Best Online Loan Companies for Business Financing

Reviews and Information on the Top Online Business Lenders

When it comes to quick access to cash for your small business, you’ve never had more options than now. No longer do you have to personally visit your bank multiple times and wait months for the loan to (hopefully) come back approved. Following the 2007-09 recession, many traditional banks scaled back their small business lending. Shortly after that, however, dozens of online lenders sprang up to fill the vacuum, ready to extend loans to small businesses in a matter of days instead of months.

Of course, this speed and convenience comes with a price. A faster and simpler loan often means a higher cost — sometimes substantially so. Below we will review some of the best online lenders available for small businesses.


If someone you know already has a credit card, the account holder can add you as an authorized user. You will be issued a card in your name, which will allow you to charge purchases to the account. The primary cardholder is ultimately liable for all payments due on that card.

Upfront costs

There won’t be any unless the primary cardholder is opening a new account and is subject to annual fees, which may be due when the account is first activated.

Available funds

The same as the credit limit of the card

Credit score needed

There will be no credit score requirements, but the primary account holder will have to qualify for the credit card.

Reporting to credit bureau

This may vary. Certain cards will tie account activity to the primary account holder, but it may also show up under your name. Check with the credit issuer to know for sure.

Rewards and benefits

There are typically rewards and benefits programs available.

Reporting of fees

This is standardized and easy for the consumer to compare.


This is a ‘traditional’ credit card, where the line of credit is not secured by a deposit or any collateral.

Upfront costs

Some cards have an annual fee that may be charged to you when you first activate the card.

Available funds

The same amount as the limit on the card.

Credit score needed

Most credit cards require at least a 580-669 (‘Fair’) credit score.

Reporting to credit bureau

All activity is reported to all three credit bureaus.

Rewards and benefits

Rewards and benefits will vary from one card to another.

Reporting of fees

These are standardized and easy for the consumer to compare.


A card that you load with the amount of money that you wish to spend.

Upfront costs

The amount of money required to load the card, plus a possible activation fee.

Available funds

The amount prepaid or ‘loaded’ onto the card

Credit score needed

No credit score requirements are necessary.

Reporting to credit bureau

Activity not reported to any credit bureaus.

Rewards and benefits

Typically unavailable.

Reporting of fees

Not standardized.


This kind of card requires you to place a specific amount of money into a savings account. This money acts as collateral that the issuer will claim if you miss payments.

Upfront costs

You will need to have the amount of money necessary to place into the account as collateral. Some card issuers may also charge processing or application fees.

Available funds

The same as the total amount of collateral deposited into the savings account.

Credit score needed

This kind of card is often issued to those with bad credit, or little or no credit history.

Reporting to credit bureau

Not standard. Some cards will report activity to one or more bureaus, while some report to none at all.

Rewards and benefits

Rewards and benefits programs are available.

Reporting of fees

Standardized and easy for consumers to compare.


Any person who is at least 21 and financially able to make minimum credit card payments can agree to be liable for all payments due and co-sign a credit card agreement with you.

Upfront costs

If the card has annual fees, they may be charged to you when you first activate the account.

Available funds

The same as the credit limit of the card.

Credit score needed

There will be no credit score requirements. However, the primary account holder will have to meet the requirements for the card.

Reporting to credit bureau

All account activity is tied to the credit scores of both users. If you miss a payment, your co-signer’s credit score will take the hit.

Rewards and benefits

Rewards and benefits programs are available.

Reporting of fees

Standardized and easy for the consumer to compare.

Secured Credit Cards 101

When applying for a secured credit card, the credit card issuer will require that you open a savings account and deposit a set cash amount into it before issuing you a card. This cash deposit serves as collateral to ‘secure’ the credit line they are extending to you. The funds you deposit will be used to pay your monthly bill if you fail to uphold your payments. Secured credit cards are often subject to higher annual fees and finance charges than a typical card, and may also subject you to application, maintenance, or processing fees.  

Using a secured credit card can help you repair damaged credit history. Once you establish and rebuild a good credit history, you will be able to qualify for an unsecured card with a higher limit. Restoring your credit will require a proven record of prompt, reliable monthly payments, and using the card in a responsible manner. In time, your issuer will either graduate you to an unsecured card, or you may choose to apply to another credit card issuer.

Pros & Cons of Secured Credit Cards


Build or Rebuild Your Credit

Using a secured credit card to prove a reliable payment history is a tried-and-true way to repair your credit and raise your credit score. Once you know that it will take one or two solid years of responsible credit card payments before you can get another unsecured card, you may find the motivation you need to rein in your credit card usage and learn better spending discipline.

Easy Approval

Since a secured card requires a cash deposit for collateral, the credit card issuer is taking on very little risk. Even if you have a bad credit history or none at all, you’re more likely to be approved because the credit issuer isn’t taking on much risk if they approve you.

Lock Down Your Credit Limit

The lower credit limit typical of a secured card will force you to eliminate frivolous spending. If, for instance, you’re shopping for an outfit to wear to an upcoming wedding, you’ll have to think twice before dropping $200 for one. Instead, consider equally flattering attire that is already in your closet, or take a look at local thrift shops to expand our options and lower the cost.


Must Save Enough for a Deposit

If you’re tight on funds, scraping up the money for the security deposit may be quite a challenge. Be aware that once you deposit the money, you won’t be able to access it. After you close the secured account, companies usually require some kind of waiting period before they will release the funds back to you.

High Fees and Interest

Thanks to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, fees on your account cannot exceed 25% of your initial deposit in the first year. Still, the multiple fees associated with a secured credit card account, such as application and processing fees as well as yearly charges, can accumulate quickly. The interest rates for this type of card are also much higher. Don’t be surprised if you see offers with interest rates that are 20% or even higher.

