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Best Loans For Freelancers & The Self-Employed In 2024

Alternative lenders make it easier than traditional lenders for the self-employed to get the capital they need. Find out if any of these freelance loans will work for you.

    Shannon Vissers
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Erica Seppala
  • REVIEWED BY

    Erica Seppala

    Editor & Senior Staff Writer

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

Loans for freelancers exist, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to find. Traditional lenders tend to view freelancers, gig workers, and the self-employed as risky borrowers. That means you can’t just walk into your local bank branch and apply for a small business loan. You can, however, explore alternative loans.

Online alternative lenders are more relaxed in their borrower requirements, making it easier for the self-employed to get small business loans. This article will explore the best small business loans for freelancers. Whether you need an SBA loan to cover a major expense or a flexible funding option such as a cash advance, we’ll cover it all.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
BusinessLoans.com

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  • Best cash advance for independent contractors
  • Pricing varies
  • No minimum credit score
  • Best cash advance for independent contractors
  • Pricing varies
  • No minimum credit score

Visit Site

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Credibly

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  • Best SBA loan for established freelance businesses
  • Factor rates starting at 1.11%
  • 620 FICO for SBA loans (500+ for other financing types)
  • Best SBA loan for established freelance businesses
  • Factor rates starting at 1.11%
  • 620 FICO for SBA loans (500+ for other financing types)

Visit Site

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Upstart

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  • Best personal loan for limited credit history
  • Fixed interest rates starting at 7.8%
  • 300 FICO for personal loans
  • Best personal loan for limited credit history
  • Fixed interest rates starting at 7.8%
  • 300 FICO for personal loans

Apply Now

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Prosper

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  • Best personal loan for good credit
  • APRs starting at 8.99%
  • 640 FICO for personal loans
  • Best personal loan for good credit
  • APRs starting at 8.99%
  • 640 FICO for personal loans

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Fundbox

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  • Best LOC for steady income
  • APRs starting at 4.66%
  • 600 FICO for LOCs
  • Best LOC for steady income
  • APRs starting at 4.66%
  • 600 FICO for LOCs

Apply Now

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Bluevine

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  • Best LOC for established businesses
  • APRs starting at 6.2%
  • 625 FICO for LOCs
  • Best LOC for established businesses
  • APRs starting at 6.2%
  • 625 FICO for LOCs

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

6 Best Loans For Freelancers & The Self-Employed

Freelance businesses — aka sole proprietorships — may need loans to invest in growth, cover bills, or buy equipment. Someone who is self-employed may also need a loan if their income is irregular or clients don’t pay on time. Some examples of loans for freelancers are short-term loans, personal loans, and cash advances.

  • BusinessLoans.com: Best Cash Advance For Independent Contractors
  • Credibly: Best SBA Loan For The Self-Employed
  • Upstart: Best Personal Loan For Freelancers With Limited Credit
  • Prosper: Best Personal Loan For Freelancers With Good Credit
  • Fundbox: Best Line Of Credit For Freelancers Making $100K
  • Bluevine: Best Line Of Credit For Freelancers Making $500K

How The Best Loans For Freelancers Compare

Type(s) Of Financing OfferedAnnual Revenue RequirementMaximum Loan AmountBad Credit Options?
BusinessLoans.comInvoice financing, term loan, merchant cash advance, line of credit$100K$3 million
CrediblyShort-term loan, term loan, line of credit, SBA loan, equipment financing, merchant cash advance, invoice factoring$180K$600K
UpstartPersonal loanN/A$50K
ProsperPersonal loanN/A$50K
FundboxLine of credit$100K$150K
BluevineLine of credit, short-term loan$480K$250K

BusinessLoans.com: Best Cash Advance For Independent Contractors

BusinessLoans.com

Total Rating 4.0
Rates & Fees4.6

Services4.0

Eligibility Requirements4.1

Application3.0

Sales & Advertising Transparency3.6

Customer Service4.1

User Reviews4.4



Pros

  • Convenient, time-saving service
  • Suitable for startups and bad credit
  • Funding up to $3 million is available

Cons

  • Little rate/fee information is disclosed on the website
  • Funding can take a while

Why We Chose BusinessLoans.com For Best Cash Advance For Independent Contractors

BusinessLoans.com is a business financing marketplace that connects applicants to business loans and other financial products from lending institutions in its network. This free service can help freelancers obtain various types of business financing, including merchant cash advances, invoice factoring, short-term loans, and lines of credit.

In particular, merchant cash advances have a low barrier to entry for self-employed 1099 contractors, as they typically have easy-to-meet borrower requirements and lower fees than predatory payday loans.

