 trillion in unpaid federal student loans. This outstanding balance is spread among 43.4 million U.S. borrowers.

A 2021 MeasureOne report found that unpaid balances within the federal student loan system account for 92% of U.S. student loan debt. However, U.S. adults are also burdened by private student loans.

As of Q2 2021, Americans have amassed a total of $131.1 billion in unpaid private student loans — accounting for nearly 8% of outstanding student loans in the country.

Who Is the Typical Borrower?

The CollegeBoard’s “2021 Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid” report found that the average four-year, bachelor’s degree graduate left school with an average $26,700 in student debt. Bachelor’s recipients from private nonprofit institutions left school with an average of $33,600 in student debt.

Student Loan Distribution by Institution

Borrowers who were enrolled in a public, four-year U.S. institution received the highest distribution of federal Direct Loan funding.

Nearly 45% of distributed Direct Subsidized Loan funds went toward students enrolled at a four-year school, as did 41% of Direct Unsubsidized Loan funding.

Similarly, 51% of disbursed Parent PLUS Loan funds — designed for parent borrowers on behalf of their college-bound dependant — were for a public, four-year education.

Graduate and professional students who attended a private nonprofit college also received a variety of federal loan funding. Graduate-level students enrolled at a private nonprofit institution saw the highest percentage of total dispersed Grad PLUS Loan funds (68%).

In some cases, student loans for certificate programs may also be borrowed. Some certificate programs are offered at two-year institutions, which make up about 11% of Direct Subsidized loans.

Student Loan Debt by Age

US Adults ages 35 to 49 have a total aggregated balance of $613 billion in federal loans across 14.3 million borrowers. On average, a borrower in this age group has a student debt balance of $42,900, according to CollegeBoard data.

Age

Total Balance

Average Balance per Borrower

Up to age 24 $113.7 billion $15,200
25 to 34 $500.6 billion $33.600
35 to 49 $613.0 billion $42,900
50 to 61 $273.7 billion $43,400
62 and older $92.7 billion $38,600

The next-highest total balance, at $500.6 billion, falls on borrowers ages 24 to 34. The 14.3 million borrowers in this age group have an average loan balance of $33,600.

Borrowers with the highest average balance ($43,400) are those who are ages 50 to 61 — this group accounts for 6.3 million borrowers in the U.S.

Student Loan Debt by Race and Gender

According to a report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), two-thirds of the total U.S. student loan debt is held by women.

Men borrow an average of $29,270 in student loans. By contrast, each woman borrower carries an average of $31,276 in student debt.

Race/Ethnicity (Women)

Cumulative Debt

American Indian or Alaska Native $36,184.40
Asian $27,606.60
Black or African American $41,466.05
Hispanic or Latina $29,302.45
Pacific Islander/Hawaiian $38,747.44
White $33,851.98

Black women face the greatest hurdle when it comes to student loan debt. According to AAUW, one year after graduating, Black or African American women carry the highest cumulative student debt by race and ethnicity at $41,466.05. This figure includes the principal amount and student loan interest rate charges.

What Percentage of College Students Take Out Student Loans?

The percentage of students who borrow student loans vary, based on factors like degree type and institution.

According to the latest data published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the 2019-2020 academic year, 31.8% of undergraduate students received student loans from the federal student loan program.

About 47.6% of bachelor-seeking students attending a private nonprofit received federal student loans, while 13.5% of bachelor’s students enrolled at a public college received federal loan aid.

Among master’s degree students, 51.5% who attended a private nonprofit school received federal aid, compared to 40.5% who attended a public institution.

Finally, 57.4% of students pursuing a non-professional doctorate degree at a private nonprofit received federal loans. Of those who attended a public college, 33.4% of doctoral candidates got a federal loan.

What Is the Total Amount of Money Owed by Americans on Student Loans?

Collectively, Americans have an outstanding student loan balance of $1.61 trillion in federal student loans. This includes Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans, and Perkins Loans. However, this figure doesn’t include education loans from the private sector.

Total private student loans that U.S. adults still owe is estimated at $131.1 billion, according to MeasureOne.

The Takeaway

Americans are carrying a significant student debt burden after leaving school. New and currently enrolled college students will likely see continued rising education costs.

Despite these figures, one of the benefits of student loans is that they can provide access to college for students who might otherwise not be able to finance their education. SoFi Private Student Loans lets eligible students borrow up to the total cost of attendance, through a fast and completely digital process.

Find out if you pre-qualified in just a few minutes.

FAQ

Who holds the majority of student debt?

According to the CollegeBoard, borrowers ages 35 to 49 hold the majority of outstanding federal student debt at $613 billion, with an average balance of $42,900 per borrower.

What is the average student debt in the US?

The average student debt for a public, four-year bachelor’s degree graduate is $26,700, based on 2021 figures from the CollegeBoard.

What is the total amount of student debt owed by Americans?

Americans owe $1.75 trillion in federal and private student loans.


Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

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SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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