Starting a business is difficult enough, but the process can get even harder if your credit history is less than stellar. A bad personal credit score can have an impact on every aspect of your financial life for years to come — including your new or future business. It indicates that you’re a risky borrower, and many lenders will hesitate to give you a loan. The same can be said if you have no credit whatsoever.
The biggest struggle with starting a new business? For many entrepreneurs, it’s obtaining funding to get things up and running. And when you’re a high-risk borrower because of bad or no credit, getting a loan or a line of credit for your business can be an even bigger challenge.
However, you aren’t completely out of luck, as you can still get a loan with poor or no credit. There’s quite a large marketplace for loans for business owners and entrepreneurs who have poor personal credit. Let’s explore some of the best loan options that are currently available and discover just how to get a loan with poor credit:
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How to Get a Loan With Bad Credit
Though your options are more limited, you can still get a loan with no or low credit. Your credit history is an important factor that lenders consider when you apply for a business loan, but it isn’t the only one.
Many other factors can influence a loan decision, most of which are completely unrelated to your credit history. Things such as your income, your debt-to-income ratio, your housing history, your investment or retirement statements, and even your social media profiles can all be used to decide whether or not you’re approved for a loan.
For startups that are still in the preliminary stages of business, some lenders may look at other aspects of your life, financial history, or your standing in the community. For example, if your business has the potential to have an extremely positive impact for your local area, lenders may be willing to approve your loan because of your business’s social and community benefits.
For small businesses that are already up and running, lenders can look at your business’s performance and financials to make a loan decision. Some lenders may even give you a loan in exchange for unpaid invoices.
Whether you’re just starting out or are trying to grow your new business, chances are you’ve got something working in your favor that could help you get a loan. Own and accept your credit score, whatever it may be, and highlight all of the positive things you and your business have to offer.
Startup Business Loan Options With Bad Credit
There are plenty of alternative lenders that offer business loans to startups and entrepreneurs who have poor credit. Some of the best options out there include:
Accion is a nonprofit organization that strives to make finances more inclusive around the world. In the U.S., one of the ways they do this is by offering loans to small businesses. Their loans range from $300 to $1,000,000.
To qualify for a startup loan from Accion, you must:
- Be no more than 30 days late on any of your payments, bills, or credit cards;
- Not have declared bankruptcy in the past year;
- Not have gone through foreclosure in the past year;
- Not have any late rent or mortgage payments in the past year;
- Not have any mortgage-rate adjustments during the term of the loan;
- Have a partner referral, such as from the SBA, SBDC, or SCORE;
- Have less than $3,000 in past-due debt;
- Show two most recent pay stubs;
- And have a business plan with 12-month projections.
Accion also offers additional special loan offers in certain localities. You can check what offers are available in your area on their website.
Avant provides both personal and business loans, which you can easily apply for using their online application. If you’re approved, you may get your loan funds as soon as the next business day.
The typical credit score of Avant’s borrowers ranges from 600 to 700, although they do offer loans that are “tailored to each person’s individual credit situation and history.” They offer loans up to $35,000. Because they fit each loan to each individual, their eligibility requirements can vary. All customers must be over the age of 18 years old and must be legal U.S. residents with a Social Security number.
Behalf is a digital platform that offers short-term loans to startups and small businesses. Once approved, you can get your funds in as soon as one business day. You can easily apply for funding using their website.
Similar to Avant, Behalf does not have many stringent borrower requirements. They don’t specify a minimum credit score requirement, though they do take your credit history into account. They are also likely to look at your business’ financial information, as well as your personal history, to determine if you’re eligible.
Credibly offers business loans amounting up to $400,000 for startups and $250,000 for expanding businesses. After you get approved, you can get funding within 48 hours, or possibly on the same day as approval.
For their startup loans, you must have a FICO credit score of at least 500, be in business for at least six months, and deposit an average of $15,000 in your bank account for the past three months. They also require certain documentation, including:
- A signed business loan agreement;
- A business mortgage statement if you own the space, or a lease agreement if you rent it;
- Government-issued photo identification of all business owners;
- And all bank statements from the past three months.
If your loan is for more than $100,000, you must also provide your most recent tax return for your business.
Kiva is a nonprofit organization with an online platform that allows lenders to loan funds directly to low-income and student entrepreneurs all over the world. You can apply for a loan using their online application, which takes between 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Funding can take up to two weeks from approval to reception.
To qualify for a loan from Kiva, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Live in the U.S.;
- Use the loan for business purposes;
- Not be in foreclosure, bankruptcy, or under any liens;
- And demonstrate your social capital by having several close friends and family members make a loan to you.
In addition, your business cannot be engaged in multi-level marketing, direct sales, pure financial investing, or any illegal activities. Kiva focuses on smaller loans, and their funding can range from $25 to $10,000. They do not charge interest on any of their loans.
Getting Small Business Loans With Bad Credit
There are plenty of alternative lenders that offer business loans to already-running small businesses and business owners who have poor personal credit. These loans are meant for businesses that are already generating revenue, and business owners who may need help keeping the business afloat or who are looking to expand it. Some of the best options currently available include:
Dealstruck is an alternative lender who provides “fast and easy” loans to small businesses. Their loans range from $50,000 to $500,000, which you can apply for online using their website. You can receive your loan in as little as five days after approval.
They have three simple requirements: you must be in business for at least one year; you must have a personal credit score of at least 600; and your business must earn at least $150,000 in annual revenue.
Fora Financial provides small business loans ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. They give out funds as quickly as three business days after approval. They have a simple, quick online application you can use to see if you qualify for one of their loans.
To qualify for a small business loan from Fora Financial, you must be in business for at least six months, have made at least $12,000 in gross sales, and not have any open bankruptcies. You must also provide your business’s three most recent bank statements to apply.
Rather than loans, Fundbox provides lines of credit amounting up to $100,000 for small businesses. They do not require a minimum credit score for you to qualify for a loan. Instead, they look at your business’s performance to determine your eligibility.
To qualify for a line of credit from Fundbox, you must:
- Have a checking account for your business;
- A minimum of two months of activity in a Fundbox-supported accounting software or three months of transactions in a business bank account;
- A minimum of $50,000 in annual revenue;
- A business based in the United States, Guam, American Samoa, the North Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands.
On their website, they note that “The average Fundbox customer earns over $250,000 in annual revenue and has been in business for over a year.” However, that does not mean you will be rejected for a loan if you do not meet this average.
Kabbage is an online platform that connects small business owners with funding in the form of lines of credit. You can apply online, and receive your funds in as little as a few days after approval. They offer lines of credit worth up to $250,000.
To qualify for a line of credit from Kabbage, you need a minimum credit score of 560, your business needs to be at least a year old, and your business must have earned an average of $4,200 in revenue for the past three months, or an annual revenue of $50,000. You are also under no obligation to use the funds you qualify for.
QuarterSpot offers short-term small business loans worth up to $250,000. They have a simple online application that you can use to determine your eligibility for a loan. Upon approval, you can get your funds in under 24 hours or in a single business day.
QuarterSpot does require a minimum credit score of 550 to qualify, but they don’t do a hard credit check, so applying for a loan won’t impact your credit score. They also analyze your business financials, looking at your business’s transaction history in particular, to determine your eligibility.
As you can see, you still have plenty of options when comes to securing funding for your small business, regardless of what your credit score is. Take the time to shop around, look at various lenders, and find the one that best suits your needs as a small business owner or entrepreneur.
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