Compare the best business loans of 2024

Launch or grow your small business by comparing finance options from UK lenders.

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Funding Options Unsecured Loan logo
Funding Options Unsecured Loan
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7.63% APR representative (variable)
Access expert help throughout the process
120+ lenders
High loan amounts
Connect with Tide
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Capital on Tap Business Rewards Credit Card logo
Finder Award
Capital on Tap Business Rewards Credit Card
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35.15% APR representative (variable)
Uncapped 1% cashback
Uncapped cashback
Redeem points for Avios
Exclusive business offers
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Portman Finance Business Loan logo
Portman Finance Business Loan
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7.26% APR representative (variable)
Tailored loans for your business
Both a lender and a broker
High borrowing amounts
Specialises in SMEs

Table: sorted by loan terms, promoted deals first

Name Product Finder Score Loan type Loan amounts Loan terms Turnover/trading criteria Key benefit
Funding Options Unsecured Loan
Finder score
★★★★★
Unsecured loan
£1,000 to £15,000,000
12 to 72 months
£5,000 per month minimum turnover,
minimum 6 months trading
Representative example: Borrow £50,000 over 24 months at a rate of 7.63% APR. Monthly repayment of £2,252.94 and the total amount payable is £54,070.56.
Nest Unsecured Business Loan
Finder score
★★★★★
Fixed rate Unsecured loan
£10,000 to £5,000,000
6 to 120 months
£200,000 minimum turnover,
minimum 12 months trading
Portman Finance Business Loan
Not yet rated
Fixed or variable rate Asset finance loan
£10,000 to £2,000,000
3 to 72 months
£100,000 minimum turnover,
minimum 1 year trading
Representative example: Borrow £30,000 over 3 years at a rate of 7.26% p.a. (fixed). Total payable £36,537.84 in 36 monthly repayments of £1014.94.
iwoca Flexi-Loan
Finder score
★★★★★
Variable rate Unsecured loan
£1,000 to £500,000
1 to 24 months
£25,000 per annum minimum turnover,
minimum 6 months trading
Representative example: Borrow £10,000 over 12 months at a rate of 40% p.a. (variable). Representative APR 49% and total payable £12,294.
mycashline Small Business Loans
Finder score
★★★★★
Fixed rate Unsecured loan
£5,000 to £100,000
1 month to 24 months
£15,000 monthly minimum turnover,
minimum 12 months trading
Love Finance business loan
Finder score
★★★★★
Variable rate Line of credit loan
£5,000 to £500,000
Up to 60 months
£10,000 (subject to loan type) minimum turnover,
minimum 12 months trading
Cubefunder Flexible Business Loans
Finder score
★★★★★
Fixed rate loan
£5,000 to £100,000
3 to 12 months
£4,000 minimum turnover,
minimum 3 months trading
Flexible repayment plans with no late payment penalties or early repayment penalties. Receive funds within 48 hours.
Fixed cost of credit.
Funding Circle Unsecured Business Loan
Finder score
★★★★★
Fixed rate Unsecured Line of credit loan
£10,000 to £500,000
6 to 72 months
No specified minimum turnover,
minimum 2 years trading
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How to get the best business loan

A business loan can give a company the money it needs to get started or take its growth plan to the next level. Whether you need a few thousand pounds or a whole bunch more, for a little while or a long time, there are plenty of lenders out there to cater to the full spectrum of what you need.

This means that finding the best business loan is a matter of first understanding your business’ financial circumstances and needs, and then finding the loan or finance option that best meets those needs.

Business loans jargon explained

  • APR. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) represents an annual summary of the cost of a loan. As well as the interest, the APR also takes into account any compulsory charges – like an “admin” or “set-up” fee (if there is one). However, crucially, lenders only have to award the advertised APR to 51% of those who take out the loan – the other 49% could be offered a different (higher) rate, at the lender’s discretion. That’s why it’s often referred to as the representative APR.
  • Fixed rate. A fixed rate means that the interest rate will stay the same for a set period of time, no matter what’s happening with bank rates. A fixed rate can be a popular option for some borrowers, and it allows them to budget with more certainty – knowing in advance the exact cost of a loan and the exact figure for each instalment.
  • Variable rate. A variable rate is the opposite of a fixed rate, and can increase or decrease over time at the lender’s discretion. Typically, variations occur as market conditions generally shift – for example an increase or decrease in the Bank of England base rate.

