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Balboa Capital Review

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Date Established
1988
Location
Costa Mesa, CA

Pros

  • Relaxed loan qualifications
  • Suited for large businesses

Cons

  • Opaque terms and fees
  • Mixed public reputation

Overview

Balboa is a California-based alternative business funder offering short-term working capital and equipment financing. This review focuses on Balboa’s working capital products.

Though Balboa is both well-established and flush with cash, the company seems plagued by an unusual number of customer complaints. While the picture painted doesn’t imply a scam, I’d recommend caution in dealing Balboa

This is in addition to our more general warnings about the world of alternative lending, which often features sky-high interest rates and punishing payment schedules. Be sure to check out our short-term funding comparison chart, or comparison shop on your own before you commit to anything.

Services Offered

Balboa Financial offers the following:

Borrower Qualifications

You must meet these prerequisites to qualify for funding from Balboa:

Time in business:12 months
Credit score:N/A
Revenue:$300K/yr (STL)
$10K/mo in credit/debit deposits (MCA)

Terms & Fees

The terms for Balboa Capital’s short-term funding look something like this:

Borrowing amount:$5K – $250K
Term length:3 -24 months (STL)
3 -18 months (MCA)
Factor rate/interest rate:Unknown (See below)
Origination fee:Unknown
Effective APR: Learn more
Collateral:None

Balboa doesn’t divulge their working capital interest rates directly. If you use their loan calculator and assume roughly 22 payments a month, the company’s factor rates appear to fall somewhere between 12%  and 14% for typical customers, but expect higher interest rates if you have poor credit or want a longer term to repay your loan. Longer terms, in many cases, also increase the interest rate. Note that this percentage isn’t an APR, but a flat rate. So if you get a $10,000 loan or advance at 12%, you’ll owe $11,200 ($10,000 x 12% = $11,200).

Balboa offers both short-term loans and merchant cash advances, which it calls “business cash advances.” Both STLs and MCAs feature daily, automated repayments. Cash advances aren’t governed by the same laws as loans–they’re technically a payment in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future sales. They tend to be both more expensive and more available to businesses with poor credit. Since MCAs are based on the amount of money you’re bringing in each day, term lengths are rough estimates and are not set in stone; they’re paid off when they’re paid off.

Balboa’s working capital funding is unsecured.

Application Process

You can begin the application process online. Depending on the amount of money you’re seeking, the funding will be available within days. If you want to borrow more than $250K, you should call first, as you’ll have to submit more documents and undergo a lengthier process.

Sales & Advertising Transparency

Balboa Capital’s transparency is typical for the alternative funding industry. The website offers some basic information about the products offered and the qualifications necessary to receive funding. The most useful tool they offer is a loan calculator, but it can be a challenge to find if you’re not looking for it.

Customer Service & Technical Support

Balboa’s customer service can be reached by phone, but it’s a bit of a crapshoot whether you’ll be able to reach someone who can address your needs and questions. If you’re not into phone calls, you can submit a form on their website or contact them through social media. They maintain a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, G+, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

Balboa Capital has an A- rating with the BBB, with 67 customer complaints filed in the last 3 years. The A- rating is due to government action against the company for failing to file an annual report and operating without a license. It’s since been resolved. Customer complaints include:

  • Billing Issues: Many customers appeared to encounter billing issues ranging from unforeseen interest to leases that automatically renewed. While the company resolved many of these complaints, the sheer quantity of them raises red flags.
  • Unclear Terms: A number of customers reported that they either didn’t understand the terms of the agreement or that the terms had changed over the course of the loan/lease.
  • Aggressive Marketing: Several people mentioned receiving aggressive cold calls from Balboa.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

Balboa Capital rates a somewhat positive 8.4 out of 10 on TrustPilot. The company’s happier customers liked:

  • The Streamlined Process: Users appreciated how quickly and smoothly the application process went.
  • The Customer Service: Many customers found Balboa’s staff to be professional and helpful.
  • The Company’s Deep Pockets: Balboa has been around for a while and has the capacity to finance larger loans and advances than many alternative lenders.

Final Verdict

On the surface, Balboa looks better than many of its competitors. It’s well-established, offers a flexible product line-up, and appears to have fairly reasonable rates. On the other hand, things don’t seem quite so organized on the inside. From difficulties reaching knowledgeable staff to an alarming number of billing issues and its recent regulatory troubles, there are quite a few red flags that make it impossible to enthusiastically recommend Balboa.

If you’re looking for alternatives, take a look at our comparison charts for merchant cash advances and small business loans.

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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