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Best loans for startups and new businesses of 2024

Getting startup funding can be tricky — but these lenders are willing to work with new business owners.

New companies can have a hard time getting a loan. That’s because lenders see startups as risky: About half of small businesses fail during the first five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And with the Federal Reserve’s decision to maintain interest rates at a 22-year high in the fourth quarter of 2023, borrowing money remains expensive, causing some lenders to tighten their belts.

While traditional bank loans aren’t an option for new businesses, alternative online lenders and personal loan providers may be able to provide the startup capital you need. Here’s a list of the eight best funding options for new businesses by category. We also offer a list of alternatives if these picks don’t fit your startup.

8 best loans for new businesses and startups

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  • 12+ types of business loans analyzed
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We're big on editorial independence. That means our content, reviews and ratings are fair, accurate and trustworthy. We don't let advertisers or partners sway our opinions. Our financial experts put in the hard work, spending hours researching and analyzing hundreds of products based on data-driven methodologies to find the best accounts and providers for you. Explore our editorial guidelines to see how we work.

Best overall

Lendio business loans

4.8
★★★★★

Finder score

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Lendio is a highly-rated loan marketplace that lets you compare different funding options for startups and newer businesses, including business credit cards, short-term loans, SBA loans, equipment financing, lines of credit and more.

Lendio's free application lets you compare lenders quickly with just a soft credit check. It has over 75 lenders in its network and comes highly rated by thousands of customers on Trustpilot. And unlike other marketplaces, Lendio never charges the borrower for its loan services.

Best for microloans

Kiva business loans

3.7
★★★★★

Finder score

Go to site
on Businessloans.com's secure site

Kiva is a microlender that specializes in small-dollar financing for underserved business owners — with no time-in-business requirements. Its crowdfunded loans up to $15,000 come with 0% interest, making it one of the most competitive options for small dollar loans on this list.

However, raising funds can take longer than a month, so it's not the quickest option for funding. But you don't necessarily need to be a US citizen or permanent resident to qualify, and It's willing to work with entrepreneurs of all credit types.

Best for invoice financing

FundThrough Invoice Factoring and Financing

4.5
★★★★★

Finder score

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on Businessloans.com's secure site
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FundThrough offers no-paperwork invoice factoring and financing. It doesn't have any fixed time in business requirements and is willing to fund businesses in the startup phase. And it's fully automated: You can connect to your business bank account and accounting software instead of submitting bank statements.

FundThrough is also one of the few companies that offer up to 100% advance rates and works with accounts receivables that have minimum outstanding invoice amount of at least $100,000 in accounts receivables or invoices to one customer. Fees are typical for an invoice factoring provider, ranging from 2.75% to 8.25% of your invoice's value.

Best for personal loans

Finance Factory business loans

4.1
★★★★★

Finder score

Finance Factory is a connection service that offers multiple financing options for startups, including business credit cards, personal loans and lines of credit. To qualify for these options, Finance Factory looks at your personal credit history, tax returns and financial statements — not your time in business.

You'll fare better at qualifying if your credit score is 700 to 800 and you have a minimum account balance of $1,000 to $5,000 in monthly cash flow. And while you could snag an unsecured personal loan here, the company charges a service fee of 9.9% on all funded loans, except for commercial real estate loans.

Best for SBA loans

SmartBiz business loans

4.5
★★★★★

Finder score

SmartBiz is a connection service that works with banks and preferred lenders (SBA's Preferred Lender Program) to issue SBA loans, and there are other startup loan options as well. Unlike other services, SmartBiz can help you navigate the lengthy process of applying for an SBA loan, which can be helpful for new businesses.

Customers rave about how easy and seamless the service is, citing knowledgeable and thorough representatives. But on the downside, SmartBiz isn't free — there's both a referral fee and packaging fee which are deducted from your loan proceeds, both capped at 2% of the loan amount.

Best for business line of credit

Bluevine business lines of credit

4.3
★★★★★

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If you're looking for a line of credit, Bluevine works with businesses that have been operating for at least six months and have fair credit, but you need to have at least $40,000 in monthly revenue to qualify. But it has some of the most competitive APRs out there, and it doesn't charge any maintenance, origination or draw fees.

Its lines of credit are revolving, so you can borrow and repay as needed. Repayments are typically weekly for new businesses. But once your business reaches $80,000 a month in revenue, payments can be monthly. And while same-day funding is available, you'll have to pay an extra fee for this.

Best if you haven’t opened yet

Guidant Financial business loans

4
★★★★★

Finder score

Guidant Financial offers a wide range of funding for new businesses, including SBA loans, franchise financing and unsecured loans with no personal collateral requirement. To qualify, you'll need a minimum credit score of 690, plus a good credit history.

It also offers loans backed by personal collateral, including 401(k) business financing (Rollovers for Business Startups, aka ROBS). It also has portfolio loans which are backed by securities and work like a revolving line of credit. Portfolio loans let you borrow against your assets at a low interest rate.

