*We’re all about helping you make good business decisions, so any opinions or views expressed in our blogs reflect that of our editorial team only and not FaaSfunds, LLC as a whole.

Second chances are important. That’s why making sure that business loan options are available to everyone, including felons, helps give individuals second chances regardless of their past. Business loans for felons can be hard to find, but not impossible by any means.

The U.S. houses 25 percent of the global incarcerated population. With so many individuals going through the prison system, there’s often not a way to ensure their homogenization and success after their release. It’s much harder to find employment because of their status as a felon, and that makes it much harder to assimilate and go back to living a regular life. Felons are 50 percent less likely to be offered a job, and when they are, they make 40 percent less. These roadblocks to success don’t make productivity any easier, so entrepreneurship is often an attractive and logical option for former inmates. For felons looking to start their own business, there can be several funding options. 

Is Success Possible?

There are quite a few well-known successful formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs, like Dave Dahl, founder of Dave’s Killer Bread, Performance Two founder Georgia Durante and Pigeonly founder Frederick Hutson. These are large-scale successes, but there are surely thousands of locally successful ex-convicts around the country. 

Andrew Medal, an ex-convict turned entrepreneur, writes for Entrepreneur Magazine that there are several factors that make former inmates ideally suited for entrepreneurship – they’re experts at bootstrapping, familiar with the unknown and know how to take healthy risks. These factors, however, don’t show up on a credit report. What’s it like trying to get a business loan as a felon? 

The Unfortunate Facts

If you’re looking for business loans for felons, it may not be an easy feat. When you get out of jail and don’t have a steady source of income, the reality of the matter is that your credit score is likely less-than-stellar. This makes qualifying for a loan considerably harder. It’s best to start off with some sort of debt-free financing, if possible. Debt-free financing is exactly what it sounds like – a version of business funding that requires no credit or repayment. One type is a business grant. 

Business Grants

Before you focus on business loans for felons, you might want to look into grants for felons. There are entire organizations designed specifically for ex-convicts and felons looking to turn their life around and become entrepreneurs, and several of them offer grants or funding help. Unlike loans, grants don’t have to be paid back, and many are designed to boost small businesses and jump-start careers for underserved entrepreneurs.

A great place to begin is grants.gov, where you can search for federal government grants that match what you’re trying to achieve. With this option, you might not find many designed specifically for felons, but you can look for ones designed for either the type of business you’re trying to start, or ones centered around your nationality, heritage or identity. Local governments and religious organizations often will have resources and programs designed to help felons achieve success, so it’s also a good idea to start by looking hyper-local.

Help For Felons is a website designed to help ex-cons assimilate into society. They don’t specifically offer grants, but they do offer tons of business-applicable tips. Nonprofits like Inmates to Entrepreneurs help ex-cons get information and access to the things they need to start their own businesses. They’re also an incubator, which is a program that provides training, coaching, networking and financing. Defy Ventures is another similar program focused on “humanizing connections” and has a range of programs from incubators to entrepreneur boot camps.


If you think your product or idea could gain traction quickly, and people have expressed interest, it might be worth starting a crowdfunding campaign. Sites like Kickstarter and Indigogo have proven to be successful tools for entrepreneurs in raising capital for their business ventures, and they don’t care if you have a criminal record. Crowdfunding is a form of fundraising where people donate online in support of your product. Depending on the platform you use, donators receive either equity, swag or a version of your product. 

Business Loans for Felons

  1. Equipment financing

If you’re looking for business loans for felons and your venture requires large equipment to get started, or even real estate, equipment loans are “self-securing.” The equipment or property acts as collateral to secure the loan. This means that you won’t require extra collateral to get them, which is good if you’ve just been released from prison and don’t have the best financials. Lenders are more inclined to give loans to people with less-than-stellar credit if the loan is secured, so your criminal history is not as important as it would be with other loans.

  1. Online Lenders

Online marketplace lenders are able to be more flexible on terms and qualification requirements than traditional banks – sites like Kabbage, OnDeck or Lending Tree. These could be easier options if you’re a felon looking for a business loan. These options do, however, cost more in interest than a traditional bank loan, but are usually quicker to acquire. 

If you have a criminal record and are looking to fund your business, or are trying to keep track of your business credit, let FaaSfunds help. We’re here to make sure you make the best decisions for your business.