BusinessLoans.com Pricing

BusinessLoans.com does not list pricing on its website. Pricing varies depending on which BusinessLoans. com-affiliated lender that you receive an offer from.

BusinessLoans.com Features For Freelancers

Here are some features that customers like about BusinessLoans.com:

  • Funding as soon as 24 hours
  • Apply to multiple lenders with one application
  • Multiple lending products to find the best fit for your business
  • No specific borrower qualifications are required to use the service
  • Responsive customer service

BusinessLoans.com Eligibility Requirements

Since different partnered lenders have different requirements, BusinessLoans.com has no particular credit score or other borrower requirements. In general, businesses should make at least $100,000 per year and have been in business for at least six months. But even if you don’t quite meet these minimums, BusinessLoans.com will try to find an offer for you.

When To Use BusinessLoans.com

  • You have bad credit and want to explore what types of funding you qualify for
  • You have regular daily credit card sales and want a cash advance
  • You make at least $100K from your freelance business

Get Started With BusinessLoans.com

Read our in-depth review

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Credibly: Best SBA Loan For The Self-Employed

Total Rating 3.6
Rates & Fees3.1

Services3.7

Eligibility Requirements3.3

Application4.0

Sales & Advertising Transparency3.6

Customer Service4.3

User Reviews4.0



Pros

  • Variety of lending products offered
  • High borrowing amounts
  • Relaxed borrower requirements on some lending products
  • Easy online application

Cons

  • SBA loan applications take longer than other online loan types
  • Some additional fees are added
  • Repayments require a regular and reliable freelance income

Why We Chose Credibly For Best SBA Loan For The Self-Employed

Credibly is an alternative business lender that makes SBA loans easy to apply for online. For example, freelancers with an established business and decent credit may qualify for an SBA working capital loan -- a sub-type of SBA 7(a) loan for borrowers seeking less than $150,000 -- which you can apply for online using Credibly (or another of our best SBA lenders that we recommend).

Additionally, Credibly offers traditional working capital (term) loans, lines of credit, invoice factoring, equipment financing, merchant cash advances, and other business lending services you might be able to benefit from if you don't meet the qualifications for an SBA loan. Invoice factoring especially can be useful if you are a freelancer with slow-paying clients.

Credibly Pricing

Credibly’s various small business financing options have factor rates starting at 1.11. SBA loans will have a fixed interest rate, but rates are not listed on the company’s website.

Credibly Features For Freelancers

Some attractive features of Credibly small business loans include:

  • Easy application process
  • Multiple SBA loans are available
  • Various other lending products are available
  • Reasonable borrower prerequisites
  • Good customer service

Credibly Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a Credibly SBA loan for self-employed workers, you’ll need two years in business and a credit score of 620.

However, if your freelance business is only six months old or your FICO is as low as 500, you can qualify for a non-SBA working capital loan through Credibly — as long as you meet the $15K/month income requirement.

When To Use Credibly

  • You want an easy way to apply for an SBA loan online
  • You want to explore different types of business financing and compare offers
  • You make at least $180K from your freelance business

Get Started With Credibly

Read our in-depth review

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Upstart: Best Personal Loan For Freelancers With Limited Credit

Total Rating 4.0
Rates & Fees3.6

Services3.4

Eligibility Requirements4.7

Application4.8

Sales & Advertising Transparency4.1

Customer Service3.9

User Reviews4.1



Pros

  • No income or time-in-business requirements
  • Accepts applicants with minimal credit history
  • Repayment terms are as long as five years

Cons

  • Usually requires an origination fee
  • The maximum loan amount is only $50K

Why We Chose Upstart Best Personal Loan For Freelancers With Limited Credit

The best personal loans for businesses are a great source of financing for freelancers because they do not have any time-in-business or business revenue requirements.

Upstart, in particular, offers a couple of big advantages with its personal loans. First, this online lending platform lets you borrow up to $50,000 -- a limit that exceeds many of its competitors. Second, these loans are available to borrowers with a limited credit history.

Upstart Pricing

Upstart personal loans have a fixed interest rate ranging from 7.8% to 35.99%. You can choose between a three or five-year term length, which will affect your monthly payment amount.

Upstart Features For Freelancers

Some things to like about Upstart include:

  • Next-day funding
  • No prepayment fees
  • Suitable for startups
  • Relaxed borrower requirements
  • Five-minute application

Upstart Eligibility Requirements

A very poor credit score of 300 is all that’s needed to qualify for a personal loan through upstart. Upstart also uses additional factors, including education and job history, to determine eligibility and rates. They will also accept applicants with insufficient credit history to produce a FICO score.

