A traditional business loan can be difficult to get without collateral. Many lenders may be unwilling to approve you for a business loan unless you can offer some sort of asset—such as real estate or equipment—which you agree to surrender if you’re unable to repay the funds you borrow. However, not all borrowers have assets to provide as collateral. And even those who have available assets they could offer to secure loans might not want to use them. Read on to learn more about startup business loans you can get without collateral. These loans have the potential to help you turn your business startup dreams into reality without putting your personal and business assets at risk to secure financing. What Are Business Loans with No Collateral? A business loan with no collateral is a funding option for which you don’t need to pledge an asset that a lender could seize if you fail to repay the debt. Another term for this type of financing is an unsecured business loan. It is important to point out that the lender’s risk is higher with an unsecured loan since it has no asset to take possession of in the event of a default. Because no collateral business loans involve more risk for lenders, these loans tend to be less common. And when you find lenders that offer these loans, they also tend to cost more. Business loans with no collateral may feature higher interest rates and fees compared with other business financing options. Even without collateral requirements, you may still have to provide a personal guarantee when you take out an unsecured business loan. A personal guarantee is an agreement between you (the business owner) and a creditor stating you agree to repay a debt yourself if your business fails to do so. In essence, a personal guarantee makes you a co-signer when your business borrows money. Startup Business Loan Options With No Collateral Below are some options to consider if you’re looking for a business loan with no collateral. SBA loans The federal government created the Small Business Administration (SBA) with the goal of helping entrepreneurs thrive. With that goal in mind, the SBA guarantees business loans, and the backing makes it easier for small businesses to get the funding they need to grow and thrive. There are numerous types of SBA loans that business owners can seek when they need financial assistance. Almost all of these loans require some sort of collateral. However, the SBA offers microloans that do not require collateral. Instead, they require a personal guarantee. Microloans are available for up to $50,000. But the average microloan a business receives is around $13,000. You can use an SBA microloan to purchase inventory, supplies, equipment, furniture, or machinery, to fulfill working capital needs, and more. Keep in mind that SBA loans are known for requiring more extensive paperwork compared with other business financing options. Additionally, SBA qualification requirements can be more tedious, and the funding process tends to take longer. If you are interested in an SBA loan, it’s best to start your application as soon as possible to allow yourself sufficient time to navigate the process. Business cash advances A business cash advance refers to a type of financing you can use to borrow against future revenue that your business will earn. With a business cash advance, a lender provides you money up front and takes repayment via an automatic deduction of a percentage of your business’ future sales. Your company might be eligible for this type of financing once it has at least four to six months of acceptable revenue history that a cash advance provider can review. And while a business cash advance can be more expensive than a traditional business loan, this financing solution could work well for a startup with no collateral and even those without good credit. Unsecured business line of credit An unsecured business line of credit is a flexible financing solution that your business can rely on multiple times. With a revolving business line of credit, you can borrow up to the credit limit on your account, repay some or all of the money borrowed, and access the credit line again. This setup differs from a traditional business loan where you receive the loan proceeds you borrow in a single disbursement, but lack the ability to borrow again from the same source in the future. You do not have to provide collateral for unsecured business lines of credit. However, many lenders require a personal guarantee. Equipment financing An equipment loan or equipment leasing is a collateral-based loan. In general, the equipment you purchase serves as some or all of the collateral. In the case of equipment leasing, only the equipment being leased is used as collateral with no prior existing asset required. For many business owners, this arrangement feels very different from a loan that uses the borrower’s personal property as a guarantee or asks for additional business assets as collateral. Yet the lender can still reduce its risk with this type of loan since there is an asset to seize and resell in the event of a default. Alternatives to Business Loans With No Collateral As a business owner, you might need multiple types of startup funding to accomplish your goals. Here are four alternatives to business loans with no collateral to consider. Business credit cards A small business credit card is another financing option with the potential to benefit both startups and established businesses. A business credit card can offer many perks, including the potential to build business credit, keep your personal and business finances separate, and to offer short-term cash flow solutions. Depending on the type of account you open, you might be able to earn rewards or cash back on purchases your business needs to make anyway. If you have a personal credit score of 690 or higher, you may be able to qualify for an unsecured business credit card that requires no cash security deposit to open the account. Just keep in mind that most business credit card issuers require a personal guarantee from the business owner. Crowdfunding Small business owners with strong social networks might want to consider crowdsourcing to raise money for their business startup goals. Crowdfunding can help small businesses raise money from a large number of investors or donors without having to repay those funds at a future date. Aside from debt crowdfunding, crowdfunding isn’t a loan. