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Accion Review

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Date Established
1991

Pros

  • Relaxed borrower qualifications
  • Relaxed credit score requirements
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Excellent customer service
  • Suited for startups and small businesses

Cons

  • Potentially high APR
  • Some additional fees

Overview

Accion is a nonprofit company that began as a grassroots organization back in 1961. Originally, the organization specialized in offering microloans and financial education to low-income communities across the globe. Since then, Accion has continued its mission to improve local communities by lending capital to startups and other businesses that may not qualify for other lending options.

In 1991, Accion began offering loans in the US. This review covers the US branch of Accion only.

Accion offers small business loans for a variety of different purposes. However, Accion is structured so that your specific location and state dictates which loans you have access to and which you don’t. The one constant is Accion’s willingness to lend to businesses of many sizes, including startups. Most loans only require a credit score of 575 and there is no requirement for how long you’ve been in business.

Accion’s APR can potentially be a bit high with rates between 7% and 34% for most loans. There is no prepayment penalty, but other fees such as closing costs and processing fees may apply. While the fees can get a little high in comparison to bank loans, these rates are comparable with other lenders in the alternative lending space. Naturally, the rates you are specifically given will depend on your creditworthiness, the strength of your application, and other factors.

Accion’s low borrower requirements make it a great option for startups, minority-owned business, and businesses with low credit that may not qualify for other lending options. Their commitment to financially empowering and educating people makes it hard to not like Accion.

To learn more about this lender, read on!

Services Offered

Accion offers installment loans (also commonly referred to as term loans) for many different purposes:

Offerings vary by state so be sure to check their local loans section to see what’s available in your area.

Borrower Qualifications

Borrower qualifications vary by state. Visit Accion’s site to learn your specific state’s requirements. Here are the general requirements you most likely will need to meet in order to qualify for an Accion loan:

Time in business:N/A
Credit score:575 (550 in some places)
Revenue:Must have sufficient cash flow to repay the loan

In addition, you must:

  • Be no later than 30 days overdue on any bills
  • Have had no bankruptcies in the past 12 months
  • Have had no late rent or mortgage payments in the last 12 months
  • Have no foreclosures for the past 24 months
  • Have no mortgage adjustments during the length of the loan

Startups have a few extra criteria they must meet. If you own a startup, you must:

  • Have less than $500 in past-due debt
  • Have a business plan with a 12-month cash flow projection
  • Have a partner referral (like SCORE or SBDC)

Terms & Fees

Accion loans vary according to business type and location. Loans will have APRs between 7% and 34%, which may include fees such as processing fees or closing costs. If you are interested in an Accion loan, we recommend visiting the Accion website to see which loans you qualify for.

Here are the most common terms and fees for Accion’s small business loans to give you an idea of Accion’s rates:

Time in business:6 months
Credit score:N/A
Revenue:$15K/mo

Businesses that don’t meet those benchmarks may still be able to qualify through the lender’s alternative programs. National Business Capital can work with businesses in all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.K. Note that certain products, like SBA loans, may have different borrower qualifications.

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Terms & Fees

Here are the terms for Accion’s business loans. Note that terms may vary greatly:

Borrowing amount:$300 – $1 million
Term length:Varies by product
Factor rate/interest rate:7% – 34% APR
Origination fee:3% – 5%
Collateral:Personal guarantee; assets in some situations

Accion loans are paid in regular installments. You can pay online, over the phone, or set up direct payments with supported banks. If you know the rates you qualify for and the amount of money you need, you can estimate your payments with our installment loan calculator.  Since Accion offers installment loans, you can save money on interest by paying off your loan early. There is no prepayment penalty.

Application Process

To apply for an Accion loan, you can fill out an initial application online or over the phone. The Accion application takes about 15 minutes. Accion will let you know whether you approved to continue with the process in a couple of days.

If you are given the go-ahead, you’ll work one-on-one with an Accion representative to put together your application and the appropriate documents. The time it takes to complete the application will vary depending on the paperwork required and how long it takes to gather the necessary documents. Once your application is accepted, you’ll be given an offer with details regarding your loan’s term length and fees.

