When your business needs money, there are many things to consider before borrowing, including interest rates, your credit history and collateral. Sometimes, though, speed trumps everything. You can't afford to wait if you need to cover payroll or an emergency repair, for example.
To help you in those situations, we've outlined how to find a business loan when you don't have much time, our picks for super-fast providers, and the fastest way to get a small business loan. [Read related article: Loans You Can Get With Bad Credit]
How to quickly get a business loan
Before you pick out and apply for a fast business loan, you should know the different ways a loan may be "fast." It can mean one or more of these things:
- Application process: It's fast to apply for some loans because there isn't much paperwork or the application is online.
- Approval time: With some loans, you will know immediately or within one business day if you're approved.
- Funding time: Once you're approved for the loan, you receive the funds quickly.
A truly fast lender should act quickly at each of these three stages. If a lender has a fast application process but takes days to approve you, that's not very helpful. Similarly, if approval is fast, but a lender requires a mountain of paperwork to apply, that's no good either. A fast loan should be fast from the moment you apply to the moment the money reaches your bank account.
The fastest way to get a small business loan
It's never been easier or faster to get a small business loan. With today's technology, many small business owners should be able to apply for a loan, get approved and receive funds in about 24 hours.
"A small business owner can apply online for a small business loan with an alternative lender in a matter of minutes," said Ben Gold, president of QuickBridge. "From there, most applicants will receive a decision quickly and, in the best cases, can have funds in hand in as little as 24 hours."
While it's easy to get funds quickly now, that hasn't always been the case. Traditional banks typically have a more thorough application process, and it may take weeks for a loan to be approved, Gold told business.com.
Here are five lenders that are fast from start to finish.
Kabbage: Business line of credit
Kabbage is a provider of short-term business lines of credit. You may receive a credit line for up to $250,000. To qualify for a loan through Kabbage, your business must have been in operation for at least a year with an annual revenue of at least $50,000 or monthly revenue of $4,200.
Kabbage's simple online application can be filled out in minutes. Once you create an account, you can link your account to other online systems, such as your QuickBooks, PayPal or business checking account. Connecting a bank account helps Kabbage make a quick decision and review your business's overall performance.
After linking up your business accounts, you must provide some basic information about yourself and your business, like your Social Security number and business address.
Once your application is complete, you will find out instantly if you were approved for a loan. Once approved, business funds are available immediately. You'll be required to repay the funds within six, 12 or 18 months.
You do have to pay for the speed and convenience of Kabbage. These loans have a monthly fee, which ranges from 1.5% to 10% depending on various business performance factors.
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OnDeck: Business loan for working capital
OnDeck is an online lender like Kabbage. It offers term loans from $5,000 to $500,000 and lines of credit from $6,000 to $100,000. To qualify for an OnDeck loan, you must have a personal FICO score of at least 600, a business that's been running for at least a year, an annual revenue of at least $100,000 and a business bank account.
It typically takes less than 10 minutes to apply, which you can do online or over the phone. After you apply, a loan advisor will reach out – typically in one business day – to talk through your options. Then, you can get your funds within 24 hours.
Again, you have to pay for this convenience. The weighted average rate is around 49% APR for term loans, and 35% APR for lines of credit.
Square Capital: Cash advance for Square merchants
Square is a popular credit card processor for small businesses, and it also offers small business loans to eligible Square sellers. Capital is available in the form of a cash advance.
Small business owners who use Square can access loans from $500 to $250,000 with an average 35% APR. You pay off your loan with automatic deductions from your daily card sales. Square just requires you to have it all paid back in 18 months and to meet a minimum amount every 60 days. [Read related article: How a Cash Advance Works]
To apply, Square users just have to go to the dashboard and hit a few buttons. When you're approved, funds could be deposited in your bank account as soon as the next business day. Loan offers are based on payment processing volume and payment frequency, among other factors.
PayPal offers a similar program for businesses that receive payment via PayPal.
BlueVine: Invoice financing
Many businesses face capital shortfalls while they wait for their customers to pay them for goods and services. If that describes your business, consider BlueVine, an invoice factor that lets you turn unpaid invoices into cash.
Any invoice to a business or government customer that's due within 90 days is eligible for financing. BlueVine works with B2B business owners who have a credit score of at least 530, have been in business for more than three months and have a monthly revenue of at least $10,000.
It is quick to start using BlueVine. You simply have to create a BlueVine account and choose which invoices you want to submit for financing. You can either link up your bookkeeping software or manually submit invoices. On your first attempt, BlueVine typically takes one business day to approve invoices for financing.
Repeat customers can have invoices approved in minutes. Once approved, the funds are delivered to your bank account by wire (available the same day) or ACH transfer (available in a business day).
Fundbox: Business credit
With Fundbox, business owners can apply and find out if they're approved in minutes. Fundbox offers up to $100,000 in credit. Business owners must have a credit score of at least 500.
When you apply, you just have to share basic information about your company and connect your accounting software or bank account. Once approved, funds may be transferred as early as the next business day.
Your loan is paid off in equal installments over 12 to 24 weeks. You'll be expected to make weekly payments of 0.5% to 0.7%.
Getting a small business loan fast can be easy
If you need a loan right away, check out some of these options. Regardless of the lender you choose, it's important to do your research.
"Not all fast business loans and lenders are created equal," Gold said. "Do your research on the different lenders and loan options in the space, read online reviews, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Make sure you know what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line."
Marc Prosser contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.