Best Startup Business Line of Credit
Cure your cash flow problems with one of these startup lines of credit.
Best OverallVariety of lenders and loansFast, easy application
Best for Low RatesSimple, quick processRelaxed borrower qualifications
Best for Bad CreditAutomated applicationLow approval requirements
Most ConvenientAutomated approval processFast funding
Best for Longer TermsPrice match guaranteeRepayment terms up to 3 years
If your startup has been around for at least six months, a startup business line of credit (LOC) can provide you with a form of revolving credit. You can withdraw funds, use them, pay them back, and then withdraw more. It’s kind of like a business credit card but with better rates, higher credit limits, and longer repayment terms (and a few other differences).
But who has the best business lines of credit for startups, and where should you get yours? We ranked your options to help you figure out the answer.
Let’s find the right LOC for your startup.
The word “startup” gets thrown around pretty loosely sometimes, so let’s clarify: in this review, we’ll use “startup” to mean businesses that have been in business for at least six months but less than two years and that make $100,000 or less in annual revenue.
|Company||Lowest listed rate*||Get a loan|
|Fundbox||4.66% drawing rate||Apply Now|
|Kabbage||1.5 factor rate||Apply Now|
Lendio: Best overall startup business line of credit
Just about every startup should start its line of credit search with Lendio. It tops this ranking for the same reason it tops our ranking of the best small-business loans: Lendio makes comparing loan and LOC offers shockingly easy.
Lendio is a lending marketplace, not a lender. What does that mean for you? Simply that you just have to submit one LOC application to Lendio, and it will come back with several offers from various lenders. You can compare which have the best terms, the best APR, the highest credit limit—whatever you want—and then finish applying with that lender.
And since Lendio’s marketplace includes some of the lenders below, you really have no reason not to begin your line of credit journey at Lendio.
(As an added bonus, Lendio is one of two lenders on this list—BlueVine being the second—that requires just six months of business history.)
BlueVine: Best for low rates
Look, we all know that borrowing money costs money. Interest is the price you pay to get financing. But if you want to minimize how much you pay in interest, then give BlueVine a close look.
BlueVine has the lowest starting interest rates we’ve seen for startup lines of credit. Sure, those starting rates are just that—starting rates—so your actual APR could be much higher. But with BlueVine, you’ve at least got a shot at getting a nice, low APR, which is more than we can say for some lenders.
So if low rates matter the most to you, we recommend getting to know BlueVine.
Fundbox: Best for bad credit
Not everyone has great credit. Life happens—and sometimes life happens in such a way that your personal credit score is not ideal. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a startup line of credit, though; it just means you should apply with Fundbox.
Some lenders have low minimum credit scores, but Fundbox doesn’t use your credit score at all to decide if you’re creditworthy. Instead, Fundbox connects with your business checking account or your business accounting software. Then its proprietary algorithm (fancy!) will decide whether you get approved or not—no credit check required.
Low or nonexistent credit shouldn’t keep you from getting an LOC. Just ask Fundbox.
Fundbox may not do a credit check, but most lenders will. Particularly when you’re a new business with no track record, your personal credit score can make or break your loan application. Learn more in our guide to how credit scores affect small-business loans.
Kabbage: Most convenient
Busy business owners can’t afford to waste time. Unfortunately, securing an LOC can get time consuming, between waiting to get approved and waiting to get funded. And if you don’t have time for that? Maybe Kabbage is more your speed.
Kabbage (like Fundbox), uses an automated approval process that can answer your application within minutes, so you don’t have to sit around and wait to hear back. After you get approved, Kabbage gives you three ways to draw on your LOC, so you can choose what works best for you. (If you choose PayPal, you can access funds almost immediately.)
If you’re all about fast, easy, and convenient, we think you’ll be all about Kabbage.
StreetShares: Best for longer repayment terms
Of course, sometimes it’s nice to be able to take your time. Many lenders put you on tight repayment schedules, so even your largest draw from your LOC must be repaid within one year (or even less). But then there’s StreetShares.
StreetShares has the longest repayment terms we’ve seen on startup lines of credit, with terms up to 36 months. That’s three years, which can translate to lower monthly payments for you. Good deal, right? (Speaking of good deals, StreetShares guarantees to match LOC price offers from another lender—or it gives you a $100 Amazon gift card.)
With StreetShares’s long repayment terms, time is on your side.
You may have noticed that all our recommended lines of credit come from online lenders rather than traditional financial institutions. That’s because banks usually have higher application requirements, so they work better for established businesses. Online lenders have more options for startups.
FAQS about startup lines of credit
What kinds of fees do lines of credit have?
Many lines of credit have origination fees. Some also charge an annual fee. You may also have cash advance fees or even monthly maintenance fees. Ask your lender to get the specifics for your line of credit.
Why get a line of credit instead of a business credit card?
There are a few reasons you’d want to apply for a business line of credit instead of getting a business credit card. First and foremost, LOCs are designed to make cash advances easy and affordable; credit cards usually have big fees for cash advances. And as we mentioned above, lines of credit tend to have lower APR than credit cards, plus longer repayment terms.
Generally speaking, lines of credit work best for larger working capital needs, like equipment purchases, bills, and business upgrades; a credit card works best for smaller business expenses, like staff lunches and office supplies.
When shouldn’t I get a line of credit?
Some lenders will not work with businesses in certain industries (such as gambling, adult entertainment, and marijuana). You probably won’t be able to get a business line of credit if you’re in one of those industries, so you shouldn’t waste time applying.
But for most businesses, the reasons they shouldn’t get a business line of credit are the same as why they shouldn’t get other types of financing: they can’t afford it. If you can’t budget to make payments on your line of credit (including the interest) then you’ll just dig yourself into a (debt) hole you can’t get out of. Make sure you can afford your LOC.
What lines of credit exist for more established businesses?
Our ranking of the best business lines of credit has options for businesses at various stages. But no matter what stage your business is at, we recommend Lendio as your first stop.
What other types of business financing should I consider?
Revolving lines of credit are great, but you’ve got plenty of other good financing options:
- Term loans
- Equipment financing
- Invoice factoring
- Business credit cards
- Angel investors
- Venture capitalists
- Personal loans
A business line of credit provides a great, flexible way to finance your small-business startup, because a line of credit gives you more than just money—it gives you the cash resources you need to grow your business over and over and over again.
Get the most out of your line of credit by brushing up on how a business line of credit works.
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.