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Compare business loan interest rates

Find out what rates you can expect on your small business loan.

Rates are one of the most important factors in comparing the cost of small business loans. But it’s hard to know if you’re getting a competitive rate if you don’t know what to expect. This article tells you the average rates for small business loans by type of loan, lender and more. You’ll also learn what other costs you might want to consider.

The typical rate on a small business loan is 6% to 60% APR

Average rates for small business loans

The range of rates available for small business financing varies so widely that it makes more sense to break down the rates by the type of lender and type of financing. Other factors that affect your rate include the loan term, your business’ revenue, credit score and time in business — and whether you’re providing collateral.

Since many lenders charge both interest and fees, it’s useful to compare the annual percentage rate, or APR, rather than the interest rate alone. The APR represents the total cost of borrowing over one year, regardless of the price structure. That way, you’re comparing apples to apples.

Small business loan rates by type of loan

Since some business loans come with fees rather than interest, let’s take a look at how APRs compare for different loan types:

Online term loan

7% to 99.7%

Bank term loan

4% to 13%

Line of credit

8% to 80%

SBA 7(a) loan

6.3% to 10%

Merchant cash advance

20% to 250%

Invoice factoring

13% to 60%

Based on rates alone, term loans are the most competitive type of loan out there — although rates can get as high as 99.7% APR if you borrow from an online lender. Short-term financing options that don’t typically come with interest like merchant cash advances and invoice factoring tend to be more expensive than the competition.

Small business loan rates by type of lender

Here’s how interest rates from different types of lenders compare:

Online lenders

13% to 71%

Big national banks

2.55% to 5.14%

Small national banks and regional banks

2.48% to 5.40%

Foreign banks lending in the US

1.45% to 5.66%

As you can see, online lenders tend to offer higher rates than banks. In fact, the maximum rate on all three types of bank loans is several percentage points lower than the minimum rate for online lenders. However, the best online business loans may have lower maximum rates compared to competitors.

There isn’t much difference between different types of banks: Foreign banks might have a typically lower starting rate, but they also end slightly higher. However, it’s often easier to get approved for a business loan at a local bank than a large national or international bank.

Rates you can expect from top lenders


11.25% to 12.25% APR


Starting at 6% APR


12.15% to 29.97% APR


Starting at 9.99% Annual interest rate (AIR) on term loans, 13.99% APR on lines of credit

Read review


Starting at 9.99% APR


8% to 25% APR

Bond Street

8% to 25% APR

Citizens Bank

As low as 4.75% APR


7.49% to 18.99% APR

Credibility Captial

9.49% to 20%

The Business Backer

As low as 5% APR

What’s a good rate on a business loan?

There is no one “good rate” for everyone. It depends on the current market, what type of financing you’re looking for and also what rates you and your business are eligible for. The more of a risk lenders consider you, the higher the rate you’ll qualify for.

Typically, business loans backed by some kind of collateral or personal guarantee have lower rates because they’re less of a risk to the lender — SBA loans have such low rates because they’re partly backed by the government.

How long you take to pay back your loan also typically affects the rate. Long-term loans and lines of credit tend to have more competitive rates than short-term business loans because there’s more time for interest to add up. Lenders who offer low-interest business loans like banks generally only offer long-term loans

Who qualifies for the lowest rates?

Generally, you’ll need to meet the following requirements to get a competitive rate on a business loan:

5 tips for getting a competitive rate on your small business loan

  1. Check your credit.
    While business credit scores exist, business loan providers more commonly rely on personal credit scores more. Check your credit report for mistakes and get a soft credit check online to learn your approximate credit rate.
  2. Give yourself time.
    Often, the loans with the lowest rates take longer than higher-rate loans — just look at the rates on bank loans and online loans. SBA loans tout some of the lowest rates out there but can takes months to process.
  3. Revisit your business plan.
    While not all lenders require a business plan, it can be a strong argument for your business. Make sure everything is up to date and tighten the writing to be as concise and impactful as possible.
  4. Back your loan.
    While a personal guarantee can be a big personal risk, providing collateral or a lien on your business’s assets can reassure your lender that you have something at stake.
  5. Know how rates work.
    Some short-term loans come with monthly interest rates as low as 1%. While that might seem like a steal compared to a loan with a 7% annual rate, it’s actually more expensive. Make sure you understand what the rate actually means for each loan before you get into it.

How do small business loan rates work?

It depends on what you mean by “rates.” There are a few different types of small business loan rates you might come across: Interest rates, APR and factor rates.

