10 Best Small Business Loans of 2021

Since nearly two-thirds of new businesses start with less than $50,000 in capital,1 a business loan could give your small business a leg up in the competition.
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
    Term loans, lines of credit, & more
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Lending marketplace
Best for SBA microloans
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
    Term loans, lines of credit, & 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
4.66% draw rate
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    600 min. credit score
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Lines of credit only
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Direct lender

If you’re in the market for a small-business loan, you’re in the right place.

With all the financing options out there, trying to compare business loans can feel overwhelming. You can borrow from traditional lenders (banks or credit unions) to get the best deals, or you can borrow from online lenders for lower loan qualifications. You can choose from term loans, lines of credit, invoice financing, microloans, and more. It’s a lot.

Which is why we’ve taken all those financing options and narrowed them down to the best small-business loans out there. In this roundup, we’ll tell you what makes these lenders great and help you decide which is the best fit for your business.

Ready to find your funding?

2021’s best places to get a small-business loan

Compare the best small business loan providers

Lender
Lowest listed rate*
Min. revenue
Min. time in business
Get a loan
Lendio

Lendio

4.25% interest$50,000/yr.6 mos.
Fundera

Fundera by NerdWallet

4% interest$100,000/yr.1 yr.
Funding Circle

Funding Circle

6% interest$500,000/yr.2 yrs.
BlueVine

BlueVine

4.8% interest$120,000/mo.3 mos.
Fundbox

Fundbox

4.66% draw rate$100,000/yr.3 mos.

Data effective 9/22/21. At publishing time, loan amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
*Does not represent the typical rate for every borrower, and other fees may apply.

Choosing the right small-business financing

As you’ll see throughout this article, you’ve got tons of business financing options. So how do you choose the right lender and loan type for your business?

We suggest you consider a few key factors as you look at lenders:

  • Borrower requirements
  • Types of financing offered
  • Loan amounts
  • Rates and fees
  • Funding times

Borrower requirements may be the most obvious way to tell if a lender will work for you or not. After all, if a certain online lender only funds businesses that have been around for three years, and you’ve got a one-year-old business, you’ll know to move on to a different lender. The same applies to things like minimum credit scores and revenue requirements.

Then you can look at what kinds of financing a lender offers. If you have your heart set on a business term loan, for example, you won’t want to go with a lender that has just merchant cash advances. Likewise, if you just want a short-term loan to free up some cash flow, a lender with super long loan terms may not be the best fit. 

And of course, the same thing applies to loan amounts. You’ll want to find a lender that offers a large enough loan size for your small-business financing needs.

Once you’ve narrowed your choices down a bit, you’ll want to start looking at loan costs. In most cases, you’ll want to look for the lowest interest rates and fewest fees.

Finally, funding times can help you further narrow things down. If you’re not in a big rush, most lenders can work just fine. But if you need to grab a time-sensitive deal on inventory, for instance, then you’ll probably want a lender that can get you money ASAP.

So with all that in mind, let’s dive into our top lender recommendations.

Lendio: Best overall for small business

Lendio
Lendio
4 out of 5 stars
4.0

Starting at 4.25% interest

  • Lines of credit, term loans, & more
  • Loan amounts from $1,000 to $5 million
  • Min. credit score: 560
  • Funding in as little as 2 days

Lendio is the best business loan company for most businesses. That’s because Lendio is more like a loan matchmaker than a lender—which is great news for you.

All you have to do is fill out a 15-minute online application, then Lendio will use your loan application to match you with the right loans and lenders for your business. Within 72 hours, it gives you a list of loans you qualify for; you can choose the best loan and finalize things.

Lendio loan details

Loan type
Min./max. loan size
Lowest listed rate
Repayment term
Get a loan
Term loan

$5,000/$2 million

6%

1–5 yrs.

Line of credit

$1,000/$500,000

8%

1–2 yrs.

Commercial mortgage

$250,000/$5 million

4.25%

20–25 yrs.

Invoice financing Up to 90% of receivables 2% factor rate

Up to 1 yr.

