Small Business Loans 2023: Compare Top Options

Find the right funding for your business.

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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
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Best small business loans in 2023

Written by Carissa Chesanek and Melissa Wylie | Edited by Kurt Adams and Janet Schaaf | Updated July 31, 2023

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
LenderBest forLoan TermsAmountRatesMin. credit score
SmartBiz logoSBA loans120 to 300 months$30,000 to $500,00011.25%-12.25% variable650Get business loan offers
Short-term loansUp to 24 months$5,000 to $250,000Starting at 35.40% APR625Get business loan offers
Long-term loans6 to 84 months$25,000 to $500,00011.29% to 30.12%660Get business loan offers
Line of credit6 to 12 monthsUp to $250,000Simple interest rates starting at 6.20% for 26-week repayment625Get business loan offers
Working capital3 to 15 monthsUp to $400,000Factor rates starting at 1.11500Get business loan offers
Equipment financing12 to 84 monthsUp to $2,000,0004.99% to 28.00%550Get business loan offers
Accounts receivable financing120 days average repayment$5,000 to $10,000,000Factor rates starting at 1.12550Get business loan offers
Merchant cash advances3 to 15 months$5,000 to $400,000Factor rates starting at 1.10525Get business loan offers
Bad credit2 to 12 months$3,000 to $1,000,000Factor rates starting at 1.24500Get business loan offers
Fast funding12 to 24 weeksUp to $150,0004.66% to 8.99%600Get business loan offers
StartupsUp to 15 monthsUp to $1,500,000Factor rates starting at 1.10500Get business loan offers
Business expansionUp to 60 monthsUp to $500,000Factor rates starting at 1.11600Get business loan offers

Learn more about how we chose the best small business loans.


 

Our pick for SBA loans: SmartBiz

These popular government-backed loans offer long repayment terms and moderate interest rates, but the application process can last up to several months.


APR range7.5% to 10.29% [shortcode update]
APR range11.25%-12.25% variable
Loan amount$30,000 to $500,000
Term (months)120 to 300 months
Min. credit score650
FeesUp to 3.5% of guaranteed portion up to $1,000,000, plus 3.75% of guaranteed portion over $1,000,000
Time to fundingAs short as 7 days
Read our SmartBiz review

Our pick for short-term loans: OnDeck

With repayment terms from a few months to two years, short-term loans are good for when you expect a quick return on what you’re investing in with the loan funds.

APR rangeStarting at 29.9% APR [shortcode]
APR rangeStarting at 35.40% APR
Loan amount$5,000 to $250,000
Term (months)Up to 24 months
Min. credit score625
FeesMaximum origination fee of 4.00%
Time to fundingUp to 3 business days
Read our OnDeck review

Our pick for long-term loans: Funding Circle

Long-term business loans offer relatively low-rate financing for lasting investments, such as machinery or business acquisition. 

APR range12.45% to 40.51%
APR range11.29% to 30.12%
Loan amount$25,000 to $500,000
Term (months)6 to 84 months
Min. credit score660
FeesOrigination fee of 4.49% - 10.49%
Time to funding2 days
Read our Funding Circle review

Our pick for business line of credit: Bluevine

A line of credit is funding that you can draw upon as needed, and you’ll only have to pay interest on what you borrow.

APR rangeSimple interest rates starting at 4.80% [shortcode]
APR rangeSimple interest rates starting at 6.20% for a 26-week repayment term
Loan amountUp to $250,000
Term (months)6 to 12 months
Min. credit score625
FeesN/A
Time to funding1 to 3 business days
Read our Bluevine review

Our pick for working capital loans: Credibly

Working capital loans are short-term loans disbursed within 24 hours to a week of approval and designed to fund your company’s day-to-day operations during a lull in business activity.

APR rangeFactor rates starting at 1.15 [shortcode]
APR rangeFactor rates starting at 1.11
Loan amountUp to $400,000
Term (months)3 to 15 months
Min. credit score500
Fees2.50% origination fee
Time to fundingMay be same business day
Read our Credibly review

Our pick for equipment financing: Taycor Financial

Equipment financing allows businesses to pay for equipment, such as commercial trucks, a restaurant oven or an office copier, a little at a time for relatively low rates.

