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SmartBiz Small Business Loans: 2021 Review

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Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward

Updated March 23, 2021

Overview of SmartBiz

SmartBiz is a loan matching service that helps you with the loan application process and matches you with small business lenders. Available financing options include Small Business Association (SBA) loans, bank term loans, and other types of nontraditional financing. Depending on the type of loan, repayment terms range anywhere from two to 25 years. SmartBiz claims a 90% approval rate from lenders in the company’s network.
Pros and cons

Pros

  • One application used for multiple types of loans
  • Online pre-qualification in under five minutes
  • Step-by-step assistance through application process

Cons

  • Expensive one-time application fees for bank term loans
  • Higher minimum credit score required compared to other lenders

SmartBiz Small Business Loan Rates, Terms, and Fees

Loan amounts: $30,000 to $5 millionAPR range: 5.04% to 10.29% for SBA loans; 11.67% to 31.66% APR for bank term loans (updated as of 8/17/2021)Origination fee: Varies by lenderMinimum credit score: 640Time to funding: Varies by lender, but could be as fast as seven daysCo-borrower needed: No

Other Lenders

Unlike other options, SmartBiz represents a network of lenders rather than lending directly. In some instances, you may prefer to apply directly to an actual online lender, like Kabbage, OnDeck, or BlueVine. Explore some lender alternatives to SmartBiz below. 

What Types of Loans Does SmartBiz Offer?

Lenders in the SmartBiz network offer a variety of SBA loans and more. With SmartBiz, potential borrowers can apply for loans and other financial products including: The popular SBA 7(a) loans are designed to be used for working capital or debt consolidation. Loan amounts range from $30,000 to $350,000 and borrowers may be required  to provide a personal guarantee. You can also apply for SBA 7(a) commercial real estate loans through the SmartBiz lender network, as long as the property is at least 51% owner-occupied. Loan amounts start at $500,000 and go up to $5 million. Bank term loans come with fixed interest rates and shorter repayment periods—typically between two and five years. Lenders in the SmartBiz network offer financing between $30,000 and $500,000. Like the SBA7(a) loan program, bank term loans can be used for a variety of purposes, like refinancing debt, working capital, or purchasing new equipment. Borrowers may be required to provide a personal guarantee for a bank term loan. If you don’t meet the requirements for an SBA loan or term loan because your credit score is too low or your business is too new, SmartBiz can help you explore other financing options for your business through their lender network. Other potential options include:
  • Business line of credit
  • Invoice financing
  • Business credit card

Important to Keep in Mind

Fees can add up when borrowing money for your business. On SBA loans, SmartBiz lenders typically charge up to $3,000 for an application fee, plus there’s usually an SBA guarantee fee (anywhere between 1.7% to 3.5% of the loan, depending on how much you borrow). The fees for SBA commercial real estate loans are generally higher. Bank term loans from the SmartBiz network also come with lender fees. Expect to pay both a 3% referral fee and a 3% packaging fee, plus up to $300 in closing costs. Fees for all types of loans are generally deducted from your loan amount, which means borrowers receive slightly less than the actual approved amount.SBA loans also come with restrictions on the types of businesses that may apply. Industries that aren’t eligible include:
  • Gambling
  • Lending
  • Life insurance
  • Religious teaching
  • Political or lobbying activities
  • Oil wildcatting and mining
  • Mortgage servicing and real estate development
  • Bail bond
  • Pawn or private clubs

Applying for a SmartBiz Small Business Loan

The initial pre-qualification typically takes just a few minutes to complete online. SmartBiz then works with you to submit a full application to lenders in their network. There are several types of documentation you may need to supply, such as:
  • Bank balances
  • Current income statement
  • Balance sheet
  • Past net income
  • Outstanding loan information
  • Articles of Incorporation 
SBA loans also usually require documents such as your Articles of Incorporation, Certificates of Good Standing, lease agreements, and copies of insurance policies. All loan applications may require additional financial information, depending on the nature of your business or on the loan amount being requested. 

Eligibility Requirements

The requirements for SBA loans vary depending on if you’re applying for a SBA7(a) working capital or debt consolidation loan or a commercial real estate loan. Here’s what applicants need for the first type:
  • At least two years in business
  • Owner is U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • 650+ credit score
  • Proven cash flow to cover repayment
  • No bankruptcies or foreclosures within last three years
  • No outstanding tax liens
The requirements are similar for a commercial real estate SBA loan, except credit score generally must be at least 675 and the majority of the real estate property must be owner-occupied. In order to potentially qualify for a bank term loan from lenders in the SmartBiz network, applicants must meet the following requirements:
  • At least two years in business
  • Owner is U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • 640+ credit score
  • Proven cash flow to cover repayment
  • No bankruptcies or foreclosures within last three years
  • No outstanding tax liens

Steps to Apply

The application process starts with getting pre-qualified. SmartBiz estimates it takes just five minutes to complete the pre-qualification process. At this point, Smart Biz claims they only conduct a soft credit pull  so your score isn’t affected. Once you receive pre-qualification status, you can work with a SmartBiz team that helps guide you through the application process for different financing options based on your business and credit profile. The SmartBiz platform will match you with lenders in their network based on the information in your application. A hard credit pull will be performed on your credit report by the lender you choose when you officially submit your application.

Repayment Options

Repayment varies depending on the type of loan you take out as well as the lender you choose to work with. SBA 7(a) loans are repaid over 10 years. SBA commercial real estate loans last 25 years.Bank term loans involve monthly repayments and don’t typically have prepayment penalties associated with them. They last between two and five years with lenders in the SmartBiz network. 

The Bottom Line

SmartBiz could be ideal for businesses who want guidance through the loan application process. If you’re not sure where to start, working with SmartBiz can help you figure out the financing that’s right for your specific needs. Borrowing a loan within the SmartBiz network may come with additional costs in the form of application fees and other potential closing costs.Looking for more small business loan options? With Lantern's help, you can spend less time searching for financing and more time growing your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SmartBiz?
Is SmartBiz a legitimate lender?
What are SBA loans?
How do SBA loans work?
Are SBA loans hard to get?
Who is eligible for an SBA loan?
How long does SBA underwriting take?

About the Author

Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward is a personal finance expert with nearly a decade of experience writing online content. Her work has appeared on websites such as MSN, Time, and Bankrate. Lauren writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SoFi, including credit and banking.
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