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Small Business Loans for Bad Credit

It may not seem fair, but your personal credit score can make or break your business endeavors, especially if you plan on applying for advance funding.

Even if your business idea is revolutionary, unfortunately, a bad personal or business credit score can keep you from playing the game altogether. To receive funding and avoid getting trapped in a corner financially, you will need to build (or rebuild, as the case may be) and maintain the best credit score you possibly can.

It's not always possible to get a business loan with bad credit, especially when you request one from a traditional lender. However, bad credit business loans may be available if you know where to look. In this guide, we’ll help you understand where you fall on the credit score scale, what your options are, and how to improve your credit in the hopes that you will be able to get that small business loan you’ve been searching for.

What is Bad Credit?

If you are a small business owner and you want to get a loan, the chances are that loan providers will check your business credit score and your personal credit score.

Understanding the difference between these two terms can be the first step toward finding a small business loan for bad credit.

What is Bad Business Credit?

Man contemplating the significance of different credit scores.

According to the Dun and Bradstreet PAYDEX score that ranges from 0 to 100, a score below 49 is considered bad. A bad credit score usually indicates that the company has a history of late payments and may have possibly declared bankruptcy at some point.

The three major business credit scoring firms that calculate business credit scores are Equifax, Experian, and Dun and Bradstreet. To determine a business's credit score, the credit bureaus take six factors into consideration:

  • Credit history with lenders and suppliers
  • Credit obligations
  • Legal filings
  • Years in operation
  • Type and size of the business
  • Repayment performance

What is Bad Personal Credit?

A loan provider may also look at your personal credit score when deciding whether to loan you money for your company. Personal scores range from 0 to 700, with 0 being no credit and 850 being perfect credit.

According to FICO statistics, only about 1.6% of the U.S. population with a credit score has that coveted perfect score of 850. For those with perfect histories, finding funding may be no trouble at all. The majority of people, however, have at least a few dings on their credit histories.

According to the FICO scoring model, a score below 579 is considered a bad score. Credit scores are often calculated by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To determine a person's credit score, the credit bureaus take five main factors into consideration:

  • The number of accounts the person holds
  • The type of accounts that they have
  • Used and available credit
  • The length of the person's credit history
  • Payment history

Each scoring model weighs these five factors differently. However, payment history is usually the largest factor.

Many banking institutions refuse to work with bad credit consumers, fearing that they will be financially irresponsible in the future too.

Can You Get a Business Loan with Bad Credit?

Small business owners with bad credit may still qualify for funding. An alternative lender may put more weight on factors other than your credit score. Your revenue history and time in business may be more important. This is good news because it means that you have more opportunities to qualify for funding even if your personal or business credit is lacking. Alternative lenders just want to be sure you will pay them back. If you can demonstrate that, they may be willing to work with you even if traditional lenders won’t.

Why Your Credit Scores Matter

Your personal credit score and your business credit score may factor in whether you get a small business loan. Your credit report can affect other aspects of your business, such as finding an office space to lease.

Realistic Expectations

People with bad credit tend to have fewer options than those with a good credit score. You may have difficulty qualifying for a loan because of your bad credit history. Or, if qualified, you may have to pay higher interest fees and a higher deposit.

Bad Credit Business Loans at a Glance

If you have bad credit and need money to finance your business, you may be able to qualify for bad credit business loans. As the name suggests, bad credit business loans are sometimes options for business owners with bad credit.

Here are five alternative small business loans for bad credit that may help you.

SBA Loans

The SBA works with a group of lenders that provide loans to small businesses. Business owners with low credit scores may be able to apply for SBA loans.

Business owners can request amounts up to $5.5 million. Small business owners can use an SBA loan to fund a variety of business purposes, such as addressing a gap in working capital or debt refinancing.

Borrowers may pay back their debt in equal monthly payments over the course of five to 25 years. The interest rates depend on the lender and the amount borrowed. Usually, the SBA asks business owners to offer their company's assets as collateral. However, if the collateral isn't available, that may not cause your loan application to get rejected.

A provider may consider the following before making a loan offer:

  • Your ability to make on-time payments
  • Whether your business is profitable
  • If you have enough equity

Accounts Receivable Financing

Accounts receivable financing is an excellent option for those with bad credit. That's because the lender collects the money from your clients and not from you. Therefore, if your clients have a good credit history and are known for making on-time payments, you may receive a loan even if you have a bad score.

Accounts receivable are assets equivalent to the outstanding balance of invoices billed to your consumers but not paid yet. If your customers are scheduled to pay back the total of their purchases after several weeks, you can apply to accounts receivable financing. Note that your clients may need to be businesses or government organizations.

Invoice financing companies can collect your customers' unpaid invoices and advance up to 90% of the accounts receivables' value.

Business Line of Credit

A business line of credit is similar to a credit card. Consumers using this product access the predetermined amount of funds and pay interest on the amount borrowed. They can use the funds to make a business purchase.

Many lenders may ask an applicant with bad credit to secure their business line of credit. In this case, they can use their assets as collateral. If they fail to pay back their line of credit, the lender will gain possession of the collateral. On the bright side, a secured business line of credit may carry lower interest rates.

