Top Unsecured Lines Of Credit For Business
Business financing is an expansive topic covering many types of financial products. Everyone’s got a pretty good idea of what a loan is, but less familiar is the line of credit, arguably one of the most useful types of financing a business can secure.
We’ll take a look at what lines of credit are, the difference between secured and unsecured lines of credit, why you might want one, and where you can find them.
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What Is An Unsecured Business Line Of Credit?
Have you ever had a credit card? If so, you have already have some experience with how a line of credit works.
When you use a credit card, you’re drawing on an amount of potential funding extended to you by the card’s issuer. You can use it as often as you want so long as the total amount you’ve used doesn’t exceed your credit limit. Most credit cards are revolving lines of credit, which means that as you pay off your balance, your credit becomes available for you to use again. Most lines of credit are revolving; the exceptions tend to be lines of credit extended for specific purchases, in which case once you use the credit, it’s gone for good.
Credit cards aren’t the only lines of credit out there, however. Lender-issued lines of credit may be slightly less convenient for making retail purchases, but have far better interest rates for those times when you need to carry a balance from month-to-month. This makes a line of credit one of the most versatile ways to fund your business, acting a bit like an insurance policy you can draw on when you need to.
Unsecured Vs. Secured Business Lines Of Credit
So what does that “unsecured” part of the phrase mean? Essentially the same thing it does with any other type of loan.
An unsecured line of credit does not require you to put up collateral as a condition of securing it. This means the lender can’t immediately seize a particular asset should you default on your line of credit. By comparison, a secured line of credit might require you to make a cash deposit or put up an asset as collateral.
Generally speaking, unsecured financial products have higher rates of interest to make up for the increased amount of risk the lender is taking on. On the plus side, you don’t have to worry about coming up with collateral.
Note that “unsecured” does not mean the lender can’t come after you if you default. Many lenders will require you to sign blanket liens, for example.
Top Unsecured Business Lines Of Credit
The first step toward getting an unsecured business line of credit is finding a lender who offers one. If you have a good relationship with your local bank or credit union, it’s worth inquiring about what they offer and their terms.
If those lines of credit are unavailable or out of reach, you still have options available to you. Many online lenders offer unsecured lines of credit. Here are a few suggestions.
OnDeck offers up to $100,000 credit limits on unsecured lines of credit to customers with a credit rating above 600 who have been in business at least a year and have over $100,000 in gross annual revenue. It’s a good fit for profitable companies that don’t have stellar credit.
There is, however, a $20/month fee for keeping your line of credit open, but OnDeck will waive it for 6 months if you draw at least $5,000 from it during the first five days after opening the account. There is no draw fee.
If you’re looking for a line of credit with a higher credit limit, you may want to consider BlueVine. BlueVine offers unsecured lines of credit in two forms, one with a six-month interval, the other with a 12-month. The 12-month version has higher rates than the six-month.
Rather than charge an administrative fee, BlueVine charges 1.2 – 2.5 percent per draw. You can pay your balance off at any time during your term, but you will be charged interest at a rate of 0.3 – 1.5 percent per week for six-month lines of credit, or 1.5 – 6.5 percent per week for the 12-month.
If you’re having a hard time getting your credit up over the 600 mark, you can still get an unsecured line of credit. One such option is through Kabbage, which offers a credit line of up to $250,000 to businesses with at least $50,000 in annual revenue.
Like BlueVine, Kabbage offers lines lasting six-months or 12-months. There’s no draw fee, however. The interest rate system is a little confusing, so be sure to check out their loan calculator to get a sense of what you’ll be charged, and at what month of your term (yes, really).
Another way to make an end-run around a bad credit rating is through Fundbox. They offer lines of credit to businesses with annual revenues of $50,000 or more who have had an active account with Fundbox-supported accounting software (Quickbooks, for example).
Funbox charges by the amount drawn, starting at 4.66%. You’ll then make weekly, automated payments to pay it off.
If you’re looking for better interest rates, have decent credit, at least $100,000 in annual revenue, and three or more employees, you may qualify for an unsecured line of credit from Fundation.
At 18-month term lengths, Fundation’s lines of credit run a bit longer than the other options we’ve listed. Just be aware that there’s a $500 closing fee and a 2% draw fee. Payments are made monthly.
Top Unsecured Business Credit Cards
Remember, most credit cards are a type of unsecured line of credit. In comparison to the offerings above, a business credit card shines when it’s used to make purchases you can pay offer within the interest-free grace period. Even better, business credit cards offer reward programs you can take advantage of to actually save money.
Here are a couple of options:
Chase Ink Business Cash
Chase Ink Business Cash
15.49% - 21.49%, Variable
With no annual fee and a 5 percent top tier return on qualified purchases, Chase Ink Business Cash offers a lot of benefits with little risk. The card shines particularly brightly if you use it to buy office supplies or telecom services.
The only real downside is that the card caps the upper and middle tier rewards at $25,000, so if you’re spending more than that on office supplies or telecom purchases per year, you’ll only get 1 percent back after you’ve hit the cap.
Amex Blue Business Plus
Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
15.49% - 21.49%, Variable
If your purchasing needs don’t fall neatly into any one reward category, you may want to consider American Express Blue Business Plus. You’ll get 2 percent back on all purchases for the first $50,000 you put on your card per year. After that, you’ll get a 1 percent return.
There’s no annual fee, so you won’t have to do any fancy math to figure out whether or not you’re saving money by having the card in your wallet.
Unsecured lines of credit can be extremely useful tools for financing your business, and they come in enough variations that you can probably find one that fits your specific needs. Remember to keep their variable fee structures in mind, though, so you know when you’re paying and for what.
Not sure what unsecured line of credit you might qualify for? You can check your credit before the lender does. Does an unsecured line of credit sound like more trouble than its worth? Unsecured business loans might be what you need.