SBA Loans: What You Need to Know

Small Business, Small Business Loans
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How to Get a Small-Business Loan That’s Best for You: 3 Important Questions

Without a doubt, Small Business Administration 7(a) loans are one of the best ways to finance your small business. They’re guaranteed by the federal agency, which allows lenders to offer them with flexible terms and low interest rates. Getting one can help you grow your business without taking on possibly crippling debt.

SBA loans, as the 7(a) loans are also known, are the agency’s most popular type of financing. There’s one big downside, however: It can be tough to get a loan from the SBA.

Still, low annual percentage rates make the SBA program one of the smartest ways to fund your company. With some know-how and preparation, you may be able to secure some of the lowest business financing available. And if you don’t qualify for an SBA loan, there are other faster, more accessible ways to borrow money.

Here’s what you need to know about SBA loans:

Summary of SBA loan types

What is an SBA loan?

How do I get an SBA loan?

SBA loans online: SmartBiz and Live Oak

How long does it take to get an SBA loan?


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Summary of SBA loan types

Loan type What you need to know
7(a) loan program (SBA’s flagship loan program)
  • Federally guaranteed term loans of up to $5 million
  • Funds for working capital, expansion, equipment purchases
  • Processed through banks, credit unions, specialized lenders
504 loan program
  • Federally guaranteed loans of up to $5 million
  • Funds for buying land, machinery, facilities
  • Processed through private-sector lenders and nonprofits
Microloans
  • Loans of up to $50,000
  • Funds for working capital, inventory, equipment, starting a business
  • Processed through community-based nonprofits
SBA disaster loans
  • Loans of up to $2 million
  • Funds for small-business owners affected by natural disasters and other emergencies
  • Processed through the SBA

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What is an SBA loan?

SBA loans are small-business loans guaranteed by the SBA and issued by participating lenders, mostly banks.

The SBA can guarantee up to 85% of loans of $150,000 or less and 75% of loans of more than $150,000. The agency says its average loan amount was about $375,000 in 2016. The program’s maximum loan amount is $5 million.

If you’re looking to open a new location, hire employees or refinance an existing loan, SBA loans are a great option. SBA loan rates and terms typically are more manageable for borrowers than other types of financing.

» MORE: SBA disaster loans for businesses hit by natural disaster

What interest rate can I get on an SBA loan?

In keeping with SBA rules, participating lenders set their interest rates based on the prime rate plus a markup rate known as the spread.

  • If your loan is more than $50,000 and the term is shorter than seven years, your rate is based on the prime rate with a maximum spread of 2.25 percentage points. As of June 2017, that meant a maximum interest rate of 6.50%.
  • If your loan is more than $50,000 and the term is seven years or more, the maximum spread is 2.75 percentage points. As of June 2017, the maximum interest rate was 7%.

Note that the APR on a loan differs from the interest rate. The APR is a percentage that includes all loan fees in addition to the interest rate.

For example, SmartBiz, an online lender that specializes in SBA loans, offers APRs of 8.5% to 9.21% for regular 7(a) loans and 6.1% to 6.15% for its 7(a) commercial real estate loans. Live Oak Bank, established in 2007, offers SBA loans with APRs of 5.75% to 7.75%.

In contrast, major online small-business lenders that don’t do SBA loans offer financing with APRs that can be as high as the triple digits.

What are the repayment terms for SBA loans?

In addition to the low APRs, another perk of SBA loans is that you get more time to repay them than you would get on non-SBA forms of lending from banks or online lenders.

The loan term depends on how you plan to use the money, according to the SBA:

  • Working capital or daily operations: seven years
  • New equipment purchases: 10 years
  • Real estate purchases: up to 25 years

For SBA loans, a longer term means a lower interest rate and lower regular payments. That means you’ll have more money available for other business needs.

SBA loans also can provide a way out of a damaging financial situation. Terry Trumbull, owner and president of Trumbull Meats in Hamburg, Michigan, got an SBA loan through SmartBiz that allowed him to refinance much more burdensome funding. It was “killing me,” he says, and the SBA loan provided relief. But he did have to wait a couple of months and deal with many requirements, he adds.

