Skip to content

8 Best Small-Business Loans for Veterans of June 2022

Commercial lenders, nonprofit organizations and the U.S. Small Business Administration offer business loans for veterans.
Written by Randa Kriss
Edited by Ryan Lane
Last updated on December 6, 2021

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Veteran-owned businesses can take advantage of a number of options to help start, sustain and expand their operations, including small-business loans.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has previously offered lending programs that benefit vets and still waives the upfront fees on all SBA Express loans for veterans and their spouses. But you can turn to many sources — including community financial institutions, traditional banks and online lenders — to get a veteran business loan.
The best loan for you will offer terms that meet your needs, whether that's hiring employees, purchasing equipment or covering other costs. Here are our picks for small-business loans for veterans, plus information on VA loans, counseling, training and other financing resources.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

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 options for you

Sort by

Make selection

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

SBA 7(a) loan

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Best for SBA loans for veterans$5,000,000650

with Fundera by NerdWallet

SBA Express loan

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Best for SBA loans for veterans$500,000650

with Fundera by NerdWallet

PNC Bank - Line of credit

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Best for Veterans with established businesses$100,000720

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Credibility Capital - Online term loan

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Best for Veterans with established businesses$500,000650

with Fundera by NerdWallet

OnDeck - Online term loan

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Best for Fast small-business loans for veterans$250,000600

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Bluevine - Line of credit

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Best for Fast small-business loans for veterans$250,000600

with Fundera by NerdWallet

SBA Microloan

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Best for Startup business loans for veterans$50,000620

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Fundbox - Line of credit

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Best for Startup business loans for veterans$150,000600

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Our picks for

SBA loans for veterans

Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

SBA 7(a) loan

Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Max Loan Amount

$5,000,000

Min. Credit Score

650

Est. APR

5.50-8.00%

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

with Fundera by NerdWallet

SBA Express loan

Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

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

Veterans with established businesses

with Fundera by NerdWallet

PNC Bank - Line of credit

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Max Loan Amount

$100,000

Min. Credit Score

720

Est. APR

12.24-14.24%

Depending on your creditworthiness and your business's financials

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.
Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Credibility Capital - Online term loan

Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

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.

Our picks for

Fast small-business loans for veterans

Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

OnDeck - Online term loan

Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

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
Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Bluevine - Line of credit

Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Max Loan Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

600

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

Our picks for

Startup business loans for veterans

Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

SBA Microloan

Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Max Loan Amount

$50,000

Min. Credit Score

620

Est. APR

8.00-13.00%

Depending on your creditworthiness and your business's financials

The average microloan is roughly $13,000, according to the Small Business Administration.
Read Review

with Fundera by NerdWallet

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%

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

How Much Do You Need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

What is a VA small-business loan?

The Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, does not provide business loans. VA small-business loans may refer to the SBA’s Veterans Advantage program; however, it is more likely that lenders use this term for any type of financing that’s specifically available for veteran-owned businesses.

Who qualifies for a VA small-business loan?

Typically, to qualify for a veteran business loan, your business must be majority owned by a veteran or their spouse. For example, to be eligible for the SBA Veterans Advantage program — in which upfront guarantee fees are waived on Express loans — your business must be 51% owned by someone in one of the following categories:
  • Active-duty military service members participating in the Transition Assistance Program.
  • Honorably discharged or service-disabled veterans.
  • Reservists and active National Guard members.
  • Current spouse of a veteran, active-duty service member, reservist or guard member.
  • Widowed spouse of a service member who died in service or from a service-related disability.
You’ll also need to meet general small-business loan qualifications, such as credit score, revenue and time in business. The exact VA small-business loan requirements will vary by lender.