Best for equipment loans

National Funding business loans

4.6
★★★★★

Finder score

If you're looking to finance equipment and don't want to tie up your credit lines and other loans — National Funding offers customized loans directly and with its lending partners, and you only need to be in business for six months to qualify.

It offers equipment financing and leasing of up to $150,000 for new or used equipment. It also guarantees you won't find a lower monthly payment elsewhere or it pays $1,000 toward the equipment lease. And there's no down payment requirement.

Methodology: How we choose the best startup lenders

Finder’s editorial experts review over 200 business loan providers before selecting the best lenders for new businesses. We pick lenders that have relaxed time in business requirements, good customer service and competitive rates. We also review each company’s Better Business Bureau reviews and Trustpilot ratings.

We weigh lenders and financing companies against these factors:

  • Time in business requirements
  • Annual revenue requirements
  • Willingness to work with new or risky industries
  • APRs
  • Fees, such as origination fees
  • Loan amounts
  • Repayment terms
  • Credit score requirements
  • Turnaround time
  • State availability
  • Application process
  • Lender reputation and customer reviews

What is a startup business loan

A startup business loan is a type of financing designed to help new businesses get off the ground. They provide capital that can be used to buy a new business or franchise, pay for equipment and provide working capital to fund the day-to-day operations and expansion of the business.

The most common types of startup and new business loans include SBA 7(a) loans, personal loans, equipment loans, lines of credit and business credit cards. There are also portfolio loans and ROBS (rollovers as business startups), which leverage your personal assets to fund a business.

How financing can benefit a new business

Startup business loans give you access to capital you might not otherwise have. With it, you can fund your expenses without selling equity — all while improving your business’s positive payment history and building a relationship with a lender.

  • Speeds up growth
  • Funds initial expenses
  • No equity requirement
  • Build business credit

How do I qualify for a business startup loan?

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Business loan requirements vary from lender to lender. However, those available to new businesses focus on the entrepreneur’s history of paying off personal debt rather than the business itself. You’ll have the most options if you meet the following criteria.

  • Good credit. Many business startup loan providers ask for a 670 credit score or higher.
  • No recent bankruptcies. In addition to your credit score, startup lenders typically look at your credit report. Bankruptcies stay on your report for seven to 10 years, depending on how you file.
  • No recent delinquencies. If you’ve been late paying off debt, that could also hurt your chances of getting a startup loan.
  • A strong business plan. Since your business doesn’t have a track record to back itself up, your business plan is often the only place where you get to make a case for yourself.
  • Enough revenue. Some lenders only require around $10,000 in monthly revenue to qualify, while others may require $100,000 or more per month.
  • Time in business. Many business loan providers have a minimum time-in-business requirement. For startups, that could be anywhere from six months to one year.

Be wary of companies that push you to pay in advance to help you loan shop, require you to pay fees upfront or seem to have unverifiable guaranteed approval. These “lenders” may actually be business loan scams. Learn the warning signs to identify a potential scammer as you shop around.

Can I get a startup business loan with bad credit?

It’s possible to get a business loan with bad credit, but your options are extremely limited. You may have better luck considering other financing alternatives, such as rollover for business startups (ROBS) or crowdfunding — that don’t necessarily rely on your credit score. Microlenders and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are also your friend: Many have programs designed to support local entrepreneurs. They typically offer small amounts of financing in exchange for a training course.

You may be able to qualify for some term loans or alternate types of business loans. But be aware that these come with a higher price tag — think APRs over 300%. And if you’re just starting out, it may be worth improving your personal credit score before borrowing for your business.

How to apply for a loan as a new business

Once you know how much you need to borrow and compare lenders, you’re ready to apply. Applying for a business loan may require a lot of documentation, and SBA loans also require completing SBA-specific forms. While there are a few lenders with low or no required documents, they may not offer the best rates to new businesses.

Documentation to prepare can include:

  • Growth and revenue forecasts.
  • Recent personal and business tax returns.
  • Bank statements.
  • Financial projections.
  • Owner financial statements and resumes.
  • Business plan and business history.

Once you’ve followed the lender’s application process and submitted all the requested documents, you’ll receive a credit decision (approval or denial letter). If you choose to accept the loan, you’ll complete the application and wait for your funds, which may take a week or longer, depending on the financing you’re applying for.

Here’s our more detailed guide on applying for a business loan.

Is it possible to get a 0% interest business loan?

Yes, it’s possible to get a 0% interest business loan. Kiva, a lender on this list, offers a 0% interest small business loan of up to $15,000. Guidant Financial also offers unsecured loans with interest rates starting from 0% to 3% for qualified borrowers. However, these are not specifically startup loans.

You can also look into a 0% introductory rate business credit card to start a business, which may be easier to qualify for than other types of business funding. Other low-interest business loans can be found at banks, credit unions and online lenders — but you typically need good credit to qualify and startups may not be eligible.

More types of financing for new businesses and startups

Borrowing isn’t always the best idea when you’re just getting started. Not only will it be potentially more expensive and more difficult to qualify for, but you’ll also be personally responsible for any money your business borrows and can’t repay. Women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs from historically marginalized groups can also have a harder time getting their foot through the door, thanks to human bias and structural barriers to getting a loan.

