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The 6 Best Small Business Loans For Veterans: Compare Top Veteran Business Loans

Veterans have many options when it comes to funding their small businesses, and if you know where to look, you can even find business loans for veterans with bad credit.

    Shannon Vissers
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Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.
Best loans for veterans

The best business loans for veterans offer good terms, low rates, and reasonable fees, and include not only SBA loans, but also online veteran business loans, which could take the form of either small business term loans or lines of credit. These online loans can also be a good alternative to SBA loans for veterans who need a fast business loan, who have been in business less than two years, or who have poor or fair credit.

Read on to learn about the best small business loans for veterans.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
SmartBiz

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Best SBA loans for veterans.
Best SBA loans for veterans.

Apply Now

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OnDeck

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Best for veteran-owned businesses with bad credit.
Best for veteran-owned businesses with bad credit.

Apply Now

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Kabbage Loans

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Best for veteran-owned businesses with fair credit.
Best for veteran-owned businesses with fair credit.

Apply Now

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LoanBuilder

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Best short-term loans for veteran businesses.
Best short-term loans for veteran businesses.

Visit Site

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Fundbox

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Best loans for veteran startups.
Best loans for veteran startups.

Apply Now

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BlueVine

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Best fast loans for veteran-owned businesses.
Best fast loans for veteran-owned businesses.

Visit Site

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

The Best Business Loans For Veterans At A Glance

Lender Best For Maximum Loan Amount Minimum Credit Score
SmartBiz Best SBA loans for veteran-owned businesses $5 million 650
OnDeck Best business loans for veterans with bad credit $250,000 600
Kabbage Best business loans for veterans with fair credit $250,000 640
LoanBuilder Best short-term loans for veteran businesses $500,000 620
Fundbox Best loans for veterans with startup businesses $150,000 600
BlueVine Best fast loans for veteran-owned businesses $250,000 600

The Best Business Loans For Veterans

These lenders offer fair terms and reasonable rates to veteran-owned small businesses.

1. SmartBiz: Best SBA Loans For Veteran-Owned Businesses

SmartBiz


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Pros

  • Faster turnaround than regular SBA loans
  • Low interest rate
  • Accepts fair-credit applicants

Cons

  • Funding takes longer than other types of online loans

SmartBiz offers online SBA loans with a fast turnaround time, an easy application process, and low interest rates. Loan offerings include SBA Working Capital and Debt Refinancing Loans, Bank Term Loans (non-SBA loans), and SBA7(a) Commercial Real Estate Loans.

SmartBiz loans are most appropriate for established veteran-owned businesses with at least fair credit and two years in business. SmartBiz also says most of its approved businesses have annual revenues of $100,000 or higher. SmartBiz is a smart choice for veterans who want to get an SBA loan but are frustrated by the lengthy signup process and want a faster turnaround—as soon as a week. SmartBiz can determine your loan eligibility in just a few minutes.

Get Started With SmartBiz

Read our in-depth review

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2. OnDeck: Best Business Loans For Veterans With Bad Credit

OnDeck


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Pros

  • Accepts poor-credit applicants
  • Same-day funding
  • Multiple types of financing available

Cons

  • Rates can be expensive

Many veterans leave the military with low credit scores because their careers have prevented them from participating in credit-building activities, such as paying off a mortgage. OnDeck is one of the few reputable small business loan providers that might lend you money if you have a credit score as low as 600. However, a lot of good-credit borrowers also get funded through OnDeck.

OnDeck offers both short-term loans and lines of credit for businesses with bad credit. OnDeck’s loans typically aren’t the cheapest, but they are quite fast—you can potentially get the funds to expand your vet-owned small business within just 24 hours, or even the same day you apply. Startups should look elsewhere for financing, as OnDeck will not lend to businesses that have been operating for less than a year.

Get Started With OnDeck

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3. Kabbage: Best Business Loans For Veterans With Fair Credit

Kabbage Loans


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Pros

  • Transparent fee structure
  • Monthly repayments
  • Low revenue requirements

Cons

  • Fees are front-loaded

Kabbage is another short-term business financing product that is easy for most veteran-owned businesses to qualify for. Specifically, Kabbage offers lines of credit to businesses with fair credit and higher. You do need at least one year in business, but the revenue requirements are quite low—you only need to make $3,000/month to qualify.

Each draw from your Kabbage line of credit is structured as a short-term loan, which you will pay off in monthly installments over 6, 12, or 18 months. Though Kabbage doesn’t have a prepayment penalty, it’s important to note that Kabbage loans are front-loaded, which means the majority of fees are paid in the first third of the repayment period. As a result, you won’t be able to save much money by repaying early.

