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Accion Business Loans: 2024 Review

Accion loans can help borrowers who haven’t secured traditional financing, but loans aren’t available in every state.
By Lisa A. Anthony
Last updated on January 2, 2024
Edited bySally Lauckner
Fact checked and reviewed

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Our Take

The bottom line:

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.
Full review

Accion Opportunity Fund - Small Business Working Capital Loan

Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
570

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Loan amounts from $5,000 to $250,000.
  • Customized loan terms.
  • No prepayment penalty.

Cons

  • UCC lien filed for loans greater than $50,000.
  • Slower processing speed compared with online lenders.
  • Not available in all U.S. states.

Compare to Other Lenders

with Fundera by NerdWallet

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Max loan amount

$1,500,000

Max loan amount

$500,000

Min. credit score

570

Min. credit score

600

Full Review

Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF) is a nonprofit community lender offering customized loans to small-business owners throughout most of the U.S.
Over 80% of AOF borrowers identify as people of color, nearly 33% identify as female and 63% are of low-to-moderate income. In addition to small-business loans, AOF also provides educational resources and coaching support in English and Spanish.

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.

Accion is best for borrowers who:

  • Don't have perfect credit. Factors other than your credit score can be used to determine qualification.
  • Prefer customized options. Loan terms are structured based on your business needs.

Accion Opportunity Fund loan features

Loan amount
From $5,000 to $250,000.
Interest rates
8.49
% to
24.99
%.
Origination fees
3.99%.
Terms
12, 24, 36 or 60 months. (No penalty for repaying early.)
Repayment schedule
Monthly.
Funding speed
Find out if you're preapproved in just 15 minutes. Receive funding in approximately four business days.

Where Accion stands out

Flexible credit requirements

AOF says that most of its borrowers have not been able to get loans with traditional lenders because they have poor credit, no credit history or require a small loan amount. AOF can use more than a borrower's credit score to determine whether they qualify for a business loan. Annual revenue requirements vary by loan. However, borrowers will be asked to share information about their revenue and expenses.

Customized loan terms

AOF can structure a loan to meet your specific business needs. After submitting an application, you may be able to choose from several loan options with different term lengths, interest rates and monthly payment amounts. If AOF can't provide a loan, it will refer you to one of its partners or provide other financing options for you to explore.

Additional services offered

AOF does more to help small businesses than just offering loans. Free business coaching and mentoring are also available. You can set up an appointment for one-on-one assistance provided by a business expert on topics such as accessing capital, business strategies, certification programs, commercial leasing, legal support, financial management, marketing and human resources. In addition, AOF's resource center offers videos, articles and interactive learning materials.

Where Accion falls short

Funds can't be used to start a business

AOF loans are designed to support existing small-business owners, and you’ll need to be in operation for a minimum of
12
months to apply. This means you won't be able to use loan funds to start a business. However, most lenders won’t work with a business that’s been in operation for a short time, and AOF’s requirement of
12
months of operations is fairly generous.

Loan programs aren't available in all U.S. states

AOF loans are available in most U.S. states, but you won't be eligible if your business is located in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee or Vermont. Also, minimum loan amounts and business entity requirements apply in certain states.

Accion loan requirements

  • Minimum credit score:
    570
    .
  • Minimum time in business:
    12
    months.
  • Minimum annual revenue: $50,000.

How to apply for a loan from Accion

After completing an application online, you'll receive a quote, which AOF says won't affect your credit score. You will need to provide some basic information about your business, including revenue and expenses. Then, AOF will review loan options with you, including interest rates, repayment amounts and terms. If there are no options that work for you, AOF can refer you to other resources.
If you decide to move forward with a loan offer, you'll be asked to provide documents that AOF can use to verify the information you provided on your application. After reviewing the documentation, your loan will be finalized; you'll sign loan documents, then receive funds.

Alternatives to Accion loans

SBA loan

An SBA loan is another option to consider. These loans are offered through banks but partially guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. This can make them easier to qualify for because the lender takes on less risk. SBA loans also offer flexibility when a borrower has less-than-perfect credit.
In addition, funds from an SBA microloan can be used to start a business, but are limited to a maximum of $50,000. AOF loans, by contrast, cannot be used to start a business; a business must be in operation for a minimum of three months to qualify for an AOF loan.

Kiva U.S.

Kiva is a nonprofit that facilitates peer-to-peer microlending for small businesses. You can get up to $15,000 at 0% interest if you qualify. Kiva loans don't require a minimum credit score or collateral.
Still, there are other eligibility requirements, such as the business must be based in the U.S., and you can't currently be in foreclosure, bankruptcy or under any liens. One unique Kiva provision is that borrowers are asked to demonstrate their strength of character by having friends and family make loans to them.

Compare your business loan options

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.

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.

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