Do you know all the fees associated with small business loans? No worries, not too many people can keep track of them all. It’s a vast and complicated world of jargon and hidden terms. Unfortunately, on top of interest and down payments, there are several other loan fees that could be included in certain small business loan packages, and we’re here to help you break them all down into easily-digestible parts. 

Ongoing Administrative Loan Fees

These may be monthly. Ongoing administrative fees are other costs your lender might tack on to your loan for “servicing and maintaining” it. They might be a percentage or flat fee, but can really add up after a while. If you’re working with a reputable lender, you shouldn’t expect to pay these loan fees. 

Application Fees

An application fee covers the costs of the actual application. Any costs to the lender for processing and accessing your application are passed to you through these loan fees, but this practice is pretty uncommon amongst lenders, so you’ll run into it less often than you will other fees. 

Annual Fees

Annual fees are often a flat rate added to your loan once a year. These loan fees are supposed to be for the service of maintaining your account, but this is not a common practice. Watch our for them, and chances are you’ll be able to find a lender that doesn’t charge them. If you can’t, though, it’s always a good idea to try and negotiate these loan fees, especially if you’re paying fees for other things. 

Closing Costs

Closing costs could be a name that encompasses many of the other loan fees mentioned in this list, so be on the lookout. They can include origination fees, processing fees, application fees or any other costs associated with packaging a loan. Closing costs are charged at loan closing – so, after you’re approved and are about to sign your loan documents, read carefully for these closing costs. Forbes advises lenders that, “When a lender mentions that you’ll have closing costs associated with your loan, you’ll want to know exactly what those closing costs are. That way, you can be sure that you’re being charged legitimate and fair fees.”

Collective and Overdue Fees

In addition to late payment fees, some lenders may charge collection and overdue fees if they have to actually take action to get payment from you. 

Credit Check Fee

A credit check fee is exactly what it sounds like – a fee charged from lender to borrower for having to check their credit. Checking credit of potential borrowers requires the use of software that usually costs the lender a fee, so sometimes they’ll pass that to the applicant. 

Guarantee Fees

Guarantee fees are usually charged only for SBA loans. When you take out an SBA loan, you aren’t getting the funds from the SBA, you’re actually getting them from lenders themselves. The SBA guarantees 75% to 85% of the loan, meaning that if your business defaults on the loan, the SBA guarantees that the percentage of the loan to the lender. They alleviate the risk for the lender. Because they’re taking on this risk, they charge the lender a guarantee fee, which they’ll sometimes pass on to you. It’s usually included in your loan and is deducted from the loan before it’s disbursed to you. 

The amount of these loan fees is determined by the term and loan amount and is based on the guaranteed portion, not the entire loan. For loans under $150,000, there’s no fee. For loans over $150,000 and terms of less than one year, the fee is 0.25%. For loans over $150,000 and terms over one year, the fees range from 3% to 3.75%. 

Non-sufficient Funds Fee

If your account doesn’t have enough money in it, the lender will sometimes charge you a one-time fee for an unsuccessful payment. This is similar to an overdraft fee charged by banks. 

Late Fees

Pretty obvious from the name, late fees are charged to the borrower when they’re late on their payment. These often range from $10 to $35 or can be around 2% to 5% of the outstanding balance. 

Lockbox Fees

These loan fees are pretty uncommon considering most payments are made online nowadays, but if you use a lender that requires payments via lockbox at a post office, they might charge you a fee for having that lockbox. 

Origination Fees

Done at loan closing, an origination fee is for evaluating and preparing the loan. Things like documents, notaries or attornies – these are all charges that can be carried over to the borrower via origination fees. Usually, they’re 0.5% of the loan amount. 

Prepayment Penalties

Prepayment fees are possibly the most seemingly irrational loan fees charged by lenders. If the point of a loan is to pay it off, why are they charging you for doing it early? The rationale behind prepayment penalties is that if you pay off your loan early, it isn’t generating as much interest, and therefore isn’t making the lender as much money. The prepayment penalty ensures they get all the money they would if you kept the loan to term. 

The good news, however, is that these loan fees are pretty uncommon with business loans (it’s more common for mortgages or car loans). Penalties are usually a percentage of the entire loan. 