If you are declined by Accion, they will tell you what you need to do to improve your business and increase your chance of qualifying for a loan in the future.

Options similar to Accion:
LenderBorrowing AmountTermReq. Time in BusinessMin. Credit ScoreNext Steps

$5K - $500K13 - 52 weeksx1.029 - x1.18729 months550Apply Now

$5K - $500K3 - 36 monthsx1.003 - x1.04/mo12 months500Apply Now

$2K - $5MVariesAs low as 2%6 months550Apply Now

$20K - $500K1 - 4 years7.99% - 29.99% APR2 years660Apply Now

Sales & Advertising Transparency

Accion’s website, though well-designed, doesn’t offer a whole lot of specifics. It’s also not laid out in the most user-friendly fashion; you’ll probably find yourself hitting the back button a lot as you try to remember where a certain tidbit of information is stored. But you will have a clear idea of the term and rates specific to your potential loan before you accept a loan offer. The company is also a signatory of the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, in which companies promise to be fair and transparent about lending practices.

Customer Service & Technical Support

Accion offers phone support and ample support resources. With educational articles, webinars, and videos, it really feels as though Accion wants its borrowers to succeed and understand their loans. The company even offers programs and mentoring.

While there are a small number of complaints from borrowers who had trouble getting in touch with their representative, the majority of customers seem incredibly happy with Accion’s support.

You can contact Accion through their website, by phone, or through their social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

Aside from a few reviews on Yelp and elsewhere around the web, there are very limited customer reviews of Accion. Here are the few complaints we came across about this lender:

  • Issues Being Approved: A couple people express frustration that their applications were not approved.
  • Poor Communication: A few borrowers expressed difficulty getting in touch with Accion support, and one complained that they didn’t receive calls back when they were expecting them.
  • Too InvasiveOne person complained that Accion asks for an uncomfortable amount of personal information. They found it to be an invasion of privacy.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

Accion features a collection of client testimonials on their website. You can also find a number of stories about merchants and organizations they’ve helped in the news.

Here are some of the things borrowers love most about Accion:

  • Good Customer Support: Customers generally appreciated the information and service they received from Accion.
  • Suitable For Startups: Accion is willing to work with new businesses, a segment that can often have trouble finding funding.
  • Doesn’t Require Excellent Credit Score: Even in the more restrictive states, you can get funding with less than a 600 credit rating.

Final Verdict

Accion a good option for businesses with relatively low credit scores that may not qualify for other loan options. Since most lenders also require borrowers to be in business for a year or more, Accion is a great choice for startups looking for extra capital to grow their business.

In particular, veterans, minorities, and women may find themselves well-served by Accion’s programs.

The downside is that Accion’s APR can potentially be high. However, the tradeoff may be worth it for businesses in need of financing that don’t qualify elsewhere or need to stay afloat until able to qualify for a loan with lower rates.

Compare Accion to other popular options:
LenderBorrowing AmountTermReq. Time in BusinessMin. Credit ScoreNext Steps

$5K - $500K13 - 52 weeksx1.029 - x1.18729 months550Apply Now

$5K - $500K3 - 36 monthsx1.003 - x1.04/mo12 months500Apply Now

$2K - $5MVariesAs low as 2%6 months550Apply Now

$20K - $500K1 - 4 years7.99% - 29.99% APR2 years660Apply Now
Chris Motola

Chris Motola

Finance Writer at Merchant Maverick
Chris Motola is a writer, programmer, game designer, and product of NY. These days he's mostly writing about financial products, but in a past life he wrote about health care and business. He's a graduate of the University of Central Florida.
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1 Comment

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Stacy M Evans

    I am looking at buying a once very established business that closed due to death in the family. It is a great opportunity. Its a convenient store with a kitchen in back and its on the lake they have minnow boxes and I want to do food and have a one place stop for the people on the lake and in the woods .

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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