Best Small Business Loan of 2021

Are you thinking about getting a loan for your business? Or have you thought about it already, and you’re now certain that’s what you need?

We get it—loans help you grow without giving away a piece of your company to an investor.

But between so many small-business loan options, how do you choose the one for you?

This is where we come in.

We at Hosting Tribunal have already reviewed different providers—we went through all their conditions and evaluated the perks and downsides of each service.

Whether you’re trying to buy equipment, secure cash flow, or expand your company, we’ll help you find the best small business loan for your needs.

Best Small Business Loan

1. Biz2Credit

Biz2Credit offers several loan types as well as some of the most straightforward processes and quickest approval times. Its qualifications are also relatively easy. Overall, Biz2credit is one of your best sources of small business financing, especially when you’re in a time crunch. FULL REVIEW

  • Easy qualifications
  • Several types of loans
  • High loan amounts

Biz2Credit offers several loan types as well as some of the most straightforward processes and quickest approval times. Its qualifications are also relatively easy. Overall, Biz2credit is one of your best sources of small business financing, especially when you’re in a time crunch. FULL REVIEW

2. National Funding

With National Funding, you can finance your business even if you have a poor credit history. National Funding has decades of experience, a stellar reputation, and even dedicated loans for female entrepreneurs. FULL REVIEW

  • Loans for bad credit borrowers
  • Straightforward application
  • Decades of experience

With National Funding, you can finance your business even if you have a poor credit history. National Funding has decades of experience, a stellar reputation, and even dedicated loans for female entrepreneurs. FULL REVIEW

3. BlueVine

Your unpaid invoices can still finance your business. With BlueVine’s invoice financing solution, you can get up to $5 million, secured by future purchases. Plus, BlueVine has additional financial services for small businesses, too. Overall, it’s one of the best non-bank financial institutions to work with. FULL REVIEW

  • Low(ish) business loan rates
  • Clear qualification requirements
  • Fast approval

Your unpaid invoices can still finance your business. With BlueVine’s invoice financing solution, you can get up to $5 million, secured by future purchases. Plus, BlueVine has additional financial services for small businesses, too. Overall, it’s one of the best non-bank financial institutions to work with. FULL REVIEW

4. Lendio

Receive offers and compare loans from the country’s largest small-business lender network. Lendio simplifies loan applications and supports you throughout the process. It also gives you access to a wide loan types range—short and long-term loans, SBA, equipment financing, and more. FULL REVIEW

  • 75+ providers in the network
  • Multiple loan types
  • Straightforward application platform

Receive offers and compare loans from the country’s largest small-business lender network. Lendio simplifies loan applications and supports you throughout the process. It also gives you access to a wide loan types range—short and long-term loans, SBA, equipment financing, and more. FULL REVIEW

5. SmartBiz

SBA loans are one of the cheapest financing options for your business. Unfortunately, they’re also some of the most difficult to get. SmartBiz has streamlined the process for SBA applications, making it easier (and faster) to get an affordable loan for your company. FULL REVIEW

  • Streamlined SBA application
  • Straightforward process
  • Low interest rates

SBA loans are one of the cheapest financing options for your business. Unfortunately, they’re also some of the most difficult to get. SmartBiz has streamlined the process for SBA applications, making it easier (and faster) to get an affordable loan for your company. FULL REVIEW

6. Kabbage

Kabbage is American Express’ small business banking solution. It’s great for flexible, growth-oriented solutions. Even with a low(ish) credit score, you can receive funding from a reputable source. The only downside? They’re not accepting new clients right now—unless you’re an American Express customer already. FULL REVIEW

  • Comprehensive business review
  • Reputable company
  • Quick funds

Kabbage is American Express’ small business banking solution. It’s great for flexible, growth-oriented solutions. Even with a low(ish) credit score, you can receive funding from a reputable source. The only downside? They’re not accepting new clients right now—unless you’re an American Express customer already. FULL REVIEW

How We Ranked the Best Small Business Loans

There’s no single loan that can objectively be considered the best one for every company, but there are certainly better (and worse) options.