Veteran business loan options

Veteran business loans are available through commercial lenders, nonprofit organizations and the SBA.
While some popular loan programs for veterans have been discontinued, such as the SBA’s Patriot Express Loans, there are plenty of other options for veterans and their families.
  • SBA Express loans. Veterans can borrow up to $500,000 through the SBA’s Express loan program. Upfront guarantee fees, typically 2% to 3% of the loan, are waived for veterans, reservists, national guard members and spouses who qualify. SBA Express loans have a quicker turnaround time than other SBA loans — 36 hours compared with several weeks or months — but the underwriting criteria can be strict. You’ll likely need a minimum FICO score of 650, strong annual revenue and at least two years in business to get an Express loan.
  • SBA 7(a) loans. Although the popular SBA 7(a) loan program does not offer any specific benefits for veterans, these loans are a great option for established businesses looking for long-term financing — with larger loan amounts than the Express program offers (up to $5 million). SBA 7(a) loans are issued by banks, credit unions and online lenders and guaranteed by the SBA. Like the Express loan program, you’ll need strong credit and solid business financials to qualify for a 7(a) loan.
  • Bank business loans. Small-business loans from a bank typically have the lowest interest rates, but they are difficult to access. Many banks require that you have several years in business, a credit score in the 700s and strong revenue to qualify for financing. If you think your business may be eligible for a bank loan, look for lenders that cater to the military. Some may not offer funding; for example, USAA’s business loan program ended in 2018. But discounts may be available from other lenders — PNC, for example, offers a discounted interest rate on all new business loans and lines of credit for veteran-owned businesses that qualify.
  • Online loans. If you just launched your business, or have a lower credit score (below 690), you might look into online lenders. These lenders tend to have more flexible requirements but higher rates. They offer a variety of products, such as term loans, lines of credit, equipment financing and invoice factoring — and can sometimes provide funding as fast as the same business day.
  • Microloans. Nonprofit organizations often focus on funding underserved businesses in their area, offering smaller loan amounts of up to $50,000. For example, PeopleFund, a community development financial institution microlender in Texas, offers fast working capital loans of up to $25,000, as well as other financing options. PeopleFund provides discounts on interest rates for veterans and says 14% of their borrowers are vets. If you are a new business or have bad credit, you may still be able to qualify for a microloan.

Are there startup business loans for veterans?

Lenders generally prefer to do business with established companies that have strong cash flow. This often disqualifies startups with less than a year of operating history and little revenue.
However, veterans and other new business owners aren't completely out of luck.
The SBA microloan program and Community Advantage loan program both cater to startups and businesses in underserved communities. These loans are issued by certified development companies and nonprofit organizations, which often focus on working with businesses owned by veterans, women and minorities.
If you have good personal credit, alternative options also include business credit cards and personal business loans.
  • Business credit cards. These typically provide up to $50,000 in revolving credit, meaning you can borrow and repay from the credit card as needed, and pay interest only on withdrawn funds.
  • Personal loans for business. These offer a lump sum of cash, with a fixed interest rate and repayment terms.
Both options are unsecured, meaning you won’t have to put down collateral — an asset, such as real estate or inventory — to qualify.

Other resources for veteran-owned businesses

Government and nonprofit organizations offer financial resources, grant programs, business training and other assistance for veteran-owned businesses. Here are some of the available resources:
  • Veterans Business Outreach Centers. These centers offer workshops, training, counseling and other services to help veteran business owners start, grow and expand their businesses. There are 22 VBOCs across the country — and these organizations can help connect businesses with SBA partners, including community lenders and other resources.
  • Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. The MREIDL can provide up to $2 million if you have an essential employee who is a military reservist and gets called to active duty. This program is for covering regular business operating costs, not starting or expanding a business.
  • SBA 8(a) program. The SBA offers this business development program to eligible businesses, which can include those owned by veterans. The SBA 8(a) program provides small businesses with a certification that can improve their chances of winning government contracts, as well as help navigating the bidding process.
  • StreetShares Foundation. The StreetShares Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting military entrepreneurs. The organization offers an annual grant program, the Veteran Small Business Award, as well as networking events, coaching, training and other resources for business owners.
  • Small-business grants for veterans. Government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private companies all offer small-business grants for veterans. You can search Grants.gov to find all active government grants for businesses, or use a free website like GrantWatch to filter specifically for grants for vets.

Compare small-business loans

When shopping for a loan, be sure to compare annual percentage rates, or APRs, which give you a holistic picture of a loan's cost. NerdWallet's small-business loans comparison tool can help. We've gauged lender trustworthiness, market scope and user experience, among other factors, to help you choose the best loan.
Last updated on December 6, 2021

To recap our selections...

8 Best Small-Business Loans for Veterans of June 2022

Frequently Asked Questions