Online Business Loans
After the housing bubble burst in 2008, big banks stopped lending to small businesses. They didn’t completely stop—but they did significantly reduce the number of loans. Loans from big banks to small businesses dropped by 18% between June 2008 and June 2011.
Banks were nervous, and small businesses suffered the consequences. That was bad news for small business owners.
But this opened a door for a new industry: online business loans. Starting in 2015, Google searches for “online business loan” saw a breakneck rise. Business owners started looking for new options, and alternative lenders have been happy to oblige.
Big banks put business owners in a tough spot after the recession. But as with most challenges in the business world, this gave rise to new opportunities. And now the industry of business lending is changing. There is no longer a need for a face-to-face meeting. The entire process can be completed online without leaving the daily tasks of your business. As an alternative lender we can help you secure a business loan online and it just takes a couple of clicks to get started. Below is a list of the requirements to get approved for business funding with our most basic program. There may be additional factors that are considered, meeting these three requirements though gives you a very high chance of having your application approved.
What Do I Need to Qualify?
Below is a list of the requirements to get approved for business funding with our most basic program. There may be additional factors that are considered, meeting these three requirements though gives you a very high chance of having your application approved.
What’s an Alternative Lender?
An alternative lender is a financial institution other than a bank that makes loans. They might make personal loans, business loans, or both. They could offer mortgages or car loans. Some make private business loans to students operating a business. But the important thing is that they’re not banks.
When you read about online loans, you’ll see alternative lenders mentioned a lot. Most online loans are provided by alternative lenders. Shield Funding is a great example of an alternative lender.
And there are some big advantages to working with a company like us.
Advantages of Online Business Loans From Alternative Lenders
Getting a business loan is a complicated process, and many factors go into your decision in choosing a lender (as well as that lender’s choice to work with you). Here are some of the best things about online business loans:
How long does it take to get a business loan from a bank? Up to 90 days. (That’s for an SBA loan, which typically takes a bit longer than a standard loan.)
You’ll fill out an application form that requires a lot of information and reams of paperwork. Then you’ll wait while the bank puts your information through its risk algorithms.
If you pass—which many small businesses don’t—it can take a while longer to get your money. The entire process, from application to deposit, could take up to three months. That’s a long time if you need a loan to repair or replace a piece of equipment.
Online business lenders can sometimes delivery your money the same day you submit your application. There’s virtually no waiting. Most of the time, it takes a few days or even a couple weeks. But you can expect to get your money significantly faster than you would with a bank.
This is possible because online lenders are smaller and more flexible. They use different criteria to measure your creditworthiness, too. We’ll talk about that in a second.
Less Documentation Required
One of the reasons it takes big banks so long to process your loan application is that they need to review a huge amount of documentation. Here are some of the things you’ll need to include in your business loan application at a bank:
- Business plan
- Intended use of the loan
- Cash flow statements
- Personal bank statements
- Business bank statements
- Balance sheets
- Profit-and-loss statements
- Proof of identification
- Personal credit report
- Business credit report
- Personal tax returns
- Business tax returns
- Proof of collateral
And there could be more. Do you have all of that documentation easily available? If not, the loan process will be even longer.
Online business lenders usually require far less documentation. For example, we only require a handful of documents for loans less than $100,000. And our application form is very short.
The entire process is much more reasonable. That’s one of the reasons it’s faster—and a big factor in making the loan application process less stressful.
More Holistic Lending Criteria
Big banks use complicated lending formulas to get an idea of how likely you are to pay back your loan. But there are some things they just can’t get past. For example, if you have a credit score under 650, you probably won’t get approved for a loan.
The same is true if you haven’t been in business very long. You’ll get denied for some loans just because you don’t have as much experience as other applicants.
Online lenders look at more factors to determine whether you’re creditworthy. That’s why you can find bad credit business loans online—alternative lenders look at a range of factors to see if you’re a default risk.
Some situations mean you just can’t qualify at a big bank. That’s much less likely with online lenders.
Flexible Loan Terms and Amounts
Big banks tend to work with big loans. It’s understandable when the loan process takes three months—you wouldn’t want to go through that extended process for a loan of $1,000.
Online lenders provide a wider range of loan terms and amounts for business owners. You can still get big loans. Shield Funding offers loans of up to $1,000,000. But if you need a smaller amount of cash, you can get that too.
For example, we also offer loans of $5,000. And you can pay them back in as little as two months if you prefer. That means you can find a loan that works for your situation—not a bank’s.
This is especially useful if you need a fast, short term business loan to replace equipment or take advantage of an opportunity. You get the money fast, and you can pay it back in the amount of time that works best for your business.
Unsecured Loans Are Available
Many bank business loans require collateral. You need to provide proof that you own an asset to back the loan. If you default on your loan, the bank will take that asset and sell it.
That means you’re putting your business—or sometimes your home—on the line. We don’t like that idea. Which is why we (and many other online alternative lenders) offer unsecured business loans. You don’t need to provide any proof that you own an asset to cover the loan, because we’ll never take anything from you.
This makes it easier for newer and struggling businesses to get an online business loan.
Potential Disadvantages of Online Business Loans
While online business loans give small business owners access to a lot more capital, there are a few things to watch out for. As long as you’re aware of them, you should be able to avoid the few pitfalls of these loans.
High Interest Rate Ceilings
You can get a very-low-interest rate from an online alternative lender. But because these lenders are willing to take on a lot more risk, they can also have high interest rates to make up for that risk.
There are a few things you can do to mitigate this.
First, work with an online lender who’s been in the business for a while. They have a better idea of how much risk they’re taking on and what it will cost them to do so. For example, we’ve helped secure thousands of business loans and secured millions in capital for businesses. That’s a good sign.
Second, if you have bad credit, consider improving it before taking out a business loan. This isn’t always feasible, and it can be a long-term process. But it’s worth considering.
Finally, make sure to avoid payday-style online lenders. Some online business loans come from predatory lenders with huge APRs. Keep an eye out for astronomical interest rates.
As long as you’re aware of these areas where you could see high interest rates, you should be able to avoid them.
There are a lot of alternative lenders out there, and you have what feels like unlimited options for online business loans. But just because a company has a professional-looking website doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing.
Inexperienced lenders have little or no proven business sense, which means they could be misinterpreting risk. That’s bad news for borrowers—and it could mean very high interest rates and fees.
There’s also the possibility of fake lending websites set up just to nab your personal details and identifying information. It’s not especially likely, but it’s possible.
Read the fine print. Pay attention to reviews about alternative lenders. Look at a company’s history before you submit your application. If they’ve been around for less than ten years, be extra cautious.
This is true of any loan, but it’s worth being extra vigilant if you’re looking for business loans online. Origination fees, processing fees, prepayment penalties, late payment fees, and other expenses add up fast.
Again, you can avoid this by getting the details from your lender before you sign for the loan. Many online lenders provide loans with low fees. You just have to be on the lookout to get the best deal.
Online Business Loans Give You More Options
In the end, online alternative lenders give you a lot of options. And that’s a big advantage for business owners. There are tons of reasons to look at online business loans:
- You have bad credit
- You don’t have collateral
- You need money fast
- Your business isn’t very old
- You’re looking for a great deal
And many more. If you have all the time in the world and great credit, you could consider a bank business loan.
But if you’re like most small business owners, an online business loan could be a much better fit for your situation.
Want to find out about our online business loans and how we can help your small business succeed? Get in touch today for a no-pressure chat about it!