Get Started With Kabbage Loans

Read our in-depth review

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4. LoanBuilder: Best Short-Term Loans For Veteran Businesses

LoanBuilder


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Pros

  • No origination fee
  • Relaxed borrower requirements
  • High max. borrowing amount

Cons

  • Short repayment terms

LoanBuilder is a PayPal-owned lender that offers short-term business loans. You do not need to be a PayPal seller in order to qualify, but having a PayPal account makes the already-fast application process go even faster. LoanBuilder loans are also sometimes advertised as “PayPal Business Loans.” At $500,000, the maximum loan size is larger than that of many other online business loans, and veterans with poor credit and less than a year in business can still qualify.

With a maximum term length of 12 months, you will be repaying your LoanBuilder loan pretty expediently. However, LoanBuilder does not charge an origination fee, so you will receive more money upfront. On approval, funds will be deposited in your account as soon as the next business day. One thing we really like about LoanBuilder is that during the application stage, it lets you adjust your prospective loan amount and term length so you can choose a weekly repayment amount that works for you.

Get Started With LoanBuilder

Read our in-depth review

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5. Fundbox: Best Loans For Veterans With Startup Businesses

Fundbox


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Pros

  • Suitable for startups
  • Accepts poor-credit applicants
  • Multiple financing types available

Cons

  • Low max. borrowing amount

Fundbox offers two easy-to-qualify-for small business loans for veterans: lines of credit and short-term loans. Fundbox financing is available to businesses that have only been open for 6 months, and poor credit is not a problem. These short-term loans are good if you only need a small amount of capital to get your business off the ground—though loans can go up to $150,000, $20,000 is the average borrowing amount. However, you may become eligible for more funds over time.

Fundbox repayment takes place weekly, with a maximum term length of either 24 weeks (LOC) or 52 weeks (STL). So, you’ll need to pay your loan back quickly and fees are on the high side, especially for longer term lengths. Fortunately, all fees are transparently laid out on Fundbox’s website. Another positive is that Fundbox does not charge an origination fee on its term loans, and there’s no prepayment penalty for repaying early.

Get Started With Fundbox

Read our in-depth review

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6. BlueVine: Best Fast Loans For Veteran-Owned Businesses 

BlueVine


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Pros

  • Same-day funding available
  • Startup-friendly
  • Accepts applicants with poor credit

Cons

  • Fees can be high

BlueVine is another one of our favorite SMB lenders. It has a lending product that’s fast and easy for veteran-owned small businesses to qualify for. BlueVine offers business lines of credit services similar to the LOCs offered by OnDeck, Kabbage, and Fundbox. BlueVine accepts veteran-owned businesses with bad credit, including startups with bad credit, and best of all is that you can receive same-day funding. Once BV approves your application—your initial pre-approval decision will take about 5 minutes—you can have funds deposited in your bank account within a few hours (if you choose the $15 bank wire option).

Be aware that even though many online lenders such as BlueVine will lend to businesses with bad credit, those same lenders may offer better financing options and/or lower borrowing fees if you have good credit (and a longer time in business). BlueVine, for example, while extending 6-month lines of credit to poor-credit borrowers, offers 12-month lines of credit to more established businesses with better credit. Thus, it’s a good idea to take some steps to improve your credit score before applying for business loans.

Get Started With BlueVine

Read our in-depth review

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Best SBA Loans For Veteran-Owned Businesses

SBA loans for veterans have great terms and fees, though these loans are harder to qualify for and take longer to fund. The main types of SBA loans for veterans are Veterans Advantage Guaranteed Loans (which can include SBA Express loans) and MREIDL. Interested? Learn how to apply for an SBA loan.

Additional Funding Resources For Veteran-Owned Businesses

Don’t qualify for funding yet? Need more help finding options? Consider the following funding ideas for veteran-owned businesses.

  • Get Certified As A Veteran-Owned Business: Getting certified as a veteran-owned business can increase your appeal to lenders and win federal contracts; service-disabled veteran-owned businesses may qualify for a separate federal contracting program.
  • Contact Your Bank Or Credit Union: You may be able to obtain a business loan through your bank or credit union if you already have a good business relationship with them. Credit unions may soon start issuing more loans to veteran-owned businesses if a recently introduced bill called the Veteran Member Business Loan Act passes. If passed, the law would exempt loans made to veteran-owned businesses from the member business lending cap (currently 12.25%).
  • Look Into Nonprofit Lenders: One example of a nonprofit lender for veterans is the Veterans Business Fund.
  • Look Into Angel Investors: These organizations can help your veteran-owned business obtain startup funds. Example: Hivers and Strivers.
  • Research Business Grants: See if you qualify for any grant programs for veteran-owned businesses—for example, there are special grants for veteran farmers and grants for veteran franchise owners.
  • Contact Your Local SBA Office: They may be able to provide additional information on programs for veteran business owners. The Office of Veterans Business Development, SCORE, and Boots to Business are all SBA-powered programs that offer business training and mentoring to veterans.
  • Consider Non-Government Resources: Some examples of non-government resources for veteran business owners include VetToCEO, the Global Good Fund, and the Coalition for Veteran-Owned Businesses.