Taycor Financial lender logo

APR range3.49% to 28% [shortcode update]
APR range4.99% to 28.00%
Loan amountUp to $2,000,000
Term (months)12 to 84 months
Min. credit score550
FeesDoc fee (amount not disclosed)
Time to fundingTypically within 24 hours
Read our Taycor Financial review

Our pick for accounts receivable financing: Elevation Capital

Exchange unpaid invoices for immediate cash, minus a fee. AR financing, also known as “invoice factoring,” may be a good option for risk-averse or poor-credit borrowers.

Elevation Capital lender logo

APR rangeFactor rates starting at 1.12 [shortcode]
APR rangeFactor rates starting at 1.12
Loan amount$5,000 to $10,000,000
Term (months)120 days average repayment
Min. credit score550
FeesN/A
Time to fundingWithin 10 days
Read our Elevation Capital review

Our pick for merchant cash advance financing: Reliant Funding

A merchant cash advance is a lump sum of funding that businesses repay through their daily transactions.

Reliant Funding lender logo

APR rangeFactor rates starting at 1.1 [shortcode]
APR rangeFactor rates starting at 1.10
Loan amount$5,000 to $400,000
Term (months)3 to 15 months
Min. credit score525
FeesOrigination fee of $499 for funding amounts up to $50,000; No origination fee for higher amounts.
Time to fundingAs little as 24 hours
Read our Reliant Funding review

Our pick for bad credit business loans: Uplyft Capital

Getting a business loan with bad credit can be challenging — but it’s not impossible. However, a lower score can come with higher interest rates and additional requirements from the lender.

Uplyft Capital logo

APR rangeFactor rates starting at 1.24
APR rangeFactor rates starting at 1.24
Loan amount$3,000 to $1,000,000
Term (months)2 to 12 months
Min. credit score500
FeesNo fees on MCAs
Time to fundingCould receive on same day requested
Read our Uplyft Capital review

Our pick for fast funding: Fundbox

If you need fast funding for your business, same day business loans may be a good option for you. 

Fundbox logo

APR range4.66% to 8.99%
APR range4.66% to 8.99%
Loan amountUp to $150,000
Term (months)12 to 24 weeks
Min. credit score600
FeesNo origination fee
Time to fundingNext business day after approval
Read our Fundbox review

Our pick for startup business loans: Fora Financial

Startup business loans may be an option for businesses in operation for less than two years that bring in consistent revenue.

APR rangeFactor rates starting at 1.10
APR rangeFactor rates starting at 1.10
Loan amountUp to $1,500,000
Term (months)Up to 15 months
Min. credit score500
Fees Origination fee of 2.5% of the loan amount or $300, whichever is higher
Time to funding72 hours upon approval
Read our Fora Financial review

Our pick for business expansion loans: National Funding

Business expansion loans help you acquire a new business, expand to a new location or even hire more staff.

APR rangeStarting
APR rangeFactor rate: 1.11
Loan amountUp to $500,000
Term (months)Up to 60 months
Min. credit score600
FeesOrigination fee 1.00% to 2.00%
Time to funding24 hours after approval
Read our National Funding review

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What is a small business loan?

Small business loans help entrepreneurs build, maintain or expand their companies. They can help to purchase inventory, buy new equipment or even cover unexpected expenses.

Getting business loans for your company doesn’t always require walking into a bank to secure the funds — there are also a variety of online small business lenders to consider, which may have easier qualifications and faster applications.

Types of business loans

Business loans come in a variety of flavors, with terms as short as a few months or as long as 25 years. You can find business loans with traditional brick-and-mortar banks, credit unions, online lenders and even the U.S. Small Business Administration.


Term loans

Business term loans provide a lump sum of cash upfront, paid with interest in fixed monthly or weekly installments. Short-term business loans have repayment terms of a few months to a year or more and are commonly available from online lenders. Long-term business loans, usually offered by traditional brick-and-mortar banks, can last as long as 10 years. 


