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Short-Term Business Loans: 5 Best Options

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Small business owners who need fast funding to fill a cash flow gap or pay for an emergency expense might consider short-term business loans. Many lenders can be found online, and they may provide a simple application process. Loan amounts vary from each lender, but usually start at $5,000 and may go as high as $750,000. Once approved, funds can be accessed quickly — sometimes on the same day — but come with short repayment terms, typically three to 18 months.

Best short-term loans

A short-term loan can help provide funding for small businesses when needed, but you’ll first need to find the best lender for your individual situation. Our list below provides options for the best short-term small business loans with lenient lender requirements and fast funding.

LenderBest forMaximum loan amountTermsTime to funding
Fora FinancialShort repayment terms$750,000Up to 15 months72 hours
OnDeckSmall purchases$250,000Up to 24 monthsSame day
CrediblyBad credit$400,0003 to 15 monthsSame day upon approval
Balboa CapitalHigher-revenue businesses$250,0003 to 24 monthsSame day upon approval
FundboxLine of credit$150,00012 to 24 weeksNext business day upon approval

Learn more about our methodology behind our picks here.

Fora Financial: Best for short repayment terms

Fora Financial

Term lengthUp to 15 months
Term lengthUp to 15 months
Max. amount$750,000
Starting factor rate1.10 to 1.35
Min. credit score500
Min. time in businessAt least 6 months

Pros:

  Loan amounts up to $750,000

  Early payoff discounts


Cons:

  Minimum of $12,000 in gross sales

  No open bankruptcies in order to qualify

Fora Financial offers short repayment terms and large loan amounts to borrow, but you won’t be able to qualify if you have any open bankruptcies.


OnDeck: Best for small purchases

OnDeck

Term lengthUp to 24 months
Term lengthUp to 24 months
Max. amount$250,000
Starting APR29.90% APR
Min. credit score625
Min. time in business1 year

Pros:

  Loan amounts can range from $5,000 to $250,000

  Repayment terms are from 3 to 24 months


Cons:

  At least 1 year in business to qualify

  Minimum annual gross revenue of $100,000 for all businesses

OnDeck offers smaller loan amounts that start at $5,000 — this is great for small purchases. However, you’ll need to be in business for at least a year to qualify.


Credibly: Best for bad credit

Credibly: Best for bad credit

Term length6 to 18 months
Term length3 to 15 months
Max. amount$400,000
Starting factor rate1.15
Min. credit score500
Min. time in businessAt least 6 months

Pros:

 Minimum credit score requirement of 500

 Only six months in business is required


Cons:

  One-time origination fee of 2.50% of total loan amount

  Average monthly revenue of at least $15,000 is required (or $180,000 or more in annual revenue)

Credibly only requires a credit score of 500 to borrow funds — still, interest rates can be on the higher side, and your business will need to produce high revenue in order to be eligible.


Balboa Capital: Best for higher-revenue businesses

Balboa Capital

Term length3 to 24 months
Term length3 to 24 months
Max. amount$250,000
Starting APR4.00%
Min. credit score620
Min. time in business1 year

Pros:

  Flexible loan term lengths, varying from 3 to 24 months

  May be able to receive same-day funding upon approval


Cons:

  Annual revenue of $300,000 or more is required

  Must be in business for at least a year

Balboa Capital borrowers can receive funding as soon as the same day, but small businesses must bring in higher revenue and be in operation for at least a year to be eligible.


Fundbox: Best for a line of credit

Fundbox

Term length12-24 weeks
Term length12-24 weeks
Max. amount$150,000
Starting APR4.66% for 12 weeks 8.99% for 24 weeks
Min. credit score600
Min. time in business6 months in business

Pros:

  Flexible terms with no prepayment penalty

  Can borrow up to $150,000


Cons:

  Requires $100,000 or more in annual revenue

  Comparatively shorter repayment terms than other lenders featured

If you’re looking for a flexible line of credit to draw from instead of a lump sum upfront, Fundbox offers flexible terms without any prepayment penalties if you pay off early.


How short-term business loans work

Short-term business loans provide quick access to funds for filling cash flow gaps, working capital or emergency expenses within a business. They typically have repayment periods of three to 18 months, with payments made automatically on a daily or weekly basis. They’re funded quickly by online lenders, and a common time frame for this type of funding is anywhere from one to three business days.

