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With all the difficulties in today's economy, many people are choosing to open their own business instead of working for a traditional employer. Whether you're just starting your business, expanding your already-established business, or even hanging out a shingle as an online company, it's likely that at some point you'll need a business loan to successfully meet your customer's needs and your business goals.
In the past, small business owners relied heavily on traditional brick-and-mortar banks in order to finance their business loans. Often that meant that borrowers had to rely on their own reputation and relationship with their local bank. Getting the lowest possible interest rate was also more challenging, since there were few lending options from which to choose.
Monday, June 21st
OnDeck started in 2007 to focus on helping small businesses with a major issue: Financing. Since then, they have helped more than 50,000 small businesses across more than 700 industries in both the US and Canada with more than $8 billion in business loans and lines of credit.
3 types of small business loans
There are three primary types of small business loans offered by OnDeck:
Business loan application
OnDeck's business loan application process is straightforward and only takes about 10 minutes to complete. You enter simple information such as your business history, your desired loan amount, and similar details. Once that is complete, OnDeck's online system evaluates your business and provides a decision in a matter of minutes. Funding can take place as soon as 24 hours later.
In order to qualify for a loan from OnDeck, there are a number of basic requirements that must be met. For example, businesses must have at least 1 year of history, one of the business owners or partners must have a personal credit score of 600 or higher, and the business must demonstrate revenue of at least $100,000 in annual revenue. While this means that OnDeck would not be suitable for pure startups, many businesses should still be able to meet Ondeck's starting conditions and quickly be on the way to securing their business loan.
Weekly repayment schedule
One unique aspect of OnDeck's loan repayment terms is that payments are made on a daily or weekly basis, rather than the traditional monthly payments one would expect from a loan. We think this is a good feature for both the lender and the borrower. The business owner can better stay on top of their repayments, rather than experiencing the snowball effect that can occur when trying to make larger monthly payments. OnDeck benefits by lessening their risk of repayment. This may be one contributing factor to the low rates that OnDeck passes on to their borrowers.
Another feature we liked about OnDeck is their transparency with regards to fees charged. OnDeck charges low loan origination fees that top out at 2.5%, with discounted fees on subsequent loans to help build customer loyalty. Their loan interest rates are extremely competitive in the industry, averaging around 15% on their term loans and 10% on business lines of credit.
Best business loans
We're impressed with OnDeck's A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and by numerous positive reviews across a wide spectrum of businesses who recommend OnDeck's simple process, helpful customer service, and overall loan experience. For all these reasons, OnDeck is a fantastic option for businesses in need of a business loan, and they earn our highest rating.
Funding Circle is a great choice among peer-to-peer lending companies. Its cofounders created the company as small business owners themselves, who were frustrated with their attempts to access financial assistance to grow their business even when their company was thriving. Funding Circle was designed to be a better solution for American small business owners, although their customers come from not just the US but also the UK, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. More than 15,000 loans have been funded through Funding Circle since 2010, with a total of more than $2 billion loaned.
One thing that makes Funding Circle stand out among providers of business loans is their transparency throughout the entire loan process. While some companies make it difficult to determine interest rates and fees without reading the fine print, Funding Circle clearly lists every possible cost on their Rates and Fees page:
Not only are Funding Circle's costs and fees readily available, they are extremely competitive within the business loans market. Funding Circle loans range from $25,000 to $500,000, considerably more than many of the lenders in our review.
We were also impressed by Funding Circle's A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, as an accredited business since 2013.
In order to qualify for a loan with Funding Circle, borrowers must meet several criteria. For loans under $300,000, applicants must provide documentation of the two most recent year's business tax returns, the most recent year of their personal tax return, and the six most recent months' business bank statements, For loans over $300,000, applicants must also submit a year-to-date income statement and balance sheet, and an Outstanding Business Loans & Credit Worksheet available from Funding Circle upon request.
Those documents will be requested after the borrower has completed the short online application form and received a phone call from one of Funding Circle's specialists. They will typically call within two hours of submitting the online application. Once the borrower's information is verified and the loan is approved, funds are available within 5-10 days.
