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Best Small-Business Loans for Women 2020

Steve NicastroMay 4, 2020

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Online lenders provide small-business loans for women with average or bad personal credit, and newer businesses.

There are no small-business loans designed specifically for women entrepreneurs, but online lenders and other organizations offer financing, assistance and support for women-owned businesses.

Here are business loans for women entrepreneurs, including options for startups and bad credit borrowers, plus grants and other resources.

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Our picks for

Average or bad personal credit

Kabbage - Line of credit

Kabbage - Line of credit

Est. APR

24.00 - 99.00%

Min. Credit Score

560

Pros

  • Financing up to $250,000 available within a few days.
  • Accepts low credit scores.

Cons

  • Rates are high compared to other online lenders.
  • Must have online checking or PayPal account to verify cash flow.
  • Fixed-fee structure means early repayment does not save interest.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560.
  • Minimum time in business: 1 year.
  • Minimum annual revenue: $50,000.
Read full review
Kabbage provides fast loans for business owners with bad personal credit, but rates can be high.
OnDeck - Online term loan

OnDeck - Online term loan

Est. APR

9.00 - 99.00%

Min. Credit Score

600

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.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600.
  • Minimum time in business: 3 years.
  • Minimum annual revenue: $250,000.
  • No bankruptcies in the past 2 years.
Read full review
OnDeck offers a fast term loan for small-business owners with less-than-stellar credit who want to expand.

Our picks for

Businesses older than 2 years

Credibility Capital - Online term loan

Credibility Capital - Online term loan

Est. APR

19.99 - 24.99%

Min. Credit Score

680

Pros

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

Cons

  • Short repayment term results in higher payment amounts.
  • 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.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 680.
  • Minimum time in business: 2 years.
  • Minimum annual revenue: $250,000.
  • No bankruptcies in the past 5 years.
Read full review
Credibility Capital offers low-cost business loans that work best for small-business owners with strong credit.
SmartBiz - SBA loan

SmartBiz - SBA loan

Est. APR

6.73 - 10.29%

Min. Credit Score

650

Pros

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.
  • Faster than getting an SBA loan from a bank.

Cons

  • Must have strong financials, supported by personal and business tax returns for the past 3 years.
  • Stringent rules on use of proceeds.
  • Requires business lien and personal guarantee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 650.
  • Minimum time in business: 2 years.
  • Minimum annual revenue: $50,000.
  • No bankruptcies or foreclosures in the past 3 years.
Read full review
SmartBiz’s low-cost SBA loans work best for established businesses that want to finance an expansion or refinance debt.
Funding Circle - Online term loan

Funding Circle - Online term loan

Est. APR

12.18 - 36.00%

Min. Credit Score

660

Pros

  • Cash can be available within 3 business days.
  • Competitive rates among online lenders.
  • No minimum revenue requirement.

Cons

  • Requires business lien and personal guarantee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.
  • Minimum time in business: 2 years.
  • Minimum annual revenue: None.
  • No bankruptices in the past 7 years.
Read full review
Funding Circle is an option for established businesses that are financing an expansion or refinancing debt.

Easily get real, personalized small business loan rates to compare — not just ranges or estimates.

It’s free and won’t affect your credit.

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Summary of Best Small-Business Loans for Women 2020

Your business is less than a year old

It can be hard to qualify for a business loan if you haven’t been operating for at least a full year. Most lenders want to see a track record of strong finances, a solid direction for the business and an ability to repay debt.

But don’t fret if you’re just starting out; there are still financing options for startups, including microloans and crowdfunding.

If you have good personal credit, you may qualify for a personal loan for business. Most personal loans are unsecured, and some loan amounts go as high as $100,000.

Business credit cards also offer financing for small-business owners who are starting out or looking for working capital.

You have average or bad personal credit

If you have a low credit score (300 – 689), consider online lenders Kabbage or OnDeck. Borrowing costs may be high, but these lenders are good sources of speedy funds for emergency or short-term needs.

OnDeck provides term loans up to $500,000, with a minimum credit score of 600 required. However, you’ll also need a minimum of $100,000 in revenue and at least one year in business to qualify.

Your business is 1 to 2 years old

If your business has a bit of a track record and you have good credit, consider StreetShares or Credibility Capital.

StreetShares offers term loans to borrowers with personal credit scores of 600 or higher and annual revenue starting at $75,000. The company caps funding at 20% of your revenue, up to $250,000.

If you need more than $250,000, try Credibility Capital, which provides loans up to $400,000. It’s an option for borrowers who have good personal credit (680-plus), but fall short of traditional banks’ financing qualifications.

Your business is older than 2 years

If you have solid finances and an established business, consider an SBA loan or financing through SmartBiz and Funding Circle.

Women who own more than half of a small business received 14%, or $761 million, of the SBA 7(a) loans approved in 2018, according to the SBA.

SmartBiz typically provides faster funding than banks for SBA 7(a) loans. Low annual percentage rates starting around 10% and a 10-year loan term make SmartBiz an attractive option for business expansion loans.

Funding Circle offers an alternative if you don’t qualify for SBA loans or want funds quicker, as its loans are funded in 10 days on average.

Other resources for women entrepreneurs

Many organizations offer services and assistance to women entrepreneurs, including pro bono programs run by nonprofits and SBA-affiliated groups. These include programs that teach women how to start a business and train them in financial management and marketing.

Grants

Women-owned businesses can get help in the early stages through grants provided by government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Here are 10 places to look for small-business grants for women.

SBA Women’s Business Centers

The Women’s Business Centers are a network of nearly 100 educational centers around the United States that help women start and grow their businesses. These centers typically offer seminars and workshops on a range of topics, including how to start a business and raise capital.

National Association of Women Business Owners

The National Association of Women Business Owners, based in Washington, D.C., has 5,000 members and 60 chapters across the country. It offers training and information on topics such as access to capital, government contracting and business certification.

National Women’s Business Council

The National Women’s Business Council works with the Office of the President, Congress and the SBA on issues related to women business owners. Resources include help for startups, alternative lender programs, conferences and mentor groups.

WomanOwned

This network of more than 3.5 million women-owned businesses worldwide offers online business information and networking assistance. WomanOwned maintains a database where women can get information on loans, grants and other funding sources.

Compare small-business loans

When shopping for loans, compare APRs, which give the true cost of borrowing, including all fees. NerdWallet’s small-business loans comparison tool can help.

Last updated on May 4, 2020

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Small-Business Loans for Women 2020

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