While women-owned businesses make up almost half of all small businesses in the United States, they are often at a disadvantage when it comes to getting credit. Research suggests that women are about 5% less likely to receive conventional business loans than their male counterparts.
That’s why it’s important to look for resources and programs designed to level the playing field. These can include training, funding, and counseling opportunities.
Banks and Credit Unions
Banks and credit unions are two different types of financial institutions that offer a range of services to help you manage your money. While credit unions tend to be smaller and dedicated to serving their members, banks have a larger customer base and offer a wider variety of products.
The main difference between the two is that banks are for-profit companies while credit unions are nonprofit organizations. They also operate by different rules, and some bankers feel that credit unions are unfairly competing with them.
A recent study by the Federal Reserve found that women-owned businesses are more likely to be denied loans than their male counterparts. They were more likely to be turned down because they had low credit scores or too much debt.
Fortunately, many financial institutions have programs designed to assist women-owned businesses. These include small business loan programs, microloans and online lenders.
One such program is the SBA loan, which offers low-interest rates and flexible terms on small business loans. Applicants must meet specific qualifications and may need to submit tax returns, financial statements and other documents.
Another popular way to get a small business loan is through a credit union. Unlike a bank, credit unions are not owned by shareholders but by people who have joined the co-op and paid membership fees.
In addition to lower interest rates on loans and fewer fees, credit unions usually offer better terms than banks do. They also provide higher APYs on savings accounts and are backed by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which insures deposits.
These credit unions are also able to offer free checking, mobile banking and ATMs, which is important for busy entrepreneurs. They also offer other types of financial services, including mortgages, CDs and IRAs.
However, the biggest challenge for credit unions is competing with big banks on the latest technologies and tools, such as online apps and thousands of ATMs. These features are available at both banks and credit unions, so it’s a good idea to shop around for the best options.
Despite the acrimony between banks and credit unions, there are many benefits to choosing a credit union for your financial needs. In particular, credit unions can provide attentive customer service and they tend to be more flexible when it comes to adjusting their policies to accommodate customers’ needs.
There are a number of online lenders that can help women get small business loans. These lenders offer multiple products, speedy funding and looser qualification requirements than traditional banks and credit unions. They may also charge a lower interest rate than you might find at a bank or credit union.
These lenders are typically a good choice for small businesses that have been in operation for less than two years or those with poor credit. They offer a range of products, including term loans, lines of credit and equipment financing. They can also help businesses get invoice factoring, which is an accounts receivable line of credit that’s based on future credit card receipts.
Invoice finance is a type of credit that you can use to borrow against your future invoices, and it’s often easier to qualify for than a traditional loan. However, it can cost more than a business loan and you might not be able to use your entire account receivables as collateral.
A working capital loan for women is another option to consider, as it can be used to pay employee wages or cover the rent for your business. You could also use it to cover inventory payments or manage overhead expenses.
Some women-owned businesses can also take out an equipment loan to purchase new vehicles or machinery. These loans tend to require a high credit score and a personal guarantee. Be sure to shop around and compare rates before committing.
Lastly, some women-owned businesses can benefit from business lines of credit, which work like a credit card but with lower interest rates. You can access a predetermined amount, and you’ll only be responsible for paying interest when it’s due.
The best option depends on your unique financial profile and the specific needs of your business. It’s also important to remember that not all types of online lenders can offer small business loans for women, and some may be more expensive than others.
Small business loans for women can be in the form of SBA loans, bank and credit union loans, online lenders, or microloans. Each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to shop around for the right funding type to fit your needs.
SBA loans offer low-interest rates and high funding amounts – as much as $5 million, in some cases. They are great for business expansion, buying equipment, debt consolidation, and more.
These types of loans also have long terms, which can be helpful for business owners who need to repay their debt over a long period of time. However, you’ll want to make sure that your loan terms are affordable and manageable.
Working capital loans can be used for short-term expenses like paying employees or covering the lease on your business premises. They can also be used to cover overhead costs, such as utilities or maintenance costs.
The SBA offers a variety of programs for small businesses, including Express Loans and 7(a) loans. Both are designed for businesses that have been in business for two years or more and report significant revenue.
Express loans have an accelerated review process, which means that you may get your funding faster than other loan types. They also have higher borrowing limits and less stringent qualifications than other small business loan types, making them a good choice for women entrepreneurs who want to get the most out of their loans.
Another way to increase your chances of getting the funding you need is to seek out grants or loans that are specifically for women-owned companies. These will reduce the number of applicants and potentially narrow down the pool of available funds.
For example, clothing line Eileen Fisher awards up to 10 business grants a year to female entrepreneurs who are committed to creating positive social and environmental change. The nonprofit provides funds to community financial development institutions (CDFIs), which then dole out small-business loans to eligible businesses.
The fastest way to get a business loan is through an online lender, such as Funding Circle and Credibility Capital. These companies typically have more lenient requirements than most banks and credit unions, and they can have your application processed in 24 hours or less. But they can also be more expensive than other options, especially if you have poor credit.
Small business owners are typically looking for short-term financing to help them grow their businesses. This kind of funding can come from banks, credit unions and online lenders. However, obtaining these loans can be difficult for women entrepreneurs due to the high number of paperwork and long approval processes required.
The good news is that there are several loan sources available to female entrepreneurs. These include SBA loans, equity financing and rollover business startups (ROBS).
One of the best options for women-owned businesses is SBA loans. These are government-backed loans that can be used for nearly any business purpose, and they have competitive interest rates and payment terms.
Another good option is a microloan from nonprofit Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs. These organizations are dedicated to providing small loans to low-income communities across the country.
These microloans are designed to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses by offering them a quick and easy way to access the capital they need. They can be used for business startup costs, equipment purchase, renovations and marketing expenses.
A short-term loan is also an excellent choice for women who have a poor credit score. A lender like TruFund offers term loans that only require a minimum credit score of 600 to qualify.
Alternatively, you could consider applying for an SBA 7(a) loan or an SBA Community Advantage loan. These loans have more flexible qualifications than traditional SBA loans, which are more difficult to qualify for.
SBA loans for women are also a good option for existing small business owners who need to expand their operations or improve their marketing strategy. These loans offer longer payment terms and more lenient requirements than bank loans.
There are many different types of loans available for female entrepreneurs, so it’s important to find the one that is right for your business. While there aren’t as many options as there are for men, there are plenty of choices for women-owned businesses.
There are also a number of nonprofit lenders and community financial development institutions, or CDFIs, that offer small-business loans for women with bad credit. These loans are often offered to businesses in economically and socially disadvantaged communities, which can make them an ideal option for women.