How to Get a Business Loan with Bad Credit

Your personal credit score is one of the most important factors lenders look at when deciding whether to give you a business loan. A low credit score can make it difficult to get approved for a loan and can lead to high-interest rates and other penalties. In this article, we’ll discuss how to get a business loan with bad credit. Let’s get started!

How to Get a Small Business Loan With Bad Credit

how to get a business loan with bad credit - meeting

Minimum credit score requirements vary from lender to lender, but there are still several steps you can take to increase your chances of getting approved for a loan with bad credit. Here are five tips for getting a small business loan with bad credit:

  • Improve Your Credit Score. The first step is to take steps to improve your credit score, such as paying down any outstanding debt and checking your credit report for errors.
  • Show Evidence of Financial Responsibility. Lenders want to know that you are responsible for your finances, so it’s important to provide evidence of your financial responsibility such as bank statements, tax returns, and balance sheets.
  • Find the Right Lender. It’s important to find a lender that is willing to work with you, even if you have bad credit. Research different lenders and compare their terms and fees to find one that meets your needs.
  • Provide Collateral. Some lenders may require collateral for a loan, such as equipment, real estate, or inventory. Providing collateral can help increase your chances of getting approved for a loan.
  • Seek Alternative Financing Options. If you are unable to get a loan from a traditional lender, consider alternative financing options such as microloans, peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, and more.

Here is a snapshot the tips/steps:

Steps to Get a Small Business Loan With Bad CreditDescription
Improve Your Credit ScoreTake measures to enhance your credit score, including paying off debts and checking your credit report for any errors.
Show Evidence of Financial ResponsibilityProvide proof of financial responsibility through documents such as bank statements, tax returns, and balance sheets.
Find the Right LenderResearch different lenders and compare their terms and fees to find a suitable lender willing to work with you despite bad credit.
Provide CollateralSome lenders may require collateral, such as equipment, real estate, or inventory, to secure the loan and increase approval chances.
Seek Alternative Financing OptionsIf traditional lenders are not an option, explore alternative financing options like microloans, peer-to-peer lending, and crowdfunding.


What Do Lenders Consider Bad Credit?

A bad credit score is typically considered a credit score that is below 580. A bad credit score can make it difficult to get approved for a loan and can lead to high-interest rates and other penalties.

Bad credit is often the result of missed payments, bankruptcy, or maxing out credit cards. When evaluating a borrower’s creditworthiness, lenders consider several factors associated with bad credit.

Here are some key aspects that lenders take into account:

  1. Credit Score: A bad credit score is typically defined as a score below 580. Lenders consider credit scores as an indicator of an individual’s creditworthiness and financial responsibility.
  2. Payment History: Lenders closely examine an applicant’s payment history. Consistently missing payments, making late payments, or defaulting on loans can significantly impact creditworthiness and be seen as red flags by lenders.
  3. Debt-to-Income Ratio: Lenders assess the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio, which compares the amount of debt a person carries to their income. High debt levels relative to income can indicate financial strain and raise concerns for lenders.
  4. Bankruptcy or Foreclosure: Past bankruptcies or foreclosures on record can significantly affect a person’s creditworthiness. These negative events may stay on a credit report for several years and make it challenging to obtain credit or loans.
  5. High Credit Utilization: Maxing out credit cards or carrying high balances on revolving credit accounts can signal a higher risk for lenders. It is generally advisable to keep credit utilization below 30% to maintain a healthier credit profile.
  6. Collections and Charge-Offs: Unpaid debts that have been sent to collections or charged off by the original creditor can reflect poorly on credit reports and indicate a history of financial mismanagement.
  7. Length of Credit History: Lenders consider the length of an individual’s credit history. Limited credit history or a short credit history with negative marks can make it harder to establish trust with lenders.

To improve your creditworthiness and mitigate the impact of bad credit, it’s crucial to take proactive steps:

  • Make Timely Payments: Ensure that all your bills, loan payments, and credit card payments are made on time. Consistently making timely payments helps build a positive payment history.
  • Manage Debt Responsibly: Avoid overextending yourself by keeping your credit card balances low and paying off debts in a timely manner. Aim to maintain a healthy debt-to-income ratio.
  • Regularly Monitor Your Credit: Stay aware of your credit standing by monitoring your credit reports regularly. Identify any errors or inaccuracies and take steps to rectify them promptly.
  • Establish Positive Credit Habits: Cultivate responsible financial habits by budgeting, saving, and practicing good money management. This can help demonstrate to lenders that you are committed to maintaining good credit.

how to get a business loan with bad credit

Strategies to Improve Credit Score Before Applying for a Business Loan

Improving your credit score can significantly increase your chances of obtaining a business loan, even if you currently have bad credit. Here are some effective strategies to enhance your creditworthiness:

  • Regular Credit Report Checks and Dispute Errors: Regularly check your credit reports for inaccuracies. Disputing and rectifying errors can help improve your credit score.
  • Debt Consolidation and Management: Consider consolidating debts to manage them more effectively. Use strategies like the snowball or avalanche method to pay off debts and lower your credit utilization.
  • Timely Payments and Credit History: Ensure timely payments on all your debts. Consistent on-time payments contribute positively to your credit history, which can boost your score.
  • Avoid New Credit Applications: Limit new credit applications. Each credit inquiry can potentially lower your score, so it’s best to avoid applying for new credit cards or loans unnecessarily.
  • Credit Utilization Ratio: Aim to maintain a low credit utilization ratio. It’s recommended to use less than 30% of your available credit limit.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Sometimes, consulting with a credit counselor can provide personalized strategies to improve your credit score based on your specific financial situation.

