10 Best Small-Business Loans for Women in 2020


Female business owners get rejected for loans at higher rates than their male counterparts.1 These loans could change that.

  • Best Overall
    4.3 out of 5 overall
    Variety of lenders and loans
    Fast, easy application
    Apply NowLearn More
  • Best for Larger Loans
    4 out of 5 overall
    Loans up to $5 million
    Relaxed borrower qualifications
    Apply NowLearn More
  • Best for Low Credit
    3.6 out of 5 overall
    Low minimum credit score
    Automated application
    Apply NowLearn More
  • Most Convenient
    3.1 out of 5 overall
    Automated approval process
    Fast funding
    Apply NowLearn More
  • Best for P2P Lending
    2.9 out of 5 overall
    Low starting rates
    Transparent costs
    Apply NowLearn More
Last Updated: 1 week ago
We updated this article with the latest loan pricing and qualification information. No changes were big enough to affect our rankings. Heads up, though—Accion lowered its maximum loan size to (a still respectable) $250,000.

Funding your business sounds simple: just apply for a loan and get that capital. But if you’re a woman business owner, you might have a harder time getting money than you expect.

That’s why we’re here. We’ve vetted dozens of lenders to find the best small-business loans for women. Sure, this guide won’t fix the gender disparity in lending—but it might help level the playing field for your woman-owned business.

Let’s fund your biz!

Business loans for women

To be clear, there are no business loans just for female entrepreneurs—that would be illegal (more on that in the FAQs below). But some lenders and loans will work better for women-owned businesses than others. We’ll be sure to point out why in our ranking.

Compare the top small-business loan providers
CompanyLoan min./max.Lowest listed rateMin. annual revenueMin. time in businessGet a loan
Lendio$500/
$5,000,000
4%$50,0006 mos.Apply Now
BlueVine$5,000/
$5 million
4.8%$100,0006 mos.Apply Now
Fundbox$1,000/
$100,000
4.66% draw rate$50,0003 mos.Apply Now
Kabbage$2,000/
$250,000
1.5 factor rate$50,0001 yr.Apply Now
Funding Circle$25,000/
$500,000
4.99%N/A2 yrs.Apply Now
Kiva$0/
$10,000
0%N/AN/AApply Now
Accion$300/
$250,000
7%N/AN/AApply Now
OnDeck$5,000/
$500,000
9%$100,0001 yr.Apply Now
CanCapital$2,500/
$250,000
12.9%$150,0006 mos.Apply Now
QuarterSpot$5,000/
$250,000
30%$192,0001 yr.Apply Now
Data effective 11/13/19. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Lendio: Best overall

Lendio
With Lendio’s lending marketplace, women entrepreneurs can get matched with a wide variety of lenders and loans—making it the best option for most women-owned businesses.

Lendio isn’t just our favorite lender for women-owned businesses—it’s our favorite lender, period. That’s because Lendio is actually a lending marketplace. You have to submit only one brief application to Lendio, and it will match you with loans and lenders that you can qualify for. Then, you just choose your favorite financing option, and Lendio will help you finish your application and get approved.

With the sheer number of small-business loans and lenders available through Lendio, you’re sure to find the right financing for your business. In fact, Lendio can match you with several of the other lenders on this list.

So yes, you have to meet some basic qualifications (see the comparison table above), but Lendio can work for all sorts of women business owners. We think it will be your favorite lender too.

Strengths
  • Fast application
  • Wide variety of funding and lenders
  • Personalized guidance and expertise
Weaknesses
  • High interest rates on some loans
  • Reports of hard credit inquiries

BlueVine: Best for larger cash flow loans

BlueVine
BlueVine offers large funding amounts—up to millions of dollars—with reasonable application requirements that many women-owned businesses can meet.

While BlueVine doesn’t have quite the loan variety of Lendio, it does offer term loans, lines of credit, and invoice financing—which means it has capital options for many needs and uses. Plus, BlueVine’s invoice financing goes up to $5 million. Most online lenders don’t even have $1 million loans, so BlueVine’s large financing options make it stand out from the crowd. If you have a big project, BlueVine has a big loan to finance it.

