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Compare short-term business loans

Top business financing options for quick cashflow fixes.


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Sometimes a little bit of financing can make all the difference to a small business. A computer crashes and you don’t make enough revenue to quite cover the cost. Bills are due and your business only has outstanding invoices, not cold hard cash. The short-term loan that your business can get for a quick fix will depend on factors such as your annual revenue and credit score.

Compare short-term business loans

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter Values Loan amount APR Requirements
First Down Funding business loans
$5,000 – $300,000
Fee Based
At least 2 years in business, an annual revenue of $300,000+, and a minimum credit score of 400
Alternative financing up to $300K with highly competitive rates.
Lendio business loans
$500 – $5,000,000
Starting at 6%
Operate business in US or Canada, have a business bank account, 560+ personal credit score
Submit one simple application to potentially get offers from a network of over 300 legit business lenders.
ROK Financial business loans
$10,000 – $5,000,000
Starting at 6%
Eligibility criteria 3+ months in business, $15,000+ in monthly gross sales or $180,000+ in annual sales
A connection service for all types of businesses — even startups.
OnDeck small business loans
$5,000 – $250,000
As low as 11.89%
600+ personal credit score, 1 year in business, $100,000+ annual revenue
A leading online business lender offering flexible financing at competitive fixed rates.
Rapid Finance small business loans
$5,000 – $1,000,000
Fee based
Steady flow of credit card sales, bad credit OK

Compare up to 4 providers

How do short-term business loans work?

There’s no one way that short-term business loans work. That’s because a short-term loan can be any type of business financing: Fixed-term loans, invoice factoring or financing and payroll funding all involve different ways of borrowing and paying back funds.

What short-term loans have in common is that they typically come in smaller amounts, have shorter loan terms and more require frequent payments than your standard business loan. With most short-term business loans, you can expect to make daily or weekly repayments and pay it off in a matter of months or up to two years. Interest rates and fees are also typically higher than long-term business loans but they have lower personal credit requirements.

Often referred to as business payday loans, these are generally meant for emergencies to fix quick cashflow problems. That’s because high interest rates and fees make them unaffordable to cover large expenses — and you likely won’t be able to qualify for a large amount of funds anyway.

5 types of short-term business loans

There’s no one-size-fits-all short-term business loan. The loan type that works best for you depends on your business’s immediate needs and how it operates. Have a lot of outstanding invoices? Invoice factoring might be what you’re looking for. Just need to cover a small one-time expense? A business term loan might be best.

Here are five common types of short-term business loans to consider and how they compare:

Business term loan

Any business with a one-time expense

$2,000 to $250,000

As fast as one day

Starting at 10% APR

  • 580+ credit score
  • 6+ months in business
  • $10,000+ monthly revenue

Invoice factoring

Businesses that rely on accounts receivable and don’t care about keeping relationship with customers

80% to 95% of the value of your invoices

As fast as one day

Factor fee between 0.2% and 5% each week your client takes to pay their invoice

  • 6+ months in business
  • $50,000+ annual revenue

Invoice financing

Businesses that rely on accounts receivable and want to keep their relationship with customers

70% to 95% of the value of your invoices

As fast as one day

Processing fee around 3% plus a factor fee from 1% to 5% each week your client takes to pay their invoice

  • 6+ months in business
  • $50,000+ annual revenue

Line of credit

Seasonal businesses

$2,000 to $100,000

As fast as one day

12% to 36% APR

  • 1+ years in business
  • $50,000+ annual revenue

Merchant cash advance

Businesses that rely on credit or debit card sales

$2,000 to $250,000

As fast as one week

Factor rates from 1.14 to 1.18

  • 500+ credit score
  • 1+ years in business
  • $10,000+ monthly revenue

Business term loan

Business term loans come in one lump sum that you pay back over a set period of time with interest and fees. Loans with a term less than 18 months or two years are considered short-term and often come with daily or weekly repayments, instead of monthly repayments.

Invoice factoring

Invoice factoring involves selling your business’s unpaid invoices to a third party for a percentage of their value. Your lender gives your business a smaller percentage of the invoices upfront after deducting a fee. Once your customers pay off the invoices, the lender gives your business the remaining amount.

You can either sign up for invoice factoring monthly to make sure all of your business expenses are covered or use invoice factoring to cover a one-time payment. You can also either factor all of your business’s invoices or select which invoices to factor.

Invoice financing

Similar to invoice factoring, invoice financing gives you an advance on your invoices. It’s essentially a loan backed by your company’s invoices. You’ll get a percentage of your invoice’s value upfront, which you pay back with interest and fees. Once the client pays you, you repay your lender.

Line of credit

Lines of credit give your business access to a certain amount of funds at the last minute, similar to a credit card. You only have to repay what you borrow and your loan term typically starts when you make your first withdrawal. Short-term lines of credit typically come with terms that range from six to 12 months with weekly or even monthly repayments.

Merchant cash advance

Merchant cash advances are quick lump-sum advances on your business’s future sales. Your business can typically qualify for a certain percentage of its annual sales and pay it back with a percentage of your business’s daily sales or with fixed daily withdrawals from your business’s bank account.

Instead of getting an interest rate, you’ll get a factor rate, which determines how much you’re on the hook to pay back up front. Multiply your merchant cash advance by the factor rate and that’s how much you’ll pay.

How can a short-term loan benefit my business?

  • Covers gaps in cash flow.You need money to keep things running, but revenue has stopped coming in — for now. A short-term business loan can help pick up the slack to maintain overhead costs while you wait for things to go back to normal.
  • Gets you cash fast.Many short-term business loan providers can get you funds in as little as one business day after you submit your application.
  • Designed for emergencies.Your business’s van broke down days before a huge delivery or one of your restaurants’ ovens is on the fritz. A short-term business loan can give you just enough to cover those immediate repair costs so your business doesn’t lose even more money.
  • Doesn’t require good credit.Short-term lenders often accept credit scores in the 500s, meaning you don’t need to have a spotless personal financial past to qualify for this business loan.
  • Minimal paperwork.Not only is the turnaround time quick, the amount of time and effort needed for the application is generally less than your typical business loan, letting you get back to work quickly.

What to watch out for

  • Can be expensive.Short-term loans come with higher interest rates and fees than other types of loans, especially if they come with lax credit requirements.
  • May have weekly or daily repayments.If your business is just starting out and doesn’t make money every day or relies on large lump-sum payments each month, it could have trouble paying back a short-term business loan.
  • Can be a debt trap.With any short-term loan, there’s a risk of borrowers taking out more short-term loans to pay off the last loan. With high interest rates, it’s not difficult to spiral into a cycle of debt that could ruin your credit and put you out of business.
  • Not good for large expenses.The larger the loan, the higher your repayments will be — and the more interest you’ll pay. With such frequent repayments, a large short-term loan could be the recipe for default and a ruined business.

How do short-term business loans compare to other loan types?

Short-term loans

As fast as one business day

Less than 1 year

SBA Loans

As fast as three weeks

5–25 years

Lines of credit

As fast as one business day

6 months to 5 years

Long-term loans

As fast as two business days

1–5 years

Merchant cash advance

About one week

Varies by sales amount

Personal loans for business

As fast as one business day

3–5 years

Bottom line

Short-term business loans could help your business in a pinch. Their fast turnaround time and relatively effortless applications mean you can get a small amount of funds fast when you need it. But your business will pay for that quick and easy application — they cost more than your typical business loan. You might want to treat them as a last resort.

Curious about how other types of business financing work? Check out ourbusiness loans guide, where we break things down and compare lenders.

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