Maybe you need small business loans to start a business or launch a new product, or perhaps you are dealing with the unexpected, like a dip in revenue, costly repairs or renovations, or increased staffing needs. Regardless of why you need the extra capital, there’s one thing that will likely govern how easy — or difficult — it is to get funding: your credit.
Getting approved for traditional business loans can be a challenge even for businesses with solid qualifications. Banks and other small business lenders often want businesses to be in operation for at least two years and they prefer to lend to small business owners with good credit.
But not all lenders care about your personal credit scores. If your credit isn’t strong, you may want to understand how bad credit business loan options work and where to find them.
Why Consider No Credit Check Business Financing?
Some lenders check personal credit, some check business credit scores, and some check both. A few don’t check credit at all when reviewing business loan applications.
Unfortunately, for some business owners, a credit check could be out of the question. Some simply don’t want a hard inquiry to affect their personal credit scores, and others know their poor credit scores will likely immediately disqualify them.
In other cases, business owners are looking for loans that don’t require personal guarantees. Their goal is to separate their business and personal finances completely.
All are valid reasons for wanting to avoid a credit check. But the reality is that most business lending options do review personal credit. And that’s especially true for startups, or for businesses with few employees or without significant time in business and/or revenues.
A variety of options, including working capital loans through your payment processor, merchant cash advances, invoice factoring, and equipment loans that can be much more credit flexible.
Here we’ll focus primarily on business loan options for small business owners with poor credit. These small business loans typically consider other qualifying criteria like annual revenues to approve applicants.
We’ll also feature business financing that doesn’t require a personal credit check, and we’ll describe types of financing that don’t require personal guarantees.
Can I Get A Business Loan With Bad Personal Credit?
Many lenders check credit to determine whether the business owner’s personal credit scores meet their minimum requirements. Negative items on your personal credit history, such as late payments, collection accounts, or bankruptcies, may lower your scores and put you in the high risk category.
However, some business lenders check personal credit primarily to rule out serious problems, like an unfinished bankruptcy or to deter fraud. In those cases, low credit scores may not be a disqualifying factor.
Additionally, some providers look primarily at business revenues during the underwriting process.
Types of No Credit Check Business Loans
A few types of financing don’t typically check personal credit, or if they do, don’t generally require high credit scores:
Business cash advances
With a business cash advance, your business can get an advance against future revenues, based on historic revenues. Business cash advances (or merchant cash advances) are typically available to businesses with strong cash flow, backed up by merchant account or business bank account statements. While there may be a performance guarantee, a personal guarantee is rarely required.
This type of financing allows businesses that invoice other businesses to get paid faster. Companies offering invoice financing will advance funds from the invoice immediately and in some cases even collect the payment directly from the client. Chances are no personal guarantee is required, and factoring may even be made on a non-recourse basis, which means the business is not liable for uncollectible invoices.
Vendor or supplier financing
Here, your vendors or suppliers will offer short-term financing for products you purchase directly from them. Net-30 vendors offer financing terms that give the business 30 days to pay, for example. This type of financing does not typically require good credit and there is often no personal credit check. A business credit check may or may not be required.
As a plus, this financing usually does not require a personal guarantee.
Most crowdfunding sites don’t require a personal credit check. You can raise money for your business either by offering rewards or equity in your business. Loan-based crowdfunding is also a possibility, though a credit check is more likely in that scenario. Personal guarantees are rarely required as well.
In addition there are several types of financing that tend to have very flexible credit requirements:
These smaller loans are often made by non-profit lenders (CDFIs) that try to help underserved borrowers. Microloans may work for borrowers with less than perfect credit. A personal credit check and personal guarantee may be required, so be sure to check.
4 No Credit Check or Low Credit Business Loans
Here are specific business loan options to consider if you’re looking for business financing with low credit score requirements.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Business Loan with No Credit Check
Many types of small business financing require good personal credit scores. But when they don’t, there are both benefits and drawbacks.
- No impact on personal credit scores
- Personal guarantee likely not required
- Often approved very quickly
- Tend to have high interest rates/costs
- Short-term loan repayment periods common
- Loan amounts may be smaller
Alternative Financing Options for Bad or No Credit
In case you want even more business funding options, here are others to consider:
If you’re specifically looking to purchase equipment, such as heavy machinery or a computer, equipment financing is designed for this purpose, and some lenders are more flexible when it comes to credit scores.
