A small business loan is a financing tool for a current or aspiring business owner to borrow funds to purchase, operate, or improve a small business. They give small business owners the funds needed to invest in and grow their business and could mean the difference between closing down or staying in business. They can also help relieve some financial stress on the business owner by freeing up cash and helping to meet the needs of their business or even expand into a larger space or multiple locations. Rates, terms, and requirements vary by the type of loan and the lender offering it.
We reviewed more than a dozen small business loans and compared them based on the type of loans offered, the application process, loan requirements, terms, loan amounts, and more. Keep reading to find out more about which small business loan is right for your growing business.
Best Overall : Kabbage
Why We Chose It: Kabbage offers financial solutions especially built for small businesses and is technologically driven with flexible funding.
Easy application process
An app makes accessing your loan account easy
Minimum time in business requirements
Minimum business revenue requirements
Kabbage was founded in 2009 as an online platform that connects small businesses with cash flow solutions using technology. It was recently acquired by American Express and now has a new servicing platform called K Servicing to manage and make payments on your loans entirely online.
The company offers banking services for small businesses, as well as payment processing loans, short-term loans, lines of credit, industry-specific loans, and PPP loans. It has a simple application process with less paperwork and more lenient requirements than a typical bank. Its goal is to get small businesses the funds they need in an uncomplicated and timely manner.
You can apply for a loan online and receive approval the same day. You must be in business for at least one year and have revenue above $50,000 annually to qualify for a Kabbage small business loan. Loan terms are typically between six and 18 months and there are no prepayment penalties or hidden loan fees. Loan amounts and qualifications depend on the type of loan but typically go up to $250,000 or $350,000.
The company has positive overall reviews; customers like the website, the loan options, and the helpful small business resources, but some customers complain about the lack of responsiveness from customer service agents. In addition to small business loans and banking services, it offers resources for small business owners with customer stories, helpful tips, and cash flow insights.
Best for SBA Loans : Fundera
Why We Chose It: Fundera offers multiple SBA loans with an informational section on how to apply and cost breakdowns.
Lots of different types of small business loans to choose from
Accounting, legal, human resources, and other services offered on the site
Apply for SBA loan directly on the site with multiple SBA lenders
Minimum credit score of 550 is required
Some loans require collateral such as real estate, inventory, or equipment
Not a direct lender so you’re dealing with different lenders
Fundera is an online loan marketplace for small business owners. It specializes in Small Business Association (SBA) loans, as well as term loans, equipment financing, lines of credit, business credit cards, and more. It was founded in 2013 and instead of lending money itself, it connects small businesses with the best loan options on the market. It works with top SBA lenders to offer the SBA 7(a) loan, 504 loans, and microloans.
You fill out one simple loan application and compare dozens of loan options at once. The company then pairs you with a lending specialist to learn more about your business and which loans would be the best fit. You get to compare the loans and then choose the one you want to go with. Your loan specialist stays with you for the duration of your loan and even helps you find better loan products as your business grows.
Loan rates, requirements, and terms vary but expect to have a repayment term from 10 to 20 years for a 504 loan. The maximum loan amount is usually $5 million and you can expect a 5% to 6% interest rate. Fees are typically 3% of the loan amount and these loans are usually best for purchasing major fixed assets.
Best for Bad Credit : BlueVine
Why We Chose It: BlueVine offers lines of credit and invoice factoring with low credit score requirements and fast funding time.
Low credit score requirements
Financing available for startups
Fast loan approval and funding times
Some customers complained about inconsistent customer service
Weekly repayment schedules
Founded in 2013 as a financial technology startup company, BlueVine provides cash flow solutions to small businesses that may not qualify at other banks and financial institutions. The founder was inspired by his dad and the small business he owned, so he started the company to help other small business owners avoid some of the struggles his dad faced in terms of business financing and small business loans.
BlueVine offers PPP loans, invoice factoring, and business lines of credit to small businesses. It also offers business checking accounts and a business blog with advice and tips. The company’s goal is to help businesses that have inconsistent cash flow get the funds they need quickly without strict requirements.
Invoice factoring is also offered. BlueVine buys your companies unpaid invoices and gives you a lump sum of cash, giving you cash now without having to wait for the invoices to be paid in full. To qualify, you need to be U.S.-based and have a 530 credit score, at least three months in business, and at least $10,000 per month in business revenue. Loan amounts range from $20,000 to $5 million.
Best for Microloans : Kiva
Why We Chose It: Kiva provides small loans with low interest rates, and you can market your product or service to Kiva members around the world.
Rates for microloans start at 0%
Repayment terms up to 36 months
Company focuses on funding for underserved communities
Funding may take 30 days
Loan amounts only go up to $15,000
Kiva was founded in 2005 in San Francisco, California, and is a global nonprofit company that offers crowdfunded loans for the underserved. The company also has offices in Portland, Bangkok, Nairobi, and staff around the globe. It’s a peer-to-peer lending platform and investors can help fund loans for people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to capital. It believes that too many people don’t have access to the funds they need and that there should be more financial inclusivity for everyone.
Microloans start at 0% interest rates and maximum loan amounts are $15,000. Loan repayment terms are up to 36 months. There is an app and you can also choose to give a gift or a donation in addition to your loan. Investors get to choose where their funds go and it encourages a sense of community and connection between its members.
You can lend as little as $25 on Kiva and 100% of the loan amount goes toward funding loans on the platform. Kiva has funded more than $1.55 billion in loans in 77 different countries.
