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Best Small-Business Loans for Women With Bad Credit

By Randa Kriss
Last updated on April 10, 2024
Edited bySally Lauckner
Fact checked and reviewed
Online and nonprofit lenders can provide business loans for women with bad credit, but interest rates can run high.

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Women-owned businesses are more likely to be denied financing than businesses owned by men — even if they have strong credit. And for women with a rocky credit history, it can be even more challenging to get a small-business loan.
Although banks and credit unions don’t typically offer loans to borrowers with poor credit, female entrepreneurs may be able to get funding from online or nonprofit lenders.
Below, compare some of the best business loans for women with bad credit — defined by FICO as a score between 300 and 629 — and learn more about how to qualify for financing.

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 7 small-business loans for women with bad credit

LenderNerdWallet RatingMax loan amountMin. credit scoreNext steps

Fora Financial - Online term loan

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4.5/5

Best for Startup business loans for women with bad credit

$1,500,000570

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Fundbox - Line of credit

5.0/5

Best for Business lines of credit for women with bad credit

$150,000600
Read Review

Triton Capital - Equipment financing

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4.0/5

Best for Equipment loans for women with bad credit

$250,000575

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SBA Microloan

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Best for SBA loans for women with bad credit

$50,000620

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OnDeck - Online term loan

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5.0/5

Best for Short-term loans for women with bad credit

$250,000625

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Accion Opportunity Fund - Small Business Working Capital Loan

5.0/5

Best for Small-business loans for minority women with bad credit

$250,000570
Read Review

AltLINE - Invoice Factoring

4.5/5

Best for Invoice factoring for bad credit

$10,000,000300
Read Review

Here are 7 small-business loans for women with bad credit

Best for Startup business loans for women with bad credit

Fora Financial

Max Amount

$1,500,000

Min. Credit Score

570

Best for Business lines of credit for women with bad credit

Fundbox

Max Amount

$150,000

Min. Credit Score

600

Best for Equipment loans for women with bad credit

Triton Capital

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

575

Best for SBA loans for women with bad credit

U.S. Small Business Administration

Max Amount

$50,000

Min. Credit Score

620

Best for Short-term loans for women with bad credit

OnDeck

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

625

Best for Small-business loans for minority women with bad credit

Accion

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

570

Best for Invoice factoring for bad credit

AltLINE

Max Amount

$10,000,000

Min. Credit Score

300

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Our pick for

Startup business loans for women with bad credit

Businesses may be able to qualify for a term loan offered by Fora Financial with just six months in operation, making it a good fit for startups.

Fora Financial - Online term loan

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Max Loan Amount
$1,500,000
Min. credit score
570
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.

Max loan

$1,500,000

Min. Credit score

570

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.
Read Review

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Our pick for

Business lines of credit for women with bad credit

Fundbox offers a business line of credit to businesses that have minimum credit scores of 600 and have been operating for at least six months.

Fundbox - Line of credit

Max Loan Amount
$150,000
Min. credit score
600
Est. APR
36.00-99.00%
Fundbox offers a business line of credit to fill a cash flow gap, and qualifying is easier than with other lenders.
May fund quickly

Max loan

$150,000

Min. Credit score

600

Apr range

36.00-99.00%

Fundbox offers a business line of credit to fill a cash flow gap, and qualifying is easier than with other lenders.

Our pick for

Equipment loans for women with bad credit

For established businesses that need equipment and have a minimum credit score of 575, Triton Capital has equipment loans that can be funded within one to two business days.

Triton Capital - Equipment financing

4.0
NerdWallet rating 

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Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
575
Est. APR
5.99-34.99%
Triton Capital offers fast equipment loans up to $250,000 for businesses in a range of industries.
4.0
NerdWallet rating 

Max loan

$250,000

Min. Credit score

575

Apr range

5.99-34.99%

Triton Capital offers fast equipment loans up to $250,000 for businesses in a range of industries.

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Our pick for

SBA loans for women with bad credit

SBA microloans are offered through nonprofit intermediary lenders who set their own credit requirements which may make them easier to qualify for.

SBA Microloan

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Max Loan Amount
$50,000
Min. credit score
620
Est. APR
8.00-13.00%
SBA microloans are small-sized loans funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and issued through approved intermediaries, typically nonprofit and community lenders.

Max loan

$50,000

Min. Credit score

620

Apr range

8.00-13.00%

SBA microloans are small-sized loans funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and issued through approved intermediaries, typically nonprofit and community lenders.
Read Review

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Our pick for

Short-term loans for women with bad credit

If you have a credit score of at least 625 and have been in business for a year or more, OnDeck offers term loans with repayment periods of up to two years.

OnDeck - Online term loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
625
Est. APR
27.20-99.90%
OnDeck offers a fast term loan for small-business owners with less-than-stellar credit who want to expand.
May fund quickly

Max loan

$250,000

Min. Credit score

625

Apr range

27.20-99.90%

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

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Our pick for

Small-business loans for minority women with bad credit

Accion Opportunity Fund, a nonprofit lender that works with women, minorities and other underserved entrepreneurs, requires a minimum credit score of 570 for working capital loans.

