Best Small Business Payroll Loans 2021

With these small-business loans, you’ll never have to miss a payday.
Best overall
Lendio
Lendio
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting at 4.25% interest
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    560 min. credit score
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Lines of credit, invoice factoring, & more
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Lending marketplace
Another great marketplace
Fundera
Fundera by Nerdwallet
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Starting at 4% interest
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    550 min. credit score
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Lines of credit, invoice factoring, & more
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Lending marketplace
Best for established businesses
Funding Circle
Funding Circle
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8
Starting at 6% interest
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    660 min. credit score
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Term loans, lines of credit, & SBA loans
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Lending marketplace
Best for fast funding
BlueVine
BlueVine
3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7
Starting at 4.8% interest
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    530 min. credit score
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Lines of credit and invoice financing
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Direct lender
Best for young businesses
Fundbox
Fundbox
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
Starting at 4.8% interest
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    600 min. credit score
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Lines of credit only
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Direct lender

Payroll loans can help you make payroll when cash flow is tight―but only if you get the right ones. You’ll want to find payroll loans with fast enough funding that you don’t miss payday, low enough interest rates or fees that you can afford them, and accessible enough borrower requirements that you can qualify for them.

Those are exactly the kind of loans we’ve rounded up here. After comparing loan options, rates, and requirements from dozens of lenders, we’ve found the best payroll loans for small-business owners.

Let’s take care of payday.

Best small-business payroll loans

Compare the best small-business payroll loans

Lender
Min./max loan size
Lowest listed rate
Min. funding times
Get a loan
Lendio

Lendio

$500/$5 million4.25% interest2 days
Fundera

Fundera by Nerdwallet

$2,500/$5 million

4% interest2 days
Funding Circle

Funding Circle

$5,000/$500,000

6% interest2 days
BlueVine

BlueVine

Up to $5 million

4.8% interestSame day
Fundbox

Fundbox

Up to $150,000

4.66% draw rateNext day

Data effective 9/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Payroll loans 101

Payroll loans are, of course, loans meant to help with payroll expenses. That specific use means these loans need to have fast funding times and flexible borrower requirements (like credit score and revenue).

So while you can many types of business credit for payroll, a few kinds of financing work best:

  • Short-term loans
  • Lines of credit
  • Invoice factoring
  • Merchant cash advances
  • Certain types of SBA loans (like PPP loans and disaster loans)

All of these types of financing (often called working capital loans) let you get your money within a few days (or less), and they usually have lower borrower requirements than things like long-term loans (especially if you go through an alternative lender, also called an online lender).

The catch? These kinds of working capital loans cost more than a long-term loan. You should expect relatively high interest rates and fees from your payroll financing. So you should only take out a payroll loan if you’re confident you’ll be able to pay it back soon―otherwise, you might find yourself with more debt and even less cash flow due to loan payments.

But when you borrow responsibly, payroll financing can give you the working capital you need to weather short-term cash flow disruptions. So let’s look at your options.

Lendio: Best payroll loan for small business

Lendio
Lendio
4 out of 5 stars
4.0

Starting at 4.25% interest

  • Lines of credit, term loans, & more
  • credit score: 560
  • revenue: $50,000/yr.
  • Min. time in business: 6 mos.

For most small-business owners, Lendio offers the best payroll financing.

Why? Well, Lendio is a lending marketplace, which you can think of like a loan broker. It partners with dozens of different lenders (more than 75, in fact), all with their own loans. That means that Lendio has many kinds of payroll loans, from invoicing factoring to short-term loans to merchant cash advances. You just have to submit one simple application, and then Lendio helps match you with the right lender and loan.

Depending on your situation, Lendio may come back with more than one loan offer, letting you compare your financing options. That makes it easier to get the best loan possible by picking the one with, say, the lowest interest rate. And once you’ve picked your preferred loan offer, you just have to finalize your application with that lender.

Now, there is one downside to consider. Lendio takes longer than some other lenders on this list, simply because matchmaking takes time. So if you have to make payroll in one or two days, Lendio might be too slow for you. If you’ve got a few days, though, Lendio should work fine.

