A closer look at our top business loans
Credibly: Best for bad credit
Overview: Established in 2010, Credibly is a direct lender of working capital loans and cash advances to small businesses needing fast funding. It also partners with other lenders to offer business lines of credit, long-term loans, equipment financing, SBA loans and invoice factoring.
Why Credibly is the best for bad credit: Qualifying for a traditional business loan with poor or bad credit is difficult, but Credibly is an alternative. As an online lender, Credibly is known for being flexible with its lending requirement, so businesses with a minimum personal credit score of 550 could qualify for funding.
Who Credibly is good for: Since Credibly requires at least $300,000 in annual revenue, it best fits businesses with challenged credit but healthy revenue. Its website says it accepts a three-month average revenue of $15,000 per month, though a spokesperson stated a higher revenue requirement of $25,000 per month. There’s also no need to provide a personal guarantee, backing the loan with personal assets.
Funding Circle: Best for flexible repayment terms
Overview: Funding Circle helps small businesses find conventional business loans online without the hassle of long documentation and processing times. It’s helped 135,000 small businesses receive term loans and lines of credit, usually funding within 48 hours.
Why Funding Circle is best for flexible repayment terms: Unlike other online lenders, Funding Circle offers short and long-term repayment options. The term lengths for their business term loans range from six months to seven years, allowing businesses to tailor funding and repayment terms to their budget.
Who Funding Circle is best for: Funding Circle works well for established, low-revenue businesses with fair credit. It accepts businesses with a minimal $50,000 per year in revenue and two years in business. But you’ll need a fair personal credit score of at least 660 to be accepted by this lender.
National Funding: Best for early payoff discounts
Overview: National Funding was founded in 1999 and states it has worked with hundreds of industries and communities. National Funding business loans include working capital loans, short-term business loans, equipment financing and leasing.
Why National Funding is the best for early payoff discounts: National Funding’s working capital loans offer a 7 percent discount on loan fees if you repay within 100 days of taking out the loan. Its loan ranges from $10,000 to $400,000 with repayment terms from four to 18 months. It also doesn’t require collateral, according to its website. These features make its working capital loan accessible for covering small, short-term expenses.
Who National Funding is best for: Any business ready to get and pay off a loan in less than four months will benefit the most from National Funding’s working capital loan. You can also get funding within 24 hours, helping you finance your next project quickly.
Fundbox: Best for startups
Overview: Founded in 2013, Fundbox provides working capital loans for small businesses in the form of unsecured lines of credit. Its credit limits range from $1,000 to $150,000, an attainable starting point for startups covering low-cost expenses yet not as high a limit as most lenders. The company doesn’t use traditional interest rates, instead relying on an amortized weekly fee.
Why Fundbox is the best for startups: While startups may struggle with accessing working capital, Fundbox simplifies the process. Apply online to see if you’re approved within three minutes. As long as you have at least six months in business and $100,000 in annual revenue, you should be good to go. Fundbox is also transparent about its fees. Use its online calculator to input your loan amount and chosen repayment term to see your total borrowing costs.
Who Fundbox is best for: Fundbox works best for new businesses needing short-term infusions of cash to maintain a healthy flow of capital. But your repayment term choices are 12 and 24 weeks. Other online lenders can go up to 24 months or longer.
American Express® Business Line of Credit: Best for low revenue requirements
Overview: American Express® Business Line of Credit offers credit from $2,000 to $250,000. The minimum draw amount is $500 for three- and six-month loan terms if your balance is greater than $500 or $100 for three- and six-month loan terms if your balance is less than or equal to $500. For 12- and 18-month loan terms, the minimum draw amount is $10,000. A fee is charged instead of interest each month there’s an outstanding balance; it ranges from 3.00% to 9.00% on six-month terms, 6.00% to 18.00% on 12-month terms and 9.00% to 27.00% on 18-month terms.
Why Business Blueprint is the best for low revenue requirements: Business Blueprint takes the hassle out of securing the cash you need with its seamless online application process and doesn't require extensive business experience and hefty revenue to access a line of credit.
Who Business Blueprint is good for: This loan may suit smaller and young businesses that need access to a generous cash flow as they grow their operations.
* All businesses are unique and are subject to approval and review.
