Are you concerned that your company financing application will be rejected? Meet these criteria and you’ll have a better chance of getting approved.
If you’re ready to grow your business, you’ll need working capital to pay for new staff, office space, materials, equipment, marketing, and other expenses. Not every aspiring business owner has the necessary funds to get their business off the ground. This is when business loans come in handy.
Business loans, like most good things, aren’t easy to get. They carry a higher risk for the lender than a personal loan, resulting in tougher eligibility requirements. Many business owners want to get a business loan, but aren’t sure if they meet the requirements. It doesn’t help that there isn’t a lot of information on small-business loan requirements on the internet.
We’ve sorted through all the loan application requirements for business loans so you don’t have to, to help you cut through the noise and receive financing for your business.
It’s time to get funded after you’ve finished developing a business plan with financial estimates and proven fiscal responsibility. (Keep in mind that success is in the details.)
Lenders examine six key components of a borrower’s profile when examining them, and they may set a minimum threshold for each. A solid credit rating and an annual income of at least $100,000 are common small business loan requirements (although some lenders may go as low as $75,000 if you’re new to the business).
However, because exact requirements differ from lender to lender, we’ve researched a number of lenders who can accommodate your specific requirements.
- Credit. Lenders usually always evaluate a small-business owner’s personal credit when they request funding. As a result, maintaining a strong personal credit score is critical. When seeking to acquire a decent business loan, it’s also beneficial to build solid credit for the business itself.
- Income and cash flow. When assessing a company’s risk, lenders look at its debt-to-income ratio. The greater a business’s cash flow and income, the more likely it is to secure a loan.
- Age of business. Most lenders only lend to enterprises with a two-year track record, which makes it difficult for new businesses to gain funding.
- Debt amount at the moment. Debt is the other component of the debt-to-income ratio. Borrowers and businesses with excessive debt may have a tough time receiving new loans.
- Collateral. Collateral-based loans are easier to get and have lower interest rates because lenders consider debt backed by valuable assets to be less risky.
- Industry. Lenders evaluate the risk of your type of business during the loan approval procedure. Loans are simpler to come by in some industries than others.
Types of loans
Before we get started, let’s go through the many sorts of loans available to small business owners. Our guide is below.
- With a business line of credit, you can spend up to a set amount and only pay interest on what you actually spend.
- Equipment loans can help you pay for anything your business needs in its day-to-day operations, not simply heavy equipment.
- The amount of your unpaid invoices is paid to you through invoice factoring loans (also known as accounts receivable finance). No more waiting for late-paying clients—the lender pays you the invoice amount (less a charge), and then collects from your clients so you can get back to business.
- Merchant cash advances exchange a lump sum payment for a certain percentage of future sales.
- Peer-to-peer lending is a relatively new technology that allows you to borrow a certain amount of money from a group of investors through the internet.
- The US Small Business Administration backs SBA-backed loans, making them generally reliable and low-interest loans.
- Term loans can provide you a large sum of money in as little as 24 hours, but they come with high interest rates.
- Unsecured business loans are those that don’t demand any collateral. Unsecured loans make up the majority of business credit cards and lines of credit.
- Working capital loans provide you with the finances you need to cover day-to-day expenses, pay staff, and deal with profit dips.
A word on term lengths: short-term loans give you money to spend with the assumption that you’ll repay the full amount within 18 months (though the duration varies by lender—some loans have a longer term limit, while others have a shorter term restriction).
Long-term financing is better for long-term investment in your business; while short-term loans can help you get through a seasonal slump in sales or help you buy a critical piece of equipment, long-term financing solutions provide you with a larger sum of money to help you grow your business and profits.
- Credit – High interest rates can seem like a blow in the gut for business owners considering a loan. However, the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get approved for a loan with a low interest rate. Keep in mind that lenders consider both personal and business credit scores and histories when making lending decisions. Personal credit is much more critical for small-business owners because they don’t have business credit.
Information on credit score tiers
Credit score tier – FICO credit score
|Bad credit||Below 600|
You are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three main credit agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can order all three at the same time or spread them out over time.
There are other “free” credit reports and scores available outside of the main credit bureaus. Unfortunately, these scores are rarely used by lenders for making credit decisions. We propose that you get a personal FICO credit score, which will cost you money. Because 90% or more of lenders utilize the FICO scoring system, this is the credit score that matters.
Don’t be too concerned if your credit score and history are poor. For applicants with less-than-stellar credit scores, there are numerous sorts of bad credit loans available.
Lendio’s different types of bad credit loans
When qualifying for specific loans, Lendio, one of our favorite sources for business loans, only requires customers to have a credit score of 550. It’s vital to remember that a credit score of 550 is considered subprime, which means most lenders would turn you down. However, using Lendio, you can still be connected with lenders who are willing to work with you.
We recommend the following funding choices if you have a solid credit score:
|Loan type||Minimum credit score needed||Lowest listed interest/factor rate||Main borrower requirement|
|Merchant cash advances||550||18%||4 to 6 months of financial history|
|Invoice factoring||550||5%||Invoices from paying customers|
|Equipment financing||550||7.5%||12 months of business history|
|Peer-to-peer lending||650||5.99%||Assessment by a peer lender, not a bank or the lending marketplace|
G-Force Funding’s different types of good credit loans
|Loan type||Minimum credit score needed||Lowest listed interest/factor rate||Main borrower requirement|
|SBA loans||620||4.75%||2 years of business tax returns|
|Lines of credit||560||8%||$50,000 in annual revenue|
|Term loans||550||6%||Bank or P&L statements as proof of revenue|
Because of their longer terms, terrific rates, and reduced monthly payments, these loans are considered the holy grail of small-business financing. Keep an eye out for an SBA lender in particular; loans authorized by the US Small Business Administration are easier to qualify for and generally come with cheap interest rates.
- Cash flow and income – Your business can make or break it. A consistent and healthy flow of cash shows lenders that you can make the loan payments. It’s essentially a representation of the health of your business. Lenders will most likely look at expenses in addition to income to determine how profitable your business is. If you’re starting a business or don’t have enough cash flow, we recommend looking into our five favorite business loans for startups.