So with all its lenders and kinds of business credit, Lendio has the best loans for most businesses.

Pros
Pro Bullet One fast loan application
Pro Bullet Limitless customization options
Pro Bullet Wide variety of funding and lenders
Pro Bullet Personalized guidance and expertise
Cons
Con Bullet High interest rates on some loans
Con Bullet Slower approval and funding times

Fundera by Nerdwallet: Another great marketplace

Fundera
Fundera
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9

Starting at 4% interest

  • Lines of credit, term loans, & more
  • credit score: N/A
  • revenue: $10,000/mo.
  • Min. time in business: 1 yr.

If you like the sound of a lending marketplace but you’re not sold on Lendio, give Fundera by Nerdwallet a look instead.

Just like Lendio, Fundera partners with tons of lenders (both traditional and online lenders) to let you shop around for loans. So you submit your loan application, and then Fundera matches you with relevant loan offers. And of course, Fundera’s lending partners have all kinds of financing, like term loans and invoice factoring, so you’ll be able to find a good fit for your specific payroll needs.

Fundera partners with some lenders that Lendio doesn’t (and vice versa), so you may find that Fundera works better for you. Likewise, it offers a couple additional types of loans (personal loans for business and SBA microloans) that can work very well for payroll or other cash flow needs. Just keep in mind that, like any lending marketplace, Fundera will likely take longer than a direct lender will.

All the same, Fundera by Nerdwallet offers a great lending marketplace―which means it’s a great place to find payroll loans.

Pros
Pro Bullet Access to many loans and lenders
Pro Bullet Personal loans and SBA microloans available
Pro Bullet Business credit card recommendations
Cons
Con Bullet Longer funding turnaround times
Con Bullet Lack of transparency
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Funding Circle: Best for established businesses

Funding Circle
Funding Circle
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8

Starting at 4.99% interest

  • Lines of credit, term loans, & SBA loans
  • credit score: 660
  • revenue: $500,000/yr.
  • Min. time in business: 2 yrs.

Funding Circle is another lending marketplace, like Lendio and Fundera, but it works better for more established businesses.

See, Funding Circle asks a lot of its borrowers. It wants small-business owners with higher credit scores (at least a 660), older businesses (at least two years), and more revenue (at least a half-million a year). In other words, Funding Circle is a little more exclusive than the other lending marketplaces on this list.

But if you qualify, Funding Circle offers great interest rates (some of the best we’ve found from online lenders) and longer repayment terms. We especially recommend the line of credit for payroll needs. As a type of revolving business credit, a line of credit gives you more cash flow whenever you need it―and Funding Circle offers a great interest rate on business credit lines.

So while Funding Circle definitely isn’t right for all―or even most―small business owners, it’s got plenty to offer established businesses.  

Pros
Pro Bullet Very low starting interest rates
Pro Bullet Several types of business financing
Pro Bullet Long repayment terms
Cons
Con Bullet High borrower requirements
Con Bullet No funding in Nevada

BlueVine: Best for fast funding

BlueVine
BlueVine
3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7

Starting at 4.8% interest

  • Invoice factoring & lines of credit
  • credit score: 530
  • revenue: $10,000/mo.
  • Min. time in business: 3 mos.

Is payday coming up fast? Then check out BlueVine, which offers some of the fastest payroll loans around.

BlueVine has two loan options: a business line of credit (a type of revolving credit) and invoice factoring (which lets you get money by using unpaid invoices as collateral). Both are great options to get more working capital―and BlueVine lets you get either of them by tomorrow.

In fact, if you choose a line of credit, BlueVine can get your money the same day you’re approved (and it offers same-day approval). You do have to pay an extra wire transfer fee, but then you’ll have your funds in just a few hours. And if you choose not to pay that fee, BlueVine still has next-day funding for both invoice factoring and lines of credit―as long as you can meet its relatively high revenue requirements, of course.

Put simply, BlueVine has the best small-business financing for those times when you just can’t wait around.

