Many small businesses in the U.S. have been getting frustrated with traditional banks and their loans. Businesses have voiced that the process is very slow and burdensome, even though there are strings attached when it comes to using alternative lenders.
According to a study from the Harris Poll, 62% of small businesses admit they need more financing and 68% say they need fast cash. Five hundred small business owners with $25,000 to $20 million in annual revenue were surveyed. Many surprisingly said they would rather wait in line at the DMV, sitting in congested traffic, assemble furniture or clean a toilet rather than apply for a loan through a traditional bank.
Eighty-four percent of small businesses agreed that they would be open to applying for financial services through outlets such as fintech and e-commerce platforms. Of these small businesses, 51% said it would be because of affordable loans, 49% instant loan approval, and 45% said it would be due to using a single platform to manage their finances.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) will hopefully come to the rescue. While Unit itself does not make loans, it works with five banks that provide financial products, which fintech companies can then market on the bank’s behalf. This would be made through a proposed rule change from the SBA. The proposed rule would let fintechs and other alternative lenders apply for a license in order for them to be able to offer SBA-backed 7(a) loans. This will speed up the process but at what costs?
“The faster it is to get the money, the scarier the rates and terms will be,” says Ami Kassar, the founder and chief executive officer at MultiFunding, a Philadelphia-based consulting firm focused on business financing options.
Her advice is to slow down and make sure you know the terms and conditions of the loans. This includes interest payments and the frequency of payments which will determine how this will impact your cash flow.
“You have to be extraordinarily careful, really understand if you’re taking a loan what your monthly payment is going to be, and make sure you’re not getting yourself in a debt trap, ” advises Kassar.