In what are challenging times for small business owners, there are a wide range of lending options. The internet hosts many fintech business lenders that use advanced algorithms to assess—and efficiently approve—applicants. The end result is that regardless of your funding needs and preferences, there is a lender to match your needs.In this guide, we present our list of the top 10 small business loan providers for 2020. Because of the variation in business loan types, it did not make sense to rank lenders based on one factor alone. Instead, we researched the best lenders for different purposes, including the best lenders for business expansion, immediate funding, and the best lenders for borrowers with bad credit.Some of the companies listed are direct lenders, while others are marketplaces where you can compare your options. Some only offer term loans, while others offer alternative funding such as lines of credit, invoice factoring, and SBA loans. Some have strict eligibility requirements (e.g., minimum monthly revenue and minimum credit score), while others are more flexible.This guide will help you find the right lender for your small business.
- Loan amount:$5,000-$2M
- Minimum credit score:580
- Repayment terms:1-5 years
No matter how you measure it, Lendio is America’s leading business loan marketplace. It has the largest network (300+ lenders), the most loan options (11, including term loans, SBA loans, lines of credit, invoice factoring, and business acquisition loans), and has facilitated more loans than anyone else ($2 billion in small business term loans and billions elsewhere). Lendio has also helped fund more than $8 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses in 2020.
Most lending marketplaces ask a few basic questions and then show you a selection of loan options. Lendio is more sophisticated: the platform takes you through a 15-minute questionnaire and then finds the most suitable lender and funding options for you using its proprietary algorithm. This 15-minute process is all it takes to receive funding, making Lendio much quicker than traditional business lenders.
- Sophisticated algorithm matches you with best lender
- It only takes 15 minutes to receive a match and approval
- Covers almost all business loan types
- Loan requirements vary by loan type and lender
- Not all partnering lenders offer excellent terms
- Loan amount:$500 – $250,000
- Minimum credit score:550
- Repayment terms:6-18 months
Kabbage is a Fintech lender providing lines of credit to small businesses. Its proprietary algorithm assesses applicants from many perspectives, which reduces the weight placed on your personal credit score and increases your likelihood of approval. Although lines of credit are the platform’s focus, Kabbage occasionally makes other loan options available (such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan program in 2020).
Kabbage’s technology offers several unique features not offered by traditional lenders. The platform allows borrowers to receive and repay funds using only PayPal and the Kabbage mobile app, eliminating the need for a bank account. Each monthly payment is made by autopay, eliminating the need to wire payments each month. During the application process, you have the option of connecting to third-party providers, such as Stripe and QuickBooks, to automatically upload your data.
- Simple payment schedules
- Funds can be withdrawn online or using a mobile app
- Funds can be deposited to a bank or a PayPal account
- Only lines of credit are available, no other products
- Only open to businesses operating for at least one year
First Down Funding
- Loan amount:$1,000-$300,000
- Minimum credit score:525
- Repayment terms:3 months – 10 years
First Down Funding is a direct funder focused on business owners who may have been denied funding from traditional institutions. Licensed in all 50 states, First Down Funding offers a range of funding options including term loans, lines of credit, invoice, and equipment financing. Compared to other lenders, the platform’s loan terms are flexible. Rather than lock you into a fixed term, First Down Funding works with you to customize a suitable repayment term that strikes a balance between comfort and affordability.
First Down is very much a hands-on funder, and its website is best used for information-gathering purposes only. Before completing the online application, we recommend entering your name and contact details in the contact form on the First Down Funding home page to schedule a call with a funding manager. Your manager will help you design a loan that suits your needs and preferences.
- A range of funding options
- Personalized customer service
- Low FICO threshold
- The website is outdated and difficult to navigate
- Fees and requirements are not transparent
- Loan amount:$25K – $500K
- Minimum credit score:680
- Repayment terms:3 months – 25 years
Fundera prides itself on the fact that most of its users are repeat borrowers. Fundera forges personal relationships with each user encouraging them to become return customers. Fundera also provides stacks of useful resources. The lender doesn’t just find you a lender and forget about you, it actually assigns you an in-house loan specialist who helps guide you through the underwriting process, ensuring a smooth path to funding.
Although the lender network is deliberately small, this does not limit the number of loan options. Fundera offers all the most common types of business loans, such as term loans, lines of credit, all types of SBA funding (including everything to do with the PPP and Covid-19 relief), and invoice and equipment financing. Fundera also specializes in startup loans, making it an excellent option for early-stage small businesses with enterprising ideas.
- Information is uploaded from QuickBooks to your application
- Eligibility tracker for previously ineligible borrowers
- Practical free how-to resources
- Pre-qualification does not guarantee loan approval
- Lender fees and terms vary significantly
- Loan amount:$30,000 – $5M
- Minimum credit score:640
- Repayment terms:10 – 25 years
SmartBiz was created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and is the oldest online marketplace for SBA loans. From its inception, SmartBiz has helped American small businesses secure more than $1.2 billion in SBA loans, including SBA 7(a) loans, SBA Commercial Real Estate loans, and, more recently, SBA PPP loans. SmartBiz also offers regular business term loans.