Building a Strong Business Plan to Compensate for Bad Credit

Having a robust business plan can sometimes offset the negative impact of bad credit when applying for a business loan.

  • Comprehensive Market Analysis: Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of your market. Include research on competitors, market trends, and target customer demographics.
  • Clear Financial Projections: Present realistic and detailed financial projections. Show lenders how you plan to generate revenue and manage expenses effectively.
  • Solid Marketing and Sales Strategies: Outline your marketing and sales strategies. Explain how you intend to attract and retain customers, which is crucial for business sustainability.
  • Management Team’s Experience: Highlight the experience and skills of your management team. Experienced leadership can instill confidence in lenders about your business’s potential.
  • Risk Mitigation Strategies: Discuss the risks associated with your business and the strategies you have in place to mitigate them.

Leveraging Business Assets and Collateral

Using business assets as collateral can increase the likelihood of loan approval for businesses with bad credit.

  • Asset Identification: Identify which assets can be used as collateral. These might include equipment, real estate, inventory, or accounts receivable.
  • Valuation of Assets: Get a professional appraisal of these assets to understand their value.
  • Understanding Lender’s Requirements: Different lenders have varying requirements regarding acceptable collateral. Ensure your assets meet these criteria.
  • Risk Assessment: Understand the risks involved in pledging assets as collateral. In case of loan default, these assets might be seized by the lender.


Be sure to check out this video, ‘TOP Beginner Credit Card Mistakes to AVOID’ after reading the article for some good tips on how to avoid common pitfalls when managing credit cards and building a strong credit history.

What is the Minimum Credit Score for a Small Business Loan?

The minimum personal credit score for a small business loan is typically 500. However, depending on the lender, the minimum score may be higher or lower.

To increase your chances of being approved for a loan, try to maintain a good credit score and make all your payments on time. Building your business credit score can also help you get approved for a loan with better terms.

Is It Possible to Get a Loan with No Credit Check?

It is possible to get a loan with no credit check. However, it is important to note that most lenders will require some form of credit check before approving business financing. This is because lenders want to make sure you are a low-risk borrower and have a good chance of repaying the loan.

If you have a bad credit score, you may be able to get approved for a loan with a higher interest rate or through a more lenient lender.

Types of Business Loans Available to Borrowers with Poor Credit

how to get a business loan with bad credit - lender talking with client

If you have poor credit, several bad credit business loan options are still out there. Let’s take a look at the various types of loans available to you…

1. SBA Loan

The Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are government-backed loans that are available to businesses with bad credit. Although the interest rates can be higher than what you would get from a private lender, SBA loans are often more lenient and may require collateral.

2. Merchant Cash Advances

A merchant cash advance (MCA) is a type of loan where the lender advances you funds in exchange for a percentage of your future sales. MCAs are often more lenient than traditional loans and can be approved quickly.

3. Business Lines of Credit

A line of credit is a loan that allows you to draw funds up to a certain limit as needed. Lines of credit can be used for working capital and usually have more flexible payment terms than other types of loans.

4. Equipment Loan

An equipment loan allows you to finance the purchase of business equipment. Equipment loans typically have lower interest rates than other types of financing and can help you get the equipment you need without having to use a lot of capital.

5. Microloans

Microloans are small loans that are typically offered to entrepreneurs who have a hard time getting approved for other types of financing. Microloans can help you get the funds you need to start or grow your business.

6. Peer-To-Peer Lending

With peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, you can borrow money from a group of individual investors rather than a traditional lender. P2P loans can be a great option for those with bad credit as they often have more lenient terms.

7. Guarantor Loans

These are loans where a close friend or family member acts as the guarantor, meaning they are liable for the loan if you default. Guarantor loans can be a great option if you have a poor credit score, but it is important to make sure your guarantor understands the risks involved.

8. Invoice Financing or Factoring

Invoice financing or factoring allows you to borrow money based on the value of outstanding invoices. This type of financing can be a great option if you need money quickly and have invoices that are due soon.

9. Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards can be a great option if you have bad credit, as they often have lower interest rates than other types of financing. However, paying your balance in full every month is important to avoid high interest charges.

10. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way for small businesses to raise money. With crowdfunding, you can get funds from a large group of people who are interested in supporting your business.