What is an SBA loan guarantee?

Lenders provide the funds that make up an SBA loan, but the agency guarantees a portion of the amount, up to a $3.75 million guarantee. That means if you default on the loan, the SBA pays out the guaranteed amount. This guarantee lets lenders offer longer terms for repayment than they otherwise could, which means your monthly payments will be lower.

Do SBA loans require a personal guarantee?

The SBA requires a personal guarantee from every owner with at least a 20% ownership stake and from others who hold top management positions. A personal guarantee puts you and your personal assets on the hook for payments if your business can’t make them.


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How do I get an SBA loan?

The best place to start is the SBA website, which includes a loan application checklist. Use this to gather your documents, including your tax returns and business records.

Here are some of the documents you’ll need before applying:

  • SBA’s borrower information form
  • Statement of personal history
  • Personal financial statement
  • Personal income tax returns (previous three years)
  • Business tax returns (previous three years)
  • Business certificate or license
  • Business lease
  • Loan application history

Then ask your SBA district office for the names of a few approved lenders. The agency also recently set up the SBA LINC tool to match potential borrowers with lenders. Banks follow SBA guidelines but use their own underwriting criteria to evaluate loan applications.

The SBA has another financing program called SBA Express, which aims to respond to loan applications within 36 hours. If your credit and small-business finances are in excellent shape, the wait may be shorter. The maximum amount for this type of financing is $350,000, and the maximum amount the SBA could guarantee is 50%.

How do I pick the right bank?

If you’re applying through a traditional bank, it helps to work with one that has a track record of processing SBA loans. Patty Staples, senior vice president and chief credit officer at Evangelical Christian Credit Union, suggests you ask your potential lender these questions:

  • How many SBA loans do you make?
  • How often do you fund SBA loans?
  • How experienced is your staff in the process?
  • What is the dollar range of the loans you make?

In general, a bank with multiple years of experience in processing SBA loans will be able to give you guidance, including letting you know your chances of being approved.

“If you choose the right bank,” she says, “the lending staff will facilitate that process and make it as easy as possible.”


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SBA loans online: SmartBiz and Live Oak

Banks are the most popular place to get SBA loans, but online platforms have made it easier and faster to apply.

We compared two top options: SmartBiz, based in San Francisco, and Live Oak Bank, based in Wilmington, North Carolina.

You must have an established business and solid personal and business finances to qualify.

When is SmartBiz the right choice?

If you’re looking for an SBA loan of less than $350,000 for working capital or debt refinancing, SmartBiz is a good choice. It works with partner banks to underwrite SBA 7(a) loans of $30,000 to $350,000, with APRs of 8.5% to 9.21%. The lender also offers SBA 7(a) commercial real estate loans from $500,000 to $5 million with APRs ranging from 6.1% to 6.15%. Read more in our SmartBiz review.

When is Live Oak Bank the right choice?

Live Oak Bank is second only to Wells Fargo in dollar volume lent through the SBA program. Its APRs range from 5.75% to 7.75%. Loan amounts range from $75,000 to $5 million; the average in 2015 was $1.1 million.

To qualify, your business must be in one of the 13 industries the bank funds: agriculture/poultry, dental, family entertainment, funeral service, hotels, insurance, investment advisory, medical, ophthalmic, pharmacy, self-storage, veterinary and wine/craft beverage. You can read more in our Live Oak Bank review.

smartbiz
Live Oak Bank logo
Do you qualify?
7(a) general business loans:
  • 600+ personal credit score for $30,000 to $150,000 loan
  • 650+ personal credit score for $150,000+ loan
  • At least 2 years in business
  • $50,000+ in annual revenue


7(a) commercial real estate loans:
  • 675+ personal credit score
  • At least 2 years in business
  • $50,000+ in annual revenue
  • At least 51% of the property must be used by and occupied by the business
  • 650+ personal credit
  • 2+ years in business
  • Cash flow must be able to support the debt
Borrow:
  • 7(a) loans: $30,000 to $350,000
  • 7(a) commercial real estate loans: $500,000 to $5 million
$75,000 to $5 million
APR:
  • 7(a) loans: 8.5% to 9.21%
  • 7(a) commercial real estate loans: 6.1% to 6.15%

5.75% to 7.75%
Get started at SmartBiz
Get started at Live Oak Bank

Not sure if an SBA loan is right for you? For other options based on your business finances, take our quiz below.

