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Best startup business loans of September 2022

Compare options for entrepreneurs and small businesses less than three years old.

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This article was reviewed by Doug Noll, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and award-winning lawyer, mediator and author with over 40 years of experience in the legal field.

Startup business loans work a little differently than funding options for established businesses. Instead of focusing on your business’s revenue and debts, these lenders look at your personal credit and finances.

In many cases, business lenders are not willing to work with businesses that haven’t actually opened their doors. Most still require you to have at least six months in business and an annual revenue of $100,000 or more. That’s why many entrepreneurs rely on personal loans to finance those first few months of expenses.

Weigh all your options before you get a startup business loan. Funding a startup is risky and lenders tend to charge higher interest rates and fees on small business loans. And whether you get a personal loan or a business loan, you are personally responsible for repaying the loan if your business fails.

To help you find the best choice, we’ve broken down your options into seven categories and selected seven top lenders — and have a list of alternatives if your business doesn’t qualify.

7 best startup business loans

Our team has spent over 600 hours reviewing over 220 business loan providers before we picked these eight options. We paid special attention to requirements, interest rates, fees and repayment terms. We also keep this list updated, regularly. In February 2022, we replaced Fundbox with FundThrough as our pick for the best invoice financing option for startups — it has not fixed requirements for time in business.

LenderMinimum costMaximum loan amountMinimum credit score
Lendio6% APR$5,000,000580
Upgrade7.46% APR$50,000600
HometapPercentage of your home’s value75% LTV600
Kiva0% APR$15,000None
Seek Business CapitalVaries by lender$500,000680
Guidant Financial12% APR$150,000690
BlueVine4.8% APR$250,000600
FundThrough2.5% to 6% financing fee$10,000,000None

Lender marketplaces

A lender marketplace, also known as a connection service, allows you to fill out one application for your business. After, your information will be sent to lenders that are part of the marketplace’s network.

This means you can see what your business might qualify before you submit a full application as well as supporting documents. And while your business is limited to a smaller network of lenders, it may help you determine what type of financing best suits your business — and the potential costs it could face.

Lendio business loans

Finder rating 4.75 / 5 ★★★★★

Lendio has a large network of lenders offering 12 types of business financing — including credit cards and startup loans up to $750,000. You also don't need to have the best credit to qualify — its partners accept scores as low as 560. And its rates are capped relatively low for startup financing at just 17%. But it's not a good idea if you're in a rush — it can take up to a month to get your funds.

Personal loans

If you have strong credit and a steady source of income outside of your business, a personal loan can fund your startup at a lower rate. Your lack of revenue or time in business won’t hurt your application. And where startup-friendly business loans can top 100% APR in some cases, many states don’t allow lenders to charge more than 36% APR on consumer financing.

However, personal loans are rarely available above $100,000 or come with terms longer than seven years, so it might not be able to cover all of your startup costs. And some lenders don’t allow you to cover business expenses with a personal loan.

Upgrade personal loans

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

Upgrade is a startup-friendly online lender that accepts borrowers with fair credit scores as low as 600 — a large amount for a personal loan — and Upgrade doesn't have any restrictions on how you use your funds for business. But there are a few high fees, including an origination fee of 2.9% to 8% — high compared to other personal loan providers like SoFi. This could add more cost to your loan.
  • Not available in: Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont, West Virginia

Home equity loans and HELOCs

Home owners who have paid down some or all of their mortgages may also want to consider using a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to finance your seed costs. Because these loans are secured with collateral, your credit score is not as important as it would be to a personal loan provider. Consider a home equity loan may be if you need to cover covering a one-time, fixed cost and HELOCs for ongoing expenses like working capital.

Hometap Equity Partners

Hometap's home equity investment offers a unique way of using your home equity to fund a startup or small business. It offers funding in exchange for a percentage of your home's future value. Unlike home equity loans or HELOCs, there are no monthly payments on interest or principal, Instead, you have 10 years to sell your home, take out a home equity loan or buy out Hometap's investment in your equity. This makes it a good option for a business that needs a little time to start growing. But it's not available in all states and typically doesn't offer loan-to-value ratios over 75%.