Accion Opportunity Fund - Small Business Working Capital Loan

Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
570
Est. APR
8.49-24.99%
Accion is a good option for businesses that haven't been able to secure traditional financing. The lender targets its funding efforts toward minority, women and low-to-moderate-income entrepreneurs.

Max loan

$250,000

Min. Credit score

570

Apr range

8.49-24.99%

Accion is a good option for businesses that haven't been able to secure traditional financing. The lender targets its funding efforts toward minority, women and low-to-moderate-income entrepreneurs.

Our pick for

Invoice factoring for bad credit

AltLINE is an invoice factoring company that will buy your unpaid invoices at a discount and doesn’t have minimum credit score or time in business requirements.

AltLINE - Invoice Factoring

Max Loan Amount
$10,000,000
Min. credit score
300
AltLINE offers fast invoice factoring with competitive factoring rates.

Max loan

$10,000,000

Min. Credit score

300

AltLINE offers fast invoice factoring with competitive factoring rates.

How Much Do You Need?

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What is a bad credit score?

A bad credit score usually falls between 300 and 629 (on a scale of 300 to 850), according to the most common credit score models, like VantageScore and FICO. Personal credit scores ranging from 630 to 689 are typically considered fair credit.
Business lenders may have their own criteria to define what they consider an acceptable credit score, however, loans marketed as bad-credit business loans typically target borrowers with credit scores below 630.

Where to get a business loan for women with bad credit

Traditional lenders, like banks and credit unions, are unlikely to issue loans to borrowers facing credit challenges. The alternative sources below, however, may be willing to work with women-owned businesses, who don’t meet the credit requirements of traditional banks.

Online lenders

Online lenders tend to have flexible minimum credit score requirements, ranging from 500 to 660. Some of these lenders don’t set a credit requirement at all — and instead focus more heavily on cash flow or collateral when evaluating your application.
Online lenders typically offer easy approvals and fast funding, especially compared with more traditional lenders. As a result, however, online business loans will usually have higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms.
Although there are numerous reputable lenders in the online market, there are also predatory lenders who try to take advantage of borrowers who are having trouble qualifying for funding. Be wary of any lenders offering no credit check loans or guaranteed approval.

CDFIs

Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are banks and credit unions that receive government funding to provide banking access to low-income and underserved communities — including women, veterans and minority groups.
Unlike other traditional lenders, CDFIs tend to have flexible qualification requirements and are more amenable to working with startups and businesses with bad credit.
Accion Opportunity Fund, for example, is flexible with its credit score requirements and only looks for a minimum of
12
months in business. The lender also states that over 90% of its borrowers are women, people of color and/or low-to-moderate-income individuals.
CDFI loans offer competitive interest rates and repayment terms, but funding may be slower than online lenders.

Nonprofit lenders

Like CDFIs, nonprofit lenders focus on offering business loans to borrowers who can’t qualify for traditional financing, such as those with limited or poor credit histories. Many of these lenders provide free or low-cost coaching and business training.
Some nonprofit lenders are also SBA microlenders. These lenders receive government funding, but administer their own loans. Microlenders can set their own standards for interest rates, repayment terms and qualifications — subject to SBA guidelines.
Justine Peterseon, for instance, is a St. Louis-based nonprofit microlender that offers SBA microloans up to $50,000. Typical interest rates range from 7.25% to 11%

How to get a business loan for women with bad credit

When you’re looking to get a business loan, start by checking your credit score. You can get a free credit score on NerdWallet, and also pull your personal credit report from the three major reporting bureaus for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Once you have your reports, it may be possible to improve your credit before applying for financing. Look for any errors on your credit report and dispute them with the appropriate credit bureau. Making more frequent payments or paying off debt can also help build your credit score.
Next, evaluate your other business criteria — annual revenue, time in business, cash flow, available collateral — to determine the type of funding you can qualify for. You’ll want to look for the areas where your business is the strongest, maybe you have excellent cash flow, for example, and highlight these strengths on your loan application.
Once you have a sense of your qualifications, you can begin researching and comparing lenders. You'll want to consider factors like borrowing costs, repayment terms, funding speed and lender reputation when choosing the right option for your needs.

Alternative funding options for women with bad credit

Here are some alternative financing options where a low credit score may not hurt you:
  • Asset-based funding. With asset-based financing, you receive money from a lender to purchase products for your business. The product you’re looking to purchase, such as inventory or equipment, serves as collateral on the loan. Because this type of financing is self-collateralized, lenders are often more willing to work with credit-challenged borrowers.
  • Small-business grants. Business grants offer free funding that you don’t have to repay. Grant providers typically don’t use your credit score to evaluate your application, although application windows can be narrow and the process can be competitive. Some companies offer specific business grants for women.
  • Crowdfunding. With crowdfunding, you put your business on an online platform and advertise your financing goal. People can donate money to your business — usually in exchange for equity or some type of perk or benefit. Crowdfunding can be a good option for product-based businesses with an internet following.

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 April 10, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates small-business loan products from traditional banks and online lenders. We collect over 30 data points on each lender using company websites and public documents. We may also go through a lender’s initial application flow and reach out to company representatives. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.
Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer small-business friendly features, including: transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to business credit bureaus and responsible lending practices. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to small-business owners and how meaningfully they impact borrowers’ experiences.
NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodology for small-business loans and our editorial guidelines.

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.

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