How to get a business loan with a bad credit score?

As a small business owner, when you go to a bank for a business loan, instead of looking at the performance of your business, the bank will check your personal credit score first. This means, even if your business is performing well and profitably, a fair credit score of 600-650 could prevent you from getting a small business loan. A credit score of under 600 portrays you as a high-risk borrower and will make it nearly impossible to borrow even a small loan.

A low credit score stops business loans being disbursed to profitable and stable businesses. Bad credit history will follow you and your business for years. For example, you may have owned a successful business for a few years and now you are looking for funds to expand into another city or purchase more equipment, but when you visit the bank, the loan officer turns you away. Why? The answer is easy – his decision is based on your poor personal credit history.

Credit scores

There is no standard scale that defines your credit score. That evaluation varies from a credit agency to a credit agency as they set their own criteria. A credit report from Equifax may give a person one number, while a credit report from another institution will very likely suggest a higher or lower credit score for the same person. Credit scores in Canada are officially assessed by two entities: Equifax and TransUnion

  • The higher the credit score, the safer it is to lend to you
  • Credit scores typically range from 300 to 900

Credit score brackets:

  1. 800-900 – Highest bracket; excellent credit history
  2. 700-799 – Very good credit history; lowest interest rates available
  3. 650-699 – the Lowest score that can receive standard loans 
  4. 600-649 – Fair score; higher interest rates applicable
  5. 300-599 – Low scores; less likely to receive business loans

Therefore, if you have a credit score of 649 or lower, it will dramatically reduce the chance of your business loan being approved. Since major banks first look to the business owner’s personal credit score, even exceptional business performance may not make you eligible for loans, or high-interest rates may apply to you.

What happens if you have a low credit score?

If the borrower has a bad credit score, other than a higher likelihood of being refused a loan by the major financial institutions, there are a few other ramifications: 

  • Higher interest rates on loans and lines of credit
  • Difficulty finding business premises
  • Security deposits required by utility companies
  • Higher insurance premiums for business assets

Private lenders help small businesses with bad credit history get loans 

Fortunately, there are ways of getting business loans for your company even if you – the borrower – have bad credit. To get small business loans with bad credit history, private lenders are one of the best options. These are more local lenders, better tuned to market conditions, who offer more flexible loan options. 

There are many private lenders that can provide small business loans. Bad credit history or credit score will make little or no difference to the loan, depending on the type of loan you opt for. Moreover, the application process is much easier and repayments are more flexible. 

It is possible that a private lender will ask you to open a business bank account with them before they provide you with funding. 

How to get a business loan with a bad credit score?

  1. Merchant cash advance (MCA) lenders provide cash advances, customize private terms and business equity line of credit to small business owners. This would be the best way to get a business loan with no credit assessment, and beneficial repayment terms if you happen to have a bad credit history. Instead of checking your personal credit score, a merchant cash advance provider assesses your business’ performance and monthly credit card sales. The MCA lender will give you an upfront sum of cash in exchange for a percentage of the business’s daily credit card income.  The MCA lender will tie into the credit card processor directly to settle credit card payments so the business owner does not have to worry about missing the payments or dealing with administrative processes. There are many pros and cons of having MCA but regardless of that, it is still considered as the best way to get business fundings.
  2. A private term loan gives you the same perks as a small business loan from a major lending institution. However, the private lender does not give the same weight to your bad credit when deciding on the small business loan. Instead, the lender mitigates the risk with fixed daily repayment terms.
  3. A business equity line of credit is much less reliant on the credit history of the business owner. Therefore, if you have a bad credit history and require financing for your business, you can use your equity in the business as collateral. A business equity line of credit helps businesses resolve their cash flow issues, though it does require putting up a part of your ownership as collateral.

Start-up bad credit business loans

For entrepreneurs with bad credit seeking business loans for their start-up, private lenders and alternative lending are the best options. Where small business loan applications at major institutions have a less than 25% chance of approval, merchant cash advance (MCA) approvals stand at over 97%! This is because MCAs do not evaluate the business owner’s personal credit score, and only take into account business performance. Besides that, MCAs can be approved within 4-6 hours.

Government loans and grants are also great options. Both have flexible repayment terms and offer additional business support to small entities. However, some of the government loans may require a good credit history and may have strict eligibility criteria.

Using business loans to rebuild your credit

Apart from using funds to expand their business, business loans can help borrowers improve their personal credit scores. Once you opt for an equity line of credit or a private term loan, make sure to pay on time and your credit score will improve over time. As a result, the better your credit score is, the lower your interest rates will be and you will have a greater chance to access financial lending markets.

Borrowing is an inherent part of any business regardless of its size and the industry it operates in. Major financial institutions and private lenders usually lend to businesses with exceptional credit histories opposed to those with a bad one. Don’t let your bad credit history stop your business from getting the financing it needs. Options such as a merchant cash advance (MCA) will provide you with the required funding, as well as improve your credit card history in general. If you think it might be a good solution for you, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.