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Best Short-Term Business Loans 2021

Online lenders provide short-term business loans starting at three months. Compare options for good- and bad-credit borrowers.

Steve NicastroJanuary 27, 2021
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Short-term business loans can give your business the fast cash it needs to bridge cash-flow gaps, handle emergencies and other immediate financing needs, or take advantage of a business opportunity.

Think of them as quick-turnaround loans: Borrow what you can pay back relatively quickly so you can focus on running your business rather than managing debt.

Here are short-term financing options from online business lenders. We always recommend comparing small-business loans from multiple loan providers.

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Our picks for

Short-term lines of credit

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BlueVine - Line of credit

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Est. APR

15.00 - 78.00%

Min. Credit Score

650

BlueVine's line of credit provides fast working capital for short-term borrowing needs. NOTE: BlueVine has temporarily paused applications for this product to prioritize PPP funding.

Pros

  • Cash can be available within 12 to 24 hours.
  • Multiple term lengths for different financing needs.

Cons

  • Short repayment term results in higher payment amounts.
  • Requires personal guarantee.
  • Not available in North Dakota, South Dakota or Vermont.
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Qualifications:

  • 6-month line of credit
  • Minimum credit score: 650.
  • Minimum time in business: 2 years.
  • Minimum annual revenue: $360,000.
  • 12-month line of credit
  • Minimum credit score: 650.
  • Minimum time in business: 2 years.
  • Minimum annual revenue: $360,000.

Our pick for

Short-term business loans for fast cash

Business loans are term loans that provide a lump of cash upfront, repaid over a set period of time with fixed, equal payments.

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OnDeck - Online term loan

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Est. APR

9.00 - 99.00%

Min. Credit Score

600

OnDeck offers a fast term loan for small-business owners with less-than-stellar credit who want to expand.

Pros

  • Cash can be available within the same business day.
  • Requires low minimum credit score.
  • Less paperwork than most lenders.

Cons

  • Fixed-fee structure means early repayment will not save interest.
  • Requires frequent (daily or weekly) repayments.
  • Requires business lien and personal guarantee.
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Qualifications:

  • Minimum credit score: 600.
  • Minimum time in business: 1 year.
  • Minimum annual revenue: $100,000.
  • No bankruptcies in the past 2 years.

Our pick for

Short-term business loans for low rates

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Credibility Capital - Online term loan

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Est. APR

6.99 - 24.99%

Min. Credit Score

650

Credibility Capital offers low-cost business loans that work best for small-business owners with strong credit.

Pros

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.
  • No prepayment penalty.
  • Extra monthly payments can save interest cost.

Cons

  • Requires high minimum credit score and revenue.
  • Requires business lien and may require personal guarantee.
  • Not available in Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota or Vermont.
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Qualifications:

  • Minimum credit score: 650.
  • Minimum time in business: 2 years.
  • Minimum annual revenue: $200,000.
  • No bankruptcies in the past 5 years.

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Summary of Best Short-Term Business Loans 2021

LenderBest ForEst. APRMin. Credit ScoreNext Steps

BlueVine - Line of credit

Best for Short-term lines of credit15.00 - 78.00%650
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OnDeck - Online term loan

Best for Short-term business loans for fast cash9.00 - 99.00%600
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Credibility Capital - Online term loan

Best for Short-term business loans for low rates6.99 - 24.99%650
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How do short-term business loans work?

Short-term loans for businesses are term loans with short repayment periods, typically ranging from three months to three years.

Because you have a shorter repayment period, your monthly payment (which includes interest and any fees) will be higher than a long-term business loan, which can have repayment terms of up to 25 years in some cases.

Pitfalls of short-term loans

While short-term business loans provide fast cash, they do come with some disadvantages, including:

  • Higher cost: Short-term business loans typically carry a higher annual percentage rate, or APR, than long-term loans. Use NerdWallet’s business loan calculator to figure out how much a loan will cost you.
  • More frequent repayments: Some lenders require payments daily or weekly as opposed to monthly. Although these payments are smaller, their frequency can be an issue for businesses that have uneven sales or don’t always hold much cash in a bank account.
  • Risk of debt trap: The speed and ease of short-term business loans can become addictive. Instead of repaying the debt in full, business owners may be enticed to refinance and roll over the debt into a new loan.

Compare small-business loans

NerdWallet has created a comparison tool of the best small-business loans to meet your needs and goals. We gauged factors including lender trustworthiness, market scope and user experience, and arranged them by categories that include revenue and how long you’ve been in business.

Last updated on February 17, 2021

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Short-Term Business Loans 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

A short-term business loan provides a lump sum upfront to a borrower and has a repayment period ranging from three months to three years. The short repayment period means this type of financing is best to manage an immediate cash flow gap, an emergency or immediate financing needs.

Besides a short-term business loan, you can turn to other financing options. Business credit cards can offer immediate funding, especially if you need smaller amounts than what a business term loan would provide. If you have a business with unpaid invoices, you can turn to invoice financing to turn them into cash.