When To Use Upstart

  • You need a small loan <$50K
  • Your freelance income isn’t high enough to qualify you for a business loan
  • You have bad credit or no credit

Get Started With Upstart

Read our in-depth review

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Prosper: Best Personal Loan For Freelancers With Good Credit

Prosper


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Pros

  • No time-in-business or revenue requirements
  • You can add a co-signer if your credit score is too low
  • Can repay over three or five years
  • Next-day funding

Cons

  • Origination fees as high as 5% are taken off the top of the loan
  • Not for individuals with bad credit (except with a co-signer)
  • The most you can borrow is $50K

Why We Chose Prosper For Best Personal Loan For Freelancers With Good Credit

Prosper is another online personal lender with a great reputation among its customers. Because these are personal loans, freelancers with no official business credentials can borrow up to $50,000 through Prosper. Prosper prefers applicants with good credit, but will accept fair-credit applicants. You also have the option to add a co-signer to your loan if your score is too low.

Prosper Pricing

Prosper offers fixed APRs starting at 8.99% but could be as high as 35.99%, depending on your personal credit score, credit usage, and history. You’ll repay your Prosper loan through fixed monthly payments over a term of three or five years.

Prosper Features For Freelancers

Some compelling features of Prosper loans include:

  • No prepayment penalty
  • Get funds as soon as the next business day
  • Option to add co-signer
  • Loans as small as $2,000 for modest borrowing needs
  • Monthly repayments

Prosper Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a personal loan through Prosper, you must have a personal credit score of at least 640 and two years of credit history. Learn more about the five Cs of credit and what lenders look for when determining your creditworthiness.

When To Use Prosper

  • Your freelance income isn’t high enough to qualify you for a business loan
  • You need a small loan <$50K
  • You have at least fair credit, or a cosigner with fair credit

Get Started With Prosper

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Fundbox: Best Line Of Credit For Freelancers Making $100K

Total Rating 3.8
Rates & Fees3.1

Services3.6

Eligibility Requirements4.5

Application4.8

Sales & Advertising Transparency3.8

Customer Service3.0

User Reviews4.4



Pros

  • No draw fees
  • Funds are available as soon as the next business day
  • Relaxed credit score and time-in-business requirements

Cons

  • Short repayment terms
  • Fees can be high
  • Requires reliable freelance income totaling at least $100K/year

Why We Chose Fundbox Best Line Of Credit For Freelancers Making $100K

If you're a freelancer looking for the best business line of credit, you’ll find that Fundbox is one of the easiest online lenders to work with. Fundbox offers revolving lines of credit up to $150,000.

A Fundbox LOC is suitable for freelancers who are bringing in a steady stream of income but need more time or deeper pockets to pay ongoing business expenses or vendors.

Fundbox Pricing

Line of credit draws are repaid over 12 or 24 weeks through weekly drafts of your business bank account, with fees starting at 4.66% with a 12-week term. Fees on a line of credit with a 24-week term start at 8.99%.

For an additional $99/month, Fundbox offers Fundbox Plus, which has 20% lower fees and gives you more time to repay.

Fundbox Features

Some features of Fundbox LOCs include:

  • Next-day funding
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Choice of term length
  • Accepts borrowers with sub-prime credit
  • Apply and draw funds using Fundbox mobile app

Fundbox Eligibility Requirements

Though you do need a score of at least 600, Fundbox mainly looks at how well your business performs to determine if you qualify and, if so, your credit limit. You’ll also need at least six months in business, and your freelance business must earn at least $100,000 in annual revenues.

When To Use Fundbox

  • You want a line of credit you can draw from as needed
  • You have fair or good credit
  • Your annual income from freelancing is at least $100K

Get Started With Fundbox

Read our in-depth review

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Bluevine: Best Line Of Credit For Freelancers Making $500K

Total Rating 3.6
Rates & Fees3.5

Services3.6

Eligibility Requirements3.3

Application4.5

Sales & Advertising Transparency3.4

Customer Service3.4

User Reviews3.4



Pros

  • High borrowing amounts
  • 24-hour funding
  • No monthly fee

Cons

  • Charges draw fees
  • Financing isn’t available in some states
  • Requires reliable freelance income totaling at least $480K/year

Why We Chose Bluevine For Best Line Of Credit For Freelancers Making $500K

Bluevine is another easy-to-use line of credit that may be suitable for some self-employed individuals. Though only established businesses with strong revenues are eligible for a Bluevine LOC, you can borrow more than with Fundbox -- up to $250,000.

