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Best short-term business loans in March 2023

Mar 16, 2023
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Compare the best short-term business loans in March 2023

Bluevine line of credit Established businesses 625 Up to $250,000 26 weeks or 12 months
Credibly merchant cash advance Merchant cash advance 550 $2,500-$400,000 3-18 months
Fora Financial small business loan Bad credit 500 $5,000-$1.4 million 4-15 months
Funding Circle term loan Secured loan 660 $25,000-$500,000 6-84 months
American Express Business Blueprint™* Lines of credit 640 $2,000-$250,000 See below
National Funding working capital loan Startups 600 $10,000-$500,000 4-24 months

Bluevine line of credit: Best for established businesses

Minimum FICO credit score
Minimum annual revenue
Minimum time in business
24 months
Interest rates from
Loan amount
Up to $250,000
Term lengths
6 or 12 months


Overview: Bluevine is a financial technology company that offers large lines of credit with relatively low interest rates. You can get lines of credit as large as $250,000, but will only be eligible if you have an established business with nearly $500,000 in revenue each year. Bluevine also offers a business checking account.

Why Bluevine is best for established businesses: Bluevine only lends to companies that have been around for a few years. That gives it the flexibility to offer relatively low interest rates and large loan amounts. 


  • High loan amounts
  • Relatively low rates


  • Significant eligibility requirements
  • No traditional loans available, only lines of credit
  • Not available in Nevada, North Dakota or South Dakota

Credibly merchant cash advance: Best for merchant cash advances

Minimum FICO credit score
Minimum annual revenue
$180,000 (and at least $15,000/month for three months)
Minimum time in business
6 months
Factor rate from
Loan amount
Term lengths
3-18 months


Overview: Credibly merchant cash advances let you address cash flow problems that can make buying inventory or making payroll hard. Credibly excels at quick approvals and funding, getting money to your account in as little as two days. Your payments are based on a percentage of your company’s future income until the advance is paid off, helping you avoid large, difficult payments.

Why Credibly is best for merchant cash advances: Credibly has easy credit requirements, only asking for a FICO score of 550 or higher. It also has incredibly quick approvals and funding, which is essential for merchants in need of quick cash.


  • Fast approvals
  • Funding in as little as 48 hours
  • No collateral


  • Daily repayment
  • High fees
  • $180,000 annual revenue required

Fora Financial small business loan: Best for bad credit

Minimum FICO credit score
Minimum annual revenue
$144,000/year ($12,000/month)
Minimum time in business
3 months
Factor rate from
Loan amount
$5,000-$1.4 million
Term lengths
4-15 months


Overview: Fora Financial has some of the lightest eligibility requirements among lenders on this list, but the trade-offs are high fees and factor rates. The company offers prepayment discounts on its small business term loans, so you may save if you pay the loan off quickly. The lender also offers a revenue advance product that works like a merchant cash advance.

Why Fora Financial is best for bad credit: Fora has generous qualification requirements. You can get a loan after just 3 months of operating and with a poor FICO score in the 500s. Despite this, it offers highly flexible loans with very high limits.


  • Low FICO score requirement
  • Only requires 3 months in business
  • Large loan limit


  • High factor rates compared to other lenders
  • Limited repayment terms
  • Payments aren’t reported to credit bureaus

Funding Circle term loans: Best for secured loans

Minimum FICO credit score
Minimum annual revenue
No set requirement
Minimum time in business
Two years
APR from
Loan amount
Term lengths
6 months-7 years


Overview: Secured loans require some form of collateral, letting lenders offer lower rates and easier qualification. Funding Circle has no revenue requirements for its secured loans and gives businesses as long as seven years to pay their loans back. The company offers fast approval and funding in just 48 hours. Funding Circle also offers lines of credit.

Why Funding Circle is best for secured loans: Funding Circle has no revenue requirements and offers repayment timeline flexibility. That makes it a strong choice for companies that may not qualify for loans from lenders focused on bigger businesses so long as they have something to secure the loan.



  • Requires two years in business
  • No unsecured loan option
  • High origination fee

American Express Business Blueprint™️: Best for lines of credit

Minimum FICO credit score
Required avg. monthly revenue
At least $3,000
Minimum time in business
12 months
Monthly fee from
2.00%-9.00% for 6-month loans, 7.50%-18.00% for 12-month loans, 15.75%-27.00% for 18-month loans
Loan amount


Overview: Business Blueprint, formerly Kabbage, is a service from American Express offering flexible lines of credit. What makes the service unusual is that it doesn’t charge interest, instead assessing a monthly fee when you have an outstanding balance.

Why Business Blueprint is best for lines of credit: Business Blueprint offers lines of credit with flexible amounts and relatively fair eligibility requirements. Even businesses earning just a few thousand a month may qualify. 


  • Low minimum and high maximum amount
  • Relatively fair eligibility requirements
  • No maintenance or annual fee


  • Fee structure may be more confusing than interest payments
  • Requires collateral
  • Require personal guarantee

National Funding working capital loan: Best for startups

Minimum FICO credit score
Minimum annual revenue
Minimum time in business
6 months
Factor rate from
Loan amount
Term lengths
4-24 months


Overview: Online lender National Funding may be a good choice for startups — so long as they’re making enough revenue. You can qualify for a loan as large as $500,000 after just six months of operating. It also offers equipment financing that new companies can use to buy the tools they need to operate.