Best for Same-Day Funding : Rapid Finance
Why We Chose It: Rapid Finance is known for its same-day funding and easy loan application process.
No prepayment penalties
Positive customer service reviews
Fast application process
Higher interest rates
Frequent repayments as often as daily
Rapid Finance was founded in 2005 in Bethesda, Maryland, as a technology-powered financial services company. It provides working capital to small and mid-sized businesses across the country. It’s a sister company to Quicken Loans and has a range of financing options that serves a variety of industries and sectors. It specializes in short-term loans with fast funding times.
The company offers small business loans, business lines of credit, SBA loans, invoice factoring, bridge loans, asset-based loans, and commercial real estate loans. In addition, the site has business resources, small business guides, and a blog with tips and industry news. Rates and terms vary by loan type, but small business loans typically have terms from three months to 60 months and require a business bank account for funding.
You can apply online or with a representative over the phone and get a quote within a few minutes. Funding for some loans can be as soon as a few hours after the application is approved, and the money can be used for business expansion, marketing solutions, equipment leasing, debt consolidation, technology upgrades, working capital, and more.
The company has funded over $2 billion in loans across a variety of industries.
Best for New Businesses : OnDeck
Why We Chose It: Same-day funding is offered for some of OnDeck’s loans and there is a simple application process.
Low minimum loan amounts
Discounts on future loans
Fast funding times
Some loans have prepayment penalties
Daily or weekly repayment schedules
Founded in 2006 in New York City, OnDeck uses proprietary software and an algorithm to compile a company’s financial data and determine their loan eligibility. The company offers term loans and business lines of credit as well as multiple types of small business loans, and it has funded more than $13 billion in loans.
Most loans can be applied for on the site or over the phone with a loan advisor in about 10 minutes. Loans are typically approved the same day and some even fund as quickly as the same day. If a new business needs cash, these fast turnaround times are quite helpful, as are the low minimum loan amounts of $5,000.
Term loans are between $5,000 and $250,000 with a lump-sum of cash upfront and the option to apply for more money once the loan is halfway paid off. Terms are up to 18 months.
Credit score needed, minimum time in business, and rates vary depending on the type of loan, industry, and location of your business. However, rates typically start at 9% and loan amounts are between $6,000 and $100,000 with a 12-month repayment term that resets after each withdrawal for a business line of credit.
There’s a team of U.S.-based loan advisors to answer questions and assist you throughout the loan process. Customers have left positive overall reviews praising the easy loan process and quick funding times.
We highlighted several direct lenders, loan marketplaces, and lenders that offer small business loans. Some lenders have same-day funding, others offer short-term loans, and others have more lenient credit requirements. We chose the best small business loans out there and each of them has something different to offer.
However, we recommend checking out Kabbage first. The company offers multiple types of small business loans, has a simple application process, and fast loan approvals.
|Best Small Business Loans|
|Company||Why We Chose It||Maximum Loan Amount||Repayment Terms|
|Multiple loan types and fast approvals||$350,000||Six to 18 months|
Best for SBA Loans
|Apply for multiple SBA loans on the site||$5 million||Varies|
Best for Bad Credit
|Low credit score requirements and fast funding times||$5 million||Varies|
Best for Microloans
|Offers microloans around the world and helps empower small business owners||$15,000||36 months|
Best for Same-Day Funding
|Same-day funding and easy applications||Varies||Three to 60 months|
Best for New Businesses
|Fast funding times and small loan minimums make it ideal for new businesses||$250,000||18 months|
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Small Business Loans Work?
Small business loans vary depending on the loan type, lender, and loan amount.
For example, a restaurant loan may look different from a loan for an online business. Typically, you apply for the small business loan over the phone or online and receive a lump-sum payment once the loan is approved and funded. This will come with agreed-upon payback terms including a specified interest rate, payment schedule, and loan amount including fees.
It’s important to know all of the costs of the loan upfront including any origination or prepayment penalty fees, as these will affect your monthly repayment costs and the overall cost of the loan.
How Do I Qualify for a Small Business Loan?
To qualify for a small business loan you typically need to:
- Be in business for at least one year
- Have annual revenue of $50,000 or more
- Minimum credit score of 550
- No recent bankruptcies or foreclosures
- Have a business in an industry that the lender works with
- Have a business checking account
Keep in mind that small business loan qualifications vary greatly between loan types and lenders. Get all of your questions answered upfront so you know what the loan requirements and expectations are.
What Credit Score Do I Need to Qualify for a Small Business Loan?
Typically, the higher your credit score, the better loan rates and terms you will see, which will save you money in the long term. Each lender and type of loan has its credit score requirements, but 550 is usually the lowest credit score accepted for a small business loan, although one company does accept 530 for invoice factoring loans only.
What Can I Use a Small Business Loan For?
The lender and the type of loan will determine what you can use your small business loan for. Typically, you can use a small business loan to purchase inventory, buy business-related equipment, have working capital, make payroll, use it for marketing and advertising, and some loans even allow you to use funds to purchase real estate to expand your business.
We researched more than a dozen of the top small business loans before deciding on our top choices. We compared the best small business loans based on several factors including types of loans offered, the application process, loan amounts, terms, and qualifications. We also looked at additional services offered by the companies.
All of our choices are reputable companies with easy-to-use websites and offer reasonable terms with competitive rates and maximum loan amounts.