You're ready to get your new business off the ground and may already have discovered that finding financing can be a challenge. We've rounded up some strategies to help you get your company launched.
Because you have strong personal credit, you could qualify for a line of credit through BlueVine or OnDeck that would help you meet daily expenses and maintain inventory. If you've been in business at least a year and have at least $100,000 in annual revenue, consider OnDeck, whose maximum APR is lower than BlueVine’s. If your annual revenue starts at $60,000, BlueVine is a better bet. BlueVine also offers invoice factoring, a type of financing that advances you cash based on your unpaid customer invoices.
bluevine
ondeck
Good option for:
• Businesses with steady revenue• Fast cash
Do you qualify?
• 600+ personal credit score
• $120,000+ annual revenue
• 6+ months in business
• 600+ personal credit score
• $100,000+ annual revenue
• 1+ years in business
Borrow:
$5,000 to $100,000Up to $100,000
APR:
16% to 62%14% to 40%
Get started at BlueVine
Get started at OnDeck
Microloans and personal loans are good options to finance your inventory and daily expenses if you’re an established business but make less than $25,000 in revenue. Microloans through nonprofits and the SBA usually have low APR and manageable payment terms, but you'd have to deal with stringent requirements. Personal loans are easier to access, but the APR can be higher than with microloans.
  For personal loans: For microloans:
With strong personal credit and an established business, you may be eligible for an SBA loan, which offers low APRs and longer terms. SmartBiz is a good option if you have at least $50,000 in annual revenue. For smaller loans (under $100,000) and less stringent requirements, StreetShares offers a line of credit, a good alternative, especially for military veterans. You need $25,000 in annual revenue to qualify for StreetShares.
smartbiz
Street Shares
Good option for:
• SBA loans
• Low rates
• Newer businesses
• U.S. military veterans
Do you qualify?
• 600+ personal credit score for loans $30,000 to $150,000
• 650+ personal credit score for loans over $150,000
• $50,000+ annual revenue
• 2+ years in business
• 600+ personal credit score
• $25,000+ annual revenue
• 1+ years in business
Borrow:
$30,000 to $350,000$5,000 to $100,000
APR:
8.24% to 8.95%9% to 40%
Get started at SmartBiz
Get started at StreetShares
For established businesses making more than $60,000 annually, SmartBiz and Lending Club are solid choices. If you want the lowest rates and longer repayment terms, SmartBiz is the best option because it offers SBA loans. If you have $75,000 or more in annual sales and prefer flexible financing, consider Lending Club's line of credit.
lending_club_logo_new-249x47
smartbiz
Good option for:
• Fast funding
• Flexible financing
• SBA loans
• Low rates
Do you qualify?
• 600+ personal credit score
• $75,000+ annual revenue
• 2+ years in business
• 600+ personal credit score for loans $30,000 to $150,000
• 650+ personal credit score for loans over $150,000
• $50,000+ annual revenue
• 2+ years in business
Borrow:
$5,000 to $300,000
$30,000 to $350,000
APR:
8% to 35%8.5% to 9.21%
Get started at Lending Club
Get started at SmartBiz
For established businesses with annual sales of $150,000 or more, SmartBiz and Funding Circle offer good financing options. You’ll get lower APRs with SmartBiz, which offers SBA loans, but Funding Circle has a less rigorous and shorter application process. Funding Circle also has a higher maximum loan amount of $500,000 compared with SmartBiz's $350,000.
fundingcircle
smartbiz
Good option for:
• Profitable businesses
• Fast funding
• SBA loans
• Low rates
Do you qualify?
• 620+ personal credit score
• No minimum annual revenue required
• 2+ years in business
• 600+ personal credit score for loans $30,000 to $150,000
• 650+ personal credit score for loans over $150,000
• $50,000+ annual revenue
• 2+ years in business
Borrow:
$25,000 to $500,000 $30,000 to $350,000
APR:
7% to 36% 8.24% to 8.95%
Get started at Funding Circle
Get started at SmartBiz
bluevine

