Search
Microloan

Best Small Business Loans for Veterans

You may be surprised to learn that out of the 27.9 million businesses in America, 2.5 million businesses are owned by veterans. Are you a veteran who is looking to get in on the entrepreneurial action? If yes, there are a number of steps you can follow and resources to look at, including more traditional types of financing and different online loan options

Financially Reviewed by Somer G. Anderson, CPA on 6.1.2021

At A Glance — If you're a former service member considering starting a new business venture, it's likely that you'll need some financial assistance. Your standing as a veteran gives you access to loans for military veterans from specialist sources. On this page, we will outline the top loans types and grants for military veterans. 

Top Small Business Loans for Veterans in 2021

The following table highlights the top loan options that veterans should consider.

Lender

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Time In Business

Min. Annual Revenue

Loan Amount

Interest Rate

Fora Financial

Fora Financial review

Around 500

6+ months in business

$12,000+ monthly revenue

$5,000 - $500,000

Factor rate: 1.1–1.9

Credibly

Credibly review 

620+ personal credit score for SBA loans

2+ years in business for SBA loans

Not specified

Not disclosed 

APR range for SBA loans

Starting from 6.99%

Fundbox

Fundbox review

Personal credit score above 600

At least 6 months

$100,000 or more in annual revenue

Up to $150,000

APR 10.10 - 79.80%

BlueVine

BlueVine review

650 + personal credit score

Six-Month Line of Credit: 2 years months

Invoice Factoring: 3 months months

$300,000 in annual revenue

Six-Month Line of Credit: $5,000 - $250,000

Invoice Factoring: $20,000 - $5 million

Six-Month Line of Credit: 0.048

Invoice Factoring: 15.00% - 68.00%

MREIDL

Credit Requirements - SBA's assistance is in the form of loans, as such SBA must have a reasonable assurance that such loans can and will be repaid 

Not specified

Not specified

$2 million

The interest rate is 4%.

The Best Small Business Loans for Veterans Explained

Let’s now go into more detail about each provider.

1. Fora Financial - Best for Veterans with Bad Credit

Keeping a business running is not easy, and if financial hardships strike, they don’t aim for the companies with good collateral to back them up. Fora Financial understands that many small businesses don’t have collateral to help them obtain loans, which is why it’s not a requirement at this lender.

Pros

Cons

  • No collateral necessary
  • Flexible terms: up to 15 months
  • Loans between $5,000 and $500,000
  • Quick payoff discount
  • Business be operational for six months before an application
  • Gross monthly sales income must be $12,000 or more

 

Features

Fora Financial’s small business loans let you pay back your loan over a period of up to 15 months. Yet, there are some key differences between Fora Financial’s short-term loans and many traditional term loans. For example, you will be charged a factor rather than interest, and daily payments rather than monthly payments. 

Fora Financial also offers merchant cash advances, where payments are based on your sales. For instance, Fora Financial might take 8% of your daily sales. Thus, there is no fixed repayment period, and if your business is short on cash flow, you won’t suffer. 

Our Thoughts 

Fora FInancial moves fast and will finalize an application within just 24 hours. Upon approval, you will receive your funds in your business account in three days. Fast repayments are encouraged and rewarded with quick payoff discounts of as much as 10 cents to the dollar. Read the full Fora Financial review

2. Credibly - Best for SBA Loans

Credibly is based in Michigan. This online lender provides short-term financing as merchant cash advances and business loans. Credibly offers lenient qualification requirements. You could qualify even if you have a credit score of 500 and have been in business for six months.  

Pros

Cons

  • Low credit score eligibility requirements
  • Discounts for early repayment
  • The application process is speedy and straightforward 
  • Financing is tailored to your business growth needs 
  • Rates might be expensive
  • A blanket lien is needed
  • Some extra fees are charged

Features

Loan amounts range from $5,000 through to $4000,000, and the majority of business owners can receive funding within 48 hours (however it might take up to 5 days). You can select from a variety of loan types, including: 

  • Working capital loan - upper limit is $400,000 and 6- to 18-month loan terms
  • Merchant cash advance - upper limit is $400,000 and 3- to 18-month terms
  • Business expansion loan- upper limit is $250,000 and 18- or 24-month loan terms
  • Business line of credit - upper limit is $250,000 and differing loan terms

Credibly charges businesses a factor rate for merchant cash advances and working capital loans, beginning at 1,15. You might get a better rate if you have a higher credit score. The business lines of credit begin at an interest rate of 4.8%. There is also an origination fee of 2.5% of the loan amount.

