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Online Business Loans: Compare Your Best Options

Online business lenders often provide faster and easier access to capital than traditional lenders, though at higher rates.
Written by Randa Kriss
Edited by Sally Lauckner
Last updated on July 19, 2022

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Online business loans are a type of business financing that you can apply for completely online. Although any lender can use an online application, this term typically refers to business loans offered by nonbank lenders.
Compared with traditional lenders, online business lenders generally have more flexible qualification requirements and streamlined underwriting processes. As a result, these small-business loans are typically easier to qualify for and faster to fund — but the cost of borrowing is higher.
Below, compare some of the best online business loans and learn more about this type of funding.

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Here are 8 online business loans

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Max loan amount
Min. credit score
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Kabbage - Line of credit

on Kabbage's website

Best for Online business lines of credit$250,000640

on Kabbage's website

OnDeck - Line of credit

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Best for Online business lines of credit$100,000600

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OnDeck - Online term loan

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Best for Short-term online business loans$250,000600

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Credibility Capital - Online term loan

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Best for Online business loans for established companies$500,000650

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Funding Circle - Online term loan

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Best for Online business loans for established companies$500,000660

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Bluevine - Line of credit

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Best for Online business loans for startups$250,000625

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Fundbox - Line of credit

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Best for Online business loans for bad credit$150,000600

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Triton Capital - Equipment financing

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Best for Online equipment loans$250,000600

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Our picks for

Online business lines of credit

Kabbage - Line of credit

Read Review

on Kabbage's website

Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
640
Kabbage loans are a good option for business owners with fair credit who want quick access to working capital.

OnDeck - Line of credit

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$100,000
Min. credit score
600
Est. APR
29.90-65.90%
OnDeck offers a fast line of credit for small-business owners with less-than-stellar credit who need to manage cash flow or buy inventory.
May fund quickly

Our pick for

Short-term online business loans

OnDeck - Online term loan

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Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
600
Est. APR
29.90-97.30%
OnDeck offers a fast term loan for small-business owners with less-than-stellar credit who want to expand.
May fund quickly

Our picks for

Online business loans for established companies

Credibility Capital - Online term loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$500,000
Min. credit score
650
Est. APR
7.99-24.99%
Credibility Capital offers low-cost business loans that work best for small-business owners with strong credit.

Funding Circle - Online term loan

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Max Loan Amount
$500,000
Min. credit score
660
Est. APR
10.64-31.85%
Funding Circle is an option for established businesses that are financing an expansion or refinancing debt.
May fund quickly

Our pick for

Online business loans for startups

Bluevine - Line of credit

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
625
Est. APR
15.00-78.00%
Bluevine's line of credit provides fast working capital for short-term borrowing needs.
May fund quickly

Our pick for

Online business loans for bad credit

Fundbox - Line of credit

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$150,000
Min. credit score
600
Est. APR
10.10-79.80%
Fundbox offers a business line of credit to fill a cash-flow gap, and qualifying is easier than with other lenders.
May fund quickly

Our pick for

Online equipment loans

Triton Capital - Equipment financing

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Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
600
Est. APR
5.99-25.00%
Triton Capital offers fast equipment loans up to $250,000 for businesses in a range of industries.

How Much Do You Need?

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What is an online business loan?

An online business loan is generally offered by nonbank lenders, also called alternative lenders. Unlike banks or credit unions, which may require you to visit a branch to complete the financing process, alternative lenders typically process and fund small-business loans entirely online.
Online business loans are usually fast to fund, with more flexible qualification requirements than other types of business financing. Some online business lenders work with startups or businesses with bad credit.
Speed and flexibility come with a cost, however. Online business loans tend to have higher interest rates than bank or U.S. Small Business Administration loans. Annual percentage rates can start as low as 7%, but reach as high as 97%.
Online loans can also have lower maximum funding amounts and shorter repayment periods than bank loans — although terms ultimately vary by lender.

Types of online business loans

There are several types of online loans that you can use to fund your small business. Here are some of the most common options.

Business term loans

Small-business term loans provide a lump sum of cash that you repay, with interest, over a fixed period of time. Some online lenders offer short-term loans, with terms of 12 months or less — while others offer longer repayment terms.
Because you can repay business term loans over an extended period, these online loans are usually a good choice for larger investments and long-term growth.

Business lines of credit

A business line of credit allows you to draw from a set limit of funds, as needed, and only pay interest on the money you’ve borrowed. You repay the funds over a specific period of time, typically on a monthly or weekly schedule.
Compared with term loans, business lines of credit are a more flexible form of financing — making them well-suited for managing cash flow, covering payroll and other short-term needs.

Equipment financing

Equipment financing is a type of small-business loan designed specifically for the purchase of machinery or equipment. Equipment loans are often structured as term loans — with repayment periods based on the anticipated life of the equipment you’re looking to buy.
With equipment financing, the equipment you purchase serves as collateral on the loan, which means you may not have to rely as heavily on your credit or financial history to qualify.

