The 5 Best Equipment Financing Companies to Work With
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
Many companies need capital to buy or lease equipment, but they often can’t qualify for financing with traditional banks. Some business owners are turning to alternative equipment financing companies. These types of lenders typically have less-stringent requirements in terms of credit ratings and documentation than traditional lenders. To help you find the best options for equipment financing companies, take a look at the chart below. Then, continue reading to learn more about each one.
|Best Equipment Financing Companies|
|Company||Interest Rate||Fees/Penalties||Loan Amounts||Min. FICO score||Time to Funding After Approval|
|National Funding||Not listed||Origination fee; no prepayment penalties||Up to $150,000||575||1 business day||SEE OFFERS|
|Currency||Starting at 3.00%||$295 documentation fee; no prepayment penalties||Up to $500,000||650||2 business days||SEE OFFERS|
|Funding Circle||4.99% to 19.49%||Origination fee between 4.99% and 6.99%; no prepayment penalties||$5,000 to $500,000||630||5 business days||SEE OFFERS|
|Crest Capital||Starting at 4.49%||$275 admin fee; no prepayment penalties||$5,000 to $500,000||650||Varies||SEE OFFERS|
|CIT||Starting at 5.49%||No prepayment penalties||Up to $500,000||620||1 business day||SEE OFFERS|
What the top five equipment financing companies have to offer
The equipment financing companies on our list were chosen based on the following criteria:
- Minimum FICO score requirement below 700.
- Funds available within one week of approval.
- Flexible repayment terms with no prepayment penalties.
National Funding offers equipment financing up to $150,000 for term loans, as well as leases for any type of equipment.
National Funding requires that an applicant has been in business for at least six months and has a FICO score of at least 575, lower than many lenders. The company also offers early pay-off discounts — for a two- to five-year term loan, you can receive up to 6% off the remaining balance.
National Funding does not disclose rates online, so you may not know how much your equipment financing could cost until you submit an application.
Currency offers commercial loans up to $500,000 to finance equipment. Repayment terms are up to 72 months, and interest rates start at 3.00%. Eligible business owners could receive funding in two business days after approval.
Currency works with businesses that have been open for at least three years. The minimum required credit score is 650: not as low as other lenders, but it does give business owners with less than perfect credit an opportunity to qualify for financing.
Currency’s website is sparse when it comes to loan details, so business owners will likely have to submit an online application to see more of what Currency has to offer.
If you lease equipment through Currency, you may be able to purchase the assets at the end of your term. Currency requires 90-day notice of whether you plan to buy, return or continue to lease equipment.
Funding Circle offers loans from $5,000 to $500,000 to buy equipment for your business. The company has a fast, online application process and offers approval notification in one day, though it may take up to five business days to receive funds.
The loan amounts and loan terms are flexible. Funding Circle assigns each applicant a personal account manager, and a personal underwriter approves your loan. Repayment terms span 3 to 120 months, and you wouldn’t be penalized for paying off your debt early.
Funding Circle charges a late payment fee of 5%. The company also requires a FICO score of 630 and the company charges a one-time origination fee between 4.99% and 6.99% of the loan.
Crest Capital offers financing and leasing options for any type of equipment from $5,000 to $500,000, with term lengths of two to five years for loans up to $250,000 and two to seven years for larger amounts. For funding under $500,000, the company needs only an application without tax returns or similar documentation. For funding in excess of $500,000, the company requires additional documentation, including a written overview of your organization and an explanation of what you want to do with the equipment. Crest Capital would also need the following business information:
- Last two years’ worth of financial statements
- Previous two years’ tax returns
- Current financial statement
- List of current loans or leases
Crest Capital offers deferred payments for up to six months, step-up plans (pay less during the first few months of the term and more later) and seasonal plans (make no monthly payments during seasonal or slow periods). Seasonal plans best suit businesses that use equipment only at certain times of the year.
Crest Capital usually makes a lending decision within hours for businesses that seek less than $250,000, but businesses will need a minimum credit score of 650. Also, you must be in business for at least two years with no history of delinquent payments. Crest Capital charges a $275 administration fee and the first month’s payment up front.
CIT offers loans and leases for restaurant equipment, point-of-sale terminals, construction equipment, commercial vehicles and computer hardware and software. You may be able to secure up to $500,000 with only an application, while larger financing amounts up to $1,000,000 would require additional documentation and financial information.
CIT offers monthly, seasonal and deferred payment options. You could match your repayment terms to the useful life of the equipment, and you may also have the option to choose a fixed or floating (or variable) interest rate. CIT lends to sole proprietors and LLCs, and there are no restrictions on the equipment they finance — new or used assets are acceptable.
What is equipment financing and how does it work?
You can finance equipment by taking out a small business loan or lease. Equipment loans are asset-based — lenders use your asset as collateral to back the loan. Although traditional banks and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provide equipment financing, they tend to have tougher qualification requirements in terms of FICO scores, and the process is sometimes slower.
When you lease equipment, your monthly payment represents the cost of renting the equipment, and the lender benefits from any tax advantages associated with depreciation. Leasing is the best option if the equipment has a short shelf life, such as computers and other technology products.
There are tax benefits to leasing. Under IRS Section 179, you can deduct up to $1.02 million of equipment that you’ve purchased, even if it’s financed. Lease payments appear as an expense deduction on your taxes.
Leases come in various forms:
- Equipment finance agreement: Similar to a car loan, you take ownership of the equipment up front and pay the lender back on a monthly basis.
- Fair market value lease: Enables you to purchase the equipment at fair market value when the lease expires.
- $1 purchase option lease: The lender owns the equipment until the lease matures. The lessee can return the equipment for something new or buy it for $1 at maturity.
- 10% purchase option lease: Typically gives the borrower lower payments and the option to buy the equipment for an agreed upon amount when the lease matures.
- Equipment loans: Similar to traditional banks’ term loans and have fixed repayment schedules that include interest. As you pay off an equipment loan, over time the equipment transitions from a debt to an asset.
Choosing the best equipment financing company for your business
Choose a financing company that offers the type of arrangement that works for you. Do you need to update your equipment often, or would you like to eventually own the piece of equipment? What arrangement provides you with the best tax advantages? You might need the advice of a financial planning or tax expert to help you choose the best equipment financing company.
How to apply for equipment financing
Loan applicants can apply online, answering questions about the type of business they own and the equipment they need. You will be asked to upload or email requested documents. You’ll sign your contractual documents online, and lenders may make a decision on your loan within one day.
Here are some typical documents you might need to show a lender:
- Equipment quote
- Driver’s license
- Recent utility bills
- Voided business check
- Bank statements
- Personal credit score
- Two years of business tax returns
- The most recent personal tax returns of each person who owns 20% or more of the business
Equipment financing can be quick and easy, thanks to online lenders. Be sure to get tax advice, however, before choosing an equipment financing company or a loan option to ensure you’re taking advantage of any deductions that might be available to you.