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about providing collateral to secure this type of funding for your business. Yet there are other obstacles to consider if you decide to use rewards-based, donor, or equity crowdfunding to raise money for your business goals. Personal savings The majority of startups don’t seek financing. According to the SCORE Foundation, powered by the SBA, 78% of startups rely on personal savings or income from another job. If you decide to use personal funds to start a new business, it’s important to exercise caution. Draining emergency savings or retirement funds is risky. So, you should consider how you might cope if you lost those funds and make sure you have a plan that you can live with before moving forward with such a high-risk investment. How to Qualify for a Startup Loan Without Collateral Make sure your business documents are in order Once you decide to officially start your business, it might seem like your to-do list never ends. However, it’s important to prioritize and complete some steps ahead of others. Before you apply for unsecured business loans, make sure you already have the bones of your business in place. The following pointers may help you. Register your business with your state (perhaps as an LLC or corporation). Request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Understand who your partners and shareholders will be (if any). Open a business bank account. Apply for other business licenses as needed. Having your business documents on hand may streamline the loan application process. You can prove you are operating a stable business and demonstrate why you need funding—even if you haven’t sold a single product yet. Sign a personal guarantee Instead of putting assets at risk to start your business, some lenders may accept a personal guarantee from the business owner as added security when you apply for startup funding. A personal guarantee states that you as the individual will be responsible for the loan in the event that your business cannot repay the debt. A personal guarantee can be valuable to a lender if you have existing credit and personal assets. A high credit score indicates to lenders that you are trustworthy and likely to repay the money you borrow as promised. Agree to a blanket UCC lien A blanket UCC lien states that if your business defaults on its loan, the lender can seize all of its assets—including equipment and accounts payable. A blanket UCC lien lets you use your entire business as collateral, even if you haven’t built it yet. There is, of course, risk involved when you agree to a blanket UCC lien. If you can’t repay a business debt, the lender might decide that it’s better off taking money you have in the company and selling your equipment rather than continuing to wait for you to make another payment. However, even with a blanket UCC lien in place, this reaction is not a foregone conclusion. Some lenders may not want to go through the process of seizing and reselling your property when you fall behind on a debt. The process, after all, is time-consuming. Instead, most lenders will send multiple reminders if you fall behind on payments. Some lenders might even agree to a short-term hardship arrangement and pause payments to give your business a chance to recover financially. So, it’s important to communicate with your bank when you can’t make a payment (especially with a blanket UCC lien tied to your loan) to discover all of the potential hardship options available. Adjust your loan terms If you’re struggling to find unsecured loans on your desired terms, consider changing your expectations. Look for ways to reduce the lender’s risk, so they are more likely to approve your funding application. In general, lenders see shorter term lengths as less risky since they get their money back sooner and there are less potential events that could lead to a default. Take out a smaller loan If you are still hitting roadblocks during the loan application process, consider taking out a smaller business loan. For example, instead of requesting $30,000 in business financing, you could ask for $5,000. Should a lender approve your request for a smaller loan amount, repay the funds you borrow on time over the course of the next year. At the same time, be sure to follow healthy financial practices and work to establish good business credit. A lender that won’t work with your business today might change its mind once your company has proven itself and built some solid business credit history. Of course, the strategy above does slow the potential rate of growth for your business. Nonetheless, it may allow you to start building positive momentum for the future. Next Steps At Lendio our job is to help businesses find the right financing at the best rates. If you are looking to fund your startup, turn to our lending center. Learn about your options to take out a small business loan without putting your assets up as collateral. The information in this blog is for informational purposes. It should not be used as legal, business, tax, or financial advice. The information contained in this page is Lendio’s opinion based on Lendio’s research, methodology, evaluation, and other factors. The information provided is accurate at the time of the initial publishing of the page (August 10, 2021). While Lendio strives to maintain this information to ensure that it is up to date, this information may be different than what you see in other contexts, including when visiting the financial information, a different service provider, or a specific product’s site. All information provided in this page is presented to you without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s terms and conditions, relevant policies, contractual agreements and other applicable information. Please note that the ranges provided here are not pre-qualified offers and may be greater or less than the ranges provided based on information contained in your business financing application. Lendio may receive compensation from the financial institutions evaluated on this page in the event that you receive business financing through that financial institution.