SmartBiz Small Business Loan Review

SmartBiz is a good option for small business owners looking for relatively large Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. As an online loan marketplace, SmartBiz relies on technology to make an often cumbersome borrowing process faster and easier. In addition to SmartBizSBA loans, the company also offers traditional term loans. SmartBiz matches owners with lenders likely to approve them, but new businesses or those with poor credit should look elsewhere.


What does SmartBiz offer?

SmartBiz primarily works with lenders offering two types of loans: SBA 7(a) loans and traditional term loans. SBA loans generally carry lower interest rates than traditional term loans, but the requirements can be more daunting. Term loans can be more flexible, with shorter repayment schedules and faster funding times, but usually cost more. Here’s a closer look at each:

SmartBiz Small Business Loans
  • SBA 7(a) loans
  • APR: Rates vary, subject to SBA maximums
  • Loan amount: $30,000–$5,000,000
  • Terms: 120–300 months
  • Fees: Guaranty fee, plus typical closing costs of $450 and application fee of $3,000
  • Term loans
  • APR: 6.99%–23.99%
  • Loan amount: $30,000–$500,000
  • Terms: 24–60 months
  • Fees: 3% referral and 3% packaging fee, plus closing costs between $200 and $300


SmartBiz SBA loans

SBA loans may not exceed a maximum interest rate defined by the federal government. Rates may be fixed or variable, and fluctuate depending on the current prime rate and loan amount. SBA loans also come with fees, most notably the guaranty fee. The guaranteed portion of the loan is the amount backed by the SBA to protect the individual lender. Here’s a closer look:

SmartBiz Small Business Loans
  • Amount
  • Guaranty Fee
  • $0 -$150,000
  • 2% of guaranteed portion, or 1.7% of loan balance
  • $150,001 -$700,000
  • 3% of guaranteed portion, or 2.25% of loan balance
  • $700,001 to $5 million
  • 3.5% of guaranteed portion up to $1 million, plus 3.75% of guaranteed portion over $1 million


On top of these SBA fees, lenders in the SmartBiz network usually charge a one-time application fee of $3,000 for working capital loans plus $450 in closing costs. For commercial real estate loans, lenders generally charge both an application fee of $5,000 and closing costs of $5,000. Fees are generally taken out of the loan proceeds, so you’ll receive a net amount when your loan is funded.

Compare Small Business Loan Offers

By clicking “Compare Small Business Loan Offers,” you may or may not be matched with any lender mentioned in this article. Based on your creditworthiness, you may be matched with up to five different lenders in our partner network.

Who should apply for financing through SmartBiz?

If you’re looking for a business loan, particularly SBA loans, SmartBiz can make the process easier to manage, as it offers a single, streamlined application. However, you won’t be able to sidestep the extensive documentation requirements of getting some of these loans, even by using a service such as SmartBiz.

You’ll also need to meet certain lending requirements, including the following:

      • At least two years in business
      • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status
      • Personal credit score at least 640 to 675
      • Cash flow that can support your loan payments
      • No outstanding tax liens
      • No foreclosures or bankruptcies in the past three years

Certain specific businesses are disqualified from SBA loans, including those in the following industries:

    • Real estate investment firms
    • Firms involved in speculative activities, such as trading commodities futures
    • Rare coin and stamp dealers
    • Lenders or finance companies
    • Pyramid sales plans
    • Any illegal enterprises
    • Firms involved in gambling
    • Charitable or church organizations

Overall, the SmartBiz platform can make things easier for established businesses with solid credit histories that need financing. If you’re still struggling to meet the minimum requirements, you might want to put in some work improving your financial background before you apply for a loan through SmartBiz. On the plus side, SmartBiz does offer advice and assistance for businesses looking to improve their approval chances.

How to apply for a SmartBiz small business loan

  • Minimum credit score required: 640 for working capital or debt refinance loans, 675 for real estate/construction loans
  • Time in business required: 2 years
  • Revenue requirements: Qualifying businesses typically have more than $100,000 in annual revenue.
  • Collateral required: Varies; may include company assets and/or personal guaranty

Loan requirements are fairly clear-cut through the SmartBiz portal. You’ll need a minimum credit score of between 640 and 675, depending on the type of loan you’re looking for, and you’ll need at least two years in business. Requirements may not be as stringent for term loans.

SmartBiz SBA loan requirements

Whether you are applying for an SBA loan or a term loan, there’s just a single application to fill out. In three simple steps, you can start the process toward getting matched with a lender that’s most likely to approve you. In five minutes, the SmartBiz platform can see if you prequalify for up to $350,000. According to SmartBiz, about 90% of the applications it refers to banks in its network are approved. Here’s the three-step process:

Step 1

Choose what you will do with your loan proceeds. The two choices are to grow your business/refinance an existing debt or purchase/refinance commercial real estate.

Step 2

Indicate how much you want to borrow, $30,000 to $350,000 for working capital loans and $500,000 to $5,000,000 for commercial real estate loans.

Step 3

Provide personal information, such as your name, email address, phone number and business name.

After these simple steps, you’re on your way to finding out if you prequalify. There is no effect on your credit score.

If you’d rather apply over the phone, you can call SmartBiz at (844) 256-6541 from 7 a.m.- 5 p.m. PST Monday through Friday, or from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. PST on Saturday.

For your full application, you should be prepared with the following documents:

  • Credit report
  • Personal tax returns
  • Business tax returns
  • Business profit & loss statement
  • Business balance sheet
  • Personal financial statements
  • Collateral, if necessary

For SBA loans, you’ll also need to provide:

  • Personal background information
  • Business plan
  • Cash flow statements
  • Business license
  • Articles of incorporation or franchise agreements, if applicable 
  • Commercial leases
  • Third-party contracts

Collateral requirements

SBA loans over $25,000 also typically require collateral. The SBA wants to see that owners have a stake in their business, so it requires invested equity. Individual lenders may have additional specific collateral requirements, but typical assets that may be put up include real estate, office or manufacturing equipment, accounts receivable or inventory. Personal assets may also be required.

SmartBiz loans: Pros and cons

SmartBiz matches business owners with lenders using its online platform, a possibly speedier process than searching for a loan and applying on your own. But the convenience might cost you higher fees. If you’re already experienced with these types of loans and currently work with a lender, you might not need the help offered by SmartBiz. If you’re applying for the first time, you might be more comfortable paying a premium.


    • Cheaper loans than those offered by competitor nonbank lenders or merchant cash advance providers.
    • Application process can be faster and easier than filing a loan application on your own. However, SBA loans in general take longer than online business loans, at least seven days.
    • SmartBiz advisors can point you toward\ the best fit in terms of a lender and assist you in improving your finances if you don’t meet initial requirements


  • Fees can raise the cost of loans.
  • Fair or better credit required. SmartBiz also does not consider businesses with less than two years of operating history.
  • Relatively high starting amounts — SmartBiz loans start at $30,000 though it is possible to get SBA loans of lesser amounts elsewhere.