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Fora Financial Review

By
Matt D'Angelo
,
business.com writer
|
Apr 17, 2019
Home
> Finance
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Fora Financial provides a wide range of funding options to small businesses. Companies can opt for traditional small business loans, merchant cash advances, equipment loans, inventory loans and bridge financing. Fora's customer service is stellar, and it provides quick funding turnaround and flexible loan terms. Its relaxed requirements and qualifications also make it ideal for small businesses that can't qualify with a traditional bank. All these features make Fora Financial our pick as the best lender for small business in 2019.

Fora Financial

Fora Financial

The Best Business Loan and Financing Options of 2019

The Verdict

Instead of a traditional interest rate, Fora's interest is a set amount on top of the principal. For this reason, and its impressive customer service and rate structure, Fora Financial earns our pick for best small business lender in 2019.

To view all our recommendations for small business financing, visit our best picks page.

Business Loan and Merchant Cash Advance Services

Fora Financial is a national organization that can provide small business loans and merchant cash advances for up to $500,000 within 72 hours of approval. The company was founded a decade ago, and it has since funded more than 20,000 businesses across the United States. It serves all the major industries, from construction to medicine.

Part of Fora's appeal as a lender is its versatility. On its website, it breaks down its loan products into two main categories: merchant cash advances and small business loans. These two main types of loans function as basic agreements for quick cash and small business financing options. However, Fora offers more specific versions as well, including equipment financing, SBA loans, inventory loans and bridge financing. This shows Fora provides loans for a full range of small business expenses.

Rates and Terms

Fora doesn't operate with traditional interest rates. Instead, businesses pay a fixed amount based on their financial situation. Depending on the type of loan you apply for, it's possible to get financing options between $5,000 and $500,000. This model allows small business owners to have a clear understanding of exactly what they owe and work up to that total amount. Other lenders we looked at provide a more standard interest rate model that could be limiting.

Fora is one of the few companies we reviewed that doesn't charge any additional fees. Businesses are only required to pay off the loan's principal and the set interest amount. This is a unique and compelling aspect of Fora's service.

The overall loan terms are short compared to those of competitors. Business owners are looking at a repayment length of up to 15 months. This means you can quickly access and pay back your loan – heavy debt won't beleaguer your books for longer than just over a year.

If you opt for a merchant cash advance loan, there is no set payback schedule. Instead, you'll be charged a percentage of your overall credit card sales until the loan is fully paid off. The only requirement that differs from a standard loan from Fora is that your business must earn at least $5,000 in credit card sales each month. This benchmark, according to Fora, ensures that your business has the necessary income to pay off the loan.

Regardless of which loan you apply for, you'll be entering into an unsecured loan, meaning you won't have to put up collateral. This gives your business more financial flexibility and legal freedom. Once you reach an agreement with Fora, a payment plan will be set up and money will automatically be deducted from your business's checking account. Payment will come out on a daily or weekly basis, depending on your loan agreement and what works best for your business. You can pay back the loan in full at any time – there are no prepayment penalties. In fact, early payoff can qualify you for a discount on the remaining balance.

Company Features

Fora has a quick online application process. It only takes 24 hours to find out if you'll receive funding. If you get approved for a loan, Fora provides funding 72 hours afterward. This is a longer wait time than other services, like LoanMe, but still short considering the other aspects of the agreement, like no collateral and limited paperwork requirements. There are a host of other application and loan features that makes Fora our best pick for small business loans.

Application Process

You can fill out an application either online or over the phone. The application asks for basic information, like your name, the business's name, an email address, phone number, monthly gross sales and time in business. From here, you'll have to provide three of your business's most recent bank statements. Depending on your financial situation, you may have to submit a month-to-date bank statement, tax returns, a profit and loss statement, or a balance sheet.

Terms

Fora Financial provides loan terms up to 15 months, making it one of the shorter-term lending options of the companies we reviewed. This quick funding means you can qualify for a certain amount and pay it back without the burden of a fluctuating or excessively high interest rate.

Qualifications

To qualify for a loan from Fora, you must have been in business at least six months, have $12,000 in gross monthly sales and have had no bankruptcies. For merchant cash advances, the same qualifications apply, only you need $5,000 in monthly credit card sales.

When we spoke to Fora representatives, they told us that the company gives the most weight to gross monthly sales when considering loan applicants. Because Fora doesn't operate with traditional interest rates, it wants to gauge your monthly revenue to establish that you're capable of paying back the loan. The other two requirements from Fora ensure that your business is healthy and stable enough to take on debt.