Here’s how we compiled our ranking:

  • What do businesses need? We started by asking that, and we realized that alternative lenders are crucial for many small business owners. This is why we didn’t focus on traditional institutions. Instead, we stuck to providers that expanded the options for those with a poor credit score or a pressing need for money.
  • Are the qualifications realistic? Corporate business lending can come with some pretty high requirements. But, as we wanted to add options for all types of businesses, we made sure the qualification requirements weren’t too high and included lenders that cater to people with bad credit scores, too.
  • How easy is the process? Loan applications can get complicated and require a bunch of documents. We favored companies with straightforward applications and streamlined processes. They do exist—even if you apply for an SBA loan.
  • Can you get your money fast? Approval times for loans vary from just a couple of minutes to several days. With online lenders, you can get your money quicker—and we gave business loan providers with fast approval times extra points.
  • Is it affordable? Alternative loan providers tend to be more expensive, as they’re taking a bigger risk by lending to a person with a low credit score. Still, we balanced accessibility with the price. Nobody likes to pay crazy high loan rates, even if they make it easier to get the money in the first place.

The Best Small Business Loan Options—A Thorough Analysis

Biz2Credit
Biz2Credit
Biz2Credit

FAST BUSINESS LOANS

  • Loan amount $25,000-$6,000,000
  • Turnaround 72 hours
  • APR 8.99% starting
  • Terms Up to 60 months
  • Several types of loans
  • High loan amounts
  • Streamlined process
  • Quick approval and funding
  • Expensive loans
  • BBB complaints

Quick loans from a reputable provider—Biz2credit is your best solution here.

What Is Biz2credit?

Biz2credit offers easy financing when you need a loan ASAP. The application takes minutes to complete, and you can receive your money in as little as 72 hours.

Biz2credit is a popular, reputable provider that’s helped thousands of companies throughout the years. It boasts some of the easiest, most straightforward lending processes.

Types of Loan

Biz2Credit has a few business lending options:

  • Working capital loans – starting at $25,000.
  • Term loans – between $25,000-$250,000 for up to 36 months.
  • Commercial Real Estate (CRE) loans – from $250,000 to $6 million, paid back in 12-36 months.

Biz2credit Qualification Characteristics

The minimum requirements you need to meet depends on the type of small business lending you’re aiming for:

  • Working capital loans – Most customers have over $250,000 in annual revenue, a 575+ credit score, and at least six months in business.
  • Term loans – Most borrowers have at least $250,000 in annual revenue, a credit score of 660 or above, and 18+ months in business.
  • CRE loans – For this one, you need to own commercial property already and meet the requirements for a term loan.

Pros

  • Easy small business loans (compared to banks)
  • Multiple types of loans
  • Straightforward application
  • Fast approval and funding
  • High loan amounts

Cons

  • Higher credit rates
  • Multiple complaints with the BBB

We Recommend Biz2credit For…

Biz2Credit has some of the best loans for those with a lower credit score. Its loan qualification requirements are easier to meet than a bank’s—which is why it doesn’t have the lowest interest rates.

National Funding
National Funding
National Funding

BEST CHOICE FOR THOSE WITH BAD CREDIT

  • Loan amount $5,000-$500,000
  • Turnaround 24 hours
  • APR 5.99-29.99%
  • Terms 24-60 months
  • Straightforward application
  • Decades of experience
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Dedicated female entrepreneur loans
  • High rates
  • Customer support issues

Offering small biz loans since 1999, National Funding is a trusted source of business financing.

What Is National Funding?

National Funding is a lending company that has over two decades of experience. It has provided over three billion in capital to 50,000+ businesses.

Types of Loan

National Funding’s lending options include:

  • Equipment financing and leasing – for up to $150,000, allowing you to lease both new and pre-used equipment.
  • Small business loansbetween $5,000 and $500,000 to cover capital expenditures, secure cash flow, purchase inventory, maintain payroll, etc. This category includes unsecured, working capital, and bad-credit loans as well as those meant for female business owners specifically.