Service/Processing Fees

Many of the loan fees in this list could classify as service or processing fees, but it’s just another term to look out for. They’re used to cover the cost of customer service or other services the lender may provide – like paperwork or administration. 

Unused Line Fee

The reason banks give out loans and lines of credit are to make money from them. If you have a line of credit from a bank and you’re not using it, then that’s not making the bank any money (typically, interest is only charged on the funds used from a line of credit). So, if you don’t spend over a certain amount of that credit line every month, the bank might charge you an unused line fee, which is often a percentage of the unused portion. 

Wire Fee

A wire fee happens when the lender is required to wire you the money via bank wire transfer, which is faster than the usual Automated Clearing House transfer. Since these are more expensive, however, that cost will sometimes be charged to you. 

What to do?

No to be presumptuous, but it’s likely that lenders will try to take advantage of any knowledge you don’t have about loan fees, and you could end up paying way more than you intended. Make sure you look out for these loan fees in contracts or agreements with lenders. You’re allowed to ask questions and negotiate some terms, so don’t be scared to bring it up when you’re getting a small business loan.

Have other concerns about small business loans and loan fees? Give us a call. FaaSfunds has qualified consultants to help with any financing needs you might have. Sign up today.

You went through the underwriting process and you managed to secure a business loan – what do you do now? 

Arguably harder than getting a business loan is paying it back. The monthly payments can take a large chunk of your business’s revenue, and it’ll take quite a bit of planning to make sure you’re on time and keeping up with payments. Here’s our definitive guide to after you receive your loan. 

Try to Pay More Per Payment

That’s a given – if you have the ability, try to pay more than the recommended monthly payment. If you can’t afford to pay significantly more, try just simply rounding up each payment term. For example, if your payment is $365 a month, go ahead and pay $400 a month. This $35 extra per month can add up, and help you pay off your business loan quicker. 

You can also try to make one extra payment per year. Ideally, this should be about the size of your usual monthly payment or larger, that way you can really put a dent in the total amount. 

Before you do this, however, make sure the business loan you’re paying on doesn’t have penalties for prepayment. Some lenders require fees for prepayment because the loan isn’t acquiring as much interest over time. 

Set Reminders

Many lenders allow your bank account to be auto-drafted for your payment every month, but if that’s not your thing, make sure you’re remembering when your payments are due. Make the correct adjustments to your cash flow to make sure you’re all set – if your loan payment is due the same time as your rent, make sure you’ve planned for that and set aside money.

Setting reminders on your phone are the best way to keep up, that way you’re consistently notified every month. Even if you have auto-draft, make sure you’re aware of when your payments are drafted, so your bank account has enough funds. 

Build Your Credit Score Via Your Business Loan

Remember, business loans aren’t only about paying for things – they’re also vital in building your credit score. Keep that in mind every time you make a payment. If you miss a payment or pay late, your credit score gets penalized. The more consistent you are, the more this “good behavior” will reflect in your score. If you can keep a good score – or increase it – then you’ll be able to attain future funding or refinancing at better rates. 

Make a Business Plan 

Use the money you just borrowed to grow your business. Business loans are meant to be investments in the future, so the best way to ensure that you’re using them to their best potential is to make a detailed plan of how you see your business going in the next few years. Layout how you want to use the money – whether it be for equipment purchases or for investing in new opportunities, you want to make sure you keep track of where you’re spending it and if it’s going to contribute to growth. 

Look Into Refinancing

This something to think about longer down the road. Once you’ve paid a good bit on your loan and your business is making more in revenue,  it could be a good plan to try and refinance your loan to get a lower interest rate. If you’ve been paying on time and your credit is improving, it’s an even better reason to refinance. As your credit improves, lenders will usually give you better interest rates. If your business is more well-established, you might want to look into getting an SBA loan to refinance, they’re usually the lowest-interest business loans on the market. 

How you use your loan is up to you, just make sure you’re really thinking about how you spend. Loans are meant to be opportunities, not hindrances.

Want more direction on how to use your business loan, or are you looking to get a business loan? Check out FaaSfunds proven software to help you find the right loan for your business, or speak with one of our finance experts today.

