OnDeck Review: Good for Established Businesses, Better for Repeat Customers


OnDeck has loaned over $10 billion to small-business owners.1 But is it the right lender for you?

OnDeck
3.1 out of overall
Deals for repeat borrowers
Business credit bureau reporting
High typical qualifications
Required lien and personal guarantee

You know how some people are nice yet a little closed off at first, but over time you start to really see their best qualities? That’s OnDeck. This alternative lender offers decent loans to small businesses, but you’ll need to become a repeat borrower to get the most out of OnDeck.

But before you jump into anything serious with OnDeck, we want to make sure you have the facts. So here’s what’s on deck for this OnDeck review: who will benefit most from an OnDeck loan, who qualifies for financing from OnDeck, and what kinds of funding OnDeck offers—plus some more details you should know before you apply.

Ready? Let’s go.

OnDeck is best for businesses that will come back for more loans

To really get the best rates from OnDeck, you’ll need to come back again and again. Because just like a fancy cheese, OnDeck gets better with age—except OnDeck offers things like lower rates and reduced fees instead of delicious flavor.

But really, it pays to be a repeat borrower with OnDeck. After you pay off your OnDeck loan, you can apply for another one. When you do, there’s a good chance OnDeck will offer you a lower interest rate than you had on your previous loan; likewise, it might reduce the amount of your loan origination fee.

The more you borrow and repay, the more likely you are to get better rates. So if you think you’ll need several small-business loans over the next few years, go ahead and start cultivating that good relationship with OnDeck.

But before you can become a repeat borrower, you need to become a first-time borrower. So what does OnDeck look for in a small business?

Qualifying for an OnDeck loan

We want to be transparent here: while OnDeck lending technically has very modest application requirements, you probably won’t get a very good deal if you have a new startup or a low credit score. That makes OnDeck best for established businesses that want lower applications requirements than you’d find at a traditional bank.

You can apply for a business loan or line of credit from OnDeck with as little as one year in business, $100,000 in annual revenue, and a personal credit score of just 600. But OnDeck is pretty clear that its typical borrower doesn’t look like that; instead, your average OnDeck borrower has been in business for seven years, makes $450,000 in annual revenue, and has a personal credit score of 660.

OnDeck application requirements
MinimumTypical
1 year in business
7 years in business
$100,000 annual revenue
$450,000 annual revenue
600 credit score
660 credit score

A little different, no? (Though still much looser requirements than you’d find at a traditional lender.)

Which means that OnDeck really works best for more established businesses. The longer you’ve been in business and the better your finances, the more likely you are to not only get approved for an OnDeck loan but also get low rates. And since OnDeck has rates as low as 9%, it offers a great value for established businesses.

Best business loans for startups

Worried your startup won’t qualify for an OnDeck loan? We have a list of other startup loans you can apply for.

Which isn’t to say that you shouldn’t apply to OnDeck if you only meet the minimum requirements—there’s no cost to apply (except your time) and no risk in trying. Just don’t be surprised when the rates on your loan offer are a little higher than you’d like.

(And remember, to get the best rates, you’ll need to come back for more loans.)

Pros
  • Lower rates for repeat borrowers
  • Reporting to business credit bureaus
  • Excellent reputation with borrowers
Cons
  • High rates for first-time borrowers
  • Required lien and personal guarantee
  • High typical qualifications

OnDeck loan options

By now you know whether or not you can and should apply for a loan with OnDeck. But what kinds of financing can you even get from OnDeck?

Well, unlike some OnDeck competitors that offer dozens of business financing options, OnDeck keeps it simple: it offers term loans (both a short-term and a long-term version) and a business line of credit.

OnDeck’s line of credit has weekly repayment, while its term loans have both daily and weekly repayment options. Keep in mind that OnDeck requires automatic ACH payments on its loans, so you’ll be making loan payments whether you want to or not.

OnDeck financing
ProductLoan sizeLowest rateTerm lengthLearn more
Short-term loan$5,000–$500,0009%3–12 mos.Apply Now
Long-term loan$5,000–$500,0009.99%15–36 mos.Apply Now
Line of creditUp to $100,00013.99%6 mos.Apply Now
Data effective 05/28/19. At publishing time, pricing is current but subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

OnDeck’s short-term loans have the lowest rates of the bunch (but again, you probably won’t get a 9% rate out of the gate). And as the name suggests, it comes with relatively brief repayment terms of a year or less. That makes this loan best for funding smaller expenses you can repay quickly—like new office chairs or an online marketing campaign.

The long-term loan, on the other hand, has slightly higher rates to go with its longer loan terms. This loan gives you up to three years for repayment, which makes it a better option for larger business expenses that will take longer to repay—several commercial mixers, for example, or the cost of hiring some new employees.