How To Get A Veteran Business Loan

The best business loans for veterans make it easy to obtain funding with a few simple steps. Mainly, you just need documentation proving your veteran status and your business qualifications. You’ll also need to provide a detailed plan on how you intend to use the money. Read on to learn more about the process of how to get a veteran business loan.

Before Applying For A Veteran Business Loan

1) Draft A Business Plan

Most lenders will want to see a business plan so they know what you plan to do with the funds you’re asking for before they lend you money. Don’t have an updated business plan? Read The “How-To” For One Page Business Plans to learn how to draft a business plan.

2) Check Credit Score

Make sure you know your credit score is so you don’t waste time applying for loans you don’t qualify for based on your credit. In addition to checking your personal credit score with the Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit bureaus (you’re entitled to one free credit report from each of these agencies, per year), also be sure to check your business credit score.

3) Calculate Loan Size

How big of a loan do you need and why? What size daily or weekly payments can you afford? How big of a loan will you qualify for, taking into account your business’s debt service coverage ratio (DSCR)? It’s important to know if you can afford a small business loan before applying.

4) Gather Documents

Gathering all your important business documentation ahead of time will help save time when applying. Not sure which documents you might need? Read The Qualifications & Documents You Need To Get A Small Business Loan.

5) Bolster Online Presence

Lenders will often check your business’s website, social media, and online reviews when making lending decisions. All of these elements together make up your online presence. To learn how to build up your business’s online footprint, read How To Build An Online Presence For Your Business in 9 Simple Steps.

6) Compare Qualifying Lenders

Once you know your funding needs and what loans you qualify for, it’s time to start comparing lenders. Pay attention not just to the maximum loan amounts and the fees, but also to the repayment frequency and term length since these factors will make a big impact on your payments. To get started, check out our Small Business Loan Comparison chart.

The Loan Application Process

Borrower Requirements

If you are well-prepared by taking the above actions, applying for loans should go pretty smoothly. You’ll simply need to prove you can meet the borrower requirements for the loan you want, supplying all the needed documentation. Fortunately, online loan applications are typically much quicker and easier than applying with a bank. Nevertheless, you will still generally have to provide much of the same documentation as you would for a bank loan.

First Time Business Loan

This blog post on applying for your first business loan is a good resource that includes more information about what you’ll need to apply for a loan and the best practices for business loan applications.

FAQs About Veteran Business Loans

Does the VA give small business loans?

No, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) does not offer small business loans to veterans. However, the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a number of programs — loans and otherwise — to help veterans and active servicemembers.

How much of a business loan can a veteran get?

Your approved business loan amount will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of veteran-owned business you own, your credit score, length of time in business, and annual revenue.

To give you a rough idea, qualified applicants can receive up to $5 million with an SBA loan, or up to approximately $500,000 with an online loan.

What credit score is needed for a VA business loan?

That depends on the lender and loan type you wish to qualify for, as well as your business type and other eligibility factors. On average, most loans to qualified veteran-owned businesses require a credit score of at least 600 or higher.

What is the interest rate on a VA small business loan?

Interest rates on veteran business loans depend on various factors, including the lender, the loan amount, the current Prime Rate, your credit score, and more. The lowest business loan interest rates are available from SBA-affiliated banks, while interest rates for online veteran business loans and business loans for veterans with bad credit are much higher.

In general, interest rates for veteran business loans can range from about 5.5% to more than 100%.

Which Loan Is Right For Your Veteran-Owned Business?

To determine which small business loan is right for your veteran-owned business, first consider your qualifications, including time in business, credit score, and business revenues, to see which lender(s) you qualify for. You’ll also want to consider which lenders can offer the amount of funding you need, with a payment schedule you can afford. Since applying for loans usually only incurs a soft credit check that doesn’t harm your credit score, you can apply to multiple lenders before deciding. Once you start applying and get a few pre-approvals, you can compare these loan offers and accept the best one.

In Summary: The Best Business Loans For Veterans

  1. SmartBiz: Best SBA loans for veterans.
  2. OnDeck: Best for veteran-owned businesses with bad credit.
  3. Kabbage Loans: Best for veteran-owned businesses with fair credit.
  4. LoanBuilder: Best short-term loans for veteran businesses.
  5. Fundbox: Best loans for veteran startups.
  6. BlueVine: Best fast loans for veteran-owned businesses.
Shannon Vissers

Shannon Vissers

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
The former editor-in-chief of SteelOrbis, Shannon has been researching and writing about small business software and financing since 2015. Her shopping and retail expertise has been cited in numerous publications, including Reader's Digest, MSN, Yahoo Finance, and GOBankingRates . She has also published articles for LIVESTRONG.COM, eHow, Life'd, and other websites. Shannon attended San Diego State University, graduating in 2005 with a BA in English.
Shannon Vissers
View Shannon Vissers's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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