Credibly also offers SBA loans.As a federally-backed option for financing, SBA requirements can be relatively tough. The application process has more stringent minimum qualifying criteria, including not having any felonies. Yet, with low APRs and wide usage, SBA funding programs can be a top way to establish or grow your business. 

Our Thoughts

The SBA has a selection of loans available to small business owners, and Credibly can offer a way to obtain loans for debt refinancing, working capital and equipment buying. Small Business Administration loans have many advantages including low interest rates and attractive terms. 

Read our full Credibly review

3. Fundbox - Best for Line of Credit

Fundbox is an online lender that focuses on offering financial funding for small businesses. The company first offered an invoice financing product for small businesses known as Fundbox Credit. In 2017, Fundbox created a revolving line of credit option. 

Pros

Cons

  • 550 minimum credit score
  • No penalty incurred for early payments
  • No origination fees
  • Funds only go up to $150,000
  • A business lien is required
  • Higher rates incurred

Features

Lines of credit are like a credit card, you have a certain amount of credit that you can make use of. You will only need to pay interest on the amount you borrow once you start to draw from the line of credit to get cash. Fundbox offers revolving credit with a 12- or 24-week repayment period. 

Fundbox also provides term loans. Term loans are conventional loans, where you receive a lump sum of money from your lender, and you will need to repay the loan plus interest. You will have to pay in installments over a specified period of time. 

Our thoughts

Fundbox’s lines of credit are best suited to business owners who want to quickly address a cash-flow gap. Once you receive approval, you can start requesting funds. Fundbox then transfers cash to your account, typically in just one business day.

Read our full Fundbox review

4. BlueVine - Best for Invoice factoring

BlueVine is an online lender that provides invoice factoring, lines of credit, and business loans for small businesses. BlueVine was established in 2013 and has fully digitized applications and can often provide approvals in just 24 hours.

Pros

Cons

  • Cash may be available in just 12 -24 hours
  • Various term length for different financing requirements 
  • Low credit score qualifications
  • Financing for startup businesses
  • Loan amounts of up to $5 million
  • Needs a personal guarantee
  • Short repayment terms may result in higher payment amounts

Features 

BlueVine’s invoice factoring is suitable for B2B businesses that want to stabilize their flow of cash. It is great for businesses that are often waiting extended periods of times for their clients to pay their invoices - yet these clients still need to be reliable with repayments.

BlueVine offers factoring lines of up to $5 million and terms of 1- to 13-weeks. Interest rates start at 0.25% per week. 

Our thoughts

BlueVines’s business invoice factoring or business line of credit could be suitable if you: have B2B customers who don’t always pay promptly, need quick funding, or don’t meet the credit conditions of other lenders.

Read our full BlueVine review

5. MREIDL - Best for Businesses with Active-duty Employees

The SBA’s Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) is an option for businesses that employ reservists that are called to active duty. This program assists eligible small businesses helping them cover operating costs if their reservist employees need to serve. 

Pros

Cons

  • Remain in business
  • Guaranteed by SBA
  • Low interest rate
  • Extended repayment period
  • Have to carry insurance
  • Only qualify due to need
  • Must meet strict eligibility requirements

Features

The SBA provides assistance to various types of small businesses. One program they offer is the SBA Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (MREIDL). This program was created to help veteran-owned businesses by assisting financially when businesses are temporarily affected if a reservist is required to serve. 

To qualify for an SBA MREIDL loan you must have good credit and collateral on loans of more than $50,000. The maximum terms are 30-years and you must have the required insurances. You can receive SBA loans with interest rates of 4.00% and loan sizes of up to $2 million. 

