Business line of credit

Best Small Business Line of Credit Lenders in 2021

All businesses, no matter how successful, sometimes need help maintaining their cash flow. There are many scenarios where a line of credit could prove to be extremely useful.

Financially Reviewed by Somer G. Anderson

At a glance — Overheads such as salaries and operating costs, are a reality of every business. What’s more, equipment maintenance or replacement cost can suddenly arise without warning. If your business is going through a slow period, or you are waiting on several high-value payments, your cash flow could be greatly impacted. This could potentially jeopardize your business

A business line of credit is a type of loan for a new business that can give you the extra boost your business needs, while you are growing your invoicing levels. With this type of loan, the lender approves a certain amount of credit that can be tapped when needed. Once any borrowed amounts are repaid, that cash becomes available again for borrowing.

Find The Best Small Business Line of Credit Provider 

There are some excellent options on the market. To save you time and to provide you with some clarity, we’ve researched five of the best lenders and summarized them for you in the table below.

Company

Max/Min Loan

Loan Rates

Special Requirements

Get a Loan

Fundbox

Full Fundbox review

$100,000 / $100,000

4.66% - 8.99%

Depends on individual lender

Apply Now

OnDeck

Full OnDeck Review

$6,000 / $100,000

From 35.9% APR

Minimum requirements: 1 year in business; Personal FICO score 600; Business annual revenue $100K; Business bank account

Apply Now

BlueVine

Full BlueVine review

$5,000 / $250,000

From 4.8%

Minimum requirements: Fico score 650+; 2+ years in business; Monthly revenue $30K+

Apply Now

Kabbage

Full Kabbage review

$5,000 / $250,000

24% - 99% APR

Basic requirements: Linked business information; Bank account info; Personal information

Apply Now

The Best Small Business Lines of Credit Explained

The table above highlights the best loans on the market. Now we will go into more detail about each provider.

1. Fundbox - Best for Businesses in Their Initial Stages

Fundbox is a solid option for businesses in their initial stages that only require a short time to pay back the borrowed capital. To be eligible for a loan with fundbox you only need to have been in business for six months and to have a credit score of 600 or more. Also, the repayment terms of Fundbox are generally shorter than other lenders. 

ProsCons
  • Fast funding speed
  • Online application process
  • Easier minimum requirements
  • Tighter repayment terms
  • Higher interest rates

Features explained

Fundbox has a maximum borrowing amount of $150,000 and an APR range of 10%-79%. Payment frequency is weekly and the repayment terms are 12 or 24 weeks. You can get funding as quickly as the same day you apply. You must have been in business for at least 6 months to be eligible for a loan with Fundbox. Other eligibility requirements include a minimum credit score of 600 and a minimum annual revenue of $100,000.  

Our verdict: Fundbox provides businesses that are new on the scene with the chance to get the capital they require. Read the full Fundbox review for more details.

2. Kabbage - Best for Businesses With Poor Credit

Kabbage provides a line of credit that is suited to businesses with poor personal credit, as it doesn’t demand a minimum personal credit rating. Kabbage appears to accept business owners with lower credit scores as many entrepreneurs are eligible for loans even with a score of 560.

ProsCons
  • The Kabbage Card - which allows for immediate access to your line of credit
  • Lower credit scores are accepted
  • Lower eligibility requirements for new businesses
  • Default credit line limit of $150,000
  • Relatively high APR 20.00%-80.00%
  • Fees are front-loaded - lessening the incentive to repay credit early on

Features explained 

The loan amount is generally between $2,000-$250,000 and the APR rates are between 20.00%-80.00%. The terms are 6, 12 or 18 months. And you will need to have a minimum credit score of 560. 

You will also have to have been in business for 12 months with approximately $50,000 in revenue annually. The default credit line of Kabbage is at the higher end $150,000 and it has a minimum draw range of $10,000. So if you want a credit line of more than $150,00 you will need to go through a manual review and will have to have been in business for over three years with annual revenue of $300,000 or more. 

Our verdict: Kabbage is a top choice for businesses with poor personal credit scores. Read the full Kabbage review for more details.

3. BlueVine - Nest for Low Rates

BlueVine’s business line of credit easily competes with the top banks. Yet, BlueVine provides all the features and ease of use that you would expect from an online lender. 