Best fast business loan: Natwest Small Business Loan

If you need quick funds for your small business, Natwest business loans application takes 10 minutes using your Online Banking details, and if approved, you could have the money within 24 hours. You’ll also pay no setup or application fees, and can borrow up to £50,000

Best business line of credit: Capital on Tap

If your business needs ongoing access to funds, Capital on Tap offers flexible line of credit loans for small and medium-sized businesses up to £250,000. Your loan funds can be accessed via your card or bank account, and you can also earn business cashback and rewards via the Capital on Tap premium account.

Best business loan broker: Tide

If you’d like to get access to a range of loans to find the one that’s best suited to your business, then you might want to consider a business loan broker or “introducer” like Tide. Unlike most brokers, Tide was a direct lender up until recently and now acts as an introducer to many well-established lenders. With Tide’s broker service, businesses could access funding in “as little as 24 hours”, depending on the loan.

Which bank has the best business loans in the UK?

This will depend on several factors such as the size of your business and the type and size of the loan you need. Some businesses may want to get a loan with the bank that they already have their business current account with, while others may prefer to get a loan through a specialist business lender.

Some of the banks that offer business loans in the UK include:

How do business loans work?

There are different types of business loans that work in different ways. What type you opt for can depend, among other things, on what stage your business is at.

Much like an individual, a company has a credit record and credit score. The healthier these are, the easier it will be to secure finance. A new business is obviously not going to have much in the way of a credit history, so a lender will either want to start small or will need some form of security. Loans for launching a new business or for a business which has just launched are often referred to as “start-up” loans. These are typically available over terms of one to five years, and can be government-backed.

More mature businesses have a variety of loan options, thanks to a credit history, a few years of accounts and an established turnover. These are in addition to other types of credit available such as business credit cards or factoring. Let’s take a look at some of the main loan options available in a little more detail.

Pros and cons of business loans

Business loans can be a good option if you’re looking to borrow a large amount of money over a longer period and at a lower cost than a business credit card. However, this isn’t the most flexible option and it can sometimes be hard to meet the eligibility criteria.

Pros

  • Large borrowing amounts are available and you’ll typically receive the money upfront, great for a big or one-off project, like expanding your business or hiring new staff.
  • You’ll know how much you’ll pay in interest and how much your monthly repayments will be from the get-go.
  • Lower rates than a business credit card (subject to status).
  • Good option for borrowing long term. Some lenders may allow you to borrow over up to 25 years.

Cons

  • Not very flexible – you need to know how much you’ll need to borrow when you apply.
  • The minimum loan amount may be more than you need to borrow.
  • Potential early repayment charges.
  • Some lenders have strict eligibility criteria based on revenue, credit score and the type of business.
  • Lenders may require collateral and a personal guarantee.
  • There are better solutions for cash flow issues.
  • Not all lenders are transparent with their rates upfront.

What types of business loans are available?

Here are some of the main sorts of loans that are available to SMEs in the UK:

  • Start up loans

    With in mind that companies looking for a start-up loan have been operating for less than 2 years, these loans typically only offer small sums with short terms (typically 1 to 5 years). With little or no accounts to go on, lenders may want to use a personal asset (generally a property) as security for the loan. Government-backed start-up loans are available, offering a fixed, low rate of interest and free mentoring for a set period, in addition to extra security for lenders.

  • Small business loans

    Unlike a start-up loan, small business loan eligibility doesn’t necessarily depend on how long a company has been trading. The company does have to be “small” however, and exactly how small varies from lender to lender. Many require a minimum annual turnover. Small business loans can be secured or unsecured, and more often than not charge interest at a fixed rate over terms up to around 60 months (5 years).

