Key takeaways

  • Online lenders tend to specialize in short-term loans and can provide funds quickly
  • Banks offer better rates and terms than online lenders, but their application process and funding times are slower
  • Some online lenders can analyze your documents and approve your loan in minutes and may even offer same-day funding

Short-term business loans have short repayment timelines, usually of 12 to 24 months. These loans are good for meeting immediate financial needs, such as operating expenses, inventory, payroll and other working capital needs. While it can take as little as a few hours to get a short-term loan with an online lender, banks can take days or even weeks to fund. Still, there are some advantages to sticking with a well-known bank.

How long to receive short-term bank loans

There are advantages to working with a bank. Bank loans and business lines of credit tend to have better rates and terms than online lenders. You can visit in person to get personalized help and more easily streamline your banking by having a business checking account and loans with the same institution.

Plus, bank loans often have a lot of flexibility. Repayment terms for term loans typically start at 12 months, but you may also be able to choose a longer term of up to 60 months, which can make the monthly payments more manageable. You can then decide to pay the loan off early, though you should check to make sure there are no prepayment penalties.

On the downside, banks don’t offer many loan details on their website. This makes it harder to compare the loan terms without applying or at least getting pre-approved.

Compare banks

Two major banks that offer business loans with the potential for short-term borrowing are Wells Fargo and Bank of America. The banks are fairly tight-lipped about their terms and timelines, but their application process and funding times won’t match the speed of online lenders.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo offers business lines of credit that earn rewards on spending and charge lower fees than many online lenders. There are two unsecured business lines of credit — one for businesses operating for two or more years and one SBA line of credit for businesses less than two years old.

The Prime Line of Credit is for established businesses that generate between $2 million and $10 million in annual revenue. It offers a $100,000 to $1,000,000 revolving credit line with an interest rate of 8.75 percent (Prime + 0.50%), subject to a minimum floor rate of 5 percent. Wells Fargo doesn’t offer a timeline for loan approval and funding, but you’ll need at least a credit score of 680 to be approved for any of these lines of credit.

Bank of America

Bank of America has short-term business loans, including an unsecured business loan that doesn’t require collateral and has a term as short as 12 months with a fixed rate as low as 6.75 percent. This loan requires at least two years in business and $100,000 in annual business revenue. Businesses with at least $250,000 in annual revenue may also qualify for the secured business loan with terms of either four or five years and a fixed rate as low as 6.5 percent.

Bank of America also has two lines of credit for emergency funding or short-term financing. The Business Advantage Credit Line is unsecured but requires $100,000 in prior year annual gross sales. There is also a cash secured business line of credit that could be a good fit for businesses that want to build credit to improve their chances of qualifying for the best rates and terms when they do need a loan.

How long to receive short-term loans from online lenders

Online lenders tend to specialize in short-term loans, which is an advantage. They advertise their approval and funding timelines and have a streamlined online application process that can analyze your documents and approve your loan in minutes. The main disadvantage is these lenders may charge higher interest rates and loan fees than a traditional bank loan.

Compare online lenders

If you’re looking for fast short-term business loans that can provide funds quickly, here’s a look at five top lenders.


OnDeck offers term loans of up to $250,000 and business lines of credit of up to $100,000. Term loans have a repayment term of 24 months, but lines of credit are only 12 months. Payments can be made weekly or monthly. OnDeck also reports to business credit bureaus, so you can build a positive business credit history as you repay your loan.

Eligibility requirements are more relaxed than most bank loans: You only need a credit score of 625, $100,000 in annual revenue and one year in business to qualify.

You can receive your OnDeck business loan funds as fast as the same day. You can also apply for a loan and line of credit at the same time, and if you’re approved for both, choose the best option for your business once you see the final terms. OnDeck also has a 100% prepayment benefit option, allowing qualifying customers to repay their short-term loan early without penalty.


Credibly offers multiple short-term loans, including working capital loans, lines of credit and merchant cash advances. These loans have repayment terms between three and 24 months and are available to business owners with bad credit. You can pay monthly, weekly or even daily to repay your loan as soon as possible.

Credibly charges a factor rate of 1.11 or higher instead of an interest rate. That means you’ll pay 111 percent of your borrowed funds and the initial balance.

While the cost of these loans is extraordinary, you can get approved in as little as four hours. Credibly may be able to deposit your funds the same day. Credibly also offers business lines of credit and equipment loans through its partner lenders.

Bankrate insight

Make sure you convert loans with factor rates to an interest rate and then use a business calculator to compare the total costs of each. Our guide can help.

National Funding

National Funding has small business loans for between $5,000 to $400,000. You could receive short-term loan funds as quickly as within 24 hours, and terms are between four and 24 months.

In addition to short-term business loans, National Funding offers working capital and equipment loans.


Bluevine offers business lines of credit that can be approved as quickly as five minutes. The lender has credit lines up to $250,000 with terms between six and 12 months. Qualifications for approval include at least two years in business, $40,000 in monthly revenue and a minimum credit score of 625. Once approved, businesses can get their funds in just 24 hours.

To get a Bluevine line of credit, you must also have a business that is a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation and had no bankruptcies in the last three years. Interest rates start at 6.20 percent.

SMB Compass

SMB Compass offers nine types of loans. Short-term loans include a bridge loan, invoice and inventory financing and a business line of credit. Starting rates for each type of loan are competitively low, and you can receive SMB Compass funding in just 24 to 48 hours.

Bottom line

The fastest way to get a short-term business loan is through an online lender. What you sacrifice in physical banking locations, these lenders can make up for in fast funding and a streamlined process. Yet, big banks offer greater flexibility, and they often have better rates. Depending on your needs, one of these options may be a better fit. Be sure to research different lenders to make the right decision for your business.

Frequently asked questions

  • Short-term loans are good for meeting immediate financial needs. Businesses that need fast cash to pay for an emergency or upgrade their equipment may be a good fit for a short-term loan.
  • Some online lenders will disperse a loan the same day. Many lenders send out funds within two days of approval. Traditional banks, on the other hand, may take weeks and SBA loans can take 30 to 90 days.
  • Most lenders require a minimum score of 600. It’s possible to find a lender who will offer loans to businesses with a bad credit score, but these loans come with high interest rates and less favorable terms. Building your credit before applying for a loan could save you thousands of dollars if you have time.