Cardiff Reviews - Financial Lender Pros & Cons
- Working capital
- Equipment loans and leasing
- Line of credit
- Merchant cash advance (MCA)
- Accounts receivable financing
- 3 to 18 months for working capital
- 2 to 5 years for equipment financing
- Flexible early payoff options, including 30 days interest-free
- Multiple funding options
- Works with businesses of all sizes
- Will fund businesses with low credit scores
- Can provide funding in 24 to 48 hours
- Some loans have fees
- Information on rates and terms is hard to find
Who should seek funding from Bank of Cardiff?
Small and large businesses with a wide range of funding needs may find a viable alternative to traditional loans from Bank of Cardiff. This lender is willing to work with companies with less-than-perfect credit scores and can offer a variety of options for merchants in need of quick funding for time-sensitive projects or investments.
Cardiff is an alternative lender based in San Diego, California with a regional office in Orange County. This small company is in the business of providing a diverse range of “industry-specific” funding options to businesses in need of cash for working capital, equipment upgrades and growth opportunities. Billing itself as “non-traditional,” Bank of Cardiff reaches into markets not covered by most alternative lenders, going beyond MCAs to provide small and large business loans, lines of credit, accounts receivable financing and more.
A focus on growth for its customers is the guiding principle at Bank of Cardiff, but the content of its website and social media profiles doesn’t clarify how the lender achieves this goal. Although the website contains a great deal of information, much of it is repetitive and doesn’t provide straightforward details for merchants in need of loans. This requires potential customers to contact the company or submit an application to discover their loan options.
The inclusion of a fraud alert policy and information on how to prevent fraud indicates Bank of Cardiff prioritizes the security of its customers. Few alternative lenders have such policies on their websites despite statistics showing 25 percent of lending fraud in digital markets results from fake accounts.
Bank of Cardiff accepts applications from businesses with:
- A minimum FICO score of 550
- One or more years of time in operation for working capital, startups can qualify for equipment financing
- A reasoable amount of negative ending days (NEDs) in the last six months
By making funding available to merchants with less-than-stellar credit and allowing a generous number of NEDs, this lender serves as an alternative to the stringent requirements of banks. It also opens the door for companies to receive the funding they need to grow and succeed if they’re rejected by other “fast-cash” lenders.
Companies not meeting the Bank of Cardiff qualification requirements can still approach the lender for funding if a clear plan for the use of the money is presented. The lender is willing to be flexible with businesses exhibiting focus and vision and may waive or adjust the requirements to provide cash to fund specific projects or needs.
Like many lenders in the alternative funding market, Bank of Cardiff caters to businesses dependent upon fluctuating sales cycles or shifting client bases for the bulk of their profits. These include:
- Retail stores
- Medical offices
- Dental establishments
All of these businesses have times of year when sales or appointments are more numerous than others, and many experience slow periods during which little money comes in. Even merchants with high customer volume and frequent turnover of products may sometimes require a quick source of funding. When they do, Bank of Cardiff has multiple options to address diverse business needs.
Not every merchant can apply for the financial products offered by Bank of Cardiff. Certain industries are considered too high-risk, and most alternative lenders opt not to extend funding. The following industries are excluded from applying to Bank of Cardiff:
- Automotive dealers
- Financial services
- Law firms
The terms of 3 to 18 months offered on Bank of Cardiff loans are fairly standard in the alternative lending industry. Merchants seeking “fast-cash” options like MCAs are often not in a position to secure traditional loans with longer terms. However, short terms can carry high risks for companies with unpredictable cash flows or existing debt. Even a small loan can require several hundred dollars per week in payments, an amount some businesses may not be able to spare when sales are slow. A more favorable business profile may qualify a merchant for longer terms, but it’s still important to review the required payment schedule before committing to a loan offer.
Equipment financing offers new and established business terms from 2 to 5 years.
What’s Required to Apply
When applying for funding from Bank of Cardiff, merchants should be prepared to provide 6 months of their most recent bank statements and the most recent tax return. Applications must be dated within the past 30 days to be considered.
The application process begins online and requires four short pages of details about both the business and the individual submitting the form. Applicants must provide:
- Business name
- Entity type
- Years in business
- Business contact information
- Tax ID
- Previous year’s sales numbers
- Number of owners
- Ownership of business location
- Personal information and contact details
- Percent of ownership
- Job title within the company
- Type of loan requested
- How the money will be used
- Current credit card processor
- Monthly card sales volume
- Current and past loan status
Signatures are collected electronically at the end of the application. More than one business owner may provide information and sign to complete the process.
No information is provided on how long a merchant can expect to wait to hear back from Bank of Cardiff. Certain loan products, such as working capital loans and MCAs, may be funded in one to two days, but the time it takes for cash to appear in a company’s bank account usually depends on how quickly paperwork is submitted and whether the lender requires additional information before an offer can be approved.
Bank of Cardiff states it requests only “minimal documentation and financial disclosure” from merchants in order for them to qualify, and the lender looks at a company’s strategy and full business profile in addition to basic credit requirements. Some loans need to be secured with collateral depending on the type and financial health of the business.
Rates for Bank of Cardiff loans start at 1.17, but actual rate information is difficult to find on the lender’s website. Rates are often described as “highly competitive” without any actual rate information being provided. Several mentions of competitive service prices suggest Bank of Cardiff seeks to position itself as a more affordable solution to immediate funding needs than other alternative lenders.
Reviews of the company suggest fees can climb significantly for merchants not qualifying for the starting rates. Many previous customers cite high rates as a reason for their dissatisfaction, which is why any company applying for an alternative loan must review the terms and rates carefully before accepting an offer.