Line of credit

bluevine

Invoice factoring

Good option for:
• Good for businesses less than a year old
• Low minimum revenue requirement
• Fast cash
• Good for businesses with larger invoices
• Fast cash
• Low minimum personal score requirement
Do you qualify?
• 600+ personal credit score
• $60,000+ annual revenue
• 6+ months in business
• 530+ personal credit score
• $120,000+ annual revenue
• 3+ months in business
Borrow:
Up to $100,000 Up to $2 million
APR:
16% to 62% 17% to 60%
Get started at BlueVine
Get started at BlueVine
For young businesses that deal with a lot of customer invoices, consider taking a cash advance against those outstanding receivables. Both BlueVine and Fundbox offer the financing option commonly known as invoice factoring. If you have at least $120,000 in annual revenue, BlueVine offers up to 85% of your total invoices, up to $2 million. Fundbox does not require a minimum revenue amount, but you must have at least six months of activity with a compatible online accounting software such as QuickBooks. Fundbox advances you 100% of your total invoice but only up to $100,000.
bluevine

fundbox

Good option for:
• Businesses with strong-credit customers
• Addressing cash-flow gaps
• Businesses that need cash for short-term needs
• Financing small invoice amounts
Do you qualify?
• 530+ personal credit score
• $120,000+ annual revenue
• 3 months+ in business
• No minimum personal credit score
• No minimum revenue
• Must have online accounting software that can link to Fundbox (such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Harvest)
Borrow:
$20,000 to $2 million $1,000 to $100,000
APR:
7% to 60% 16.4% to 76.5%
Get started at BlueVine
Get started at Fundbox
Because your personal credit score is in the 600s, you may qualify for a line of credit from BlueVine or OnDeck to help meet daily expenses and maintain inventory. OnDeck offers a higher credit limit and lower APRs than BlueVine. For businesses with at least nine months in operation and $75,000 in annual revenue, OnDeck is a good option. If you have less time in business and less revenue, consider BlueVine.
bluevine
ondeck
Good option for:
• Businesses with steady revenue• Fast cash
Do you qualify?
• 600+ personal credit score
• $120,000+ annual revenue
• 6+ months in business
• 600+ personal credit score
• $100,000+ annual revenue
• 1+ years in business
Borrow:
$5,000 to $100,000Up to $100,000
APR:
16% to 62%14% to 40%
Get started at BlueVine
Get started at OnDeck
Because you deal with a lot of unpaid customer invoices, consider BlueVine and Fundbox financing to help meet everyday expenses. They each provide a cash advance against outstanding invoices. BlueVine has a higher cash-advance cap of $2 million, compared with Fundbox’s $100,000. BlueVine is a good bet if you have at least $120,000 in annual revenue and your customers have strong credit. If you’re a young business with limited revenue, consider Fundbox, which does not require a minimum revenue or personal credit score. You must, however, have at least six months of activity in an online accounting software such as QuickBooks to qualify for Fundbox.
bluevine