Why National Funding is best for startups: National Funding only requires six months in business and offers loans as low as $5,000 or up to $500,000. This flexibility allows businesses to borrow only the needed amount. Plus, National Funding doesn’t require collateral, so you don’t have to worry about potentially losing business assets.


  • Requires just six months in business
  • Flexible loan amounts
  • Flexible loan terms


  • High revenue requirement for a startup
  • Origination fee
  • No monthly payment option — just daily or weekly

The Bankrate guide to choosing the best short-term business loans

Every business will face financial issues at some point, such as running low on cash or needing some additional funds to stock up before the busy season. Unlike long-term loans, which are usually for large amounts and best suited for major purchases or expansion, short-term business loans are designed for these smaller needs.

We looked for some of the best short-term business loans, all with minimum repayment periods under 12 months. We selected these options based on factors like their eligibility requirements and overall cost.

Below, you’ll also find guidance about how much a short-term business loan costs, when they’re worth pursuing and how to apply.

What are short-term business loans?

Short-term business loans are like any other business loan, just with a shorter repayment period. Typically, the lender will want you to repay the loan over a few months to a few years rather than 10 or more years for long-term loans.

Due to their short repayment terms, some loans require weekly or even daily payments rather than monthly payments. Before committing, make sure your business can keep up with the repayment schedule.

Some common types of short-term business loans include:

  • Business lines of credit: These let you draw funds from a pool of credit only when you need to, up to a limit. You only pay interest on the outstanding balance and can draw funds multiple times. These can be useful when you need flexibility but may have variable interest rates that can cause your payments to spike.

  • Term loans: This is a popular loan type. You get a lump sum at the start of the loan and pay it back over time in regular payments of fixed amounts. They’re useful for large one-time expenses.

  • Invoice factoring: Not technically a loan, invoice factoring involves selling your invoices to a company that sends you a portion upfront, collects the remainder and keeps a percentage. These may appeal if you’re dealing with slow-to-pay clients.

How much do short-term business loans cost?

Short-term business loan costs vary. It depends on market forces, your company and your personal and business credit.

Typically, larger, more established businesses with owners that have strong personal credit scores will secure lower interest rates. Young companies with poor credit can face punishingly expensive loans.

Some short-term loans use a factor rate rather than interest. To determine how much you’ll owe using factor rates, multiply your loan amount by the factor rate. For example, if you borrow $10,000 at a factor rate of 1.15, you’ll have to repay $11,500.

Factor rates are common for merchant cash advances.

Typical business interest rates range from 6 percent to over 50 percent, depending on the type of lender and your company’s creditworthiness. Factor rates can range from 1.09 to 1.5 or more.

Other business loan costs include fees like origination fees and early repayment fees, so be sure to read the fine print.

A short-term business loan might be a good idea if…

You might want to apply for a short-term business loan if:

  • You’re facing a budget shortfall. A short-term loan can give you an infusion of cash if you need funds to buy inventory or cover an unexpected expense.

  • You want to take advantage of an opportunity. Sometimes, a great deal falls into your lap and it could be a boon for your company, if only you could afford it. Imagine you own a restaurant and the chance to open a new location in a popular area appears, but you need cash tomorrow. A short-term loan could help.

  • You don’t have collateral. Many short-term loans don’t require collateral, making them an option for newer companies or those without significant assets.

A short-term business loan might be a bad idea if…

Short-term business loans can be expensive and, in some cases, dangerous for your company’s future. You might want to avoid them in these situations:

  • You have long-term cash flow issues. Getting a loan to cover a short-term budget issue isn’t a big deal. However, if you’re facing a more long term or repeated problem with your company’s cash flow, a loan will only make it worse by saddling you with payments. You should look for other ways to cut costs and fix your cash flow.
  • You can’t find a reasonable rate. Some business lenders charge massive interest rates. If repaying the loan will put you deeper in trouble than you were to begin with, look for other options. Use a business loan calculator to see loan costs.

How to get a short-term business loan

If you’ve decided that a short-term loan is the right move for your business, follow these steps to get a loan.

  1. Choose a loan type: Think about your needs and decide whether you’ll get the most benefit from a line of credit, term loan, merchant cash advance or another type of loan. Consider that different types have different maximum loan amounts.

  2. Decide how much to borrow: Figure out how much money you need to cover your needs. Also, make sure you can afford to repay that amount within the set term. 

  3. Confirm eligibility: Take the time to gather documents that show your company’s revenue and time in business. Also, check your personal and business credit scores. Compare what you learn against lenders’ eligibility requirements.

  4. Compare lenders: Look at a few different lenders offering the type of loan you want. Choose the one that fits your needs best while considering things like interest rates, speed of funding, fees and terms.

  5. Gather documents: Take the documents you gathered when checking your eligibility and gather any other needed paperwork, such as your business plan, business tax ID number and financial statements.

  6. Apply: Go to your chosen lender’s website or a local branch and fill out an application. Be ready to speak with a representative to discuss your loan’s details.

FAQs about fast business loans


To choose the best short-term business loans, we ensured all loans featured are broadly available across the United States, have a minimum term of no longer than 12 months and offer a minimum funding speed of fewer than five days. We then considered features that make loans affordable and accessible to businesses with different characteristics, including interest rates, loan amounts, credit score requirements, minimum annual revenue and fees. We selected a variety of loan types to best serve businesses with differing needs.