But why do we recommend BlueVine specifically for women-owned businesses? Well, it has relatively low application requirements for its loans. Since female entrepreneurs often have lower qualifications than male entrepreneurs, that matters. We also like that BlueVine has a small resource center for women’s business loans.

And at the end of the day, BlueVine’s large loans are good for many businesses—women owned or not.

Strengths
  • Simple, quick process
  • Low credit score requirements
  • Large loans available
Weaknesses
  • Limited availability in some states
  • Potentially large fees

Fundbox: Best for low credit

Fundbox
Fundbox requires only a 500 personal credit score, so women entrepreneurs with low credit scores can qualify for its cash flow loans.

Worried about getting funding with your bad credit? No need. Some traditional lenders require higher personal credit scores from their borrowers. Not Fundbox! It just requires a low personal credit score of at least 500. Then it looks at your business’s current finances to assess your application. You can connect it to either your accounting software or your business bank account to qualify for a line of credit.

Fundbox’s automated process and low financing qualifications have made it one of our favorite startup loans, but it also makes it one of the best women-owned business loans. After all, some studies suggest that women entrepreneurs get denied business financing because of their lower credit scores.2 With Fundbox, bad credit isn’t a problem.

So if you need capital, but you don’t want a credit check to get in the way, go with Fundbox.

Strengths
  • Automated application
  • Low approval requirements
  • Fast funding
Weaknesses
  • Low maximum loan amounts
  • High APR

Kabbage: Most convenient

Kabbage
Kabbage uses an automated approval process, so female entrepreneurs can get approved for a loan—and get access to their funds—in mere minutes.

You can’t top the convenience of Kabbage’s automated application and approval process. Just give Kabbage a little information about you, then connect it with your business accounting software. In most cases, you’ll get a decision within minutes. For added convenience, Kabbage gives you three ways to access your new funds (PayPal, deposit in your bank account, and a Kabbage card), so you can use them in a way that makes sense with your business.

Kabbage’s automated process means you can be sure that your loan application is judged on your business’s strengths—not the personal biases of an underwriter. Plus, Kabbage has a proven commitment to women entrepreneurs: for example, it has a page full of resources for women-owned businesses.

No wonder Kabbage is one of our favorite online lenders for women business owners.

Strengths
  • Multiple ways to access funding
  • Fast, automated approval process
  • No credit requirement
Weaknesses
  • High rates and APR
  • Confusing fee structure

Funding Circle: Best for peer-to-peer lending

Funding Circle
Funding Circle offers low rates on its term loans, making it an affordable choice for established businesses.

Funding Circle is our favorite peer-to-peer lender (which you can learn more about in our guide to P2P lending). But what does that mean for you? Put simply, nice low rates and longer terms. Funding Circle offers only term loans, but the interest rates on those loans start as low as 4.99%, and the repayment terms go up to five years (long-term loans are a rarity among online lenders).

So if you’re a female business owner who can meet Funding Circle’s stricter borrowing criteria (a minimum of two years in business, for starters), this peer-to-peer lender can offer you a great deal. And like several of our other recommended lenders, Funding Circle has resources for women’s business funding.

Between its commitment to female entrepreneurs and its great funding deals, we think you’ll love this P2P lender.

Strengths
  • Up-front cost and fee information
  • Low starting rates
  • Excellent customer service
Weaknesses
  • Exclusive borrower preferences
  • Secured loans only

Honorable mentions

Kiva: Best for microloans

Maybe you don’t need large, long-term loans. If a microloan of $10,000 might fit your financing needs, give Kiva a look. Many women entrepreneurs have successfully funded businesses through Kiva and its interest-free microloans. It’s kind of a crowdfunding platform for loans, so your qualifications matter less than your story. Just know that your friends will have to kick off your Kiva loan before strangers can invest.

