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 practice
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
28 User Reviews
Apr 17, 2019 6:52 PM
The best business loan provider I worked with so far. Ready to trust new businesses as well unlike banks and most sham lenders that do not cater for new and small businesses given the uncertainty of revenue and profits. My small retail business in Seattle owes its success to Cardiff as no one was willing to invest in my business but Cardiff did and did so with complete sincerity and honesty! The process was smooth too and I got the cash in my account within 28 hours. My company is running well and I am repaying Cardiff with ease given the flexible terms and the reasonable rate!Reply
May 18, 2019 7:32 AM
True! Great lender! Got a business loan of $150k for my home-based distribution business at 1.18 for a year! The best deal I ever got. My loan manager was a pretty cool guy too!Reply
Jun 6, 2019 7:24 AM
Great service with flexible rates! Their customer service is good too – highly friendly and prompt!Reply
Derek Reichel DVM
Aug 23, 2019 11:41 PM
Paid off a couple of due taxes and arrears through Cardiff’s business line of credit! Excellent service! Just hope they would cut down the damn origination fee the next time!Reply
Sep 12, 2019 10:38 AM
Bad service! Kept ignoring my calls and putting me on the damn waiting list every time I called! Gonna find myself a better lender. Don’t have that much time!!Reply
Oct 3, 2019 2:43 PM
Used Cardiff’s equipment financing to buy a new ice maker, ice crusher, citrus juicer and a couple of other little stuff for my bar in Manhattan. The $100,000 business equipment financing by Cardiff made buying new equipment a lot easier than it would have been on my own! The factor rate I got was 1.17.Reply
Feb 12, 2020 9:46 AM
I started lending from Cardiff back in 2015 when I had just started my gynaecology and obstetrics centre in San Francisco. I was looking for equipment financing to set up my office. Cardiff’s equipment financing at 1.20 factor rate was the best deal I could ask for. The process was easy and simple. Got the loan in my account in 2 days. Took another equipment financing in 2017 and then in 2019, applied for a working capital loan. Got it at 1.18 this time. As I have a bond of mutual trust with the lender, the terms, which were already very easy, got more flexible and easier! It’s been 7 months since I acquired the working capital loan and I must say I am very satisfied with the deal as always! Thanks to Cardiff!Reply
Alanna Purdy PhD
Mar 12, 2020 1:08 PM
The customer service is awesome and the term length for the business loan was just what I needed! Although one does wish for a slightly less factor rate but what they offered was all right too. Can’t argue with lenders really, especially when you are not as smart in financial knowledge!Reply
Mar 12, 2020 8:27 PM
The merchant cash advance deal of 150k helped save my small fast food delivery service in downtown Boston from shutting down in the recent global pandemic situation. The rates were reasonable and the terms flexible given the tight circumstances!Reply
May 8, 2020 7:57 AM
Got a business loan from Cardiff for my Italian restaurant in Manchester. Got it at 1.19 for 1.5 year. Great and instant service!Reply
Jun 17, 2020 1:55 AM
Got an equipment financing worth $200k from Cardiff at 8% interest rate. The equipment loans provided by other lenders I checked had shorter durations which was not easy to handle. So, went with Cardiff. Don’t regret a bit!Reply
Aug 21, 2020 5:31 PM
My law firm in New York was in need of a equipment financing. We had been expanding and needed some office equipment, a bunch of computers and some crucial software. Everything was set up after I applied for the loan but at the final moment these people ditched me! I had ordered the equipment from merchants and they were waiting payment but the lender refused to pay saying my industry was a ”cautionary” one. Well, my bad for overseeing this fact but they needed to be more watchful too. If they did not extend business loans to law firms, they should have said so first when I applied for the loan. It was too late. Wasted so much of my time. Thank God they refunded the documentation fee that I paid them which I am thankful to them for. It would have been better if they had not wasted my time when they had no intention to pay me.Reply
Sep 1, 2020 10:33 AM
Hey! I can totally relate to what you have encountered! I manufacture and distribute furniture which is not a cautionary industry but they refused to extend the decided working capital loan at the final moment, saying my business has “uncertain revenue”. I was shocked! Also with me, they refuse to pay the documentation fee even. Like, they have not refused blatantly but they have not refunded that yet and it’s been 1 month now and they always come up with an excuse to connect me to this department and that “manager”. I am sick and tired of this fraudulent behaviour!Reply
Sep 22, 2020 3:59 AM