Impressive resource center
We were also impressed by Funding Circle's Resource Center, full of blog posts, videos, and other sources of information to help small businesses with their efforts to grow and succeed. The entire site is clean and easy to navigate, inspiring confidence in Funding Circle's ability to genuinely provide borrowers with an all-around excellent experience.
Because of their transparency with respect to interest rates and fees, their excellent rating with the BBB, and their deep commitment to helping small business owners get the funding to grow their businesses, we give Funding Circle very high marks. They are an excellent choice for business owners in need of some extra funding.
Upstart is a peer-to-peer lending platform founded by former Googlers. At first glance, the site is neat and includes finance-related images such as pie charts and percentage signs to emphasize their purpose, which is to help people achieve their financial goals. The fonts are large, allowing easy reading, very helpful since financial information can be overwhelming. The site allows one to process information while pacing the reader through use of space and letter size.
Professional in look, the site however does not hope to impress in graphics or photos of people enjoying newfound financial freedom. Instead, Upstart uses facts and figures to communicate a serious, all-business tone. The only downside to this setup is that if a customer is not familiar with loans or borrowing lingo, they might be lost until they scroll to the bottom of the Home page to click on "Contact Us".
For customers who aren't sure where to begin, Upstart has a "Get Started" icon which asks them what they want to do. In addition to loans for starting or exanding your business, Upstart also offers help with loan consolidation, paying off credit cards, paying medical bills, buying a car or other big purchases. Such a wide range of services is comforting to those seeking financial advice. The site also provides education to help you prepare for future financial decisions.
With respect to business loans, Upstart is efficient. You can apply online and find out your rate within a few minutes. After a brief series of questions, Upstart presents you with loan terms and options for payment. Once you agree to the terms of the loan, funds are issued - sometimes, by the next business day. If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you may receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.
Upstart's reputation is very solid - you'll quickly see links to articles on prominent sites like Fox, Bloomberg, and other news agencies, along with testimonials from satisfied clients. Their underwriting model uses machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to underwrite borrowers based on many variables, including but not limited to credit score, income, education, and employment. Such details helped us gain more confidence in the success of this company's services.
We found the blog articles very helpful. With topics ranging from selecting health insurance to saving money on groceries, a person seeking financial security could benefit from the wisdom these articles offer. Unfortunately, this tool is found at the bottom of the Home page. The website would function more effectively if they included this option at the top of the page along with "Contact" and "Team" information because it is on these pages where we found answers to our initial questions.
While Upstart's website is good, it could use some enhancements to make it more user friendly. Still, Upstart earns high marks for their quick processing of business loan applications and many helpful financial features. They should be a strong candidate to source your next business loan.
If you'd like to get a feel for the different types of business loans available and some possible partners that would fund the loan you choose, LendingTree can help. Unlike most of the other business loan sources in our review, LendingTree does not fund loans directly but instead serves as a connection between borrowers and lending partners.
LendingTree is very helpful when it comes to understanding different types of business loans. Do you know the difference between a Small Business Loan and an SBA Loan? How about between a Working Capital Loan and a Business Line of Credit? If not, don't worry - you'll find a wealth of information on the main business loan page. Just click on the various types of loans listed and you'll find detailed explanations, along with helpful Pros/Cons summaries to help you understand at a glance.
To get an idea of what LendingTree has to offer for your business, the main landing page (as well as the link for Business Loans on the primary site) will ask you first to choose what kind of business you have:
From there, you'll choose the range of loan you're looking for, from less than $15,000 to more than $300,000. Enter the month and year that you started your business (or the acquisition date), your monthly revenue, and whether or not you've filed for bankruptcy in the last 7 years. You'll then need to provide your business' name, phone number, and email address in order to see your funding options. (Be aware that if you put it "dummy" information just to see your possible loan details, you'll get an error message saying that your data doesn't match.)
The number of lenders a business is matched up with can vary significantly. Factors such as income, years in business, location and more will help determine how many companies are potentially interested in lending you money.
Of course, in order to get your loan funded, each lending partner will have their own specific requirements. LendingTree does a decent job of communicating that to prospective borrowers, giving a list of steps and documents, you should expect throughout the process, such as putting together a cash flow projection and gathering papers like your business license and your personal/business tax returns.