Microloans are small-dollar financing available to a variety of businesses, including startups. They are designed to help you cover the little things when you’re just getting on your feet — like buying office supplies or stocking up on your first set of inventory.

Microloans, like those offered by Kiva, typically start around $500 and come with shorter terms than your usual unsecured loan, but they also tend to have higher rates or more strict requirements to qualify.

The SBA microloan program states that its microloans are around $13,000 on average — but private lenders may offer more or less depending on the age of your business and its finances.

Kiva business loans

Finder rating 3.7 / 5 ★★★★★

Kiva is a microlender that specializes in small-dollar financing for underserved business owners — with no time in business requirements. Its crowdfunded loans come with 0% interest, making it one of the most competitive options on this list. It's willing to work with entrepreneurs of all credit types. And you don't necessarily need to be a US citizen or permanent resident to qualify. However, it can take over a month to raise funds.

Term loans

Business term loans offer startups a lump sum of funds to cover a large purchase — like inventory or office furniture. These can be hard to come by if you haven’t opened your business yet, and it can be expensive since lenders tend to see startups as a risk.

However, they have a number of benefits: You won’t risk losing any of your business’s assets if things don’t work out and you can’t pay back the loan. But you could still lose some of your personal assets since most unsecured loans require a personal guarantee.

A secured business loan uses some of your business or personal assets as collateral. They can be easier to come by as a startup since the collateral offsets the risk for the lender. There are even specialized loans to help you finance the equipment your business needs to get going.

Secured loans also tend to have more favorable rates and terms than unsecured business loans. But you risk losing your collateral if you or your business isn’t able to repay the loan. And if you use personal assets as collateral, this can have a major impact on your finances.

Seek Business Capital loans

Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

As a business loan connection and consulting service, Seek Business Capital specializes in connecting startups with funding. But you'll need to be up and running for at least six months and have a good credit score of at least 680. If you do qualify, it comes with some of the lowest rates out there for startup financing.

Lines of credit

A line of credit works a lot like a credit card with lower rates, higher credit limits and access to cash. It can be a great source of working capital when you’re still hiring staff and figuring out seasonal shifts in revenue. Rather than having to apply for a loan, you can make a withdrawal and pay it back in installments over a few months.

While it can be difficult to find a line of credit before your business has been around for a few months, it’s possible to find a working capital credit line with as little as six months in business. These tend to have lower starting rates than a credit card and can have run as high as $250,000.

Guidant Financial business loans

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

Guidant Financial is one of the few lenders that offers a line of credit for businesses that haven't opened their doors yet. To qualify, you'll need good personal credit, minimal inquiries and a credit utilization ratio under 50%. It even offers a 0% introductory rate for well-qualified applicants. After that, rates range from 12% to 18% APR — lower than typical business credit cards. But it comes with a high origination fee. And it's not the fastest option out there — it can take up to a month to fund your LOC.

BlueVine business lines of credit

Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

While BlueVine doesn't work with brand new businesses, you can qualify for its working capital line of credit after just six months. There are no maintenance, origination or draw fees and you can qualify with fair credit. After you make a withdrawal, it comes with weekly repayments. And while same-day funding is available, you'll have to pay an extra fee.

Invoice financing

For new businesses that deal primarily in accounts receivables, invoice financing can be a good option to control cash flow. These allow you to get an advance on your unpaid invoices that are due within 90 days. These can help cover the cost of completing a project before you deliver.

They can be expensive compared to a bank loan and can come with high fees. And if your client doesn’t pay, you may be responsible for paying back your advance.

FundThrough Invoice Factoring and Financing

Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

FundThrough doesn't have any fixed time in business requirements and is willing to fund businesses in the startup phase. It also offers invoice financing for invoices worth $15,000 and Invoice Factoring for invoices as high as $10,000,000. Fees are typical for an invoice factoring provider, ranging from 2.5% to 6% of your invoice's value, depending on how long it takes your client to pay. But unlike traditional invoice factoring companies, it's fully automated and you can receive your funds within 24 hours.

