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Best emergency business loans of 2024

The top quick funding options to keep your business running smoothly.

Emergency business loans can be a lifeline when unexpected financial challenges arise. Typically offered by online lenders, they feature low-doc applications, quick turnaround and flexible repayment terms. You can use them for virtually any purpose, including making payroll, fixing broken equipment or riding out seasonal cash flow slumps.

Here, we break down the top six emergency business loans by category to help you choose the right type of funding for your situation.

6 best emergency business loans

  • Best emergency loan marketplace: Lendio
  • Best emergency invoice financing: ClearCo
  • Best emergency term loan: OnDeck
  • Best emergency line of credit: Fundbox
  • Best emergency merchant cash advance: Credibly
  • Best emergency invoice factoring: altLINE

Best emergency loan marketplace

Lendio business loans

4.8
★★★★★

Finder score

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The Lendio marketplace has 75+ lending partners to help you find emergency funds quickly. Its partners offer a wide range of fast-turnaround term loans, such as merchant cash advances, business lines of credit, accounts receivable financing, equipment loans and more.

To get started, fill out a single online form with your information to connect with lenders who may offer you an emergency loan — even with a credit score as low as 500. But be prepared to receive a large number of marketing calls and emails.

Best emergency invoice financing

Clearco

4.8
★★★★★

Finder score

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Clearco is a fintech invoice financing company that works with e-commerce businesses. Clearco works by paying your outstanding invoices, and you pay Clearco back with smaller weekly repayments — freeing up vital cash in emergencies.

Clearco is best for e-commerce businesses with $10,000 in monthly revenue that need quick working capital. It accepts inventory, marketing, shipping and logistics invoices and uses a flat fee model based on your revenue, so you know exactly what your repayments will be.

Best emergency term loan

OnDeck short-term loans

4.6
★★★★★

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OnDeck offers fast-turnaround term loans that can be funded as soon as same-day, depending on the state. While OnDeck is ideal for quick emergency funding, its rates can run high — with the company stating that its average term loan rate is 60.9% APR.

OnDeck only requires a minimum credit score of 625, but you must be in business for at least one year with $100,000 in annual revenue to qualify. There are no prepayment penalties on its term loans, so you can save on interest by paying off the loan early.

Best emergency line of credit

Fundbox lines of credit

4.2
★★★★★

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Fundbox is a marketplace that focuses on lines of credit (LOCs). It offers fast-turnaround, low-doc LOCs up to $150,000. To qualify, you need three months in business, $100,000 in annual revenue and a credit score of 600 or higher. But rates start at 4.66% per week — an equivalent APR of 35% to 99%.

However, its rates may be a fair tradeoff for newer businesses facing a cash flow emergency. You could receive a decision in as little as three minutes and funds as soon as the next business day. And you can borrow against the same line of credit without having to complete an application every time.

Best emergency merchant cash advance

Credibly business financing

3.8
★★★★★

Finder score

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Credibly offers merchant cash advances up to $600,000 with a factor rate of 1.11, making it one of the more affordable options out there. And it's fast: Credibly states that it offers approval in as little as four hours and funding in as little as 24 hours if you're approved.

To qualify, you must be in business for at least six months and show $15,000 a month in average monthly bank deposits. Credibly gets overwhelmingly positive reviews on Trustpilot and only requires a 500 credit score to qualify.

Best emergency invoice factoring

AltLine invoice factoring

If you have unpaid invoices you want to convert into quick emergency funds, altLINE is an invoice factoring company that offers up to 90% of the value of your outstanding invoices. It serves B2B industries, including small businesses, retail, manufacturing, trucking and more.

You'll pay a factoring rate typically between 1% and 5% and a filing fee of $350 to $500. Once altLINE collects on the invoices, you receive the rest of the value minus altLINE's factoring rate. Previous customers highly rate it on Trustpilot for its speed and service.

Methodology: How we picked the best providers

Our lending experts analyze dozens of business loan providers to narrow down the best options for business owners. We weigh lenders against 12 key metrics:

  • Application process
  • Credit score minimums
  • Customer service reviews
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Extra features
  • Fees
  • Funding turnaround times
  • Lender reputation
  • Minimum and maximum loan amounts
  • Products offered
  • Rates
  • Willingness to work with risky industries

We also search for lenders that cater to a range of needs, including those that work with bad credit and newer business owners.

What is an emergency business loan?

An emergency business loan is any type of fast business loan that can help business owners cover sudden, unforeseen expenses or disruptions like equipment breakdowns, cash flow shortages or even natural disasters.

There isn’t one type of business emergency loan. Emergency loans can include any type of quick turnaround loan that can offer funds in a day or so, including term loans, lines of credit, merchant cash advances, invoice factoring and financing, as well as disaster loans from the SBA.

6 types of emergency business loans

Here are the six main types of emergency business loans:

1. Business term loan

Business term loans come in short-term loan options and long-term loan options. It’s a fixed-rate lump sum loan repaid over a fixed term, typically from one to 10 years. Depending on the lender, rates can range from 7.50% to over 60% APR. With a term loan, interest starts accruing as soon as funds hit your bank account.

2. Business line of credit

A business line of credit is a flexible form of revolving financing that allows you to access funds as needed, with repayment terms from one to two years. APRs typically range from 10% to 99%, but you only pay interest on what you actually borrow. Most lenders let you borrow against the line again as you pay it down.