When you choose to refinance something, you usually decide to do it because it makes your previous financing options or purchases more affordable. What exactly does it mean to refinance? Fundamentally, it’s when you decide to revise the terms of a previous credit agreement. Most often, you’ll refinance when nationally-set interest rates go down and can result in savings on monthly payments with a new agreement.

How Does Refinancing Work?

Refinancing is essentially just getting a new loan to replace an old one. The main motivation for refinancing is dependent on the market and the current interest rate environment, but if your business credit has improved, that’s also a reason to refinance a loan. Typically, during times of slow economic growth, interest rates will be lower to stimulate spending and investment. During times of expansion, however, interest rates will be higher.

Different Types of Refinancing

  1. Rate-and-term refinancing: when a borrower directly replaces the existing loan with one with a lower rate.
  2. Cash-out refinancing: when a borrower takes out a loan for more than they owe on the previous loan, so they can use the extra cash to pay off other debts.
  3. Cash-in refinancing: when a borrower pays cash for some of the remaining loans, in order to lower the loan-to-value ratio or get smaller monthly payments. 
  4. Consolidation refinancing: when a borrower takes out one, lower-interest loan to pay off several, higher-interest debts. 

The Best Strategies

How do you know when the best time to refinance is, or if you should refinance at all? First, calculate it (this one is specifically for mortgages, but the results are easily transferable to other loans), then, consider these factors:

Falling Interest Rates

The best strategy for loan refinancing is to pay attention to national interest rates. Interest rates fluctuate based on policy, global factors and the economy. If national interest rates fall, and you can get a new loan at one to two percent below your current rate, then it’s reasonable to consider refinancing in order to secure that lower rate and save money. This is an example of rate-and-term refinancing, where the existing loan is paid and replaced with one with a lower rate. 

Increase in Value

If the thing you used the loan to purchase – property, equipment, etc. – increases in its value (this will usually only happen with property because most equipment depreciates in value), that could be a reason to refinance. This idea works well with cash-out refinancing. With this, you take out more than your current loan amount left to pay and use the extra cash to pay off other debts. If your property has increased in value, you’re more likely to be able to take out more money than what you owe.

Credit Improvement 

The better your credit, the better your rates and terms on loans usually are. If your credit score and financial health have increased significantly, refinancing could save you money because it can lower your interest rates.

Consolidating Debt

The technique of consolidating debt means that a borrower takes out a lower-interest loan to pay off one or several higher-interest debts. This is a refinancing technique used with things like credit card debts – if you have several different credit card debts, it might be beneficial to take out a single loan to pay them all off, so you can only have one payment at a single, lower interest rate.

Things to Look Out For

Closing costs – Some new loans may have closing costs, which are usually based on a percentage. Make sure you calculate in the closing costs when you’re trying to figure out if the refinancing will save you money, because you could end up paying more even if the interest rate is lower. 

Prepayment penalties – Make sure the loans you’re paying off in full don’t have prepayment penalties for paying them off earlier than the agreed-upon term. If they do have prepayment penalties, make sure you calculate to check that their cost doesn’t outweigh the lower interest rates in the long run. 

Keep in mind – It often makes more sense to refinance early in a mortgage or loan repayment because you don’t own as much equity in the thing your financing (like property). Most loans amortize, and therefore most early payments go more toward the interest than the cost of the actual purchase. Later-on in a loan, you’re making more payments toward the actual purchase, so you own more equity in the purchase. When you refinance, you’re essentially starting over by taking out a new loan, and it will take you even longer to build up equity.

There are also things you shouldn’t do. Just because refinancing can lower the total cost of a loan doesn’t mean it’s always the best idea in the long-run. When you refinance unsecured debts with a secured loan, it can be a risk – which is sometimes the case when consolidating debts. This is because you risk putting assets – like your home or car – at risk for repossession or foreclosure. Another risk could be that you end up paying more because you extend the loan, as opposed to paying more per month but for a shorter period of time. If you start a new 30-year loan when you only have 10 years left on the original loan, it could add up to paying more, even if the interest is less.

Confused by all these options? If you’re looking to refinance debts, reach out to us at FaaSfunds. We have business financial experts that can help you make all the right choices for your business. Click the button below to get started today!