If your company deals with invoices on a regular basis, you’ve probably dealt with the pain of late payments. Unpaid invoices can have a significant impact on a business’s turnover and cash flow. Fortunately, invoice factoring is a viable funding alternative for business owners.
Invoice factoring, also known as accounts receivable financing, is a financial transaction in which a company sells its unpaid invoices to a third-party lender. Rather than waiting for your customers to pay their invoices, you’ll have extra cash flow to assist you reach your business goals, pay payroll, and pay your monthly operational bills on time.
- Age of business – Approximately 20% of businesses fail in their first year. 1 It’s no surprise, then, that most banks and internet lenders demand a minimum business age from borrowers. The minimum business age requirement might range from six months to two years in most cases. Keep in mind that lenders consider the length of time the business’s bank accounts have been open, not the length of time the business has been registered with the government.
Traditional lenders and banks are unlikely to approve you unless you have two years of business experience. But have no fear: there are a number of alternative internet lenders with less stringent approval processes than traditional lenders, making them viable options for start-ups and businesses with bad credit.
Age-of-business requirements for certain lenders
|Lender||Min. revenue||Min. time in business||Min. credit score|
|Funding Circle||N/A||2 yrs.||660|
- Current amount of debt – Next, lenders consider your debt-to-income ratio, which compares the percentage of your monthly debt payments to your total monthly income. A debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less is required by most lenders. As you might expect, small-business lenders are hesitant to lend to borrowers who have previously taken out other loans. Create fail-proof payment plans and stay away from excessive interest rates to prevent falling into debt.
Lenders will want to see a balance sheet in addition to a debt-to-income ratio. This is a simple document that describes the financial condition of your company, including assets, liabilities, and equity. Your total assets should, in theory, equal the amount of your liabilities and equity accounts. A balance sheet can assist business owners evaluate whether they should spend to expand or save for a rainy day. While it may appear daunting, maintaining a balance sheet is an essential duty for every business. Plus, if you come prepared with one, lenders will offer your business bonus points.
Maintain a minimal credit card and line of credit balance to improve your personal profile (usually around 10% per account). A high credit card balance not only damages your credit score, but it also has a negative influence on your personal finances. So don’t go crazy with your spending and run up your credit card balance.
Lenders often require a personal guarantee from business owners when a company lacks a financial track record. If you can’t return the debt, the lender can go after you personally, even if you have an LLC or a C corporation.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that not all debt is created equal. The lender gives varying weights to commercial real estate, lines of credit, business acquisition loans, and merchant cash advances. However, regardless of the type of debt you have, if it is backed by assets, you will be accepted more quickly.
- Collateral – Lenders may require collateral, such as invoices, equipment, real estate, and businesses, in order to approve a loan. Business car loans, believe it or not, might also require collateral. The term “collateral” refers to actual assets that the business owner currently owns. To obtain a business loan, certain lenders may demand borrowers to pledge both business and personal assets. We recognize that this isn’t the best position for a company. However, there is some good news: some business loans do not necessitate collateral. Certain types of company loans have flexible repayment terms and are simple to apply for.
If you have to go into debt, do so wisely. Use debt to purchase income-generating assets whenever possible. Having several sources of income isn’t simply a survival strategy; it’s also a wealth-building approach. Your loan could and should pay for itself within a reasonable time frame if you buy an office complex or an existing business with a steady cash flow. Smart asset management can also boost the asset’s income.
Business loans with a collateral requirement
|Loan type||Typical loan amount||Typical interest/factor rates||Typical terms|
|Commercial real estate||$250,000–$5,000,000||4.25%–6%||20–25 years|
|Invoice factoring||Up to 80% of receivables||5%||Up to 1 year|
|Business vehicles||$10,000+||5%||4–6 years|
|Business acquisition||$5,000–$5,000,000||5.5%||Revolving or 10–25 Years|
- Industry – Many lenders consider the industry in which your company operates as a decision factor. In other situations, they may steer clear of risky industries, such as those regarded as socially undesirable or with unstable income flow.
Many lenders will not lend to businesses in the marijuana, gambling, or adult entertainment industries, for example.
Seasonal industries, on the other hand, can face difficulties. If you own a seasonal business like a golf course, landscaping company, or ice cream truck, you know how important it is to have enough cash flow to keep your business running during the off season. Getting approved for a business loan may be tough, but not impossible, given the ups and downs of these types of businesses.
What’s next now that you know what most lenders require? These actions are recommended to assist you in obtaining the loan you require.
- Find out your credit score online – www.creditkarma.com is a great service.
- Find a lender that is a good fit for your credit score, annual income, and industry.
- If you don’t want to deal with collateral, stick to unsecured loans.
- Gather financial records, such as bank statements, balance sheets, tax returns, and your business license.
- Make a new business plan or improve an old one.
- Calculate your origination fee, or the amount of money you’ll have to pay up front to get a loan.
Following these procedures can help you approach your lender with more confidence—and eliminate any financial or other shocks.
Credit cards vs. small-business loans are two more options.
Do you require quick and easy cash? Perhaps in the hundreds rather than the thousands? Some of the benefits of business credit cards are similar to those of personal credit cards: they provide fast cash to fund smaller projects (though we shouldn’t call it “cash”—think of it as a loan with an earlier due date and a potentially higher interest rate). They can also be beneficial if you wish to improve your business’s credit score in order to apply for a loan with better terms in the future.
Business credit cards, like personal credit cards, have their own set of drawbacks. The temptation to keep piling up credit card debt might put your business permanently in the negative. Only use a business credit card for expenses that you can pay off before the following billing cycle, and remember what we stated about debt ratios earlier: a business credit card can help you improve your credit score, but it can also increase your debt-to-income ratio.
A quick overview on business credit cards
If you only need a little amount of money and can pay it off before the next credit card bill is due, a business credit card may be a better option than a loan.
Small projects are ideal for this and developing a business credit score. However, unfavorable for full-fledged business financing or if the debt-to-income ratio has risen.