  • Short-term business loans

    If your industry is prone to seasonal variations, this is one scenario that could lead you to consider a short-term business loan. As you might imagine, these loans come with higher rates than, say, a five-year loan, as lenders will need to make the process worth their while. Alternatives to short-term business loans include a revolving line of credit such as a 0% purchase business credit card, or a decent overdraft facility on a business account, although these options typically come with lower credit limits.

  • Business credit cards

    With a business credit card, you can borrow what you want (subject to a credit limit), when you want, so you’ll only pay interest for the days on which you borrow. Subject to a monthly minimum repayment, you can also pay back funds on terms that suit you. Unlike a fixed-term loan, which closes when all the money has been repaid, a credit card is a “revolving line of credit”, which means that the facility is effectively always open (which can be a mixed blessing).

  • Medium- to long-term business loans

    Typically spanning over five years or more, these loans are designed to fund substantial projects that drive company growth. They may involve larger amounts of money to support ambitious ventures. Expect close scrutiny of your business plan, loan security requirements and a longer, more thorough application process.

  • Revenue-based financing

    Revenue-based financing is a type of business lending where you will receive a lump sum of money for a percentage of your business’ revenue. Unlike traditional business loans, your monthly repayments may fluctuate with your revenue stream. So, if you’re having a particularly slow month, you will repay less and your repayment term will be longer.

  • P2P business loans

    Peer-to-peer (P2P) loans aim to connect investors with SMEs looking for finance. By cutting out the overheads normally associated with high-street banks, these companies are often able to offer more competitive rates.

  • Bad credit business loans

    Having limited or poor credit history can make it challenging to find a lender who is willing to provide financing for you or your business. However, there are many lenders that provide bad credit business loans, as well as a number of other finance options.

  • Commercial mortgages

    A commercial mortgage is one that is taken out on a property that will be used for business or commercial purposes, and not as a residence. Commercial mortgages can be more complicated than personal mortgages, and you’re likely to need a bigger deposit.

  • Invoice finance

    There are two main types of invoice finance: factoring and discounting. Both offer support to businesses with fluctuating turnover due to relying on client invoices for turnover. Invoice finance lets you borrow funds against the value of your unpaid invoices, minus a small fee.

  • Asset finance

    If your business is in need of acquiring an expensive piece of equipment, like a vehicle, machinery, or computer system, asset finance could be an option worth considering. Instead of having to cover the cost upfront, you can pay it off in smaller instalments. Unlike a regular business loan, asset finance is secured against the cost of the asset itself. If you fail to repay the loan, the lender has the ability to take ownership of the asset.

  • Merchant cash advances

    Business cash advances can be useful for small businesses that have inconsistent sales or process most of their sales through card transactions. You can effectively get funds upfront that is then paid off using a percentage of future sales.

  • Business line of credit

    Regular cash flow can be a big concern for many businesses, and that is one of the advantages of a business line of credit. Instead of receiving a lump sum upfront like you would on a normal business loan, a line of credit gives you ongoing access to funds to use as you wish. You only pay interest on the amount of credit you use, but will need to repay what you’ve used in order to access the full limit again.

There will be heightened competition and innovation as lenders – in particular non-banks whose traditional markets were disrupted by the pandemic – look to carve out new customer niches in order to remain viable. The competition will be the most fierce for the highest quality businesses, so those customers can expect to have a wider choice of products.”

Katrin Herrling, CEO and Co-Founder of business loans marketplace Funding Xchange

What are my other business finance options?

So what happens if your business is too young or small to qualify for a loan with decent terms? Or maybe it’s just a bad time to take on debt? You still have financing options.

  • Get funding from investors. Small or young businesses could stand to benefit the most from selling a share of their enterprise in exchange for financing.
  • Start a crowdfunding campaign. Set a fundraising goal, invest a little in marketing and collect small donations from family, friends, your community, fans or just random interested individuals!
  • Apply to a government scheme. Various government schemes exist to encourage small businesses (often called “the backbone of the UK economy”). Learn more about government support for businesses.
  • Take out a personal loan. Another option would be to consider a personal loan for business use, but there are some important implications to consider, and many lenders simply prohibit this use.

