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The Best Unsecured Business Loans Bad Credit For Your Business

Ezra Cabrera | September 15, 2023



    When it comes to securing funding for your business, having a less-than-perfect credit score can make the process challenging.

    Fortunately, there are options available for entrepreneurs with bad credit who need unsecured business loans. Unsecured business loans and bad credit do not require collateral, making them more accessible to businesses that may not have valuable assets to pledge.

    While bad credit may limit the loan amount and increase interest rates, some lenders specialize in working with businesses in this situation.

    In this article, we’ll help you compare your options so you can find the best unsecured business loans for those with bad credit. With the right lender and loan type, you can find the financial support necessary to grow and thrive.

    What's a Bad Credit Business Loan?

    A bad credit business loan is a type of loan designed specifically for business owners who have a poor credit history. These loans are more flexible in terms of eligibility compared to traditional business loans.

    However, it's important to understand that having a lower credit score doesn't automatically disqualify you from getting a business loan. While it might be more challenging, some lenders focus on assisting startups and individuals with credit challenges.

    These specialized lenders offer loans that can provide funding to business owners even if their personal credit isn't great. This allows business owners to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams despite their less-than-perfect credit history.

    Understanding Bad Credit Scores

    Typically, a bad credit score falls within the range of 300 to 669, which is considered to be poor to fair credit. In the context of business loans, a bad credit score usually means having a FICO score lower than 670.

    Your credit health is determined by several factors that collectively influence your credit score and overall creditworthiness. Lenders use these factors to assess the risk of lending you money, which can impact your ability to secure loans, credit cards, and favorable interest rates. Here are the key factors that shape your credit health:

    Payment History

    This is the most significant factor affecting your credit score. It reflects whether you've made your payments on time for credit cards, loans, mortgages, and other debts. Late payments, defaults, and delinquencies can hurt your credit score.

    Credit Utilization

    This refers to the percentage of your available credit that you're using. Keeping your credit utilization low (typically below 30%) shows responsible credit management and can positively influence your credit score.

    Credit History Length

    The length of your credit history matters. A longer credit history demonstrates your experience managing credit over time, which can positively affect your credit score.

    Types of Credit

    A mix of different types of credit, such as credit cards, installment loans, and mortgages, can be beneficial. It shows that you can manage various types of credit responsibly.

    New Credit

    Opening multiple new credit accounts quickly can indicate financial instability and may lower your credit score. Each new account also results in a hard inquiry, which can have a temporary negative impact.

    Public Records

    Adverse events like bankruptcies, tax liens, and civil judgments can significantly harm your credit health. These items can stay on your credit report for several years.

    Credit Inquiries

    When you apply for new credit, a hard inquiry is generated on your credit report. While a single inquiry has a minor impact, multiple inquiries within a short period can be considered risky behavior.

    Derogatory Marks

    These include accounts that have gone to collections due to non-payment. They have a serious negative impact on your credit score and can take time to recover from.

    Credit Age

    This factor considers the average age of all your credit accounts. A longer average age can positively impact your credit score, indicating a stable credit history.

    Payment Patterns

    Lenders may look at the consistency of your payments over time. Erratic payment behavior can indicate financial instability.

    How Do Bad Credit Business Loans Work?

    The specific terms and conditions of bad credit business loans can vary depending on the lender. Generally, these loans may have higher interest rates and more stringent repayment terms than loans offered to borrowers with good credit. This is because lenders view borrowers with bad credit as higher-risk borrowers, so they compensate for the increased risk by charging higher interest rates and imposing stricter repayment terms.

    It's important for borrowers with bad credit to carefully research and compare different lenders to find the best loan options. While some lenders may focus more on the borrower's credit score, others may be more flexible and consider other factors in their decision-making process. By finding a lender that specializes in working with borrowers with bad credit, it may be possible to secure a loan that meets their needs.