Don’t think you’ll be able to get a business loan? Instead, take out a personal loan.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to qualifying for a company loan. While you may believe that to get the best small-business loan, you need a perfect credit score and a high annual income, most lenders consider a variety of factors. If you lack in one area, such as a low credit score, you may be able to secure a loan based on the strength of other areas, including a lower level of existing debt.
You may also improve your chances of getting a business loan quickly by planning ahead and making wise financial decisions.
The loan requirements listed above can affect not just whether you are approved for a loan, but also your interest rate.
When cash flow is tight, a business line of credit can be a lifesaver.
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown many small-business owners into an unprecedented financial crisis. Small-enterprise disaster funding, including business lines of credit, has sparked interest due to revenue losses and COVID-19 expenses.
A business line of credit can be highly beneficial to help a business take advantage of an opportunity or weather a crisis. It can allow you to borrow only what you need, up to your credit limit, and only pay interest on the money you have borrowed. It might be one of the best tools available to your business if you can qualify and use the line of credit wisely.
What Is a Line of Credit for a Business?
A business line of credit gives your business a set amount of money that it can utilize for short-term expenses like paying suppliers or meeting payroll. You can borrow as much money as you need up to your limit, and the amount you borrow is considered a loan.
A revolving business credit line allows you to borrow additional money as you repay what you’ve borrowed without having to apply for another line of credit. You can utilize your credit line for as long as your lender allows it if you make at least minimum payments and keep under your credit limit.
Some lines of credit are unsecured, while others are secured by assets that the lender can seize if you don’t pay on time.
Lenders may require weekly or monthly payments, with repayment periods ranging from a few months to several years. Your payments may vary depending on how much you borrow.
Only the amount you borrow is subject to interest. If you have a $100,000 credit line and only use $20,000, the remaining $80,000 will not be charged interest.
Of course, this does not imply that business credit lines are free. You could, for example, pay origination, maintenance, and draw costs as you open and use your account.
By phone, online, or with a debit card or checks from your lender, you can move funds from your credit line to your bank or savings account. However, ATM transactions may result in costs.
You’re right if you believe these lines of credit sound like credit cards. The main distinction between the two is that business lines of credit typically have far higher credit limits than credit cards.
Is a Business Loan or Line of Credit Right for You?
Your circumstances will determine whether a business loan or line of credit is appropriate for you.
Business loans: A business loan is a fantastic option for scheduled needs like equipment financing.
When you take out a loan, you borrow the entire amount at once and pay it back over a period of time.
Business lines of credit are used for short-term business expenses that will be repaid in a few months or years. In uncertain times, such as when revenue and expenses are difficult to estimate, a business line of credit is preferable. However, keep in mind that lines of credit are more likely to have variable interest rates, which means your interest rate could jump if you miss a payment. If you go with an online lender rather than a traditional one, you can end up paying more.
Interest rates with online lenders can be higher than at your local bank or credit union and many of these loans don’t have the benefit of prepayment – meaning that it doesn’t matter if you repay the loan early. Meaning you will have to pay the full amount of the interest.
The advantages of business credit lines with these lenders: Applications are usually fairly straightforward, you get a decision in minutes and funding can happen within 24 hours, she says.
What Are the Requirements for a Business Line of Credit?
Lenders have different requirements for business lines of credit. During the coronavirus outbreak, however, several lenders cut back on business credit lines or tightened credit requirements.
Some stopped offering them temporarily, while others are only offering them to certain customers with the best credit profiles and most stable businesses. They will come back, though, once the crisis is over. And if there’s one thing we’ll have learned is that it’s a good idea to have savings and access to credit before you need it.
What to anticipate now: Most lenders require not just basic information about your business, such as its type, legal structure, and ownership, but also earnings, financial statements, and tax returns. Whether you apply for a business line of credit with a typical bank, a credit union, or an alternative lender will determine the rest of the details.
Bank of America requires at least two years in business under current ownership and $250,000 in yearly revenue to qualify for a secured business line of credit. A credit union will require you to first join by creating a bank account, and then meet the credit union’s specific conditions for a business line of credit. An alternative lender will normally require you to have been in business for at least six months and have a minimum yearly income of $50,000.
The SBA provides a detailed submission checklist if you’re interested in a Small Business Administration CAPLines loan to fulfill short-term or cyclical capital needs. Businesses must meet 7(a) loan program requirements as well as CAPLines loan requirements.
Whatever option you choose, the lender will pull your credit reports to evaluate how you’ve handled credit in the past and to assess your debt load. If you’re comparing rates from various lenders for the same loan, it shouldn’t have much of an impact on your credit score. If you choose an alternative lender, you should be able to find out the status of your application within minutes. Because they probe further into your financials, other lenders may take days or weeks to make a decision.
Your credit ratings may be too low, your firm too new, your loan size too large, or your industry too dangerous, according to Detweiler, if you apply but do not qualify for a line of credit.
What Are Your Options for Obtaining a Business Line of Credit?
From huge commercial banks to local lenders and credit unions, a wide range of financial institutions offer business lines of credit.
If you can qualify for a line of credit through your bank or credit union, that’s likely to be the lowest-cost option. You can also try a credit union or community bank, or even a Community Development Financial Institution.
Online lenders like Idea Financial and BlueVine are another alternative. These alternative lenders may be attractive to businesses with a medium or high credit risk rating that have been in operation for less than five years.
Alternative lenders may be easier to work with than traditional financial institutions, but they may charge you more in interest to compensate for the risk. Even said, some business owners are willing to pay a higher rate in exchange for immediate access to funds.
When John Yung needed funding for his Korean cuisine venture, he turned to Idea Financial for a business line of credit. According to Yung, “We needed additional funds to get us through our equity crowdfunding campaign, therefore the total amount needed had to be over $15,000. While the interest rate was important, it was not the most important factor. The application process was very streamlined and simple and we feel more comfortable knowing we have the funds available immediately for future short-term needs.”