Collateral

Fora loans are unsecured, meaning you don't have to put up any collateral on the loan. Fora doesn't even require a personal guarantee, which is a legally binding agreement with the lender. Many companies at least require a personal guarantee. By not requiring any collateral, Fora sets itself apart from competitors as a lender with relaxed requirements and quick capital options.

Time Until Deposit

Once you complete the application, you can be approved within 24 hours. If you are approved for a loan, Fora can transfer the funds as soon as 72 hours after the agreement is signed. This is longer than some other companies we reviewed take, but the relaxed requirements and qualifications make up for this. If you need a faster deposit, you should check out cash advance companies or lenders that can provide same-day funding, such as LoanMe.

Special Documentation

Fora doesn't require a lot of advanced documentation for you to secure a loan. Initially, you'll have to submit three months' worth of bank statements to verify your gross monthly income. This will accompany your application for the loan. The lender may request additional documentation, like a month-to-date bank statement, tax returns, a profit and loss statement, or a balance sheet.

You'll also need a driver's license, a voided check and proof of ownership of the business to finalize the loan. This is more documentation than some companies require, but significantly less than other services that run credit checks as well. Having all your documentation ready before you apply (or while your application is being reviewed) can speed up your overall loan process.

When to Use This Type of Loan

You can use Fora's basic small business loan for nearly any business expense, like marketing expenses, payroll, expanding the business, managing cash flow, purchasing inventory, issuing renovations, filing taxes or hiring new workers. If you don't need a specific type of loan, like equipment financing, this is a compelling capital option compared to the strict requirements of traditional banks.

Merchant cash advances are best suited for businesses with high credit card sales. Fora can advance funds and then take a percentage of your future credit card sales to repay the loan. This agreement tethers the loan to your future sales, which means you pay a lower amount when sales are down and a higher amount when sales are up.

Reputation and Customer Service

Fora's customer service is among the best of any company we reviewed. We posed as small business owners and talked with a Fora sales representative. The representative was able to handle our wide range of questions, which included general loan topics and questions specific to Fora. At no point did he push us to fill out an application or provide information about our business, nor did he try to make a sale. He was genuinely interested in helping us understand the various aspects of the Fora underwriting process and what we would need to qualify. Fora didn't even press us for more contact information. The entire experience was relaxed and informative, and we left the conversation knowing more about Fora's process and what it looks for from small businesses.

Fora also has a good online reputation. As of March 2019, the Better Business Bureau accredits this business and scores it with an A+. It's had 10 complaints closed in the past three years, though, and it scores 1.5 out of 5 stars on six customer reviews. On Google, the company has 3.7 out of 5 stars. There are more than 88 Google reviews attesting to Fora's quality as a company and lender. Fora took the time to respond to some of these reviews, apologizing for negative experiences and working with customers to resolve issues. It also thanked customers for positive reviews.

In addition to Google reviews, several other review websites provide a look into Fora's customer service aspects. This wealth of feedback gives potential customers a good idea of what it will be like to partner with Fora on a small business loan. It's also worth noting that Fora is one of the only alternative lenders we reviewed that made it on to the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest-growing businesses.

Limitations

We didn't find a lot of obvious limitations in Fora's offering. There are no additional fees or prepayment penalties, and businesses aren't subject to excessively high interest rates. The only basic limitation that emerges is the recommended $12,000 per month in gross sales. While businesses only need to be established for six months, this monthly benchmark may be higher than some small businesses can handle.

The only other limitation was outlined in negative customer reviews of the company. These customer reviews can be difficult to judge, as each situation is specific to the agreement (or lack thereof) between Fora and the small business. What stood out, however, is that Fora didn't address two of its six negative reviews on the BBB and only addressed some of the negative reviews on Google. Again, this is not a major limitation, but a potential shortcoming to consider along with the overall service offering.

Editor's note: Looking for a business loan? Click the Compare Quotes button below to have our sister site BuyerZone connect you with vendors that can help.

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Fora Financial

Fora Financial

The Best Business Loan and Financing Options of 2019

The Verdict

Instead of a traditional interest rate, Fora's interest is a set amount on top of the principal. For this reason, and its impressive customer service and rate structure, Fora Financial earns our pick for best small business lender in 2019.

Matt D'Angelo
Matt D'Angelo
Matt D'Angelo is a staff writer covering small business for Business.com and Business News Daily. After graduating from James Madison University with a degree in journalism, Matt gained experience as a copy editor and writer for newspapers and various online publications. In addition to his writing and reporting, Matt edits articles. He reviews small business services, including PEOs, small business loans and GPS fleet tracking services. He's been with Business.com and Business News Daily since 2017.