3. Merchant cash advances (MCAs)

MCAs allow you to borrow against your future credit card sales and are repaid as a percentage of daily receipts. Rates run high with MCAs, with APRs that can hit up to 300%, but they can be a lifeline for newer businesses or bad-credit borrowers who may not qualify for other types of loans.

4. Invoice financing

Invoice financing uses your business’s unpaid invoices as collateral for a term loan from an invoice financing company. You can typically borrow up to 80% of your invoice’s value and pay a fee of between 2% and 5% rather than interest. With invoice financing, you retain control over your invoices.

5. Invoice factoring

Invoice factoring allows you to sell your unpaid invoices to a third-party factoring company at a discount. You get a portion of your invoices up front — usually around 80% to 95%. Then, you receive the rest of the invoice value when your client pays the factoring company, less a fee — usually called a discount rate.

6. SBA Disaster loans

An SBA disaster loan is a low-interest, long-term loan designed to help businesses recover from damage caused by a federally declared disaster. These loans offer up to $2 million in funding to businesses of all sizes to pay for losses not fully covered by insurance. You can apply for an SBA disaster loan on the SBA disaster assistance website.

Pros and cons of emergency business loans

Here are some pros and cons to consider before applying for an emergency business loan.

Pros

  • Multiple loan options to choose from.
  • Streamlined application processes with fast approval decisions.
  • Funding in as soon as 24 to 48 hours after approval — or even same-day.
  • Relaxed eligibility requirements compared to traditional loans.
  • Bad credit options available.

Cons

  • Emergency loans may charge high APRs.
  • Loan terms can be short, resulting in higher payments.
  • May require weekly or daily repayments.
  • May require a personal guarantee, which puts your personal finances at risk.
  • Emergency borrowing may not solve underlying financial issues.

When an emergency business loan makes sense

An emergency business loan can make sense when:

  • You’re facing a sudden or unexpected expense that puts your business operations at risk. For example, you’re short on payroll or an essential piece of equipment has broken down.
  • Not having emergency funding would create additional financial stress for you and your employees.
  • The loan repayments fit your budget, and you’re confident you can repay the loan on time.
  • You can secure a competitive interest rate for your business.
  • Your business has experienced a federally declared disaster.

How to get an emergency business loan

To get an emergency business loan, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the financing you need. Evaluate term loans, LOCs, MCAs or invoice factoring and financing to determine which works best for your situation. Talk to a qualified loan officer if you need guidance.
  2. Check your eligibility. This involves checking your personal and business credit scores, tallying your monthly or annual revenue and time in business.
  3. Gather your documentation. Depending on the loan, the lender may ask for bank statements, tax returns, financial statements and other documents. You may also need to provide a personal guarantee or pledge assets.
  4. Complete the application. Fill out the full application and upload the required documents or link to your financial accounts. Be sure to review the application thoroughly to avoid delays in processing. Some lenders may be no-doc lenders that require very little documentation during the loan process.
  5. Wait for approval and funding. Emergency online lenders tend to have fast approval and funding times. If you’re approved, you could have a decision same-day and funds in 24 to 48 hours or less.

How much do emergency business loans cost?

Emergency business loans carry higher interest rates and fees than traditional bank loans. Right now, the average rate on a bank prime loan is sitting at 8.50%, according to the Federal Reserve, which is the rate commercial banks charge their best credit customers.

That means emergency loans will charge rates several hundred basis points above that, with rates potentially ranging anywhere from 35% to 100% APR. Some emergency loan lenders also charge origination fees from 2% to 6%, which are deducted from the loan amount.

Alternatives to emergency business loans

If you can’t find a business loan that works for you, try some alternatives:

  • Personal loan. Some lenders may let you use a personal loan for business expenses. Unlike working capital loans, personal loans don’t consider your business financials or time in business, which may be ideal for startups.
  • Business credit card. For ongoing working capital needs, consider a business credit card. Not only can they help build your business credit score, but you can also earn perks like points or cash back on your business expenses.
  • ACH business loan. These types of loans, also called ACH cash flow loans, offer a lump sum of cash in exchange for allowing the lender to deduct payment directly from your business bank account. They’re typically easy to qualify for and offer quick cash.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get an emergency business loan with bad credit?

Yes, it’s possible to get an emergency business loan with bad credit. Some lenders accept scores as low as 500 as long as you meet the other requirements. And some types of emergency funding, like invoice factoring and financing, don’t rely on credit scores.

How do I qualify for an emergency business loan?

To qualify for emergency financing for your business, you typically need a minimum credit score of 500 to 600, be in business for at least three to six months and show an annual business revenue between $30,000 and $100,000.

What credit score do you need for an emergency loan?

Most online lenders offering emergency business loans require a minimum credit score of 500 to 600.

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To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Megan B. Shepherd as part of our fact-checking process.
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Written by

Writer

Kat Aoki was a personal finance writer at Finder, specializing in consumer and business lending. She’s written thousands of articles to help consumers make better decisions on their home loans, bank accounts, credit cards, cryptocurrency and more. Kat is well versed in working with leading brands in the real estate, mortgage and personal finance industries, and her expertise has been featured on Forbes Advisor, Lifewire and financial comparison sites like iSelect and realestate.com.au. She holds a BS in business administration from California State University, Sacramento and enjoys hiking and yoga in her spare time. See full bio

Kat's expertise
Kat has written 198 Finder guides across topics including:
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