National Funding Qualification Characteristics

For equipment financing, National Funding asks for a 575+ FICO score, six months in business, and an offer from the equipment vendor.

As for the other loans, National Funding doesn’t list the specific qualifications it’s looking for, but the requirements are bound to vary depending on the amount and type of lending you’re asking for.

National Funding’s experts can offer options like a secured loan (with collateral), co-signing, or a higher small business loan rate.

To see what kind of rates you qualify for, fill out the online application.

Pros

  • Accessible lending source
  • Decades of experience
  • Easy application
  • Bad-credit-score loans
  • Funding for female entrepreneurs
  • A+ rating with the BBB

Cons

  • High loan rates
  • Customer support issues

We Recommend National Funding For…

National Funding has some of the best small business loans of 2021. If your bad credit score prevents you from getting bank loans, National Funding is an excellent alternative financing solution.

BlueVine
BlueVine
BlueVine

BEST INVOICE FINANCING

  • Invoice factoring $5,000-$250,000 credit, $20,000-$5,000,000 invoice
  • Turnaround 24 hours
  • APR 4.8% for credit, 15-68% for invoice
  • Terms 6-12 months for credit, 90 days for invoice
  • Clear qualification requirements
  • Fast approval
  • 12-24 hour turnaround
  • Small business banking solutions
  • Expensive short term loans
  • Not in North Dakota, South Dakota, or Vermont
  • Invoice financing is risky

BlueVine might just be the best bank for small businesses—and it’s not even a bank.

What Is BlueVine?

BlueVine is a financial technology company that offers banking services for small businesses. It grants loans, lines of credit, invoice factoring, and payment protection.

Even though it isn’t a bank, BlueVine also has a checking solution built for small businesses with FDIC-insured deposits.

Types of Loan

BlueVine is prepared to grant you a fast business loan—applications are easy to do, and the average approval time is less than 24 hours.

  • Line of credit – you can get up to $250,000 at a rate as low as 4.8%. Approvals take around 12 hours.
  • Invoice factoring – it lets you get advances on your unpaid invoices, with lines up to $5 million and rates as low as 0.25% per week. However, keep in mind that if your customers fail to pay in two weeks, you have to pay the invoice back to BlueVine yourself.

BlueVine also had a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in 2020, but it isn’t accepting new applications currently.

BlueVine Qualification Characteristics

Like other business financing companies, BlueVine looks at your credit score, how long you’ve been in business, and how much it’s generating per year.

Typically, BlueVine asks for at least $120,000 in annual revenue. If you also have a 530+ personal credit score and three months in business, you’re good to go for the invoice factoring loan.

If you meet the annual revenue requirement, have six months in business, and your personal credit score is no less than 600, you can aim for the unsecured credit line.

Pros

  • Cheap business loans
  • Straightforward qualifications
  • Fast approval
  • Cash available in 12-24 hours
  • Various term-length options
  • Additional banking solutions

Cons

  • Not available in North Dakota, South Dakota, or Vermont
  • Unreliable clients will cost you

We Recommend BlueVine For…

BlueVine has the best business banking, as it offers a comprehensive solution, not just a line of credit. It has decent conditions and straightforward qualifications, but costs can add up when you use the loans often.

If you have reliable customers, BlueVine’s invoice financing is worth considering.

Lendio
Lendio
Lendio

BEST FOR COMPARING SMALL BUSINESS LOANS

  • Loan amount $50,000-$5,000,000
  • Turnaround 48-72 hours
  • APR Starts at 7,5%
  • Terms Up to 25 years
  • Straightforward application platform
  • High loan amounts
  • Quick business loans available
  • Helpful customer support
  • High(er) loan rates
  • No guarantee of qualification

Personal business loans made simple—Lendio will help you get your money (and fast).

What Is Lendio?

Lendio is a marketplace that matches borrowers to lenders.

With high borrowing amounts and simpler qualifications than a bank, it’s a popular choice among business owners in a pinch.