Our thoughts

Although these loans are available in sums up to $2 million, the actual loan amount is calculated according to the economic impact faced by your business. If your business is able to fund its revisory, you won’t be eligible for this type of loan.

What Types of Loans are Specifically Available to Veterans?

Veteran business loans, typically called VA loans, are available via nonprofit organizations, commercial lenders and the Small Business Administration. While some loan programs for veterans are no longer offered, such as the SBA’s Patriot Express and Veterans Advantage Loans, there are many other opportunities for veterans. 

Veterans are able to lend up to $1 million ($500,000 after Oct. 1, 2021) via the SBA’s Express loan scheme. Upfront guarantee fees, generally 2%-3% of the loan amount, are not applicable for veterans, national guard members, reservists and spouses who are eligible. 

Other SBA programs for service members or veterans are: 

  • Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program - the MREIDL can provide you with financing of up to $2 million if you have a necessary employee who is a military reservist and is called up to serve in the military. The MREIDL can be used to cover everyday business operating costs, not for establishing or growing a business. 
  • SBA 8(a) program - the SBA 8(a) program gives small businesses certification that can better their chances of gaining government contracts, as well as assisting businesses with the process of bidding for such contracts. 

How to Qualify for a Veteran Business Loan?

To qualify for small business loans for military veterans, you should meet one of the following criteria:

  • Veterans with honorable discharges
  • Reservists and National Guard members
  • Veterans disabled in-service
  • Active duty service members taking part in the military's Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
  • Present spouse of any active duty service member, veteran, or any reservist or National Guard member
  • Widowed spouse of a service member who died while in military service or of a military service-related disability
  • You must also demonstrate your creditworthiness and present a viable business plan reflecting the loan amount required, purpose, and proposed repayment program.

Should you be able to tick the boxes discussed, the SBA loans for veterans guarantee program is a great way forward.

Recommended Reading: Invoice Factoring for Small Businesses

Hot To Apply For A Small Business Loan For Veterans?

You should consider the following when looking for business loans for veterans: 

How much do you want to borrow, and how long do you require to repay the sum?

Certain lenders provide a broad range of length terms and borrowing amounts, while others are more restrictive in the amount they offer and how long you can take to repay the loan amount. Make sure you look at the terms and consider all your options.

Which lender should you use?

Credit unions and banks might be able to provide you with the most attractive rates and terms, however they often have more stringent loan requirements and a longer application process. Online alternative lenders generally fund faster and have more flexible borrowing requirements than conventional financial institutions. Yet, this could also mean higher fees or interest rates. 

What is your credit rating?

The state of your credit rating has a large effect on the sorts of VA small business loans that you can apply for. Make sure that your credit score is in keeping with the minimum scores required by lenders.

Do lenders provide any special programs for veterans?

Certain lenders provide specialized benefits and products for veterans. 

How Can Veterans use the VA business loan?

  • SBA 7(a) and Express Loans - these loans may be used for the majority of business purposes. For instance, you can cover start-up costs for an emerging business, add working capital into your business, buy equipment, purchase real estate for your business, buy the inventory you need to grow your business, sell, hire business management, set up to sell goods and services to the government (in the form of contracts), recover from disasters such as earthquakes tornadoes and hurricanes, and establish your business for the likelihood of deployment. 
  • Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) - the money gained from this laon can only be used for working capital requirements until the necessary employee of the business comes back from deployment.
  • 504 Loans - 504 loans can be used to cover fixed assets for modernization or expansion
  • SBA Microloan - Microloans may cover everything excluding debt consolidations and real estate purchases.
Recommended Reading: Best Equipment Financing for Small Businesses

See Our Additional Guides on Business Loan Types

To Sum Up

There are many options that exist for veterans who seek to fund their small businesses. In this article, our experts have put together a comprehensive list of the top small business loans for veterans - and have come up with a top recommendation for you. 

StreetShares stands out above its competition due to its focus on serving veterans, its inexpensive rates, and flexible forms of financing. What’s great is that this loan provider can also process your application and make funding available within just a few business days. It is also one of the more lenient lenders, which makes it a good choice for veterans with poor credit.