- Relaxed credit score requirements
- Easy application process
- Excellent customer service
- The typical time to funding is one day
- Unsuited for startups
- Moderate factor rates
- Low maximum borrowing amount
ForwardLine is an alternative lender based in Southern California that primarily serves small businesses, including businesses with bad credit.
One of the earliest businesses of its kind, ForwardLine has been funding merchants since 2003. A thorough search of ForwardLine reviews from users of the online business lending service shows that the company has managed to maintain a mostly positive reputation during that time. ForwardLine initially focused on merchant cash advances (MCAs) but has shifted away from MCAs and into small, short-term loans. This shift comes with somewhat higher borrower requirements but better rates.
We encourage you to shop around before committing to any short-term financial product. If you would like to consider other options, you might want to take a look at our short-term funding comparison chart for alternatives.
Read on for the details!
Table of Contents
Services Offered By ForwardLine
ForwardLine offers short-term business loans to established small businesses, i.e., it doesn’t lend to startups. These are smaller loans with a maximum borrowing amount of $150,000. This type of loan can help smooth temporary cash flow issues, pay for seasonal hiring, upgrade equipment, or solve any other short-term working capital need.
As is common in the online lending industry, ForwardLine also partners with 25+ other small business lenders. ForwardLine says that if you are not a good fit for a ForwardLine loan, it can try to match you with another lender in its network.
ForwardLine Borrower Requirements
To qualify for funding from ForwardLine, you must meet or exceed these requirements:
|Time In Business||6 years|
|Revenue||$75,000 per year|
As you can see, you need at least six years in business to qualify for a ForwardLine loan. This is stricter than many other online short-term loans that only require a year or so in business. On the other hand, ForwardLine is pretty lax with its credit score and income requirements.
ForwardLine Interest Rates & Fees
ForwardLine’s website is fairly sparse when it comes to specific rates, though representatives will answer your questions without much fuss or high-pressure sales tactics. ForwardLine’s rates are not cheap, but they are in line with those of other short-term lenders in the industry:
|Borrowing Amount||Up to $150,000|
|Term Length||6-15 months|
|Borrowing Rate||x1.12-x1.3 factor rate|
|Effective APR||Learn more|
ForwardLine deals exclusively in short-term loans. Short-term loans have a fixed fee structure, meaning that they don’t accrue interest in the traditional sense. Instead, those fees are condensed into a fixed fee, which is typically determined by a multiplier called a factor rate. So, for example, if you borrow $10,000 and you have a rate of 1.12, you’ll owe $12,000 ($10,000 x 1.12 = $12,000). ForwardLine will be collecting a fraction of its money from you as a daily or weekly automated clearing house (ACH) debit from your banking account.
The maximum amount of funding ForwardLine will extend to you is typically 10% of your annual revenue, up to $150,000.
One more thing to note is that ForwardLine may offer discounts to repeat borrowers.
ForwardLine prides itself on the simplicity of its application process. Getting the ball rolling requires filling out a very short form consisting of basic information about yourself and your business.
Most applicants say they got a credit decision very quickly after submitting their forms, often in a matter of minutes. A representative will contact you shortly afterward.
If you choose to accept the offer, you should be prepared to verify any information regarding your sales, as that is likely to be the major deciding element. ForwardLine typically will ask for your EIN, social security information, driver’s license, and six months of bank statements to verify your information.
If all goes well, you can receive your funds by the next business day.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
ForwardLine’s website is moderately helpful, providing much (but not all) of the information that you need to make a good decision about your finances. The website offers some fairly detailed FAQs that manage to answer most of the basic questions about the company itself and what it does. You will, however, probably need to speak to a representative to get all the details.
Luckily, ForwardLine is pretty forthcoming once you speak to an actual human being. Since rates vary based on your business, ForwardLine reps won’t be able to give you precise quotes for general inquiries, but they’re more than happy to disclose ranges and ballpark figures.
Customer Service & Technical Support
My own experience talking with a ForwardLine representative seems fairly typical, judging by user reviews. Interactions with ForwardLine staff are generally described as helpful and easy, with minimal high-pressure sales tactics involved.
In cases where a customer was dissatisfied with how an interaction went and wrote about it online, ForwardLine frequently reached out to the customer, proposing that they work out a solution together. Given the company’s good standing with the BBB and high referral rate, these overtures appear genuine.
You can reach customer service on weekdays between 5:30 AM-6 PM PT and Saturdays between 7 AM-4 PM PT. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
ForwardLine Reviews, Complaints, & Testimonials
ForwardLine Financial meets all of the BBB’s requirements for an A+ rating, with six ForwardLine complaints closed in the past three years. The company also boasts a 4.3/5 on Trustpilot. ForwardLine reviews are largely positive, and the company is proactive about addressing any complaints to try to resolve the issue with the business owner.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
ForwardLine Financial has maintained a generally positive reputation over more than a decade in business. Of course, when you’re dealing with funding and debt, there’s always room for hard feelings and criticism. People have taken issue with these factors:
- Transparency: Short-term funding can be tricky territory to navigate. The information offered is often difficult to compare to traditional loans without doing some math.
- Expensive: The cost of this kind of short-term funding is significantly higher than what banks offer.
- Uneven Customer Service: Despite most customers having very positive experiences, some outliers report difficulty reaching the correct person or even having hostile exchanges.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
All things considered, people seem to like ForwardLine. Customers who have borrowed from ForwardLine liked these elements:
- ForwardLine Accommodates Bad Credit: Bad credit tends to haunt borrowers long after they’ve financially stabilized. Many customers appreciate the niche ForwardLine fills.
- Easy Application Process: Customers who were intimidated by more traditional application processes found ForwardLine’s to be quick and painless, with 24-hour funding in many cases.
- Great Customer Service: Except for the handful of horror stories mentioned above, most customers praise ForwardLine’s knowledgeable and responsive staff.
As ForwardLine has matured, it’s moved away from more controversial types of funding, such as merchant cash advances, and now deals primarily in loans. ForwardLine serves a particular niche — profitable, established small businesses with bad credit — and does so quite well. Chances are, if you’re looking at a service such as ForwardLine, you’ve probably exhausted many of your more traditional options. Keep in mind the limitations and terms of ForwardLine’s funding to make sure your business is steady enough to handle daily debits.
If you’d like to check out some of ForwardLine’s competitors, I encourage you to read The 5 Best Small Business Loans For Bad Credit.