Short-term small business loans are typically more lenient than long-term, traditional bank loans. With more relaxed eligibility requirements — such as lower credit scores, shorter times in business or lower annual revenue — short-term loans may be more accessible for new or small businesses. However, they can also come with higher interest rates.

Long-term business loans offered by traditional banks have longer repayment periods, usually three to 10 years. These loans also may have lower interest rates, but may require payments on a less frequent basis than short-term loans do. Long-term loans can be used for growing a business over time or making a significant investment, like a remodel or a building expansion.

Common uses of short-term business loans

We’ve briefly covered why a business might use a short-term loan — for stop-gap or emergency funding — but let’s take a closer look at some specific reasons they can be used.

  • Short-term loans can be used for covering upfront expenses. Businesses that do work for clients or customers before getting paid might need short-term funding to get started on a project. Short-term loans can offer the money to get started and can be repaid as a client begins to pay for the work.
  • Unexpected or emergency expenses can be covered with short-term loans. Part of what makes short-term loans so appealing is that they’re usually funded quickly. This makes them ideal for small businesses looking for funding to cover unexpected emergency expenses.
  • Using short-term loans to cover seasonal income gaps. For those businesses that have seasonal income, short-term loans can be used to help offset the off-season.

Short-term loan interest rates

One thing to always consider when deciding whether to take a short-term loan is its interest rate. Rates for short-term business loans are sometimes higher than they might be for longer-term loans. The interest rates for short-term business loans generally range from around 7% to 50% or higher, depending on where the loan comes from.

In addition, some short-term lenders may charge a factor rate instead of an interest rate. While interest is a percentage of the remaining balance of the loan, a factor rate is expressed as a decimal figure. To calculate the full cost of your loan with the factor rate included, multiply your loan amount by the factor rate.

How to get a short-term business loan

Oftentimes, you can apply for a short-term business loan with a quick online application that takes just a few minutes to complete. Once you have the required documents and materials to show your monthly or annual revenue and time in business, you can fill out your application for most online lenders fairly easily.

Since short-term business loans are commonly used for fast financing, the three most important factors in determining eligibility will typically be your credit score, annual or monthly revenue and length of time in business. Lenders usually require business plans, profit and loss statements and tax returns when filling out the application.

You should also consider whether or not lenders offer the amount of funding you’re looking for, as well as the repayment terms and rates before you apply.

Short-term business loans: Pros and cons

ProsCons

  Funding for short-term business loans are typically quick, meaning you could have the cash within a few business days after applying. 

  Online lenders offering short-term loans tend to have an easy application process. 

  Repaying your loan on time or ahead of schedule could help boost your credit, but be sure to check that there are no prepayment penalty fees.

  Online lenders offering short-term business loans tend to have higher interest rates and fees.

  Short-term loans require quick repayment timelines with either daily or weekly payments. You’ll likely have to start making payments within the following day or week after taking on the loan.

Methodology

To appear on our list of best short-term business loans, lenders had to meet the following criteria:

  • Loan amounts as low as $5,000
  • Minimum credit score requirement of 700 or below
  • Maximum repayment terms of 24 months or less
  • Funds available within 3 business days or less

Frequently asked questions

Who should get a short-term business loan?

Small businesses that are looking for short-term funding to cover an emergency expense or to help expand their business, as well as potentially repay on a daily or weekly basis, might consider a short-term loan. Short-term business loans can also be more lenient in qualification requirements, which could be good for those with bad credit.

How quickly can I get a short-term loan?

Short-term business loans usually provide fast funding. The exact time frame to receive your funds will depend on the lender. Some will provide funding the same day you’re approved, while others send the funds within 72 hours upon approval.

Can I get a short-term business loan with bad credit?

You might be able to get a loan if you have bad credit. Some lenders don’t weigh credit that heavily and instead prefer to see strong cash flow. However, those with low credit scores are likely to receive higher interest rates than those with excellent credit. In addition, keep in mind that taking on more debt you can’t afford can negatively impact your credit score further.

What is the shortest term for a loan?

Short-term business loans do indeed come with short repayment loans. The exact repayment term will ultimately depend on the lender, with some of the shorter terms seen set for three months with lenders like Balboa Capital or ​​12 or 24 weeks as seen with Fundbox.

Are there short-term loans for startup businesses?

Generally, short-term lenders consider time in business, but that doesn’t mean brand new businesses won’t qualify for short-term loans. There are some lenders that offer short-term loans to startup businesses that have been operating for only a year or less. However, high-interest rates are likely to come with these loans, and the repayment terms aren’t always flexible.

 

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