Some other ways to finance a startup include:

  • Equity investments — Small businesses may be able to get an equity investment through a venture capital firm or an angel investor. There’s no limit to how much money you can raise through this method. And while you won’t have to pay back any of the money you receive from an investor, you could lose partial control of your company. You may want to keep a lawyer on retainer for this sort of funding, though. They’ll help you navigate securities laws so your business can avoid legal issues down the road.
  • Home equity loans or HELOCs — If you own a home with at least 20% of equity, you could borrow against your home to help fund your startup, aka a second mortgage. Home equity loans or HELOCs tend to come with lower interest rates than other unsecured borrowing methods. But your home is collateral on the loan, so tread carefully.
  • Crowdfunding — With equity crowdfunding, your company starts an online campaign to receive funding from multiple investors in exchange for partial ownership. With rewards-based crowdfunding, your business offers prizes in exchange for donations. The amount of funding you can get may be restricted based on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rulings.
  • Business grants — Startups with a mission, especially nonprofits, might want to look into business grants to get off the ground. Like an investment, you don’t have to repay a grant. However, they can be highly competitive and require a lot of work. They also typically don’t get much higher than around $15,000, so you’ll likely need other funding methods to supplement it.
  • Credit cards — A credit card can be a great way to cover smaller expenses and manage your company’s spending since multiple people can have cards from the same account. Some of the top startup-friendly business credit cards have a 0% APR promotional period, making it a viable option for businesses that expect to be able to pay off what they spend within the first year.
  • Rollover for business startups (ROBS) — If you’re willing to borrow from your retirement plan, a ROBS might be a worthwhile investment for your startup. It involves taking advantage of a tax loophole that allows your business to access these funds without paying a penalty if it’s the right type of corporation. You need to at least $50,000 in your retirement account to qualify and could face heavy fines, so many business owners opt to hire a third party to handle the details.
  • Friend and family loans — Initial financing to get a startup off the ground. Borrowing from your friends and family is sometimes the easiest way to get a good deal on startup funding — and there’s a chance you might not have to pay interest or sell any equity. Want to make it official? Use a service like LoanWell to whip together a legally binding contract with interest fees and late penalties.

How to crowdfund a startup

Some startups may choose to offer investors goods, services or equity in their company in exchange for funding. Crowdfunding also helps companies generate buzz and make connections with potential clients.

There are a few types of crowdfunding available. The right one for your business depends on your particular needs.

  • Equity crowdfunding exchanges funds from investors for partial ownership of the company. You can raise up to $75 million, but fees can set you back as much as $100,000, and regulations are difficult to navigate.
  • Donation-based crowdfunding comes with few regulations and doesn’t require anything in return. Typically, the only cost is a platform fee.
  • Rewards-based crowdfunding works like donation-based crowdfunding — but contributors to your campaign receive a gift in exchange. Typically, you also have to pay a platform fee.

Recap: Best startup business loans

And remember, there are plenty of options at every stage of the business process. Read our guide to the best business loans for more options.

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Explore the top business loan guides to help you along your business journey. From information on the best business loans on the market or your best startup loan options, to business loans that require little to no paperwork and more.

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4 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    FaratziAugust 1, 2017

    How much can I borrow from a private lender? Until what amount he can give me with my house property as a collateral? Where can I find private lenders that give big amounts of money for business and for buying my instruments, an amount of 1 million with my house property as a collateral?? I want to find a real one because there are a lot of frauds. I am waiting for your urgent response. Thank you!

      Default Gravatar
      DanielleAugust 2, 2017

      Hi Faratzi,

      Thank you for contacting Finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      Generally, large loan amounts usually have specific eligibility criteria which include a minimum income requirement as this is one way for lenders to make sure their borrowers have the capacity to repay their loan amount. Lenders will also take into consideration your credit standing, employment status, outstanding loan, and other liabilities in their decision-making.

      You can compare business loans for options that may suit your needs. You may review and compare the offers available on the table. Once you have selected one, you may proceed by clicking the green “Go to Site” button.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

    Default Gravatar
    LaurelJuly 13, 2017

    Currently I am on employed but intend to start my own online business as an affiliate marketer through a well established training program called Aspire. I have absolutely no personal funds to use to pay for their training program which costs $2000. Although they cannot guarantee instant income, their average affiliates start making $8000 per month in the first 90 days. Also, my credit rating is approximately 560 right now. Where can I possibly get a $2-3,000 start up business loan to start my business?

      AvatarFinder
      HaroldJuly 16, 2017Finder

      Hi Laurel,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Many business lenders require that your business has been established for at least six months and that it’s meeting certain revenue minimums. There are some lenders who may consider your business plan and personal credit profile in lieu of business experience to evaluate your loan application and assess risks. We do have a guide about startup loans that will help you understand how you can get a business loan in the early stages. You could also get a personal loan to start a new business.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

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