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How to Get Fast Business Loans

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Kevin Brouillard

Kevin Brouillard

Updated May 20, 2021
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How to Get Fast Business Loans; Learn more about how to get a fast business loan with quick approval.
What with maintaining cash flow, managing employees, and covering bills, there’s a lot that goes into running a small business. And time can often be of the essence when you need to pay for these costs. At that point, a fast business loan may be appealing.Traditional loans may require extensive documentation, such as a business plan, years of bank statements, and proof of collateral, to get funding. And in some cases, approval and accessing funds can take weeks or more.Getting a fast business loan could be what lets your business stay afloat or act quickly on a growth opportunity. Taking a closer look at the different types of quick financing available can help if you’re considering whether a fast small business loan might be a good fit for you.

Types of Fast Business Loans

Fast business loans typically provide funding within a matter of days after you apply. While these types of financing can have quick approval and turnaround, this convenience may come with tradeoffs, such as higher interest rates and service fees. But what exactly the loan involves depends on which kind of loan you opt for. There are several common kinds of fast business loans.

SBA Express Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of loan programs catering to different business types and funding needs. Although some of these loans may involve a longer application process, if you’re after easy approval business loans, the SBA Express program could be a potential solution. Eligible businesses may request up to $350,000 and receive funds in as little as 36 hours after applying. The SBA can guarantee up to 85% of a loan made for as much as $150,000 and up to 75% for loans greater than $150,000. Since third-party lenders have greater assurance that most of the loan will be repaid, SBA Express loans tend to have higher approval rates, too. To help businesses with revenue losses from COVID-19, the SBA has launched a new pilot program for eligible small businesses to access fast loans up to $25,000. Known as the SBA Express Bridge Loans program, it makes loans available to businesses that have an existing relationship with an SBA Express lender and are in the process of applying for long-term financing, such as a SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan

Business Lines of Credit

Having cash on hand can be important for covering both day-to-day operations and emergency expenses. Instead of applying for financing whenever costs arise, a business with a business line of credit can access fast cash to use on an ongoing and as-needed basis. It’s important to know, however, that it can take a while to set up a credit line. However, once it's there, it is a resource you can draw on at a moment’s noticeOnce approved by a lender, a business is allocated a maximum amount and can withdraw funds up to that threshold to pay their bills, purchase inventory, or fill in gaps for working capital. Unlike traditional business loans, which structure regular repayment and interest on the loan’s principal, a business line of credit only has to be repaid if money is taken out. If just a portion of the available funds are withdrawn, interest is paid only on that amount until it’s repaid in full. At that point, the business line of credit is replenished to the full maximum and can be used for more expenses like a revolving fund.

Equipment Financing

Equipment is integral to many businesses’ operations, whether it’s concrete mixers for a construction business or computers for an accounting firm. However, purchasing machinery and other vital equipment is often too costly for businesses to pay for out-of-pocket.If this is your situation, equipment financing may be a route to consider. This type of small business loan may charge less interest than conventional options, since the equipment itself is typically used as a form of collateral. Repayment terms are determined by the individual lender but usually span a few years. Getting an equipment loan is typically a faster process than obtaining traditional funding, though it can vary by lender. 

Short-Term Loans

Loan term refers to the amount of time it will take for the borrower to pay the loan off completely by making regular payments. For short-term business loans, this duration can range from a few months to as much as 18 months in some cases. Short-term business loans are often better than long-term financing at getting small business loans fast. Since the repayment terms are shorter, lenders usually view short-term business loans as less risky so their requirements may be less stringent.. Easier qualification helps speed up the process so that businesses can act quickly to maintain cash flow, buy inventory, and address other unexpected costs. 

Invoice Financing

Delays in payments from customers and clients can lead to cash flow issues. Those, in turn, can delay you when you need to act on investment and growth opportunities. Instead of standing by, many businesses can borrow against outstanding invoices owed to them  through a practice called invoice financing. In invoice financing, the lender loans you a percentage of the face value of your unpaid invoices. As your customers settle their debts, a percentage of the invoice is paid to the lender as a fee. This quick funding option is typically better suited to businesses that sell wholesale or let customers buy goods or services on credit. Otherwise, they may not have enough invoices on hand to finance. 

Sample Lenders for Fast Business Loans

Not every lender can offer small business loans fast. For the most part, borrowers will be exploring online business loans from alternative lenders rather than banks. These five sample lenders were among the first six results (in addition to previously-mentioned SBA loans) from an internet search of the words "fast business loans" on February 15th, 2021. For each, we’ll break down eligibility requirements, loan terms, and other considerations for getting fast cash for businesses. 

BlueVine

Established businesses in need of immediate capital may consider getting a line of credit from BlueVine. If approved, businesses can get same-day access to a line of credit between $5,000 and $250,000. After withdrawing funds, businesses can make fixed weekly or monthly payments over six months or one year. As funds are repaid, more credit becomes available for future business needs. Eligibility for a line of credit has stricter requirements here than at some other instant business loan options. Applicants must have been in business for three years, receive $30,000 in monthly revenue, and have a FICO ®  credit score of at least 650. 