Interest rate

An interest rate a percentage of your loan balance that a lender charges on a regular basis. Most business loans come with an annual interest rate (AIR), which means that that percentage applies to the loan balance over a year. However, some short-term loans come with a monthly percentage rate that applies to the balance once a month.

There are two main types of interest rates: Fixed an variable. There are also two main that lenders apply interest to your loan: Simple interest and compound interest.

Fixed vs. variable interest

Fixed interest is an interest rate that stays the same while you pay back your loan. It’s less risky than a variable rate and makes repayments more predictable.

Variable rates are subject to change, usually every month or quarter. Lenders calculate your variable rate by first give your business a fixed interest rate called a margin rate. It then adds your margin rate to what’s called a benchmark rate, which is set by a third party every month or three months to reflect trends in the lending market.

Benchmark rates are based on the lowest interest rates that lenders are charging borrowers. The LIBOR rate and Wall Street Journal prime rate are two of the most common types of benchmarks rates.

Simple vs. compound interest

Simple interest is, well more simple than compound interest. You can calculate how much you’d pay on a simple interest loan with this formula:

Principal x interest rate x loan term (in years) = Simple interest

Compound interest takes a little more number crunching to calculate. That’s because lenders charge interest on the loan principle, plus any unpaid interest that has accumulated since your last payment. Some lenders compound interest on an annual, monthly, weekly or even daily basis. The more often your loan compounds, the more you’ll end up paying in interest.

You can use this formula to figure out how much you’ll pay with a compound interest loan:

Interest rate x principle = Interest on first repayment

Interest rate x (Principle + unpaid interest) = Interest for each following repayment

Annual percentage rate (APR)

A loan’s APR is an expression of interest and fees as a percentage that applies to your loan per year. Lenders often advertise the loan’s APR, instead of its interest rate alone. That’s because it’s a more accurate picture of how much your loan will cost.

When comparing APRs, make sure you’re also comparing loans with similar terms and amounts. A loan with a 100% APR and six-month term might actually cost less than a large loan with a 5% interest rate and a five-year term.

Factor rate

If you’re looking at merchant cash advances and some other short-term term loans, you might get quoted a factor rate instead of an interest rate. Rather than a percentage, lenders typically quote factor rates as a decimal, usually between 1.1 and 1.5. Some lenders also quote factor rates as “cents on the dollar” — usually between 10 and 50 cents on the dollar.

Here’s how it works:

Factor rate x loan amount = Loan cost

Unlike interest or APR, factor rates show you a fixed cost that doesn’t change over time. That means that you can’t save on your loan by paying it off early. Typically, loans that come with factor rates have a higher cost than loans that come with interest.

Understanding amortization

Business loans are often amortized, meaning you pay the same amount each month. Many have a monthly amortization, where you make a repayment on interest and fees each month. But some come with weekly, biweekly or even daily amortization. Ask your lender for an amortization schedule to plan for repayments before signing the business loan agreement.

What affects my interest rate?

Interest rate is based on your business’s risk to the lender. Smaller businesses with few valuable assets and a small annual turnover will likely pay a higher interest rate than a more established business.

Lenders will judge each business individually based on a few common markers.

Personal and business credit scores

If you or your business have a credit history littered with late payments or loan defaults, lenders will quote higher rates because you pose a higher risk. However, you may be able to offset some of this by presenting a solid business plan and attaching a brief explanation of the negative marks on your credit score.

Annual turnover

The amount of money your business makes each year will impact your ability to pay back your lender. However, lenders will also consider any debts you have as well — the bigger the difference between your revenue and your profits, the less you’ll be able to afford to borrow.

Valuable assets

Almost every business has assets. These can be expensive equipment to large amounts of inventory. If you’re looking for a business loan, putting up collateral that your lender can sell in case of default may lower your interest rate.

Loan type

Short-term business loans often come with higher interest rates. Loans like merchant cash advances can be advantageous for small businesses, but because they don’t have security and are only active for a few months, the interest rate may be much higher than a 5-year term loan.

Loan security

Your risk changes when you put up collateral to secure your loan. Lenders may offer both secure and unsecure business loans, but generally, there will be a difference between the interest rate you’re quoted based on your ability to provide collateral. Equipment and vehicle loans tend to have the lower rates because the collateral is wrapped into the loan. Unsecure loans pose less risk to you, unless you’ve signed a personal guarantee, but they can become much more costly to your business in the long term.