Equipment Financing

If you specifically want to borrow money to finance new business equipment, consider equipment financing. Many equipment financing companies work with all credit types as long as you demonstrate that your business makes a good profit.

Some lenders offer secured and unsecured business loan options and some may require a security deposit. Consumers may use their equipment or another asset to secure the loan.

Most equipment financing lenders allow their borrowers to purchase from the vendor of their choice. The borrowed amount is paid in installments in up to 10 years, depending on the purchase.

Merchant Cash Advance

Merchant cash advance companies are more interested in a company's revenue than its credit score. Lenders give the borrower a lump sum of cash in exchange for a percentage of future sales.

The lender can take a share from the borrower's bank account by setting automated withdrawals until the debt is paid. The merchant cash advance company may take a percentage from the borrower's credit card receipts and provide business owners an advance on their credit card receivables.

Main Advantages

Small business owners discussing their finances with a financial planner.

Bad credit loans may be very beneficial when going through challenging financial situations. It may help small entrepreneurs generate cash flow and get their business going. Below are the five main advantages of taking out small business loans for bad credit.

Improve Your Credit

If you are working with alternative lenders that report to business credit bureaus, you have the opportunity to improve your credit score by making timely payments. By managing your debt responsibly today, you can improve your credit score and trustworthiness for when you need a loan again in the future.

Borrow Larger Amounts of Money

When applying for a bad credit business loan, you may require more than $100,000. If you demonstrate that you have enough income to cover your monthly payments on time, the loan provider may let you borrow a larger amount.

Receive Fast Funding

If you find yourself and your business in a difficult financial situation and need funding fast, alternative lenders work relatively quicker than traditional lenders. Lenders may grant their applicants funding in up to seven days. Also, alternative lenders claim that their approval rates are higher than traditional lenders.

Find More Options

Some alternative lenders don't impose restrictions on how and where you can spend the borrowed amount. Borrowers may use the funds to expand a business, finance working capital, refinance debt, increase cash flow, etc.

Apply Online

Alternative lenders may offer the option to apply for small business loans for bad credit online. Consumers must only visit the lending company's website and fill out the application form. In these situations, the consumer can submit a loan application any time of the day or night.

Disadvantages

When traditional lenders turn their back on you because of your bad credit score, alternative lenders may help you. However, there's a small price to pay. Below are five disadvantages of taking out a bad credit business loan.

High-Interest Rates

When you have bad credit, getting a loan with low-interest rates is pretty challenging. Lenders see you as a risky borrower because of your troubled payment history. To protect themselves and compensate for that risk, lenders often charge high-interest rates from borrowers with low or no credit scores.

Additional Fees

When applying, you may have to pay additional fees such as origination fees and late payment fees. Before signing the loan, ask your loan provider about all existing costs and review all paperwork.

Recurrent Payments

Your lender may ask you to make recurrent daily or weekly payments to ensure that you will not default over your loan. To make your everyday payments, you have to ensure that you have enough money in your bank account. If you don't, then the bank may charge you overdraft fees.

Securing Your Loan

To get approved for a bad credit loan, lenders may ask you to secure the loan with collateral. It's true that when you secure your loan, you may be charged lower interest rates; however, in case you fail to pay back your loan on time, the lender can legally claim the collateral, and you will no longer possess it.

Bad Faith Lending

When searching for a bad credit business loan provider, you may come across lenders working illegally. Make sure that the lender you are going to work with is legitimate and has a lending license. Also, illegal lenders may charge exorbitant interest rates, pressure you to borrow more money than you can pay back, and trick you into a spiral of debt to benefit from the interest rates and late payment fees.

What if I'm Denied Credit?

Man holding a small bag of money with one hand and using his other hand to indicate that the money is not available.

If you are declined after requesting funding, then you should consider the following tips for improving your business credit score:

Make On-Time Payments

Payment history plays a significant role in determining your credit score. That's why the first step toward better credit is paying your existing debts on time. If you continue to make late payments, you may damage your credit score even more. If it is challenging for you to make on-time payments, ask your lender if you can have a new repayment schedule.

Pay Before the Due Date

If you can make on-time payments without any trouble, consider paying back your bills before they are due. Early repayments may help you to pay less in interest in the long run.

Reduce Existing Debt

It is a good idea to clear out any outstanding balance you may have to improve your credit score. Consider paying off any credit card debt, an unpaid bill to a vendor, or any other type of debt you may have.

Work with Clients that Report to the Credit Bureaus.

Not all companies and suppliers report payments to the credit bureaus. Consider working with those that report your timely payments to the bureaus. This way, your payment history will have an impact on your credit score.

Use a Small Business Credit Card

If you have a small business credit card for your business, make timely or early payments every month. Also, ensure that the credit card company reports your payments to a credit card bureau. You can also benefit from the rewards or perks that most small business credit card companies provide.

Bad credit business loans can help companies otherwise unable to borrow money find equal footing with competitors. Otherwise, these businesses will always be at a disadvantage.

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