If you go with an online lender, you can usually expect faster decisions than if you go with a traditional bank. Online lenders may verify your credit by looking at activities in your business bank account as well as your personal credit. Online lenders often charge higher costs, though, so you want to make sure you understand the cost and how it will affect your financial situation. You may want to use a line of credit to grow or maintain your business, not to hurt it.
The Small Business Administration, or SBA, partners with banks to offer the CAPLines program, which is another source of business lines of credit. This program’s four services assist small businesses in filling finance gaps.
What Are Business Lines of Credit Interest Rates?
Personal and business credit ratings play a big role in interest rates for business lines of credit.
Your interest rate may be high if your credit rating is low – at least at first. However, if you appropriately use the credit line, the lender may reconsider the terms.
Consider an example of a business line of credit from one of our clients, which has a nearly 19.5% interest rate and a $20,000 cap. After four months of on-time payments, you can refinance the line, lowering the interest rate to around 10% and increasing the credit limit to $35,000.
Most lenders use the five C’s of credit to decide the size of the credit line. These are some of them:
- Capacity, or the ability to repay
- Credit history or character.
- Earnings and savings, or capital.
- What you can put down as collateral to secure the line of credit.
- The loan’s purpose and the economy’s strength are the conditions.
Based on these factors and your demands, your credit limit could range from a few thousand dollars to $500,000.
How Can a Business Line of Credit Be Used?
To satisfy short-term working capital needs, you can use your business line of credit as needed. However, you’ll need to be cautious about how you spend the money.
Before you get a business credit line, make sure you can pay it off quickly. This will enable you to use the line to pay down debt if your business grows and you face financial difficulties. By making payments on time, you’re also building the company’s credit rating, which can allow you to refinance your line of credit at a lower interest rate and for a larger amount.Read More
What is a business line of credit and how does it work?
A business line of credit (LOC) is a set amount of money that a bank will provide you. LOCs may either be unsecured or secured with assets. They have a draw term, which is the amount of years you have to use the funds before you may draw them. You can withdraw as much as you like up to the credit limit during that period, and only the borrowed amount is subject to finance charges. To get your hands on the cash, you’ll need to call the lender and request that the funds be moved to your bank or savings account.
The lender will determine the required minimum monthly payment, which may be based on a proportion of the outstanding balance or solely on interest.
If a debt remains after the draw time, the lender will calculate the required installment payments depending on a term, such as three or five years.
There are charges associated with all financial products. The LOC may include the following features, depending on the lender:
- The origination charge is typically between 0.5 percent and 1% of the credit line.
- Annual maintenance fees range from $25 to $50.
- A percentage of the amount you withdraw is charged as a draw fee.
- Late fees range from $25 to $35.
- Interest: LOCs have a wide range of APRs. It might range from Prime (now 3.25 percent) + 1.25 percent (from the Small Business Administration) to APRs of up to 30%. There isn’t a grace period where you don’t have to pay interest.
A small business line of credit can have a large credit limit. It might easily be $100,000 or more, depending on your credit history and the financial health of the business.
What is the process for using a business credit card?
Business credit cards are similar to personal credit cards, but they are tailored to the needs of small business owners. Although some of these cards are secured, the majority are not. They have fixed limits, just like business LOCs, and you can charge up to that amount as needed. Financing fees will be assessed only on revolved debt. You can keep the account open for as long as you like, unlike LOCs.
The credit card company will calculate the minimum monthly payment, which is normally 2% of the outstanding balance (unless the balance is so low that it is a fixed sum, such as $25). The card can be used for both purchases and cash advances.
There are a few fees to consider:
- Some credit cards have no annual fees, while others charge $500 or more.
- Late fees range from $28 to $39
- Fees for cash advances range from 3% to 5% of the amount withdrawn.
- Over limit fee: $25 to $35
- Interest rates range from 0% to nearly 30%. There is a grace period on all accounts during which no interest is charged on transactions (there is no grace period for cash advances). The promotional rate for 0% APR cards normally lasts between 9 and 15 months before increasing to the standard rate.
Business credit cards have credit lines that range from a few thousand dollars to $50,000.
Credit card vs. line of credit
You can pick which is better for your needs now that you understand the differences between a line of credit and a credit card.
Because the limitations are so large, business LOCs are often utilized for short- to medium-term financing of expensive items that will be paid off over time. For instance, you might want $50,000 in restaurant equipment. You’d be out of luck if your credit card had a limit of $25,000, but the LOC would see you through.
On the other hand, you might only need to spend $1,000 more on advertising and be able to settle the bill in 30 days. You’d enjoy an interest-free grace period with a business credit card. Alternatively, if you use a credit card with a 0% introductory rate, you’d have even more time to make charges without incurring any penalties.
There are additional benefits to think about. Many business LOCs do not have a rewards program, while others do. Almost all business credit cards are accepted. If you’ll be flying across the country or around the world, business travel cards are the way to go because they come with a slew of advantages that can help keep prices down while also providing compelling benefits.
Keep in mind that because business LOCs typically have greater limitations, they may be more difficult to qualify for than small business credit cards targeted for persons with bad credit, which may have lower limits at first and allow you to gradually increase your limit with responsible use.
Lastly, business credit lines and business credit cards are compatible products, so you don’t have to choose between the two.Read More
Access to credit is one of your most significant instruments as a business owner. And, just like any other work, you’ll be far better off if you choose the correct tool for the job. A small business line of credit and a small business credit card are two of the most common ways for a business to obtain credit. Examine how each sort of credit operates.
Business Line of Credit
A small business line of credit can be obtained from a local bank or an online provider. Unsecured lines of credit are those that are not secured by a lien on your assets or another financial instrument such as a certificate of deposit. You can use a direct deposit to your checking account or a debit card linked to the account to draw from this line of credit once it’s been established. Only interest charges will be included in your minimum monthly payment, which will be calculated based on your average daily balance. You have complete freedom to pay off your balance and borrow again whenever you choose.
When is the best time to use a business credit line?