Line of credit

Similar to a credit card, a business line of credit is a revolving form of funding that requires you to pay interest only on the amount you borrow. A flexible lending product, it can be useful for recurring expenses like rent or inventory purchases.


Equipment financing

Also known as equipment loans, equipment financing enables businesses to purchase heavy machinery, computers, vehicles or other necessary equipment to operate the business. The equipment acts as collateral for the loan. 


Commercial real estate loans

Commercial real estate loans allow businesses to purchase, build or renovate property for business uses. They function similar to a home mortgage, but a commercial real estate loan may require a higher down payment upfront.


SBA loans

SBA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), offering long repayment terms with comparatively low interest rates. The 7(a) loan offers up to $5 million for a wide range of business purposes, but the 504/CDC loan is more commonly used for purchasing fixed assets, like equipment or real estate. You’ll apply with a bank or online lender, not directly through the SBA. 


Microloans

Microloans are loans for $50,000 or less. The SBA makes microloans, as do several nonprofit or community organizations. Microloans are often geared towards startups or underrepresented business owners, such as women or people of color.


Working capital loans

Working capital loan is an umbrella term for financing used to cover short-term operating expenses, like payroll or covering cash flow gaps. Working capital loans can come in a variety of flavors, like lines of credit, term loans and cash advances.


Invoice factoring

Invoice factoring is a type of financing that allows a business to unlock cash from unpaid invoices. The business sells the invoices to a factoring company in exchange for a cash advance. This may be a good option for businesses with poor or limited credit, but it can be expensive – you’ll only get 60% to 90% of your invoice value, depending on your industry.

Additional business funding options

In addition to traditional business loans, there are several other sources of business funding to consider.


Merchant cash advance

A merchant cash advance also gives you a lump sum of cash upfront, but the advance is against your future sales. Because of this, the merchant cash advance is repaid through a preset percentage of daily or weekly credit card sales. This type of funding can deliver cash fast, but it can be a very expensive method of borrowing.


Credit cards

You probably have one or more personal credit cards, but business credit cards can help track business expenses, unlock travel or cash-back rewards or just help monitor employee spending. To avoid paying a high annual percentage rate, make sure to pay off your statement balance in full by the due date.


Small business grants

The federal government, state governments and private corporations and foundations offer grants for small businesses. Because grants are free money that usually doesn’t need to be repaid, competition can be quite stiff. There are also minority business grants and women-owned business grants.


Crowdfunding

Business crowdfunding allows you to ask family or friends for donations to help kickstart your business. This method helps you test out a business idea and may appeal most to startups or other businesses struggling to get funding — but be aware that crowdfunding platforms may charge a fee.


Personal loans

Personal loans may be easier to obtain if you’re struggling with the eligibility criteria for a business loan. But, because this relies on your personal credit and income, your personal assets are at risk and it won’t help you build business credit.


Bootstrapping

Bootstrap financing is when you use your own financial resources to fund your business. Startup businesses may use bootstrapping to get off the ground, but the risk is that you may not recoup your investment if your business struggles.

3 steps to getting a business loan

The business loan application process differs depending on each lender and on the type of funding you’re seeking. But that doesn’t mean it has to be hard or painful. Start by answering these questions.

Decide why you need funds

Are you looking to buy a vehicle for your new food truck business? Are you looking for commercial real estate so you can expand to a second location across town? Or maybe you just need a little bit of quick, extra cash to fill in the gaps during the off season.

Determine what you can afford

After you decide why you need the money, take a hard look at your business finances and see what you can afford. Some business loans are repaid monthly over long periods of time, while others require weekly or even daily repayment. Business loans are debt you’ll have to repay, so make sure your business can handle the extra payment.

Compare offers to get the best rates

Before you decide to apply to a lender, take the extra time to shop around and compare offers to get the best rates. This extra bit of legwork may help save you lots on interest or fees in the long run.

Business loan requirements

When you’re applying for a business loan, lenders want to know that your business and credit history are relatively stable. Common business loan requirements they’ll consider include your credit profile, time in business, capacity to take on debt and any collateral you may have.

