Bolstr peer-to-peer business loans review September 2018 | finder.com

Bolstr peer-to-peer business loans review

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Repay these unconventional term loans with a percentage of your monthly revenue.

Bolstr is for the business owner that needs financing but has unpredictable monthly sales. Its revenue share loans are like your typical term loan with a twist: Instead of making fixed repayments, you pay a percentage of your monthly revenue.

This peer-to-peer lender works almost like a crowdfunding site with campaigns and fundraising goals, and agreements with individual investors rather than with the platform. We break down what it has to offer to help you decide if Bolstr is right for your business.

Product NameBolstr Peer-to-Peer Business Loans
Min Loan Amount$25,000
Max. Loan Amount$500,000
APR8%–25%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Minimum Loan Term2 years
Maximum Loan Term5 years

What’s Bolstr?

Bolstr is a peer-to-peer business lender. A lot of reviewers refer to Bolstr as a crowdfunding site, but that’s not quite accurate. As a peer-to-peer lender, only investors can provide funding. You have to pay it back with interest — unlike with crowdfunding where you get to keep it all, save for an occasional platform fee.

On Bolstr’s website, you’ll set up a profile and a campaign goal and investors commit to funding a part of your loan. Your campaign is live for 30 days. If you don’t reach your goal in that time, it’s considered unsuccessful and you receive none of the funds. Many campaigns reach their goals in around five business days.

How repayment works

Bolstr provides fixed-term business loans that are funded by and paid back directly to multiple investors. It refers to these as “revenue share loans.” You’ll repay your loan plus interest with a percentage of your monthly sales. This can make your loan appear more affordable, but could cost you extra in the long run by lengthening your term.

What are the benefits of Bolstr business loans?

  • Fast turnaround. You can get funding within a week — slower than many online lenders but still much faster than banks or credit unions. Online reviewers were pleased with how quickly they were able to receive their funds.
  • Easy to use. Bolstr’s website is clean, intuitive and makes it easy to keep track of your funds.
  • Repay with small percentage of monthly sales. Unlike a merchant cash advance, you don’t have to make repayments each time you make a sale.

What to watch out for

  • Pay it back based on monthly sales. The monthly percentage repayment has its downside: It could hurt your business if you have a poor month.
  • Hard to get in touch. It’s difficult to find essential information like eligibility requirements online and we had trouble reaching its customer service line after several attempts.
  • Minimum monthly repayments. You’ll have to find this information in the investor section on their website.

Compare more business loans from top providers

Rates last updated September 26th, 2018
Unfortunately, none of the business loan providers currently offer loans for these criteria.
Name Product Product Description Min Loan Amount Max. Loan Amount Requirements
LoanBuilder, A PayPal Service Business Loans
Customizable loans with no origination fee for business owners in a hurry.
$5,000
$500,000
Annual business revenue of at least $42,000, at least 9 months in business, personal credit score of 550+.
Lendio Business Loan Marketplace
Submit one simple application to potentially get offers from a network of over 75 legit business lenders.
$500
$5,000,000
Must operate a business in the US or Canada, have a business bank account and have a personal credit score of 560+.
OnDeck Small Business Loans
A leading online business lender offering flexible financing at competitive fixed rates.
$5,000
$500,000
Must have been in business for at least one year with annual revenue of $100K+. Must have a personal credit score of 500+.
Lending Express Business Loan Marketplace
$5,000
$500,000
At least 3 months in business and $10,000+ in monthly revenue. Your business might also qualify if it's been in business at least 6 months with $3,000+ in monthly revenue.
Fora Financial Business Loans
No minimum credit score requirement and early repayment discounts for qualifying borrowers.
$5,000
$500,000
Business age 6+ months. Monthly revenue $12,000+. No open bankruptcies.
LendingClub Business Loans
With loan terms that vary from 1 to 5 years, enjoy fixed monthly payments and no prepayment penalties through this award-winning lender.
$5,000
$300,000
2+ years in business; $50,000+ in yearly sales; No bankruptcies or tax liens; At least 20% ownership of your business; Fair or better personal credit
LendingTree Business Loans
Multiple business financing options in one place including: small business loans, lines of credit, SBA loans, equipment financing and more.
Varies by lender and type of financing
Varies by lender and type of financing
Varies by lender, but you many require good personal credit, a minimum business age and minimum annual revenue.
National Business Capital Business Loans
Get a large business loan to cover your financing needs, no matter what the purpose is. Startups welcome with 680+ credit score.
$10,000
$5,000,000
Your company must have been in business for at least 6 months and have an annual revenue of at least $180,000.
Kabbage Small Business Line of Credit
A simple, convenient online application could securely get the funds you need to grow your business.
$500
$250,000
Must have been in business for at least 1 year. Revenue minimum is $50,000 annually or $4,200 per month over the last 3 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

What do customers have to say about Bolstr?

Not much. Bolstr doesn’t have a Better Business Bureau page and only 9 people rated it on Trustpilot, giving it a collective 6.5 out of 10. Borrowers were mostly happy with their experience, calling it quick and efficient and praising its customer service.

Two investors who invested in loans were not pleased, complaining that Bolstr was unresponsive when they had trouble receiving repayment funds from borrowers.

Am I eligible?

While Bolstr doesn’t advertise any specific eligibility requirements, to get the best deal on a loan you generally need to be in business for at least six months to a year, have a good personal credit score and have a business that annually generates at least $50,000 in revenue.

You’ll also typically need to be a US citizen or permanent resident over the age of majority in your state — 18 in most.

How do I apply?

  1. Go to Bolstr’s website and click Log In.
  2. Click Don’t Have an Account?
  3. Fill out the required fields and hit Continue.
  4. Enter your personal contact information, read and agree to the terms and conditions and click Get Quote.
  5. Fill out the application, uploading your personal tax documents, linking to your personal and business bank accounts as well as your accounting software. The application shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete.
  6. Look over the loan terms and rates you qualify for after you hear back from them.
  7. Wait up to 30 days for investors to fund your loan (typically it only takes three to five days).
  8. Once you’ve met your goal, Bolstr automatically transfers your funds into a third-party bank account that you can access after you read and electronically sign agreements with each of your investors.

What information do I need to apply?

Have the following information on hand before you apply:

  • Logins for your business accounting software.
  • Login credentials for business and personal bank accounts.
  • Your EIN and the address you listed on last year’s taxes.
  • Two years of personal tax returns.

Step-by-step application with screenshots

I got a business loan through Bolstr. Now what?

Bolstr automatically deducts repayments of between 1% and 6% from your monthly sales. Keep an eye on your bank account to make sure deductions are accurate. You can contact customer service by calling 312-224-8749 or emailing info@bolstr.com.

Investing through Bolstr

Bolstr’s website makes it easy for accredited investors to build up and keep track of an investment portfolio. You can open up an account online, search the online marketplace for businesses you’d like to invest in and commit to a certain amount. You can easily monitor your investment’s performance and automatically get a minimum monthly payment automatically deposited into your bank account.

The upside is that you can get returns relatively quickly — typically between 24 to 36 months. Loans are also secured by a personal guarantee, meaning that your investment is less of a risk. The downside is you have to pay a 1% servicing fee each month until you’re fully repaid.

Bottom line

Bolstr’s unconventional approach to lending and repayment may work best for a business with unpredictable monthly sales. You might have difficulty getting in touch with its customer service team if you have trouble with your loan or questions — we weren’t able to successfully contact them after multiple attempts.

See how Bolstr compares to other lenders and learn about your other options by exploring our business loans guide.

Frequently asked questions

Anna Serio

Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.

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