Business loan cost comparison

Loan amount: £50,000
  • Loan term: 1 year
  • Interest rate: 22%
  • Monthly repayment: £4,633
  • Total interest: £5,595
Loan amount: £50,000
  • Loan term: 1 year
  • Interest rate: 36%
  • Monthly repayment: £4,903
  • Total interest: £8,831

Should you get a business credit card?

If your business requires additional credit, you also might want to consider taking out a business credit card. Whether you’re running a startup or a large established company, business credit cards offer a range of benefits that can help you better manage your finances.

Business credit cards offer greater control over your cash flow, enabling you to address revenue gaps and freeing up additional capital for reinvestment in your business.You can also use a business card to increase your company’s spending power, better manage your expenses, and even earn business-focused rewards.

Does your business depend on invoices?

  • Invoice discounting. You might want to consider invoice discounting if your business sometimes has gaps in revenue due to outstanding accounts. Invoice financing lets you borrow against your outstanding invoices and repay the lender once the client pays you. It is an ongoing service with loans that you can pay back in an agreed period.
  • Invoice factoring. Alternatively, look into invoice factoring. Here, you sell your invoices to a third-party for a percentage of the invoiced amount. You don’t get the full value of your invoices – this is the more expensive of the two options explained here – but you won’t have to worry about credit control (chasing-up repayments). Don’t forget that with this option, the factoring company will have contact with your clients, so you’ll need to be OK with that.

How to choose the best business loan

Here are some of the key features to consider when comparing business loans:

  1. Amounts available. Having set out your business plan, you should know how much you need to borrow, and one of the first things to look at when evaluating a loan is whether or not it can offer you the sum that you need.
  2. Terms available. You may have a fairly clear idea of the length of time you need to borrow for, or this factor may be dictated by the size of the monthly instalments.
  3. Eligibility. Never apply for a loan without checking that the business is eligible for it. It’s a waste of time and demoralising – and the rejection could be visible to future prospective lenders.
  4. Security required. It’s not unusual for lenders to ask for a personal guarantee – meaning an individual will be personally responsible for the loan if the business can’t repay it. Security can also take the form of a company’s realisable assets, such as a property, vehicles or equipment. Where no assets are available, it may be necessary to secure the loan on a director’s own property.
  5. Total costs. It can be easy to obsess over APRs (rates), but perhaps more importantly, how much is this loan going to cost overall? When you’re trying to identify the best business loan, the loans that are cheapest overall are naturally a good place to start.
  6. Interest rates. Is the rate offered variable or fixed? Is it competitive?
  7. Fees. Look out for “product” or “set-up” fees as well as any annual/monthly account charges. Lenders sometimes offset an attention-grabbing low rate with product fees, so it’s crucial to also keep an eye on the total amount payable.
  8. Repayment holidays. Repayment holidays are set periods when you don’t have to make any repayments. This might be, say, the first three months of a loan. This can give your company an opportunity to get back on its feet financially, but will usually extend the term of the loan by the same number of months, pushing up the overall cost of the loan.
  9. Early repayment terms. It’s hard to predict what’s around the corner, let alone three or four years down the line. If the option to repay early is important to you, you’ll need to check the early repayment (or overpayment) terms of the specific product or products you’re considering. It’s important to note that “No early repayment fees!” does not necessarily mean that repaying early will save you money on interest.

Choosing a longer repayment term for your business loan can help to reduce your monthly repayments. But lengthening the term also means you’ll pay more in interest overall, so be sure to consider this when picking a loan. ”

Rachel Wait, personal finance expert

Who is eligible for a business loan?

Each lender will have its own eligibility criteria. Some common things that are usually on the list include:

  • Years trading. For a small business loan, a lender will typically want to see at least 6 months trading history to assess financial stability and creditworthiness.
  • Where your business is based. Typically lenders like your business to be UK-based, though some might be more specific.
  • Annual turnover. Ensures that your company can generate revenue, manage cash flow and meet financial obligations, lowering the risk of loan default.
  • Company structure. Some lenders might be hesitate to lend to specific business structures, such as limited companies or sole traders, due to their limited turnover or trading history.
  • Credit history. Both personal and business credit scores are crucial for loan eligibility and getting favourable terms. Improving both scores enhances the chance of getting better financing.

