Sometimes you need fast business funding to cover an emergency or to finance a new business opportunity. Online lenders and some traditional lenders can provide fast small business loans with a simplified application process and funding in a few or even the same business day.

However, fast small business funding options may come with less favorable terms, like shorter repayment periods or higher costs than traditional options, such as SBA or bank loans. Consider the pros and cons and what to look for when choosing a fast small business loan.

Online lenders

If you want the fastest option for small business funding, an online lender may be the best option. These lenders require minimal documentation and use software to streamline the approval process. Not only can you get fast approval, but funding often occurs within 48 hours.

For example, Fora Financial advertises funding in 24 to 72 hours after approval, while Triton Capital may be an option for fast equipment financing. Some business lines of credit even provide same-day funding.


  • Fastest funding option
  • More lenient qualification requirements
  • Use funds for almost any purpose


  • May not build business credit
  • Less favorable loan terms — often only a few months
  • Higher borrowing costs

Who it’s best for

Financing through online lenders may be best for startups, businesses with limited credit history or those with bad credit. Entrepreneurs comfortable with tech may also appreciate the streamlined application process and less stringent guidelines for approval.

Traditional lenders

As traditional lenders, banks and credit unions often have a longer underwriting process with stricter loan requirements than online lenders. Many only work with established businesses. The lengthier process usually stretches to funding, too. But some lenders, such as PNC Bank, are able to fund unsecured loans in one to five days.

Traditional lenders also typically have better interest rates with longer repayment periods and larger loan amounts available.


  • Several loan types with large amounts and favorable terms available
  • Face-to-face customer support
  • Able to build business credit


Who it’s best for

Traditional lenders usually require businesses to be established — often at least two years old — with good or excellent credit.

Invoice factoring/invoice financing companies

One alternative to fast small business loans is invoice factoring. Invoice factoring offers fast business funding for companies through their clients’ unpaid invoices. The factoring company buys the outstanding invoices, paying the business between 70 percent and 90 percent of the value quickly. The remaining funds get paid after the customer satisfies the invoice, minus fees.

Invoice financing works similarly, but you’ll collect the invoices yourself rather than leaving it to the financing company.


  • Faster funding than traditional banks
  • Uses clients’ creditworthiness instead of the business
  • Invoice factoring company takes care of collecting invoices


  • Lowers profit margins
  • Factoring fees can add up
  • Remaining amounts can take up to 90 days to fund

Who it’s best for

Businesses that invoice other businesses are the best choice for invoice factoring. This option may be good for businesses with poor credit since the invoice factoring company uses the customers’ credit to determine eligibility. However, this funding option can be costly, as a customer’s bad credit or missed payment could affect your business’s profit margins.

What to look for in a fast business lender

Although you may need fast business funding, taking time to research the most reputable fast business lender can pay off. After determining which loans and terms best fit your lending needs, evaluate each lender by its application process, customer service, underwriting requirements and funding speed to find the best business lender for your company.

The best fast business lenders should have:

  • Good customer reviews on sites like Trustpilot.
  • The ability to do a soft credit check during prequalifying to avoid lowering your credit score.
  • Competitive interest rates.
  • A clear and easily understandable application-to-funding process.
  • No fees or other costs hidden in the fine print.

Reading the fine print on the application and loan agreement carefully can help you avoid a predatory lender. Once you’ve found the best lender for your financial needs and get funded, managing your fast business loan responsibly is key to avoiding default and penalties.

Fast business lender red flags
When you need small business funding fast, it could cause you to overlook red flags in a business lender. Consider these warning signs when researching fast business lenders:
  • Requiring an application fee.
  • Being pushy through the application process.
  • Not showing rates and loan terms upfront.
  • Extremely high interest rates or additional fees.
  • Making promises the lender can’t keep, like guaranteeing approval before you’ve applied.

The bottom line

Fast small business loans can be a great way to get the financing you need quickly. There are multiple fast business lenders available, from traditional banks to online lenders. The first step to getting a fast business loan is determining a lender. Then, gather any necessary documentation, apply and get approved and funded the same day or within a few business days.