SBA loans

The Small Business Association (SBA) offers government-backed loans to help small businesses that struggle to qualify at a bank qualify for competitive interest rates. While not all programs are available to startups, your business might be able to qualify for a microloan — which can be up to $50,000. These are typical available through local community lenders. Contact an SBA resource partner in your area to find one near you.

But they’re not always easy to get — only 65% of SBA loan applicants were approved in 2020, according to a Federal Reserve small business survey. And that number is inflated due to pandemic assistance programs that relaxed eligibility requirements. You should also be prepared to spend at least a month working on the application and even longer waiting for an approval decision.

How startup loans can benefit your business

Startup business loans give you access to capital you might have not had. With it, you’ll be able to 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

When to consider alternatives

But borrowing isn’t always the best idea when you’re just getting started. Not only will it be more difficult to qualify and potentially more expensive, but you’ll be responsible for any money your business borrows if it isn’t able to be repaid.

  • Higher interest rates
  • Personal guarantees
  • Strict requirements

7 more ways to finance a startup

A business loan isn’t the only to cover the costs of your new business — it might not even be the best option. Before you take out a loan, consider your choices to find the right combination of funding.

Financing optionBest for …Full guide
Equity investmentsStartups that are willing to take on an investment partner.Learn More
CrowdfundingBusiness owners with a large social network.Learn More
Business grantsStartups that serve the community.Learn More
Credit cardsLimited purchases that can quickly be paid off.Learn More
Rollover for business startups (ROBS)Business owners with at least $50,000 in retirement savings.Learn More
Merchant cash advancesQuick financing based off sales, not credit score.Learn More
Friend and family loansInitial financing to get a startup off the ground.Learn More

1. Equity investments

One of the more common ways to fund a startup is to take on investors in exchange for equity, or partial ownership of the company. Typically, small businesses can 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.

2. Crowdfunding

Entrepreneurs that have a pitchable idea might want to look into equity or rewards-based 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. Like a personal loan, crowdfunding might not cover all of your startup costs, but could be great for funding a project.

And although slightly different, peer-to-peer lenders like Funding Circle offer similar loans, although your business will have to pay interest on any funds it receives.

However, new regulations are being put in place. The amount of funding you’re able to get may end up restricted, depending on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rulings.

3. 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 it will likely need to be supplemented by other funding methods.

4. 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.

Other types of business credit cards offer rewards on office supplies, Internet and other costs you might incur during growth.

5. 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 have 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 like My Solo 401k to handle the complicated details. But if it works, you won’t have to pay any interest, early withdrawal fees or lose equity in your company.

6. Merchant cash advances

A merchant cash advance allows you to borrow money against payments made with a credit card. Like invoice financing, it’s a short-term solution meant to cover gaps in cash flow. Because of this, merchant cash advances can be expensive.

Costs are calculated by using factor rates, which are typically between 1.1 to 1.5. The factor rate is multiplied by the amount your business has advanced. So if you borrow a merchant cash advance of $10,000 with a factor rate of 1.3, your business will pay $13,000 back to the lender.

Merchant cash advances rely on your sales and don’t require a credit check, so they’re typically a quick choice for startups.

7. Friend and family loans

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.

Which banks offer startup business loans?

Community banks sometimes offer startup business loans — though not always. These business loans are closer to a personal loan than a traditional business loan.

A community bank can be a good option for starting a business because these lenders tend to charge lower interest rates and fees than online startup lenders. If you work with a banker that’s an expert in your industry, you’ll also get access to personalized financial advice. This can be crucial during those tough first few years.

And when your business is ready for a regular business loan, you’ll already have a relationship with a bank that knows your business from the beginning. This can speed up the funding time and might make it easier to get approved — if your business is doing well.

What are the differences between debt finance and equity finance?

There are three main types of funding: Debt, equity or internal funds. Debt involves borrowing money from a business lender, equity finance is provided by an owner or investor, and internal funds are derived from cash flow or profits.

In a business’s early stages, internal funds can be harder to come by. This leaves you with a choice between debt and equity finance.