Any business can apply for a loan with one of the 75+ lenders on the site. Just keep in mind that Lendio is simply a matching platform to help you find the best small business loan—in other words, the company is not the one granting you the loan.

Types of Loan

Aside from SBA loans and equipment financing, using Lendio you can get:

  • Short-term loans – with a flat fee instead of a traditional interest rate.
  • Term loans – with the typical loan structure of a lump sum and an interest rate that’s higher than what a bank would offer you.
  • Business line of credityou can get up to $500,000.

Lendio Qualification Characteristics

Since Lendio is just a platform that connects you to various lenders, there are no general qualification characteristics and no guarantee you’ll get the credit either.

Lendio simply helps you compare business loans.

Qualifications vary between providers, but you can use Lendio’s business calculators to figure out how much the loan will cost you and, if you’re interested, you can apply for it directly on the platform.

Pros

  • Largest lender network (75+ providers)
  • Simple application platform
  • Multiple loan types available
  • High borrowing amounts
  • Quick business loan options
  • Clear expectations and conditions
  • Helpful customer support

Cons

  • High interest rates (compared to banks)
  • No guarantee of qualification

We Recommend Lendio For…

Lendio is the best place to look for a business loan if you can’t qualify for a bank but still want to evaluate your options.

Its network includes some of the top small business lenders, and the Lendio support team is there to help you find the best solution for your needs.

SmartBiz
SmartBiz
SmartBiz

BEST SBA LOANS

  • Loan amount $500,000-$5,000,000
  • Turnaround As fast as seven days after approval
  • APR 6.62-6.66%
  • Terms Up to 25 years
  • Straightforward process
  • Low interest rates
  • Expert support
  • Additional (non-SBA) options
  • No guarantee of qualification
  • Additional cost to the loan

Fast and easy SBA loans (and more).

What Is SmartBiz?

Some businesses can qualify for a bank loan, whereas others are better suited for a non-bank lender. Whatever your case may be, instead of applying to each lender separately, you can let SmartBiz handle the process for you.

The company offers the perks of an SBA loan—better conditions and cheaper financing—as well as some of the most straightforward, streamlined processes for getting money. 

Types of Loan

SmartBiz has:

  • SBA loans long-term, government-guaranteed, low-interest business loans.
  • Bank term loans for short-term borrowing at a fixed rate.
  • Custom financing SmartBiz advisors can help you explore other financing options that aren’t bank loans, like a line of credit, a business credit card, or invoice factoring.

SmartBiz Qualification Characteristics

Most businesses that successfully apply for a business loan with SmartBiz are profitable, cash-flow positive, and have annual revenue of over $100,000.

That said, if you’re interested in getting a small business loan that falls under the SBA category, SmartBiz has a few other requirements you should meet:

  • Working capital or debt consolidation loans: To get $30,000-$350,000, you need to have at least two years in business, a 640+ personal credit score, no outstanding tax liens, and no recent charge-offs, settlements, bankruptcies, or foreclosures. Since this is a loan for business owners, you also need to be an adult US citizen or lawful permanent resident with a US-based company.
  • CRE loans: You can get up to $5 million if you have more than two years in business, a 675+ personal credit score, and no delinquencies or default on government loans. You also need to prove you have enough cash flow to defray all debt payments and that you’ll occupy at least 51% of the property you’re buying.

Pros

  • Low-interest small business loans
  • Easy SBA application
  • Streamlined loan process
  • Additional (non-SBA) financing options
  • Expert support

Cons

  • SmartBiz keeps a 4% cut from your approved loan
  • High qualifications (for an SBA loan)

We Recommend SmartBiz For…

SmartBiz helps you find the best lender for your needs. It offers all the pros of an SBA without any of the hassles.

With SmartBiz, you get streamlined loan processes and reliable support until you get your funding.

Kabbage
Kabbage
Kabbage

BEST FOR AMERICAN EXPRESS CLIENTS

  • Loan amount $1,000-$150,000
  • Turnaround 24 hours
  • APR 9-36%
  • Terms Six, 12, or 18 months
  • Reputable company
  • Quick funds
  • Bad credit score options
  • Additional banking solutions
  • Not accepting candidates now
  • Expensive loans

The Kabbage business line of credit is one of the fastest you can get, but is it the best?

