Can I get a business loan with bad credit? Best bad credit business loans explained

Last updated on 27 November 2023

For many businesses, loans can be a crucial stepping stone to growth and success. They can help cover costs in the early stages of a business, fund expansion projects, or tide you over during a slow period.

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But what if your credit history is less than perfect? Will this be a stumbling block to getting the financial assistance your business needs? Let’s explore the possibilities and strategies for securing a business loan in the UK with bad credit.

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Understanding credit score

First, it’s essential to understand what bad credit means. In the UK, credit scores range from 300 to 850, with anything below 580 considered poor. Your business credit score is a measure of your creditworthiness, based on your past borrowing and repayment history. Lenders use it to assess the risk associated with lending to you.

Is it possible to get a business loan with bad credit?

The straightforward answer is yes, it is possible to get a business loan with bad credit, but it may be more challenging. Traditional lenders, like banks, often have strict criteria and may be less willing to lend to businesses with poor credit history. However, don’t let this discourage you. There are other avenues to explore.

Which UK lenders offer loans with bad credit?

For business owners with bad credit, obtaining a business loan might seem like a daunting task. However, there are several lenders in the UK that offer business loans to those with less-than-perfect credit. Here are some of them:

  1. 365 Business Finance: This lender offers loans from £5,000 to £200,000.
  2. Aspire: Aspire’s business loans range from £5,000 to £300,000.
  3. ClearFunder: ClearFunder offers business loans ranging from £10,000 to £100,000.
  4. CubeFunder: The minimum and maximum loan amounts offered by CubeFunder are not stated but they cater to businesses with bad credit.
  5. Fleximize: For larger business ventures, Fleximize offers loans from £5,000 to £500,000.
  6. Liberis: Liberis offers loans from £2,500 to £300,000.

These lenders take into account more than just your credit score when determining your eligibility for a loan. Therefore, even if you have bad credit, you still have options. It’s crucial to remember that the terms and conditions, along with the interest rates, will vary from lender to lender, so it’s best to shop around and find the most suitable loan for your business needs.

Alternative lending options

  1. Alternative Lenders: There are various alternative lenders in the UK market that cater to businesses with bad credit. These lenders often focus more on the health and potential of the business rather than just the credit score. They may also consider other factors, like revenue streams and the strength of your business plan. However, these loans may come with higher interest rates due to the perceived risk.
  2. Asset-backed Loans: If your business has assets, you could use them as collateral to secure a loan. This reduces the risk for the lender, making them more likely to approve your loan, even with a poor credit score.
  3. Invoice Financing: This involves selling your unpaid invoices to a finance company at a discount. The company then collects the full amount from your customers. This can be a good option if you have a strong ledger of clients.
  4. Crowdfunding: While not a loan in the traditional sense, crowdfunding can be an effective way to raise funds for your business. This involves getting many individuals to invest small amounts in your business, often in exchange for rewards or equity.
  5. Government-backed Loans: The UK government offers support to small businesses through schemes like the Start Up Loans programme. These loans have favourable terms and can be an excellent option for businesses struggling to secure funding elsewhere.

Improving your credit score

While exploring these options, it’s also worth focusing on improving your credit score for future borrowing. Here are a few ways to do this:

  1. Regularly check your credit report: This allows you to spot errors and address any issues promptly.
  2. Pay your bills on time: Late or missed payments can negatively affect your score.
  3. Reduce your debt: High levels of debt can lower your score, so try to pay down existing debts where possible.
  4. Don’t apply for credit too frequently: Each application leaves a ‘hard’ search on your report, which can lower your score.

How to get a business loan with bad credit – Step by step

If your business needs funding and you’re grappling with a less-than-stellar credit score, these steps can guide you through the process of securing a business loan:

How to get a bad credit business loan

  1. Understand your credit score

    The first thing to do is to understand your current credit situation. You can request a free annual credit report from credit reference agencies such as Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Review it for errors and get any mistakes corrected. This will give you a clear picture of what potential lenders will see when they check your credit history.

  2. Assess your business financials

    Take a hard look at your business financials. This includes your cash flow, revenues, expenses, and existing debt. Lenders will want to see that you have a healthy business with the potential to grow and repay the loan.