Merchant cash advances aren’t really loans – they’re cash advances in exchange for a percentage of your debit and credit card sales. There’s no need for collateral, and it’s a quick way to get a cash advance for your business, even if you don’t have the best credit. Merchant cash advances work by agreeing to pay a percentage of your daily sales to the lender, this way you don’t have to prove your creditworthiness and can receive funds quickly. They can be paid back through Automated Clearing House withdrawals from your bank account, and since the payback is based on a percentage of sales, the amount you pay back increases or decreases based on daily sales. Merchant cash advances, often end up being the most pricey option for business funding – since they’re paid daily, it can cut into cash flow.

Do You Qualify?

Usually, businesses with little to no collateral, limited history or a lower credit score can still qualify for a merchant cash advance. Almost anyone can get one because most providers have simple eligibility requirements. It can be a convenient way to finance if your business makes a lot of revenue on debit or credit card payments – such as a restaurant or boutique. It’s not so great if you get revenue from invoices.

How to Apply

Merchant cash advance providers will look at your credit card processing statements to make sure that your business brings in enough revenue to pay them back. Some will look at your credit score but often won’t put too much weight on it. Their applications are often online via online lenders, so the process is simple and quick – you can often be approved the same day you apply. The documents you’ll need are:

  • Driver’s License
  • Voided business check
  • Bank statements
  • Credit score (maybe)
  • Business tax returns
  • Credit card processing statements

Factor Rates

Merchant cash advance lenders use factor rates instead of interest rates. Factor rates are usually given in decimal figures as opposed to percentages, and they’re calculated by dividing the financing cost by the loan amount. When all the math is figured out, these tend to be much higher than loan interest rates, unfortunately.  

Factor rates usually range from 1.14 to 1.48 and are determined by similar factors that determine interest rates for a loan – time in business, industry, sales, business credit – and also factors unique to cash advances, like average monthly credit card sales. Be aware that factor rates can be structured to make expensive loans seem cheaper, and you usually have to pay the interest upfront, so paying off your loan early won’t take away from your interest charges.

The average payoff time for a merchant cash advance is around eight or nine months, but can be between four and 18 months depending on your business.

Is a Merchant Cash Advance a Good Choice?

Merchant cash advances have some of the highest fees of any lending option, making them the most expensive type of borrowing for your business. They can offer some decent alternatives to taking out an actual loan, but it’s mostly up to how you’d like your business to operate. Here’s what gives them some appeal to borrowers, despite their price:

  • They’re very quick. If you’re in a bind and need money to run your business, merchant cash advances will provide it quickly and relatively easy.
  • Getting a loan requires you to pay back the same amount each month, regardless of your sales. A merchant cash advance makes you pay a percentage of your sales, so during slower times, you’ll pay a lower amount, and thus not cut into your cash flow as much.
  • Merchant cash advances are also unsecured – they don’t make you offer up collateral. This is valuable for business owners who don’t have the means to put their property on the line.

What Will It Cost You?

The factor rate is calculated by dividing the cost of the loan by the loan amount. To figure out how much you ultimately payback to the provider, you should multiply the factor rate by the total cash advance amount. To make these fees more tangible, here’s an example:

If your factor rate is 1.30 on an advance of $10,000, your total payback is $13,000.

This means that, if it’s being compared to an interest rate, you’re paying back 30% of the amount you borrowed. This may be worth it if you are in a business bind, but in the long run, you’ll be paying significantly more than a usual business loan.

Always make sure you shop around to see if there are other borrowing choices for your business before you choose a merchant cash advance. This can all sound very overwhelming, but that’s why we’re here. When you sign up with FaasFunds, we analyze your business needs and finances and figure out if a merchant cash advance is the best option for you. We’ll also link you up with an industry expert to help you through tough financial decisions. Navigating the financial world is tough, so make it easier with FaasFunds.

If it were 1975 and you wanted to start or expand your business with a business loan, your only feasible options would’ve been a bank. Why wouldn’t you want to go to a bank? They’re established, they’re trusted, and frankly, that’s what everyone did. Banks are the most traditional loan provider, and in some senses, they’re the gatekeepers. But the world is changing, and convenience is key. If you know what you need and need it quickly, a traditional bank loan isn’t going to be the best option.

If you don’t know where to go, getting the right funding can be a very, very long process. The internet changed everything, and in recent years it’s gotten much easier to get a business loan without going to a bank. This disruption of the industry is good for you, as a business, because now getting funded is a much easier process than in the past.