Fundbox

If your business is a startup venture or has less-than-stellar credit, easy approval business loans may be more challenging to come by.With Fundbox, borrowers with credit scores as low as 500 can qualify for a business line of credit up to $150,000. Other eligibility criteria include annual revenue of at least $50,000 and proof that you’ve been in business for at least two to three months. To apply, a business provides basic information and links a bank account or its accounting software to get a decision as soon as the next business day. If the application is approved, funds may be available in as little as 24 hours. Loan terms are either 12 or 24 weeks, and follow a weekly repayment schedule. Businesses only begin paying once funds are withdrawn, and there’s no penalty for repaying early. Keep in mind that businesses with poor credit may still have options. Check out our comprehensive guide to bad credit business loans to learn more. 

Kabbage

Along with the possibility of same-day approval, a line of credit with Kabbage can provide an instant business loan for immediate spending.An eligible business can request a line of credit with Kabbage for any amount between $2,000 and $250,000. Repayment terms range from six to 18 months and begin once money is drawn from the line of credit. If you’ve been in business for a year and your company earns $50,000 annually or $4,2000 monthly, Kabbage may waive the credit check. Although this leniency can come with higher interest rates, Kabbage may be a good fit for fast business loans and loans for women with bad credit.

Lendio

Lendio is a marketplace where business owners can compare lenders and financing options. Businesses can apply for short term loans, equipment financing, and/or a line of credit in 15 minutes and receive funding as soon as the next day. 

OnDeck

If you’re in need of small business loans fast, a term loan or line of credit via OnDeck can provide funding within 24 hours, as long as you qualify. Whether you’re after an influx of cash to buy inventory or need a sizable emergency business loan to cover major repairs, an OnDeck term loan could be a fit. For first time applicant’s OnDeck’s term loans range from $5,000 to $250,000 and carry an 18-month repayment term. A line of credit can provide more flexibility as to how and when businesses use funding, but borrowers may only apply for $6,000 to $100,000. Compared to other fast business loans’ eligibility requirements, OnDeck’s are more robust. To apply, a business must meet the following criteria:
  • Have been in business for at least one year
  • Have a minimum credit score of 600
  • Show at least $100,000 in annual revenue
To secure a term loan, OnDeck may place a lien on a borrower’s business assets as collateral.  Though this may help you get more favorable terms than you can with other instant business loans, you do run the risk of losing assets if you default on repayment. 

Fast Business Loan Alternatives

Fast cash for businesses can be found other places than in a business loan or line of credit. Borrowers can also consider the following funding options to supplement or replace a fast business loan. 

Personal Loans

Personal business loans are versatile funding options that can help start or grow your business. Instead of business information, an applicant’s credit score may factor more heavily in the approval process. Borrowers with strong credit can have a greater chance of qualifying and may be offered lower annual percentage rates.This financing may also grant greater flexibility in how funds are used, especially for sole proprietors. 

Merchant Cash Advance

A merchant cash advance (MCA) is a way a business may be able to get fast cash without taking out a loan. In exchange for quick funding, MCA firms buy a portion of a small business’s future sales at a discounted rate. While loans charge interest, MCAs have a factor rate, which is a fixed fee expressed by a decimal figure. For example, a business with a factor rate of 1.25 that requests $10,000 will owe $12,500 ($10,000 x 1.25 = $12,500). Generally, repayment plans either use a fixed automated payment schedule or take a percentage of a business’s debit or credit card deposits each day until the balance is paid.  

Crowdfunding

Instead of approaching traditional lenders, businesses may also try sourcing funds from friends, family, customers, and the general public through crowdfunding.To market crowdfunding campaigns, businesses might offer products, an invitation to a special event, or donor acknowledgement in exchange for monetary contributions. Generally, this funding method is less risky, since supporters don’t acquire ownership in a business nor do their contributions need to be repaid. But although crowdfunding may not require much monetary investment from a business, it’s important to consider the tradeoff of time and energy spent on the crowdfunding campaign. There are a variety of online platforms to help streamline crowdfunding and expand the reach of a campaign. However, businesses may have to pay fees or hand over a percentage of their raised funds in order to use such crowdfunding programs.

Comparing Fast Business Loans

Approximately 52% of small businesses have not accessed the financing they need. For businesses in a cash crunch, a fast business loan could be a funding solution to cover day-to-day expenses or seize an investment opportunity. Before settling on a quick business loan, it’s important to compare the benefits and drawbacks of your financing decision. Considering what you’ll use the funding for, how quickly you need it, and how quickly you’ll be able to pay it back could be a helpful place to start.If you’re ready to apply for a fast business loan, Lantern makes it easy to compare multiple lenders and types of financing. After filling out a quick online form, Lantern will match you with options based on your qualifications and business needs.
No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.SOLC20083

About the Author

Kevin Brouillard

Kevin Brouillard

Kevin Brouillard is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, educator, and personal finance writer. His work has appeared in online publications such as Earth Island Journal, Jetsetter, Oyster.com, and Tripsavvy. Kevin covers an array of financial topics for SoFi, including loans for students and small businesses.
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