LendingTree reduces the headache many of us face attempting to borrow money. No need to complete multiple applications from local lenders when LendingTree serves as the liaison between business owners and banks. LendingTree provides a fast and efficient process of identifying potential lenders as well as a wealth of information for those looking to borrow for business purposes.
LendingClub is known as a peer-to-peer lending company. They match borrowers looking for loans between $5,000 to $300,000 with offers from several different lenders. LendingClub has one of the lowest rates available for business loans, starting at 6.95% and going up to 35.89%. LendingClub has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau and has helped facilitate more than $16 billion in loans.
Business loan requirements
LendingClub has several requirements for those wishing to take out a business loan:
As with most lenders, the best LendingClub business loan rates are available to those with excellent credit and an established business history.
Simple application process
Applying for a loan is simple:
Loans within a week
The size of your loan and your business history can have an effect on the turnaround time of your loan, but many customers receive their loans within a week or less. LendingClub's Client Advisors are also available Monday through Friday from 6am-5pm Pacific Time, to answer any questions you may have about the lending process. Your loan request will be listed on the LendingClub website for up to two weeks, or until lenders are willing to fully fund your request.
Taking out a business loan typically comes with fees beyond the interest paid on the loan itself. At LendingClub you should expect to pay an origination fee from 1% to 6% of the loan amount, depending on your loan and loan terms. For example, if your business loan is $100,000, your origination fee would be somewhere between $990 and $6,990.
Solid business lender
If you need a business loan to grow your company, LendingClub offers highly competitive rates and an uncomplicated application process, backed by years of successful lending to numerous businesses around the country.
If you're looking for a modern way to get a business line of credit, Kabbage offers lines from $2,000 to $100,000. An accredited business with the Better Business Bureau since 2014, Kabbage's A+ rating demonstrates that they are a contender in the business loan market.
Unique creditworthy verification
One unique feature of Kabbage is their use of other online services to verify the creditworthiness of your business: if you sell products on Etsy or receive regular payments from customers via PayPal, for example, you can link to those services to show Kabbage a real-time snapshot of your business data. This is an impressive way to save time often required by other lenders' paperwork processes, such as obtaining and documenting your credit score or sending in bank statements. The signup and application process, including this linked verification, takes only a few minutes; once qualified, you receive instant access to your approved amount.
Business loan requirements
In order to get a business loan from Kabbage, you will need to meet their minimum requirements:
Those requirements do mean that Kabbage would not be suitable for startups or companies within their first year of doing business.
We were impressed by Kabbage's low fees for their business lines of credit: 1.5% to 12%. Loans are paid back either in six months or twelve, and there are no early payment fees. There are no application fees either, making Kabbage one of the most straightforward lending platforms in our review.
Small business guides
We also like Kabbage's dedication to helping small businesses succeed. Their website has a Resources section that includes an up-to-date blog, complimentary Small Business Guides on a variety of topics, and even access to webinars on topics from bookkeeping to hiring.
Great lending resource
While Kabbage won't be able to help you if you're looking for funds for your startup, or if you need a loan in excess of $100,000, they are a fantastic, low-fee resource if you have an established business that is doing well overall. Kabbage easily earns a four-star rating.
Since getting its start in 1999, National Funding has provided over $3 billion in loans to more than 50,000 businesses throughout the US. The company prides itself on its custom-designed lending solutions for each business, with loan specialists who have industry-specific knowledge that can help you get the money you need for marketing, inventory, payroll and more.
Impressive lending options
What types of lending options can you get through National Funding? Take a look for yourself:
Wide range of loan amounts
National Funding offers one of the widest ranges of loan amounts for businesses: $5000 to $500,000. Many of their competitors come up short on one end of that spectrum (they only offer loans of at least $15,000, or they don't go beyond $200,000), making this lender a great possibility for a higher number of businesses of all sizes. However, be aware that you will have to have a minimum gross sales amount of $100,000 in order to qualify for any loan with National Funding.