Bank of America Business Advantage term loan: Best for the bank experience
Overview: Bank of America is one of the nation's largest originators of commercial loans. Its large bank network sprawls across 38 U.S. states, and the brand serves customers in all 50 states. The bank offers many business loan products from term loans and lines of credit to equipment and SBA loans.
Why Bank of America is the best for the bank experience: Bank of America’s many locations make it an accessible option for many of the nation's small business owners. You can get face-to-face help from a representative to guide you through the business loan process. Plus, you can apply for its unsecured Business Advantage term loan online (so long as you have an online banking ID with the bank) by phone or in person, making it a convenient option among bank loans.
Who Bank of America is best for: Like most banks, Bank of America’s loans are best suited for businesses with strong credit. It doesn’t state its minimum requirements, but generally a personal credit score of 670 or higher is ideal when applying with a traditional bank. Most loans also require you to have an established business with at least two years’ experience. Its cash-secured line of credit does accept less time in business.
Wells Fargo: Best small business line of credit
Overview: Wells Fargo is a well-known financial institution that operates nationwide, with over 10,000 branch locations across the country. It offers a wide range of products, including secured and unsecured small business lines of credit and SBA loans.
Why Wells Fargo is best for small business lines of credit: Wells Fargo offers multiple lines of credit to qualifying businesses. Credit lines range from $5,000 to $1 million and come with a revolving or five-year term. In addition to its competitive rates, which range from an 8.75 percent to 18.25 percent APR, businesses with an unsecured line of credit have access to Wells Fargo's rewards program.
Who Wells Fargo is good for: Wells Fargo business lines of credit are suitable for businesses at all stages. While startups with less than two years of history can potentially get approved for a business line of credit, established businesses will likely have better luck getting approved.
Accion Opportunity Fund: Best for underserved communities
Overview: Accion Opportunity Fund is a nonprofit dedicated to serving underserved communities. It provides access to capital and financial resources to empower and help entrepreneurs, particularly those with limited resources and access to funding, to achieve their business aspirations.
Why Accion Opportunity Fund is best for underserved communities: Underserved communities often face difficulty getting approved through traditional lenders due to strict lending requirements. Accion Opportunity's business loans are designed to eliminate this barrier and provide easy access to funding to help small businesses succeed.
Who Accion Opportunity Fund is good for: Women, people of color and other underserved communities unable to get access to funding through a traditional lender may find Accion Opportunity is a good fit for their business needs. Although the lender does not provide all of its lending requirements on its website, it is known for assessing a variety of financial factors rather than basing its decision solely on a business's credit score.
OnDeck: Best for working capital
Overview: OnDeck is an online lender specializing in small business loans. Its products include term loans and business lines of credit, which are available in 47 states.
Why OnDeck is best for working capital: Flexible lending requirements and fast funding make OnDeck an appealing option for businesses needing working capital. If approved, businesses can get between $5,000 and $250,000 to use for various business purposes.
Who OnDeck is good for: OnDeck is a great choice for fair-credit businesses needing quick access to capital. The lender limits its loans to certain industries, but qualifying businesses may get funds the same day they apply.
Types of small business loans
There are several types of small business loans to choose from. Some have more stringent requirements than others, particularly those offered by traditional banks. But online lenders typically have options available for new businesses and business owners with fair or bad credit.
Here’s a closer look at the different business loan options available.
The most common type of business loan among startups and established companies, term loans let you borrow a lump sum to cover business expenses. Term loans are accessible through most banks and credit unions, and loan amounts range from $1,000 to the millions.
Still, you’ll likely have to generate a sizable amount of revenue and provide a personal guarantee to qualify for funding. Plus, you can expect higher borrowing costs if you’re starting out in your business.
Line of credit
Lines of credit provide access to a pool of funds you can repeatedly draw from, up to your credit limit. While a term loan charges interest on the total borrowed amount the moment you receive funds, with a line of credit, you only pay interest on the funds you use.
There are drawbacks, including the lack of rewards and the limited draw period or time frame that you get to access the line of credit before it closes. The upside is some lenders allow you to make interest-only payments during the draw period, which could be beneficial if you’re trying to get your company’s cash flow back on track.
Equipment loans let business owners purchase business-related equipment. This can be beneficial if you don’t have the funds available to cover the costs of vital resources to keep your business operating efficiently.