ProsCons
  • Reasonable starting rates  
  • Same-day or next-day funding
  • For some lines - monthly payments
  • Higher borrowing eligibility requirements than most
  • Sometimes incurs larger fees

Features explained

BlueVine has a 4.8% starting interest rate, which competes with traditional banks. BlueVine offers a top deal, if you are eligible. However, BlueVine has tougher eligibility criteria than many of the other lenders on this list - with respect to its line of credit. You need to have at least $40,000 in monthly revenue and a credit score of more than 650.  

Our verdict: If you manage to qualify for BlueVine’s line of credit, then BlueVine is a great choice as they offer lower rates than most. Read the full BlueVine review for more details.   

4. OnDeck - Best for Short-Term Loans

OnDeck provides fast approval online for lines of credit ranging from $6000 - $100,000. If you are eligible for these loans you can make weekly payments for 12 months. The interest rates for these loan types vary, and there are no prepayment penalties. 

ProsCons
  • Quick funding
  • Online application process
  • Simpler to qualify for
  • Higher interest rates than most
  • Maintenance fees on a monthly basis

Features explained

You must have been in business for a minimum of 1 year to qualify, and you need to have a minimum credit score of 600 and a minimum annual revenue of $100,000. The maximum amount for a time of credit is $100,000 and the APR range is 10.99% and higher. You can get funding within 1 days time. The repayment frequency is weekly and the repayment term is 12 months. 

OnDeck only demands that a business owner be practicing for a year and will provide approval to loans with credit scores as little as 600. 

Our Verdict: OnDeck’s line of credit is great for people who have been in business for a limited period of time or those who don’t have a great credit score. 

What is a Business Line of Credit?

A business line of credit is different from a traditional term loan. A traditional term loan is generally fixed, and once you have made all the repayments, the contract ends. By contrast a line of credit usually has a more relaxed payment schedule. Once you have paid off all or part of the credit balance, you can use the money again. This is sometimes called revolving credit.

Secured vs. Unsecured Line of Credit

One element that a line of credit has in common with a term loan is the possibility of it being secured or unsecured. Here are some of the key differences between a secured and unsecured business line of credit.

  • Unsecured business line of credit: If a lender is comfortable with the risk profile of the borrower, they may approve an unsecured business line of credit, meaning that they don’t demand collateral. This is usually the case with well-established companies that have a good revenue record and are requesting a smaller amount (generally less than $100,000).
  • Secured business line of credit: when a lender feels there’s a higher level of risk, they may insist upon a secured line of credit. In this situation, they will demand some form of collateral – an asset belonging to the company that the lender can claim if the borrower defaults on the loan.

How to Get a Business Line of Credit?

Major lenders are generally more demanding when it comes to what they require from borrowers applying for a Line of Credit.

The following business line of credit requirements are standard with all major lenders. However, specific requirements will vary according to the nature of your application.

  • Time in business: The longer that your business has been running, the greater the number of available options. Young companies represent a greater risk to lenders, so the terms offered are generally less favorable.
  • Revenue and Profit: Revenue alone isn’t a reliable indicator of a company’s health. Lenders will also want to know what liabilities the firm has and how much money is left after all its commitments have been met.
  • Personal and Business credit score: As well as knowing if the company is in good shape, lenders also want some insight into the creditworthiness of the owner.
  • Income tax returns: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of businesses close before they’re a year old. This is probably one reason why lenders want to see solid evidence of your company's health when considering your application for a Line of Credit.

    Business Line of Credit Pros and Cons

    There are numerous financing options available to businesses, so it's essential to understand which one is best for the needs of your company.

    To ensure that a line of credit is beneficial to your company and not just another liability, you first need to consider if it suits your business plan and the company’s current circumstances.

    Consider the following advantages and disadvantages before deciding if a business line of credit is the best option for you.

    Business Line of Credit Pros

    • Can help to maintain cash flow during quiet revenue periods or when awaiting invoice payments
    • Helps to establish your company’s credit record if used well, making future credit facilities attainable and favorable
    • Increases flexibility in managing your business, allowing you to invest in it without affecting cash flow
    • Revolving credit. As soon as you pay off part or all the borrowed amount, you can use it again

    Business Line of Credit Cons

    • A  line of credit can be difficult for new businesses to obtain. Lenders often require a company to have been running for two or more years
    • Maximum borrowing amounts are relatively low compared to other forms of credit
    • It is tempting to use the line of credit when it’s not needed
    • Charges can mount up. Set up fees may be relatively low, but charges can end up being high
    • Business line of credit rates can be high

    Final Thoughts

    A business line of credit offers flexibility and is a very convenient way to provide your company with the financial cushion you may need when building your business. However, it can be difficult for some businesses to qualify.