Low Credit Limit Might Be Too Low

The credit available to you on a secured credit card is typically much more limited than that on an unsecured card. You may only have a limit of $300, which might barely cover your monthly grocery expenses—especially considering that average monthly food costs for a woman between the ages of 19 and 50 is around $259.

11 Must-Haves in a Secured Credit Card

When you compare offers on an unsecured credit card, carefully review each one and do your research. Don’t fall prey to one of the many marketing gimmicks designed to take advantage of consumers with poor credit scores or other approval difficulties. Less reputable companies know that if you’re desperate to get any kind of credit card, you’re more likely to overlook the warning signs of a bad deal.

Keep an eye out for these 11 features while you’re shopping for a suitable secured credit card:

Low (or Zero) Annual Fee

Many secured credit cards will charge you an annual fee for use of the card, which often runs around $40. Some of them even charge monthly fees, but neither monthly or yearly fees are required by any kind of credit law or regulation. So if a company is truly competitive, they will offer low fees or none at all in order to secure your business. Shop around until you can find such a credit issuer.

Low Interest Rate on Balances

Since your goal is to improve your credit score or create a solid credit history, have a plan established to pay off your balance within each billing cycle. But, just in case things go wrong and you do end up making payments on a carried balance, a lower interest rate will limit the damage and help get you back on track sooner.

Clear Path to an Unsecured Credit Card

Find a cardholder agreement with a specific timeframe to graduate to an unsecured card. A typical requirement is 12 consecutive billing cycles of timely payments. Credit issuers are often up front about this part, so look for the shortest period offered.

Payment History Reporting

If you’re trying to improve your credit score, you need your ongoing history of timely payments to go down on record so that it can show improvement. But not all secured credit card issuers report your payment history to the three major credit bureaus, which are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experion. Some companies only report negative credit behavior, such as missed or late payments, so you need to know if your complete history will be reported or not. In addition, some companies will specify that your card is secured when they make their reports, so keep that in mind.

A Flexible Credit Line Amount

You’ll want to find out how each credit issuer determines your credit card limit, which depends on the amount of money placed into your savings account as collateral. Many card issuers set card limits equal to the full amount in the account—so if you deposit $500, your card limit will also be $500. If the credit card issuer allows for a flexible credit line, you can add to the deposit amount used for collateral and gradually increase the limit on the card.

An Interest-Free Grace Period

The time from the date the card issuer sends you a bill until the day the payment is due is known as the billing grace period. By law, this grace period must be at least 21 days. Choose a secured card that has a grace period with no interest, so that you can pay your monthly bill in full without incurring any interest charges.

No Purchase-Type Restrictions

Try to find a credit card without restrictions on the types of purchases you can make with it.

A Good Reputation

Well-known banks such as Capital One, Bank of America, or Chase are much less likely to employ unscrupulous practices. A local credit union is also a good choice. Above all, don’t let a celebrity endorsement or self-professed ‘financial expert’ talk you into making a risky decision. Double-check the fine print and make sure you understand all the terms, conditions, and applicable fees. Avoid offers that promise guaranteed or immediate approval.

Interest Earned on Amount Deposited

Though not required by federal law, some credit card issuers will pay you interest on the savings account used as collateral for the card. Though interest rates on savings accounts are currently very low, it’s still a nice little bonus for your money when you are able to access it again.

Perks, Extra Features & Protection

A secured credit card may offer perks such as extended manufacturers’ warranties on items purchased, free FICO credit score reports to help rebuild your credit, and travel insurance.

Unsecured Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Although unsecured cards are the most common type of credit card, they usually require a “Fair” (580-669) FICO score in order to qualify for approval. Without the security of collateral, they typically won’t risk signing applicants with lower credit scores. However, each company is free to follow its own guidelines and qualification requirements may vary. 

There are several kinds of unsecured credit cards. Some focus on rewards, such as cash-back and travel cards, while others offer lower interest rates. The best rewards programs often come with the trade-off of higher interest rates and a higher credit score requirement, while low-interest cards normally offer little to nothing in the way of cashback offers. Cards offered to those with lower credit scores typically have higher interest rates and fewer benefits.

How to Use Your New Credit Card to Improve Your Credit Score

The responsible use of your credit card will build a positive credit score and credit history. Certain spending and repayment behaviors promote the credit-rebuilding process more effectively than others. Following the best practices outlined below, with either a secured or unsecured credit card, can help you improve your credit.


It might seem obvious to say that you should make your payments on time, but never underestimate the power that long-term compliance with due dates will have on your credit score. It’s one of the most important factors in building up your credit reputation.

  • The importance of on-time payments may seem obvious, but it’s important to stress that long-term compliance is essential to a good credit score. It’s one of the key factors in building up your credit. You can better ensure that you don’t miss a payment deadline by setting up an automatic reminder on your phone, whether through a text, email, or app reminder. Alternatively, you can set up an automatic payment system.


A potential credit card issuer wants to see evidence that you’ve been responsibly using your existing credit. Not using your card at all leaves very little record of your credit behavior. Try to have some kind of credit activity on your card in each billing cycle. Each time you use your card and then pay the bill, it triggers a report from the credit card issuer to the credit bureaus that will reflect your current credit card behavior.


Credit utilization refers to the percentage of your credit limit that you spend on that card each month. Credit card companies don’t like to see credit utilization rates above 50%, because that indicates a higher debt-to-income ratio, which means that you’re spending too much money in comparison to your income. If your credit limit is $500, for instance, don’t place charges on it that total more than $250 per billing cycle.


Credit issuers like to see that you’re financially responsible enough to pay off your balance in each billing period without carrying it over. Demonstrate this responsibility by consistently paying your bill in full each month.

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