Bad Credit Business Loans for Startups

how to get a business loan with bad credit- handshake deal

Online lenders are typically the best option for startups looking to get a business loan with bad credit. Online lenders often have more lenient terms and less stringent requirements than traditional banks, making them a great option for startups. Let’s take a look at some options for getting business financing with bad credit:

1. OnDeck for Short-Term Loans

With OnDeck, you can get a term loan from $5,000 to $250,000 with repayment terms of up to 24 months. You’ll also be able to apply for more funding once you’ve paid at least half of the balance down.

2. Bluevine for Invoice Factoring or Financing

With a company like Bluevine, which has partnered with FundThrough to offer invoice factoring, you’re able to free up cash currently tied up in unpaid invoices. To qualify, you’ll need about $100,000 in annual revenue, have been in business for at least three months, and have a credit score of 530+.

3. Lendio for a Business Line of Credit

You can get a business line of credit of between $1,000 and $500,000 in as little as one day using Lendio. However, the interest is between 8%-60%, which is higher than traditional business loans.

4. CurrencyFinance for Equipment loans

CurrencyFinance offers loans to qualified borrowers of as much as $500,000 and up to 72-month repayment terms. To have the most options with CurrencyFinance’s offerings, you should have a 625 or higher FICO score and 2+ years of time in business.

5. Accion for Microloans

Accion is a non-profit organization that offers microloans of up to $100,000 with interest rates as low as 5.99%. What’s great about Accion is that you can get a quote without impacting your credit score.

6. Credibly for Working Capital Loans

If you have poor credit and need money quickly to cover day-to-day expenses, then a working capital loan through Credibly might be a great option for you. However, to qualify, you’ll need to put up collateral of up to 90% of the loan amount.

7. Payability for Merchant Cash Advance

With Payability, you can receive up to $250,000 in funding the same day you’re approved. They work with businesses from 180 countries in 38 currencies. What’s great is there’s no credit check.

8. Rapid Finance for Business Loans

Getting a small business loan through Rapid Finance is a simple, straightforward process and you can apply right from their website. Their loan terms range from three to sixty months and you can receive funds within hours of being approved.

9. American Express Plum Business Credit Card

If you’re looking for something less traditional, you may want to consider a business credit card like the American Express Plum Business Credit Card. This card offers the ability to carry your balance for up to 60 days with no interest, no preset spending limit, and more.

10. Personal Loans

Personal loans can also be a great option for business owners with bad credit. You can use them to fund your business, as long as you are using the money for business-related expenses and are responsible for making the payments.


Are There Any Bad Credit Loans You Should Steer Clear Of?

Yes, there are certain types of bad credit loans that you should be cautious about and consider avoiding. These include:
  1. Payday Loans: Payday loans are short-term, high-interest loans that typically require repayment by the borrower’s next payday. They often come with extremely high interest rates and fees, making them a risky option. The short repayment period and high costs can lead to a cycle of debt for borrowers.
  2. Car Title Loans: Car title loans involve using your vehicle as collateral to secure a loan. These loans often have high interest rates and short repayment terms, which can put your vehicle at risk if you’re unable to make timely payments. Defaulting on a car title loan can result in the loss of your vehicle.
  3. No-Credit-Check Loans: Some lenders offer loans without performing a credit check. While this may seem convenient for those with bad credit, these loans often come with exorbitant interest rates and fees. The lack of a credit check means that the lender does not have a full understanding of your creditworthiness, increasing the risk for both parties involved.
  4. Advance Fee Loans: Be cautious of lenders who require upfront payment or fees before providing a loan. Legitimate lenders typically deduct fees from the loan amount or include them in the loan repayment terms. Advance fee loans are often associated with scams or fraudulent activities, and it’s best to steer clear of such offers.
  5. Guarantor Loans: Guarantor loans require a third-party co-signer with good credit to guarantee the loan. While these loans may be an option for those with bad credit, they can put the guarantor at financial risk if the borrower defaults on the loan. It’s important to carefully consider the implications for both parties involved before pursuing a guarantor loan.

When seeking a loan with bad credit, it’s crucial to thoroughly research and understand the terms and conditions offered by lenders. Read the fine print, review the interest rates and fees, and consider the repayment terms before making a decision.

It’s also advisable to seek alternatives such as credit counseling or exploring loan options with reputable financial institutions or community organizations that specialize in assisting individuals with bad credit.

Don’t Let Bad Credit Stop You From Obtaining Small Business Loans

how to get a business loan with bad credit - loan approved

Bad credit doesn’t have to be a roadblock to securing business financing. By taking proactive steps to improve your credit score, building a compelling business plan, and considering various lending options, you can increase your chances of obtaining a business loan.

Remember, it’s about presenting yourself as a responsible borrower and demonstrating the potential for business success. With the right approach and persistence, securing a business loan with bad credit is achievable.

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Kevin Ocasio Kevin Ocasio is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 2 years. He holds certifications in SEO, digital marketing, and content marketing. Kevin is also certified in Information Technology Technical Support Fundamentals.