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No-Doc Business Loans: Is One Right for Your Business?

Online lenders may offer no-doc business loans, but you’ll likely pay more by opting for less paperwork.
Written by Brian O'Connor
Edited by Ryan Lane
Last updated on June 27, 2022

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Applying for virtually any business loan will require at least some paperwork. Although true no-doc business loans don't really exist, there are some loans that require far less documentation than a traditional business loan application.
Here are some types of financing that may require minimal paperwork, as well as some reasons why you might want to opt for a little more paperwork to find the right small-business loan.

Nearly no-doc business loan options

Many of the options below come with higher costs and shorter repayment terms than the traditional business loans you'll find at banks or through the Small Business Administration. If you need funding very soon or lack the qualifications to consider other business lending options, these are solid options for you to consider.

Unsecured short-term business loans

Unsecured short-term business loans don't need collateral such as equipment or property. These loans tend to have less paperwork than secured loans and pay out faster. For example, online lender OnDeck requires basic business and owner information and three months of bank statements to apply for its short-term unsecured loans. Funds can be available the same day.
If you need a fast business loan, an unsecured loan may make sense. But be careful and confident in your ability to pay it back — short-term loans tend to have high interest rates and quick repayment terms. OnDeck’s maximum term is 24 months, for instance. You’ll likely need to provide a personal guarantee on an unsecured business loan as well, which creates additional personal liability.

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Invoice factoring

Invoice factoring isn’t explicitly a loan, but it does provide businesses with money quickly and with minimal paperwork. With invoice factoring, you free up cash by selling unpaid customer invoices to a third-party company at a discount. Typically, you’ll get around 85% to 90% of your money upfront, with the rest coming, minus fees, after the invoice is paid.
Invoice factoring can let B2B businesses access capital quickly and without the same kind of requirements as other types of small-business funding.

Equipment financing

Equipment financing is an option for businesses that need cash to finance a piece of equipment and may come with less paperwork than a term loan. Applicants for equipment financing provide lenders with the price of the equipment they’re borrowing money to buy. The lender then provides a lump-sum payment to the borrower upon approval and sets an interest rate and time frame by which the financing has to be paid off.
There’s usually no need for a personal guarantee or collateral for equipment financing — what you’ve purchased serves this role.

Business credit card

Getting a small-business credit card does require documentation, but often much less than a business loan does. Well-qualified candidates — those with good-to-excellent personal credit (a FICO score of at least 690) and upstanding business credit — may get a near-instant approval, which makes this a potential option if you’re looking at no-doc business loans as a quick way to access capital.
Using a business credit card in lieu of a business loan can come with its own drawbacks, however. Cards are likely to come with lower spending limits and higher interest rates than traditional business financing. Expect to pay a variable APR of 12% or higher, depending on your creditworthiness, if you don’t choose a 0% intro APR business credit card.

Merchant cash advances

Merchant cash advances provide upfront funding that you repay with a portion of your credit or debit card sales. These advances require minimal paperwork, as you may be able to qualify with just a few months of your business’s credit card statements.
However, the APRs on these advances can hit triple digits, and repayment may be required daily. Consider all other forms of small-business financing before using a merchant cash advance.

Where to get a no-doc business loan

To get a business loan with minimal documentation, you’ll likely be limited to working with online lenders.
To determine if an applicant makes for a good loan candidate, alternative lenders typically use technology to analyze underwriting criteria differently than lenders like banks or credit unions. This can sometimes result in applicants being able to qualify with bad credit or needing to provide less documentation around things like their income.
By comparison, conventional lenders often set high requirements, both in terms of documentation and credit and financial history. For example, SBA loans can require a significant amount of information about the applicant’s personal and business finances — including three years of balance sheets, income tax returns and your loan application history.
The trade-off for that effort is a business loan that will likely offer a lower interest rate and more flexible repayment terms than virtually any no- or low-doc option.