Pros
Pro Bullet Large loans available
Pro Bullet Low credit requirements
Pro Bullet Same-day funding option
Cons
Con Bullet Limited availability in some states
Con Bullet High revenue requirements

Fundbox: Best for young businesses

Fundbox
Fundbox
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6

Starting at 4.66% draw rate

  • Lines of credit
  • credit score: 600
  • revenue: $100,000/yr.
  • Min. time in business: 6 mos.

Haven’t been in business very long? You may still qualify for working capital through Fundbox.

Fundbox offers its line of credit to much younger businesses than most lenders. While many lenders only work with businesses that have been around for at least a year, Fundbox happily accepts businesses that are just six months old. And in some cases, Fundbox will work with even younger businesses―as young as two or three months old.

We do want to make it clear that your odds of getting approved for Fundbox funding with a young business will go way, way up if you have a good credit score and solid revenue. If you just meet the bare minimum for all its borrower requirements, you may have trouble getting approved.

Even so, Fundbox is the best lender we’ve found for young businesses that need more cash for payroll expenses.

Pros
Pro Bullet Automated application
Pro Bullet Flexible borrower requirements
Pro Bullet Next-day funding
Cons
Con Bullet Low maximum loan amounts
Con Bullet Expensive fee structure

Honorable mentions

We’ve told you all about our top payroll financing lenders. But if you’re not sold on any of them just yet, take a look at our honorable mention payroll lenders below.

Honorable mention online loans for businesses

Lender
Min./max loan size
Lowest listed rate
Min. funding times
Get a loan
OnDeck

OnDeck

$5,000/$250,00035% APRNext day
Kabbage

Kabbage

$1,000/$150,00UnlistedUnlisted
Lendr

Lendr

$5,000/$500,00012% factor rateNext day
PayPal Working Capital

PayPal Working Capital

$300/$250,000UnlistedNext day
Square

Square Loans

UnlistedUnlistedSame-day
Stripe

Stripe Capital

UnlistedUnlistedNext day

Data effective 9/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

OnDeck: Best for repeat borrowing

OnDeck
OnDeck
3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2

Starting at 35% APR

  • Lines of credit & term loans
  • credit score: 600
  • revenue: $100,000/yr.
  • Min. time in business: 1 yr.

Think you’ll want another loan down the line, whether for payroll or something else? Then you might like OnDeck, an alternative lender with nice perks for repeat borrowing. OnDeck gives qualified repeat borrowers discounted origination fees (all the way down to 0%), and it may even waive remaining interest if you take out another loan while paying off your initial one.

Just note that OnDeck isn’t especially cheap―especially considering its not-so-low borrower requirements. So you will need to balance the potential perks of repeat borrowing with the higher starting APR (annual percentage rate).

Still, OnDeck’s bonuses make it worth considering if you’ve got plenty of borrowing plans.

Kabbage: Longest line of credit terms

Kabbage
Kabbage
3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1

Starting at 0.25% monthly fee

  • Lines of credit
  • credit score: Unlisted
  • revenue: Unlisted
  • Min. time in business: 1 yr.

All the lenders we’ve shown you so far have lines of credit―but Kabbage’s stands out for having a longer repayment term than most. While most alternative lenders give you a year, tops, to repay your credit line (with many offering six months or less), Kabbage offers repayment terms up to 18 months. That can translate to lower monthly payments―and more freed up cash flow―for your business.

That said, Kabbage reserves those longer repayment terms for more qualified borrowers. Not just anyone can get them. And on a related note, Kabbage is presently lending only to existing borrowers and American Express customers―making it pretty exclusive.

Once it returns to normal lending, though, Kabbage’s longer repayment terms will make its credit lines very competitive.   

Lendr: Best for merchant cash advances

Lendr
Lendr
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8

Starting at 12% factor rate

  • Invoice factoring & merchant cash advances
  • credit score: N/A
  • revenue: $10,000/mo.
  • Min. time in business: 1 yr.

Lendr is our favorite merchant cash advance company―but we still don’t really recommend merchant cash advances (MCAs). In theory, cash advances give credit card-based businesses an easy way to borrow money. After all, you just repay a percentage of your daily credit card sales rather than making set payments. But in reality, MCAs are very expensive, can hurt your cash flow, and often have confusing fees and payment structures.

