The best small business loans for women are the same that are the best for men – gender has nothing to do with it. In fact, it’s illegal for lenders to discriminate on credit transactions based on gender at all. The same rules apply across the board: low interest rates and flexible repayment terms make for the best loans.
Because of this, you should always apply through your local bank or credit union first. Traditional lenders attach their interest rates to the Federal Funds Rate (the lowest rate financial institutions can legally lend to one another), so they’ll be able to offer you the best deal – provided you can get approved. It’s notoriously difficult and time-consuming to get business loans through a bank, especially if your business is new and hasn’t had the chance to establish great credit yet.
That’s why I pored over the most popular online lenders in the country to find which ones offered the lowest rates, friendliest repayment terms, and the fastest application and funds disbursement processes outside of traditional banks – no matter how long you’ve been in business or where your credit rating stands.
The Simple Dollar’s Top Picks for Best Small Business Loans for Women (and Men)
Best for Startups
Best for Businesses With Credit Scores Over 600
SmartBiz (< $150K annual revenue) Funding Circle (> $150K annual revenue)
Best for Businesses With Credit Scores Under 600
OnDeck (< $100K annual revenue)
Kabbage (> $100K annual revenue)
How I Found the Best Small Business Loans for Women (and Men)
I focused on attributes that would be the most relevant to anyone looking to obtain a small business loan, whether it was for a startup or a well-established company. Specifically, here’s what I looked at to determine each of my top picks:
Loan amount. The amount of money you’re allowed to borrow can vary widely from one lender to the next. The lenders included here offer the most generous loan limits, based on what they’re intended to be used for and which kind of borrower they target.
Minimum qualifications for borrowing. Your time in business, credit score, and revenues influence whether you’ll be able to get approved for a business loan. I looked for lenders whose qualification requirements made them most accessible to borrowers.
Funding speed/convenience. Applying for a loan with a bank can be time-consuming, and the wait to receive funds is often tedious at best. OnDeck and Kabbage, by comparison, require only a few minutes of your time to apply and funding can be completed in a couple of days.
APR and fees. The rate you’re charged on your loan can significantly add to its overall cost. Same goes for origination fees, whether they’re hidden in the fine print or not. SmartBiz boasts the best rates overall, while Kabbage charges no origination fee.
Purpose of the loan. Each of the lenders was chosen based in part on how loan proceeds can be used. Accion, for example, is the only lender that offers microloans to startups while FundingCircle offers larger loans for established businesses that are ready to expand.
Loan repayment terms. Depending on how much you borrow and the type of business you have, you may need a shorter or longer repayment term. Kabbage loans can be repaid in six months or 12 months, while you can take 10 years to repay a loan from SmartBiz.
The Best Small Business Loans for Women (and Men)
LenderBorrowing LimitsAPR and FeesQualifications
AccionUp to $50,0008-22% APR
4-5% administrative fee, based on loan amountBorrower requirements vary based on loan type
SmartBizUp to $350,0006.25-7.25% APR
4% referral and packaging fee, plus closing costs2 yrs. in business
$50,000+ in annual gross revenue
600+ credit score for loans of up to $150,000
675+ credit score for loans over $150,000
Funding CircleUp to $500,0005.49-27.79% APR
0.99-5.99% loan origination fee2+ yrs. in business
No minimum revenue requirement
620+ credit score
OnDeckUp to $500,000Line of Credit: 13.99%-39.99%
Term Loan: approximately 30-50%,
2.5-4% loan origination fee1 yr. in business
$100,000+ annual gross revenue
500+ credit score
KabbageUp to $150,00020-99% APR
$0 upfront or servicing fees1 yr. in business
$50,000+ annual gross revenue
Minimum credit score varies
Best for Startups