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Peer-to-Peer Business Lending: What It Is, Where to Find a Lender

Last updated on October 4, 2023
Edited byChristine Aebischer
Fact checked and reviewed

⏰ Estimated read time: 6 minutes

Peer-to-peer business loans are funded by investors, not banks or online lenders, and administered by intermediaries.

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Peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending connects borrowers to investors who make small-business loans. In some cases, these are institutional investors focused on maximizing their returns; in others, P2P business loans look more like crowdfunding platforms, where mission-oriented investors can lend small amounts to businesses they like.
Each peer-to-peer business lending platform serves a different type of business, so look for one that lends to customers like you.

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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 is 1 peer to peer business loan

LenderNerdWallet RatingMax loan amountMin. credit scoreNext steps

Funding Circle - Online term loan

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Best for P2P business loan


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Here is 1 peer to peer business loan

Best for P2P business loan

Funding Circle

Max Amount


Min. Credit Score



Our pick for

P2P business loan

Funding Circle business loans are backed by professional investors. That makes these loans tougher to qualify for than other P2P options, but they come with larger loan amounts — up to $500,000 — at low APRs compared to other online lenders.

Funding Circle - Online term loan

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Max Loan Amount
Min. credit score
Est. APR
Funding Circle is an option for established businesses that are financing an expansion or refinancing debt.
May fund quickly

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Min. Credit score


Apr range


Funding Circle is an option for established businesses that are financing an expansion or refinancing debt.
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How Much Do You Need?

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Best peer-to-peer business loan options

Funding Circle: Best for established businesses

Funding Circle is an online lender that offers peer-to-peer term loans of up to seven years. Its qualifications are similar to those of banks and other online lenders — you’ll need a credit score of at least 660 and at least two years in business to get a loan on this platform.
But funding can be available in as little as three days, faster than most bank loans; and APRs range from
% to
%, lower than many online lenders. You may be able to borrow up to $500,000.
P2P loans from Funding Circle may be a good fit for highly qualified borrowers who don’t want to wait on bank funding. APRs from Funding Circle may be slightly higher than those from banks, but if you’re approved for funding, you’ll likely receive those funds much faster.

Kiva: Best for micro-businesses

Kiva combines peer-to-peer lending with crowdfunding. You can borrow up to $15,000 and repay it over as long as 36 months. Kiva doesn’t charge interest, so your investors won’t make a profit. You’re ineligible if you’re currently in bankruptcy or have been convicted of a violent or financial crime in the last five years.
Peer-to-peer business loans from Kiva are almost certainly more accessible to new businesses than are bank or online loans. If you have a spotty credit history, less than a year in business or uneven revenue, it’s possible a P2P lender like Kiva can help you get funding when a financial institution can’t.

Honeycomb Credit: Best for businesses with established customer bases

Honeycomb Credit also offers loan crowdfunding, with loans between $25,000 and $500,000. The first hurdle to qualifying is the size of your social media platform — you need at least 250 followers to raise money on Honeycomb. Plus, the bigger your audience, the easier crowdfunding can be.
To apply, you’ll also need business financial statements, tax returns and a business plan, and everyone with more than a 20% stake in the business has to undergo a background check. Honeycomb sets borrowers’ loan terms based on their applications. Unlike Kiva, Honeycomb charges posting and origination fees, and you’ll have to pay interest on borrowed funds.

Prosper: Best for new businesses

Prosper is a peer-to-peer personal loans marketplace that offers loans to borrowers with credit scores of 600 or above, though lower scores may still qualify depending on other factors. You can enter basic financial information on Prosper’s website to find out whether you’ll qualify for a loan before facing a hard credit pull.
Because these aren’t business loans, the platform will probably focus on your personal financial history when deciding whether you qualify — which could make it a good fit for startups or businesses with uneven revenue histories. However, Prosper’s maximum loan size is $50,000.

What is a peer-to-peer business loan?

Peer-to-peer business loans are business loans made by individual or private investors, not financial institutions like banks.
You’ll typically get P2P business loans via a third party that acts as an intermediary — handling application and disbursement for borrowers, and collecting funds from investors. In some cases, as with Funding Circle, those may be institutional investors such as a hedge fund or investment bank.
In other cases, peer-to-peer loans are similar to crowdfunding. For loans via platforms like Kiva, individual investors chip in small amounts toward a borrower’s total loan amount. The business owner pays investors back over time, but these individuals may be more focused on supporting a business than maximizing returns as an institutional investor might be.
Peer-to-peer lending is more common for personal loans compared with business loans. You can use a personal loan to fund your business idea, but rates may be higher than other forms of financing.

P2P business loan pros and cons


  • Less stringent qualifications than banks. If you have fair credit or less than two years in business, you may have an easier time qualifying for a P2P loan than a bank loan — particularly from a lender like Kiva or Honeycomb Credit, which operate more like crowdfunding platforms.
  • On crowdfunding platforms, lenders are invested in your success. In order for the people who support your business to recoup their investments — perhaps of their own money — your business needs to last. That may be enough to spur your funders to talk about your company locally or on social media to help grow your customer base.


  • Higher APRs than banks. If you have good credit and a history of consistent revenue to qualify for a P2P business loan from an institutional investor or crowdfunding platform, you may be able to find a more affordable business loan at a bank or credit union.
  • Potentially small loan amounts. While Funding Circle offers six-figure loans, it may be more difficult for small businesses to qualify for large loans from other P2P lenders. Honeycomb Credit ultimately determines borrowers’ loan terms, Prosper’s maximum loan amount is $50,000 and Kiva’s is just $15,000.

Alternatives to P2P business loans

If peer-to-peer business loans aren’t the right fit for you, consider the following:
  • If you need fast funding: Online business loans can usually be funded in a matter of days. They tend to charge higher APRs than P2P business loans, but you may be able to qualify for financing even if you have bad or fair credit.
  • If you’re a very small business: Microloans, which are often issued by community development financial institutions (CDFIs) can help borrowers who need $50,000 or less.
  • If you don’t qualify for traditional financing: Crowdfunding can help you raise money from investors and supporters. There are several different kinds of crowdfunding, so you’ll have to choose between giving investors equity in your company or offering a different unique perk. Invoice financing is another alternative type of lending that relies on the value of unpaid customer invoices rather than things like business financials or personal credit. 
  • If you’re looking for the least expensive option: Another way to avoid taking on debt is by finding small-business grants. Many local governments and corporations offer grants, even for startups. Though they can be difficult to find and usually don’t give large amounts, avoiding the cost of interest can be worth it in the long run. 
Last updated on October 4, 2023


NerdWallet reviewed both traditional and online lenders in order to create our list of peer-to-peer business lending options.
Our list includes a variety of options to meet the diverse funding needs of small-business owners, with an emphasis on lenders that offer a streamlined underwriting and approval process.
Each peer-to-peer lending option on our list meets the following criteria: - Maximum loan amount of at least $15,000. - Transparent rates and repayment terms. - Funding available within two weeks of applying.

Wondering if you qualify?

It’s possible to get a business loan even if you have bad credit. Bad-credit business loans are available from alternative sources, like online or nonprofit lenders.

Learn more