Bought a dental chair and a printer at my dental office in Tampa! The equipment loan served me well. I was able to pay the merchants on time! Also restocked some medicines at the office. Great service!Reply
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
Nov 18, 2020 6:26 AM
Dec 4, 2020 5:55 PM
Got equipment leasing from Cardiff of about $150k for my trucking company based in Colorado. Needed to buy an Electric Logging Device and upgrade the software for the rest of my fleet’s devices! Not to mention the investment needed in terms of training the staff and making other changes in the company for the new advancement! The service is not too. Only wish they had paid as fast as they had claimed in the beginning! Got the equipment loan in 5 days as opposed to the promised 24 hours! The origination fee is a pain too! But what can ya do? 3 stars!!Reply
Rey Greenholt DVM
Jan 1, 2021 12:26 PM
Got a $100 business loan for my small roadside Jazz bar in New Orleans! The origination fee is a bit too much at 1.5% but the rest is all good!Reply
Jan 28, 2021 12:19 AM
Not good! After I withdrew a business loan deal earlier than the expected term, they kept spamming my email and phone with promotional stuff. Kept calling me out of nowhere too. I was patient at first and told them I don’t need a merchant cash advance as I had already completed one deal and was in no need for a loan whatsoever but they kept harassing me for weeks! I had to personally visit their office and “request” them to stop this harassment in the name of effin promotion and marketing!! Too frustrating! Bad, bad customer care!Reply
Feb 2, 2021 9:50 PM
The customer service was great! When I first applied for a working capital loan for my spare parts company, I got a response within an hour and a couple of emails later, I was eligible for a 150k business loan! The fund manager was a responsive and supportive guy and everything went quickly and productively! I was happy. Everything was signed. Got the loan at 1.19 for 16 months! The guy told me I would get the credit in just 48 hours. The time passed and I did not get anything. I waited some 24 hours more but still no money! I emailed my fund manager and I half expected him to have vanished now.. He didn’t. The guy called me and showed genuine concern and said he would look into the matter. Got the capital in a week which was not what I was promised but I am still thankful as they were honest and kept me in the loop. 3 stars for their awesome customer care!Reply
Feb 25, 2021 7:34 AM
As I read your comment, I was expecting something else but I must say I am surprised because with me, these people just kept avoiding me after the documentation was complete. Said, I had to wait for my turn!! I was shocked! What turn? They say instant financing! I backed out from the deal! Never working with these people again!Reply
Mar 10, 2021 2:11 PM
Got a 50k business loan at 1.27 factor rate for 8 months! I run a distribution company in Charleston. The deal sounded ridiculous. No small business earns this much to pay off just in terms of loan repayments! Outrageous offer. Not impressed!! These lenders should be more welcoming and accommodating towards small businesses instead of just trying to trap a client and then robbing them of their honest money! Bye bye from me.Reply
Apr 6, 2021 9:44 PM
Thanks to Cardiff’s pathetic customer service, I backed out and found myself a better lending partner! My experience with Ascentium Capital had been great. Their equipment leasing helped me buy office equipment for my pharmacy and some furniture and display racks as well. They were prompt and highly responsive as opposed to Cardiff who were responsive when they needed a client and when they got one, they just kept ignoring my calls!Reply
Jun 11, 2021 8:00 PM
Got 250,000 dollars as merchant cash advance by Cardiff at 9%! Been 8 months and 10 more to go. So far, so good! The cash flow served well for my trucking company, provided support with a couple of daily operations as well and helped better the company’s profitability and productivity. Looking forward to moving my business to a new level!Reply
Jul 22, 2021 11:23 AM
Got a $175K merchant cash advance from Cardiff at 1.20 factor rate… Used the business loan for multiple purposes like payroll, some renovation at the office and other day to day activities. Had been a great experience!Reply
Aug 2, 2021 1:41 AM
My wife and I run a retail store in Denver. We were looking to expand our business from our garage to a proper warehouse and hire a couple of helpers as well. We contacted Cardiff and discussed our plans with a representative and she was more than happy to help. We finalised a $250,000 business line of credit for 2 years at 1.23 buying rate. We would have appreciated lesser rate but as cordial as the rep was, she was not too flexible with her terms saying that was all the lender could offer. The 2% origination fee was not a welcoming idea as well but we decided to go with the business loan as we had a better chance of getting a loan by Cardiff than we had through a bank who obviously charge much much more and ask for collateral and all that crap! So, we went ahead with the deal and it’s not all that bad!Reply