fundbox

Good option for:
• Businesses with strong-credit customers
• Addressing cash-flow gaps
• Businesses that need cash for short-term needs
• Financing small invoice amounts
Do you qualify?
• 530+ personal credit score
• $120,000+ annual revenue
• 3 months+ in business
• No minimum personal credit score
• No minimum revenue
• Must have online accounting software that can link to Fundbox (such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Harvest)
Borrow:
$20,000 to $2 million $1,000 to $100,000
APR:
7% to 60% 16.4% to 76.5%
Get started at BlueVine
Get started at Fundbox
OnDeck and Kabbage are good options when you need cash for everyday expenses and inventory but your personal credit score still needs some work. If you have at least $100,000 in annual revenue and a personal credit score of 500 or more, you may qualify for OnDeck’s term loan. For businesses with lower revenue, consider Kabbage, which also does not require a minimum personal credit score. You’ll get high APRs with both lenders. You should turn to these options mainly for short-term needs or emergencies and only if you're sure you have the cash flow to cover the financing costs.
kabbage
ondeck
Good option for:
• Fast cash
• Short-term financing
• Fast cash
• Large purchases
Do you qualify?
• No minimum personal credit score required
• 1+ years in business
• $50,000+ annual revenue
• 500+ personal credit score
• $100,000+ annual revenue
• 1+ years in business
Borrow:
$2,000 to $150,000$5,000 to $500,000
APR:
24% to 99% 9% to 99%
Get started at Kabbage
Get started at OnDeck
Because you're just starting out and your personal credit score is below 600, your best bet is microloans through nonprofit lenders or the U.S. Small Business Administration. The downside is these are "micro" amounts of money, usually no more than $50,000. However, many microlenders help businesses grow and establish better credit. SBA microloans generally have an APR of 8% to 8.5% and manageable repayment terms. Successfully repaying microloans will boost your credit score and make you eligible for bigger financing.
For microloans:
When you have strong personal credit and a young business with a lot of unpaid customer invoices, BlueVine and Fundbox are good financing options. Both offer invoice factoring at similar costs. Where they differ: minimum revenue and minimum credit score. With BlueVine, you need at least $120,000 in revenue and a minimum 530 personal credit score. Fundbox does not require a minimum revenue or credit score; the lender does require at least six months of activity in a compatible online accounting software.
bluevine
fundbox
Good option for:

• Businesses with strong-credit customers
• Newer businesses
• Fast cash
• Financing smaller invoices
Do you qualify?
• 530+ personal credit score
• 3+ months in business
• $120,000+ annual revenue
• No minimum credit score required
• No minimum annual revenue required
• Must use online accounting software such as QuickBooks or FreshBooks
Borrow:
$20,000 to $2 million$1,000 to $100,000
APR:
17% to 60%16.4% to 76.5%
Get started at BlueVine
Get started at Fundbox
As a young entrepreneur with strong personal credit, you may find it easier to qualify for a personal loan or a business credit card. Personal loans and business credit cards are also decent options for startups because approval is based on personal credit score rather than business history. The amount you can finance is typically smaller than with a term loan, however, and you need good credit to qualify. Keep in mind that failure to repay can ruin your personal credit.
For personal loans:
For business credit cards:
Because you have strong credit but your revenue doesn’t quite meet the requirements of most online lenders, consider Fundbox or a business credit card. Business credit cards are a solid option for ongoing working capital and provide quick access to cash, spending rewards and sign-up bonuses. If your business has unpaid customer invoices, you can take a cash advance against those invoices through Fundbox, although you’ll likely pay a higher APR than you would with a business credit card.
For business credit cards:
fundbox
Good option for:
• B2B companies with unpaid customer invoices
• Working capital
• Fast cash

Do you qualify?
• No minimum personal credit score required
• No minimum annual revenue required
• Must use online accounting software that can link to Fundbox (such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Harvest).
Borrow:
$1,000 to $100,000
APR:
16.4% to 76.5%
Get started at Fundbox
For young businesses building revenue, StreetShares is a good bet for financing new equipment or an expansion. Your strong personal credit and revenue of at least $25,000 qualify you for the lender, which serves a variety of borrowers but is an especially good option for U.S. military veterans.