Easy application process
The process of applying for a small business loan couldn't be easier. Enter your basic information - name and contact details, how long you've been in business and your annual gross sales, etc. You'll then get a screen that says a loan specialist will be in touch, but don't leave the site yet! You may be redirected to a page asking for further details; in our case, we were asked to specify if we'd had at least $8,300 in monthly sales for the last 3 months and if our personal credit score was above or below 650. Even with lower credit, you may still be eligible for a loan, so we encourage you to complete the prequalification form if asked to do so; as long as you meet that threshold of $100,000 per year, you will probably still receive funding.
A big perk of getting a business loan from this lender is fast funding. After approval, you could have access to your loan amount in 24 hours. Another benefit is that their customized financing solutions never require collateral or a down payment. And, if you're able to pay off your business loan earlier than expected, National Funding offers early payoff discounts too.
This lender has a solid reputation, which is a must when deciding which provider to entrust with the financial well-being of your business. The BBB has given National Funding an "A+" rating and accreditation, and over 1200 client reviews this service has earned a strong 4.5 out of 5 stars. We're always glad to see people saying that a lender has been knowledgeable, helpful and friendly, but it's even more impressive to find happy reviews from clients who are repeat customers because of the excellent service they received.
Lack of loan details
The biggest reason National Funding didn't rank higher in our reviews is because they don't offer specific details about interest rates, repayment terms, or fees. With so many providers of business loans available today, most clients prefer transparency before giving their details to a prospective lender - so we'd love to see National Funding getting a little more specific about what business owners might be able to expect (even if it's just an estimated APR range or approximate fees based on the total loan amount).
Good custom loan solution
One thing is for sure: if you need a business loan that is tailored precisely to meet your unique situation, National Funding can get it done. With funds available as soon a day after your application is complete, flexible options for virtually every industry, and a great record for offering quality service to its clients, this lender is a great choice for most businesses.
Before you get started with Clearbanc, you should know that their focus is very different from most providers of business loans: unless your company is considered e-commerce, a SaaS product or a mobile app, Clearbanc will probably not approve you for funding. Since 2015, they've invested more than $1 billion in more than 2200 online businesses, making Clearbanc the biggest e-commerce investor in the world. (In fact, you can read more about the company's success in Forbes, Fast Company, and other well-known publications.)
Big loan amounts
Clearbanc prides itself on being fast, flexible and fair. You can get a business loan offer - what they call a "term sheet" - in about 20 minutes. Their funding ranges from $10,000 up to $10 million. And, they don't require you to put up equity or risk your personal credit to qualify. Sounds good so far, right? To be eligible, you'll need an average monthly revenue of at least $10,000, at least 6 months of consistent revenue history, and you have to either be a corporation or an LLC (no sole proprietorships).
2 step application
The application process has two steps. First, you'll have to give Clearbanc some basic details about you and your business, like how much monthly revenue you're generating, your URL, and your address. Once those initial details have been prequalified, you'll move on to the formal application.
Here's where it gets more in-depth. You have to connect your sales and marketing account(s) as a mandatory step to get funding. This could include e-commerce platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce, payment processors like Stripe and Square, marketplaces such as Amazon or Cratejoy, or even app stores.
Why? It all comes back to Clearbanc's novel way of funding businesses: they use AI-fueled predictive modeling to take a deep dive into your ad performance, revenue, and other third-party data to determine how much to invest - in you! There's no credit check, no collateral or guarantees required, no dilution of your investors, because their funding offer revolves solely around how your company is already performing.
It also relates to how you make repayments. Instead of having to remember to make payments on a loan, you'll have a percentage of your future business revenue deducted directly by Clearbanc. That repayment percentage is typically between 1% to 20% of each transaction, so that you keep cash flow in your day-to-day operations. There's no fixed repayment date, so you're not obligated to make big loan repayments during times where business may be slower than usual. You should expect a flat fee ranging from 6% to 12.5%, depending on how you plan on using the funds. The amount of that flat fee is also gradually recouped from your future revenue.