Both term loans have an origination fee of up to 5% of your loan principal. Like we mentioned earlier, repeat borrowers tend to get lower origination fees (all the way down to 0%), so your second OnDeck loan will be a better deal than your first.

Interest rate reality check

As we’ve said, OnDeck rates go as low as 9% interest, which makes OnDeck’s term loans some of the best business loans out there. But take note: typical rates tend to be quite a bit higher—think 25.3%.<sup>2</sup>

OnDeck’s line of credit has a lower maximum amount and higher rates than its term loans, but it also offers lots of convenience. As a line of credit, it lets you withdraw and use funds, repay what you borrowed, and then borrow more—making it great for cash flow needs. So you can use your line of credit to help you cover bills while you wait for customers to pay up or to buy more inventory before the Christmas rush.

As far as fees go, OnDeck’s business line of credit has a monthly maintenance fee of $20. (Bummer.) But if you withdraw $5,000 or more within the first five days of opening your line of credit, OnDeck waives that maintenance fee for six months. While we don’t recommend withdrawing thousands of dollars just to save $120 over six months, the waived fee is a nice perk if you have a big up-front expense to take care of.

Apply with OnDeck

What borrowers say about OnDeck

We know that taking on a small-business loan is a pretty big deal, so we wanted to see if borrowers were happy with their experience getting funding through OnDeck. The answer? Absolutely.

As it turns out, OnDeck has a great reputation. It has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau,3 and on Trustpilot, OnDeck has a 9.7 (out of 10) based on almost 2,000 reviews.4 Reviewers praise OnDeck’s fast funding process and its helpful employees. In fact, you’ll find plenty of reviewers who report that they’ve been financing their business with OnDeck for several years now (taking advantage of those perks for repeat borrowers, no doubt).

Now, you’ll find a few customers who complain about high interest rates, slower-than-promised approval processes, or the daily repayment process. But for the most part, OnDeck’s customers seem genuinely pleased with the lender. We suspect you will be too.

The SMART choice

One possible reason OnDeck borrowers are so happy? It sends would-be borrowers a SMART Box comparison with all loan offers, which clearly breaks down the total cost of a loan. It’s a great tool for surprise-free financing.

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FAQs about OnDeck

Does OnDeck offer unsecured loans?

Nope. OnDeck doesn’t ask for any specific collateral—so you shouldn’t get rejected if you don’t have enough business assets—but all its loans are secured by a lien on your business assets and a personal guarantee.

Yes, that means OnDeck can seize both your business assets and your personal assets if you default on your loan. No, that won’t be a problem unless you fail to repay the loan. As long as you make your daily or weekly payments, your business computers and your personal television will be perfectly safe.

How do I apply for an OnDeck loan?

You can apply with OnDeck online. Supposedly, the application takes just 10 minutes. If you happen to prefer interacting with real people over interacting with a soulless computer, OnDeck also has a phone application.

Note that you’ll need your social security number, driver’s license, business tax ID, and a few months of bank statements to apply.

If you’re lucky, OnDeck will approve you the same day you apply (you’ll have up to 30 days to accept or decline your loan offer). You can even get funded as quickly as the next business day, though that’s not a guarantee.

Can I get both a term loan and a line of credit from OnDeck?

Theoretically, sure. If you want to have both a term loan and a line of credit from OnDeck, you can certainly apply. We can’t guarantee you’ll get accepted for both, but it’s worth a shot (especially since OnDeck loves repeat borrowers).

Does OnDeck report to credit bureaus?

It sure does. That means you can build your business credit by repaying your OnDeck loan.

How does OnDeck compare to Kabbage?

OnDeck and Kabbage are both online lenders, which makes them easier to qualify for than traditional lenders. Kabbage has lower application requirements than OnDeck, but OnDeck has better loan rates.

OnDeck vs. Kabbage
OnDeckKabbage
Term loans and lines of credit
Only lines of credit
$100,000 in annual revenue and 600 credit score required
$50,000 in annual revenue and no minimum credit score required
Interest rates starting at 9%
Effective APR starting at 24%
Apply for an OnDeck loan
Apply for a Kabbage loan

If you’re a relatively established business, OnDeck probably offers the better deal. But if you don’t meet OnDeck’s loan application requirements, Kabbage is a good alternative.

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The takeaway

OnDeck small-business loans can be a good source of working capital for many businesses—but it’ll work best for a small-business owner that has a well-established business and who will come back for more loans.

As you borrow again and again, you’ll get to see what makes a long-term relationship with OnDeck so rewarding: those sweet low rates and discounted origination fees. So while it might take some time to really get to know OnDeck, we think it’s a worthwhile investment.

Not sure OnDeck is the right lending company for you? Check out our review of our favorite lender, Lendio, to learn about a good alternative.

Disclaimers

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. OnDeck, “About Us
  2. OnDeck, “Business Loans
  3. BBB, “On Deck Capital, Inc.
  4. Trustpilot, “OnDeck