Invoice financing and invoice factoring

Invoice financing allows you to borrow capital against your outstanding invoices. A lender gives you a percentage of your unpaid invoices upfront in the form of a loan or line of credit. Once your customer pays the invoice, you pay the lender back the amount borrowed, plus fees and interest.
With invoice factoring, on the other hand, you sell your outstanding invoices to a factoring company at a discount. The factoring company then collects payments from your customers directly.
Both of these types of financing are good options for business-to-business companies that need to cover cash flow gaps. Invoice factoring and financing can also be easier to qualify for than other types of business loans — but may have higher interest rates.

Merchant cash advances

A merchant cash advance, or MCA, provides you with a lump sum of capital that you repay using a percentage of your future credit and debit card sales, plus a fee. A merchant cash advance isn't technically a loan — instead, an MCA company is buying future sales at a discount.
Although merchant cash advances are fast to fund and easy to qualify for, they’re one of the most expensive forms of online business financing. You should consider all other options before turning to an MCA.

Pros and cons of online business loans

Pros

  • Fast to fund. While bank and SBA loans can take weeks to fund, some online business loans can provide capital in as little as 24 hours. And even if you don’t receive a loan that quickly, many online lenders offer funding within days.
  • Streamlined applications. Online business loans often offer streamlined application processes with minimal documentation. While traditional lenders tend to rely on a manual review system to evaluate loan applications, many online lenders leverage technology so that they can underwrite your business more quickly and provide a faster application decision.
  • Variety of loan options. There are many different types of online business loans available — depending on your business size, funding needs, qualifications and more. Among these choices, small-business lenders offer a range of interest rates, repayment terms and loan amounts, so you can compare your options to find the right loan for your business.
  • Flexible qualification requirements. To qualify for a business bank loan, you’ll generally need strong credit and several years in business. With online business loans, on the other hand, qualification requirements are typically more flexible. Lenders may consider factors other than your personal credit score, time in business and annual revenue when evaluating your application. Some lenders will also work with new businesses or those with bad credit.

Cons

  • Can be expensive. Because online business loans are faster to fund and easier to qualify for — and therefore pose greater risk for lenders — they will generally be more expensive than bank and SBA loans. While the average annual percentage rate for bank loans ranges from 3% to 7%, APRs for online loans can vary anywhere from 7% to 97%. And APRs for merchant cash advances can reach even higher — up to 350%.
  • Limited person-to-person interaction. Although some online lenders offer phone-based customer support, you’ll typically complete the entire loan process online — meaning you may not interact with anyone from the lending company. If you’re looking to build a relationship with a lender or have someone address your questions one-on-one, an online business loan might not be the best option for you.
  • Security risks. There are a multitude of reliable online lenders on the market, but there are also bad actors that are looking to take advantage of small-business owners. These predatory lenders are often trying to trap businesses with offers that seem too good to be true, especially if those businesses are having trouble finding financing elsewhere. You can avoid these business loan scams by thoroughly researching and vetting an online lender to make sure they are reliable and trustworthy.

How to apply for an online business loan

Although loan applications vary from lender to lender, you’ll typically be able to apply for an online business loan within minutes. Here are the steps you can follow:

1. Understand your financing needs

You’ll want to determine how much capital you need, how much debt you can afford and what type of loan is right for your business.

2. Evaluate your qualifications

Most lenders will look at your personal credit score, time in business and annual revenue when underwriting your loan application. Online lenders may also look at your cash flow, financial accounts or outstanding invoices. You’ll want to review your business qualifications ahead of time so you know where your company stands.

3. Compare lenders

You should explore and compare multiple lenders to find the best fit for your needs. You’ll also want to research the lender and read reviews to make sure they’re reputable.

4. Submit your application

With most online lenders, you should be able to complete and submit your business loan application in minutes. Some lenders have you fill out a simple form and connect your financial data to their system so that they can evaluate your business information more quickly and provide a faster application decision.
You may also, however, need to provide financial documentation, such as:
  • Business and personal tax returns.
  • Business and personal bank statements.
  • Business financial statements (e.g., profit and loss statement, balance sheet).
Additionally, your lender may secure the loan by taking out a blanket lien on your business assets — and you’ll likely be required to sign a personal guarantee.

5. Receive your funds

Online lenders typically fund business loan applications within a matter of days. Some lenders offer funding in as little as 24 hours. Before signing a business loan agreement, make sure you review the terms and conditions and talk to your lender if you have any questions.

Find more business loans

The best business loan is generally the one with the lowest rates and most ideal terms. But other factors — like time to fund and your business’s qualifications — can help determine which option you should choose. NerdWallet recommends comparing small-business loans to find the right fit for your business.
Last updated on July 19, 2022

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Online Business Loans: Compare Your Best Options

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