Street Shares
Good option for:
• Fast cash
• Newer businesses
• Entrepreneurs who are military veterans
Do you qualify?
• 600+ credit score
• 1+ years in business
• $25,000+ annual revenue
Borrow:
$2,000 to $100,000
APR:
9% to 40%
Get started at StreetShares
With a strong personal credit score and at least one year in business, you can turn to StreetShares and OnDeck for equipment and expansion financing. StreetShares is better if you’re seeking a smaller amount of financing: You just need $25,000 in annual revenue to qualify for its term loan, which maxes out at $100,000. If you have at least $100,000 in revenue, OnDeck, with loans up to $500,000, is better suited for more mature businesses seeking larger amounts of financing.
Street Shares
ondeck
Good option for:

• Small investments
• Entrepreneurs who are military veterans


• Large investments
• Fast cash
Do you qualify?
• 600+ credit score
• 1+ years in business
• $25,000+ annual revenue

• 500+ personal credit score
• 1+ years in business
• $100,000+ in annual revenue

Borrow:
$2,000 to $100,000 $5,000 to $500,000
APR:
9% to 40% 9% to 99%
Get started at StreetShares
Get started at OnDeck
Street Shares
ondeck
Good option for:
• Fast cash
• Entrepreneurs who are military veterans
• Newer businesses
• Fast cash
• Expansion
Do you qualify?
• 600+ credit score
• 1+ years in business
• $25,000+ annual revenue
• 500+ credit score
• 1+ years in business
• $100,000+ in annual revenue
Borrow:
$2,000 to $100,000 $5,000 to $500,000
APR:
9% to 40% 9% to 99%
Get Started at StreetShares
Get Started at OnDeck
Since you have strong personal credit but are still building revenue, you can turn to microloans or personal loans for financing. Microloans are designed especially to help underserved entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses, but the loans are small and can carry APRs in the low teens. With strong credit, personal loans are another option, but funding typically tops out at $35,000.
For personal loans:
For microloans:
SmartBiz and StreetShares are good options for entrepreneurs with strong personal credit and established businesses. SmartBiz provides SBA loans with the lowest APR and longest repayment terms among online lenders. But since it’s an SBA loan, the application process will involve a lot of documents. If you want funding faster, StreetShares is an alternative. StreetShares, however, has a maximum borrowing limit of $100,000, a higher APR and shorter repayment terms than SmartBiz.
Street Shares
smartbiz
Good option for:
• Fast cash
• Newer businesses
• Entrepreneurs who are military veterans
• SBA loans
• Large investments
• Low rates
Do you qualify?
• 600+ personal credit score
• 1+ years in business
• $25,000+ annual revenue
• 600+ personal credit score for loans $30,000 to $150,000
• 650+ personal credit score for loans over $150,000
• 2+ years in business
• $50,000+ annual revenue

Borrow:
$2,000 to $100,000$30,000 to $350,000
APR:
9% to 40% 8.24% to 8.95%
Get started at StreetShares
Get started at SmartBiz
With your strong personal credit and steady revenue, Lending Club, SmartBiz and OnDeck are good choices for expansion or refinancing. If you want the lowest rates, consider SmartBiz, which provides SBA loans. For big investments, OnDeck has the highest loan limit -- $500,000 -- but the loans will likely cost you more. Lending Club is a middle-ground option, with lower APR than OnDeck and easier qualifications than SmartBiz.
lending_club_logo_new-249x47
smartbiz
ondeck
Good option for:
• Fast cash
• Expansion
• SBA loans
• Low rates
• Businesses that want longer repayment terms
• Fast cash
• Short-term expansion
• Large investments
Do you qualify?
• 600+ personal credit score
• 2+ years in business
• $75,000+ annual revenue
• 600+ personal credit score for loans $30,000 to $150,000
• 650+ personal credit score for loans over $150,000
• 2+ years in business
• $50,000+ annual revenue