Image of money along the stat: £35.5bn was lent to firms by challenger and specialist banks in 2022 - topping the amount from major UK banks

Best business loan providers for customer satisfaction in 2024

BrandLogoOverall satisfactionCustomers who’d recommendReviewLink
Lombard★★★★★97%Lombard is a direct lender, not a broker, specialising in asset finance. This allows businesses to access new equipment or unlock the value in existing assets. Lombard won this year’s awards, scoring 4.8 out of 5 stars for overall customer satisfaction and receiving a recommendation score of 97% from its customer in our survey.Read our review
TideTide logo★★★★★97%Tide uses Open Banking to offer business loans aimed at small to medium sized businesses. It was highly commended in this year’s awards, with an overall score of 4.7 out of 5 stars for customer satisfaction and a recommendation score of 97%.Read our review
mycashlinemycashline logo★★★★★93%mycashline is a direct lender, not a broker, offering flexible and tailored unsecured loans. It says it aims to level the playing field for small business finance and promote SME growth. The overall customer satisfaction score for mycashline in our survey was 4.7 out of 5 stars.Read our review
Love FinanceLove Finance logo★★★★★91%Love Finance is a financial company based in Birmingham. It works with a range of lenders with the aim of helping UK businesses find the right type of loan or finance option. Its overall customer satisfaction score was 4.7 out of 5 stars.Read our review
NatWestNatWest logo★★★★★97%NatWest, the established high street bank, offers a wide range of secured and unsecured loans to cater to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Its customers in our survey scored it 4.6 out of 5 stars for overall satisfaction.Read our review
CubefunderCubefunder logo★★★★★97%Cubefunder provides fixed-cost business loans and charges one set fee instead of adding interest, and can design a flexible repayment plan to match your company’s cashflow. It scored 4.6 out of 5 stars for overall customer satisfaction.Read our review
BarclaysBarclays logo★★★★★95%Barclays, the well-known bank, offers a range of business finance products, from unsecured loans through to asset finance and commercial mortgages. It received an overall customer satisfaction score of 4.5 out of 5 stars.Read our review
NestNest logo★★★★★93%Nest provides a multi-lender platform to help businesses across the UK find the right loan through its panel of more than 200 lenders. It scored 4.5 out of 5 stars for overall customer satisfaction.Read our review
HSBCHSBC logo★★★★★97%HSBC, the global banking giant, offers a wide range of business financing opportunities for companies of all sizes. It customers in our survey scored it 4.4 out of 5 stars for overall satisfaction.Read our review
Funding OptionsNatwest logo★★★★★97%Funding Options is a broker that uses innovative technology to match a business’s needs with one of its 120 approved lenders. For overall customer satisfaction, it had a score of 4.3 out of 5 stars.Read our review
Funding CircleFunding Circle logo★★★★★94%Funding Circle is a business lending service bringing together investors with businesses seeking investment. It recieved a score of 4.3 out of 5 stars for overall customer satisfaction.Read our review
iwocaIwoca logo★★★★★82%iwoca is a direct lender offering fast and flexible credit to small businesses. It says it uses technology to eliminate the cost and complexity associated with traditional business finance. iwoca scored 4.2 out of 5 stars for overall customer satisfaction in this year’s survey.Read our review

How satisfied are borrowers overall with their business loan provider?

Response% of respondents
Very satisfied53.25%
Reasonably satisfied37.50%
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied7.50%
Moderately dissatisfied1.25%
Highly dissatisfied0.50%
Source: Finder survey by OnePoll of 400 Brits, December 2023

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Merchant cash advance

Access a lump-sum of funding upfront for a fixed cost and then repay when your customers pay you.

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Business credit cards

Boost your spending power, track employee spending and enjoy perks and rewards with a business credit card.

Frequently asked questions about business loans

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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