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 want small business owners to have good credit.
Maybe you need a loan to start a new business or launch a new product or division, or perhaps you are dealing with the unexpected, like a dip in revenue, costly repairs and renovations, or 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 secure it: your credit.
Are there loans that don’t care about your personal credit scores, and that don’t penalize you because you’ve made a few financial mistakes in your past?
There are, but you need to understand how these business financing 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. Only a few financing sources 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 credit score, and others are intimately familiar with their credit score and know that, in some cases, it can 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 it’s especially true for startups, or for businesses with few employees or without significant time in business and/or revenues.
Still, there are 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.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Business Loan with No Credit Check
Again, it is not always easy to find small business financing that doesn’t check personal credit and/or require good personal credit scores. But when you do, what are the benefits of these loans…and what are the drawbacks?
These loans will be available to a wider customer base since those with bad credit or no credit may qualify. In addition, these loans often come from online lenders that approve and fund loans quickly, whereas traditional loans can take weeks or even months to be approved. If you need money fast, this might be the way to go.
No credit check loans tend to have higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms, so be sure to factor that into your decision. And some of these loans may require collateral to secure the loan.
Can I Get A Business Loan With Bad Personal Credit?
Lenders often do a credit pull to determine whether your 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.
But it’s also important to keep in mind that sometimes 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 be perfectly acceptable.
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 have fewer options but they are out there. And, as we will share in a moment, 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 you don’t have a hard credit check on your consumer credit reports. Inquiries may slightly lower your credit scores, though the effect is often temporary.
A hard inquiry is one that will affect your 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.
Types of No Credit Check Business Loans
There are a couple of types of financing that don’t typically check personal credit:
Vendor or Supplier Financing
Here, your vendors or suppliers will offer short-term financing for products you purchase directly from them. Net-30 financing terms 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 do not 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:
Business Cash Advances
Here 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 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.
These smaller loans are often made by non-profit lenders (CDFIs) that try to help underserved borrowers. Microlenders are sometimes able to work with borrowers with less than perfect credit. A personal guarantee may be required, so be sure to check.
4 No Credit Check (or Bad Credit) Business Loans
Let’s look at some specific business loan offers. The first one listed does not check credit. The other three do check credit, but do not require excellent credit.
PayPal Working Capital: Loan
PayPal has long been viewed as a popular payment processor, but it also offers working capital loans that can be used to finance everyday operational expenses, e.g., payroll, accounts payable, etc. If you use PayPal as a form of payment, either online or in store, then the PayPal Working Capital Loan may be an option.
To be eligible for a PayPal Working Capital Loan, you must have a PayPal Business or Premier account for at least three months. Business account holders must process at least $15,000 annually, while Premier account holders must process at least $20,000 annually.
This working capital loan is based on your PayPal account history, so you’ll be able to borrow an amount that fits your business.
Rates & Fees
Eligible borrowers will pay a single, fixed fee that is determined prior to accepting the loan. There are no additional interest payments or fees. The fixed fee is on the loan total; your PayPal sales history; and the selected repayment percentage, which is the percentage of each sale deducted and paid towards your loan.
Payments are automated and deducted from each PayPal sale, referred to as the “repayment percentage.” Though percentage repayment rates can vary based on the amount of the loan amount, typically borrowers can select a repayment rate between 10% and 30% per transaction.
If no PayPal sales occur during a specific time, no payment is made; however, all borrowers are expected to pay either 5% or 10% of the total loan amount over a period of 90 days. In addition to the repayment percentage, borrowers can also make manual payments.
Rapid Finance: Cash Advance
While this merchant cash advance company may check your credit, you still can qualify for business financing with lower credit scores because Rapid Finance also looks at your time in business, revenue, and accounts receivable.
To qualify, you must have accounts receivable. You’ll need to provide your last three credit card processing statements, as well as your last three months of business bank statements when you apply.
With Rapid Finance, you can get a cash advance of $5,000 up to $500,000.
Rates & Fees
Because this is not a loan, you aren’t charged an interest rate. Instead, your receivables are purchased at a discounted price and fees may be charged and deducted from the advance amount.
You’ll make automatic payments based on a percentage of your business’ credit card sales or other revenue receivables.
BlueVine: Line of Credit
BlueVine offers a business line of credit that can help you build your credit over time. BlueVine does run a soft credit inquiry, so though they will “check your credit,” it will not be reflected on or impact your credit score.
To qualify, you’ll need a FICO score of at least 600, 6+ months in business, and $10,000 in monthly revenue.
Eligible applicants can borrow up to $250,000.
Rates and Fees
Rates start at 4.8%. There are no monthly or maintenance fees.
You’ll pay back each draw with fixed monthly or weekly payments over 6 or 12 months.
Kapitus: Short-Term Loan
Another option if your credit scores are low is a short-term loan from Kapitus. The company also offers equipment loans and revenue-based financing.
To qualify, you’ll need to be in business for at least two years, have annual revenues of $250,000 or more, and have a credit score of 625 or higher.
Eligible applicants can borrow from $10,000 to $500,000.
Rates and Fees
Rates vary, depending on the loan product, but as an example, you may see a 1.05 – 1.39 factor rate on some short-term loans.
Kapitus works with you to set up a payment plan that works with your business.
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 typically you don’t need high 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 offers in the future.
Brex offers a corporate credit card that doesn’t require a personal credit check. It is only available to businesses such as LLC’s and Corporations, and is not available to sole proprietors. Balances are paid in full directly from a Brex account either daily or monthly, depending on which card your business qualifies for.
*All information about the Brex credit card has been collected independently by Nav. This card is not currently available through Nav. To see what business credit cards are available, please visit the Nav Credit Card Marketplace.
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.
Do SBA Loans Require Credit Checks?
Generally, 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, and the lender has some leeway to determine the credit score it will accept.
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.
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. Nav’s marketplace can match you to different types of business loans based on your qualifications, helping you narrow your choices to those for which you are more likely to qualify. Sign up for a free Nav account to see your customized loan options.