Current and projected finances

Your business’s financial status will always play a role in whether or not a lender approves you for a loan. Businesses that have solid selling models and make a good amount of profit will be better candidates for a loan. Businesses that are newer or don’t make a large profit may face higher interest rates.

Time in business

When you’re running a startup or a small business, you may face trouble getting a loan in the first place. If you do find the right lender, your business may be quoted much higher interest rates than businesses that have been established for a few years. This is because lenders are always wary about the operating costs. Businesses that have been open for a year or more generally have an easier time finding lower interest rates.

Business loan fees

While rates are an easy way to compare, they can be misleading. Even if you’re comparing a loan’s APR. That’s because it doesn’t tell you when you’ll have to pay that fee. These are some common fees you might run into when you’re taking out a business loan.

Origination fee

1% to 6% of the loan amount

When your lender disburses your funds, either added to your loan amount or deducted from your funds before you receive them.

Referral fee


If you take out a loan by using a connection service.

SBA guarantee fee

0.25% to 3.75% of the guaranteed portion of the loan

When your lender disburses your funds, either added to your loan amount or deducted from your funds before you receive them. Some borrowers qualify for a waived guarantee fee.

Late fee

Either between $10 to $35 or 2% to 5% of your loan amount

After you’ve missed a payment. Many lenders have a grace period of around 15 days before the late fee applies.

Nonsufficient funds fee

$15 to $35

Whenever your business’s bank account doesn’t have enough funds to cover the payment.

Withdrawal fee

$1 to $4 per withdrawal

Cost for every transaction on your credit or debit card, if your loan is issued using a card — especially if you’re withdrawing from another bank’s ATM.

Prepayment penalty

Varies widely

Some SBA loans and commercial real estate loans have these.

Wire transfer fee

$10 to $20 per transfer

Covers the extra cost of sending a payment via wire transfer rather than direct deposit.

3 factors to compare in addition to interest rates

On top of fees, there are other factors that you might want to consider when you start the application process:

  • Down payments.
    Some business loans require you to make a down payment on the item or project you want to fund — especially equipment, vehicle loans and mortgages. Look for the “loan-to-value ratio” on these types of loans to find out what percentage the lender will cover and what your business needs to pay upfront.
  • Personal guarantee.
    Many unsecured business loans still require a personal guarantee from one or more business owners. A personal guarantee means that you’re responsible for paying back the loan if your business can’t and might require a lien on your personal assets. It might help you get approved, but also makes the loan more risky.
  • Loan term.
    If you’re getting a loan with interest, how long you have to pay back your loan affects your total loan cost just as much as the APR. Longer terms can make your loan more expensive but lower your monthly repayments. To keep down the total cost, try to avoid unnecessarily long loan terms.

Bottom line

There’s no one size fits all rate on a business loan. But knowing the general range of rates you can expect on a type of loan or from a specific lender can help you narrow down lenders. To learn more about how business loans work, check out our guide.

Frequently asked questions

Learn even more about business loan interest rates by reading these answers to standard questions.

What types of lenders have the highest approval rates?

According to the Federal Reserve, community development financial organizations (CDFIs) tend to have the highest approval rate for business loans. Small banks come in second, closely followed by online lenders. Large banks are some of the pickiest lenders, only approving 54% of business loans in 2017.

Generally, businesses with more than $1 million in annual revenue had a higher rate of approval than those with smaller annual revenues.

Do personal loans have lower rates than business loans?

They can, though it depends on your personal financial situation. If you have poor credit, a personal loan might come with a higher rate than a business loan — especially if you have other business partners who can qualify for the loan.

What is the average term for a small business loan?

It depends on the type of loan you’re applying for. SBA loans can come with terms from five to 25 years. Long-term loans tend to range from one to five years. But short-term loans can come with terms from three to 24 months.

What is the prime rate and how do lenders use it?

The prime rate is based off the federal funds rate, which is the rate banks use to lend to other banks. Lenders use this to determine the interest rate attached to your loan. The better your credit and the larger your business, the more likely you’ll be offered interest closer to the prime rate.

Some loans with variable interest rates will calculate changes based on the prime rate. This may be done monthly, quarterly or annually depending on your lender and the terms of your loan.

How do lenders set interest rate?

Lenders set their base rates by the market rate, which may be offered with little markup to established businesses with a low risk of default. If your business is still developing, you may have to sign a personal guarantee or provide collateral to secure your loan. This will lower your risk, which will then lower your interest rate.

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