At a factor rate of 1.17, a $50,000 loan becomes $58,500. Adding in other fees charged by the lender, the final cost of the loan tops $60,000. At 12-month terms, this amounts to $1,250 per week in loan payments, a significant amount for small businesses that already may be facing financial difficulties. To ensure no payments are missed, merchants must have a clear plan for paying back the full amount of the loan and all related fees.
Merchants carrying existing loans or liens are often rejected by alternative lenders whose policies require first-position status on all loans. Bank of Cardiff is willing to take second position and accept merchants with one existing financial obligation to another lender or institution.
This can be beneficial or detrimental to a business depending on its financial strength. Companies with loans or lines of credit in place with other lenders may need financing, such as equipment leasing, their existing providers don’t offer and could miss out on the opportunity to upgrade and get ahead of the competition if they can’t obtain additional funding. In such a case, a loan from Bank of Cardiff could improve business operations and lead to financial growth in the long term.
However, companies in the practice of stacking loans simply to obtain additional working capital may sink themselves into bankruptcy as payment obligations pile up and more loans are needed just to stay afloat.
Bank of Cardiff transfers loan funds via an ACH and charges $395 for this service.
Merchants obtaining funding from Bank of Cardiff usually pay a 1-3 percent origination fee. On a $100,000 loan, this amounts to $1,000 to $3,000 and must be paid in addition to factor rates and documentation fees.
It’s often the policy of alternative lenders to require a specific percentage of an initial loan to be paid off before considering renewal. Bank of Cardiff, however, touts a commitment to business growth as one of its values and is flexible with renewal and add-on options. Rather than considering a fixed amount paid back as a benchmark, the lender bases renewal decisions on the percentage of the approval taken on the first transaction and seeks to assist merchants with their changing financial needs.
Sometimes it’s possible to pay a loan off early if business picks up. Bank of Cardiff offers a 30 day interest-free early payoff option on approved credit. Other payoff options are also available. Merchants who do not qualify for early payoff options must pay the full amount of the loan and all fees regardless of whether or not they can pay the loan back before the end of the terms.
Bank of Cardiff provides merchants with the flexibility to choose a loan type that’s suited to their needs, financial situation and stage of growth. As long as the money is put toward business expenses, the lender places no restrictions on how merchants spend their funding.
Equipment loans and leases may be used to purchase any type of machinery or technology, allowing businesses in industries like manufacturing and food service to improve their products and offer a better customer experience. Lines of credit and MCAs are often used to bridge gaps in cash flow, and working capital loans can be put toward improvements, renovations, expansions or customer acquisition tactics. When seasonal changes in business require more staff or large inventory purchases in anticipation of sales, a loan from Bank of Cardiff can ensure merchants have what they require in advance of rising demands.
Bank of Cardiff has a solid online presence and maintains mostly positive ratings on several review platforms:
- 4/5 BBB with an A+ rating
- 4.6/5 Facebook
- 4.9/5 Google
- 3.5/5 Yelp
Satisfied merchants praise the lender for its easy application process, fast approval and quick delivery of funds. When traditional funding isn’t a viable option or deadlines for cash requirements are tight, these merchants say Bank of Cardiff’s helpful, polite staff make it easy to get a loan.
Several recurring complaints are found in negative reviews, including:
- High fees and rates
- Incorrect or dishonest information about rates
Aside from the BBB website, Bank of Cardiff doesn’t appear to be responsive to customer complaints or praise. Few answers or dispute resolutions have been posted at the time of this writing.
Licenses & Accreditations
Bank of Cardiff has been BBB accredited since 2015. This lender has not yet been reviewed by any high-profile financial websites. Their California Finance Lender License Number is 603-G469
Company Contacts Details
- William S. Stern, Managing Director
- Dean G. Lyukin, Managing Director
3 User Reviews
Oct 23, 2020 9:02 AM
Just finished paying off my fourth loan with Cardiff. I've been working with them for the last two...well, maybe almost three years. I have a small trucking company out of Texarkana and use them similar to how we used factoring in the past. The reason why we stopped using factoring and switching to these daily payment loans had to do with pride. We were never fond of how the factoring company would contact the people we haul for. It's embarrassing and frankly it just further contributes to us feeling small and under the microscope. Just imagine you have an invoice for $100K and some young kid calls that company, whoever they are, and says that they need to corroborate this invoice. What's even worse is that sometimes the factoring company would ask for additional paperwork so that the invoice could be approved. I think the people that contract with us would rather not have to deal with that BS and frankly I'm good being done with them. Good riddance.Reply
Oct 23, 2020 9:31 AM
So, Cardiff has been around for 16 years or so. I learned about them originally through the National Restaurant Association (NRA) show in Chicago years back. I think the way it happened was that they were partners with Hoshizaki and we were buying from one of their distributors in Menifee. Well, the distributor hooked us up with Cardiff. Cardiff's interest rates on their equipment financing loans were pretty standard run of the mill. I think we paid around 12% for an equipment lease with a $1 buyout at the end of the term. We weren't charged a bunch of fees or anything like that so we built upon that experience as we need to buy more kitchen or front of the house equipment like lighting, booths, a bar and a new point of sale system. Then, when we opened a second location, we used them again. We didn't change our name or anything like that, so they treated our second location as an expansion and we were able to leverage the time in business from the first restaurant, even though we had different investors in the second when compared to the first.Reply
Casandra Jacobi DDS
Oct 23, 2020 12:44 PM
We got an offer in the mail from Cardiff. We checked their reviews and everything seemed to check out. We used them for dental chairs and a used CT scanner. Our interest rate on our equipment loan through Cardiff was ~9%.Reply