What Is Kabbage?

Kabbage is an American Express subsidiary that extends loans and additional business tools to its customers.

Its banking offer includes business checking, funding, and payment processing.

Types of Loan

Unlike other providers, Kabbage doesn’t tender many types of small business loans. It only has a line of credit that gives you access to up to $150,000.

There is no origination, annual, maintenance, documentation, or any other type of additional charge except for a set loan fee for each month with an outstanding balance.

Kabbage Qualification Characteristics

Currently, Kabbage isn’t accepting new funding applicants, but you can put your name on the waitlist.

Before it closed applications, Kabbage required candidates to have $50,000+ in annual revenue and at least one year in business. The company also considered your banking, bookkeeping, vendor accounts, and social media presence (to evaluate your reputation).

Although the Kabbage business line of credit isn’t currently available, you can still sign up for the checking solution or apply for a loan if you’re an American Express customer already.

Pros

  • Quick funding
  • Complete business assessment (instead of a simple credit score pull)
  • Competitive conditions
  • Great for low(ish) personal credit scores
  • Additional banking solutions

Cons

  • Currently not accepting candidates
  • Pricier than other options

We Recommend Kabbage For…

Kabbage offers one of the best small business lines of credit, especially if speed is a priority. Unfortunately, though, it’s not currently accepting new applicants.

For the time being, you can sign up for the waitlist or consider alternative financing companies.

Great Alternative Small Business Loans That Didn’t Make the Cut

We wanted to show you the best small business loans—and we did—but in the process of selecting them, we found several solid options that didn’t make the cut.

Here they are, as honorable mentions:

  • Accion is a fintech microlender. Unlike other companies, Accion is a non-profit that helps disadvantaged people start their own businesses. Its interest rates are based on the cost of lending alone with no profit made for the company.
  • Seek Financial is a group of lending and finance brokers with access to the best banks for business loans. It can help you find the financial solution for your needs and support you in the process of securing it.
  • Round Sky is a lead generator for small business lenders. If you have a platform with access to small business owners, it’s a great place to start making money from affiliate commissions.

Even though these providers didn’t end up on the final list, we still think they’re high-quality options. Check them out when considering which provider to choose.

What to Look For When Choosing a Loan

Rather than googling “small business loans near me” and going to the first one that pops up, here’s how to pick the best solution for your needs:

Types of Business Loan

Companies typically offer various options. These are the main ones to consider:

Term Loan

In a term loan, you receive a lump sum of money for your business, which you repay over time in monthly payments that include an interest rate on top of the principal balance.

Business Line of Credit

With a line of credit, you have a maximum credit limit that you can withdraw, generally through a checking account. You only pay interest on what you use, not on the credit limit.

A line of credit is one of the best business loan services when you’re first starting out, and you’re not sure exactly how much money you’ll need.

SBA Loan

Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are provided by the government and usually have lower interest rates for business owners. However, the application process tends to be long—up to three months to get approval.

Alternative small business lenders (like SmartBiz) have simplified the process, while SBA isn’t fast money by any stretch of the imagination.

Equipment Loan

If you need to buy expensive equipment, this type of loan can help you finance the purchase. The item is typically used as collateral in case you can’t pay the loan back.

Real Estate Loan

Commercial Real Estate (CRE) loans act like term loans for purchasing a property. You can use them to finance a business expansion, whether it’s an office, warehouse, or a new retail location.

Invoice Factoring and Financing

If you have pending invoices, you can use them to get a company loan.

With invoice factoring, the lender buys your invoices for a lower rate than the original amount. When the client does pay, the money goes directly to the company.

With invoice financing, on the other hand, you use unpaid invoices as collateral for your loan. You’re still responsible for collecting the money and paying back what you borrowed.

Merchant Cash Advance

Finally, a merchant cash advance is a loan you take out against your future sales. Unlike invoice financing, you use card sales as collateral.