Business owners should consider equipment loans for several reasons. Since the equipment acts as collateral for the loan, interest rates tend to be more favorable compared to unsecured term loans. This also helps to make equipment loans more accessible to business owners with fair or bad credit and new businesses.
Merchant cash advance
You can access funding to meet your company’s short-term needs with a merchant cash advance. Funds are disbursed in a lump sum and payable to the lender through a percentage of daily credit card sales or bank withdrawals — typically over a short loan term of one year or less. Lenders use your credit card sales volume to determine the amount you’re eligible to borrow, so bad credit isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker.
Merchant cash advances are a type of bad credit business loan. Instead of interest rates, it charges factor rates, which typically come with faster repayment terms and may even end up costing more than comparable loans that use interest rates.
Invoice financing and factoring
Both invoice financing and invoice factoring allow you to borrow against your unpaid receivables. They’re both accessible types of business loans, often open to startups and bad-credit borrowers. To get approved for these loans, lenders are more concerned with the creditworthiness and repayment history of your invoiced clients.
There’s a key difference between the two. Invoice financing involves receiving an advance of up to 85 percent of your company’s accounts receivables, and you’ll repay the client the amount you borrow (plus fees) once the invoice is paid.
But if you choose invoice factoring, you’ll sell the outstanding invoices directly to the lender in exchange for a lump sum of up to 90 percent of what’s owed. The client will pay the lender directly, and any amount that remains after fees are deducted will be distributed to you.
Backed by the Small Business Administration, SBA loans are loan products featuring competitive rates and generous loan terms to meet the needs of small business owners. They’re accessible through SBA-approved lenders you can locate through the SBA Lender Match Tool, but they come with a few downsides.
Despite the SBA’s intention to provide small business owners with the funding they need, SBA loans come with an application process that’s challenging to navigate. Plus, it could be several months before the loan proceeds are disbursed to you.
For more information on SBA loans, check out the following guides:
These loans are available as SBA-approved microloans or through non-profits, banks and online lenders offering their own microloan programs. With most microloans, you can access up to $50,000 in working capital or startup funding for your business.
Some lenders may charge higher borrowing costs than you’d get with standard business term loans as these loans cater to newer businesses and pose an elevated risk to lenders.
Commercial real estate loan
You can use a commercial real estate loan to purchase or lease a physical space for your company. Some lenders offer up to $5 million in funding with extended repayment periods and competitive interest rates.
Qualifying may be difficult if you’re starting out or your revenue is on the lower end. Plus, you can expect a lengthy application process.
Where to get a small business loan
Don’t limit your options — investigate loans from multiple lenders to get the best rates.
Banks and credit unions
Banks and credit unions typically offer a variety of products, from lines of credit to SBA loans. Requirements tend to be strict, however, and approval can sometimes take months. However, these institutions can offer a face-to-face experience. And bank employees should be skilled at helping you navigate the application process.
Online lenders and fintech
These lenders often specialize in lending to less established businesses, as requirements are often less stringent. Approval and funding may take only a day or two. An all-online experience means navigating the loan on devices at your own speed. However, you need to be careful that the lender is established and legitimate by reading reviews, checking Better Business Bureau ratings and looking at the lender's background.
Some nonprofits specialize in helping small businesses access capital. Some, such as Kiva, operate crowdfunding platforms. They may also run microloan programs. In general, banks and credit unions are best for more established businesses because of the stricter approval requirements. Online lenders and nonprofits may be more forgiving of less established businesses, as some are even geared toward businesses that could not secure funding from more traditional banking options.
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI)
A business loan from a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) offers unique advantages. These institutions are dedicated to supporting underserved communities and promoting economic development, so loans often have more flexible underwriting criteria tailored to meet the needs of small businesses that may face challenges accessing traditional financing.
Minority Depository Institutions (MDI)
Minority Depository Institutions are financial institutions focused on serving minority communities. Like CDFIs, the goal of MDIs is to provide access to capital and financial services and promote economic development in underserved communities.
Banks, credit unions and alternative lenders offer term loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). A business can benefit from an SBA loan due to its favorable terms, lower interest rates, longer repayment periods and flexible eligibility criteria. It provides access to capital for various purposes, such as starting a business, expanding operations, purchasing equipment or refinancing debt and supporting business growth and stability.