Bluevine also offers short-term loans up to $250K, and business checking accounts. (We have a resource on the best business bank accounts for freelancers if you want other bank options.)

Bluevine Pricing

Bluevine rates start at 6.2%. You’ll repay your loan via fixed weekly or monthly repayments over six or 12 months.

Bluevine also charges draw fees from 1.6 to 2.5% whenever you draw from your LOC.

Bluevine Features

Some of our favorite Bluevine features include:

  • Five-minute funding decisions
  • Start drawing from your LOC immediately upon approval
  • Receive funds within 24 hours
  • Easy withdrawals using Fundbox mobile app
  • Flexible repayment options
  • No monthly fees or prepayment penalty

Bluevine Eligibility Requirements

Bluevine LOCs require two years in business, a 625 FICO, and monthly revenues of at least $40,000 ($480,000 annually).

When To Use Bluevine

  • You are a very successful and established independent contractor, earning at least $480K annually
  • You want a short-term loan or a line of credit you can draw from as needed
  • You have fair or good credit

Get Started With Bluevine

Read our in-depth review

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Business Loan & Funding Products Review Methodology

We spend hours researching and evaluating each business loan and funding product that we review at Merchant Maverick, placing special emphasis on key characteristics to generate our ratings.

When rating lenders and funding providers, we use a 31-point rubric that looks at rates and fees, services, eligibility requirements, application, sales and advertising transparency, customer service, and user reviews. We weigh each section differently to calculate the total star rating. This rubric is applied to traditional term loans, as well as short-term loans, start-up loans, lines of credit, online lending products, merchant cash advances, and equipment financing products.

  • Rates & Fees: 20% of the total star rating
  • Services: 20% of the total star rating
  • Eligibility Requirements: 20% of the total star rating
  • Application: 15% of the total star rating
  • Sales & Advertising Transparency: 10% of the total star rating
  • Customer Support: 5% of the total star rating
  • User Reviews: 5% of the total star rating

Each section is further broken down into granular, weighted subsections, in which we examine specific attributes like terms lengths, conditions of repayment, credit score and revenue requirements, ease of application, length of time to funding, the ethics involved in promoting the lending product, customer support, and the overall reputation of the lender or funding provider.

Read more about how we rate small business lenders.

Best Types Of Loans For Freelancers

Most of the above loans for freelancers fall into the categories of personal loans, lines of credit, and invoice factoring. A couple of options also offer some business term loans that may be suitable for freelancers.

Type Of Financing Best For… Recommended Options
Personal Loan Business growth or other one-time funding needs Upstart, Prosper
Line Of Credit Quick access to cash for emergencies or other funding reasons BusinessLoans.com, Fundbox, Bluevine, Credibly
Invoice
Financing/Factoring
Freelancers with slow-paying customers BusinessLoans.com, Credibly
SBA Loan Freelancers with established businesses Credibly
Merchant Cash Advance Gig workers, freelancers that take credit card payments BusinessLoans.com, Credibly

Freelancers who don’t qualify for any of these loan options might consider looking at the best business credit cards for startups or business crowdfunding.

How To Get A Freelancer Business Loan

Once you decide to pursue a freelancer loan, there are a few steps you need to take to make sure you’re successful in your pursuit.

Although it’s very easy to start applying for loans as soon as you find the link, you are not likely to secure a high-quality loan if you just start blindly applying without putting any thought or research into it.

To help ensure that you get funded and to make sure you get a good deal on your freelancer loan, read our step-by-step guide to getting a small business loan.

Which Loan For Freelancers Is Right For Your Business?

Online loans for freelancers are fast and easy, giving you access to funds in as little as 24 hours in some cases.

However, in exchange for less stringent requirements and fast funding, many online lenders have higher interest rates, additional fees, and less favorable terms than traditional lenders.

So before signing on the dotted line, make sure that you explore your options, compare loan offers, and choose the loan that will best benefit your freelance business.

If your revenue or credit score doesn’t qualify you for funding just yet, you can at least start saving money in credit card fees by using one of these freelancer payment methods.

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Shannon Vissers

Shannon Vissers

Lead Staff Writer at Merchant Maverick
Shannon has been writing for Merchant Maverick about small business software and financing since 2015. She started writing professionally about business topics in 2005. Shannon has been featured in the Washington Post, Reader's Digest, US News, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, and other publications. She has a bachelor's degree in English from San Diego State University and currently resides in San Diego, California.
Shannon Vissers
View Shannon Vissers's professional experience on LinkedIn.