Data effective 12/18/20. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Lendio partners with over 75 lenders (including some on this list), which improves your odds—not to mention your efficiency. Those lenders offer everything from short-term business loans to merchant cash advances to equipment financing to real estate loans. (The table above shows just a small sampling of Lendio’s financing options.)

Given its many options and personalized loan matchmaking, Lendio should be a no-brainer for just about any business.

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

Fundera by Nerdwallet: Best for SBA microloans

Fundera
Fundera by NerdWallet
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9

Starting at 4% interest

  • Lines of credit, term loans, & more
  • Loan amounts from $2,5000 to $5 million
  • Min. credit score: N/A
  • Funding in as little as 2 days

Fundera by NerdWallet works a lot like Lendio, in that it’s a lending marketplace that lets you compare loan offers. The difference? Fundera’s marketplace includes a few lenders and loan options that Lendio’s doesn’t―including SBA microloans. 

SBA microloans are smaller government-backed loans (up to $50,000). They come with many of the advantages of other SBA loans, like relatively low interest rates and long repayment terms, while having faster funding times and more accessible borrower requirements. That makes SBA microloans a good funding option for business owners that don't need a hefty loan to get things done.

Of course, Fundera lets you apply for other types of business loans too―and even personal loans that you can use for business. It can help meet all kinds of financing needs, as long as you don’t mind the longer funding times that come with shopping around.

So if you like the idea of a lending marketplace, and you think you might be interested in an SBA microloan, give Fundera a go.

Strengths
Pro Bullet Access to many loans and lenders
Pro Bullet Personal loans and SBA microloans available
Pro Bullet Business credit card recommendations
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Longer funding turnaround times
Con Bullet Lack of transparency

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
  • Loan amounts from $5,000 to $500,000
  • Min. credit score: 660
  • Funding in as little as 2 days

Funding Circle is another lending marketplace, much like Lendio and Fundera by Nerdwallet. It does work a little differently, though, in that it has fewer types of loans and focuses on well-established businesses.

See, Funding Circle has some of the strictest borrower requirements we’ve seen from an online lending company. From its high credit score requirement (a 660 FICO score) to long time in business requirements (two whole years), Funding Circle has requirements closer to a traditional bank than other online lenders.

Of course, those higher requirements allow Funding Circle to offer more affordable financing with longer repayment terms. Whether you apply for a term loan, line of credit, or SBA 7(a) loan, you can feel pretty confident that you’re getting a good deal through Funding Circle―assuming you can qualify. 

All that makes Funding Circle a good deal, if you can get it.

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

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
  • Loan amounts up to $5 million
  • Min. credit score: 530
  • Funding as fast as same day

If you need funding right away―like you can’t wait two days―BlueVine is the lender you want. It offers same-day funding with its line of credit and next-day funding through invoice factoring. Put simply, it’s fast.

It all starts with an automated application process. You submit information about your business, and BlueVine can make a decision on your loan application near instantly or within a few hours. Then, if you opted for the line of credit, you can pay a small wire transfer fee to get your funds in just a few more hours. Otherwise, your funds should show up the next day via ACH transfer.

And to be clear, BlueVine has more going for it than just fast funding times. It offers two flexible kinds of working capital, lines of credit and invoice financing. And while it has stricter revenue requirements than other lenders on this list, BlueVine has relatively lax application requirements otherwise―three months in business and a 530 personal credit score can get you invoice factoring.

That means that whether you need fast funding or just good working capital, BlueVine can help.

Strengths
Pro Bullet Same-day funding option
Pro Bullet Low personal credit score requirements
Pro Bullet Large loans available
Weaknesses
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
  • Loans up to $150,000
  • Min. credit score: 600
  • Funding as fast as next-day

Fundbox offers lines of credit. But unlike other lenders that offer lines of credit, Fundbox is willing to work with young startups. So if your business is too new to get financing from other lenders, take a look at Fundbox.

While Fundbox prefers to work with businesses that have been around for at least six months (which is already a pretty competitive requirement), it will work with even younger businesses in some cases. In fact, Fundbox will consider businesses that have just two months of accounting software history or just three months of business checking history.

Of course, Fundbox is more likely to work with your very young business if you exceed its other borrower requirements. Fortunately, those are pretty moderate too. Fundbox accepts 600 credit scores and $100,000 in annual revenue.