Not Your Grandfather’s Loans

For banks, time is not of the essence. They have long application processes that aren’t streamlined, and you often have to schedule meetings with a local branch to discuss your application and qualifications. Fundamentally, they’re slow. Getting a business loan with a bank takes anywhere from 14 to 21 days, so if you need to buy products as soon as possible, bank loans won’t cut it.

If you’re not really sure what’s best for your company, the process of getting a business loan will be even longer. If you’re purchasing equipment or goods that you need quickly – finding what you need to buy, figuring out how much it’s going to cost, and then getting the loan you need for it – this entire process could take days, even weeks. It’s our mission at FaaSfunds to figure out the type of funding you need, so you don’t need to wait around for your money.

Logged On

If you don’t know about online lenders, you need to.  They’re not just for mortgage loans or refinancing, they can also help you get a business loan. Online lenders take the place of a bank by way of giving you the money you need, but they specialize only on loans. Banks offer several different services, so they’re not as worried about securing your loan.

Online lenders like Clicklease or BlueVine have streamlined applications that you can connect straight to your business bank account and submit documents online. You often hear back on the same day you submit an application and can receive funds in about two to three days if you’re approved.

Whether you need to buy industrial equipment or you just need cash for general operation, there are certain types of loans from online lenders that will work better for specific needs. FaaSfunds will help you figure that out. If you need cash fast, however, you can get a working capital loan or take out a line of credit.

Working Capital Loans

Working capital loans do exactly what they say – they give you working capital. These “quick cash” loans often don’t require credit checks or waiting time. If you need cash quickly, this option will get you what you need usually within 24 hours. Working capital loans are good if you really, really need them – such as if you have an event approaching and you found out you’re short on funds to host it. If you know the event will bring in a large crowd and you can pay the quick-cash loan off with the funds earned from it, it can be a good idea.

Working capital loans are designed specifically for short term uses. If you have seasonal revenue or other such needs, they can be very useful. If you need a more long-term solution and won’t have the money needed to pay it back quickly, it’s not usually the best option. Working capital loans will loan you the money even if you don’t have good finances, but they usually require daily payments and have high interest rates. So, it’s best to use them as a last resort after you’ve really thought through your options. They do come in handy, they’re just not advised for many situations.

Lines of Credit

A more advisable option, although it requires a little bit of planning ahead, is a line of credit. You can get a line of credit at a traditional bank or at an online lender, but as we’ve talked about, online lenders will give you the quickest turnaround. Getting one is a little quicker than a traditional loan, and once you have it, you can save the funds to access at any time. Lines of credit, as their name implies, are credit lines with a set maximum very similar to a credit card. Your business will get a maximum, say around $30,000, and you draw from those funds for business expenses. They’re ideal because you only need to pay interest on the funds you use, and you only pay back what you use.

Lines of credit will take a little more information to get approved for, and better credit. They’re not as quick as working capital loans, but often lines of credit can be a quicker option because once you get one, the funds are open for use whenever you need them. Since you only pay interest on what you spend, they’re a more ideal option for emergency funds. If you’re able to plan ahead and take out a line of credit before you actually need the cash, you can use it when you get in a bind an avoid the high interest rates that come with working capital loans.

We know there’s a lot of options and information out there, and that’s why FaaSfunds offers advice for your financial questions and situations. Make sure you talk to your FaaSfunds financial advisor about lines of credit and working capital if you’re in need of quick funding. Our advisors will work with you to figure out the funding option that will fit your company.

If you like the Harry Potter universe, think to the beginning of the spin-off film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In 1920s New York City, An ambitious Muggle named Jacob Kowalski pitches his bakery business to a banker in hopes of getting a loan. He’s passionate and driven by a valid business plan, but he’s very quickly denied due to various reasons. Most of these reasons are due to the time period, but nevertheless, this fictional instance illustrates the frustrations that come with getting a bank loan. For most of modern history, getting a loan has required business owners to go through the strict vetting and application process from a bank. Often, this required going to a bank, sitting across from a banker and pleading that your business was worth funding. This took a significant amount of time, and the majority of applicants were denied. This is what led to the creation of the lending marketplace.