    It's worth noting that bad credit business loans may not be the ideal long-term solution. Borrowers should aim to improve their credit scores over time, as this can open up access to more favorable loan terms in the future. Taking steps to improve creditworthiness, such as making timely payments, reducing debt, and addressing any errors on credit reports, can help borrowers qualify for better loan options in the future

    Types of Unsecured Business Loans for Bad Credit

    Each of these unsecured business loan options caters to specific situations and needs. While bad credit might lead to higher costs or more limited terms, exploring these options can still provide businesses with the required financing without needing collateral.

    Short-Term Loans

    Short-term loans provide businesses with a lump sum of money that needs to be repaid over a relatively short period, usually within a year. These loans are suitable for addressing immediate financial needs or seizing short-term opportunities. Due to the higher risk associated with bad credit, lenders may charge higher interest rates. However, they offer quick access to funds without requiring collateral.

    Business Lines of Credit

    A business line of credit offers flexibility akin to a credit card. Businesses are approved for a specific credit limit and can draw funds as needed, paying interest only on the amount borrowed. This option is ideal for managing cash flow gaps or unexpected expenses. Bad credit may result in higher interest rates and lower credit limits, but it still provides accessible funding without collateral requirements.

    Invoice Financing

    Invoice financing involves selling outstanding customer invoices to a lender at a discount. Businesses receive an immediate cash advance (typically a percentage of the invoice), and the lender collects payments directly from customers. This helps businesses maintain cash flow while waiting for customers to settle their invoices. Bad credit may not heavily impact eligibility, as the focus is on the invoices and customers' creditworthiness.

    Equipment Financing

    Equipment financing is tailored for purchasing equipment or machinery. The equipment itself serves as collateral for the loan, which reduces the lender's risk. Repayment terms are aligned with the equipment's expected lifespan, making this option suitable for businesses needing specific assets. Bad credit might lead to higher interest rates, but the collateral mitigates some risk for lenders.


    Microloans are small loans from nonprofit organizations, community lenders, or government agencies. They're designed to support startups and small businesses with limited funding needs. Microloans often have more lenient qualification criteria, making them accessible to borrowers with bad credit. While they might not provide substantial amounts, they can be valuable for addressing immediate needs.

    Merchant Cash Advances

    A merchant cash advance provides a lump sum of cash in exchange for a percentage of future credit card sales. Repayment is automatic, as the lender deducts a portion of daily credit card transactions. This option is quick but can be costly due to fees and higher interest rates, especially for bad credit borrowers. It's best suited for businesses with consistent credit card sales.

    Pros and Cons of Unsecured Business Loans Bad Credit

    Unsecured business loans for bad credit have both pros and cons. Here are some key points to consider:


    No collateral is required.
    Unsecured loans do not require collateral, such as property or assets, to secure the loan.

    Faster approval process.
    Since there is no need for collateral documentation, unsecured loans can be approved and funded faster than secured loans.

    Flexibility in fund usage.
    With an unsecured loan, you have more flexibility in using the funds for various business purposes, such as purchasing inventory, covering operating expenses, or expanding your business.


    Higher interest rates.
    Due to the higher risk associated with bad credit, lenders may charge higher interest rates for unsecured loans.

    Limited loan amounts.
    Lenders may offer lower loan amounts for unsecured loans than secured ones, especially if you have bad credit.

    Stricter eligibility criteria.
    Getting approved for an unsecured loan with bad credit can be challenging, as lenders typically prefer borrowers with good-to-excellent credit scores and a solid credit history.

    Where To Apply For Unsecured Business Loans with Bad Credit

    If your credit isn't great and you're seeking unsecured business loans, you have several options to explore:

    Online Lenders

    These lenders are often a go-to for individuals with bad credit. They tend to have more flexible requirements and may be open to working with borrowers with lower credit scores. The online application process can also be convenient.


    These nonprofit organizations specialize in offering small loans to businesses, including those with bad credit. Microlenders often prioritize helping underserved communities and might provide better loan terms than traditional lenders.

    Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

    CDFIs are financial institutions that offer affordable financing to individuals and businesses in economically disadvantaged areas. They might be more open to collaborating with borrowers who have bad credit.