However, these are at higher risk, so they have a higher rate. They might be easy small business loans, but most business owners use them as a last resort because of the high costs associated with them.

How to Assess a Loan

So, how do you know if a business loan is actually a good offer?

Calculate the total payback amount This is how much money you’ll be giving back, factoring in the principal (the sum you received), interest rate, fees, etc. Knowing the total payback amount helps you assess whether the loan actually fits your budget.

For example, let’s say one of the small business lending companies you’re applying to can grant you $10,000 to be paid back over three years. The loan has a 10% annual interest rate and financing fees of $100. In that case, you’ll be paying back $11,616.19 (just for the loan plus interest). Add the fees, and you get a total payback amount of $11,816.19.

Not sure how to do the math? Use a loan calculator—it’s a free tool that does the work for you.

Consider the term Long-term loans can fund business expansion and major expenses, but you’ll have to pay them back over the years. Consider if the projected growth is actually worth what you’d have to pay back to the business loan companies.

Make sure you can afford the monthly paymentsAdd the installments to your monthly expenses and see if your total income is enough to comfortably cover everything. As a rule of thumb, what you earn should be at least 1.25 times what you plan to spend so that you don’t risk ruining your credit score.

Remember: the best small business loans are the ones that fit your needs and help you achieve your goals. But convenience, ease of application, and lender reputation matter too, so research them accordingly.

This article is a great starting point, but it’s also smart to check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints or even pending lawsuits.

How to Apply for Business Funding

How do you know if you qualify for small business lending?

Your time in business, annual revenue, and credit score are the metrics that matter most. The more well-established and profitable you are, the more likely it is that lenders want to give you money.

Most experts agree that for a low-rate loan, you need a FICO score of over 670-680. But you can get a loan with a much lower score than that.

Research the institution beforehand to see what most borrowers look like—alternative lenders and bad-credit small business loans can help you get financing, even if you don’t qualify with a bank.

Once you’ve picked your lender, these are some of the documents you might need for your application:

  • Tax returns (personal and business)
  • Balance sheet
  • Income statement
  • Bank statements (personal and business)
  • Documents about your business (articles of incorporation, etc.)
  • Business licenses
  • Commercial leases
  • Identification documents
  • Business experience and financial projections

Wrap Up

Finding the best small business loan can be a long and frustrating journey.

For some business owners, getting a bank loan is simply not an option. Poor credit scores and previous financial trouble can make you an undesirable candidate for traditional institutions—but this is where alternative lenders come in.

These companies might be pricier, but they offer life-saving loans if you’re out of money.

Ultimately, we can’t tell you where to get a small business loan. The best solution depends on your financial situation, but you can trust our ranking to provide reputable options that will help your business grow and thrive.

FAQ

Are small business loans hard to get?

No, there’s a solution for everyone. For the best loan rates, an SBA loan from a bank is your best bet.

If you can’t qualify through a traditional banking institution, alternative business lending can provide pricier but more accessible options.

What is a typical small business loan amount?

The average SBA loan is $350,000.

Short-term loans tend to be smaller—from a couple thousand to $250,000 in most cases. Long-term lending, on the other hand, goes up to $500,000 or even higher.

What credit score is needed for a small business loan?

Qualification requirements vary between providers. Some small business loan companies will accept borrowers with a score as low as 575.

If you provide collateral, the score requirement can go even lower.

What credit score do I need for a $10,000 loan?

For personal loans, you’ll need a 620+ credit score. A personal business loan, however, can be accessible with worse credit.

Providing collateral, going to an alternative lender, and accepting higher rates are some of the ways you can secure $10,000 if your credit isn’t great.

What is the easiest business loan to get?

It’s always easier to get a loan from alternative lenders than from the bank, but keep in mind that the best small business loan is not necessarily the easiest to get.

Depending on the type of loan you’re looking for, you could try Lendio for a centralized lending marketplace, SmartBiz for SBA loans, or National Funding for bad-credit-score financing.