How to get a personal loan for your small business | finder.com

Can you use a personal loan for your small business?

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How you can use personal financing to expand your business or get it off the ground.

It can feel next to impossible to get startup funding, especially when your business hasn’t opened its doors. But because personal loans are lent to individuals, the state of your business won’t be a concern. Instead, your ability to repay and your creditworthiness are what lenders consider. You’ll still need to meet certain eligibility criteria, but you won’t have to provide a business plan or jump through the hoops associated with borrowing a business loan.

Our top pick: LendingClub Personal Loan

  • Min. Credit Score Required: 640
  • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: $40,000
  • APR: 6.95% to 35.89%
  • Requirements: US citizen or permanent resident, verifiable bank account, steady source of income, ages 18+.
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Flexible loan terms
  • Fast and easy application

Our top pick: LendingClub Personal Loan

A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.

  • Min. Credit Score Required: 640
  • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: $40,000
  • APR: 6.95% to 35.89%
  • Requirements: US citizen or permanent resident, verifiable bank account, steady source of income, ages 18+.
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Can I use a personal loan for business?

The short answer is yes, you can use a personal loan for business needs.

Personal loans rely on your credit as an individual and play by rules that slightly differ from business requirements. You may have the option of a secured personal loan, but it’s less likely that you’ll need to provide collateral with a personal loan than with a business loan.

While personal loans can generally be used for any legitimate reason, including financing a business, you should consider the conditions they could come with. The biggest one is that your name — not your business name — is attached to the loan. Any missteps could become personal liabilities.

Personal loans for business in a nutshell

  • How much can I borrow? Up to $50,000
  • How long is a typical loan term? 1 to 5 years
  • What rates can I expect? 4% to 36%, depending on your personal credit
  • How fast can I get my money? As quickly as one business day

What do I need to qualify?

To get the best personal loan, you’ll generally need to have a good credit score of 680 or higher. Applying is fairly easy through the provider’s website or by clicking Go to Site in our comparison table.

When applying for a personal loan, have your personal information and financial details handy. Depending on the lender, your application could take as little as five minutes to complete.

What if I have bad credit?

Life happens, and sometimes it leads to less-than-perfect credit. Luckily, you have ways to improve your credit over time.

You can improve your credit by doing things like paying down your open balances and keeping up on payments.

But not everyone has time to raise their credit score. You could also apply for bad credit personal loans. Bad credit personal loans should be weighed carefully, as they tend to carry higher interest rates and costs.

Compare personal loans you can use for business

Updated June 25th, 2019
Name Product Filter Values Minimum Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
550
$100,000
3.99% to 35.99%
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
680
$100,000
5.99% to 16.24%
No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.
640
$40,000
6.95% to 35.89%
A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
Good to excellent credit
$100,000
5.34% to 35.99%
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.
620
$50,000
7.98 to 35.99%
This service looks beyond your credit score to get you a competitive-rate personal loan.
550
$100,000
3.84% to 35.99%
Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
550
$10,000
34% to 155% (Varies by state)
Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
640 FICO®
$35,000
5.99% to 29.99%
A prime lender with multiple repayment methods.

Compare up to 4 providers

Case study

A woman from Utah uses a personal loan through Prosper to take her small business to the next level:

Prosper personal loan for business use

Are personal loans for business tax-deductible?

With sufficient documentation, you can potentially deduct interest payments on your loan from your taxes. Getting this deduction requires keeping records of what you spent the money on and how these payments relate to your business.

A personal loan you get for your small business may be used for more than just business, though. To ensure that interest payments are deductible, you may need to do a little more work — only funds used for business expenses can be deducted from your taxes.

One way to keep track of how much you spent on business is to put the funds you intend to use for these purchases into your business account. Separating your business funds from your personal accounts makes it easy to determine what percentage of the interest you pay goes toward business expenditures.

Personal loans and taxes — what you need to know

Pros and cons of using a personal loan for a small business

Pros

  • Quick process. It can take weeks to complete the process for a business loan, whereas some personal loans are funded within a business day.
  • Startup friendly. Because you’re personally taking responsibility for the loan, your business doesn’t need to meet any requirements.
  • Low interest rates. Good or excellent credit can typically get you lower interest rates for personal loans. A business loan could be more costly if your business credit isn’t as robust.
  • Reasonable repayment terms. Some business financing require weekly or even daily repayments. With a personal loan, repayments are more likely to be monthly.

Cons

  • Lower limits. Business loans can have maximums of millions of dollars. Personal loan maximums are generally limited to around $50,000.
  • Personal liability. You are personally stuck with the consequences of repayment issues. If your business doesn’t become profitable or you decide to close the business, you still have to pay back all of the loan.
  • Less support. With many lenders, getting a business loan also means gaining access to tools and experts to help you grow your business. You usually won’t get this same business support with a personal loan lender.

4 tips to get the most out of a personal loan

  1. Consider efficiency. Think about how much time and money each purchase might help you save when considering how you spend your loan funds.
  2. Go secondhand when you can. Some machines are built to last and don’t need more than a few repairs to keep on running for decades. Some might even last longer than newer versions — a lot of new equipment is designed to become obsolete in a few years.
  3. Stock up with wholesalers. More inventory means more potential sales. Use your personal loan to take advantage of wholesaler deals to save on costs.
  4. Make an investment in marketing. Now that you have the goods, you need the customers. Investing in a marketing plan by hiring a consultant — or even doing it yourself — can more than pay for itself.

Other alternatives to business loans

Bottom line

There are definite benefits to personal loans for business use, depending on your situation. Startups and business owners who only need a few thousand dollars may have better luck qualifying for a personal loan. When combined with other types of business financing, a personal loan could be an excellent asset to expand your business.

Before you start, take a look at your options by reading our guide to personal loans.

Frequently asked questions

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US Personal Loans Offers

Important Information*
Logo for Credible Personal Loans
Credible Personal Loans

Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.

Logo for Even Financial Personal Loans
Even Financial Personal Loans

Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.

Logo for LendingClub Personal Loan
LendingClub Personal Loan

A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.

Logo for SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)
SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)

No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.

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US Personal Loans Offers

Important Information*
Logo for Credible Personal Loans
Credible Personal Loans

Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.

Logo for Even Financial Personal Loans
Even Financial Personal Loans

Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.

Logo for LendingClub Personal Loan
LendingClub Personal Loan

A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.

Logo for SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)
SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)

No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.

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