While Fundbox’s lines of credit aren’t the cheapest out there, its accessibility makes it a great option for businesses that can’t qualify for low-interest term loans.

Strengths
Pro Bullet Automated application
Pro Bullet Low approval requirements
Pro Bullet Fast funding
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Low maximum loan amounts
Con Bullet High APR

Honorable mentions

We think the five lenders above have the best loans for most businesses. But the following lenders have plenty going for them as well. So if you haven’t found the right lender yet, consider these honorable mention picks.

Compare the best small business loan providers

Lender
Lowest listed rate*
Min. revenue
Min. time in business
Get a loan
OnDeck

OnDeck

31% APR$100,000/yr.1 yr.
Kiva

Kiva

0% interestN/AN/A
SmartBiz

SmartBiz

4.75% interest$50,0002 yrs.
Kabbage

Kabbage

0.25% monthly feeUnlisted1 yr.
Lendr

Lendr

12% factor rate$120,0001 yr.

Data effective 9/22/21. At publishing time, loan amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
*Does not represent the typical rate for every borrower, and other fees may apply.

OnDeck: Best for repeat borrowing

OnDeck
OnDeck
3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2

Starting at 35% APR

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

Data effective 9/22/21. At publishing time, loan amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

If you think you’ll be taking out several term loans over the next few years, then take a good look at OnDeck. This lender offers incentives like lower rates and reduced fees to its repeat customers, which means you can get better deals the more you borrow. Fortunately, the vast majority of OnDeck’s customers have great things to say about the company, so you’re likely to have a good experience as you borrow.

Just keep in mind that OnDeck has higher application requirements than some of the other lenders on this list, so brand-new businesses should apply elsewhere.

Kiva: Best for 0% interest

Kiva
Kiva
3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1

Starting at 0% interest

  • Microloans only
  • Loans amount from $1,000 to $15,000
  • Min. credit score: N/A
  • Funding as fast as 1 month

Data effective 9/22/21. At publishing time, loan amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Kiva exclusively offers microloans—in this case, loans under $15,000. A lot of small businesses will want a larger loan, which is why Kiva isn’t in our top five. But if you’re in the market for a little loan, then it’s hard to go wrong with Kiva—it offers an unbeatable 0% interest rate. The catch? There’s a lengthy funding process that requires you to get your family and friends to contribute to your loan before you crowdfund the rest.

Still, that 0% interest rate makes Kiva a worthy crowdfunding platform for anyone who needs a smaller loan (and can wait a while to get it).

SmartBiz: Best for SBA loans

SmartBiz
SmartBiz
3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1

Starting at 4.75% interest

  • SBA 7(a) loans only
  • Loan amount from $30,000 to $5 million
  • Min. credit score: 640
  • Funding as fast as 1 week

Data effective 9/22/21. At publishing time, loan amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

If you’re interested only in SBA loans, then give SmartBiz a try. It claims to simplify the SBA application process with its loan marketplace. Much like Lendio, SmartBiz delivers your one application to multiple lenders, matching you with your best options. But unlike other lending marketplaces, SmartBiz deals exclusively in SBA loans. That makes its application requirements stiffer, but it also means you can get super low rates.

If your business meets the qualifications for SBA loans, use SmartBiz to streamline your application process.

Kabbage: Most convenient

Kabbage
Kabbage
3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1

Starting at 0.25% monthly fee

  • Lines of credit only
  • Loan amounts from $1,000 to $150,000
  • Min. credit score: Unlisted
  • Funding within 3 days

Data effective 9/22/21. At publishing time, loan amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Kabbage offers only lines of credit. Much like Fundbox, Kabbage has an automated application that just requires a connection with your bank account. That means you can get a response to your application in mere minutes, making Kabbage a fast, convenient way to apply for funding. But the application is just the beginning. Once you’re approved, Kabbage lets you access your line of credit through PayPal, your bank account, or a physical card. With PayPal, you can access funding in minutes.

So while Kabbage has high rates, its convenience makes it good for business owners that need fast, accessible working capital.