When you need to pay suppliers who don’t accept credit cards or charge extra costs for using credit cards, business lines of credit can be the ideal instrument for the task. A business line of credit can also be utilized to settle existing invoices by check or cash, or when your business credit cards’ lines of credit are insufficient.
- Ability to pay billers that do not take credit cards with checks.
- Interest-only payments.
- No cash advance fees.
- Helps to build a credit history for your business.
- No interest-free grace period.
- For new businesses, smaller lines of credit are available.
- No rewards or benefits.
- May require collateral.
A $150 or more opening cost for a small business line of credit is possible. There are also annual renewal costs and monthly maintenance expenses in some cases. Interest is only charged when you make purchases, and it ranges from 8% to 35% depending on the provider.
If your business has been in existence for more than two years, you can qualify for a small business line of credit based on your personal credit, or you can use your personal credit along with your company’s income.
How do you qualify?
You can apply online or in a bank near you. You must submit paperwork if you are using your business income or collateral.
Business Credit Card
A small business credit card functions similarly to a personal credit card. To qualify, you’ll utilize your personal credit, and the loan will be unsecured. You can avoid interest costs by paying your statement balances in full, allowing you up to 55 days of interest-free float on your charges, just like with your personal credit cards (your 30-day statement period plus a grace period of up to 25 days; however, check with your issuer for specifics on your due date and grace period). If you don’t, you’ll be charged interest on your average daily balance.
You can earn points, miles, and cash back for your business spending, just like you can with your personal cards. In reality, a business credit card is more likely to award extra benefits for transactions made by businesses, such as those made at office supply retailers, telecommunications service providers, and advertisers. Purchase protection and travel insurance are two additional perks that business credit cards can provide.
When is the best time to utilize a credit card for a small business?
A small business credit card is a different form of financial instrument than a line of credit, but it can have a lot of advantages. For starters, many business owners utilize their credit cards to gain important travel or cash back rewards. These rewards are not taxable income because they are considered a refund on a purchase.
Business travelers can also benefit from policies such as trip delay and cancellation insurance, as well as lost luggage insurance, if they purchase their tickets using their business’s credit card. When purchasing equipment, your business credit card may provide you with damage and theft protection, extended warranty coverage, and even a price protection policy that will refund the difference if the item you purchased later goes on sale. You can also get the equivalent of an interest-free, short-term line of credit if you can pay off your entire statement balance in full each month.
- The application process is simple.
- Obtain valuable benefits.
- Purchase protection advantages and travel insurance.
- An interest-free grace period is an option.
- Cash advances are extremely costly.
- Credit cards are not accepted by all billers.
- It is based on your personal credit, not the credit of your business.
Some company credit cards have no annual fees, while others charge up to $450 for premium reward cards. The majority of credit cards have annual fees of $95 or less.
To receive a small business credit card, you must have strong or exceptional credit.
How do you qualify?
In just a few minutes, you may apply for a small business credit card online.Read More
For short-term finance needs, online lenders provide business lines of credit up to $250,000.
A business line of credit can help you manage cash flow, purchase inventory, or pay for an unforeseen expense.
A business line of credit is a form of small-business financing that gives you more options than a traditional loan. Owners of small businesses can borrow as much as they need up to their credit limit, which can range from $1,000 to $250,000. Furthermore, business lines of credit with lesser credit limits are frequently unsecured, requiring no collateral such as real estate or inventory.
Our selection for
Lines of credit for businesses up to $100,000
For short-term finance needs, OnDeck offers business lines of credit up to $100,000.
OnDeck – Line of credit
OnDeck offers a fast line of credit for small-business owners with less-than-stellar credit who need to manage cash flow or buy inventory.
EST. APR – 11.00 – 61.90%
MIN. CREDIT SCORE – 600
A minimum credit score of 600 is required.
1 year in business is the minimum requirement.
A minimum of $100,000 in annual income is required.
There have been no bankruptcies in the last two years.
- On the same business day, cash may be accessible.
- Minimum credit score is required.
- There is less paperwork than with most other lenders.
- Early repayment will not save interest due to the fixed-fee structure.
- Weekly payments are required.
- Personal guarantee is required.
Our selection for
Business credit lines of up to $250,000 are available.
The line of credit offered by BlueVine provides quick working cash for short-term financing needs.
BlueVine – Line of credit
EST. APR – 15.00 – 78.00%
MIN. CREDIT SCORE – 600
6-month credit line:
A minimum credit score of 600 is required.
6 months in business
$120,000 in annual income.
12-month credit line:
A minimum credit score of 600 is required.
6 months in business.
$120,000 in annual income.
- Cash can be obtained in as little as 12 to 24 hours.
- Various term lengths are available to meet a variety of funding requirements.
- Payment amounts are larger when the payback term is short.
- Personal guarantee is required.
- North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont are the only states where this product is not accessible.
What is a business line of credit and how does it work?
A credit line functions similarly to a credit card. With a line of credit, you can take out money when you need it and pay it back over time. You can use and repay your line of credit as many times as you want as long as you make timely payments and don’t go over your credit limit. You only pay interest on the amount you borrow, and most lenders allow you to pay off your entire sum early to avoid paying interest.
A business line of credit differs from a term loan, which offers a one-time lump sum of money that must be returned over a set length of time, or term. Borrowing limitations on lines of credit are often lower than those on term loans, ranging from $1,000 to $250,000.
How can I receive a business line of credit?
To qualify for a business line of credit, you’ll need at least six months in operation and $25,000 in yearly revenue. Although not all lenders have a minimum credit score requirement, borrowers will almost certainly need a score of 500 or above to be considered.
Traditional lenders, like banks, as well as internet lenders like OnDeck and BlueVine, offer business lines of credit. Interest rates and borrowing limitations vary a lot based on the lender’s requirements and the borrower’s situation.
Lenders often want personal and business tax returns, bank account details, and business financial documents, such as profit-and-loss statements and a balance sheet, when you apply for a business line of credit.
To qualify for a line of credit, most traditional lenders require a high level of revenue and a long track record. Larger lines of credit may need collateral, which the lender can seize if you don’t pay on time. Similarly, SBA lines of credit have strict requirements.