• 500+ personal credit score
• 1+ year in business
• $100,000+ annual revenue
Borrow:
$5,000 to $300,000$30,000 to $350,000 $5,000 to $500,000
APR:
8% to 35% 8.24% to 8.95% 9% to 99%
Get started at Lending Club
Get started at SmartBiz
Get started at OnDeck
Since your business is established and your revenue is solid, Funding Circle, SmartBiz and Credibility Capital are good financing options. SmartBiz, with loans up to $350,000, has low-rate SBA loans, but the application and funding process can take several weeks to a few months. If you want funding quicker, Funding Circle and Credibility Capital are alternatives.
fundingcircle
smartbiz
credibilitycapitallogo
Good option for:
• Profitable businesses
• Large investments
• SBA loans
• Low rates
• Long-term investments
• Growth financing
• Strong-credit borrowers
Do you qualify?
• 620+ personal credit score
• 2+ years in business
• No minimum annual revenue required
• 600+ personal credit score for loans $30,000 to $150,000
• 650+ personal credit score for loans over $150,000
• 2+ years in business
• $50,000+ annual revenue

• 650+ personal credit score
• 18+ months in business
• $150,000+ annual revenue
Borrow:
$25,000 to $500,000$30,000 to $350,000 $10,000 to $350,000
APR:
7% to 36% 8.5% to 9.21% 10% to 25%
Get started at Funding Circle
Get started at SmartBiz
Get started at Credibility Capital
Since you've been in business more than a year and have decent credit, you may qualify for funding from StreetShares or OnDeck. If you have at least $25,000 in revenue, StreetShares offers a loan or line of credit up to $100,000. If you want more funding, OnDeck has term loans of up to $500,000. OnDeck’s loans, however, can be costlier, with APRs as high as 98%; StreetShares’ funding has a maximum 40% APR.
Street Shares
ondeck
Good option for:
• Fast cash
• Entrepreneurs who are military veterans
• Newer businesses
• Fast cash
• Expansion
Do you qualify?
• 600+ credit score
• 1+ years in business
• $25,000+ annual revenue
• 500+ credit score
• 1+ years in business
• $100,000+ in annual revenue
Borrow:
$2,000 to $100,000 $5,000 to $500,000
APR:
9% to 40% 9% to 99%
Get Started at StreetShares
Get Started at OnDeck
Since you have unpaid customer invoices, you can turn to BlueVine and Fundbox for a cash advance against those receivables. BlueVine is a good choice if you have credit-strong clients and large outstanding payments up to $2 million. If you’re looking to finance a smaller amount, Fundbox covers 100% of your unpaid invoices up to $100,000. To qualify, you need at least six months of activity in a compatible online accounting software such as QuickBooks.
bluevine
fundbox
Good option for:

• Businesses with strong-credit customers
• Newer businesses
• Fast cash
• Financing smaller invoices
Do you qualify?
• 530+ personal credit score
• 3+ months in business
• $120,000+ annual revenue
• No minimum credit score required
• No minimum annual revenue required
• Must use online accounting software such as QuickBooks or FreshBooks
Borrow:
$20,000 to $2 million$1,000 to $100,000
APR:
17% to 60%16.4% to 76.5%
Get started at BlueVine
Get started at Fundbox
Since your new company earns less than $25,000, microloans and personal loans are good options for necessary capital. Microloans through nonprofits and the SBA usually have low APRs and manageable payment terms. If your credit is in the high 600s, you can opt for a personal loan, though they often aren't available for more than $35,000 and tend to come with higher APRs than microloans.
For personal loans:
For microloans:
If your company is on track to make more than $25,000 in annual revenue but you’ve been open less than a year, you can turn to microloans and personal loans for financing. Microloans come in small amounts and have low APRs and manageable repayment terms. If your credit is in the high 600s, you can opt for a personal loan, though they often aren't available for more than $35,000.
For personal loans:
For microloans:
A term loan is ideal for expansion and buying equipment, so consider StreetShares if you have at least $100,000 in revenue and six months in business. For businesses that are younger and have less revenue, BlueVine is a better bet. If borrowing costs are important to you, StreetShares offers lower APRs than BlueVine.
Street Shares
bluevine
Good option for:
• Fast cash
• Entrepreneurs who are military veterans
• Newer businesses
• Managing cash flow
• Newer businesses
Do you qualify?
• 600+ personal credit score
• 6+ months in business
• $100,000+ annual revenue
• 600+ personal credit score
• 6+ months in business
• $120,000+ in annual revenue

