A business line of credit provides flexibility that a regular business loan doesn’t. With a business line of credit, you can borrow up to a certain limit — say, $100,000 — and pay interest only on the money borrowed. You then draw and repay funds as you wish, as long as you don’t exceed your credit limit.
Need to manage cash flow? Buy inventory? Pay for a surprise expense? Then a business line of credit makes sense.
Business lines of credit are also typically unsecured debt, which means you don’t have to provide collateral — assets, such as real estate, which the lender can sell if you default. The concept is similar to a business credit card, but getting a cash advance from a credit card is typically pricier.
They differ from traditional business loans, which give you a lump sum of cash that you repay over a fixed period. Business loans are a better option for longer-term investments.
OUR RECOMMENDATIONS IF YOU NEED:
Business line of credit of up to $50,000
BlueVine is a good choice if you don’t need an extra-large line of credit. It’s also a solid option if your company is getting started: You can qualify after just six months in business. You’ll make weekly repayments on the credit line over a six-month period, with an annual percentage rate of between 16% and 62%. You can be approved and funded within 24 hours. BlueVine requires that your business makes a minimum of $60,000 in annual revenue and that you have a personal credit score of at least 600.
- Loan amount: $5,000 to $50,000.
- APR: 16% to 62%.
- Loan term: Repaid over 6 months.
- Funding time: As quickly as 24 hours.
- Read our BlueVine review.
Business line of credit of up to $100,000
Kabbage, OnDeck and StreetShares all provide business lines of credit of up to $100,000. If you’re looking for the lowest APR, try StreetShares; for the fastest funding, try Kabbage or OnDeck.
Kabbage is also a good choice if you have bad personal credit, as it doesn’t require a minimum credit score for borrowers. Your business needs only a minimum of $50,000 in annual revenue and one year in operation to qualify. But keep in mind that it’s the most expensive option, with APRs from 32% to 108%. If you’ve been in business for at least nine months, have a credit score of at least 600 and annual revenue of at least $75,000, you might qualify for funding from OnDeck, which has lower APRs than Kabbage.
- Loan amount: $2,000 to $100,000.
- APR: 32% to 108%.
- Loan term: 6 or 12 months.
- Funding time: A few minutes to several days.
- Read our Kabbage review.
- Loan amount: Up to $100,000.
- APR: 14% to 40%.
- Loan term: Repaid weekly.
- Funding time: As quickly as 24 hours but typically a few days.
- Read our OnDeck review.
StreetShares requires businesses to make only $25,000 in annual revenue. This makes the lender a good choice for businesses that have been in operation for a year or more and with owners that have personal credit scores of 600 or higher.
An important caveat: StreetShares offers lines of credit up to $100,000, but your maximum credit limit cannot exceed 20% of your annual business revenue. For example, a business with $100,000 in annual revenue could be approved for up to $20,000.
- Loan amount: $5,000 to $100,000.
- APR: 9% to 40%.
- Loan term: 3 to 36 months.
- Funding time: 1 to 5 days.
- Read our StreetShares review.
Business line of credit of up to $300,000
Lending Club’s business line of credit is a good option when you want competitive rates and have a personal credit score of at least 600. The lender offers APRs of between 8% and 35%, which includes a 1% to 2% draw fee each time you borrow from the line.
Like some of the other options listed here, Lending Club’s fee-free line of credit works well if you need cash for an emergency. You must repay draws on your line of credit over a maximum of 25 months, but you can pay sooner — without prepayment penalties — to save on interest. To qualify, you also need a minimum $75,000 in annual revenue and at least two years of business history.
- Loan amount: $5,000 to $300,000.
- APR: 8% to 35%.
- Loan term: Repaid up to 25 months.
- Approval time: Less than a week for funding.
- Read our Lending Club review.
Business line of credit: Summary of options
FIND AND COMPARE SMALL-BUSINESS FINANCING
To size up other types of small-business financing, check out NerdWallet’s loan comparison tool. We gauged lender trustworthiness, market scope and user experience, among other factors, and arranged them by categories that include your revenue and how long you’ve been in business.Compare business loans
Updated Nov. 15, 2016.