Qualification standards for online lenders are often less strict than those for banks. These lenders, on the other hand, are more likely to charge higher rates and have fewer credit limits than banks.
Lenders may be able to grant business lines of credit in as little as a few days after receiving approval. New credit lines are typically put up more slowly by banks than by online lenders.
What’s the difference between a secured and an unsecured business line of credit?
A secured business line of credit requires you to put up assets as collateral, such as inventory or property. A lender may seize your assets if you do not repay the credit line.
Although no collateral is required to obtain an unsecured business credit line, certain lenders may nevertheless want a personal guarantee or a claim on a business’ assets.
If you default on a loan, a personal guarantee provides a lender the power to seize your personal assets, such as your home. A lien is similar; if you don’t pay back a loan, a lender might seize your business’ assets.
When researching lenders, find out if they want collateral, a personal guarantee, or a lien so you can choose the best option for your business.
Business credit cards vs. business credit lines
Business credit cards are also lines of credit, but they differ in several ways from regular business lines of credit.
When you make a draw on a business line of credit, you get a greater credit limit, which can be secured by collateral, and you get actual cash in your bank account. You can get cash with a company credit card, but you’ll have to pay fees and have a higher APR. Annual fees and late-payment fees are two other prevalent expenses for business credit cards.
Smaller ongoing expenses and newer businesses without established finances are best served by business credit cards, whereas bigger ongoing expenses and more experienced businesses are best served by a business line of credit.
Business credit cards, like personal credit cards, can offer incentives or cash back for transactions. Typically, rewards are tied to business expenses like office supplies, gas, internet, and cable. They may also run 0% interest deals, in which you pay no interest on your balance for a set amount of time after you sign up for the card.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is it a good idea to use a business line of credit?
When you need to finance short-term obligations like replacing inventory or covering unforeseen costs, a business line of credit is the ideal option. Large one-time expenses, such as the acquisition of equipment, are financed using a small-business term loan.
What is the best type of lender for a business line of credit?
Business lines of credit are available through online lenders, banks, and credit unions. To qualify for a loan, banks and credit unions often require a substantial amount of revenue and at least a few years of experience. Online lenders have fewer requirements, but they may demand higher interest rates. Compare your options to see which one best suits your financing needs.
Is obtaining a company line of credit difficult?
Obtaining a small-business line of credit can be tough for newer businesses. To get any form of financing, traditional lenders, such as banks, often demand businesses to have several years of operations, revenue, and excellent financials.Read More
Even if the loan is forgiven, expenses paid with a PPP loan might be deducted on your taxes.
Officially, the Paycheck Protection Program will cease on May 31, 2021. For additional information, see our PPP Loan Forgiveness Guide.
For business owners who obtained a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, the approaching tax season has raised new questions. Answers to these queries have been difficult to come by, in part because of the IRS’s fluctuating advice. However, new guidelines stated out in the most recent round of coronavirus treatment assist to clear things up.
Doing your taxes was difficult for most before COVID. The good news is that this year’s tax returns won’t be any more difficult than previous years.
PPP loans that have been forgiven are not taxable.
If you have a business loan and it is forgiven, that is automatically taxable income in the past and in the future. It’s always been in the internal revenue code up to this point. Loans through the Paycheck Protection Program are an exception to this rule. Forgiven PPP loans will not be counted as income, according to Congress and the IRS. This is true whether your full loan or a portion of it is forgiven.
If it is forgiven, it will not be taxable income.
You can deduct expenses incurred as a result of a PPP loan.
It’s been a bit of a moving target with this one. The IRS formerly said that expenses paid with PPP loan funds could not be deducted if the loan was or would be forgiven.
That changed on Dec. 27, 2020, when the coronavirus relief legislation was enacted into law, stating that deductions should not be prohibited just because the debt was forgiven.
This means that any expenses incurred as a result of your PPP loan are tax deductible. This result effectively generates two tiers of tax benefits for PPP loan recipients. The first benefit is making the loan income-tax-free. The second is allowing businesses to claim income deductions on expenses paid
PPP funding cannot be used to pay for business taxes
The most recent round of coronavirus relief also allows business owners greater options when it comes to how they use PPP funds. Protective equipment, property damage, and business software are among the new costs covered.
Taxes on businesses are not included in the expanded list. As a result, if you use your PPP loan to pay your business taxes, you will not be forgiven that amount.
The Employee Retention Tax Credit is still available.
If your business meets the requirements, you can now claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit. There is one crucial caveat: salaries paid with a forgiven PPP loan cannot be claimed.
You can, however, claim the credit on salaries paid in excess of the forgiven amount.
To be eligible for the tax credit, you must continue to pay employees despite being temporarily closed due to COVID-19 limits or experiencing a 20% decline in gross receipts from the previous year’s comparable quarter.
The coronavirus relief bill ushered in these changes on Dec. 27, 2020, but they are retroactive to March 12, 2020. The credit is valid for eligible wages paid up to July 1, 2021.
Millions of small business owners who took out Paycheck Protection Program loans are now eligible for loan forgiveness.
Despite the uncertainty, delays, and problems experienced by many small company owners in obtaining a Paycheck Protection Program loan, having the debt forgiven may prove to be surprisingly, refreshingly simple.
Borrowers with loans in the range of $150,000 or less are exempt from having to demonstrate receipts. Most of the time, all you have to do is tick a box confirming that you met the PPP requirements for payroll costs and eligible expenses. (For second-draw loans, you must also show a qualifying revenue loss.)
This is where the great majority of PPP debtors fall. 95% of the almost 6.7 million PPP loans provided in 2021 were for less than $150,000. In 2020, 87 percent of all PPP loans will be for less than $150,000.
While you have no control over the amount of your loan — that is determined by a formula established by the US Small Business Administration — you can have power over other aspects that make loan forgiveness simpler.
Relationships are important.
John Sims got his PPP loan through Chase, where he also has a business checking account and knows his business banker by first name (he was even in a book club with one of his bankers).