Banks have been the gatekeepers of loan financing until recently. The internet has managed to change the nature of getting a business loan, and you – the businesses – are the ones who benefit from the new idea of a “lending marketplace.” This disruption of traditional loan sources was created, in part, by public trends (trust in online transactions, demands for immediacy, and proliferation of public data, according to a report by Deolitte), and part from the 2008 financial crisis. Businesses trying to start, or restart, after the crisis kept getting denied for funding because the stakes were higher and businesses were in worse financial shape than before. The online lending marketplace was a response to the strictness of banks, as a way for businesses to get funded in an easier way.

A lending marketplace, as defined by the U.S. Treasury Department, is “the segment of the financial services industry that uses investment capital and data-driven online platforms to lend either directly or indirectly to consumers and small businesses.” Basically, this means that the “lending marketplace” is just the plethora of online lenders that provide loans to individuals and businesses via an online platform. You don’t have to go to a bank or search through piles of business documents. In the same way Uber disrupted the old-fashion taxi industry, online lenders disrupted the loan industry. Lending marketplaces popped up as a way to finance businesses that banks denied.

Originally called “peer-to-peer lending,” as the industry grew, so did its investor base. There are a lot of different lenders within the online lending marketplace, but they all have key similarities:

  1. You’re more likely to get approved than at a bank because they make their money solely from lending money.
  2. The process to get funded is much quicker because they use technology-enabled underwriting – meaning they automate the process of determining credit risk and identity.

In fact, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, businesses that apply to the online lending marketplace for funding get approved 70% of the time. They streamline the application process and cut the barriers to entry because they’re designed only for lending money. Because they’re online, they take less time and resources to figure out, making them an attractive option for businesses looking to get funded in less time.

The lending marketplace is packed full of loan options – hence the “marketplace” side of it. No matter what type of funding you’re looking for, chances are there’s a loan that fits your needs. Here are the most popular business-funding options from online lending marketplaces:

  • Lines of credit
  • SBA loans
  • Short term loans
  • Business term loans
  • Merchant cash advances
  • Business credit cards
  • Equimentment loans

The Disruption Factor

As the online lending marketplace expands and further disrupts the loan business, so does the need for greater consumer knowledge surrounding their offerings. America’s competitive business nature often means that consumers can get bogged down with decisions with very little discretion as to which is the best one. This is what FaaSfunds does, we take out all the variables of getting funded and automatically show you what works best so you can be fully informed. Like the marketplace lenders, FaaSfunds uses data technology to analyze your finances, but instead of getting you a loan directly, we take that data and use it to figure out which loan fits best with your financial situation. The process is entirely transparent, and the goal is to keep you informed so you can make the best decisions.

There are also products that create loan-specific comparisons for your business finances, and break down the costs and payoffs of certain loans, like the SMART Box Capital Comparison Tool.

What’s the Catch?

You can receive student loans, consumer loans and an array of business loans online, with the interest rates being the main difference from banks. Since marketplace lenders take on higher credit risks, they charge higher interest rats. If your credit is bad, unfortunately, this means you’ll be considered a “high risk” client. Lenders take the chance of losing the money they’re owed, so they compensate for this with high rates. Banks also have access to “cheaper money” through their many other sources of revenue – banks don’t operate solely to lend money, but the marketplace lenders do. Also, the Federal Reserve (the bank for the banks) lends money to banks at very low rates. Online marketplace lenders receive their funds from alternate sources – venture capital firms, investors, and hedge funds – who don’t have the government’s blessing.

Is the Lending Marketplace Better?

The discretion of what’s better or worse for borrowers depends entirely on their financial situation. The basic tenets for what would make turning to the online lending marketplace appealing depends on your experience with getting loans in the past or your credit health. If you’ve had trouble getting approved for business loans from a bank in the past, then the lending marketplace offers a solution for that. Mistakes happen, as well, and sometimes less-than-ideal situations result in hits to your business credit. Marketplace lenders are there for businesses that don’t meet high bank standards – because sometimes high standards don’t necessarily determine worthiness.

The best advice is to really understand your business’s needs and finances – FaaSfunds can help with this – and be aware of the tradeoffs for each different type of loan. FaaSfunds will help you sort through all the options within the online lending marketplace, and help you figure out not only what you qualify for, but also what will fit best with your business needs.