A business line of credit allows you quick access to additional funds for your company. For many, it provides a promising alternative to a business loan or credit card.
A business line of credit allows you to borrow money up to a certain limit and only pay interest on your outstanding balance.
Many business owners will find this form of credit more flexible than a business loan, plus you’ll usually be offered a higher credit limit than with a credit card.
In this guide, you’ll learn whether a business line of credit is right for your company, how to find the best deal and what you’ll need to do to be approved.
Business funding for the real world
With Capital on Tap you get enhanced flexibility: Top up your loan or repay early at any time with no additional costs. You'll only pay interest for each day you have the funds.
- Loans up to £50,000
- Flexible repayment options
- No monthly or annual fees
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 39.941% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).
How does it work?
A business line of credit works similarly to a credit card or overdraft, as you only pay interest on the amount borrowed.
Once you have successfully applied for a line of credit, you can access as much money as your credit limit allows, until you close your account.
Lenders may require you to secure your credit with collateral, and it’s also possible that you’ll be charged administration fees on top of your interest payments.
While some products have specific “draw periods”, during which you can spend money from your line of credit, followed by “repayment periods”, most products allow you to access the funds whenever you need to (subject to your credit limit).
Is a business line of credit suitable for me?
A business line of credit is handy for businesses that frequently need access to additional finance, perhaps due to unpredictable cashflow issues or a lack of capital.
It’s often used to fund sporadic operational expenses or emergency purchases, rather than large one-off payments (which can be planned for in advance). It could also work well as a means of working capital during the off-season for cyclical businesses. If you’re planning to make a large purchase to launch or scale your business, it will usually work out cheaper and easier to obtain a business loan.
Many business line of credit lenders will only consider applications once you’ve been in business for at least one year. Factors including your business credit score and annual revenue figures will be used to consider your eligibility.
How to choose the best business line of credit
Here are some questions you can ask to compare your options:
- Can my business afford it? This should always be the main factor in your decision. Before taking out any type of debt, be sure to calculate all associated costs and make sure your business’s cash flow is able to take on new monthly repayments.
- How much will it cost me? Besides the interest rate, check to see what fees you’ll be charged, including one-off fees such as application, line and establishment fees. The lender may also include ongoing fees such as loan service or annual fees.
- When will I receive my line of credit? Make sure the lender you choose can provide your funds when you need them. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting lots of time, resources and money.
- How often do I need to make repayments? Most business lines of credit require a minimum monthly repayment. However, if you can afford to pay off your balance in full, you’ll avoid unnecessary interest charges.
- Will I need to secure my loan? Some business lines of credit may need to be secured, meaning you may be required to put up an asset as collateral.
Business loan vs business line of credit
Business loans tend to be better for large one-off purchases and are available to a wider range of businesses. A business line of credit can be more suitable if you anticipate making multiple purchases at different times.
Business line of credit
Business credit cards vs business line of credit
Business credit cards tend to offer better borrowing terms, but you can typically borrow a lot more with a business line of credit.
Business credit card
Business line of credit
How do I get a business line of credit?
You can apply for a business line of credit reasonably quickly via the lender’s website.
You will be asked to provide some personal information, as well as basic details about your business, such as the company type, business address and limited company number.
You’ll also need to provide financial details, including VAT returns, bank statements and assets that can be offered as collateral. You may also be asked the reason you’re applying for a line of credit.
Some lenders will make an instant decision on the success of your application. Others will email you a decision within two to three business days. If your line of credit has been approved, it’s common to be able to access funds on the same business day.
Secured vs unsecured
Secured lines of credit are backed by collateral. These deals are less of a risk for the lender, so will often come with lower interest rates, although you run the risk of losing your assets if you fail to repay your loan.
Some lenders may offer both secured and unsecured lines of credit, although the latter may come with a higher interest rate and closer scrutiny in order to get approved.
Will my business qualify for a line of credit?
Business line of credit lenders will use credit reference agencies to determine your eligibility for their products.
These agencies will calculate your business credit score based on information in your business credit file. This file contains details of your previous credit applications, borrowing history, current debt, debt payment history and the number of years you’ve been in business.
The higher your business credit score, the more likely you’ll be approved for the best line of credit deals. You can check your business credit score by contacting credit reference agencies, such as Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
Frequently asked questions