5 Best and Fast Small-Business Loans

Do you need a small-business loan fast to start or grow your business? Whatever your reasons for borrowing cash fast, not all small-business loans are made equal. Some of them have stringent credit history and documentation requirements, some have high interest rates and some are government-guaranteed, long-term loans that allow for lower rates. There are multiple channels for small-business owners to borrow from, and the choices can get confusing.

To get started, ask yourself how the ongoing borrowing costs and interest payments will impact your bottom line.Also, find out how much you can actually afford to borrow by calculating your Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR). To figure out your DSCR, you simply divide your net operating income by your total debt service. With some lenders, you can get away with a 1.0 ratio; however, most lenders prefer a DSCR that shows your annual net operating income is higher than your total debt, such as a DSCR of 1.35 and above.

Another tip: Check your personal credit score before starting the application process and look for any errors that need to be corrected. As a sole proprietor, your credit score will be part of the loan process, and the higher your credit score, the better terms and lower interest rates you’ll get on a loan. If you’re already in business, you should check your business credit score through credit reporting agencies that deal with business credit, such as Dun & Bradstreet.

The good news is that there are a ton of free informational resources for small-business owners, including Small Business Administration (SBA) district offices and SCORE chapters (a nonprofit providing free business advice and services), the NFIB, Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers and Women’s Business Centers. Ask for help, because you shouldn’t go at it alone.

1. SBA Express Loan

Loan highlights:

Simplified application process

36-hour response time

Flexible use of funds

Can borrow $350,000 maximum

Typical 10-year repayment period

4.5 percent to 6.5 percent interest above prime interest rate

Requirements for the SBA Express Loan:

The business must be registered and operate for profit.

The business must be able to demonstrate operations within the U.S.

The business must be be in operation for at minimum two years.

It must qualify as a small business.

It must be able to demonstrate a need for financing.

It must be able to demonstrate qualified business purpose for funds.

There can be no delinquent debts to the government.

2. SBA Export Express Loan

Loan highlights:

Simplified application process

36-hour response time

Funds must be used for a company’s export development

Can borrow $500,000 maximum

Typical 10-year repayment period

4.5 percent to 6.5 percent interest above prime interest rate

Requirements:

The business must be registered and operate for profit.

The business must demonstrate that it has been in operation for, at minimum, a 12 full months.

The business must be able to demonstrate that the loan will be used for export activity.

The business must be able to demonstrate operations within the U.S.

It must qualify as a small business.

The owner must be able to demonstrate financing the business through alternative means.

There can be no delinquencies on previous debts to the government.

3. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Loan

Loan highlights:

Simplified application process

Eligibility requirements often less stringent

For individuals, borrowing maximum is typically $35,000; for businesses, $300,000

Repayment period varies from platform to platform (typically fixed at a three-, five- and seven-year repayment period)

Interest on loans varies depending on your credit score or risk grade

Peer-to-peer lending is a rapidly growing landscape, largely because it cuts out the middleman, the financial institution, and the eligibility requirements are less stringent. However, these loans tend to also have higher interest rates and more often than not, are for those individuals who need a loan for less than $35,000 quickly. (In some cases, businesses can borrow up to $300,000.)

4. Microloan

Loan Highlights:

Loans of $50,000 or less to startups and other small businesses

Low interest rates

Loans are often targeted for disadvantaged communities

Average loan term is 40 months

5. Business Line of Credit

Loan Highlights:

Ranges from $5,000 and $150,000

Quick funding (one to five days) from time of approval

Works like a credit card

Lower interest rate than a credit card

Apply for line of credit with bank or online creditor

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