    Local Bank

    Don't discount your local bank even if your credit isn't perfect. Some local banks have specific loan programs or might consider your relationship with them when evaluating your loan application.

    How To Apply for Unsecured Business Loans for Bad Credit

    Applying for an unsecured business loan involves several steps. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for an unsecured business loan:

    Determine if an unsecured loan is the best fit for your business.

    Start by assessing whether an unsecured loan aligns with your business's needs. Consider the purpose of the loan, such as funding growth or covering operational expenses. Depending on your situation, you might also evaluate whether a secured loan—backed by collateral—or an unsecured loan is better suited to meet your financial goals.

    Determine the amount you need to borrow.

    Carefully analyze your business's financial requirements. Consider specific needs, like purchasing equipment, expanding operations, or managing cash flow. Calculating the exact amount you need ensures you're not borrowing more than necessary, which can help manage repayment obligations more effectively.

    Research and choose the right type of unsecured business loan.

    Research the variety of unsecured business loan options available. Consider factors like interest rates, repayment terms, and eligibility criteria for each type. The goal is to select the option that best suits your business's unique circumstances and funding requirements.

    Prepare the necessary documentation.

    Even though unsecured loans don't require collateral, they still involve an underwriting process. Collect the necessary documentation to support your loan application. Essential documents include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial records demonstrating your business's stability and capacity to repay the loan.

    Research and compare lenders.

    Investigate different lenders that offer unsecured business loans. Look for lenders with reputable track records and positive customer feedback. Compare aspects such as interest rates, repayment plans, fees, and customer service to make an informed choice that aligns with your business's financial needs.

    Complete the application process.

    Fill out the loan application provided by your chosen lender. Be meticulous when providing information about your business, financial history, and how you intend to use the loan funds. Accuracy and transparency in your application can enhance your chances of approval.

    Apply and wait for approval.

    After submitting your application, the lender will review it to assess your creditworthiness and business viability. Be patient during this stage, as lenders need time to evaluate thoroughly. Keep in mind that some lenders might expedite the process more than others.

    Review the loan terms and conditions.

    Upon receiving approval, carefully review the terms and conditions of the loan offer. Pay close attention to the interest rate, repayment schedule, and any additional fees associated with the loan. Understanding these details ensures you're fully aware of your financial commitment.

    Accept the loan offer.

    Accept the loan offer if you find the terms and conditions favorable and aligned with your business's needs. Following acceptance, follow the lender's guidance for the subsequent steps to finalize the loan agreement and access the funds for your business's growth or operational requirements.

    Tips for Comparing Unsecured Business Loans for Bad Credit

    When comparing unsecured business loans with bad credit, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

    Eligibility Requirements

    Different lenders have different eligibility requirements. Check if you meet the minimum credit score and other criteria set by the lender. 

    Loan Terms

    Consider the loan amounts and repayment terms offered by each lender. Look for a loan amount that meets your business needs and a repayment term that is comfortable for your cash flow. 

    Interest Rates and Fees

    Compare the interest rates and fees charged by different lenders. Make sure to factor in the total cost of the loan, including any origination fees or other charges. 

    Time-in-Operation Requirements

    Some lenders may require your business to have been operating for a certain period before you can qualify for a loan. Consider this requirement when comparing lenders. 

    Customer Reviews and Reputation

    Look for reviews and testimonials from other borrowers to get an idea of the lender's reputation. Consider the lender's customer service, responsiveness, and overall satisfaction of their customers. 

    Additional Features

    Some lenders may offer additional features such as repayment flexibility, access to credit lines, or the ability to borrow multiple times. Consider these features when comparing lenders. 

    Loan Approval Time

    If you need quick access to funds, consider the time it takes for the lender to approve and disburse the loan. Some lenders offer faster approval processes than others.

    Alternatives to Consider Beyond Bad Credit Unsecured Business Loans

    Here are some alternatives you should also consider when looking for small business loans:

    Personal Savings and Assets

    Using personal savings or assets to fund your business can effectively avoid debt and interest payments. While it might require some sacrifices, it can provide more control over your finances and business growth.