Impressive resource center
One very significant difference when getting business funding through Clearbanc is that you're never given a lump sum payment of your "loan". Instead, you receive a Clearbanc credit card that can be used to spend on marketing, inventory, and so on. That way, the amount you borrow directly correlates to the amount you spend. We think this is a good way for you to discretely manage the actual amount of money you borrow.
Overall, Clearbanc presents a revolutionary alternative to traditional business loans. Among the dozens of reviews we found from very satisfied clients, we found frequent praise for the helpfulness of their customer representatives, the speed at which the funding was made available, and particularly how Clearbanc's business model makes it possible to grow a business without dilution. If you've got any kind of e-commerce business and need funding within a matter of days, we strongly recommend you consider Clearbanc.
Balboa Capital is a well-known company in the business loan market. Located in Irvine, CA, Balboa has been helping borrowers get the funds they need to start or grow their businesses anywhere in the US for nearly two decades.
Simple application process
Business owners looking to get a loan have two primary choices: small business loans or equipment leases. For either option, the process is simple:
Loan approval phone call
Once those two steps have been completed, an account manager from Balboa Capital will contact the prospective borrower - often within a matter of minutes, and almost always the same day - with a decision on the loan. If approved, equipment financing is typically funded on the same day, and business loans are funded within a few days.
Read the terms
Balboa Capital's site doesn't make their interest rates obvious or easy to find. We highly recommend that prospective borrowers make sure to be very exact with their businesses' details (for example, years in business, total revenue, credit history) and to read the fine print, to make sure that any loan terms offered by Balboa Capital are reasonable, given the difficulty in determining outright what interest rates and fees might be expected.
Excellent customer ratings
We're encouraged to see that Balboa Capital maintains a perfect A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and an excellent rating across 72 reviews gathered by Trustpilot. Based on information offered by Balboa Capital's customers, we suggest that borrowers make sure to understand any origination fees, termination fees, and other costs, as some reviews express frustrations with unexpected costs in the fine print, especially for customers using Balboa's equipment lease program.
While we would have liked to see more transparency with Balboa Capital's interest rates and fees, their well-established history and excellent rating with the BBB make them a contender within the business loans market. As with any borrowing situation, customers should make sure to have a clear understanding of any possible fees and other costs before signing on the dotted line.
National Business Capital is a well-known source for business financing, both in terms of small business loans and other products, such as equipment financing, business lines of credit, and more. Since their start in 2012, their clients have come from nearly every industry, including Transportation, IT companies, Hospitality Services, and Construction/Contracting, regardless of their credit background. Nearly 70% of their clients were first turned down by traditional banks prior to their approval by National Business Capital, which is evidence of their strong commitment to helping businesses get the financing they need, even during times of economic instability in the nation.
Approval in less than 24 hours
One terrific feature of National Business Capital's process is that approval takes less than 24 hours. After completing a brief application that includes the business' name, approximate monthly sales, and purpose of the loan, applicants can expect contact from one of National Business Capital's Business Consultants within a day.
Hunting for details
Unfortunately, this lender does not make it easy to determine more specific information about their lending programs, such as minimum or maximum loan amounts, loan terms, or interest rates. Using their Loan Calculator on the Small Business Loans page, we could assume that loans range from $10,000 to $3,000,000, that business need to have been in operation for at least a year, and monthly gross sales must equal at least $10,000 (because the sliders don't go below those amounts), but it appears that individuals seeking funding will need to speak with a representative to get more detailed information. We had to turn to a newspaper article to determine that interest rates begin around 9%, as reported by president Joseph Camberato. We would have liked to see more transparency with their programs' details, especially for those who may be hoping to create a new business and are often turned down by other lenders.
We do appreciate the fact that National Business Capital is an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau and carried an A+ rating at the time of our review with only two registered customer complaints in the last 12 months. There are also a number of compelling testimonials on the site that show great attention to customer service, success in securing funding even for struggling businesses, and repeat customers who have been thrilled with the process of obtaining funding through this lender.
Ultimately, National Business Capital earns good marks: they appear to be a reputable lender dedicated to helping business owners across the spectrum to get the funding they need, even during times of financial difficulty. We'd gladly improve this rating with more details regarding their loan terms, particularly interest rates and other fees.