Info
Kabbage’s limited borrowing

Right now, Kabbage offers new credit lines only to American Express customers and prior borrowers. We expect applications to open up to everyone else soon.

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
  • Loan amounts from $5,000 to $500,000
  • Min. credit score: N/A
  • Funding as fast as next-day

Data effective 9/22/21. At publishing time, loan amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Lendr only offers non-loan types of working capital―invoice factoring and merchant cash advances, to get specific. Those types of funding come with higher costs and shorter repayment terms than traditional loans. But they also come with low credit requirements, making them an important source for some businesses. And Lendr is a better working capital provider than most. It’s got excellent reviews and fair borrower requirements.

Put simply, Lendr’s types of funding aren’t our favorite. But if you need working capital financing, Lendr is one of the better providers we’ve found.

Grow your business today

Browse hundreds of loan options, custom-tailored to your business and budget needs, from a single, simple platform.

The takeaway

We recommend Lendio as the best small-business loan company for most businesses, thanks to its plentiful options and personalized matchmaking.

Some businesses may prefer other lending marketplaces, like Fundera by Nerdwallet for SBA microloans or Funding Circle for low-rates geared toward more established businesses. If you need money right away, BlueVine may be more your speed. And if you’ve got a young startup, you might like the flexibility of Fundbox’s borrower requirements.

But ultimately, you know your company best. With our ranking of the best small-business loans, you can find the lender and loan that fits your unique needs—and use that newfound working capital to grow your business.

Ready to apply? Check out our guides to understanding loan rates and avoiding common business loan mistakes.

Related content

FAQS about small-business loans

How do I choose the right business loan for my business?

To figure out which loan is best for you and your business, you need to compare things like types of loan, loan amounts, interest rates, fees, and repayment terms. You’ll want to figure out both what kind of loan you need as well as what kind of deals you can qualify for.

For example, if you’re making a big commercial real estate purchase, you’ll want a big real estate loan rather than a small line of credit—but the qualifications on the real estate loan might be stricter.

We’ve done a lot of the legwork for you with our rankings, but remember that lenders may not offer you the lowest rates or the biggest loan amounts. So before you accept a loan offer, make sure you understand the details of your offer. (This is one of the reasons we like Lendio: it lets you compare loan offers for your specific business.)

Want more help narrowing things down? We’ve got a guide to choosing a business loan.

What’s the difference between peer-to-peer and direct lending?

Direct lending means that you get your business loan directly from a financial institution, like banks or alternative lenders. With peer-to-peer lenders, on the other hand, your “lender” is really a platform that connects you with investors—and those are the people actually giving you money.

For more nitty-gritty details, you can take a look at our explanation of peer-to-peer lending.

Are there specific loans for women-owned businesses?

Not exactly; the same anti-discrimination laws that keep lenders from denying someone because she’s a woman also keep companies from approving someone because she’s a woman. That being said, there are small-business lending companies that have programs to help women access loans or that have loans that might work well for women business owners.

You can find out more in our guide to business loans for women.

Are there loans for veteran-owned businesses?

There used to be several loans specifically for veterans, but most of those programs have expired. But it’s not all bad news; there’s still several grants, franchising opportunities, and business programs for veterans—all of which we round up in our article on financing for veteran-owned businesses.

Can I apply for a personal loan to fund my business?

Sure, you can. In fact, some personal loan companies (like Prosper) advertise their personal loans for business use. But is it a good idea? Maybe. A personal loan won’t build business credit, which could make it harder to get business financing in the future. But if you can’t qualify for a business loan yet, you might find that a personal loan is better than nothing.

We can’t tell you what’s right for your business; we trust you to figure it out, though. And if you need a little more guidance, we’ve got a guide to using personal loans for business.

Methodology

We researched more than 60 online and traditional lenders to come up with our list of the best small-business loans. We scored lenders based on factors such as loan amounts, interest rates, borrower requirements, customer reviews, funding times, and more. These scores formed the basis of our rankings as well as our recommendations.

Small-Business Funding Growth in 2019

Small-business financing is about more than just funding a new project or covering a cost—every dollar an entrepreneur gets is an opportunity to help their business grow and succeed. And success for small businesses means success for the nation’s economy and growth in your local economy.

