How to get a fast business loan
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If you’re thinking about getting a small business loan, it helps to be prepared. To apply and get approved for one can take time and research. And finding the right option for your business depends on a number of factors, like how fast you want to receive funds.
Some business loans can take weeks or months to be approved. SBA loans can take up to 90 days to receive funding after an application.
But fast business loans could offer funding in as little as 24 hours. Read on to learn how to secure fast funding for your small business.
Know how much you can afford
If you want a fast business loan, start by looking into how much you can afford to borrow. Take a look at your business revenue and compare it to your current expenses. Then use a small business loan calculator, which can show you total loan amounts, monthly payments and how much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.
Find the type of fast business loan you need
Some types of business loans offer much faster funds than other types. While some traditional banks and credit unions may offer quick financing, fast business loans are usually found with alternative lenders. Here’s a look at a few common types of fast business loans and their advantages and disadvantages.
Online term loans
Online lenders often focus on fast funding more than larger, traditional banks can. For example, Credibly business loans can be approved in as little as four hours, with funds possibly arriving in less than 24 hours. Another benefit is that these lenders are often more accessible to a broad range of borrowers, even business owners looking for bad credit business loans.
A potential drawback is that faster online funding may come in smaller amounts. These loans also tend to have higher interest rates compared to traditional loans from banks and credit unions.
SBA Express Loan
SBA loans tend to have favorable rates and long repayment terms, which makes them worth the typically long wait.
For businesses that want an SBA loan, but need cash fast, the federal government created the SBA Express loans. There are two types of these fast business loans, the SBA Express and the Export Express. For the SBA Express, the SBA will respond to your application in as little as 36 hours. The Export Express is set up for the SBA to respond to your application within 24 hours. Even though you get a faster response, receiving your funds will still take longer than the speed of online lenders.
Another downside is that even though these loans are set up for faster approval, credit score requirements for SBA loans tend to be higher than other loan types, usually in the mid-600s. The loan may also require business collateral, meaning the lender can take any assets you pledge to help secure the loan if you fail to pay back the loan.
Business lines of credit
Business lines of credit offer flexible credit that you can borrow from, up to a certain amount and only pay interest on what you use. Online lenders tend to offer fast approval and funding time and have relaxed requirements like lower credit scores.
A potential drawback is that lines of credit tend to have smaller loan amounts and shorter payback periods. With a term loan, you pay back the lump sum you borrowed over the course of the term, often anywhere from six months to up to seven years or more. Repayment terms for lines of credit, especially with online lenders, might run as short as six, 12, or 18 months.
Invoice financing and invoice factoring
With invoice factoring, you sell your invoices to a factoring company and receive a percentage of the invoice upfront right away. On the other hand, invoice financing allows you to borrow directly against unpaid invoices.
Both of these have the potential to be good short-term options when you need fast funding that can be paid back quickly. And since invoice financing and factoring lenders are more concerned with the payment history of invoiced clients, they’re considered a type of bad credit business loan open to startup businesses and business owners with poor credit.
The downside to invoice financing and factoring is that you lose out on getting the full value of your invoices since you’ll have to pay fees.
Equipment financing typically can only be used to purchase equipment, such as office equipment or semi trucks. Many lenders won’t require you to put up anything you already own as collateral for this type of loan since the equipment you purchase secures the loan.
Depending on the lender, you may be able to secure financing within days compared to weeks with traditional lenders.
Merchant cash advances
A merchant cash advance (MCA) allows you to borrow against your future debit or credit card sales. You can find this option through online lenders as well, with one-day applications and funds available in as little as 48 hours in some cases. It can open up quicker and more stable cash flow for business expenses.
The biggest drawbacks with MCAs are the high interest rates and often short repayment periods. Lenders may charge factor rates for this type of financing. Not only does this make it harder to understand the true cost of the loan, but rates can soar upwards of 80 percent and higher.
Find the right lender
Once you decide how much you want to borrow and the type of loan that works for you, it’s time to find a lender. You can look at our list of the best small business loans, search for yourself or ask around in your industry.
Next, compare any listed eligibility requirements. Lenders often list how much time you need to be in business, annual revenue requirements and minimum credit scores.
Also, assess approval times and funding speeds. Online lenders especially tend to list how long the application process takes and how long funds take to hit your bank account.
Compare rates and terms
Before you settle on one loan, you should compare multiple options from different lenders. The downside to this is that it can be hard to find all the details you need to help you compare. Some lenders may only list starting rates and funding speeds. Some may not list any information at all.
To get an accurate picture, you may have to contact each lender or apply to see the rates and terms you are eligible for.
Pros and cons of fast business loans
Getting a loan is a major decision that can affect your finances for years down the road. Below we’ve listed several pros and cons to see if it’s right for you.
- Faster funding than traditional banks, sometimes offering funds in 24 hours
- Often has the ease and convivence of an all-online experience
- A wide variety of loan types offer fast funding options, including SBA loans
- Online lenders tend to offer higher interest rates and lower loan amounts than loans from banks and credit unions
- Fast funding options often are online only, which can be a drawback for anyone who wants in-person assistance
You have a number of options for fast funding, which may approve you in as little as minutes to a day. Funds can also appear in your account within hours. But it’s important to not let the ease and speed of the process turn into an impulsive action. Take time to compare loan types, rates, terms, and other features very carefully.
Frequently asked questions
Plenty of online lending options advertise that you can get approved in minutes and receive funds within hours if you qualify. Other options may take up to days to approve you and you may see funds within 48 hours. These options are preferable for some business owners since traditional lenders may take weeks to approve a business loan.
The easiest business loan to get can depend on your background and what you are looking for in a loan. Most business loans can be easy to get if you have excellent credit, have been in business for years and have high annual revenue. Other loan types, like equipment financing, invoice factoring and merchant cash advances may be your best option if you have bad credit or a new business. SBA microloans are also an option for business owners with poor credit and startups.
The SBA Export Express loan will respond to your application within 24 hours, much faster than other types of SBA loans, while the SBA Express loan has a 36-hour turnaround time on applications.