Borrow:
$2,000 to $100,000$5,000 to $100,000
APR:
9% to 40% 16% to 62%
Get Started at StreetShares
Get Started at BlueVine
For newer businesses with steady revenue, a term loan from StreetShares is a good option. If you have at least $100,000 in revenue and have been in business six months or more, you can qualify for StreetShares.
Street Shares
Good option for:
• Fast cash
• Entrepreneurs who are military veterans
• Newer businesses
Do you qualify?
• 600+ credit score
• 6+ months in business
• $100,000+ annual revenue
Borrow:
$2,000 to $100,000
APR:
9% to 40%
Get Started at StreetShares
Since your business has steady revenue and has been operating for more than a year, consider OnDeck and Kabbage. If your personal credit score is at least 500, OnDeck offers term loans up to $500,000, which is an attractive option for large expansion projects or buying expensive equipment. If you’re looking for short-term financing or need a smaller amount, consider Kabbage, which does not require a minimum credit score. Kabbage offers only six- or 12-month financing of up to $150,000 at high borrowing costs.
ondeck
kabbage
Good option for:
• Large investments
• Businesses with consistent sales
• Smaller investments
• Businesses with consistent cash flow
Do you qualify?
• 500+ credit score
• 1+ years in business
• $100,000+ annual revenue
• No minimum credit requirement
• 1+ years in business
• $50,000+ in annual revenue
Borrow:
$5,000 to $500,000 $2,000 to $150,000
APR:
9% to 99%
24% to 99% APR
Get Started at OnDeck
Get Started at Kabbage
Since you have unpaid customer invoices, you can turn to BlueVine and Fundbox for a cash advance against those receivables. If you make at least $120,000 in annual revenue, BlueVine will cover 85% of invoices up to $2 million. BlueVine is a good choice if you have credit-strong clients and large outstanding payments. If you’re looking to finance a smaller amount, Fundbox covers 100% of your unpaid invoices up to $100,000. To qualify, you need at least six months of activity in a compatible online accounting software such as QuickBooks.
bluevine
fundbox
Good option for:

• Businesses with strong-credit customers
• Newer businesses
• Fast cash
• Financing smaller invoices
Do you qualify?
• 530+ personal credit score
• 3+ months in business
• $120,000+ annual revenue
• No minimum credit score required
• No minimum annual revenue required
• Must use online accounting software such as QuickBooks or FreshBooks
Borrow:
$20,000 to $2 million$1,000 to $100,000
APR:
17% to 60%16.4% to 76.5%
Get started at BlueVine
Get started at Fundbox
Because you're just starting out and your personal credit score is below 600, your best bet is microloans through nonprofit lenders or the Small Business Administration. The downside is that these are "micro" amounts of money, usually no more than $50,000. Many microlenders, however, help businesses grow and establish better credit. SBA microloans generally have APRs of 8% to 8.5% with manageable repayment terms. Successfully repaying microloans will boost your credit score and make you eligible for bigger financing.
For microloans:


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How long does it take to get an SBA loan?

Applying for an SBA loan can take weeks, even months.

Your chances of being approved are greater if your personal and business finances are in good shape. “If a company has been in business for at least two years, is profitable and has cash flow to support loan payments, it’s likely a good candidate for an SBA loan,” SmartBiz CEO Evan Singer says.

When is applying for an SBA loan not worth my time?

If your business is struggling, an SBA loan is probably out of the question. And if it falls into any of the prohibited categories the SBA spells out on its site, don’t bother applying.

Applying for an SBA loan is a time-consuming process that might take your focus away from running your company. So for some small-business owners, especially those just starting out, it might not be worth the hassle.
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Find and compare small-business loans

If an SBA loan isn’t the right fit, look for small-business loans to meet your needs and goals with the help of NerdWallet’s comparison tool. We gauged lender trustworthiness and user experience, among other factors, and made recommendations based on categories including your revenue and how long you’ve been in business.

Andrew L. Wang is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: awang@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @andrew_L_wang.

Updated Aug. 17, 2017.