Established in 1998, Georgia-based CAN Capital offers business loans ranging from $2,500 to $150,000 or more with terms from 4-24 months. CAN Capital focuses specifically on small business owners, with tools, resources, and blog posts directed towards helping them to grow their businesses and succeed.
Unfortunately, CAN Capital is not one of the lenders in our review who make business loans to startups: they require borrowers to have been in business for at least four months and have monthly revenue that is relatively stable.
48 hours for funds
The application process is relatively simple and is comparable to other lenders' in our review: enter basic information about the business, such as the gross monthly sales, number of months or years in business, and the business' location. Once the application is approved, funds can be sent is as little as two business days.
Be careful with the loan terms
While CAN Capital doesn't publish their APR during any part of quote or application process, there is a calculator that allows prospective borrowers to enter the amount of their monthly sales, the desired loan amount and term, and see the weekday payment, principal amount and the total repayment amount. Of course, this is just an estimate; the final loan offered would naturally depend on the business' history, creditworthiness, and actual loan terms. Customers should make sure to read the fine print: both when we ran our own theoretical scenarios and when we considered CAN Capital's reviews, we saw interest rates around 30%, all the way up to 85%! Given that CAN Capital focuses on small businesses, particularly those who haven't been able to qualify for a traditional loan, we wonder if such high interest rates will actually help a business to succeed instead of being overburdened with (additional) debt.
Another possible downside of having a business loan with CAN Capital is the effect on one's personal credit; one customer complained that CAN Capital pulled a hard inquiry on their personal credit every six months for the duration of their loan, even though the customer had no late payments or any other issues with the loan.
Overall good job
On the other hand, CAN Capital has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 1998 and carries an A+ rating. In our opinion, this carries a great deal of weight and would indicate that, overall, CAN Capital is doing a good job of providing loans to almost 140,000 small businesses in ways that are honest and trustworthy.
Based in southern Utah, Advanced Commercial Capital provides business loans through a system known as factoring: a business in need of quick cash essentially sells its outstanding accounts receivable to a financial institution (called a "factor"), and that institution buys those accounts at a discount as its fee for the service. Those fees, which would be somewhat comparable to an interest rate on a loan, typically range from 5.5% to 10%, depending on the credit risk of the invoices purchased by the factor. Those rates are significantly lower than most business loans provided by other services in our review.
When deciding to work with a client, ACC looks to see if the business is essentially successful but having issues with managing their cash flow as they provide goods and/or services to stable customers with good credit. The initial application form is somewhat lengthy; prospective customers must provide detailed information regarding their business, including the structure (for example, sole proprietorship, LLC, and so on), owner(s), primary industry, and at least two trade references. Once the application has been submitted, ACC typically renders a decision within 72 hours. After receiving an original invoice and supporting documentation, businesses can expect to have the funds within 24 hours.
When evaluating ACC's reputation as a business loan provider, we noticed several things that could be cause for concern. First, we were unable to find a Better Business Bureau rating for Advanced Commercial Capital; along with a LinkedIn profile showing that the company has 10 or fewer employees, ACC does not seem to be a key player in the business loan market. Also, both the blog and the Facebook page for Advanced Commercial Capital haven't been updated since 2014, again leaving us to wonder exactly how active ACC is within the lending market. On a positive note, a call to the toll-free number featured prominently at the top of ACC's website was answered quickly; the representative reassured us that they are still very active in the lending industry and that they are working on updating both the Facebook page and the blog in the near future.
Spcific lending solution
In summary, ACC may be a good lender for established businesses that want an alternative to a traditional business loan and interest rates that are potentially much lower than what they could obtain elsewhere. However, because Advanced Commercial Capital focuses primarily on factoring-type lending, they may not be the best fit for a large number of potential customers, especially those who are looking for startup cash.
Fortunately, business owners today can choose among many lenders to find the best terms and interest rates available. In addition to the old local options, small business borrowers now have much more and better choices through various lenders on the Internet that specialize in small business loans.
There are many factors that you should consider before selecting a lender for your business loan. Some of these include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Business Loan programs available today. We hope this information helps you find the best loan for your small business at an affordable rate!
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