You can get a $20,000 business loan from banks, credit unions, alternative lenders and brokers. Banks and credit unions have more competitive rates than alternative lenders, but they are slower to fund loans and have stricter eligibility requirements.
Where to get a $20,000 small business loan
From banks to brokers, each type of provider has its benefits and drawbacks:
Banks and credit unions
You may think that $20,000 is too small of a business loan for banks like the Big Five, but this isn’t the case. RBC business loans, for example, start at $5,000. To get approved for a business loan from financial institutions, you’ll need positive business revenue and a good credit score. You’ll also need to meet with an advisor and show them business and personal tax returns, financial statements and a business plan. Banks take weeks to give approval and funding, but they give competitive loan offers.
Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP)
If you are a startup or small business, you can get a $20,000 loan through the Canada Small Business Financing Program. This is a business loan partially backed by the Canadian government. The CSBFP has a maximum loan amount of $1 million, but it does not have a minimum loan amount. You can apply for this loan through a participating bank or credit union as long as your business has gross revenues of $10 million or less and is not involved in farming.
If you need a $20,000 business loan fast or don’t qualify for a bank loan, you can apply to alternative lenders. These lenders require less paperwork and can give approval and funding within 1 to 3 business days, especially for a loan of this size. However, they charge higher-than-average interest rates.
If you’re unfamiliar with business lending and need an intermediary to match you with lenders that want to finance business, you can apply to a business loan broker. Some brokers won’t charge you to use their service (they will receive a commission from the lender instead), while others will charge you a fee.
Can I get a $20,000 CEBA business loan?
The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan was a loan provided by the federal government to support businesses during COVID. Businesses could apply for a $60,000 CEBA loan or for the $20,000 expansion if they qualified for the previous $40,000 limit. The deadline to apply for the CEBA loan was June 30, 2021. Currently, the federal government is not accepting CEBA applications.
How to apply for a $20,000 business loan
The application process for a $20,000 business varies depending on your business, your personal finances and what you want to fund. But generally, it includes the following steps:
- Compare providers that offer the type of funding you need at $20,000. Also consider factors like the turnaround time, minimum requirements, rates, fees and customer reviews.
- Get a rate quote from your top choices. You can do this by filling out an online prequalification form or by speaking to a loan officer.
- Find the documents you need to complete the application, such as personal and business tax returns, bank statements and financial statements.
- Fill out the rest of the application and submit any additional documents that your lender requires, like a government-issued ID and void cheque.
- Review your final offer, paying attention to the annual percentage rate (APR), fees, payment due dates and terms.
- Sign the contract and wait to receive your funds. Typically, funds are available within a few business days after signing off on the loan.
Overall, the process of getting a $20,000 business loan can range from one day to a few weeks. Alternative lenders are generally the fastest. Banks and credit unions can take longer — especially if it’s your first loan with that institution.
How to get a $20,000 small business loan with bad credit
You can get a $20,000 business loan with bad credit by applying to a lender that accepts personal credit scores below 560. Some alternative lenders specialize in bad credit business financing. Rather than fixating on your credit score, they’ll look at the overall health of your business. And some, like merchant cash advance and factoring companies, don’t consider your credit score at all. But these are often extremely expensive and can come with fees equivalent to 300% APR.
To increase your chances of approval on a business loan, consider the following steps:
- Provide collateral. Secure your loan with an asset, such as inventory or equipment.
- Get a guarantor. A guarantor agrees to cover your repayments if you default on your loan.
- Lower the loan amount. If a lender can’t approve you for a $20,000 business loan, ask to borrow a smaller amount instead.
How much does a $20,000 business loan cost?
The cost of a $20,000 small business loan depends on the rates and terms you qualify for. Use our calculator to estimate how much you’ll pay each month and in total.
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Banks, credit unions, alternative lenders and brokers all offer $20,000 business loans. And since $20,000 is a relatively low amount for a business loan, you could have an easier time qualifying for a loan with bad credit or as a startup. Compare more options by reading our guide to business loans.
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