  3. Create a solid business plan

    A comprehensive and compelling business plan can offset credit concerns. It should include your business model, market research, marketing plan, financial projections, and how you intend to use the loan. This will demonstrate to lenders that you have a clear strategy for success.

  4. Research your options

    Not all lenders have the same credit requirements. Do your research to find lenders that work with businesses with bad credit. This could include alternative lenders, asset-backed lenders, invoice financing companies, or even crowdfunding platforms.

  5. Prepare your loan application

    Once you’ve chosen a lender, gather the required documentation for your loan application. This will usually include financial statements, tax returns, and your business plan. If you’re applying for an asset-backed loan, you’ll also need documents proving ownership of your collateral.

  6. Apply for the loan

    Submit your loan application. If your application is rejected, don’t get discouraged. Ask the lender why it was denied to help you improve your chances next time.

  7. Continue to improve your credit score

    Even after securing your loan, it’s important to continue working on improving your credit score. This will help you access more favourable loan terms in the future.

Remember, getting a business loan with bad credit isn’t impossible. It requires patience, research, and preparation, but many businesses have successfully navigated this path. Even with a poor credit score, you can find the right financing to help your business grow and succeed.

How much do bad credit business loans cost?

It’s important to note that these loans often come at a higher cost than those for borrowers with good credit. This is due to the increased risk lenders perceive when lending to individuals or businesses with a history of poor credit management.

The cost of a business loan can be influenced by several factors, including but not limited to:

  1. Interest rate: This is the cost of borrowing the loan amount, usually expressed as a percentage of the loan. Bad credit business loans often have higher interest rates due to the increased risk of default.
  2. Fees: Many lenders charge origination fees, which cover the cost of processing the loan. There may also be fees for late payments or early repayment.
  3. Loan term: The length of the loan can also impact its cost. Shorter-term loans often have higher monthly payments but lower total cost, while longer-term loans have lower monthly payments but higher total cost.
  4. Loan amount: The amount of money borrowed will also influence the overall cost of the loan.

While each lender will have its own pricing model, these are some general factors that can influence the cost of a bad credit business loan. It’s always important to carefully review the terms of a loan before accepting it to ensure that it fits within your budget and aligns with your business goals.

To get specific cost information, you would need to approach individual lenders directly or use loan comparison tools to get quotes based on your specific circumstances.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while a poor credit score can make it more challenging to secure a business loan, it is not an insurmountable obstacle. By exploring alternative lending options and working to improve your credit score, you can find the financial support your business needs to thrive. Remember, every business journey is unique, and setbacks can be stepping stones to success.

FAQ

Can I get a business loan with bad credit?

Yes, it is possible to get a business loan with bad credit. However, it may be more difficult than if you had good credit. Lenders consider a variety of factors, including your credit score, business financials, and plan for the loan when deciding to approve a loan application.

What is considered bad credit?

Credit scores range from 300 to 850. Generally, a score under 580 is considered poor or bad credit. However, definitions may vary between lenders.

What lenders in the UK offer business loans for bad credit?

There are several lenders in the UK that offer business loans to those with bad credit. Some of these include 365 Business Finance, Aspire, Fair Finance, ClearFunder, CubeFunder, Fleximize, and Liberis.

What is the cost of a bad credit business loan?

The cost of a bad credit business loan can vary significantly depending on the terms of the loan, including the interest rate, fees, loan term, and loan amount. Typically, bad credit business loans have higher interest rates to account for the increased risk of lending to individuals or businesses with poor credit histories.

How can I improve my chances of getting a business loan with bad credit?

There are several steps you can take to improve your chances, such as improving your credit score, preparing a solid business plan, demonstrating the ability to repay the loan, offering collateral, and considering a guarantor or co-signer. It may also help to apply for smaller amounts initially or consider alternative financing options.

How can I improve my credit score?

To improve your credit score, you can ensure you make all your current loan and credit card payments on time, reduce your credit utilization ratio, regularly review your credit report for errors, and avoid taking on new debt. It’s also a good idea to diversify your types of credit if possible. Please note, improving your credit score usually takes time and consistent financial management. But with patience and good financial habits, you can build a better credit profile that will increase your chances of securing business loans in the future.

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