When he applied for his loan and for forgiveness, that relationship made all the difference. Despite just qualifying for a few thousand dollars at a time when Chase was granting PPP loans of more than $100,000 on average, he had his banker’s ear.
Keep a COVID file
Jill Peters began a COVID-19 file to store all relevant information when the pandemic shut down her studio.
She explains, “I have an MFA in ceramics; I’m not a very business-minded person when it comes to keeping track of those tiny bits and stuff.” “Having everything in one area was quite beneficial to me because I was able to quickly locate items without having to go through different locations.”
Peters followed suit, putting together separate files (both digital and paper) with copies and scans to show how her PPP loan was used. Because of the simpler application, she didn’t have to supply those records for her loan forgiveness, but she has them on hand in case the loan is audited.
Do you have any questions? Rely on professionals.
Turn to professionals — your accountant, your lender, and the SBA — rather than internet armchair experts, as questions emerge.
There’s a lot of information out there, and things get shared around on social media like it’s a phone call,” Peters adds. “It’s helpful to know exactly what’s going on versus some third-party account on Twitter.”
Are you unsure about the terms of forgiveness or dealing with a non-responsive lender? The SBA offers webinars and counselors to assist with all PPP-related issues.Read More
Learn when and how to apply for a PPP loan Forgiveness, as well as what expenses are covered.
Small businesses dealing with the coronavirus epidemic can take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers 100% forgivable loans. However, applying for that forgiveness can be difficult, especially for small business owners with limited resources.
There is some good news: businesses that borrowed $150,000 or less can now use a simplified loan forgiveness application that requires no additional documentation for first-draw borrowers. For reference, till Aug. 8, 2020, when the first round of PPP loans completed, 87% of PPP loans provided were for less than $150,000.
To help business owners better understand the PPP loan forgiveness procedure, we’ve put up a guide.
PPP Loan Forgiveness Requirements
For first- and second-draw PPP loans, the loan forgiveness standards are the same. Maintaining staffing and compensation levels during the covered period is required to receive full loan forgiveness.
Additionally, during the covered time, money from your PPP loan must be spent on approved expenses (see below). At least 60% of your loan must be spent on payroll costs in order for it to be fully repaid.
Most loans made in 2020 are insured for 24 weeks after they are disbursed, however borrowers who received their loans before June 5, 2020, can keep the initial eight-week duration. In 2021, business owners who receive a first- or second-draw loan can choose a covered term ranging from eight to 24 weeks.
Expenses eligible for loan forgiveness
Initially, only salary and operational costs were considered eligible, but the coronavirus relief bill passed in December 2020 expanded the list to include supplier costs, expenses for health and safety improvements, and some property damage.
PPP loan forgiveness is now available for the following expenses:
- All wages paid, including tips, commissions, and bonuses, as well as employer-paid benefits such as insurance, sick leave, and retirement contributions, are included in payroll costs. Employees who earn more than $100,000 per year are not eligible for compensation forgiveness.
- Mortgage payments and interest, rent, utilities, and business software such as accounting, payroll, and inventory management programs are all examples of operating costs.
- Supplier costs: If the purchase order or contract was in place before the covered period, the cost of products essential to operating your firm is eligible for forgiveness. Purchase orders for perishable commodities placed during the covered period qualify as well.
- Property damage: This is for repairs to property damaged or lost as a result of looting during public disturbances in 2020. Insurance-covered expenses are not eligible.
- Worker protection: Personal protective equipment and other costs connected to health and safety standards, such as health checks, barrier installation, or expanding outside eating, are included in this category.
There are a few details to keep in mind: costs incurred before the covered period but paid during the covered period are forgiven. Costs incurred during the covered period but paid after it ends are also covered, as long as they are paid by the following normal payroll or billing date.
When should you request for loan forgiveness under the PPP?
You can request for PPP loan forgiveness as soon as the funds have been spent or as late as your loan has matured. However, you should do so before making a single payment.
After the covered time (eight to 24 weeks) concludes, payments on PPP loans are postponed for ten months. If you petition for forgiveness after this date, you’ll have to start making payments on your loan.
Borrowers who petition after their loan matures, which is two years for loans issued before June 5, 2020 and five years for loans issued after that date, will not be eligible for forgiveness.
How to Apply for Forgiveness of PPP Loans
When you’re ready to apply for forgiveness, contact your PPP lender. They will be able to connect you to the appropriate loan forgiveness form. That, coupled with documentation demonstrating how you used the loan, must be submitted. It will be easier to apply for forgiveness if you collect this paper trail as you go. The sorts of documentation you may be required to furnish are listed below.
For first-draw loans of less than $150,000, business owners can use a simplified form and don’t need to provide any further documentation. Before a second-draw debt can be forgiven, borrowers must demonstrate the required revenue loss.
Documentation needed for PPP loan forgiveness
You must also provide proof of how you spent the PPP loan along with your loan forgiveness application. Only monies spent on permitted expenses will be forgiven, so keep that in mind. To qualify for complete forgiveness, at least 60% of your loan must be used for payroll expenses.
The documentation you’ll need to submit with your PPP loan forgiveness application are listed below. Note that this list is not complete, and not all documents will be required by all businesses.
- Quarterly financial reports from the state and local governments.
- State unemployment insurance filings.
- Bank statements
- Third-party payroll reports.
- Tax documents: Form 1040 Schedule C or Schedule F, Form 1065 Schedule K-1, Form 941, Form 944, Form W-2, and Form W-3
- Payment receipts, canceled checks, or account statements that demonstrate employer contributions to health and retirement plans.
- Statements of account.
- Account statements.
- Utility bills that show that payments have been made.
- Purchase orders, contracts, and vendor payment receipts.
- Cancelled checks or invoices for covered expenses such as business software, protective equipment, safety upgrades, and repairs for damage caused by protests during the summer.
Small business entrepreneurs have multiple competitive options for accessing funding when the economy recovers.
As the economy bounces back and the U.S. transitions out of the pandemic, small-business owners will need access to capital to both recover and grow. However, since federal relief from the Paycheck Protection Program ended on May 31, business owners may be wondering where to get financing or looking for new options after an unsatisfactory PPP experience with a particular lender.
