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Small-Business Lenders: Best Options of July 2022

Compare different types of small-business lenders to find the best way for you to access capital.
Written by Randa Kriss
Edited by Ryan Lane
Last updated on November 5, 2021

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Small-business lenders can be traditional financial institutions — such as banks or credit unions — government agencies or other organizations like online fintech companies.
Individual lenders vary in the types of small-business loans they provide, as well as their application processes and eligibility criteria for borrowers. The best small-business lender will offer the products you need, has requirements you can meet and charges affordable interest rates and fees.
Below, compare some of the top small-business loan lenders and learn how to choose the right option for your business.

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 9 small business lenders options for you

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Lender
Best for
Max loan amount
Min. credit score
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Kabbage - Line of credit

on Kabbage's website

Best for Online lines of credit lenders$250,000640

on Kabbage's website

SBA 7(a) loan

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Best for SBA loan lenders$5,000,000650

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SBA Express loan

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Best for SBA loan lenders$500,000650

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Credibility Capital - Online term loan

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Best for Online term loan lenders$500,000650

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Funding Circle - Online term loan

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Best for Online term loan lenders$500,000660

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OnDeck - Online term loan

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Best for Online term loan lenders$250,000600

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Bluevine - Line of credit

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Best for Online lines of credit lenders$250,000625

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Fundbox - Line of credit

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Best for Online lines of credit lenders$150,000600

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OnDeck - Line of credit

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Best for Online lines of credit lenders$100,000600

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Our picks for

Online lines of credit lenders

These online lenders offer quick access to business lines of credit for borrowers who have less-than-perfect personal credit histories.

Read Review

on Kabbage's website

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.
Read Review

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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%

Depending on your creditworthiness and your business's financials

Bluevine's line of credit provides fast working capital for short-term borrowing needs.
May fund quickly
Read Review

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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%

Depending on your creditworthiness and your business's financials

Fundbox offers a business line of credit to fill a cash-flow gap, and qualifying is easier than with other lenders.
May fund quickly
Read Review

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OnDeck - Line of credit

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount

$100,000

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

11.00-61.90%

Depending on your creditworthiness and your business's financials

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 picks for

SBA loan lenders

Banks, credit unions and other participating financial institutions issue SBA 7(a) loans. These loans are guaranteed by the SBA.

Read Review

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SBA 7(a) loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount

$5,000,000

Min. Credit Score

650

Est. APR

7.00-9.50%

Depending on your creditworthiness and your business's financials

7(a) program participants include specialized lenders like Live Oak Bank and big-name traditional banks like Wells Fargo.
Lowest interest rate
Read Review

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SBA Express loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount

$500,000

Min. Credit Score

650

Est. APR

7.75-9.75%

Depending on your creditworthiness and your business's financials

SBA Express loans are available up to $500,000 as either a term loan or line of credit.

Our picks for

Online term loan lenders

These online lenders offer simple application processes and faster funding times than some SBA or bank lenders.

Read Review

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Credibility Capital - Online term loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount

$500,000

Min. Credit Score

650

Est. APR

6.99-24.99%

Depending on your creditworthiness and your business's financials

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

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Funding Circle - Online term loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount

$500,000

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

10.13-36.00%

Depending on your creditworthiness and your business's financials

Funding Circle is an option for established businesses that are financing an expansion or refinancing debt.
May fund quickly
Read Review

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OnDeck - Online term loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

9.00-99.00%

Depending on your creditworthiness and your business's financials

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

How Much Do You Need?

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Types of small-business lenders

Typically, a business lender is a third-party entity that loans your company money under an agreement that it will be repaid. Public and private financial institutions, government agencies and nonprofit organizations can all be small-business lenders.

Government lenders

The federal government doesn’t usually lend to small-business owners directly. However, it does guarantee financing issued through the SBA loan program. SBA loans are funded by participating lenders — typically banks and credit unions — and backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Many national, regional and local banks are SBA lenders, including big-name institutions like Chase and Bank of America. You can find a lender in your area by using the Lender Match tool on the SBA website.
SBA loans offer long terms, low interest rates and can be used for a variety of purposes. To qualify for an SBA loan, you’ll need good credit and financials, as well as a few years in business.

Credit union and bank lenders

Banks and credit unions offer some of the most affordable small-business loans, but these lenders also have lengthy application processes and strict eligibility requirements.
You’ll likely need strong credit, two or more years in business and solid revenue to qualify for a loan from one of these lenders.
Small-business borrowers report higher rates of approval with community banks compared to large, national banks, as well as greater overall satisfaction with credit unions and community banks — according to a 2021 Federal Reserve survey.
If you have an existing relationship with a bank or credit union, you might contact a representative to find out if it offers business financing.

Online lenders

Online business lenders can offer a variety of financing options with a streamlined application process. Online lenders are known for their fast access to capital, with some companies offering same-day business loans with funding in as little as 24 hours.
Compared to banks and credit unions, online lenders have more flexible qualification requirements, but the cost of borrowing is often higher.

Nonprofit lenders

Nonprofit organizations can offer loans to small businesses in underserved communities, such as women-owned businesses or minority-owned businesses. These organizations typically provide smaller loans — called microloans — but may be more willing to work with newer businesses or those with bad credit.
As part of the SBA Microloan program, for instance, the government distributes funds directly to these types of lenders. The lenders are then able to create and manage their own programs.
To find a microlender near you, you can browse a state-by-state lender list on the SBA website.

How to choose a business lender

You’ll want to consider several factors when choosing a small-business lender. But ultimately, there are trade-offs between banks, online lenders and other options, depending on what’s most important to you:
  • If you want the least expensive loan: A bank will likely offer the lowest interest rates, but you’ll need to be able to meet tough financial qualifications. Banks can also offer a variety of types of business loans, as well as longer terms than some online lenders.
  • If you can’t qualify with a bank: Start with the SBA loan program. SBA loans have competitive rates and long terms, and eligibility criteria can be a little more flexible than bank requirements. However, you’ll still need good credit and strong revenue to qualify, and the application process can be complex — so online lenders are an alternative option.
  • If you need a loan fast: Online lenders will be your top option. Some online lenders can offer funding in as little as 24 hours — although speed can come at a cost of higher interest rates.
  • If customer service is a priority: Although a variety of lenders have representatives to help you through the application process, small-business borrowers report having a higher level of overall satisfaction with credit unions and community banks.
  • If you’re a new business or have bad credit: Some online lenders, as well as nonprofit lenders, may have more flexible requirements that can accommodate newer businesses or those with bad credit. These businesses may also consider alternative types of funding, such as small-business grants.

Compare small-business loans

If you’d like to compare loan options, NerdWallet has a list of small-business loans that are best for business owners. All of our recommendations are based on the lender’s market scope and track record and on the needs of business owners, as well as rates and other factors, so you can make the right financing decision.
Last updated on November 5, 2021

To recap our selections...

Small-Business Lenders: Best Options of July 2022

Frequently Asked Questions