SmartBiz sees its users as more than just borrowers. When you secure a loan through SmartBiz, you can access SmartBiz Advisor, a financial health tracking tool that improves your chances of being approved for small business funding. The tool calculates your Loan Ready Score, which benchmarks your business against thousands of other small businesses using the SmartBiz platform. SmartBiz also offers extensive educational resources to guide you in your funding decision.
- Financial health tracking tool
- Expertise in SBA loans
- A dedicated agent guides you through the funding process
- Limited loan options
- High minimum FICO requirements
- Loan amount:$10,000 – $500,000
- Minimum credit score:700
- Repayment terms:3-18 months
Torro is an alternative business lender targeting startups in their preoperative phase and established businesses needing urgent bridge financing. Torro’s proprietary funding system lets you digitally submit your application to Torro and dozens of partnering investors. Once approved, the funds arrive in your account as soon as the same day.
Torro’s website really lacks detailed information. However, the platform’s excellent 4.7-star Trustpilot rating earns it a place in our ranking of top 10 business lenders. The customer reviews indicate that business owners find Torro particularly useful when they are in urgent need of cash because Torro offers more rapid funding than its rivals.
- Accepts new businesses with no revenue
- The platform’s proprietary funding system speeds up the process
- Funds sometimes received within the same day
- The website lacks detailed information
- There is no indication of rates before you submit an application
- Loan amount:$5,000 – $5M
- Minimum credit score:350
- Repayment terms:3 – 36 months
Become (formerly Lending Express) is a loan marketplace for small businesses struggling to find funding elsewhere. The platform has a network of around 50 lending partners, many of which cater to borrowers with poor personal credit. These lenders offer a range of different loan types including term loans, merchant cash advances, and invoice factoring.
Although it may not appear so, Become is a legitimate service that fills a gap for small business owners with limited funding options. Become’s partners have extremely flexible funding requirements, raising your chances of getting approved. However, be aware that the APR and terms may not be as favorable as competitor platforms.
- Extremely flexible funding requirements
- Range of loan types
- Become partners are listed on the home page
- Borrowers should check that a partner is trustworthy
- The information on the website can be confusing
- Loan amount:$5,000 – $250,000
- Minimum credit score:530
- Repayment terms:6-12 months
BlueVine is a direct lender targeting small business owners with bad credit and an immediate need for cash. BlueVine differs from its competitors in that it does not offer regular term loans. Instead, the platform focuses on loan types with more built-in flexibility, such as invoice factoring and lines of credit. BlueVine has also been known to temporarily add products that offer business relief, such as SBA loans during Covid-19.
If your credit is below the threshold of traditional business lenders, BlueVine can help you. This provider does not assess and reject you primarily on your credit score, and it takes only five minutes to apply and receive a decision. Although an online service, BlueVine’s advisors will guide you through the process and answer any questions.
- Quick online application process
- Flexible credit requirements
- Rapid transfer of funds
- Short repayment terms
- $15 charge to receive funds by wire transfer
- Loan amount:$5,000 – $150,000
- Minimum credit score:500
- Repayment terms:3-6 months
FundBox is a fintech company that uses predictive analytics to find rapid funding for small businesses and freelancers. The platform offers two funding options, both of which are designed to help small business owners maintain cash flow. The two options are invoice factoring and lines of credit.
If you have poor credit and cash flow concerns, it’s worth considering FundBox. However, as is the case with other companies that specialize in invoice factoring and lines of credit, FundBox’s APRs tend to be relatively high. Moreover, the short repayment terms (three to six months only) make this a viable option only for businesses that typically have a high volume of outstanding invoices.
- Approves borrowers that may be rejected elsewhere
- An excellent option for maintaining cash flow
- Rapid funding
- The website can be confusing and difficult to navigate
- Higher than average APRs
- Loan amount:Up to $500,000
- Minimum credit score:500
- Repayment terms:Up to 50 years
LendingTree is the oldest and largest online lending marketplace in the United States. It specializes in every type of loan imaginable, including home loans, personal loans, and of course (because why else would we include it here?) business loans. LendingTree’s partners offer business loans for every purpose, from term loans to invoice factoring to lines of credit.
Although LendingTree does not specialize in business loans, it is worth using this platform if you want a broad comparison of options. LendingTree works with a huge network of lenders, and it takes just a few minutes to complete an application and find matches. Moreover, the process will not affect your credit score.
- Excellent choice for a broad market comparison
- Specialization in all types of loans—not just business
- Funding options for all types of credit profiles
- Business funding is not LendingTree’s only focus
- Varying lender terms and requirements