How inventory financing works + Where to get it for your business

Compare inventory financing options

Make sure your suppliers get paid without putting a strain on your cash flow.

Relying on your cash flow to obtain products from suppliers can cause financial strain and stress if you have a growing business that relies on lots of inventory to keep going. This is where inventory financing comes in.

Inventory financing is designed to pay your supplier directly on your behalf, allowing you to meet your financial obligations while keeping your shelves stocked and your business’s reputation intact.

OnDeck Small Business Loans

OnDeck Small Business Loans

Among the largest online business lenders offering term loans and lines of credit at competitive fixed rates.

  • Minimum Amount: $5,000
  • Maximum Amount: $500,000
  • Loan Term: 3 to 36 months
  • Simple online application process with fast decisions
  • Dedicated loan specialists and loyalty benefits
  • Must have been in business for at least one year with annual revenue of $100,000+
  • Must have a personal credit score of 500+

    How does inventory financing work?

    Inventory financing is a line of credit or short-term loan that a business can use to buy the products it sells. Any inventory that you purchase becomes collateral for the loan, protecting the lender against default. If you’re not able to repay the loan, the lender can seize and sell the products to satisfy the debt.

    Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

    1. The lender pays your supplier.
    2. The supplier ships the goods and you restock your inventory.
    3. You sell your goods and repay the lender.

    Depending on the lender, you can apply for up to $1 million. The repayment period is determined by how long it would take to sell your inventory.

    A shorter repayment term may mean a higher interest rate, but if it’s usually a small increase. It could make financial sense to choose the shortest term you could afford because paying interest on a small loan over a longer period will eat away at your cash flow.

    Which businesses could benefit from inventory financing?

    Generally, inventory financing is used by manufacturers of consumer products and auto dealers that have large amounts of money tied up in inventory. This type of financing is especially good for businesses with international suppliers because sometimes the there are delays between paying the supplier and receiving the goods.

    Compare lenders you can apply with to get inventory financing

    Rates last updated February 24th, 2018
    Name Product Product Description Min Loan Amount Maximum Loan Amount Requirements
    LendingTree Business Loans
    Compare 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.
    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+.
    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; $75,000+ in yearly sales; No bankruptcies or tax liens; At least 20% ownership of your business; Fair or better personal credit
    LoanBuilder, A PayPal Service Business Loans
    $5,000
    $500,000
    Annual business revenue of at least $100,000, at least 1 year in business, personal credit score of 600+.
    National Business Capital Business Loans
    Get a large business loan to cover your financing needs, no matter what the purpose is.
    $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.
    $2,000
    $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.
    SmartBiz SBA Loans
    Get funding for your small business with a government-backed loan and extended repayment terms.
    $30,000
    $5,000,000
    Personal credit score of 650+; US citizen or permanent resident; Business must be 2+ years old; Annual revenue of $50,000+; No outstanding tax liens; No bankruptcies or foreclosures in past 3 years.
    Excel Capital Management Small Business Loans
    Get personalized financing options that suit your unique business needs in just a few simple steps.
    Varies by loan type
    Varies by loan type
    Your business must operate in the US, be at least 1 year old and have monthly revenue of $15,000+.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    What are the benefits of inventory financing?

    • Ideal for overseas suppliers. Shipping inventory from overseas can mean significant delays, especially if you have to put off paying your supplier. An unsecured inventory loan can expedite shipping, helping to eliminate unnecessary delays. You may also want to consider trade finance for international business transactions.
    • Avoid using working capital. You don’t have to dig into your working capital to unlock cash flow.
    • Enhance your business reputation. This solution can also help boost your business reputation because you’re able to take on bigger orders, which will increase your business capacity and maximize turnover.

    What should I keep in mind before applying?

    There are a few questions you can ask yourself before applying to ensure it’s the right decision:

    • What is the nature of your inventory? Slow-selling inventory may not be ideal for this type of finance as you may not find a lender who’ll approve you.
    • What is your credit like? You will generally need good credit to be eligible for inventory financing.
    • Are you confident in your inventory? Remember the lender has the right to inspect the inventory to ensure it’s maintained its value and that you keep track of all your inventory.

    How to qualify for inventory financing

    Lenders want to see that you’re able to make repayments, so you need to prove that your business is in decent shape financially. While you don’t have to put up collateral if applying for an unsecured inventory loan, your business must meet some standard eligibility requirements:

    • Time in the industry. Lenders like to see that your business has been operating for at least few years.
    • Minimum annual revenue. You must show your annual earnings. Minimum earning requirements differ from lender to lender but are typically at least $100,000 a year.
    • No credit defaults. Defaulting on existing financial commitments shows lenders that your business is not in a position to take on another loan.
    • Industry type. Whether or not a lender will approve a loan depends on your industry. If your business is in an industry considered to be volatile or unpredictable, your application might be rejected.

    Bottom line

    Inventory financing can be a useful option to keep your business moving if your cash flow relies on maintaining lots of inventory at once. Make sure you compare your loan options before you selecting a lender to ensure you get the right terms for your business’s needs.

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