So no, we don’t really like MCAs as a payroll solution. But if you’re determined to get one, Lendr has excellent customer reviews (unlike many cash advance providers), and it’s clearer about its cash advances costs than most lenders.

In other words, don’t get a merchant cash advance if you can avoid it. But if you need one, get it from Lendr.

PayPal Working Capital, Square Loans, and Stripe Capital: Best for existing users

PayPal Working Capital
PayPal Working Capital
2.3 out of 5 stars
2.3

No listed rates

  • Short-term working capital loans
  • credit score: N/A
  • revenue: $15,000/yr.
  • Min. time in business: 3 mos.
Square
Square Loans
2.3 out of 5 stars
2.3

No listed rates

  • Short-term working capital loans
  • credit score: N/A
  • revenue: $10,000/yr.
  • Min. time in business: 1 yr.
Stripe
Stripe Capital
2.3 out of 5 stars
2.3

No listed rates

  • Short-term working capital loans
  • credit score: N/A
  • revenue: Unlisted
  • Min. time in business: 6 mos.

We’re lumping PayPal Working Capital, Square Loans, and Stripe Capital together because they all work the same way―they offer working capital loans to business owners that use them for credit card processing.

In fact, you can’t really apply for one of these loans. Instead, the companies will look at your credit card processing history and automatically determine whether or not you can get a loan. If they think you qualify, you should get notified about your loan offer. Then you just have to choose whether or not to accept it.

So while we can’t widely recommend these companies for payroll loans, they can be a great (and very, very fast) solution for business owners that already use them for payment processing.

Read PayPal Working Capital review

Read Square Loans review

The takeaway

Lendio has the best small-business loan options for payroll expenses. With its big lender network and many types of loans―not to mention the loan matchmaking―we recommend Lendio as the first stop for most business owners.

Still, some business owners may prefer Fundera by Nerdwallet (for a lending marketplace with slightly different borrowing options) or Funding Circle (for a lending marketplace with low rates for established businesses). Or if you need payroll money right away, BlueVine’s fast funding might be the better choice. And for relatively new businesses, Fundbox likely has the most accessible small-business financing.

Once you’ve got funds to meet your payroll expenses, simplify your payroll process with the best payroll apps.

Related content

Online loan for business FAQ

Can small-business loans be used for payroll?

Yes, many small-business loans can be used for payroll expenses. That’s not always true―some equipment loans get sent directly to equipment vendors, for example, so you can’t use the loan proceeds on anything else. But many small-business loans can easily go toward payroll costs.

Which loan is best for small business?

Lendio has the best loans for most small businesses, because it matches you with the right loan for your specific situation.

As a lending marketplace, Lendio has loads of lending partners offering many types of loans. Lendio uses your application to match you with the right lender and loan―meaning you get the best loan for your specific small business.

What types of loans are available for small businesses?

Small businesses can get all sorts of loans, from term loans (both short- and long-term loans), lines of credit, equipment loans, merchant cash advances, invoice factoring, and more.

For more information on the types of business loans, see our guide to choosing a business loan.

Are PPP loans and EIDL loans still available?

PPP loans (Paycheck Protection Program loans) are no longer available to businesses affected by COVID-19, but EIDL loans (economic injury disaster loans) are.

For more information, check out our guide to PPP loan forgiveness or our breakdown of COVID-19 disaster loans.

Methodology

We researched dozens of lenders to put together our list of the best payroll loans. We focused on finding lenders that offer working capital loans (like short-term loans or invoice factoring) suitable for payroll needs. We then compared and ranked lenders by scoring factors such as funding times, loan costs, and customer reviews.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Chloe Goodshore
Written by
Chloe Goodshore
Chloe covers business financing and loans for Business.org. She has worked with many small businesses over the past 10 years, from video game stores to law firms. Those years watching frustrated business owners try to sift through their many options gave her a passion for breaking down complex business topics. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.
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