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Small-Business Lenders: Best Options of December 2022

Compare different types of small-business lenders to find the best way for you to access capital.
Written by Randa Kriss
Edited by Sally Lauckner
Last updated on October 7, 2022

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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 11 small business lenders

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Make selection

Lender
Best for
Max loan amount
Min. credit score
Next steps

Kabbage - Line of credit

on Kabbage's website

Best for Online line of credit lenders$250,000640

on Kabbage's website

Bluevine - Line of credit

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Best for Online line of credit lenders$250,000625

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Fundbox - Line of credit

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Best for Online line of credit lenders$150,000600

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TAB Bank - Term loan

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Best for Bank loan lenders$200,000650

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PNC Bank - Line of credit

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Best for Bank loan lenders$100,000720

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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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OnDeck - Online term loan

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Best for Online term loan lenders$250,000625

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Fora Financial - Online term loan

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Best for Online term loan lenders$750,000550

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Triton Capital - Equipment financing

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Best for Equipment loan lenders$250,000600

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Here are 11 small business lenders

Best for Online line of credit lenders

Kabbage

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

640

Bluevine

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

625

Fundbox

Max Amount

$150,000

Min. Credit Score

600

Best for Bank loan lenders

TAB Bank

Max Amount

$200,000

Min. Credit Score

650

PNC Bank

Max Amount

$100,000

Min. Credit Score

720

Best for SBA loan lenders

U.S. Small Business Administration

Max Amount

$5,000,000

Min. Credit Score

650

U.S. Small Business Administration

Max Amount

$500,000

Min. Credit Score

650

Best for Online term loan lenders

Credibility Capital

Max Amount

$500,000

Min. Credit Score

650

OnDeck

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

625

Fora Financial

Max Amount

$750,000

Min. Credit Score

550

Best for Equipment loan lenders

Triton Capital

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

600

Our picks for

Online line of credit lenders

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

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.

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

Fundbox - Line of credit

Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

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 picks for

Bank loan lenders

Bank lenders typically offer the most competitive interest rates and repayment terms on small-business loans — but require that you meet strict criteria to qualify.

TAB Bank - Term loan

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Max Loan Amount
$200,000
Min. credit score
650
Est. APR
8.99-35.99%
TAB Bank offers competitive interest rates for business owners with strong credit — and can sometimes fund faster than an SBA loan.

PNC Bank - Line of credit

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$100,000
Min. credit score
720
Est. APR
14.49-16.49%
PNC offers a revolving line of credit that works similarly to a credit card, but you’ll need excellent credit and multiple years in business to qualify.

Our picks for

SBA loan lenders

Banks, credit unions and other participating financial institutions issue SBA loans. These loans are partially guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBA 7(a) loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$5,000,000
Min. credit score
650
Est. APR
9.25-11.75%
7(a) program participants include specialized lenders like Live Oak Bank and big-name traditional banks like Wells Fargo.
Lowest interest rate

SBA Express loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$500,000
Min. credit score
650
Est. APR
11.50-13.50%
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.

Credibility Capital - Online term loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$500,000
Min. credit score
650
Est. APR
8.99-17.99%
Credibility Capital offers low-cost business loans that work best for small-business owners with strong credit.

OnDeck - Online term loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
625
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

Fora Financial - Online term loan

Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Max Loan Amount
$750,000
Min. credit score
550
Fora Financial can be a good fit for borrowers who may fall short of qualifying for traditional bank financing, or young but established small businesses looking for speedy financing.

Our pick for

Equipment loan lenders

This online lender offers fast financing to help you purchase new or used equipment for your business.

Triton Capital - Equipment financing

with Fundera by NerdWallet

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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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.
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, as well as greater overall satisfaction, with small banks compared to large, national banks — according to a 2022 Federal Reserve survey.
If you have an existing relationship with a local 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.

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.

Find the right business loan

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 October 7, 2022

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