Business credit cards
Most small business credit cards check personal credit, and good credit scores are usually required. There are only a few business credit cards for bad credit. They may have higher interest rates, but if you pay your bill on time each month, you can build your credit and hopefully qualify for better options in the future.
Retirement account loans
You can borrow against 401(k) retirement accounts without a credit check. Unfortunately you can’t borrow against an IRA. Another option is to roll your retirement funds into a ROBS plan that is used to fund your business. Since you’re putting retirement funds at risk, you want to make sure you have a solid business plan first.
How to Know if You Have Good or Bad Credit
If you haven’t checked your credit, it’s a good idea to do so before you begin the application process. Every lender has its own minimum credit score requirements, and each will decide what credit scores qualify as “good credit” or “bad credit.”
Generally, those with scores around 650 and above have more options available. Those with scores in the 500s or lower have fewer options. And a few loan options don’t check credit at all.
Hard vs. Soft Inquiries and the Impact on Your Credit Score
The obvious benefit to no credit check loans is that there will be no hard credit check (inquiry) on your consumer credit reports. Inquiries may slightly lower your credit scores, though the effect is often temporary.
A hard inquiry is one that affects credit scores, while soft inquiries don’t. Soft inquiries may be used by some small business lenders to screen applicants while hard inquiries often take place once the business owner decides to apply for financing.
Inquiries typically lower credit scores by a few points (less than 10 points is common) and most credit scoring models don’t count inquiries that are more than a year old.
Do SBA Loans Require Credit Checks?
Generally, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans require a personal credit check. Some loans also require a business credit check. However, most SBA loans don’t have a minimum credit score requirement. “Acceptable credit” is required, though, and most lenders who make SBA loans require good or excellent credit scores.
Notably certain SBA loans — SBA Small Loans and Community Advantage Loans — require the lender to check a FICO SBSS credit score and minimum scores of 155 or 140 respectively are required to pass the prescreen.
How Much Money Can I Get From a Business Loan?
The amount of money you can get from a business loan depends on several factors, including the type of loan, the lender’s policies, the financial health of your business, and your creditworthiness. Business loans can range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars.
Here are some common types of business loans and their typical loan amounts:
- SBA loans: $50,000 to $5 million
- Term loans: $5,000 to $500,000 (or more)
- Business lines of credit: $10,000 to $250,000 (or more)
- Equipment financing: Depends on the cost of the equipment being financed
- Invoice financing: A percentage of the total value of the outstanding invoices
- Merchant cash advances: Based on the business’s average monthly credit card sales
Lenders will review your business’s financials, credit history, and ability to repay the loan before determining the loan amount. Additionally, different lenders may have varying eligibility criteria and loan limits, so it’s a good idea to shop around and compare loan offers to find the best fit for your business’s needs.
Can I Get a Business Loan With a 500 Credit Score?
Having a personal credit score of 500 is considered bad credit. There are some lenders that give out business loans to applicants with low credit scores, but your options will be limited. A working capital loan is one funding option whose lenders may be willing to work with borrowers with bad credit. Otherwise, you’ll want to look for business funding that relies on your annual revenue in your application rather than your personal credit score.
Why Does a Business Need a Credit Score?
A business needs a credit score for similar reasons that individuals need personal credit scores. A credit score is a number that represents a business’s creditworthiness and its ability to repay debts. It’s used for:
- Borrowing money: When a business applies for loans, lines of credit, or other forms of financing, lenders often use business credit scores to evaluate the business’s credit risk. A higher credit score demonstrates a strong track record of managing debt and increases the likelihood of getting approved for loans at more favorable terms, such as lower interest rates and higher credit limits.
- Supplier relationships: Suppliers and vendors often extend credit terms to businesses for buying goods and services. A good credit score can help build trust and credibility with suppliers, making it easier for the business to negotiate favorable credit terms or discounts on purchases.
- Insurance premiums: Some insurance companies use credit scores as a factor in determining insurance premiums for business policies. A higher credit score may lead to lower insurance costs, since it suggests the business is less likely to file claims.
- Business reputation: A solid credit score can reflect positively on a company’s reputation and management practices, instilling confidence in potential customers and investors.
Find No Credit Check Options That Fit Your Needs
Finding a traditional loan that doesn’t require a credit check can be difficult, if not nearly impossible. However, today’s modern lending economy has opened the door for alternative funding options, some of which do not require a credit check.
If your main goal is to avoid unnecessary credit checks when you apply for small business financing, Nav can help.
Frequently Asked Questions About Business Loans With No Credit Check
This article was originally written on November 16, 2018 and updated on September 20, 2023.