  • TIME IN BUSINESS

    In general, a business that’s been around for a couple of years is more stable than a startup. This is key for lenders, as a business that has a proven track record of revenue over the past two years is a more attractive borrower than a company with spotty revenue over the past six months.

  • CREDIT SCORE

    Your business credit score is a data point lenders use to determine your reliability as a borrower. In most cases, you’ll need a credit score in the 600s to qualify for financing, although certain lenders and loan types may allow scores as low as 500.

  • CASH FLOW

    A business cash-flow projection shows when money is collected, when cash goes out and what’s left. Lenders typically like to see that the borrower has a thorough understanding of the financial operating cycle of the business.

  • COLLATERAL

    Collateral is an asset that lenders can legally seize if you can’t make payments, including company buildings, equipment and accounts receivable. Some business owners choose to use their personal assets — including their homes — as collateral on a business loan.

  • DEBT-TO-EQUITY RATIO

    Your company’s debt-to-equity (D/E) ratio measures the proportion of your company’s debt divided by shareholders’ equity. This metric helps a lender understand how likely you are to cover new debt based on the debt you’re already paying. While high D/E’s are common in some industries, your goal should be to keep your business’s D/E ratio as low as possible.

  • WORKING CAPITAL

    Your working capital refers to the available money you have to fund your company’s day-to-day operations. You can calculate your working capital by subtracting the business’s debt liabilities due within a year from current assets that you can convert to cash.

View Your Small Business Loan Options

Small business loan application checklist

Once you’ve determined that your business can handle taking on debt, the process of applying for a small business loan involves rounding up the necessary documents for your loan application. The exact paperwork differs across business funding partners, but will most likely include the following documents:

Close your loan
After approval, the closing process involves reviewing documentation that will determine the terms of your selected loan. A business loan agreement is a legally binding contract that will dictate your interest rate and repayment schedule. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of what the lender is asking of you and the implications these terms have on your business’s financial future. After you sign, you’ve agreed to everything in the contract — including what happens when you make late payments or default.

How we chose our picks:

We chose small business loans from online lenders that could cover small, medium or large expenses. Small business lenders that appear on this list meet the following criteria:

  • Maximum amounts no less than $150,000
  • Funding available within two weeks of approval
  • No more than two years in business required
  • Personal credit score requirements below 680
  • Transparent rates and repayment terms

Frequently asked questions

Business owners can take out small business loans — generally between $5,000 and $500,000 or more — to finance expenses like payroll financing, inventory, equipment and other costs. Repayment terms could be as short as three months or as long as 25 years. Both traditional financial institutions and alternative online lenders offer small business loans.

Several types of business loans are available for small business owners, including term loans and business lines of credit for general business expenses. Financing is also available for specific purchases like equipment and commercial real estate. In addition, invoice factoring and accounts receivable financing are available for businesses that collect a high volume of invoices.

Yes, bad credit business loans are available for business owners with personal credit scores as low as 500. However, lenders may assign high interest rates to low-credit borrowers.

A personal guarantee is a common feature of small business loans, which requires the business owner to be personally responsible for their company’s debt in case of default. A personal guarantee lowers the risk for a lender, but for the business owner, it may limit any protections your business structure offers.

Online lenders may be the best option for a startup business loan. They typically require only a few months in business, as opposed to brick-and-mortar banks that often have stricter eligibility requirements. Other options for startup capital include crowdsourcing, self-funding or grant funding.

It depends. Each lender will have its own criteria, sometimes varying based upon the loan type. The lowest business loan interest rates are often reserved for applicants with higher credit scores, however. If this doesn’t fit your business, online lenders may be more lenient with credit score requirements.

If your application for a business loan is denied, revisit the reason why. Focus on improving your business credit if your credit score was too low; if you haven’t operated in business long enough, simply wait until you’re eligible. In the meantime, consider a small business credit card to get access to the capital you need.

Most lenders look for minimum monthly or annual revenue requirements as part of the application eligibility process. While many traditional banks do not publish their minimum revenue requirements to qualify, online lenders tend to be more transparent. It’s not uncommon to expect a minimum annual revenue requirement of $100,000 for unsecured loans, but you may be able to have lower annual revenue if you provide collateral to secure your business loan.