The ideal funding source will always be determined by a company’s specific needs, credentials, and industry, among other things. Here are four possibilities to think about.
Community and regional banks
Small banks are known for their low interest rates, long durations, and large loan amounts, as well as customized service and quick decision-making. Their technology, on the other hand, has fallen behind that of other lenders. Nonetheless, bank small-business loans are still tough to obtain; applicants must have outstanding credit and solid financials.
While both big and small banks have been gradually increasing loan approval rates throughout 2021, Biz2Credit’s Small Business Lending Index report shows that they are still far from pre-pandemic levels — small banks approved 50.3 percent of small-business loan applications in February 2020, compared to only 18.9% in June 2021.
Small Business Administration
Standard SBA loans, such as the 7(a) loan, will continue to be effective funding options for small businesses even after the PPP program has ceased. SBA loans, like bank loans, can be difficult to obtain, but they come with long periods and low interest rates. The SBA enhanced the guarantee on 7(a) loans and waived ordinary loan fees in December 2020 to benefit small firms and encourage lenders to offer funding.
Although banks have made some technological advancements, online business loans can still provide a faster application and funding process. Despite the fact that banks typically have lower interest rates than online lenders business owners may be prepared to pay a little more for a more efficient service.
Fintech financing will approach pre-pandemic levels within the next three years, according to a forecast released by S&P Global Market Intelligence in February 2021. Small- and medium-sized business lenders, in particular, are forecast to boost loan originations by 16.2% by 2024, totaling $15.8 billion. Online lenders are also more likely to lend to start-up companies or those with fair or poor credit.
CDFIs and non-profit lenders
Nonprofit lenders and community development finance institutions, or CDFIs, can be excellent providers of low-cost credit, particularly for smaller loans. These mission-driven organizations are also excellent choices for underprivileged businesses, such as women- and minority-owned businesses.
CDFIs have launched low-interest lending programs to support business owners who were left behind by the PPP program during the pandemic.
The Southern Opportunity and Resilience Fund, for example, provides loans of up to $100,000 to help businesses get through the current crisis. However, capital isn’t the main objective of these initiatives. These programs also provide the support and mentoring that firms require in order to progress to other sorts of finance.
Other SBA loans and grants from state and local agencies and organizations are available to small business owners. Officially, the Paycheck Protection Program will cease on May 31, 2021. For additional information, see our PPP page or our PPP Loan Forgiveness Guide.
For businesses that qualify, the Paycheck Protection Program can be a lifeline, but it’s not the only option for those coping with the coronavirus pandemic. Those that do not meet the PPP standards may be eligible for grants and other finance, such as state and local grants and Small Business Administration loan programs.
Other Loans and grants from SBA
For failing businesses, the Small Business Administration offers numerous loan options. SBA-backed loans have lower interest rates and more favorable terms than private-lender loans, but applicants must still fulfill minimum credit requirements and may be required to put up collateral.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
These low-interest loans, which were previously only available to businesses affected by natural disasters, are now available to businesses with up to 500 employees that can demonstrate a financial loss due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Eligible businesses can get up to $150,000 in working capital for up to six months. More than $25,000 in collateral is necessary. Operating expenses, such as fixed debt payments, can be paid with money borrowed through an EIDL. EIDLs are not eligible for loan forgiveness, unlike PPP loans, however payments are suspended for a year.
Microloans and SBA 7(a) Loans
The SBA provides a number of alternative loan programs for small-business owners who have been affected by the coronavirus. Your business needs and the specific loan program will determine how much you can borrow and in what circumstances.
Microloans, for example, have a maximum loan amount of $50,000. The maximum size of a standard 7(a) loan is $5 million. SBA Express loans, which are part of the 7(a) program, are ordinarily limited to $350,000, but the Economic Aid Act of late last year increased the maximum to $1 million from January 1 to October 1, 2021. After that, Express loans will have a maximum limit of $500,000.
Microloans cannot be used to refinance existing debt, for example, although 7(a) loans can. Working capital can be financed with funds from either loan program. These loans are not forgiven, but they qualify for the Small Business Administration’s debt relief program, which was recently expanded to include coronavirus treatment. On loans approved between February 1 and September 30, 2021, the SBA will cover the first six months of principle and interest.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grants
Operators of Shuttered Venues Theaters, live music venues, talent agencies, and select museums, zoos, and aquariums that can show a revenue loss of at least 25% are eligible for SBA grants. Some promoters and producers are also eligible.
The SVO grant program is relatively new, and applications are not being accepted at this time. Businesses that lost at least 90% of their revenue between April and December 2020 will get first dibs on grant awards once the program is open, followed by those that lost at least 70%, and finally all other qualifying businesses. These high-priority groups may be eligible for additional funding.
Qualifying sites are eligible for up to $10 million in funding, though most would receive far less. Depending on when your business started, the exact amount depends on sales, which is either 45 percent of 2019 gross income or average monthly gross revenue. The funds can be used for business expenses such as leases and mortgage payments, as well as worker protection, state and municipal taxes, and debt repayment.
Other grant programs
For businesses in need of capital, loans aren’t the only choice. Thousands of grants, including those granted by federal, state, and local government entities, are available to qualified small businesses.
Are you unsure where to begin your search for a grant? Try the chamber of commerce, the Small Business Development Center, or the Economic Development Administration office in your area.
Grants.gov and GrantWatch.com are two databases that provide a complete, searchable list of available grants (note: GrantWatch.com keeps grant details behind a paywall).
Applying for every grant under the sun is not the greatest way. Do your homework and apply for grants that are a good fit for both you and the funder.
Don’t waste your time applying for something you are not eligible for. Take the time to find out about what past grants the organization has funded and who won the awards. By learning all you can, you will have more context to frame your proposal and be better positioned for a win.
Most grants have strict guidelines and are generally tailored to a specific objective, location, business type, or demographic, such as veteran-owned or minority-owned businesses.Read More