Apply Now

Accion: Best for startup loans

Unlike traditional lenders (or most online lenders, for that matter), Accion wants to hear all about your unique story as a business owner. It has a long, involved application process that lets you really sell yourself. With no minimum revenue or time in business, Accion is great for startup loans. And since Accion has a commitment to helping disadvantaged groups get funding, it’s perfect for your women-owned business.

Apply Now

OnDeck: Best for repeat borrowing

Small-business financing isn’t always a one-time thing. You might need funding for a marketing campaign now and for hiring next year. So if you suspect you’ll need more financing over the years, we recommend OnDeck. While first-time borrowers can expect relatively high rates on its loans, repeat borrowers get sweet discounts on both interest rates and fees. The more you borrow, the better your relationship with OnDeck gets.

Apply Now

CanCapital: Best for merchant cash advances

Merchant cash advances (MCAs) work by giving you an up-front sum of working capital in exchange for a percentage of your future credit and debit card sales. That means it works best for businesses like retail stores and restaurants—types of businesses that women business owners open more than men.3 And while we don’t love the high and confusing rates on MCAs, CanCapital is the best MCA provider out there.

Apply Now

QuarterSpot: Best for fixing bad credit

Remember how we mentioned that women entrepreneurs tend to have lower credit scores than men? QuarterSpot can help with that. While QuarterSpot loans look a lot like merchant cash advances—complete with high rates and percentage-based repayment terms—QuarterSpot loans will actually help build your credit. MCAs won’t. So while QuarterSpot doesn’t have the best loans, it can help you get better ones in the future.

Apply Now

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FAQs

Why do women-owned businesses get denied loans at such high rates?

Good question. Lenders haven’t actually come out and explained the disparity, but we can make some educated guesses.

Studies show that women-owned businesses earn less revenue than men-owned businesses, and women business owners tend to have lower credit scores than men business owners.4 And since business revenue and personal credit scores are a big factor in loan applications, that might naturally lead to women getting denied business loans at higher rates.

But sometimes it might just be good old-fashioned sexism. A majority of women say they’ve experienced gender bias in their careers, and almost one-third of women business owners say it’s affected their financing.5

Are there business loans specifically for women?

Nope, that would be illegal. The Equal Credit Opportunity makes it illegal to discriminate based on things like race, age, and sex (or gender).6

On the one hand, that means that lenders can’t deny women credit just because they’re women. On the other hand, that means lenders can’t deny men credit just because they’re men. So no, there are no business loans exclusively for women.

What other funding options are there for women-owned businesses?

Loans are a common way to finance small businesses, but they’re just one of your many funding options. Here are some other ideas for funding your biz:

  • Personal savings
  • Personal loans
  • Investments from family and friends
  • Crowdfunding
  • Angel investors
  • Venture capital
  • Grants

What grants exist for women entrepreneurs?

These are some of the best grants we’ve found for women entrepreneurs:

You can also check with your local Chamber of Commerce or other organizations for small-business owners. Lots of grants exist at a local level, and they may be less competitive than national grants.

The takeaway

Getting working capital for women-owned companies can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. The lenders ranked above have plenty of options for female entrepreneurs. So go ahead: apply for that loan, and get that money.

Women aren’t the only ones who can have a hard time getting funds. Check out our guide to the best loans for minority-owned businesses to find the best lenders for minority business owners.

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.

Sources

  1. SCORE, “The Megaphone of Main Street: Women’s Entrepreneurship, Spring 2018
  2. Biz2Credit, “Annual Revenues, Profits, and Credit Scores of Women-Owned Businesses Improved in 2015, According to Biz2Credit Study
  3. Biz2Credit, “Annual Revenues, Profits, and Credit Scores of Women-Owned Businesses Improved in 2015, According to Biz2Credit Study
  4. SCORE, “The Megaphone of Main Street: Women’s Entrepreneurship, Spring 2018
  5. Yahoo! Finance, “In Spite of Gender Bias, Women in Business See through Glass Ceiling
  6. CFPB, “What Protections Do I Have against Credit Discrimination?