11 Best Small-Business Loans of 2019
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 OverallFast, easy applicationVariety of lenders and loans
Best for Larger LoansSimple, quick processRelaxed borrower qualifications
Best for Low CreditLow approval requirementsAutomated application
Most ConvenientFast fundingAutomated approval process
Best for P2P LendingTransparent costsLow starting rates
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.
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Compare the top small-business loan providers
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Lendio: Best overall for small business
- Fast application
- Wide variety of funding and lenders
- Personalized guidance and expertise
- High interest rates on some loans
- Reports of hard credit inquiries
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 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 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.
Given its many options and personalized loan matchmaking, Lendio should be a no-brainer for just about any business.
BlueVine: Best for larger cash flow loans
- Simple, quick process
- Low credit score requirements
- Large loans available
- Limited availability in some states
- Potentially large fees
BlueVine has three different funding options available, including term loans, lines of credit, and invoice factoring. While all three are decent choices, it’s that last one that makes BlueVine stand out. In addition to having an easy-as-pie application, BlueVine offers invoice financing up to $5 million. (For comparison, Fundbox has a similar brand of invoice financing, but it only offers up to $100,000.)
With invoice financing, your invoices act as collateral for your loan—and that collateral makes these loans easier to qualify for than other funding types (it also means that usually only B2B businesses qualify). And sure enough, BlueVine has relatively lax application requirements—just $100,000 in annual revenue, three months in business, and a 530 credit score. Of course, you probably won’t qualify for that full $5 million with just the bare minimum qualifications, but BlueVine makes large loans more attainable.
Fundbox: Best for low credit
- Automated application
- Low approval requirements
- Fast funding
- Low maximum loan amounts
- High APR
Rather than make you fill out a detailed application, Fundbox connects with your banking account or your accounting software. If the automated algorithm likes what it sees, you’ll get approved within minutes. In addition to being fast and convenient, Fundbox’s loan application is great for businesses that have low credit because Fundbox doesn’t care about your credit score—just what it sees in your bank account.
Fundbox offers two types of financing: a line of credit and invoice financing. To apply for the line of credit, apply with your bank account; if you want the invoice financing, apply with your accounting software instead. While neither of Fundbox’s financing products are the cheapest out there, their accessibility makes them a great option for businesses that can’t qualify for low-interest term loans.
Kabbage: Most convenient
- Multiple ways to access funding
- Fast, automated approval process
- No credit requirement
- High rates and APR
- Confusing fee structure
Kabbage offers only lines of credit. Much like Fundbox, Kabbage has an automated application that just requires you to connect Kabbage with your bank account—no credit score or tax documents required. In most cases, 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 convenient 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; the Kabbage Card (once you get it in the mail) gives you instantaneous access to your line of credit. So while Kabbage has high rates, its convenience makes it good for business owners that need fast, accessible working capital.
Funding Circle: Best for peer-to-peer lending
- Up-front cost and fee information
- Low starting rates
- Excellent customer service
- Exclusive borrower preferences
- Secured loans only
Funding Circle is a peer-to-peer (P2P) lender, so it’s technically connecting you to investors rather than lending directly to you. You probably won’t notice much of a difference as a borrower, since you’ll still apply, get funded, and make monthly payments through Funding Circle. Mostly, Funding Circle’s P2P model means that it offers great rates on term loans—if you can qualify.
Funding Circle has some of the stiffest application requirements of the lenders on this list (it insists on a full two years in business, for example), but it also has some of the lowest rates. Plus, Funding Circle is one of the few alternative lenders that lets you make monthly payments (rather than daily or weekly). All that makes Funding Circle a good deal, if you can get it.
Kiva: Best for microloans
Kiva exclusively offers microloans—in this case, loans under $10,000. 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).
Accion: Best for startup loans
Unlike most lenders, Accion wants to understand your business and what makes it unique. So while it definitely will look at your credit history and your annual revenue, Accion’s application process lets you make the case for why your business deserves funding. There are some caveats: Accion’s application takes longer than any of our top lending companies. And if you need a large loan, Accion might not be your best bet; while it offers loans up to $1 million, its loans tend to be closer to $15,000.
Still, if your startup needs a loan, Accion might be just the unique lender you want.
OnDeck: Best for repeat borrowing
If you think you’ll be taking out several long- or short-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.
CanCapital: Best for merchant cash advances
If you’ve decided on a merchant cash advance (MCA), CanCapital is a good source for getting one. MCAs have some big disadvantages when compared to traditional term loans, like high rates and uncertain repayment terms. But they’re also a viable working capital option for businesses that have bad or no credit. And CanCapital, unlike many MCA companies, has great reviews—a 9.1 on Trustpilot and an A+ with the BBB.2,3
That makes CanCapital a good pick for businesses that need a merchant cash advance but want to avoid predatory lenders.
QuarterSpot: Best for fixing bad credit
QuarterSpot’s one funding product sure looks like and smells like a merchant cash advance—from the low application requirements to the high factor rates—though QuarterSpot calls it a loan. The most important difference? Most MCAs won’t build your credit (since they’re not actually loans); QuarterSpot’s loan will. If you pay your QuarterSpot loan back on time, you might just qualify for better loans in the future.
So if you’re paying high rates thanks to your bad credit, QuarterSpot provides a path to improving that credit (and your future financing prospects).
SmartBiz: Best for SBA loans
If you’re only interested 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.
FAQS about small-business loans
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.
Other business loan companies
The list above represents our favorite lenders, but you have plenty more financing options where those came from. Here are more top small-business lenders you might want to consider.
We recommend Lendio as the best small-business loan company for most businesses, thanks to its plentiful options and personalized matchmaking. 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.
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.