Funding Circle Review

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Date Established
2010
Location
San Francisco, CA

Pros

  • Competitive terms and fees
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Few additional fees
  • Excellent customer support

Cons

  • Relatively long application process
  • Relatively stringent borrower requirements

Overview

Funding Circle is an online lender that originated in the UK. The company was established after one of its founders started a gym franchise and realized how expensive other sources of financing can be. Funding Circle later merged with Endurance Lending Network to expand their services to the US. This review focuses specifically on the US branch of Funding Circle.

Funding Circle offers medium-term installment loans (commonly referred to as term loans) to established business. Term lengths range from six months to five years. Besides interest and an origination fee, Funding Circle charges very few fees and has competitive rates.

Because Funding Circle targets large, established businesses, the borrower qualifications are somewhat stringent. You must have been in business for two years and have a credit score of at least 620. Funding Circle’s borrowers generally could qualify for a bank loan but are in search of faster funding and a simpler application process.

Unfortunately, these requirements rule Funding Circle out as an option for less-established small businesses and startups. However, if you do meet the qualifications, Funding Circle can be a good lending option. The caveat is this: businesses that qualify for Funding Circle will most likely be able to get a better rate from an actual bank. However, if you don’t have the time or don’t want to deal with a long, complicated application process, Funding Circle is definitely an alternative worth considering.

Services Offered

Funding Circle offers installment loans.

Borrower Requirements

These are the qualifications you must meet in order to qualify for a Funding Circle loan:

Time in business:2 years
Credit score:620
Revenue:Not specified

In addition, you cannot have had any bankruptcies over the last seven years or any tax liens over the last 10 years. There is no specific requirement for how much revenue a business must make every year to qualify for a Funding Circle loan.

Funding Circle also enforces a prohibited industry list, which can be found on their website.

Terms & Fees

These are the terms and fees for Funding Circle:

Borrowing amount:$25K – $500K
Term length:6 months – 5 years
Interest rate:4.99% – 26.99%
Origination fee:0.99% – 6.99%
APR:7.4% – 36%
Collateral:Personal guarantee, lien on business assets

Funding Circle offers installment loans with term lengths between six months and five years. Your interest rate is determined by your creditworthiness, the strength of your business, and other factors. Funding Circle looks at factors such as your business type, how long you’ve been in business, and your real-time cash flow. Your interest rate is also affected by the loan’s term length, as explained on Funding Circle’s rates and fees page.

Because Funding Circle offers installment loans, you can save money on interest costs by paying off your loan early. There are no prepayment penalties. Payments are made monthly and begin the day you accept the loan (not the day you receive the funds). You can use Funding Circle’s loan calculator to get an idea of how much your monthly payments might be.

Apart from an origination fee and interest, the only other fees you might be charged are for insufficient funds or late payments.

Application Process

To apply for a Funding Circle loan, you will first have to complete an initial application online to see if you’re “pre-qualified” for a loan (meaning, “see if your business meets Funding Circle’s minimum qualifications for funding”). Funding Circle does a soft check of your credit for the initial application.

Once pre-approved, you’ll be given a quote with an estimated interest rate. A Funding Circle representative will call to discuss your quoted loan options and assist you with any questions. Next, you’ll need to provide additional documentation and information about your business. At this point, Funding Circle will do a hard credit check, which may affect your credit score. According to Funding Circle, you’ll need the following documents:

  • 2 years (most recent) of business tax returns
  • 1 year (most recent) of personal tax return
  • 6 months (most recent) bank statements
  • Business debt information

Once you’ve had your consultation and submitted all the appropriate documents, your application will go through underwriting. After a few days, Funding Circle will send you their offer, including your interest rate and origination fee. If you choose to accept their offer, you’ll receive your funds within a few days. According to Funding Circle, the entire application process usually takes 10 days or less.

Sales & Advertising Transparency

Funding Circle has a well-designed website and is upfront with information about their lending services. You can learn pretty much everything you need to know on the Funding Circle website. Funding Circle also provides a loan calculator and borrowing guide. 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

Funding Circle offers phone support and email support. You are assigned a specific account manager for the life of your loan, who will help you understand your loan and repayment options and address any other questions you may have. According to customer reviews, borrowers are happy with the level of support they receive.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

Funding Circle currently has a total of 15 negative reviews and complaints on the Better Business Bureau and a small number of negative reviews on Trustpilot.

The majority of the complaints are from investors who are frustrated with the investing side of Funding Circle’s service. For example, one lender said that Funding Circle is “no longer a true P2P as you have no choice over where your loan money goes.”

Complaints from borrowers are more limited. Here are some of the most common complaints about Funding Circle:

  • High interest rate
  • Long application process
  • Too many sales calls
  • Not for young businesses

It’s also worth noting that Funding Circle regularly responds to customer complaints and works hard to correct problems.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

Funding Circle receives high praise across the board from the majority of reviewers. The company is BBB accredited and gets an A+ rating. Funding Circle also receives 5/5 stars on Trustpilot based on over 3,750 reviews. Here’s what users love most about this service:

  • Easy Application Process: Borrowers found the application to be straightforward and easy to complete.
  • Good Customer Service: By far, this is the most common point of praise. Borrowers appreciate how friendly the representatives are and seem satisfied with the level of support given by their specific account managers.
  • Quick Funds: Many borrowers like how quickly they were able to apply and receive funds, especially in comparison to the time it would have taken to apply for a bank loan.

Final Verdict

Funding Circle’s competitive interest rates and easy application process can definitely be worth looking into for established businesses who have a strong credit history.

While the application process takes longer than that of some other online lenders, it is significantly shorter and simpler than applying for a loan from most banks. Banks may be able to offer better rates then Funding Circle, but the quick access to capital might be worth accepting the trade-off. The small number of complaints, excellent customer service, and the company’s transparency are all also a plus.

As always, we recommend considering all of your options before accepting a loan, so that you can be sure you’re getting the best deal. If you’re interested in other options, check out some of our favorite small business lenders.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer
Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. She became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she's not working, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, daydreaming about her newest story, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.
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