Since we at Business.org are all about businesses succeeding, we decided to look into the state of funding in 2019. We examined how the average loan size and number of funded loans changed in each state from 2018 to 2019.

The state of small-business financing

The numbers painted a sometimes surprising picture of small business in the United States.

We learned, for example, that Alaska and North Dakota had the highest average loan size in 2019 ($31,643 and $30,838, respectively), while South Dakota had the smallest (just $5,199). Some loan applicants will find those numbers surprising, given that lenders often offer business loans up into the millions of dollars. But 71% of businesses borrow $50,000 or less from alternative lenders,2 and most small businesses need only a few thousand dollars to grow.

We were also surprised by where businesses are getting approved for capital. The District of Columbia saw huge increases in the number of businesses funded, as did Wyoming and Vermont. So if you’re looking for the next economic powerhouse, those might be states to watch.

On the other hand, New Mexico, Oregon, and Nebraska were the only three states that took out fewer loans in 2019 than in 2018. We’ll be interested to see if the trend continues in 2020.

Methodology

We got our small-business lending data from Lendio. We drew on key indicators from Lendio’s SMB Economic Insights quarterly reports, including loan application data and loan funded data. All our data comes from Q3 2018 and Q3 2019.

Small-business funding by state

You can find out what small-business financing looks like in your state with the table below—whether funding is growing or shrinking and how much businesses are getting. And while you’ll need to apply for financing to find out what you personally qualify for, we hope these numbers give you a good starting point for setting your expectations.

For more details on the stats in your state, you can view Lendio’s quarterly reports by state.

Small-business loan demand across the US

State
Average loan size
Loan amount growth
Number funded growth

Alabama

$ 8,499

-37%

35%

Alaska

$ 31,643

-28%

15%

Arizona

$ 18,531

44%

26%

Arkansas

$ 12,152

1%

9%

California

$ 16,569

17%

17%

Colorado

$ 13,688

-20%

28%

Connecticut

$ 16,732

-16%

97%

Delaware

$ 7,354

6%

68%

District of Columbia

$ 24,622

111%

329%

Florida

$ 15,311

28%

20%

Georgia

$ 13,394

13%

8%

Hawaii

$ 15,821

3%

36%

Idaho

$ 21,889

95%

55%

Illinois

$ 13,418

33%

14%

Indiana

$ 12,015

-11%

13%

Iowa

$ 8,314

-6%

60%

Kansas

$ 15,948

-22%

33%

Kentucky

$ 13,780

-3%

73%

Louisiana

$ 12,431

-24%

16%

Maine

$ 14,776

71%

17%

Maryland

$ 17,479

13%

47%

Massachusetts

$ 10,818

-5%

38%

Michigan

$ 19,157

44%

19%

Minnesota

$ 15,630

-3%

20%

Mississippi

$ 14,974

11%

63%

Missouri

$ 14,807

-17%

95%

Montana

$ 11,952

-36%

45%

Nebraska

$ 21,664

-5%

-32%

Nevada

$ 20,366

35%

18%

New Hampshire

$ 18,371

12%

36%

New Jersey

$ 13,428

21%

11%

New Mexico

$ 19,080

44%

-10%

New York

$ 14,240

-4%

72%

North Carolina

$ 14,229

8%

45%

North Dakota

$ 30,838

132%

33%

Ohio

$ 14,554

11%

40%

Oklahoma

$ 16,191

44%

44%

Oregon

$ 17,839

80%

-17%

Pennsylvania

$ 12,429

12%

51%

Rhode Island

$ 14,355

3%

11%

South Carolina

$ 17,241

18%

27%

South Dakota

$ 5,199

-11%

0%

Tennessee

$ 13,562

-14%

33%

Texas

$ 17,713

22%

18%

Utah

$ 16,647

-26%

40%

Vermont

$ 13,430

-37%

113%

Virginia

$ 12,926

24%

8%

Washington

$ 17,172

34%

16%

West Virginia

$ 21,215

36%

108%

Wisconsin

$ 16,777

57%

13%

Wyoming

$ 23,378

66%

200%

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

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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