FeaturesDebt financeEquity finance
Where to find it
  • Banks
  • Credit unions
  • Online lenders
  • Angel investors
  • Family and friends
  • Business partners
  • Crowdfunding
How much you can borrowBusiness loans usually range from $1,000 to $5 million.Could be hundreds or millions of dollars, depending on the source.
How it’s repaidYou make regular payments to repay the debt. Terms differ depending on the lender.It isn’t repaid, but the financers may then own a part of the business or take part in decision-making.
  • You stay in control of your business
  • Some business lenders have flexible eligibility criteria
  • There’s a range of loan types available
  • Funding can be quick depending on the provider
  • No collateral is required
  • You’re not required to repay the funds
  • Investors can provide strategic guidance for the business
  • No exposure to interest rate changes
  • You may be required to provide collateral as security
  • There may be restrictions on the fund use
  • Your profits need to be used to repay the debt
  • The funds can come with restrictions on usage
  • Finding equity finance is usually a slow process
  • You usually give up some control of your business or business decision-making power
  • There may be conflicts with investors on which direction to take the business

      How do I qualify for a business startup loan?

      Startup business loan requirements vary from lender to lender. However, most 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 looking at your credit score, startup lenders typically also look at your credit report. Bankruptcies stay on your report for seven years.
      • 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.

      Can I get a startup business loan with bad credit?

      It’s possible to get a startup business loan with bad credit. But it depends on the type of loan your business needs. There are business loans available for people with bad credit, and some options — like ROBS or crowdfunding — won’t necessarily rely on your credit score.

      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. But 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 startup loan

      Once you know how much you need to borrow and compare lenders, you’re ready to apply. To speed up the application process, ask your lender what documents and information you need before you apply. Many ask to see financial projections, a business plan and your credit report.

      Next, follow your lender’s instructions to complete the application. Most have online applications, but you may also need to speak with a loan specialist first to make sure your business is a good fit.

      Once you’ve spoken with someone and confirm you and your business are eligible, follow the instructions on the application. And if you run into any trouble, don’t be afraid to reach out to customer service for help.

      What documents will I need to provide?

      Lenders will want to see at least these documents when you submit an application:

      • Business plan
      • Growth and revenue forecasts
      • Recent personal and business tax returns
      • Bank statements

      Other documents or information may also be necessary. Check with your lender to ensure you have everything in order before you apply.

      Recap: Best startup business loans of 2022

      Funding your startup can help increase profits, but it can be risky and expensive. Steer clear of startup loans until you have a well-thought-out business plan in place — even the best ideas require careful implementation. And remember that there are plenty of options at every stage of the business process, so read our guide to the best business loans for more options.

      1. Lendio: Best for comparing lenders
      2. Upgrade: Best for personal loans
      3. Hometap: Best for home equity financing
      4. Kiva: Best for microloans
      5. Seek Business Capital: Best for term loans
      6. Guidant Financial: Best for lines of credit
      7. BlueVine: Best for lines of credit
      8. FundThrough: Best for invoice financing

      Compare more startup friendly business loans

      1 - 4 of 4
      Name Product Filter Values Min. Amount Max. Amount APR Requirements
      Lendio business loans
      Finder Rating: 4.75 / 5: ★★★★★
      Lendio business loans
      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.
      Fundera business loans
      Finder Rating: 4.9 / 5: ★★★★★
      Fundera business loans
      7% to 30%
      $50,000+ of annual revenue, 620+ personal credit score, in business for 6+ months
      Get connected with short-term funding, SBA loans, lines of credit and more.
      SmartBiz business loans
      Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
      SmartBiz business loans
      7% to 9.25%
      660+ personal credit score, US citizen or permanent resident, 2+ years in business, $50,000+ annual revenue, no outstanding tax liens, no bankruptcies or foreclosures in past 3 years
      Get funding for your small business with a government-backed loan and extended repayment terms.
      Monevo business loans
      Monevo business loans
      1.99% to 35.99%
      Credit score of 500+, legal US resident and ages 18+.
      Use this connection service to get paired with a loan you can use for business.

      Compare up to 4 providers

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      4 Responses

      1. 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.


      2. 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 Customer Care
          HaroldJuly 16, 2017Staff

          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.


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