    Friends and Family

    Borrowing from friends or family members can be an option if they're willing to invest in your business. However, it's crucial to formalize the arrangement with a clear repayment plan to prevent strained relationships.

    Angel Investors

    Angel investors provide capital to startups in exchange for equity or ownership stakes in the company. They can offer not only funding but also mentorship and industry connections.

    Venture Capital

    Venture capital is funding investment firms provide to startups with high growth potential. In exchange for funding, venture capitalists typically seek significant ownership stakes.

    Grants and Competitions

    Look for grants, contests, and business competitions that offer financial awards to startups and businesses. These can provide non-repayable funding and valuable exposure.

    Credit Repair and Building

    Taking time to improve your personal and business credit scores can open up better loan options in the future. Focus on paying bills on time, reducing debt, and addressing credit report errors.

    The Bottom Line: Who Should Consider Bad Credit Business Loans?

    Bad credit business loans are designed for individuals or businesses with a poor credit history. These loans can be considered by those who have a low credit score (typically between 300 and 669) and have difficulty getting approved for traditional business loans.

    Lenders who offer bad credit business loans may have more flexible credit requirements and may be willing to overlook a less-than-perfect credit history. However, it's important to note that these loans often have higher interest rates and may have stricter repayment terms.

    It's important to carefully consider the terms and conditions of the loan and assess whether the benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Can you actually get a business loan with bad credit?

    Getting a business loan with bad personal credit can be difficult, but it's not impossible. Some lenders specialize in startups and less creditworthy borrowers, and certain types of loans are available for those with bad credit.

    A bad credit score typically refers to anything less than a FICO score 670, but that doesn't mean you can't qualify for a business loan with a lower score. While traditional lenders may be less likely to approve a loan with bad credit, alternative options include crowdfunding, credit cards, peer-to-peer lending, and grants.

    These alternatives may have different requirements and terms, so evaluating each option carefully is important. It's also worth noting that bad credit business loans, like any other small business loan, provide funding that must be repaid over time and with interest.

    Can I get a business loan with a 500 credit score?

    Yes, getting a business loan with a 500 credit score is possible, but the options may be limited, and the terms may not be favorable.

    Lenders typically consider credit scores as a critical factor when assessing business loan eligibility. However, having a low credit score may classify you as a high-credit-risk borrower.

    It's important to note that while some lenders may offer loans to individuals with lower credit scores, they may have stricter requirements or charge higher interest rates to mitigate their risk.

    Improving your credit score before applying for a business loan is best to increase your chances of getting better options and terms.

    How hard is it to get an unsecured business loan?

    Getting an unsecured business loan can vary in difficulty depending on several factors. Lenders are generally more selective when offering unsecured loans because they do not require collateral. However, if you meet the eligibility requirements and have a strong credit history, obtaining an unsecured business loan may be easier.

    Getting approved for an unsecured loan typically takes one to seven business days. Nonetheless, the difficulty of obtaining an unsecured business loan can vary based on individual circumstances, so it's essential to research and compare different lenders to find the best fit for your needs.

    What is the lowest credit score for SBA?

    The lowest credit score requirement for an SBA loan can vary depending on the specific loan program and the lender. However, according to the information available, the SBA does not state particular credit score minimum requirements.

    Business mentors recommend entrepreneurs to have a credit score in the mid to high 600s for SBA loans. Some loan products, like the SBA microloan program, may have lower credit score requirements.

    Lenders typically set their requirements, but a credit score of around 620-640+ is often needed to qualify for an SBA loan.

    About the Author

    Ezra Neiel Cabrera has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Entrepreneurial Marketing. Over the last 3 years, she has been writing business-centric articles to help small business owners grow and expand. Ezra mainly writes for SMB Compass, but you can find some of her work in All Business, Small Biz Daily, LaunchHouse, Marketing2Business, and Clutch, among others. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in bed eating cookies and binge-watching Netflix.